Colin David GIBSON

GIBSON, Colin David, Q.C., B.A.

Personal Data

Hamilton--Wentworth (Ontario)
Birth Date
November 2, 1922
Deceased Date
July 3, 2002
barrister, lawyer

Parliamentary Career

June 25, 1968 - September 1, 1972
  Hamilton--Wentworth (Ontario)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 83 of 85)

November 21, 1968

Mr. Gibson:

Mr. Chairman, I congratulate the Minister of Labour for his masterful, scholarly and practical speech in which he has expressed the labour policy in clear, bold and humanitarian terms. Certainly labour and management today are struggling not only with problems between themselves as immediate parties but also with problems caused by the impact of the age of automation.

[DOT] (5:20 p.m.)

Representing as I do the great labour riding of Hamilton-Wentworth, which is largely urban and in which many thousands of our Canadian labour force reside, I am proud to participate in this debate. I am proud because the minister has correctly assessed the importance of automation as a vitally serious problem which requires immediate and continuous action.

I for one will never support the view that labour itself should bear the brunt of technological change. This is a false concept. We must take the initiative in this House of Commons in grappling with these serious problems which have been referred to by the experienced hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre. He has also on a number of occasions expressed worry and concern about those on fixed pension incomes who have been caught


in the inflation squeeze, that dastardly enemy of the Canadian nation.

Surely we cannot stand by and watch capable industrial workers being cast aside as a result of new industrial methods. Industrial workers are not machines; they are an integral part of the company and they must not be cast aside. We must urge management to co-operate more fully, and at greater depth, in planning, as part of their responsibility in respect of integrating the roles of those who are no longer immediately employed in the industrial climate of the day. We cannot deal with unemployment problems simply by carrying out studies, by indifference or by instituting capital cost projects. We cannot take the attitude that cost is a factor which can be considered without dealing with labour and automation. Perhaps the answer is that the government and management must both provide re-employment and retraining for the victims of technological change.

I speak as one who was fortunate enough after the last war to have had the benefit of the Liberal government's retraining program for veterans. This was one of the most magnificent pieces of legislation which ever appeared on the statute books. It is true that this took place after an enormous war and was immense in scope, but it is also true that thousands of young Canadians were integrated in the mainstream of Canadian life by reason of the forward-looking and visionary attitude of the then minister of labour which resulted in this practical legislation. That minister had to deal with a more drawn out and more complex labour structure.

The present Minister of Labour is a hardworking capable man. The legislative background on which he is building was formulated by the late Prime Minister Mackenzie King and carried forward by other ministers such as the late hon. member for Welland, Humphrey Mitchell. That policy was continued by him and by other men of his stature. These men were reinforced by-

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November 21, 1968

Mr. Gibson:

Thank you, sir. These men have done their jobs and have gone down in history. This parliament has capable men on

November 21, 1968


both sides of the house. Many of them have far more experience than I. It is my feeling that all members of this house wish to grapple with these problems. We should not turn the other cheek and simply say, let these people eat cake. That is not the attitude of this parliament or the Canadian people.

Another problem of national interest became evident this summer. It resulted from a breakdown in negotiations. When there are strikes the consumer should be regarded as an integral element of negotiations and discussions. Perhaps we have reached the stage when the department of consumer affairs should be represented at least as an observer of what is going on during labour-management discussions. This may be to far-reaching and may strain things too much, but I believe it is a good idea which should be expressed.

National strikes cause tremendous crisis in our economy. They rock the boat to the greatest extent, just like the immediate results of a tempest. The medium of television provides us with a great communications system, and it seems to me there is great merit in having a representative of the consumer affairs department present at the deliberations of labour and management. Such a representative could point out to the labour and management representatives the effect of the positions they were taking on the economy. These men should go to management and point out the effect on our economy of their demands. They might also go to the labour negotiators and indicate the results of their demands for a certain increase in wages. They could show these people how the cost of living would be increased if they continue to hold out for their demands.

I do not hesitate in saying that it seems to me that in the past too much emphasis has been made on labour and how much a man is being paid. We should also consider management and price increases. If we have not the duty, at least we have the moral responsibility to make public the effects of enormous increases in prices. This is true also of the labour aspect of this matter. At this stage I do not advocate a prices review board, but I think we should keep this in mind. We should not shrug our shoulders and say it is completely impossible. This matter should be discussed in this chamber. We should turn our attention to the possibility of an economic prices review board as under the British system. I should like to ask the minister to comment on this.

[Mr. Gibson.1

We should not leave this ship without sails because when the sails go down the ship wallows around in the sea with no certain course. We must consider our economy. For many years the inflationary effect of high wages and high prices has confined the consumer in a straitjacket. We must protect the consumer. The people who elect members of parliament are consumers. Labourers and management staff are consumers.

Before concluding I must not refrain from expressing the view that many problems in labour-management relations are caused by a lack of a humanitarian approach in dealing with employees. This is not a narrow, partisan view. Many companies are progressive and interested in their employees' welfare. On the other hand, many employers are heartless and consider their employees as parts of the plant or fixed machinery. They consider their employees as a number of bodies to be sent here or there. They feel that the company is nothing more than a profit-making machine. These employers should realize their responsibilities in respect of the rights of employees. A great deal of good would result if more presidents of corporations would occasionally drop in at the homes of their workers. Perhaps many of them do. The humanitarian aspect of labour relations has not been fully exploited by management. This government has taken the initiative in this respect. Management should be encouraged to do more and go farther with this approach.

[DOT] (5:30 p.m.)

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November 20, 1968

Mr. Gibson:

Mr. Chairman, I congratulate the minister upon the energetic and capable leadership he has given this house and country in the field of criminal reform.

The hon. member for Broadview spoke about compensation for victims of crime. If the minister were to heed the hon. member's exhortations, however, I feel a great burden would be put on him to legislate with respect to something that falls clearly within provincial jurisdiction. The minister would be wasting his already scarce time on something over which he has no jurisdiction.

Today I wish to make two points. The first is a suggestion that the summary conviction appeal procedure be streamlined or made simpler and easier for those who fall prey to the technical barriers which confound the path of one who appeals. I suggest that subsection 3 of section 722 of the Criminal Code,

November 20, 1968

which deals with appeals from summary conviction courts to county judges, be amended to read:

The appeal court may at any time up to the date of the hearing of the appeal, waive any defects or omissions in the appeal process when the court considers it in the best interests of justice so to do.

I think that such a provision would remove some of the technical barriers people encounter through failure to have an affidavit sworn, to find a magistrate, who may be away on his summer holidays, or to raise sufficient costs. This would also cover many other matters urgently requiring attention.

I have had 18 years experience in practise of the criminal law, both in defence and, latterly, as a crown prosecutor. I have had a chance to view the matter and I have seen many difficulties of the nature I have described. I shall refer to only one case, that of Regina v. Amyot, 1968 Ontario reports, volume 2, at page 626. There an Ontario county judge found he had no jurisdiction to hear an appeal because the listing of the appeal was not properly posted at a certain place in the court house. If the appeal had been listed inside the court office it could have been heard; but since some clerk placed the list outside the court room, the appeal could not be heard. That does not strike me as being the course of true justice and I am sure the minister will be interested in assisting in this field of reform.

My second point deals with prelimary hearings. I urge the minister to consider the saving of money and the convenience of witnesses which might result from our adopting the British use of depositions. For instance, if a witness is to be called merely to give a formal statement such as, "Yes, I picked up a document at 5 a.m. on November 12," that statement could be reduced to a simple deposition or affidavit, and filed. Of course defence counsel would still have the privilege of calling that witness. I submit that in many thousand of cases in this country much money could be saved and many people con-venienced by adopting such a system.

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November 1, 1968

Mr. Colin D. Gibson (Hamilton-Wentworih):

Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of National Health and Welfare. I have been advised that the Steel Company of Canada is moving its head office from Hamilton to Toronto. Can the minister enlighten us in respect of this matter, has he any information on this?

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October 21, 1968

Mr. Gibson:

Mr. Speaker, the right hon. gentleman seems to be making a little speech instead of asking a question.

Subtopic:   EXTERNAL AID
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