April 22, 1918 (13th Parliament, 1st Session)


Daniel Duncan McKenzie

Laurier Liberal


It was said to have been a forgery, hut it was allowed to do its work. It was not until after the election it was discovered to be a forgery. After the election, when we came to this House, there was some discussion, and it turned out that it was a forgery. Up to that time nobody in this Parliament had any knowledge that there was anything spurious or improper about it. But it was brought to the notice of the House, in the discussion on the Address soon after the election of 1908. The discussion is in Hansard, and any body who cares to read the speech of the then leader of the Opposition, now the right hon. leader of the Government (Sir Robert Borden), will find his reference to it. I believe my hon. friend from Comox-Alberni came here first in 1908. He does not dispute that. At any rate, my recollection of him goes that far. We had a telegram,

whether proper or genuine or not, and these gentlemen came here basing their principles and their policy upon that declaration. When they were in opposition they were full of the fight. But the day came when there was a change and they found themselves behind a government which had power to do the things that they said our government had power to do. From that time down to this day, year after year, session after session, the same coloured races, the same Chinese, the same Japanese, were good enough for my hon. friend from Comox-Alberni. We have heard not a word from him complaining about these laws. He has not a word to say about the consolidation of regulations which are good enough for him. But before that his party in the British Columbia Legislature, under the Government which he was supporting, passed forty-two fake Acts which they knew they had no business to pass, which they had not the slightest authority to pass. They were playing a fake game, and my hon. friend was behind them. He never raised a voice or a hand in protest against it. It was simply a scheme to deceive the people of British Columbia into supposing that they were passing laws and sending them to Ottawa when they knew that the Minister of Justice would have to advise that they were ultra vires of the provincial legislature as they were ultra vires of this House even if we attempted to pass them. But still they went on doing this with the knowledge of my hon. friend, doing it for political purposes and taking all the benefits that were coming to them from it. He never complained. But now, when there is perhaps enough foreign element in this Government to justify him in pulling out the old knife again, he is prepared to slash it around, to find fault, and to say that there must be a different colour. The sun must rise in a different way, the electric light in British Columbia must flare a different light upon the situation. Because, forsooth, there are a few Liberals, or men who were Liberals, and who, I hope, are Liberals still, in this Government, he thinks it gives him a justification to introduce this question again. I would say to the hon. member that if he expects labour to have confidence in him and his party, if he expects the man who has no capital, no backing, no strength, except the strength of his arm, and of the brain that the Lord put in his head, to be behind him, to believe him, and to have confidence in him, he must place himself behind legislation that is true, straight, honest and

simple, and such that the man who runs may read. If he expects to enlist the favour of the labouring men of this country, he must show genuine earnestness in the support of the interests of labour.
There are new men here, whom I should not accuse of anything wrong, because I do not know their histories. But I know the men who have been here since 1908, and I know that they have been playing the political game as strongly as it could be played, and who care nothing for labour, ex-cepfor the use they can make out of labour to further their own political ends and purposes. I submit to my hon. friend from Comox-Alberni that I simply regard this motion to-day as another scheme like the passing of these 42 or 50 nonsensical Acts of the Legislature which they sent here to be disallowed, and which were passed for the purpose of fooling the labour men and making them believe that something was going to be done. That is the history of the Tory party in British Columbia, and thht is the history of the hon. member himself, in so far as labour in that country is concerned. Upon that history he must stand or fall. He cannot be allowed to come to us to be redeemed, washed, and made whiter than snow upon a death-bed repentance of this kind. I would not sleep well to-night if I should allow my hon. friend to escape with a history of that kind behind him, and not tell our friends from British Columbia and these new and zealous men who have come here lately, and who are, perhaps, ignorant of the history of their predecessors in connection with matters of this kind, what the actual facts are. For the betterment of the matter, I would tell them to begin at Jerusalem, begin at British Columbia. Establish a clean, straight, consistent record of your own in regard to the matter, and then come to us for the betterment of the situation. We can assure hon. gentlemen that we are with labour every time and will give consistent laws and regulations, in so far as they can possibly be given, to both capital and labour. It is of the highest importance for us that the best possible relation and the greatest degree of confidence should exist between capital and labour. There can only be confidence and consistency and true living and life in this country by all acting upon the square, acting in a straightforward way, saying what they think, and governing themselves accordingly. That is the spirit of life, that is the practice that I would like to see carried out, that has always been the 65
policy of the Liberal party and that is why to-day everywhere in this country labour is looking to that grand old party for what is necessary fbr the upholding of its hands in connection with the industries of the country.
I have only one word more to say. As far as the province from which I come is concerned, we have no trouble with alien labour. I think that a great part of the difficulty with alien labour in other parts of the Dominion is due to the fact that, perhaps, a proper example is not set before it by the people who inhabit the country and who are really Canadians or English-speaking people. I say that with the greatest possible respect. The men who come to this country should familiarize themselves with our laws and be assimilated by and become familiar with the regulations, laws and practices of our own people. In the province from which I come we have a very excellent class of labour.
We have splendid characters in our miners, good, Christian, well educated people. And foreigners coming in nave noticed what our own people do, how they observe the law, keep the Sabbath day, go to church, pay their debts, and dress well. They notice that these things are being done in Nova Scotia, and they dare not, to any great extent, depart from them. For that reason, within a few years after the foreigner comes to our province, he becomes a man who is hard to distinguish from the person who has been with us for a great many years. Unfortunately, when this terrible war came upon us, we had hundreds, if not thousands, of these people in our province. We had a few internments, but I think for reasons given by the Minister of Justice to-night, that they were not permitted to go away; and there was some fear, perhaps not greatly justified, that they should not be allowed to work in the mines, because any one wanting to be mischievous could make a great deal of trouble in a coal mine, causing disaster and probably loss of live, and it was thought that some of these foreigners might perhaps be willing to sacrifice their lives for the purpose of causing serious destruction; and there was fear, perhaps unjustifiable fear, on the part of our own men against allowing them to work in the mines. For that reason, some, not a great many, were interned. But, taking them all in all, we have no complaint to make. We have no trouble with them, and although hundreds and no doubt thousands of aliens are work-

ing in the steel works and coal mines^ and generally in our larger industries, I know of only one case where it was rumoured that one of them threatened or remarked that, "Some day the mine wrould be on fire." I do not know whether he meant anything by it, but he was interned. That is the only case of that kind that we have had, and that man is still interned in some part of the province. Coming from that part of the country and knowing these people, and sitting in this House while this discussion is going on. it is very likely, as many of them are watching events, that they would think ill of me if I did not bring to the notice of the House that in the province of Nova Scotia we have no such trouble as has been spoken of in British Columbia. And so far as general labour is concerned, as that subject has been touched upon, we have every reason to be proud of the conduct of the labouring classes not only in Nova Scotia but in every part of the Dominion and not only in the Dominion but in every part of the Empire. When we compare the way in which the poor man is exercising the power of his capital with the way in which the millionaire is exercising his in food production and other things, I think the labouring man is far superior in his patriotism and sacrifice to his wealthy competitor. He has nothing to put forward, as I said b.efore, but the brain in his head and the strength in his arm. And, knowing, as we do, that they could have given us a great deal of trouble, 1 think we have reason to be proud and thankful, and to recognize with appreciation and praise what our labouring men in every part of the Empire, and particularly in Canada, have done.
If there is any necessity for the consolidation of any law6, or if any better condition of things can be brought about by consolidation of them, I am sure, Mr. Speaker, that I have no objection at all. But I must say that I do not know what I am agreeing to when I am agreeing to a consolidation of laws in respect of alien labour in this country, when, apart from the Alien Labour Act, I am not aware that there is any law at all. However, if there is not, no harm can happen.
I must congratulate hon. gentlemen who took part in this debate. I have watched it very closely, and I am particularly proud of our new members for the high tone to which they kept this debate and the very excellent manner in which they have expressed themselves. I am sure we have every reason to hope that while such men remain with us, not only the interests of

labour, but every other Canadian interest, will be well maintained, and our reputation as a Parliament will not be impaired.

Topic:   WALTER H. LONG.
Full View