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


James William Maddin



However, the research of those who have devoted attention to this matter has led to conclusions on the subject. It has been stated by some manufacturers that they thought it was the last hour that gave them their profit, but they have discovered that it was the last hour that registered their loss-that their workmen had lost the vim and vitality with which they had pursued their labours earlier in the day, and that the last hour was carried on at a loss which seriously interfered with the profits of the employer. There is one instance which I will recommend to the hon. member for East Grey. The Messrs. Holden, of Bradford, England, the largest wool combers in the world, who have mills in France running 72 hours a week and mills in England running 56 hours a week, find that they can comb wool more cheaply in England than in France, though they pay higher wages for the short day in England than for the long day in France, and employ exactly the same machinery in both cases.
As pointed out by the Minister of Labour, this question is not a new one, it has been discussed from time to time in various countries throughout the civilized world. I was surprised to hear the Minister of Labour say that this was a matter upon which the House had very little information, and that consequently the House wTas not in a position to deal intelligently with it. Why, Sir, it is only the other day, in discussing the resolution on technical education, that the Minister of Labour pointed out that his department had taken the greatest care to gather statistics and data with regard to technical education, and that he had at his fingers end this data. I submit that, familiar as he is with the history of the eight hour question from 1862 in the United States, and for the last ten years since he has been Deputy Minister of Labour in Canada, with the knowledge tnac. this proposed legislation was first introduced into this House on the 11th of December, 1906, almost three years ago to-day. one would have thought that his department would have the necessary information to enable this House to deal intelligently with the subject. The subject has been agitated by labour organizations throughout this country for the last thirty years, and by labour bodies in a very active manner within the last ten or fifteen years. It is a matter with which the Department of Labour should be quite familiar, especially in view of the fact that they have had such ample notice.

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