December 9, 1909 (11th Parliament, 2nd Session)

CON

Angus Claude Macdonell

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. A. C. MACDONELL.

tlier manufactured to conform to particular specifications or not. The proper officer on behalf of the United States, and territory, or the district of Columbia may waive the provisions and stipulations in this -Act during time of war or a time when war is imminent, or in any other case when in the opinion of the inspector or any other officer in charge any great emergency exists. No penalties shall be imposed for any violation of such provision in such contract due to any emergency caused by fire, famine, or flood, by danger to life or to property, or by other extraordinary event or condition.
The American Bill also gives the contractor the right of appeal first, to the head of the department under which the work is being done- and, secondly, to the executive government or to one of the courts of the country. So that in the American Act there are not only various exceptions, which seem to me, at first sight, to be reasonable, but also provision for an appeal in case any person considers himself aggrieved under the operation of the Act. The matter in my opinion is entirely for the government to deal with. Perhaps the hon. gentleman who has introduced the Bill may indulge the hope that it will have a better fate than the resolution which was introduced into this House a few days ago by the hon. member for South Wellington (Mr. Guthrie). Be that as it may, the government should, in my opinion, grapple with this question. We all in this House sympathize with labouring men. At the same time, this is a matter that has to be proceeded with cautiously and prudently, or it will revolutionize the condition of the country. It is a matter on which, in my opinion, this House is not well enough informed at the present time to deal with. The American Congress on more than one occasion found it convenient to refer the question to a select committee to obtain evidence and make recommendations thereon. On the other side of the line they are still in that stage; and it seems to me that if this matter were dealt with in a similar way, so that the various interests affected might get their views before parliament or a committee of parliament, a Bill might de drafted which would in a reasonable way meet the demands, so far as they are just, along this line. If the government chooses to refer the Bill to a committee, before whom all parties and all interests affected will be heard and considered, I for one will back them up. It is not going too far, at this stage in our history, I think, to advance the matter to that extent. If that were done, the matter, in some concrete form and intelligible manner, could be brought before the House and dealt with. It is not in such shape, in my opinion, at present. The Bill is altogether an impossible one; but the practice might be carried into certain of the public works of the country, with proper safeguards, after having the

hearing I suggest. If that were done, it seems to me we would have the matter advanced, and no harm could come to any interest. It is not an expensive matter. The committee could be confined to hearing evidence on this point, and could report at this session.

Topic:   HOURS OF LAROUR ON PUBLIC WORKS.
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