June 19, 1905 (10th Parliament, 1st Session)


Frederick Debartzch Monk

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. F. D. MONK (Jacques Cartier).

Mr. Speaker, before the Orders of the Day are proedeeded with, I wish' to call the attention of the government to a matter of some urgency. I will do so as briefly as possible, and, to put myself in order, will conclude iii the usual way. I desire to point out to the government what, to the mind of many,

is an impending danger to the Canadian telegraph system in the Americanizing of a portion of that system in violation of the provisions of the Alien Labour Act. I refer more particularly to the 4mericanizing of the Great Northwestern telegraph system. Members of this House will remember that about twenty years ago that system, as it exists to-day, was composed of the Montreal Telegraph Company, the Dominion Telegraphe Company and a company called the Mutual Union Company, of less extent than the other two, but still of some importance. The systems as they existed then attracted the attention of American capitalists and the Western Union Telegraph Company, having acquired, as I am informed, complete control of the Dominion Telegraph Company, established a company called the Great Northwestern Telegraph Company ; and that company absorbed the then existing companies-the old Montreal Telegraph Company, the Dominion Telegraph Company and the Mutual Union Telegraph Company. I need not acquaint the House with the details of the arrangements that were then made. It is sufficient to say that a certain dividend satisfactory to the shareholders of these respective companies was granted to them, and the new company entered into operations of the lines of the old companies and has operated them ever since. Not much attention was paid at the time to this transformation ; but within the last two or three years the attention of American capitalists interested in the amalgamation has been directed anew to Canada, and they have undertaken to completely Americanize the system, and in so doing, as I am informed credibly, they are violating every day and intend to violate still more the provisions of the Alien Labour Act. Some notice of this was taken in the public press some time ago. In one of the papers I find this paragraph :
Great Northwestern telegraph changes. Mr. S. B. McMichael, of Minneapolis, a son of the general manager of the Great Northwestern Telegraph Company, is now located at Montreal. In connection with his presence there are said to be several changes pending as a result of his investigation and report. Already a new chief operator and chief accountant have been installed. Changes are also said to be Impending in the Quebec office.
In another newspaper appears a telegram, under date of May 26, as follows :
A Telegraphic Shake-up.
Montreal office of the Great Northwestern loses
two of Its chiefs-Will Americans be imported ?
From our own correspondent.
Montreal, May 26.-The shake-up which has been predicted in the Great Nortwestern Telegraph Company here, owing to the Western Union, which leases the lines, becoming active in the management, has come. Mr. Thomas Rodgers, who has been an official of the company for many years and has held the post of Mr. MONK.
chief operator, has been dismissed. He will be succeeded by a telegraph man from the United States, and it is stated _that Mr. Rodgers, who is looked upon as a very competent man, will be taken over by the Canadian Pacific Railway Telegraph Company. The former chief accountant, W. J. S. MoCormack, left the service of the Great Northwestern some weeks ago, and now occupies a berth with the Canadian Pacific Railway, and it is stated that other changes will follow, including the withdrawal of Manager Powell, of the Montreal office.
The facts, as far as they have been ascertained,-and they have been communicated to me by reliable people-are as follows : The first president and the general manager, I think, since the creation of the Great Northwestern Telegraph Company, was Mr. H. P. Dwight, of Toronto-a gentleman who, I believe, initiated the telegraph system in Canada, and has always been considered a very competent man. Not long ago the American interests appointed Mr. I McMichael, of Minneapolis, general manager In place of Mr. Dwight, and Mr. McMichael came here and assumed the duties of his office. From my information, Mr. McMichael's services were secured in the city of Minneapolis as general manager here, and he came here for the purpose of carrying through the changes to which I am now adverting. Mr. L. S. Humes, of St. Paul, Minneapolis, was afterwards appointed general superintendent at Toronto. A little later on, Mr. S. B. McMichael, son of Mr. I. McMichael, general manager, of the city of Chicago, was appointed superintendent at Toronto, and entered upon the duties of his office. I believe the attention of the Department of Labour was drawn to these changes, and Mr. S. B. McMichael was for some reason or another-supposed to be on account of illness-withdrawn from the service of the company temporarily, and a report was made to the Department of Labour that Mr. McMichael, of Toronto, was the superintendent of the company there But the report failed to indicate that his services had been engaged in the city of Chicago and he had been brought to Toronto to fill that position. Another appointment of recent date is that of Mr. F. R. Carney, of Chicago, Illinois, who was appointed manager at Ottawa to replace Mr. Bethune, to whom a retiring allowance was given on account of his long services. Mr. Carney is in office here, and his services were secured at Chicago by tbe American interest. Mr. Callahan, of Chicago, was named cashier at Montreal to replace Mr. W. J. S. McCormick and tbe services of Mr. Callahan were also secured in Chicago. Several other minor appointments of the same nature as those I have just mentioned were also made, and I was informed in Montreal, where the company has a large number of minor employees, that a plan is in contemplation of importing from Boston and other points in the United States, line men and other men to replace those at present labouring for

the company in Montreal and the surrounding districts. Under these circumstances, I deem it my duty to call the attention of the government to this matter. I question whether it is in our interests as Canadians that the service of that important system should be entirely placed in the hands of aliens. Here in Ottawa, I presume, the government itself has considerable relations with both telegraph systems, and I think it is important that this system should be controlled by Canadians. 1 think it is the duty of the government, through the Department of Labour, or by any other prompt course it may see fit to adopt, to see whether the law is being violated in the way I have indicated, and if so, to bring to this state of things a prompt remedy. According to the decision given a day or two ago,
I believe, by Mr. Justice Anglin in Toronto, in the case of the Pere Marquette employees, it might be necessary, if that decision be well founded, that the government should make some change in the law as it exists. Personally I regret that hostile legislation of this kind should be in force between the two countries, but it was begun in the United States ; and as long as an alien labour law is in force there, and enforced very severely against Canadians, it is the duty of the government to protect labour in our own country. I beg to move that the House do now adjourn.

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