Clarence GILLIS

GILLIS, Clarence

Parliamentary Career

March 26, 1940 - April 16, 1945
CCF
  Cape Breton South (Nova Scotia)
June 11, 1945 - April 30, 1949
CCF
  Cape Breton South (Nova Scotia)
June 27, 1949 - June 13, 1953
CCF
  Cape Breton South (Nova Scotia)
August 10, 1953 - April 12, 1957
CCF
  Cape Breton South (Nova Scotia)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 1 of 1314)


March 12, 1957

Mr. Gillis:

There are 10,500 members at present, with 3,600 retired and on this pension and some 90 who are in some kind of military service. But the entire 14,000 are still affected by the mechanics of that particular legislation within the national railways.

The point is this. This organization was maintained within Canadian National Railways by means of the check-off. The dues were collected in that way, but as of January this year the dues will be no longer collected in that way. It will be impossible to collect dues on a voluntary basis from coast to coast and that means that the association, the existence of which extends over a number of years, will go out of existence as a result of this oblique action taken by the railways. There is a death benefit from this fund as well as a sickness and accident supplement. The plan itself, designed at the time it was, served a useful purpose and could still serve a useful purpose.

I think when Mr. Gordon comes before the committee we should have an opportunity of obtaining a full explanation as to why this particular line of action was taken. I can understand the differentials in wage rates and classifications for different types of employees, but in the matter of social security provided by a system on a contributory basis I cannot understand why it is not on an industrial basis rather than broken into classifications. Everyone suffers equally during sickness, and there should be no differential in payments of that kind, either on the national railways or anywhere else.

In so far as this matter of the airways being a monopoly is concerned, I am sure no mature member of the house would refer to it in that way at this time. I listened to several hon. members, and I am glad to hear that the private companies are pulling up their socks; that they have now arrived at the point where they have the finances and the type of equipment that will enable them

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Committee on Railways and Shipping to maintain the safety standards established by the government regulated company on the main trunk lines. There is plenty of room for any company that has the money and can put the type of equipment in the air that will maintain the safety factors demanded, and rightly so, by the air transport board.

I am glad my hon. friend raised that question, because the question of monopoly no longer applies. We should be very thankful we had a body in Canada that had the foresight to put the type of equipment in the air that we have today and to bring about some regulation of air travel. Despite the fact there are a lot of precautions taken from time to time we do have accidents. Conditions could have been much worse if we had had a lot of topsy-turvy systems growing up without regulation, and without the necessary finances to put the proper type of equipment into the air.

There are many questions I should like to ask, but I will not do so now. I should like some more information about this coal-fired gas turbine development at McGill. What progress is it making? It has to go on the rails some time. I leave that question to Mr. Gordon. Of course, the answers to all these questions will have to be given by Mr. Gordon. I should like to find out something about future markets for coal within the Atlantic region of Canadian National Railways. Is it possible to provide subventions in that area that would guarantee the market over a long range period?

I do not expect the minister to answer these questions. I am merely putting them on the record now as a warning to Mr. Gordon that we will expect him to give us the concrete information necessary to solve some of these problems. However, I shall have an opportunity to discuss these matters personally with that gentleman when he appears before the committee.

Topic:   CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILWAYS PENSIONS
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March 12, 1957

Mr. Clarence Gillis (Cape Breton South):

Mr. Speaker, I am glad of another opportunity to serve on this committee. I believe service on this committee is an education to any member of the house. It gives a fairly good look at what makes the whole nation tick, not only on the rails but in the air and on the water.

I am not going to demand from the minister any concrete answers to the problems that committee will handle. I do not think it is his job to give them. I think it would be asking the impossible to ask him to answer the many questions that will come before that committee. However, I think this is not a bad time to put some ideas on the record for the benefit of Mr. Gordon and his witnesses, as a fair warning of what he may be asked to answer when he comes before the committee. It will give him a chance to think about the matters and perhaps get the proper answers.

For a start I should like to discuss the Maritime Freight Rates Act, but I am not going to do it here. I should like to take the Chignecto canal proposition and set it out as an answer to shortening the distance to markets from the maritime provinces into central Canada and over to the eastern United States. I believe the answer is to be found in the digging of that 14-mile canal across that neck of land that connects Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. It could very well be done by the C.N.R.

I agree with the hon. member for York West when he pointed out, according to a newspaper article, that as far as passenger service was concerned and to a large extent freight,-that is lighter freight-the railways are going to lose that business in the foreseeable future. The C.N.R. is a big organization and has capable staffs. It has subsidiary companies. I do not see why it would not be good business for the C.N.R. to undertake that Chignecto canal proposition, put it through, put their own boats on that route, and in addition develop the huge power potential that goes along with that particular project.

I am not going to go into that matter any further now. I want Mr. Gordon to think about it. That is why I am putting it on the record. I think it is a project that is practical. It is reasonable in cost. What it could do to solve the problem of freight

Committee on Railways and Shipping rates in the maritime or Atlantic area would more than offset the small amount of money involved in putting that project through.

Another thing I should like Mr. Gordon to explain when he comes before the committee is why the relief and insurance association of the employees that has been in existence since 1890 is being relegated out of the picture. My information is that as of January of this year a new plan has been set up, but that it does not include those who were previously paying into this relief and insurance association. They number some 14,000.

Topic:   CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILWAYS PENSIONS
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March 7, 1957

Mr. Gillis:

I am listening.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF NORTHERN AFFAIRS AND NATIONAL RESOURCES
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March 7, 1957

Mr. Gillis:

Mr. Chairman, I join with others in saying nothing about the bill. There is very little left to be said. It is an indication of considerable progress since 1946.

In the matter of rates the bill is better than the legislation of some of the provinces, and that is also true with respect to the dependents of deceased people who may have come under the act.

With regard to rehabilitation, very few of the provinces which have compensation acts are doing anything about rehabilitation. A person is placed on compensation. He is paid a certain rate while he is totally disabled from continuing his employment. After his period of treatment is over he is carried on compensation for a time and then he is taken before his doctor who decides that the person is 50 per cent better, and the compensation is cut 50 per cent. The doctor recommends light work in heavy industry where there is no light work. Therefore, during the period of rehabilitation the individual is eking out an existence on half compensation. Whether this act will work or not remains to be seen. Of course, you will not have the type of people to handle under this act that you would have in heavy industry.

I would like the minister to explain one thing. In most of the compensation acts across the country there is a provision having to do with occupational diseases, diseases that are peculiar to certain industries. I am wondering whether in this act any consideration has been given to that angle. Are there diseases peculiar to those engaged in the merchant service or in the occupation of seamen generally? Personally, I am quite satisfied with the act. I think we have made a lot of progress in a short time compared with the length of time it took us in most of the provinces to convince the government and the employers that we needed legislation of this kind.

The only thing I would like the minister to clear up is the matter of occupational diseases. Has the administration run into anything of that nature? I imagine that a person serving on salt water for a long period of time would be prone or susceptible to bronchial diseases. The minister might comment on that when he makes his remarks.

Topic:   MERCHANT SEAMEN COMPENSATION ACT
Subtopic:   INCREASED BENEFITS AND AMENDMENTS TO ADMINISTRATIVE PROVISIONS
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March 7, 1957

Mr. Gillis:

Thank you, sir. I raised the question because I consider that the present bill restricts the powers of the minister to carry on with that type of activity. That was the very point on which the hon. member for Eglinton based his objection to the original bill, because the resolution did not forecast the wording of the bill as it appeared at that time.

I am quite satisfied with the minister's explanation and I look forward with a great degree of pleasure to having him come down there in the foreseeable future to dedicate the building which will be erected in due course as a monument to the life and work of Marconi.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF NORTHERN AFFAIRS AND NATIONAL RESOURCES
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