April 14, 1925 (14th Parliament, 4th Session)


James Murdock (Minister of Labour)



I come now to anothei matter upon which I think some discussion should be held and that is the question that has been made so much of in this House and elsewhere throughout the country, a question upon which we note in the Tory papers gentlemen are speaking in various parts of Canada as aspirants for preferment in the next federal election. The leader of the opposition (Mr. Meighen) some time ago in this House intimated that some 2,000 factories had been closed and he was very insistent to the extent of saying, "By the figure 2,000 I am prepared to stand." It seems as though that deserves a little analysis. Last fall there was held in the city of Ottawa a convention composed of the mayors -of eleven of 'the important cities of Canada, representatives of the two large railways, eight of the provinces, the Trade and Labour Congress of Canada, the Canadian Manufacturers' Association and some others, for the purpose of considering the advisability of determining in conference of those charged with the responsibility of expending public money, either in the provinces or the cities as well as representatives of the federal government, and to devise some uniform plan whereby winter work could be carried on to as great an extent as possible, even though such work had heretofore been done during summer only, for the reason that it was cheaper to do it that way. ,At the conference there were four representatives of the Canadian Manufacturers' Association, and rather early in the proceedings one of those gentlemen got away from the object of the conference and attempted to decide by resolution what was going to be the cure-all for the particular question we had under consideration. His proposal was to convene a special session of parliament to increase the tariff and by that means to take care of the ills which we were supposed to have met to deal with. During the course of his remarks this distinguished gentleman made a declaration which I desire to bring to the attention of the House. He said that 1,361 factories

The Budget-Mr. Murdock
had been closed down in Canada during the past two 3'ears-and the House will remember that this was in September, 1924. He was asked whether he would be good enough to give us the names of those factories and their location and he replied, "I shall be glad to supply that information but I have not got it here." We waited for some time for the .information and as it was not forthcoming we wrote and asked him for it. On October 25 there came to the office in consequence a considerable list, but it showed simply the article affected as well as the place of manufacture: for instance, we found on the list, "Tools, Windsor, Ontario; chains, Hamilton, Ontario." So indefinite was the statement that it could not be checked and we felt that this was not the information that had been .promised us. We therefore wrote for further information, calling the attention of the hon. gentleman to certain peculiarities in bis statement in regard to the factories which it was claimed had been closed down. For example, a honey factory had been closed at Lambeth and another honey factory at Listowel.

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