No, but it gives the servants of 1911,- and if the hon. member wall look at the beginning of the names, he will find that that is so.
This same gentleman, Mr. Frank Farrington, has given us some evidence which casts a flood of light upon the origin and purposes of the labour troubles that have existed on Vancouver Island for the last year and a half. For the benefit of the members of this House, I propose to read some of that evidence which he has provided for us. Hon. members will know that the headquarters of the United Mine Workers are at Indianapolis; that Mr. John P. White, of the same city, is president of that association, and that Mr. Frank Farrington, who wrote the letter read by my hon. friend, is vice-president of the association, with headquarters at Seattle.
This is an address which was delivered by Mr. Frank Farrington to the United Mine Workers of the United States. It refers back to the beginning of this trouble in Vancouver. It was published in the United Mine Workers' Journal on the 27th of March, 1913; and at the risk of wearying my hon. friends, I propose reading it, although it is somewhat lengthy. Mr. Farrington says:
Six months have passed since the Canadian Collieries Company, operating on Vancouver Island, B.C., locked out 1,500 of our members who were employed in their mines in Cumberland and Ladysmith. While the labour press of British Columbia has carried explanatory articles concerning this trouble, little has been written relating thereto for the United Mine Workers' Journal and other labour papers throughout the United States, and, as a consequence, a great majority of the rank and file of the Miners' Union know little or nothing of the importance of this contest, the causes leading up to it, the difficulties encountered since its inception, or the influences that have been used to defeat the miners in this section of the Pacific Northwest who are struggling for a greater measure of the things to which they are entitled.
Vancouver Island is rich with almost inexhaustible deposits of the finest quality of bituminous coal yet discovered on the American continent, and said to be equal to the famous Welsh coal which is reputed to be the best in the world. These vast and rich deposits of coal have been monopolized by a few combinations of capital, the greater of which is our present foe, the Canadian Collieries Company, which is a ramification of the Canadian Northern Railway and Steamship Company, a corporation composed principally of British capitalists and incorporated for $100,000,000.
Much of the coal is mined by Chinese and Japanese workmen, and all of it is mined under non-union conditions, and is used for coaling vessels plying between the trans-Pacific trade, but the bulk of it is shipped through the Straits of Georgia and Juan de Fuca into the* markets of British Columbia, Alaska, Mexico, San Francisco, Portland and Seattle, in competition with the union-mined coal of Washington and eastern British Columbia. An idea of the advantage this coal has in the markets of the Pacific coast will be gained from the knowledge that union-mined coal produced in the Roslyn-Cle Elum field of Washington, has been entirely excluded from the local Seattle market because it cannot be transported over the Cascades mountains and meet the competition of Vancouver Island coal. Again, Oregon with Portland as its chief base of distribution received almost all of its coal supply from the same source. Cojning, as it does, down the coast, and entering the Columbia river at Fort Stevens, whence it reaches Portland and is sold at a price that prohibits competition from the adjoining state of Washington, and this notwithstanding there is an import duty of 45 cents per ton on all coal coming from the island into the United States.
However, this is not the worst feature of a bad condition. There is another angle to it that must have the consideration of the United Mine Workers of America. Extending along the Pacific coast of British Columbia six hundred miles, from Vancouver Island to Prince Rupert near the Arctic circle, is one immense bed of high grade coal which has been monopolized by practically the same interests that operate on Vancouver Island. Already this rich source of supply is tapped by many mines in process of development, so as to be ready for the opening of the Panama canal, which will undoubtedly in the near future make this territory one of the greatest coal producing centres on the American continent. It is anticipated that with the opening of the canal myriads of alien workers from
European countries will be induced to enter British Columbia via Vancouver city and Victoria, the natural ports of entry into this new field of labour. Even now the large steamship companies have agents scouring Europe, who are painting seductive pictures of the possibilities of this new El Dorado and offering inviting transportation rates to all those who wish to enter after the opening of the canal. That their efforts will result in multitudes of workers migrating into British Columbia is not doubted. Much of this foreign labour will be used to develop these rich mining properties and will create a tremendous tonnage that must find a market. These mines are located so that the output can be dumped from the tipple into ocean-going vessels, and with the long haul 'around the Horn eliminated, can be freighted without transfer from the mines to the Atlantic seaboard at a transportation cost that will allow it to become a strong competing factor in the markets now supplied by the union-mined coal of the eastern States. As a matter of fact, the Canadian Northern railway and other steamship companies have already contracted for the construction of an additional number of modern ocean freighters to be used in this trade.
Now, what follows?
So that it is not beyond reasonable conjecture to expect that within a comparatively short time we will find this coal bidding for markets on the Atlantic seaboard as well as on the Pacific coast. This feature in itself would not be so bad if there could be an interchange of competition, but that cannot be, for the reason that the much superior quality of this coal will always bar outside competition from its own zone.
The duty devolving upon the United Mine Workers of America, because of this condition-
Not because the miners on Vancouver Island are suffering.
-is to organize Vancouver Island and adjacent territory, raise the standard of employment and act as a balancing medium in the establishment of equitable competitive mining rates. This will be a herculean task but it must be done-
In the interest of the mine workers of Vancouver Island? No, in the interest of the mine owners and the mine workers of the United States.
-or we must suffer inequitable competition.
That is the trouble-the mine owners and mine workers of the United States will suffer from ' inequitable competition ' unless he becomes boss of the situation.
-and the job-
-can be easier done now than after the task gets bigger.
Recognizing the seriousness of the condition and being desirous of protecting the interests of our membership.
Then he brings in the miners in Vancouver Island.
-as well as being anxious to extend assistance to the men employed on Vancouver Island who, because of the absence of an organization were being infamously treated and subjected to impositions that reached the last degree of toleration, the International Executive Board decided to extend the power and protection of the organization to the Island. In keeping with this decision a district convention was held in Nanaimo during the month of November 1911, and a district organization was formed.
It was because of ' this condition keep that in your mind all the time. The rest of it is not important, but perhaps I had better read it:
From the beginning the men took kindly to the organization, which grew rapidly in numerical strength, and there was every prospect of a substantial organization being established, when, during September, 1912, the Canadian Collieries Company, evidently fearing their power was passing, began singling out and discriminating against the more active of the men.
It is said over and over again that these men were dismissed because they had reported gas in one of the mines. That is not what Mr. Farrington says. He says it was because they were active in carrying out the schemes I have already read to you.
Peaceful overtures from the men for an explanation of the management's action met only with arrogant rebuff. This sort of treatment was tolerated until it could no longer be endured without resentment, and after every peaceful means of redress had been exhausted the men decided to show their opposition to such injustice by taking a holiday, which they did, and after which the company refused to allow them to return to work unless they would sign individual contracts (old iron-clads so familiar to the men of the United States), the terms of which would make the signers little more than bondmen, and which would result in the voluntary dissolution of their union. This the men refused to agree to, and the fight has been on ever since.
During the progress of this struggle all modern instruments used to defeat men engaged in industrial struggles elsewhere have been used to defeat the men engaged in this contest. Hardships, hunger, evictions, brutality, arrests, strike-breakers, false reports, illegal representation of vested rights, intimidation, political prostitution and armed guards are elements common to this battle for human rights.
However, notwithstanding that the company have mustered every influence at their command, they have not been able to produce any considerable part of their original tonnage, or
to discourage the men involved, and if solidarity, fidelity and courage are a harbinger of success the end will see the United Mine Workers of America established on Vancouver Island.
Now, the mine owners of Vancouver Island believe, rightly or wrongly-a belief based somewhat on this article and other
evidence which they have-that the mine owners of the United States are colluding with the mine workers in the United States for the purpose of getting control of the mines of Vancouver Island so that they will not be in a position to compete with .those in the United States * inequitably.' Now, this article is dated 27th March, but you will remember it goes back as far as November, 1911. That was followed, on the 30th of April-and my hon. friend from Carleton, N.B. (Mr. Carvell), the other night was kind enough to say that I knew in April about this strike. Yes, I knew in April, but what day in April? The 30th. How much time was there between the 30th of April and the 1st of May.
Seattle, Wash., April 30, 1913. Mr. Robert Foster,
President District 28, United Mine Workers of America, Nanaimo, B.C.
Dear Sir and Brother,-A number of months ago Mr. John P. White, president of the United Mine Workers of America, invited the owners of the mines operating on Vancouver Island to attend a conference to formulate a joint agreement covering working conditions in the mines on Vancouver Island.
Mr. John P. White, a foreigner, living in Indianapolis, president of the United Mine Workers of America, invites the mine owners, the operators, to meet him and enter into an agreement with him to regulate how they shall produce coal in Vancouver Island, whether their men shall work one day in the week or five or six days, whether they shall, open one mine or two or a dozen. That is the effect of this invitation, and I know that my hoh. friend from Edmonton (Mr. Oliver) does not sympathize with that.
This invitation received no response from the mine owners.
Of course not.' My hon. friend from Edmonton would not respond to an invitation of that kind sent him from Chicago, to meet the writer to determine how the hon. member should carry on his own business.
Instead, the Canadian Collieries Company forced the men of Cumberland and Ladysmith into a strike which has now lasted more than seven, months.
Not a lockout. Mr. Farrington, himself, says here that it is a strike. But the hon. member for Maisonneuve (Mr. Verville) called it a ' holiday.'
During this strike the men of Nanaimo and South Wellington had not been called upon to
suffer any personal inconvenience or financial loss.
They were not on strike. The men at Nanaimo, South Wellington and Jinglepot were working under agreements, one of which would not expire for five months, one for seven months, and one for two years and four months, and since the agreements had been signed up there had never been a complaint. The agreement provided proceedings for settling disputes. He says these people ' are not suffering any personal inconvenience or financial loss,' and then he calls them out on strike.
However, the other companies operating on the island are co-operating with the Canadian Collieries Company in a hopeless effort to defeat the men of Cumberland and Ladysmith. Therefore, using the authority given me by President White, and in order that we may combat solidarity with solidarity, I hereby instruct you to call a strike of all the men employed in and around the mines at Nanaimo, South Wellington and Jinglepot.
These men had no complaints against their employers, and were working under three separate agreements, yet Mr. Foster was instructed to call out all these men.
The strike to begin May 1 and to continue until working agreement between the United Mine Workers of District 28, and the mine owners on Vancouver Island has been secured; said agreement to carry increased prices for labour and improved conditions of employment. You will please see that a force of men sufficient to protect mining property is permitted to work so long as the companies do not attempt to ship coal.
You will always find a clause of that kind in a strike call.
All other men should be urged to join the strike. You should also exert every effort to prevent unlawful or abusive tactics by the men during this conflict.
Listen to this:
And you will also make an earnest effort to secure the names of all men who refuse to respond to the call to strike so that they may be published throughout Canada, Great Britain and the United States. The men involved, union and non-union, will receive the financial support of the International Union as long as the strike lasts. .
This decision has been reached only* after months of mature consideration. The time is now here for the men of Nanaimo and South Wellington to prove their worth. If they show the same fighting spirit as their brothers of Cumberland and Ladysmith, May 1 will see the
dawning of brighter days for the mine workers of Vancouver Island.
That was followed next day by a call issued by the local man, Foster, to whom Farrington had written, the important part of which is in these words:
I therefore avail myself of the privilege granted by the International representatives, brother Farrington, and the recommendation of the convention hereinbefore mentioned, and declare a strike at all of the coal mines on the island, and ask all miners to cease work until the companies concede them an advance in wages proportionate to the advanced cost of living, fair working conditions and an agreement specifying those wages and conditions of employment, said agreement to be entered into by and between the United Mine Workers of America and the coal companies of this district.
So that everything that occurred since November, 1911, should be read and interpreted in the light of this article that Frank Farrington published on March 27. On April 30, what followed? The very next day the following was issued in the form of a long, blood-red dodger, which was scattered in thousands throughout the city of Nanaimo:
General Strike. After having consulted the managers of the different collieries around Nanaimo, the parties signing themselves as a joint committee have decided to call a meeting at the Princess Theatre at 7 p.m.
These were men who did not want to strike. As a matter of fact one company, the Western Fuel Company, had 1,500 men employed, and only 240 of the 1,500 belonged to the United Mine Workers Association-the other 1,260 did not want to strike; they were satisfied with conditions.
While not opposed to meetings of the miners, we beg to inform all employees in or around the mines that a strike has been declared by the United Mine Workers of District No. 28, and endorsed by the National.
It would be truer if it had been said that the strike had been declared by the National and endorsed by the local association.
And will continue u#ntil such time as the operators of this district enter into an agreement with the United Mine Workers of America. Ballot or no ballot-
The men were not permitted to say whether or not they wanted to strike; 1,260 men who did not want to strike were not permitted to say anything about it.
-any one going to work in these mines will be branded a scab.
240 men brand 1,260 as scabs; the result is they all quit work. This is the same organization and these are the same officials who fought the mine owners of Nova Scotia for 22 months in the years 1909 and 1910, and there has been peace in Nova Scotia ever since.
I am told by the chief whip that as some hon. gentlemen who are not here to-night desire to speak on the subject of industrial training and technical education, it has been arranged that item 286 shall be allowed to stand, and that this one be allowed to pass.
The minister said on Friday last that my statement in the House contained some grave inaccuracies. It does contain an inaccuracy of three names, due to the fact that I looked at the sessional papers published in 1911 for the list of that year, and in looking at the sessional papers published in 1912 I see that it contains the civil list of 1911, which has 24 names. But when it comes to my mentioning the 39 names, I have no correction to make in my figures at all. Whilst in the civil list of last year there were actually 30 names, the minister is asking ds to vote money to pay 39.
I think if the minister looks up the list he will find that I am not mistaken. Thirty-six men are provided for in this year's vote, and there are three men in the outside service, making a total of thirty-nine.
The hon. gentleman cannot get out of it that way. He did not say anything about the outside service; he said he had been looking over the civil list the other day, and that he found thirty-nine names. He can find only thirty on the civil list, and the explanation as to the thirty-six I gave to my hon. friend the member for Pictou a few moments ago. Nine out of the thirty-six are vacancies.
not want to review at any great length the very impressive and somewhat dramatic presentation of this case which has been made by the hon. minister. But I would like to get his understanding of this matter in order that there may be no misunderstanding. In the first place, I want to tell my hon. friend that I do not know anything about coal mines. I never was in a coal mine in my life, therefore I am asking for
information. I understand the minister in this particular instance objects to this man Farrington and to White having anything to do with labour conditions in Canada, because they are residents of a foreign country.
Did you not? It is pretty hard to pin the minister down to anything at all, because he always get out of it by saying: ' I did not say that.' I did not say the minister used exactly those words, but I leave it to any hon. gentleman in this House, if that is not the substance and meaning of what he said. I would have to get the 'Hansard' for his exact words. The minister alleges that there was a deep laid plot some years ago, by which the United Mine Workers of America, a labour organization of the United States, wished to interfere with labour conditions in the province of British Columbia, for, I might say, national reasons, not purely reasons connected with the mining industry of Brit-, ish Columbia. The minister has gone to a great deal of trouble and read a lengthy article published by Farrington, who occupied some position with the United Mine Workers' organization. 1 understand that practically all the labour unions in Canada to-day, excepting, one labour union in Nova Scotia, are international in character.
but I believe that practically all of them are international in character. The organization formed two or three years ago, of railway clerks and freight handlers, is local, 1 know. This seems to be a condition, and no matter whether we like it or not, it is a condition of things which we have to face. No doubt it is doing a good work, and I hope the minister will not say that trade unionism is not a good thing, so far as labour conditions are concerned. I do not think we are drawing an unfair inference from the statements made by the minister to-night when we say that he is opposed to the United Mine Workers of America in our coal industry because they are foreigners. I think I am equally safe in saying that the substance of the minister's explanation tonight is, that he is opposed to any attempt to settle this strike because ho does not want this American organization to interfere in labour affairs in Cana la. If I am right in my deductions, then I think the minister should answer this question: Is he, or is he not, opposed to international labour-unions in the Dominion of Canada? I
think I am entitled to an answer to that question.
Do you? I do not say anything against the United Mine Workers; I do not say anything to the effect that I was opposed to international unionism. 1 know that a great many unions in Canada are connected with this association. Some are not, a great many are, I am not discussing that question at all. It is legal for them to -have unions here. I have not said anything as to whether I was in favour or opposed to that.
in opposition to such unions, and I do not propose to do anything in opposition to them. I was simply trying to give the members of this House the origin, as it struck me from that article, of the difficulties in Vancouver Island.