November 3, 1919 (13th Parliament, 3rd Session)


George Green Foster

Conservative (1867-1942)


With the consent of the House, I wish to read copies of communications which have passed between the Canadian Government and the British Government with reference to an announcement that was made at the International Labour Conference at Washington with respect to the attitude of Canada as to the composition of the Labour Council:
From the Secretary of State for the Colonies to the Governor General.
London, August 21, 1919.
Please communicate following from Organizing Committee of International Labour Conference to your Government.
Article 393 of the Peace Treaty provides that of the twelve persons representing Governments on governing bodies of International Labour Office, eight shall be nominated by members of chief industrial importance and four by members selected by Government delegates of remaining members. Any questions as to who are eight members of chief industrial importance must be decided by Council of the League of Nations. Unless question of the eight members is settled before Washington conference remaining four members cannot be selected at conference, which would result in serious delay in constituting governing body and labour office. Organizing Committee have accordingly drawn up following list of nine states on information available though owing to war and formation of new states, statistics very uncertain and compilation of list difficult. Question of admitting Germany to the Labour Organization after the Washington conference will come before Conference in accordance with decision of Supreme Council of Allied Associated Powers. If admitted Germany will be entitled to seat on governing body and last-named state would lapse. If Germany not admitted last-named state will be included. List is as follows: United States, Great Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Belgium, Japan, Switzerland, Spain.
Committee respectfully suggest any objection should be communicated to Secretary, Organizing Committee, 53 Parliament Street, London, before September 10th. Objections will be referred to Council of League for decision before meeting of Conference. Fontain-President.
(Sgd.) Milner.
From the Governor General to the Secretary of State for the Colonies.
Ottawa, 9th September, 1919.
Your telegram August 21st. Please communi cate following to the Organizing Committee of the International Labour Conference:
The Government of Canada feel that some rule or standard should be laid down to govern the determination of the question of who are the members of Chief Industrial Importance. In the absence of such rule the Government feel that the claims of Canada to a place among the eight members of chief industrial importance should receive further consideration. Apart from the question whether for reasons not of an economic nature, Germany, a country with which at the present time peace has not been yet technically concluded, should be included in the list designated by the Organizing Committee, inquiry into the relative standing of Canada and the nine members named in tentative selection of the committee will, in the view of the Dominion Government, show that Canada, with respect to many important

aspects of resources and development, compares favourably with several of the chief industrial countries, and, if the comparison be restricted to countries of less industrial importance in the list tentatively designated, as, for instance, Spain and Switzerland, then the advantage to Canada is very marked.
Then follow the reasons for the formal statements, which I will not take up time by reading. I assume they will appear in Hansard:
Canada, in relation to the nine countries tentatively designated, stands first as regards (a) area, (b) railway mileage per ten thousand inhabitants, (c) telegraph mileage per ten thousand inhabitants; second as regards (a) poten. tial water power, (b) developed water power; third as regards total railway mileage; fifth as regards (a) total telegraph line mileage, (bl total exports; sixth as regards (a) pig iron production, (b) total telegraph mileage; seventh as regards (a) coal production, (b) total imports, (c) total foreign trade; eighth as regards population. In all Important respects here indicated Canada falls within the eight leading members taking moreover, frequently a high place. It should be added that the comparison in respect of foreign trade has been based on the figures for 1916, the last year for which the statistics of some of the other countries are available here. The figures for Canada for the two following years are as follows: For the year 1917.-Total imports, $845,356,306. Total exports, $1,179,211,100. Total external trade $2,024,567,406. For the year 1918-Total imports $962,543,746. Total exports $1,586,169, 792. Total external trade $2,548,713,538.
Lack of statistics prevents a more detailed comparison with the nine members named, hut a certain comparison of Canada with Spain and Switzerland m'ay be made on the basis of exports of manufactures, trades union membership, and estimated industrial population. Export figures for 1917 are available for both Spain and Canada. In that year the value of manufactures exported from Spain was $107,000,000, as compared to a value of $477,000,000 manufactures exported from Canada. The latest returns for Switzerland are for 1916 and show manufactures exported to the value of $363,000,000. Total trade union membership in Canada for 1918 is 248,000. Latest figures available for Switzerland 1916 show trades union membership of 88,000; Canada for that year showed 160,00'0 trades union membership. With respect to industrial population, Canada outranks Switzerland heavily in the agricultural, mining, fishing, and transportation classes, and more than doubles the strength of Switzerland with respect to numbers engaged in (a) government and professional, (b) domestic and personal classes; also considerably surpasses Switzerland in numbers of workers engaged In manufactures and trade.
In these circumstances the Government of Canada feels justified in pressing the claims of Canada to a place within the eight members of Chief Industrial Importance whether Germany is counted or not.
Full details and statistics under the various heads enumerated above will follow by mail.
(Sgd.) Devonshire.
From the Secretary of State for the Colonies to the Governor General.
London, 11th October, 1919.
My telegram 21st August organizing Committee
[Sir George Foster.!
International Labour Conference states that objections to proposed list of States of chief industrial importance have been received from Governments of Canada, India, Poland and Sweden and that question has been now submitted1 to Council of League of Nations for decision in accordance with Article 393 of Peace Treaty with Germany. Text of memorandum communicated iby organizing committee to Secretariat of League follows by post.
(Sgd.) Milner.
Mr. (SPEAKER: Is it the desire of the
right hon. gentleman that these documents should toe printed in Hansard?

Full View