April 9, 1946 (20th Parliament, 2nd Session)

CCF

Major James William Coldwell

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

Mr. M. J. COLDWELL (Rosetown-Biggar):

Before you leave the chair, Mr. Speaker, there is a matter I wish to raise. I should like to preface my remarks by saying that I think this practice of moving the house into committee of supply at three or four minutes to eleven o'clock, which does not give the members of the house an opportunity to raise any matter which they wish to raise, should be discontinued. But we have been doing this now for a considerable time. So far as we are concerned we are determined to take advantage of the motion, and we expect that the house in the future will be moved into committee of supply at a more convenient time. One of the departments mentioned by the minister was labour, but there is no guarantee that the estimates of the Department of Labour, if moved into supply to-night, will come before the house for consideration before ' Easter, and there are some matters dealing with labour problems in this country which should be considered by the house before we adjourn for the Easter recess. I propose, therefore, to raise some of them now.
Within the last week or so two delegations have met the cabinet and discussed with them the problems of labour, the Canadian Congress of Labour and the Trades and Labour Congress of Canada. Both of these organizations have pointed out to the government that conditions in the realm of labour in this countrj are far from satisfactory, and indeed far from the conditions that were expected when this government was elected to power in June of last year. .
May I point out to the members of the house, and to the government in particular, that the principal slogan which was used by the party in power during the general election of last June was: Jobs for all. To-day we find that there are-I was going to say, several hundred thousand; I would be within the mark in saying that, but I will put it in this way-a very large number of men and women who have contributed to the winning of the war in the field of industry and labour who are at the moment unemployed; and not only those who have contributed to the winning of the war in industry and other forms of labour, but thousands of veterans also . who have returned from overseas who are at the present moment unemployed and living on their gratuities.
The briefs which were placed before the cabinet by the two labour organizations I have mentioned were comprehensive, and I *was surprised at the reception they received when they were placed before the cabinet. I noted the reports in the daily newspapers of the reception which the brief of the Canadian Congress of Labour received from the Prime Minister and the cabinet. I have the brief before me, and I am .at a complete loss to understand why it aroused the kind of criticism that was made on the occasion of its presentation; for, after all, is it not a fact, for example, that we have no real plans as a nation for the orderly transition from war to peace, apart from the disposal of industries which were established by the government and which should have been retained for the making of needed civilian goods and the giving of employment to large numbers of people in Canada at this time?
The hour is too late. Air. Speaker, for me this evening to say what I intended to say and intend to say on this matter. There are several other important considerations which I wish to place before the house in connection with what is going on in the country in the realm of labour and the attempts that are being made by certain persons in Canada to carry on propaganda against labour receiving its rights in this country at the present time. But I see it is eleven o'clock, and I therefore move the adjournment of the debate.
Motion agreed to and debate adjourned.

Topic:   LABOUR CONDITIONS
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