Mr. D. M. Fisher (Port Arthur):
Mr. Speaker, everybody seems to be a lion this morning for the poor railway worker. It seems to me, if I correctly caught the Prime Minister's phrasing that this announcement applies only to existing employees rather than to existing employees and existing pensioners. If that is the case there will be considerable disappointment. If he reviews the proceedings of our committee last year, he may remember that the main impetus for a review came from the people who were presently on pension. This organization is centred in Winnipeg. The hon. member for Winnipeg South (Mr. Chown) had arranged for them to speak at the committee hearing. They made their presentation to all of us. I know that, even as the Prime Minister suggests, there will be considerable disappointment, and this notwithstanding the fact that the present employees of the Canadian National Railways will be delighted from their point of view. If I am wrong in this assumption I hope the Prime Minister will correct me.
However, it seems to me there is almost an unexpected turn here in view of the opinion expressed last year by the president of the C.N.R. before our committee that it was most unlikely that the pension board or the management could see their way clear to improve the pensions. The question, of course, that will remain in our minds extends not only toward the existing pensioners but also toward the fact that the very same conditions that created a poor pension period for the workers on the Canadian National Railway also apply to the other giant railway.
On the orders of the day:
Subtopic: ANNOUNCEMENT OF CHANGES IN PENSION PLAN