No, I will not say anything of the sort. The Deputy Minister spent nearly the whole of November in Vancouver Island trying to get the people gether. We have an officer stationed at the city Of Vancouver, a man whom I sent there when I was placed in charge of the Labour Department in order that we could have some one on the ground. There was a great deal of work to be done there. Before that, his headquarters had been at Ottawa. I sent a man of experience, Mr. J. D. McNiven, and he is in coijpmunication with us all the time, I get a report from him every week. I might say before I sit down, that the Canadian Collieries are employing about 400 more men than they employed at the -time the strike began, and are putting out a great deal more coal than they were at that time. I had a report a few days ago from Mr. McNiven, stating that the output of the Western Fuel Company during the first week
of February averaged 700 tons daily. Similar quantities are being turned out at Jinglepot and South Wellington. Large quantities _ of coal are being mined on Vancouver Island to-day, and there are large numbers of men employed. The -men are going back almost daily, and most of them are put on. The owners could not find work for them all, because they are not working as many mines as before the strike. We are just having a repetition of what occurred in Nova Scotia, two or three years
12 p.m. ago. The mine owners are operating their mines, but not to so large an extent as before the strike, but nobody is suffering through lack of coal.
think that the Minister of Mines is largely to blame for this trouble, instead of the Minister of Labour? Under the late Government, warm friends of my hon. friend blamed the Minister of Railways when there was a railway strike, and using the same argument as was used against me by gentlemen from the town where the hon. Minister of Labour resides, the Minister of Mines is certainly responsible for this -trouble, and ought to be here answering questions instead of the Minister of Labour.
Since my hon. friend has referred to the practice of the Government of which he was a distinguished member, I might -read a letter to show what the practice of that Government was in such matters. My hon. friend from South Cape Breton (Mr. Carroll) referred the other night to the Conciliation Act, and pointed out what might be done- by the minister under that Act, without any application on the part of any one. Something could be done,
I quite agree with him. That same Act was in existence in 1906, when we had a very serious strike within a stone's throw of this city-about 20 miles down at a place called Buckingham. The men at Buckingham, more than a month before there was any serious trouble, requested the Labour Department to go down and intervene with a view to bringing about peace. My hon. friend from Rouville (Mr. Lemieux) was at that time managing the Labour Department. It was not a separate department at that time. But let me read a sentence or two from a letter written on the 2nd of November by the then Minister of Labour (Mr. Lemieux). About the 8th of October there was a riot at Buckingham. Mr. COMMONS
Lemieux had been requested in September to go down and see if he could not make peace between the men and employers, but he failed to do anything. A riot occurred three men were killed and others very seriously wounded, but this was the position taken by the then Minister of Labour.
I am now attempting to answer the position taken by the hon. memher for South Cape Breton (Mr. Carroll) that under the Conciliation Act the minister could have intervened of his own will or motion. That Act was in existence then, nothing was done under it. Men were killed, blood was shed, then militia were sent down from Ottawa; and this is what Mr. Lemieux said in a letter to Hon. W. E. Weir.
' 1 Re Buckingham Strike.
1 have to thank you for your letter of the 31st ult. and for your kind promise to send copies of the several reports made. With regard to what you say as to the report of our inspector, I would say that this matter was not investigated by any officer of the Department of Labour.
The procedure of the department in most of the cases which the department has had to deal with has been to intervene only where all sides have been willing to accept the department's friendly offices.
And he refused to have anything to do with it unless both parties asked the department to intervene. The men in this case asked them to do it but the employers did not want them to do it. The result was that the minister did not do it and he says that was the practice of the department, not to do anything unless both parties to the dispute were in favour of intervention.
That was seven or eight years ago. Does my hon. friend think the Department of Labour should stand still for seven or eight years? Is there to be no advance in the method of handling these
troubles in seven or eight years? It just comes back to the old argument, if we are guilty you are guilty, too. That is the answer you get every time any question comes up in this House. The Minister of Labour surely must not think that because, before there was a Department of Labour, when it was only a sort of appendage to the Post Office Department, the then Postmaster General took a certain attitude before we even had the Industrial Disputes Investigation Act, he can hide himself behind the Industrial Disputes Investigation Act. .
I fail to find a single soft spot for him to fall on. I do not want to distort the facts, but I say it is pretty hard for the present minister to get any comfort out of the action of the Postmaster General seven or eight years ago when there was not in existence an Industrial Disputes Investigation Act. I had hoped that his department had advanced some in that time, that there was a possibility of a better feeling between capital and labour than there was seven or eight years ago. If that is the conception which the minister has of the duties of the Labour Department, I am afraid he is only bearing out the idea that many of us on -this side of the House have been trying to express to him during the course of this debate.
But to-night he says there has been no advance made in the department, that we are acting as Mr. Lemieux did seven or eight years ago, when he knows or ought to know that that does not represent the matter.