Hon. HUMPHREY MITCHELL (Minister of Labour):
Mr. Speaker, I have not the
resolution with me, as this matter came on my desk just before I entered the house. We did have a conference with the delegation, and I would say a very successful conference. As the leader of the opposition (Mr. Graydon) has intimated, the delegation met two other ministers as well as myself, the Minister of National Defence (Mr. Ralston) and the Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Gardiner). As my hon. friend is well aware, we have an agreement with every province in Canada respecting the placement of farm labour, not only in the summer months but the whole year round, and these agreements have worked very satisfactorily in every province. But in addition, after hearing the representations of the delegation it was decided that a committee, accompanied by an official of the Department of Labour, would meet the district officers commanding at Toronto, London, Kingston, Petawawa and Borden with a view to speeding up the granting of leave to men who wish to go farming to the fullest possible extent consistent with army needs.
We also telegraphed the ministers of agricv.I ture for Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba with a view to moving an additional 500 experienced farmers from the western prairies to eastern Canada so that they would be able to help harvest the heavy crops in eastern Canada. We had a similar movement last year. The hon. gentleman will understand that the crops this year in the east are heavier than last year. [DOT]
It has also been decided to recruit 500 students, seventeen years of age or over, who have had farming experience or who come from farm homes in western Canada to give us some assistance with the very heavy crop in this part of the country.
A letter has also gone out to all the industrialists of Ontario urging upon them the desirability of releasing as many experienced farm workers as possible, consistent with maintaining war production, to assist in harvesting the crop.
In addition to that, I might say that we are of course working in very close cooperation with the Department of Agriculture of Ontario, as we did last year. Last year we placed over 100,000 on the farms of Ontario through the instrumentality of that cooperation. I have also sent a direct appeal to the mayors and other municipal officials of all the municipalities in Ontario in an effort to ensure wherever possible the granting of leave to municipal employees in order that we may get over the hump of the haying season and the peak of the farm season in Ontario.
Subtopic: INQUIRY WITH RESPECT TO DELEGATION ON FARM LABOUR SITUATION