May 31, 1929 (16th Parliament, 3rd Session)


Abraham Albert Heaps



Yes. It has been stated that this parliament has no power to legislate along these lines. I cannot say as to that, but nevertheless I do know that in past years the large employers of labour in this country have carried out the spirit of the act and have given to their employees the two hours provided for in the old elections act, which we are now amending. I know what has happened in the large shops out west; on election day they closed down at 3 o'clock m the afternoon, so the employees were given 78594-1961
two hours off with pay. I beiieve the same practice has been followed by other companies employing large numbers of men and women. Under this bill now before us a half holiday is declared on election day; that is something I would like to see carried out, and I believe the wording of my amendment is in accordance with the intentions of the committee. The large employers of labour usually keep open from 8 to 12, and then from 1 o'clock in the afternoon. They would probably work from 8 o'clock in the morning until 1 o'clock in the afternoon under this arrangement, and I think every large employer of labour in the Dominion would follow that practice. I am not so much concerned with the question of the powers which we have under the British North America Act, because it strikes me most forcibly that whenever anything comes up which concerns the working people of this country the British North America Act is always brought forward to their disadvantage. Under the old act the employees were given two hours and when we try to extend that by one hour we aTe told that we have not the power to do so. It was done in the past, the employers of labour carried out the spirit of the enactment of parliament and I feel quite satisfied that if this amendment is adopted they will carry out the spirit of the amendment in the same way as they carried out the provisions of the Dominion Election Act.

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