Hon. T. A. CRERAR (Marquette) :
At this late hour I do not propose to detain the House for any great length of time in discussing this question. That it is a question of very serious moment is quite evident from the information disclosed in the debate to-day, and it seems to me, with the present temper of the situation in Nova Scotia, there is a condition of affairs there that might easily and readily become more serious even than it is at the present time. That is a question which neither the government of Nova Scotia nor the Government of Canada can afford lightly to pass over. (I am not going to enter into a discussion of the question of paying dividends on watered stock of the British Empire Steel Corporation. The question of watered stock in corporations is, in my judgment, a question that might well engage the attention of this House, because I think that a very great deal of the industrial trouble we have had in this country is due to the fact that the management of corporations are inclined to earn returns on stock that is very greatly inflated. I do not wish, however, to discuss that aspect of the matter to-night.
I rise mainly for the purpose of offering a suggestion to the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) and the Government,, and it is one which under the circumstances might very well be accepted. As to the attitude they have taken in regard to the appointing of a royal commission, it appears to me that there is considerable force in the arguments advanced by the Prime Minister. There was a Conciliation board appointed several months ago to inquire into this whole matter. It seems pretty generally admitted by all parties to the dispute, and the public as well, that the board of conciliation did not discharge its duties as fully as possible in the way of seeking information from the miners themselves, and from a study of the question in the precise areas affected, as it might have done. I am quite sure that the man whom the miners appointed as their representative on that board is one in whom they had confidence. The atmosphere in which the board of conciliation approached this work several months ago is totally different from the atmosphere that exists at the present time, and I would offer a suggestion to the Government. It was hinted at by the Prime Minister, and I trust it will be acted upon.
Nova Scotia Miners
The hoard of conciliation might very well be reconstituted now and asked to inquire into the whole question in the light of the present situation as it exists in Nova Scotia in the areas concerned.