June 5, 1914

LIB

Charles Arthur Gauvreau

Liberal

Mr. GAUVREAU:

(Translation.) With the permission of the hon. gentleman, I shall ask him if, as a question of justice, he does not think that it would have been preferable for him to find out what were the wages paid under the Liberal Administration, so as to be in a position to compare the wages of to-day with the wages in former times? I agree with his views on that point, but it seems to me he would in that way have made a stronger case.

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CON

Herménégilde Boulay

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BOULAY:

(Translation.) The hon. gentleman must have heard my opening remarks; if I did not inquire about that, it was because I already had that information in hand. For I know what has been going on for the last forty years, and consequently I did no need to have those data of former years to compare them with the present rate of wages, and appeal to the Minister of Railways to set matters right. I wrote myself to the minister requesting to increase the rate of wages to $1.75 per diem. That was still five cents less than what is paid in New Brunswick. I got an acknowledgment of my letter, in which it was stated

that the matter would be looked into. I have not had occasion to meet the minister in the meantime, but I hope that during this session the matter will reach a settlement.

I had some official data in reference to the subject; but they were juggled away by a friend of the province of Quebec, who is at the same time a practical joker. However, I can dispense with these data.

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LIB

Charles Arthur Gauvreau

Liberal

Mir. GAUVREAU:

(Translation.) I rise to a question of privilege. The hon. member for Rimouski has just launched out of a rather grievous charge, and I enter my protest against the vagueness of his statement. He contended that a representative of the province of Quebec had pilfered his notes. If actually some practical joker played such a trick on him, I hope he will restrict his charge to his side of the House.

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CON

Herménégilde Boulay

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BOULAY:

(Translation.) I am free to say that the hon. gentleman is not the suspected one. I did not say the whole House.

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LIB
CON

Herménégilde Boulay

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BOULAY:

(Translation.) I rather

think he belongs to this side, but that is of little consequence.

Let us now pass on to another grievance. Now and then there are investigations in connection with the Intercolonial carried on in the province of Quebec. Who are those appointed to carry on such investigations? Are they people from the province of Quebec? No. They are people from Moncton who do neither speak nor understand a word of French, the tongue of the witnesses summoned before these commissioners. Is that fair?

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LIB

Joseph Arthur Calixte Éthier

Liberal

Mr. ETHIER:

(Translation.) Are these

commissioners appointed by the Opposition or by the Government?

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CON

Herménégilde Boulay

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BOULAY:

(Translation.) That sort of thing has been going on for the last forty years. I protested with all my might against that policy and urged that a change be effected. There is still something else which it is worth while to point out. That may seem odd, but here it is. In the valley of the Matapedia when a New Brunswick man is there and wishes to take a train for Campbellton, if there be no regular train, do you know what takes place? He has only to telegraph to Campbellton, and he is granted a permit. If a man from the province of Quebec makes a similar application, it is refused. And that has been the

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practice for years. I do not say the Government should be held responsible on that account; those who settle the matter are the officials, the despatchers, as they are called. But it is another case of discrimination against the province of Quebec. It is very probable that the Government never heard of the matter.

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LIB
CON

Herménégilde Boulay

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BOULAY:

(Translation.) Having

previously pointed out the difference in the rate of wages to the detriment of labourers in the province of Quebec, I shall now refer to another grievance. There are seventy-eight men employed on the buffet cars travelling between Quebec and Halifax, and do you know how many of these are from the province of Quebec? Not a single one.

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LIB
CON

Herménégilde Boulay

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BOULAY:

(Translation.) On the sleepers there are twenty-six conductors; out of that number the province of Quebec has only four. What is the situation of these men? These sleeping cars travel between Halifax and Montreal. Four conductors are from the province of Quebec. These conductors are supposed to have charge of a passenger train. No holidays are granted to these men, not even a single day in Montreal; they reach there in the evening and must be with their train again in the morning; while, in Halifax, they have two days' leave awaiting their train. These men have in vain tried to have their holiday in Montreal, but it has been refused them, on the ground that it would impair the efficiency of the service if those two holidays were not spent in Halifax. The Intercolonial pays the rent of their room, which puts the road to an expenditure of about twenty-five dollars per month. True, that may seem small to the Government, but why not act fairly by the citizens of Montreal? Why refuse to grant their request, when there is no practical interest or necessity which requires it? Why impose such hardship on these citizens?

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LIB
CON

Herménégilde Boulay

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BOULAY:

(Translation.) I see the hon. gentleman is not very well posted.

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LIB

Joseph Arthur Calixte Éthier

Liberal

Mr. ETHIER:

(Translation.) Please

answer my question; I would like to get that information.

312i

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CON

Herménégilde Boulay

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BOULAY:

(Translation.) For the

information of my hon. friend, I may say that, for over twenty years, the sleepers have been the property of the Government and under the control of the Intercolonial.

Referring once more to those who are employed on the buffet cars, why are they largely from New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, while there are so few from the province of Quebec? It is because the holidays are granted in Halifax. When I wrote to the management of the Intercolonial about it, the answer was that the efficiency of the service required that this holiday should be taken in Halifax. Shortly after, the Ocean Limited, which runs between Montreal and Halifax, was called off, and what I had been requesting was carried out during two months this winter, without the service being inconvenienced, which shows that the suggestion is quite practical. Were such a change effected, we would get our proper share of patronage. If that holiday were granted in Montreal, there would be numbers of young people who would be glad to accept these positions, on account of the pay, the salaries ranging from $90 to $100 per month. But the holiday falling while the car is in Halifax, these young men are bound to refuse these positions.

Now, there is another question to which I desire to draw the attention of the minister. Mr. Gutelius has been appointed general manager of the Intercolonial, and I may state in passing that he is a perfect gentleman. I have had the pleasure of making his acquaintance. But he is endeavouring in his own way to make a success of the Intercolonial, and he has thought fit to substitute what is called ' standard rules ' for the old-time regulations.

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LIB

Joseph Arthur Calixte Éthier

Liberal

Mr. ETHIER:

(Translation.) Does the hon. gentleman approve of the views of Mr. Gutelius?

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CON

Herménégilde Boulay

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BOULAY:

(Translation.) The question is rather a broad one; if the hon. gentleman wishes to take it up when I am through with my remarks, I shall be glad to answer him.

I wish to refer to the circulation of trains. Far many years certain rules had been in force on the Intercolonial. On the 1st of June last the management decided to enforce the ' standard rules.' I cannot say whether the effect will be to improve the service; but I have fears that many accidents will result. I beg to call the minister's attention to the fact, hoping at the

same time that my fears will prove to be groundless. The men are called upon to familiarize themselves with new regulations; now, every change in the rules is unfortunately productive of accidents.

I am here expressing the views of the men. They would have much preferred that the old regulations with which they were all familiar had been retained, as they were perfectly safe and of a nature to protect the travelling public against all risk.

I trust that Mr. Gutelius, who is a first-rate administrator, will see to it that these regulations are only gradually enforced, in order that the men may little by little become familiar with their working, and accidents avoided.

I shall not deal at greater length with this subject, though there are many other issues that require consideration in connection with the Intercolonial. But the matter has been so much discussed by hon. gentlemen on either side, that the House must be pretty well posted in respect to the requirements of that railway.

My intention in making these remarks, as I stated a moment ago, is not to find fault with this Government any more than with the other-rather less than with the other- since we have been in power only three years; but to show to the satisfaction of the country, how the province of Quebec is being discriminated against in the matter of employment and salary. I appeal for fairer treatment, and I hope we will get it. The better paid men could be appointed from the province of Quebec in as great numbers as from the provinces of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, for, with all due respect, we have men as well qualified as they have to fill these positions. If the same facilities were offered to citizens of the province of Quebec, I am satisfied they would accept such positions with pleasure.

Before concluding my remarks, I was desirous to answer the inquiry made by the hon. member for Two Mountains, but since he has left the House before I got through- and it matters little to me-I shall dispense with taking up that question, and he may get posted by applying to the hon. member from Temiscouata, or any one else to his liking.

Mr. J, D. REID: I am sorry I do not understand the French language sufficiently well to answer my hon. friend as fully as I would like, but I shall read his speech and may be able to give him more information later. 1 understand that the hon. member claims that discrimination has been exer-

cised against the province of Quebec in the matter of selecting employees for the Intercolonial. He has stated that, out of 49 men employed in prominent positions, only three come from Quebec. He also complains that labourers employed on the Intercolonial in the province of New Brunswick are receiving $1.80 a day, while in Quebec they are only being paid $1.50. As I understand it, the track men are paid the same rate of wages all along the line, but, where additional labour is required, the employees taken on are paid at the rate prevailing in that locality in whatever province it may happen to be. In some provinces, no doubt, the rate of wages for common labour is higher than in others, and that accounts for the difference in pay of which my hon. friend has complained.

I do not believe the management of the 'Intercolonial have any intention of discriminating in any way against the province of Quebec. The hon. member has also complained that- none of the 78 employees in the dining car service come from the province of Quebec, and that only four of the 26 sleeping car conductors come from that province. It is impossible for me to answer the hon. gentleman on this point until I have a little more information, but I shall refer to the matter when the Estimates are again before the House. I understand he also complains that the Pullman conductors have to wait at Halifax instead of at Montreal. As my hon. friend knows, there are divisional points in every railway system. A train starting from a divisional point like Montreal, goes to, say, Halifax, and then comes back to Montreal, or vice versa. If Halifax is the starting point of the train, the employees would have to make their headquarters there. It matters little to the management of the Intercolonial whether these employees lay off at Montreal or Halifax, except, of course, that they must be ready to leave when the train starts. The hon. member also mentioned that some of the employees are dissatisfied with the

standard rules. From information I have from the management of the Intercolonial, I do not agree with the hon. member in that. Of course, it is a

well known fact that the standard rules have been in force from Montreal to Levis for some years, and that from Levis to Moncton there has been in existence a set of rules that have grown up with the Intercolonial. I understand that the management sent out twelve or fifteen men along

the line to explain these rules to the employees, and I have heard from the leading men in the service, outside altogether of the management, that with very few exceptions the men are satisfied with the change, and feel that it is better for the service and for themselves to adopt the standard rules that are in existence on all the other railways in Canada. The management of the Intercolonial are making it as easy as possible for the employees to familiarize themselves with the new rules and pass the prescribed examination, and in the meantime the men continue in the positions they have been holding. In addition to that, the management have provided that any employees who are not able to pass, the examination shall be retained in the service in positions satisfactory to them. Every member of this House will agree with me that the men employed on the trains, where lives are at stake, must be fully qualified men. I may give a little illustration of how this examination works. A short time ago an engineer apparently in good health and strength found when he came to take the examination that he could not pass the eyesight test. Of course it would be unsafe to have a man of that kind in charge of a train for the reason that he might run past a station, and have a collision resulting in great loss of life. I only mention that to show that the standard rules and the examination in connection therewith have proved to us that certain employees are not qualified.

On account of my limited knowledge of French, I am not in a position to answer my hon. friend more fully, but, as I said before, I will read his remarks and try to give him a more complete answer at the next sitting of the House.

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LIB

George Perry Graham

Liberal

Mr. GRAHAM:

We were discussing yesterday the plans for the Champlain market at Quebec, but there does not seem to be any sketch by which we can tell the dimensions of the building. We would like to have some information with regard to that. We would also like to have the agreement with the Canadian Northern Railway Company for the purchase of the line from the main line of the National (Transcontinental to the St. Malo shops.

. Mr. REID: The negotiations for that

piece of line, five or eight miles long, from the viaduct to St. Malo shops have been going on for some time with the Canadian (Northern Railway Company and finally an offer was made of $175,000 for the line. The Transcontinental Taihvav. or the Government, are to pay $175,000 for that piece of dine. The Canadian Northern claimed that 'it. cost $50,000 a mile and they held out for that price but the hon. Minister of Railways and Canals (Mr. Cochrane) would not agree to that price claiming that it was not worth it and that we really did not require the road. Finally an arrangement was made by which $175,000 was the price fixed for that portion of the line. This agreement has only been arrived at verbally. I was present when the arrangement was made. I am sorry that I will not be able to bring down any agreement or any correspondence but the hon. member can take what I have stated to be the fact.

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LIB

June 5, 1914