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


James Shaver Woodsworth



Mr. Chairman, it
may seem to many members to be a matter of small consequence as to whether or not payment shall be made for one hour or two hours, but I think the very fact that we have to debate this matter is an indictment of our present wages system. Many of these men have to pare things down to a very fine * point, and I take it that the real purpose which we have in view is to enable as many as possible of these men to exercise their franchise. Unless provision is made for a certain period when they can take time off, it is impossible for many of them to do so. A great many of the electors in Winnipeg work in the railway shops at Transcona, and in order to vote they must travel a distance of eight or nine miles to Weston, the western suburb of Winnipeg. Unless they have time off it is impossible for them to do that. They should be allowed several hours off, or given a full half holiday. I recognize the fact that there may be some difficulty, as suggested by the chairman of the oommittee, but I can hardly conceive that where the employers are willing to give two hours, they would go to the trouble of appealing against this legislation when one hour only is added to the free time. In case the validity of the act is tested, the worker would be in no worse a position then he would be under the proposed arrangement for a half holiday. It seems to me that we might very well take the chance and give the three hours which would actually meet the requirements Of the time necessary for voting.

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