January 25, 1926 (15th Parliament, 1st Session)


Agnes Campbell Macphail


Miss MacPHAIL:

I am going to tell the
House the steps we will have to take before we reach a permanent solution of what is to me too big a problem, and what I think is almost too big for the members of the House. Still these are the only suggestions I can think of to offer to hon. members. I think the labour men, the miners, should be given every opportunity to organize, and that the almost contemptuous propaganda that has been circulated against class organization in this country should cease. The miners have just as much right to organize and to work aggressively for better living conditions as have the manufacturers or bankers or farmers or any other class group. The government, the Liberals, or the Conservatives, should they be the government, should keep their hands off gerrymandering. It is not fit for decent hands in any case, and the miners have a perfect right to representation as such in this House. I am pleased indeed with the representation which they have secured. It is better than they had, and I will go one step further and say that when they represent themselves the situation will be still better.
The co-operative societies that have been started in the colliery towns are an excellent thing. After all, co-operation is not a matter

Nova Scotia Miners
of dollars and cents; co-operation is a philosophy of life, but it is one which the British Empire Steel Corporation does not understand. Before there is a real settlement there will have to be a complete reorganization of the British Empire Steel Corporation, and the man whose name should be dragged on the floor of this House is McLurg, not Sir Henry Thornton. If there is a man in Canada for whom I have absolutely no respect, that man is McLurg. Evidently the thing he wants out of the company is profits and profits only. The thing I want out of any company, whether it be a steel or coal or steamship company, or all three combined, is the happiness of those who work in that industry. There will have to be a reorganization, and finally-this may not be for another hundred years-any such huge industry must be organized on a straight co-operative basis, so that when people in the industry want to work and make that industry a success, they will benefit by their efforts to work and to get markets. At present there is no encouragement for the men, as anyone who views the situation can easily see. I am sorry I have nothing more constructive to offer to the House, but at least I believe the things I have said, and I will not bore the House longer.

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