February 14, 1944 (19th Parliament, 5th Session)


Clarence Gillis

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. CLARENCE GILLIS (Cape Breton South):

Mr. Speaker, I should like to make a few observations on this matter, and particularly as to the urgency of it. I believe the point raised by the hon. member for Cumberland (Mr. Black) is a good one. As the Prime Minister has pointed out, the order has been operative, with the exception of its financial aspects, since December.
I am always afraid of how legislation of this kind may be administered. As I view it, the postponement of the order now will not cause labour to suffer the loss of any benefits which might accrue to them because of the application of-the order with respect to the bonus. They are now being paid the bonus; they are receiving that money now. It is merely a matter of changing it from a bonus arrangement to basic rates. What I am afraid of if the order becomes operative to-morrow is that the minimum of thirty-five cents an hour, which the order sets out as being grossly unjustifiable, will be applied by the national war labour board. There are many organizations now negotiating agreements with employers across Canada who have not that particular angle to contend with. If the board is permitted to apply the financial aspects of the present order, in my opinion it is going to militate against organizations now in the process of wage negotiations. That is what I am afraid of-that the board will take as its only latitude in permitting increases the basis now set out in the order, "gross inequalities" meaning thirty-five cents an hour. Consequently it will interfere with the functioning of regional boards, which are now making examination of the wages in different places and with different organizations. They have some latitude, and can make decisions. Under the new order they are not permitted to make any decisions unless they are ratified by the national board. The only scope the national board will have in making adjustments in wages is in respect of the financial aspect of

Labour Conditions-Wages Control
the order to be declared operative to-morrow.
I cannot agree with the Prime Minister when he says that labour would receive any benefit from the bringing into effect of the provisions of the order which are not at present operative.

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