March 26, 1918 (13th Parliament, 1st Session)


Francis Henry Keefer


Mr. F. H. KEEFER (Port Arthur and Kenora):

Mr. Speaker, I do not know
whether I shall he able to throw any' light, whether daylight or otherwise, on this Bill, but I would like to say as one of the members from the western part of Canada, where they have long daylight, or rather twilight-and I do not know whether they have it any longer than any other place of

the same latitude-that we have tried this daylight system municipally for years past and we have found it a thorough success. We would not under any circumstances go back to the old system. The reason for adopting this system was to give artisans one more hour of daylight in the summer months. I have seen, prior to the war, men from stores, shops and factories down in the Current River park playing their full game of baseball after their evening meal. Surely that is beneficial to them. I know of no objection to this Bill. Certainly there is none with regard to the school children. We have tried that out also and it has been successful. At first the mothers had some difficulty in the summer months, in getting the children to go to bed a little earlier than they were accustomed to before, but the experience in that part of Canada has proved that daylight saving is practical and beneficial.
I do admit that in so far as the agricultural labouring classes are concerned there may be something to be said on the other side, but I would point out, as the right hon. Minister of Trade and Commerce has said, that there is nothing in this Bill to tell the man to go to work before the dew is off the grass or compel him to stop work whilst there is time for him to work. If it is necessary in the interest of production, he will continue to work especially if the farmer sees fit to give him extra pay for overtime as he ought to. I am one of those who believe that the farm labourer should receive his overtime just the same as the worker in the manufacturing industries. If there be any hardship caused by the adoption of this system, it can he compensated for by extra pay.
As to increased production, I think a little consideration will show that it will be decidedly helped by the adoption of this measure. Take, for example, what occurred in the cities at the head of the lakes. Last year, by the cultivation of gardens and vacant lots, they produced about $100,000 of increased value; Fort William about $50,000, and Port Arthur about the same amount. That was done by men after hours, chiefly. I have had communications from there already asking that the shops and stores be ordered closed at five o'clock to allow them to get on the land and to do their work. The people of these cities are greatly interested in the increased production of food in order to help our allies across the seas. I have been connected with the food control work since last October and I know something of what this garden work means and the extent to which it has been carried on all

ever Canada. My firm conviction is that, while we may lose the work of five agricultural labourers, we will gain that of more than a hundred industrial labourers within the cities and towns. I urge the adoption of this Bill strongly in behalf of increased production.

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