June 2, 1919


Ernest Lapointe

Laurier Liberal


Quite true, the officers of the Great War veterans proclaimed their neutrality. But it is also true that the returned soldiers by thousands have evinced their sympathy with the strikers of Winnipeg. In order to try to show that the strikers are animated by Bolshevistic ideals, much is said of their having issued their famous licenses with the words, " By leave of the strike committee." The strikers had no right (to do this, Mr. Speaker. Such a usurpation of power cannot be tolerated in any constitutional country. They made a mistake, and they seem to have realized it, because they have discontinued that course of action. But is that a sign of Bolshevism and disloyalty? The first city in any British country which gave such an example was the city of Belfast. A few months ago when the gas and electricity workers joined the strike, Belfast went without light except so far as the strike committee gave leave to relax their prohibition in that regard. Yet nobody will gainsay that Belfast is a loyal city. It is the loyal city 'par excellence-it is the

[Mr .E. Lapointe.]

capital of loyalism. Belfast is so deeply and profoundly British that the mere prospect of self government being given to Ireland kindled the flames of rebellion four years ago. The strikers at Belfast were wrong when they arrogated that right to themselves; so were the strikers at Winnipeg; but the latter are not more antiBritish or disloyal than the former.

With regard to the action of the Government in trying to effect a settlement of the strike, it has been rather' unfortunate. Senator Robertson seems to have sided with one party to the struggle, and obviously his usefulness as a mediator is gone, and I do not wonder that he is on his way back to Ottawa. His last performance in sending an appeal to Mr. Gompers, the head of the American Federation of Labour, is a most extraordinary one. Here is that despatch as I find it in the Montreal Star:

Samuel Gompers,

President of the American Federation of Labour,


May 29.-A general sympathetic strike involving some ninety-five unions was called in the City of Winnipeg for May 15, resulting in a complete tie up of all business and declaration by iStrike Committee of control over civic affairs as well as interference with provincial and federal employees.

As is the case in all general strikes of this nature it has already defeated itself, but I feel it proper to say to you after toeing on the ground for several days that in my opinion the prestige and authority of international unions whose endeavouring, to embroil their members in other cities in sympathetic strikes in support of the lost cause here, should receive the earnest and serious consideration of the executives of the various organizations concerned, particularly of what is know as the metal trades.

The underlying motive in calling the strike is undoubtedly in support of what is known as the "One Big Union," movement and which has for its purpose the destruction of the international trades unions if possible. Will you give this matter your personal attention and communicate with the executives of the various internationals as you may desem desirable.

This is an appeal, clamouring for help, by a Canadian minister of the Crown to a foreign labour leader.

.More humiliating action on the part of a responsible minister in a British country has never before been witnessed, and I hope may never be witnessed again. It stands as a monument to the statesmanship and national ideals of that combine of the best brains of the country which was once gathered together in Canada by some sort of collective bargaining under the name of Union Government.

I have no hesitation in saying that the Acting Minister of Justice (Mr. .Meighen)

was the last man in the world who should have been selected to act as conciliator or mediator. Nobody has more admiration than I have for the ability and talent of the minister, but his temperament, mentality and training disqualify him altogether for the difficult task of mediator. He stands in Canada as the Apostle of arbitrary enactments and despotic legislation. He is the father of the closure in this House. His Italian hand may be discerned in the War-time Elections Act, that nefarious piece of legislation which is still a blot on the statute books of Canada. If there exists in some quarters of the country a feeling of distrust of Parliament and Parliamentary institutions, I believe the Acting Minister of Justice is one of those who are largely responsible for it. Be that as it may, he is so considered by quite a number of people in the country, and he will not be welcomed and trusted by those people as a fair mediator. When, a few weeks ago, I moved in this House that labour should be given representation on the Board of Directors of the Canadian National Railways, it was the Acting Minister of Justice who said in reply that I was favouring a very unsound, principle. He was unable to understand that employees of a railway have an interest in the system different from and larger than the interest of the rest of the community. Yet the principle of allowing labour a share in the management of industry is accepted to-day and advocated by both employers and employees in Great Britain and the United States as the best way to enlist the whole soul and energy of the workingman in the thing he is doing. Individual employers in that respect have been ahead of legislation and universal practice. They have set an example which has, in all cases, been most successful. Why does not the Government of Canada set an example in this country? Why refuse a reasonable concession now and be forced to grant it afterwards? The Government may yet grant it so that such concession of a fair demand shall not take on the appearance of a surrender on the one side and a triumph on the other. I do not wonder that the labour men of Winnipeg could not consider my hon. friend as being able to enter into their minds sympathetically, in order to discover their ideals, aims and desires.

But the situation is becoming more serious every day, in spite of ministerial optimistic announcements we have daily at the opening of the House and the interested denials in the newspapers. Still I ask: What shall we do? What shall the Government do? The Mathers' Commission does not possess the authority or prestige that would give its report or its finding a large degree of influence. It is by no means representative. As was stated in the last issue of Maclean's Magazine by a member of the Press Gallery, it could hardly be considered as a satisfactory camouflage, and that was all it was intended to be. The commission was told in all the cities: " There is something rotten in the state of Denmark." We all knew that. Why does not the Government issue a call for a large national conference of employers and employees, as was done in England? If labour in Canada acts as labour acts in England, why should not Canadian statesmanship be able to follow the example of British statesmanship? Let such a conference be called and let labour select its own representative. When a man is selected by the Government to represent labour on a committee, or commission, or conference of some kind, that man does not properly represent labour; he represents the Government. I have the fullest confidence that the Canadian employers and employees could find a common ground and agree together as British employers and employees have succeeded in doing. In the meantime, as a token of goodwill, could not Parliament and the Government agree to have a labour representative on the Board of Directors of the Canadian National railways?

The Government states that it has no power to enact eight-hour day legislation. I admit there is grave doubt as to that, but there is no doubt that the Government can enact eight-hour day legislation as to its own public works, and such legislation would go a long way towards securing the general adoption of that reform. Something must be done quickly to endeavour to convert class struggle into class harmony, to convert retaliation into reciprocity. But Mr. Speaker, I believe the Government has already delayed too long. Something must be done now, and these are my concluding words to the Government: Do something and do it now.

Topic:   J006 COMMONS

John Hampden Burnham


Mr. J. H. BURNHAM (Peterborough West):

Mr. Speaker, perhaps I may be allowed to contribute a little something to what I consider in my humble way as the basis of this industrial unrest. I do not purpose indulging in personalities, nor in blaming any body for not having unearthed some solution of a problem that confronts the entire world, nor do I purpose discussing various theories which have been advanced from time to time as solutions of the problem. But I will go to what 1

consider the very root of the matter, namely, the ability of the workingman to maintain himsel'f at the present rate of wages. I firmly believe that if he had the wages which would enable him to live properly and comfortably, he would be satisfied, and if he were satisfied, you could not possibly stir him into any form of unrest.

Some few days ago I asked the Acting Minister of Labour (Mr. A. K. Maclean) if he would be kind enough to answer a question regarding this. After several days he very kindly answered the question and put the answer into printed form which was served upon me to-day. It is headed: " The high cost of living and minimum wages/' and it reads:

Re Mr. Burnham's Inquiry of May 28, Hansard1 for May 28 shows the following: statement:

Mr. J. H. Burnham (Peterborough West) : J would like to ask the Acting Minister of Labour (Hon. A. IC. Maclean) what is the weekly budget for the average Canadian family as found by the latest report of the Department of Labour; and what is the minimum weekly wage to correspond with that weekly minimum budget ?

This was the reply:

Regarding the point raised by Mr. Burnham it may be stated that the weekly family budget printed in the "Labour Gazette" is given as a typical family budget, not as a minimum family budget. The figures as. printed do not vary from month to month or from year to year. The object aimed at in printing the budget is not to indicate in any way what commodities should be purchased but to facilitate an effective comparison of prices at different periods so that the relative purchasing power of money may be shown. The weekly budget printed in the " Labour Gazette " was framed by the Dominion Statistician some years ago and the foods enumerated and the quantities specified go to make up the number of calories estimated as necessary for a family of five,- husband, wife and three children ; save that so far as the workman is concerned the budget is intended rather to meet the case of a man engaged in somewhat severe manual labour, the food allowance being therefore slightly larger than would be necessary if the man were engaged in clerical or other light employment. The figures printed from month to month in the "Labour Gazette" show the cost of the same quantities of the same class of commodity, the prices ranging over a number of years. The budget includes prices as to foods, fuel and rent and dries not include clothing. Clothing is of course an essential part of the cost of living but the subject is one which cannot be easily reflected by statistics, the articles covering so wide a range and the conditions varying so greatly as between different families, different localities and different periods. In considering the family budget as printed in the "Labour Gazette" an addition of from twenty-five to forty per cent must be made for clothes and miscellaneous articles.

Regarding the latter part of Mr. Burnham's question re minimum weekly wage, it may be stated that just as there is no minimum bud-

get known to the Department of Labour neither is there any weekly minimum wage known to the department, save that during the past year or two different provinces have enacted minimum wage laws as to some classes of labour. Wages are, as a rule, fixed for each calling and the minimum wage varies greatly as between one calling and another and as between one city and another. The family budget as printed in the "Labour Gazette" is, it may be added, much used by employers and employees in measuring the fluctuations of living and is therefore of material value in effecting wage agreements in different trades. Attached is a copy of the family budget as printed in the May, 1919, issue of the "Labour Gazette." Attached is memorandum showing food prices for Great Britain, United States and Canada, respectively, for the month of February.

The copy of the family budget attached for staple foods, fuel, light and rent, in terms of the average prices in 66 Canadian cities, shows the cost per week 'to "be $21.34. That budget does not include anything for clothing, for which I have allowed only the moderate sum of $2 per week. It includes nothing for medicine and medical attendance, for which I have allowed $1 per week. It includes nothing for boots and shoes, for which I have allowed 50 cents per week; nothing for headgear, for which I have allowed 10 cents per week; nothing for religion, for which I have allowed the modest sum of 25 cents per week; nothing for amusement s, for which I have allowed 25 cents a week; nothing foT education, for which I have allowed 25 cents a week, (because although education is free in some provinces there are incidental expenses); nothing for insurance for which I have allowed 50 cents per week; making a total of $4.80 not allowed for. This added to the $21.34 makes a total of $26.14, or an average of $4.35 per day for six days in the week which the man engaged in severe toil must earn or he cannot meet this necessary budget. Even then nothing is allowed for the instruments of labour, the tools which the workman must have, and nothing is provided for old age. When ve consider the wage the workingman is receiving at the present time, he is away behind this budget. The Government has worked very hard investigating these prices, and its figures, which are given in the most candid manner, show that $4.50 per day- '$5 per day including provision for old age and tools-is the minimum wage which the labouring man in Canada should receive today. But he receives nothing like that, and it naturally follows that there is very great unrest. He does not know, very few of us did, that this was what the budget amounted to; but there are the figures given by the 'Government, in answer to my question, after

several days' delay, and they show that the workingman is away behind. He is going down lower and lower in the scale, and his [DOT]weekly and yearly deficit is becoming most alarming. Restlessness must follow as a matter of course. I do not think for one *moment that the employer can pay more than he is paying at the present time and make things go. I do not claim that there is any inequality whatever in the scale of prices relative to each other. I am simply accounting for the unrest among the masses of the people of this country. To urge that free trade or anything of that description will remedy matters is not to argue by the book.

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John Hampden Burnham



It was on trial several years ago, and the verdict was "Guilty," and free trade was thrown out. I do not purpose to try it again, because it is a well-known principle in law that when a thing has once been tried, it cannot be tried again.

I have no suggestion to make. I know the workingman says if he was getting only a dollar a day and prices were the same as when that was the current wage, he would be content. It is not that he wants fabulous wages. He simply wants to meet his obligations. Therefofe, I maintain that if you can so arrange things that the workingman can live decently and meet his obligations you will allay the unrest in this country, and in no other way can you allay it.

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François Jean Pelletier

Laurier Liberal

Mr. F. J. PELLETIER (Matane):

I am pleased that the Government has finally allowed the question of the present industrial unrest to come before the House for a fair discussion and a frank expression of opinion from hon. gentlemen. It is one of the most important questions with which we have to deal.

With the suspension of hostilities in Europe, with the dawn of peace bringing contentment and solace to all hearts, how is it that the country to-day is actually in a worse situation than when we were at war? How is it that the merry ringing of bells announcing the coming of peace in Europe announces at the same time a state of industrial war in Canada?

What is the cause of this industrial unrest and of the universal unsatisfactory feeling that prevails throughout the country? It is not necessary to go through a long and dreary inquiry to ascertain the cause of this trouble. It is apparent and every one realizes it at sight. It is the unbearably high cost of >

living and the

necessity for the working classes to have better conditions, better wages, lower prices for foodstuffs, clothing, and all the necessaries of life. But it is not sufficient to find out the cause of a social evil to remedy the situation. One must see who is responsible for such conditions. Then it will be possible, if there is goodwill on the part of those responsible, to find a solution of the serious problems which must be settled if Canada is to live. The fundamental cause of all the trouble we are actually going through lies in the lack of sincerity, wisdom, foresight and Canadian patriotism on the part of the present Government. The hon. gentleman to your right, Mr. Speaker, may think that such a statement is a slander against the present Government, and it would be such if I did not have absolute proofs to substantiate the indictment. The time has come when we must look the situation boldly in the face, examine our national conscience, and set aside the rubbish of electoral parley to consider if the governing influence of Canada has really worked for the general good, or simply for the benefit of the privileged class. The time has come to put a soft pedal on the patriotic camouflage which has been the only means of putting through this House and the country all sorts of measures and thousands of Orders in Council; and to scrutinize the real motives which prompted the Government to place Canada on the verge of bankruptcy and on the threshold of revolution. Not only does serious industrial unrest manifest itself, but there are innumerable strikes in large cities And there is also a supreme contempt of the Government of the land, and an evident relish for revolutionary ideas and principles, so much so that in the city of Winnipeg there was a tentative Soviet against which the Government did not dare to take stringent measures. Had it been an ordinary industrial crisis, had the Government not been responsible for the situation, and had the people at large had the least confidence in the ministers of the Crown, the settlement would have been an easy matter because the Government would have been the high court to which the grievances would have been brought. But such is not the case. The labouring class is dissatisfied, and does not care to have the Government's assistance, believing the Government to be a party committed to the opposing forces. I do not need further proofs than the fact of the reception given in Winnipeg to the ministers just returned from the West, and the result of their peace-imak/inig mission. Let us consider


for a moment how we have been brought to the unenviable position in which Canada finds itself to-day.

At the outbreak of the war, without any consultation with Parliament., my right hon. friend the Prime Minister pledged the country to England for 500,000 men. This offer was accepted, and to compel the people to accept it as granted, numbers of orators, journalists and canvassers sounded from one end of Canada to the other the note of devotion to the Motherland, to the cause of liberty and civilization, and devotion to the cause of the small countries. They declaimed upon the phantom of German tyranny as if Canada had been threatened with immediate invasion. This was done with the deliberate object in view to cover the extremely dangerous consequences, for a country as small and as poor as Canada, of assuming responsibilities beyond our means. During the long years of struggle, whilst the final victory was uncertain, and as long as the united efforts of the allied nations were necessary to keep up the morale of our soldiers, nothing was said. But now that the war is over and the Allies have been victorious, it can be said to the Government that its action was nothing short of national suicide, and we are beginning to realize the fact. For the four years of the war, we drained the country of our best young men, we crippled our industries by the multiplication of shell factories, we allowed speculators to increase the price of every necessity of life to such an extent that it became necessary to maintain the output of munitions, to increase the salaries of munition workers tenfold, while the other classes of working men were in a sorry plight. Today they ask that these conditions be made bearable, and they are not to blame. The responsibility for these conditions lies at the door of those who have allowed them to be created. But the Government has not only been extravagant in its promises to Great Britain; it has been totally inefficient in preparing for the necessary transition from war to peace. Notwithstanding the advices given privately and publicly, the Government did not see fit even to try to do anything in that direction, all its efforts having been bent upon the prosecution of military service defaulters and the contriving of means whereby to remain in power. Instead of taking measures to fix prices, to protect the labouring men against the greed and heartlessness of speculators, the Government has simply marked time w'aiting for r.M. Pelletier.]

events to pass on at will, seeming unfit to foresee the crisis we are facing to-day. If this is not correct, let the hon. gentlemen to your right, Mr. Speaker, point out one single measure prompted by wisdom and a desire to assist the poor. Let them show in what direction the country was prepared to switch its energies and activities from war-time industry to peace. What did the Government do whqn inquiries disclosed the fact that products, foodstuffs of all kinds, were rotting in warehouses and thrown away in order to maintain famine prices? What is the Government doing today when prices are even higher than they ever were before? What reasons are given for such conditions? Is it admissible that a Government, appreciating the importance of its duty, would allow food to be exported to such an extent thait its own people would suffer and be on the verge of starvation? Is there a country in the world that would bear with such a Government? Is there a country under the sun afflicted with such a ruling power? What is the result of such apathy, such inefficiency on the part of the Government? As long as the war lasted, as long as contracts and profitable orders were distributed, and there were men to be conscripted, this Government showed more autocracy than did the late Tzar. The whole Administration was run by Orders in Council adopted and enforced even when Parliament was sitting.

Now that the war is over, and since conscription has ceased, now that no more munition contracts can be given to heartless profiteers, the only activity displayed by the Government is as T have said before utter severity in the prosecution of defaulters who have suffered heavy fines and imprisonment.

Such a condition of affairs does not conduce to confidence in the Government, on the part of the working class, and a striking proof of this was given by the manner in which the ministers of the Crown were received by the union men in the West. We also have other striking examples of the energetic attitude of the Government in time of crisis, in the manner in which the strike activities were managed. We were sitting here discussing the abolition of titles when the ci >

of Winnipeg was in the pangs of Bolshevism. We are here discussing minor questions when the whole country is suffering, when the entire industrial structure is shaking-we are discussing, while the soul of the Canadian people want action and not words.

The Government has suffered from want of discretion in determining Canada's share

in the war; it has suffered from lack of sincerity in allowing prices of necessities of life to soar as they did; it has suffered from lack of foresight in not preparing for the after-war period.

It has suffered from lack of Canadian patriotism in sacrificing the future of the country; it has suffered from lack of wisdom in passing laws that Spread discontent and distrust in all ranks oi society; it has suffered from lack of ability as shown by the fact that it remained idle when it was time to act.

We are passing through a very critical period and no one knows what the results may be. Whatever the endeavours of this Government may be now I feel that it can accomplish very little, having lost the confidence and support of the people. The only wise and practical thing for the Government to do in the interest of the people, in my opinion, is to dissolve Parliament and allow the (people to elect honestly representatives who have at heart the welfare of the country.

Topic:   J006 COMMONS

George William Andrews


Mr. G. W. ANDREWS (Centre Winnipeg):

Mr. Speaker, when the election was on, a year and a half ago, it was my privilege to address an audience of Winnipeg workingmen on the subject of winning the war. The issue at that time was quite clear cut. I told them I was a candidate for the Union Government and as such stood for the conscription of men. I pointed out that this meant the particular men I was talking to. I also told them that I stood for the conscription of money, which meant their money, and for the conscription of the last dollar and the last man in Canada, if need be, to win this war. That was pretty straight talking. When I got through one of the men got up and said: "Well, we understand exactly what you mean now." 1 told them I would not think of going over the top with men who were not prepared to go all the way. When the 17th December came they knew exaotly what it meant for the men who were going to the war. When the election was over, in spite of the fact that my opponent was the secretary of the labour union, it was found that they had voted for me in the proportion of three to one.

These are the men who, -to-day, are on strike. There is certainly something wrong somewhere. In addition to those men, as good and as loyal citizens as Canada evei had, there are many of my own comrades who stood in the trenches in France; they are on strike. I say, standing in my place here, that in my opinion eighty per cent of the returned men of Winnipeg are in sympathy with the strikers and the object of this strike.

On the first of May the men of the metal trades went on strike, partly because the masters refused an eight-hour day and a larger hour wage but chiefly because of their employers' refusal to recognize theii union. The building trade employees presented their schedule to the masters who frankly admitted its fairness and reasonableness, but declared their inability to meet the demand. Here we have the two vital causes of the strike (1) a living wage, and (2) the right to organize. This is the cause of the strike in my opinion after the most careful consideration and

5 p.m. after using every means in my power to find out the facts. When the ironmasters let it become known that they were going to make it a trial of endurance, the trades and labour council called for a sympathetic strike of all organized labour in the city. A vote was taken and all unions, including public utilities, came out.

As to the blame, I accuse no one, I judge no man, but the fact remains that the men are on strike and that is a fact that we must not forget. I believe, Mr. Speaker, that the labour unions in Winnipeg in all good faith, in the month of May, in the year of our Lord one thousand nine hundred and nineteen, were forced to strike for a living wage and for the right to organize. So far as the living wage is concerned, I think hon. members will agree that if ever a .strike is justifiable it is for a living wage for the striker and his family. With regard to the right to organize, there was a time when a combination of employees was accounted conspiracy and treated as such but to-day it cannot be denied to those whose saleable commodity is labour, the free right to say what terms they will sell their labour at; how much of it they will sell, and whether they will sell it for six or for twelve hours a day. The days of serfdom in Canada have passed. Nor can their right be denied to agree together as to the price at which they will sell their labour and the quantity of labour they have to sell, so long as this right is granted to any other class in the community.

The single workman is helpless against the great corporation; the individual union or craft is equally so. Collective bargaining is the logical outcome of organization and it is now too late in the day for any corporation to refuse it-that principle is embodied as one of the provisions of the

charter of labour formed by the League of Nations.

The sympathetic strike is the natural and logical sequence of organization. What more natural than that men who have interests in common should stand together in an emergency? A particular union or craft in striking may be striking for a principle that is absolutely vital to every man in the industry and just as the employers can down one single man so they can down a single union unless all stand together. This is co-operation; it is brotherhood, and it is absolutely the same principle of sticking together that was employed in France. Twenty-seven allied nations had a sympathetic strike, and they won. That sympathetic strike brings one naturally to the "One Big Union," and here again Of believe is an entirely logical and absolute sequence of organization. If you once permit men to organize, and by their organization to deliberately make the boss "come through" with something with which he does not agree, that is force, and there is no other word for it; and the "One Big Union" is a logical way of fighting. It took us a long time to fight it out in France, but we did fight it out eventually, and once we got "the One Big Union" and "the One Big Foch" we won the war; and in the case of labour unions that is a logical conclusion once you begin to strike. I do not believe in strikes, but we have them in Canada. Having got them, there is need for the application of intelligence in their settlement. Once you have got labour lined up on one side you find there will also line up the Bankers' Association, the Manufacturers' Association, and all the other representatives of employers, and there is likely to be a first-rate fight. A little fight has been started already, and it will be "a real proper one" if we do not have a change soon. There are only two ways of settling disputes, as far as I know, one by arbitration and the other by force; and there is no more reason for the strike that is going on in Winnipeg to-day than there is for myself and any hon. member of this House who had a difference of opinion, going out on the lawn in front of this building and settling that difference with bombs; we should both of us be regarded as criminal lunatics if we did that. I have heard some criminal lunatics advance suggestions in connection with the settlement of this strike, and the sooner those persons are in the "jug" the better it will be.

In speaking along these lines it has been my experience that in military matters you

will find in every platoon, every company, every battalion, and every regiment, men that are termed "roughnecks"-fellows that f you do not run them they will run you; and it appears to me that we have some of this class at large in Canada to-day. There is no question that if we do not do something to curb them they will run this Government and the country as well. We have got farmers' organizations, soldiers' organizations, 'and God knows what other bodies, all lining up for a fight, and I think it is about time that the members of Parliament, the representatives of all the people in Canada, had something to say in the matter. Let us have a little constitutional government; I have heard too much about organization and that sort of thing to please me. When a man begins to organize he is preparing to fight. I stand for arbitration and not for war in industrial relations as well as international relations. The Prime Minister the other day declared that if we could not settle this little business of our own it boded ill for a League of Nations. I think it does. I would suggest, if I may, that a national industrial conference should be called at once. In the meantime this striking has got to be stopped; if it does not stop one side or the other will win. I do not know which side will be the winner, I am playing no favourites, but I do know that the work people in Winnipeg are determined to win if they can. If they do not win they will starve, they will go back to their work with a bitter feeling. There are men on strike to-day that were repulsed by the Germans three years ago, but that did not end the war. The principle at stake is one of absolute force, as far as I see it, and I would like to see that changed. It can be changed, it is being done every day. If we cannot settle the problem I think it is time we got out and let somebody else have a go. In that respect I agree with an hon. gentleman who has spoken this afternoon.

There is another point I want to touch upon for a moment or two. Twice this afternoon I have heard tne term " Bolsheviks " applied to the strike leaders in Winnipeg. Gentlemen, if you apply the term to those men you apply it to me, 'because they are my friends. There is a man called James Winning, a good level-headed Scotchman, who has spent practically all his life working for his fellowmen. The only erratic thing he has done in tms agitation has been closing down the press and participating in the strike. As to the press, I had the misfortune to hear an hon. gentleman, one of the oldest members in the chamber, state

his opinion that the press was corrupt, and he was not called a " Bolshevik " for saying that. If ever a strike by workingmen in newspaper offices was justified it was in this case if the newspapers were not playing the game. There is another man called Russell in Winnipeg. Russell is a Socialist and not a man who advocates force. I know tnese men, and for them force would be absolutely the last resource. Russell wants a change. So does Robinson, so does Simpson, and so does Rigg. They want a change because they are not satisfied with present conditions. How many hon. gentlemen in this House are satisfied? I venture to say many of them would welcome a change of government.

Topic:   J006 COMMONS

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Hear, hear.

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George William Andrews



I feel a little that way myself, but I would like to see some further action by the Union Government first. It does seem to me, Mr. Speaker, if ever there was a time that we should get together and all take hold of one rope and pull in harmony, it is now. We talk about working six hours a day. In my opinion the time has come when we should work eighteen hours a day, and I think the fellows would do it too as long as they did not fear they would work that length of time to enable one or two men .to make millions out of it. They will not do that but they are ready to work and work well, when they deem the cause is a legitimate one. As an old farmer I cannot help but realize that it does not take any more bushels of barley to feed a hog to-day than it did five years ago. Yet the hog is worth five times as much to-day, it is a good time to sell hogs when the same amounted grain would yield five times the value, ft is about time that we got off our coats and worked together. I would like to see some very strong action taken with regard to the present situation. I do not like compulsion nor conscription; but I cannot help thinking that we ought to be able to establish courts of arbitration in this country that will give- a just award on a dispute that is referred to them. If that is done I think there would be enough public opinion behind the award to enforce it, and in that

case our troubles would be over.

It is far better than letting this strike work itself out to the- bitter end, which means another fight. There are times when on principle I have as little theoretical regard for conscription as my hon. friend from Dorchester (Mr. Cannon). I do not believe in conscription, I never did; but, unlike my hon. friend, there are times when I think

it is justifiable. During a prairie fire if you come across a deaf man you do not stop to argue with him, but you grab him and take him along, and when he finds you did it to save his life, he is very glad that you did not stand upon ceremony. Conscription, I think, is sometimes justifiable, and in my closing words I strongly recommend that in this instance the Government adopt it forthwith.

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William Ashbury Buchanan


Mr. W. A. BUCHANAN (Lethbridge):

1 would like to venture into this debate, Mr. Speaker, as an employer of labour as well as a member of this House who has attempted to keep in close touch with the aspirations of organized labour. We are discussing industrial unrest largely because of the developments in Winnipeg during the last few weeks; but, to my mind there has been unrest amongst organized labour for some months past. I have attempted to ascertain the reasons for that unrest, and I would enumerate them not in the order of their importance but as I have noted them down.

First of all, I think one of the paramount reasons for the present unrest among the working classes is the high cost of living; second, I would say that what we have been calling " profiteering " since the commencement of the war is another very important reason; third, the failure to fulfil some of the promises that were given to the labouring classes during the war, that out of this war would come a new world, and that they would live under new conditions; then there is a demand, of course -and I would classify this as a fourth reason-for better living conditions; there is a universal demand for the recognition of the eight-hour day; there is also a universal demand for the recognition of unions, and, again, there is the feeling that there should be more equitable sharing by the working classes in the profits of business.

Having enumerated the reasons for the unrest which exists, I will try to point out some of the remedies that we, as the Parliament of Canada, should provide. In regard to the high cost of living, I would say that it is our duty to adopt legislation to reduce that high cost. When the Budget comes down this week it seems to me that we should deal with the tariff in such a way that the cost of living will be reduced. It is argued that if you attempt to deal with the tariff you are going to injure the industries of this country. Are not those industries being injured now on account of the unrest that

is being caused by the high cost of living? If we can remove some of that unrest we are to that extent going to stabilize our industries. So I believe it is in the interest of the country as a whole that we should without any further delay remove the duties from foodstuffs and the real necessaries of life.

It has been argued that it is impossible to deal with the high cost of living; that it is too intricate a subject. I find that in New Zealand in the year 1915 the Government passed what is termed a "Cost of Living Act," in which they attempted to reduce the cost of many of the necessaries of life. I saw an article the other day dealing with the price of footwear, and stating that in New Zealand the Government regulated the cost of the leather supplied to the manufacturers, and instructed them to manufacture only certain classes of boots in order that there should be a standardization of footwear, with a view to reducing the cost to the lowest possible point. We might very well keep in mind that it is possible to introduce legislation.-preceded, of course, by proper investigation.-that will attempt to relieve the unrest that is due to the high cost of living.

Now, as to profiteering. I feel that one of the greatest reasons for the present unrest, is the extravagant display of luxuries by people who have amassed wealth, because such display arouses dissatisfaction among those who have not the same means, and these feel that the men of wealth are getting too much profit out of the industries of this country compared with what the workers themselves are obtaining in the way of wages. That is one of the reasons for the demand by the working classes for co-operation or a share in the profits of industry. To remove the feeling against profiteering, I hope that very advanced steps will be taken this year in connection with our income taxation so that the real wealth of the country will be made to bear its share of the cost of government, and that wealthy people will be made to feel the burden as they have not felt it in the past.

The promises made during the war undoubtedly were featured by the assurance that following the war, there would be greater democracy throughout the world, and I think labour feels that that greater democracy should be realized without delay. If we are to have a new world we must have different living conditions. We must not have the housing conditions that have existed in the past; and we must attempt to look after the old and the infirm

by legislation rather than leaving them to be taken care of by fraternal societies and other organizations. *

As to the eight-hour day, I may say that in the business I conduct we have had the eight-hour day for some years, and as a result of that experience I am an advocate of the adoption of the eight-hour day in every line of business in this country.

Topic:   J006 COMMONS

Edward Walter Nesbitt



How much does my hon. friend think that the cost of living will be reduced by adopting the eight-hour day for farming?

Topic:   J006 COMMONS

William Ashbury Buchanan



I am speaking of the industries of this country. I do not think that it is practicable to adopt the eight-hour day for farmers. In the summer they may be working twelve hours or more a day, and in the winter they may not work for more than four or five hours a day.

Topic:   J006 COMMONS

Edward Walter Nesbitt



So far- as the farmers of Ontario are concerned, they work twelve and fifteen hours a day winter and'summer.

Topic:   J006 COMMONS

Some hon. MEMBERS:


Mr. BUOHANAbl: I would like very

much to be able to continue the discussion with the hon. member for North Oxford, but it is impossible under the circumstances. As to the eight-hour day, I would like to quote the views expressed by Lord Leverhulme, a member of the British House of Lords, and one of the best known business men in Great Britain. He is not only advocating a reduction in the hours of labour to eight, but he is bringing the period down to six hours. I am not going to argue in favour of the six-hour day, but I would point this out, that in a book written by him he made the statement, that in the munitions industry in Great Britain at the commencement of the war, working hours at first were about twelve hours a day, and gradually they were reduced to eight and a half hours, and that this reduction of hours resulted in a greater production of munitions per day and perAveek. If that was the case, there cannot be very much objection to the adoption of the eight-hour day throughout this country. Lord Leverhulme in this volume from which I am quoting made this statement:

Government reports repeat over and over again, from definite experiments, that in a reasonable number of hours the human being turns out its maximum output. Fatigue the human being one day, let the man or woman come fatigued to work the following day, and so on, and after two or three days the output goes down, down, down, and is continually falling.

I think that is the case. I am satisfied that in my own business the production is just as good as when we had a nine-hour day.

In 1886 the output of a certain class of worker in the United Kingdom was 312 units;-

I am quoting these figures to exemplify an argument used by Lord Leverhulme to show that in the United States where they were more advanced in their legislation as regards working hours than they were in Great Britain, the production was greater.

In 1886 the output of a certain class of worker in the United Kingdom was 312 units. In 1906 it had dropped to 275 ; in 1912, the last recorded year before the war, it had fallen to 244-a drop of 68 units in twenty-six years. In the United States the output per worker in 1886 was 400 units; in 1906 it was 596 ; in 191 it was 600-a rise of 200 units. The output also rose during the same period in Australia, New Zealand, and Canada, so that Lord Leverhulme is forced, to the conclusion that, of the English-speaking races all over the world.

And Lord Leverhulme reaches the conclusion that by the reduction of hours of labour, production in Great Britain will not be interfered with, but rather it will be helped.

Since industrial troubles have arisen in this country, many views have been advanced as to proper co-operation between labour and capital. Only yesterday, I read in a Canadian paper an article explaining the system adopted by the Sears-Roebuck Company of Chicago. I am going to place the two systems that I have before me on record because I think they are of considerable value in this discussion:

The Sears-Roebuck Company, a great mailorder house which employs about 20,000 men and women, have had in operation for about three years a plan of profit sharing.

In 18 mo.nths of its operation, the plan discovered the following facts:

Ninety-one per cent of the eligible employees contributed to the fund.

The employees in 18 months paid into the savings fund about $439,500. The company contributed in the same period $1,318,712, that being 5 per cent of its net profits without deduction of dividends to stockholders.

Julius Rosenwald, president of Sears-Roebuck, made the following statement:

An employee earning $25 a week would, on the basis of the past two years' record, have accumulated in 20 years' service, approximately $2i0,0'00. An employee earning $50 a week would in the same period of service have accumulated $40,000. It is estimated that this is a minimum!

I quote this merely as an instance of the possibility of developing co-operation between working classes and employers in order to bring about greater contentment

and a better opportunity for living well in this world. The other view that I have here was expressed by a manufacturer from Brantford, Ontario, merely giving his idea of a scheme that might be adopted to encourage better relations between employers and employees:

1.-The payment of a fair living wage. The happiness of the workingman will not depend on whether he has an eight or nine-hour day-

That may be considered a contradiction of the argument I have advanced in relation to the eight-hour day, but I am giving it simply as the view of this gentleman.

but on ensuring him a wage sufficient to keep his family comfortably and permit them to enjoy the good things of life.

(2) The organization of sick benefit associations in connection with factories, similar to the Massey-Harris plan, the benefit to amount to say, $8 per week.

(3) Every manufacturer should insure his employees, so that in case of bereavement the family will have something to carry on with.

(4) Provision for old and faithful employees in the way of pensions when they retire.

(5) The taking of the employee into partnership to the extent of each man's earnings. If he earns $1,000 he should be paid the same dividend on that amount as is paid the shareholder. It would encourage men to be faithful and to look after the interests of the business, because in so doing they would also benefit.

Having expressed these views as regards what capital should do to remove some of the grievances of labour, I would say this in regard to the position that organized labour should take. One grievance that the employer has and, I think, has justly, is that when he engages what might be termed a union man, he is not always guaranteed that the man is efficient for the work he is engaged to do. Labour should see that every man who is provided with a union card is efficient, and is entitled to earn the wage that is paid to him. It should also see that when an agreement is made with an industrial concern, that agreement is kept, not only by the union but by the employer. If we could bring about a proper understanding between labour and industry, I am satisfied that all agreements would be observed and that we could have a guarantee of efficiency.

I may be a little advanced in expressing the view that we should encourage labour representation in the House of Commons. I believe many of the problems we have to deal with to-day would be solved a good deal more easily i.f we had in the House a few men who represented the views of labour, and we do not have them here at the present time and we should encourage them. That would be an advantage not

only to the Government, but to Parliament and the country. Probably one way in which we could bring about a proper representation of labour would be by the adoption of proportional representation in Canada.

I have listened to the remarks of the hon. member for Winnipeg Centre (Mr. Andrews), and I am inclined to think that while at the beginning the difficulty in Winnipeg may have originated with reasonable labour men, it got into the hands of unreasonable labour men and I believe the One Big Union is at the back of the movement there. I have no sympathy whatever with the One Big Union, because no organization in Canada that expresses sympathy with Bolshevism and the Spartacans in Germany could have my sympathy, and as I understand it, the One Big Union, when created in Calgary, expressed sympathy with those movements. What I want to see is a development in Canada along constitutional lines, and we should keep as much as possible in advance, but I do not think the reasonable labour people of Canada have any sympathy whatever with the movements in Russia and Germany along revolutionary lines.

I have no disagreement with the principle of collective bargaining, as I understand it in my business and as I know it exists at the present time in the Canadian Pacific. If I might be personal and explain the method adopted in dealing with the International Typographical Union, collective bargaining is simply this: The International Typographical Union, in the city of Lethbridge, represents the employees in all the printing and job offices. And when we come to negotiate an agreement with the union we negotiate it with the employees of all the offices, and representatives of the employers meet representatives of the employees. That, in my judgment, is collective bargaining; but if collective bargaining goes beyond that and means that men in the baking, or milling, or moulding business are going to decide whether an agreement in another line of business is to be accepted or not, then I disagree with collective bargaining along that line. But if it is to be bargaining between men and employers in a certain line of business, then I am quite satisfied to have it generally adopted throughout Canada.

It would be in the interest of Canada that we should remove a good deal of the suspicion that exists between employers and employees and between employees and employers. I know the employer is under the

difficulty that he is suspicious of the motives of his employees, and on the othei hand the employee has the same suspicion wben dealing with the employer. I do not say that is always the case, but it is the case to a very great extent.

If we can get the heads of the industries of the country to trust and co-operate with the men in their employ to a greater extent than they have done in the past, 1 believe we shall remove a great many of the difficulties that have arisen. If I may make another reference to that book of Lord Leverhulme, one of his principles was this: " Trust labour whole-heartedly and wisely, and all will be well." Lord Leverhulme, one of the greatest employers of labour in the Mother Country, has been able to get along well with labour by cooperating with and trusting the men, and I feel that if we develop that feeling of trust in this country we shall alleviate many of the difficulties that have existed.

In conclusion, I would urge the Government to consider the organization of a permanent commission-I am not going to try and foist on the Government another commission, but I think it would be in the interest of labour and capital in this country if we had a commission somewhat of the same type as the Railway Commission to move about the country and consider difficulties that might arise, and try and solve them before they develop into a strike, when sometimes the difficulties are almost impossible of solution. There are many little differences and difficulties that occur in industries that, with a proper presentation of the case to an impartial tribunal could, I am satisfied, be solved before they had reached the stage where they are beyond solution and where a strike develops. It might be difficult to form in Canada a commission that could cover the whole country, and it might be necessary to have it divided so as to deal with East and West, because the commission would undoubtedly be kept busy meeting individuals from the Atlantic to the Pacific who had representations to make. I feel that it is our duty at this really critical period in the history of industry in Canada to get together, not only those who sit on the Opposition side but those who sit on the Government side as well, and do all that is possible to bring about a solution of these problems, in order that we may have peace and become the Canada that the men who fought and died for us in France aimed to possess when they came back to this country.

Topic:   J006 COMMONS

William Folger Nickle


Mr. W. F. NICKLE (Kingston):

I do not know whether I can usefully add anything to this discussion, as when I came to the House this afternoon I had not the slightest intention of seconding the resolution of the hon. member for North Winnipeg (Mr. Blake), but when he wanted a seconder I was very glad to lend my name so that the matter might be discussed.

In the discussion that has taken place it seems to me that we are to an extent not appreciating the changed conditions that have taken place, particularly in Winnipeg. Like the hon. member for North Winnipeg and the hon. member for Lethbridge (Mr. Buchanan), tl have endeavoured to secure as best I could a correct appreciation of the development of the facts in reference to the Winnipeg strike. I agree with wnat the Lon. member for North Winnipeg says in this respect, that the strike was originally precipitated probably because the ironmasters were unwilling to recognize collective bargaining,. that term being accepted in the ordinary sense. It means the ironmasters were not prepared to recognize the organizations within their own shops as having the right to speak and bargain for those whom they represent. There was also the question of hours and wages, but the crucial issue over which the cleavage occurred was whether or not collective bargaining should be recognized by the ironmasters, and this, as I understand it, was refused by them. But when the break toox place a change came o'er the spirit of the dream. The Central Strike Committee came into existence, and as the strike continued that committee became more aggressive in the demonstration and assertion of its point of view. Collective bargaining in the narrow sense of the word gave way to a different collective bargaining as being demanded. The collective bargaining, as I understand it, that is demanded to-day is not the collective bargaining that was refused by the ironmasters, and which, I may say in passing, I think they would have been wise in granting, but it is a new collective bargaining. It is a collective bargaining that recognizes tne right of a central strike committee to determine and bargain for the rate of wages and other conditions, not in respect of any particular employment, but in respect of any employment where there may be a difference. That changes the entire situation. It takes the bargaining away from the employees of a factory or craft and turns it over to a recognized outside committee, who shall have power to determine what the rate of wages and conditions shall 192

be in any particular industry or craft. The hon. member for Kamouraska (Mr. Lapointe) was Keen in directing attention to this point. It seems to me he overlooked another fundamental point when he laid emphasis on the fact that the extreme socialistic view as represented by the Independent Workers of the World refused to recognize collective bargaining in any sense. To be consistent, the Independent Workers of the World and those who hold their views must be unwilling to accept collective bargaining in any of its phases, because they are unwilling to recognize the position of capital in industry. They are unwilling to recognize bargaining at all because, they say, there should be no such thing as capital in industry, that labour and the community are the only two parties interested in industry. In other words, that industry should not either directly or indirectly be affected by capital, but that labour, as the operators of industry, and the community that purchases the goods are the only two parties concerned, and that therefore there should be no collective bargaining because it is impossible for one party to bargain with himself. Labour is to take control of industry, and therefore labour could not bargain with itself in control. But to a very great extent that is theoretical.

Coming now to the practical, -we are face to face to-day in Canada and throughout the world with conditions that have confronted belligerent nations at the conclusion of all great wars, namely, unrest and high prices of foods, but there never was a time in the history of the world when a war produced such world-wide conditions, and the problem that confronts us to-day Teally is this: The immensity of -the task that we have just completed has practically put all the world -at one, in that high prices prevail not only in the countries which took part in the war but in other countries throughout the iw-orld. If hon. members interested in this discussion will turn to the last copy of the Labour Gazette which we secured in our boxes a day or so ago they will see that the cost of staple foods in the family budget has risen from $7.34 in 1913 to $13.35 to-day, and that the grand total of -the budget, as mentioned by the hon. member for Peterborough (Mr. Burnham), has risen from $14.02 to $21.34. But, Sir, these conditions are nbt confined to Canada. They are world-wide, and as I shall not be here to-night, and have but a few moments at the present time, I shall but roughly direct the attention of the House to -some of the conditions one finds


throughout the world. In the United States, for instance, prices have tremendously increased. The Canada Labour Gazette says:

The index number of the retail prices of foods in the United States calculated1 by the Bureau of Labour Statistics showed a considerable decrease for February, being down to 172, as compared with 185 for January, 187 for December, 1918, and 183 for November, 1918, and 160 for January, 1918, and 100 for the year 1913.

The normal price is taken as 100.

In the United Kingdom the Minister of Labour reported the retail prices of food to be 113 per cent higher on April 1st than in July 1914, as compared with a level 120 per cent the month before

In Norway the statistical officer reported the cost of living for a family in November, 1918, to be 155 per cent higher than in July, 1914.... In retail food prices at Borne an advance of 1.8 per cent was reported in January, the level being 159 per cent higher than before the war. In Milan the cost of. living for a family in February was calculated to be 253 per cent higher than before the war, food being up 298 per cent, clothing 274 per cent, heat and light 11'5 per' cent, while rent was unchanged.

In South Africa the increase was about 40 per cent. And thus it is throughout the whole World. The question naturally is, why is this so? And the difficulty is in obtaining the facts. If we could get all the facts, then probably we should be able to apply economic theories to them and more easily find a solution. The hon. member for Kamouraska (Mr. Lapointe) said something which I was sorry to hear him say, because I think it only adds fuel to the fire that exists throughout the country. He directed the attention of the House and of the country to what he stated as a fact: That the food trusts, as he termed them, and the milling trusts, were responsible for the very large increase in the cost of living. He very briefly called attention to the immense profits made by these industries, and, by his speech, gave the House and the country to understand that if these tremendous profits had been swept away the result would have been a very substantial decrease in the cost of commodities supplied by these industries. Now, Sir, I read with great care the report of Mr. O'Connor when it was published, and I also read the report of the cold storage inquiry as conducted in Toronto and elsewhere; and I gave considerable attention to the report of the milling industry as prepared by Miss McKenna. If I understand the purport and finding of these reports, it was to the effect that while these industries, through the immensity of their overturn, made very large profits, yet if the profits in respect of

fMr. Nickle.]

each item of overturn were reduced to nothing it would practically have amounted to this, that the cost of foodstuffs would have been decreased by a negligible quantity. Not for a moment do I argue that these industries should be left with such large profits, but at a time like this, and such as we have experienced during the past four years, it is absolutely essential that production should be driven to the extreme, and you cannot expect men, while human nature is human nature, to conduct an industry unless it can be made profitable. Price must always be in excess of cost, if an industry is to be maintained; and if this Government had been unwise enough to put the margfn of profit so low that the industries could not have been successfully operated, then the industries would have closed. But I do think that the Government should take, as it did take- and probably should continue to take by way of taxes-a very large proportion of the unusual profits earned by these companies, because it is not difficult for me to understand the unrest that pervades the labour classes of the country when they see such stock as that of the Maple Leaf Milling Company growing from below par t.o within 160, and stock of the Dominion Textile Company which a short time ago wias 98, standing to-day somewhere in the neighbourhood of 120. What the working people of the country are asking is : Are we, after having contributed liberally of our flesh and blood to the cause of the country, to be called on at the present time to bear an unequal burden in relation to present day conditions? The hon. member for Matane (Mr. Pelletier) asked what was the cause of the unrest to-day; why were people willing to make sacrifices during the war and to-day were restive? It seems to me that the reason is this-and it is a fundamental reason-that, unless human nature changes, we will bear a great loss or suffer much in respect of a great gain that we anticipate, but will not bear the irritation of small things when we think we are being unjustly dealt with. And if I can gather the spirit of the labouring people to-day-and I may say that I have had in my riding three strikes within a year-the dissatisfaction that pervades their ranks is due to the fact that they know that increased wages have not brought them any greater comfort, and they are imbued with the idea that unusual and improper profits are being made by certain people. Now, Sir, when you consider the philosophy

that underlies wages, you have to realize that money is only a medium of exchange. Price is only the declaration of value in money, and value is the ratio of exchange of goods. What happened in Canada after the war broke out? We have not forgotten that within a few months following the outbreak of war there was great depression in the country and men were willing to work for anything, for the question resolved itself into the alternatives of work or starvation. Then munitions contracts began, and the cry was " Full steam ahead, because the Allies want munitions." Competition was eliminated because the need for munitions and war supplies was so great that the cost was immaterial. They had to be had, otherwise the war could not be successfully carried on; and none of us have forgotten those days in 1915 when we thought we had almost lost because we had not the shells and other necessary impedimenta of war, and as the demand for munitions became greater the cost of living increased. There was an inflation in currency, and you may have an inflation in currency in two ways: First, because there is more

money in the country than there should be, and, for a second reason, money may be circulating more rapidly. You may have a direct and an indirect inflation, and we had both in Canada. Vast amounts of money were being poured out in Canada, and money was circulating with great rapidity from the manufacturer down through to the workman and into the bank; fresh loans were made and the money went round again. Men received higher wages than they had got before, and prices rose correspondingly. We had in Canada a condition that has been experienced by every country at war. Prices were enhanced, but so long as times were good people did not complain. Wages rose, perhaps always somewhat behind prices, but there was a steady increase in wages in ratio to the increase in prices. But then peace came and the workmen were confronted with changed conditions. In all economic papers throughout the world,- and in our own newspapers, articles appeared which directed the attention of the workman to the fact that in the future he must look to a reduction of wages, because it was impossible, if Britain was to carry on her export trade and if Canada expected to conduct her business and secure trade, and to undertake the payment of her debts, for wages to remain as they were. Wages must come down, it was pointed out, 192A

because, in international trade, goods would be bought from the country which could most cheaply supply them. The workmen began to look around and to consider what their condition would be. One most thoroughly conversant with labour economics and world-wide conditions and a man of extensive knowledge in my riding, said to me: "I have worked and slaved during the war and never had such wages before. But the day after the war was over I found myself no better off than before the war, and all I have earned is gone, having been swallowed up in the cost of living." As a panacea for this evil-because the high cost of living is an evil-some gentlemen in this House advocate the -control of prices. It is a popular policy to shout that profiteering shall be stopped, but i't all depends on how you define your term. What is profiteering? Is profiteering to be defined as a reasonable effort by a man to produce his goods at the minimum of cost and sell them at the highest reasonable price? Or is profiteering to be regarded as the securing of monopolistic control, and by that control the lessening of supplies and the securing of prices out of proportion to the value of the goods? The first is quite justifiable, and if my views are worth anything in this House today, what I would urge is increased production. But if profiteering means, according to the second definition, the controlling of supplies and the -creation of a monopoly, and the taking advantage of the conditions so created to secure more than the article is worth, then profiteering should be condemned. But, Sir, the control of prices, is not as simple a matter as it appears to be. During the war France tried i-t and failed. According to a statement contained in Bulletin No. 27 of the Department of History and Political and Economic Science, Queen's University:

The Food Controller of France compares himself to a game keeper surrounded- by poachers and laments "that the tradespeople and m;ddle men have invented no end of tricks to evad-e his prescriptions, and this he blames for his embarrassments."

The control of prices was also tried in Germany-a country whose people had been accustomed to control, who were used to paternal government and to submit without complaint to governmental regulations.

The food controller of Germany said that he had utterly failed because ways were found by which the wealthy secured supplies from those who produced them, with the result that the condition of the poorer

people was worse with the control of prices than without. Mr. Hoover frankly admitted to the people of his country that price control could not be successfully operated.

In Canada conditions were such that the fishermen on the Pacific coast laid up their vessels because they were not able to make a living at the prices that were to be paid for fish. I only direct attention to this because I should be sorry to see the Government adopt a scheme that failed in other countries, and because I am satisfied that the last condition in this country would be worse than the first. The moment you adopt a food price that places the value, or the price, of a given article at less than the cost of production-because as I said at the beginning, no man will produce unless he can sell for more than it costs to produce-just so soon will the production fall off.

From the information I have been able to obtain from those who should know, and with whom I have discussed the question, it is evident that the great want in Canada to-day is agricultural production. We are an agricultural people. A great many of our young men went overseas. We have made a contribution to the war that I shall never regret. I do not agree with the hon. member for Matane (Mr. Pelletier) when he says that we impaired our national usefulness by the magnificent contribution that we made to the winning of the war. That is a contribution that our people will always be proud of and one which has placed Canada in a most enviable position in the eyes of the world. But, we would he blind to facts if we forgot that taking 450,000 or 500,000 of our men from the ordinary channels of industry has lessened the output of our industries. We would be blind to facts if we forgot that the destruction of war has robbed the world of a large part of the raw materials -used by the industries of Canada and other countries in their operations. We would be blind if we overlooked the fact that for the past four or five years a great majority of the young men of the world have been engaged in destruction rather than construction. Keeping all these points in view, I suggest that the Government should be careful not to make a move in the wrong direction, because if they start out wrongly, conditions will be worse than they are to-day.

I realize that discontent exists among the working people. I realize that they are not satisfied with their status. I do not know *whether or not a solution of the difficulty

IMr. Nickle.]

will be found in the Whitley report or not. It seems to me -that the principle embodied in that document has reference to conditions as they are in England more particularly than to the conditions as they 'are in Canada. In Great Britain the various crafts and trades are more closely co-ordinated than they are in Canada. We are a more scattered people and I doubt very much if the principles of the Whitley report could apply to Canada. But I say that the status of the working people has to be improved in this country. I do feel that the time has come when the demand of the working people for an eight hour day should be recognized-eight hours for five days a week, four hours on Saturday, Saturday afternoon for recreation and Sabbath for worship. I quite realize that it is impossible for this Government, within our constitutional limitations, to prepare and pass an eight hour day law but I do believe that the legislatures ought to give serious consideration to it.

Although I seconded the motion of my hon. friend from Winnipeg (Mr. Blake) this afternoon, I would not want to be understood as agreeing with every contention that he put forward. He stated two propositions at least this afternoon in which I think he is radically wrong. One is, if 1 understood him correctly, that he seemed to stand for the curtailment of free speech. I believe that is a mistake. I have always been impressed with the fact that there is safety in free speech. When in London and Glasgow in 1916 I heard it on the street corners and in public places. While in Glasgow I heard things said that were much more radical than .anything I had ever heard in Canada. While in Hyde Park I heard views expressed such as we are not accustomed to hear in this country. I have always felt that the free speech enjoyed in Glasgow and London was the safety valve of the people. If you give men an opportunity of voicing their views, while you may not agree with them you have an opportunity of refuting them. It is better to have views expressed in the open than in the byways and secret places.

Nor would I agree with the hon. member for Winnipeg that sympathetic strikes should be prevented by legislation. I do not believe that would get you anywhere. If you are going to recognize the right of collective bargaining as usually understood, if you are going to recognize the right of men to strike if they are not satisfied with the conditions of their employment, then you must recognize the right of those who are not satisfied with the recognition

being obtained by others of their craft to strike in sympathy and legislation against sympathetic strikes would not get you anywhere. It would make confusion worse confounded. It would make the unrest greater in Canada in the future than it is to-day. The parts in respect of which the Lemieux Act has failed are not the positive portions of the Act but those parts which say "Thou shalt not." Positive legislation is what is required and while I sympathize with some of the views advanced by the hon. member for Lethbridge (Mr. Buchanan), I want to urge the Government to be careful not to do something that will make conditions worse than they are to-day, but to do something that will bring employees and employers together, that will recognize the desire of labour for an improved status and that will bring at least harmony out of the discord that prevails in Canada. It is useless to say that this discord is mainly fomented by the foreigner. Vancouver, Victoria, and Calgary, are the homes of the strongest English-speaking groups that you have in any place in Canada and there is no place where the voice of discontent is more loudly heard than in these three cities.

At six o'clock the House took recess.

After Recess.

The House resumed at eight o'clock.

Topic:   J006 COMMONS

Charles Gavan Power

Laurier Liberal


For the past two weeks we of His Majesty's loyal Opposition have been content to keep silent while serious events weTe transpiring throughout the country. This silence of ours has been variously construed. We have been told, and have heard, that we feared to handle the situation. We have been told, too, that our silence may be attributed to our desire to allow the Government to remain embedded in the mire to which its own actions have brought it. But I think I can safely say, and in doing so I am speaking for everybody on this side, that we considered the situation too serious to attempt to inflame the minds of the public whose patience has already been stretched almost to the breaking point, and that we considered it was well to allow the Government ample time and opportunity to propose a solution and to come to a satisfactory settlement of the present unrest. We considered that it was possible for the Government to bring about, by legislation, by arbitration, or by some means, economic and industrial peace in

Canada. We have waited, as I have said, two whole weeks, and what has happened? We have the spectre of revolution, which first became apparent two weeks ago, appearing like a hydra-headed monster in dozens of Canadian cities. We have in cities everywhere, from Halifax to Vancouver, with the possible exception of those in the province of Quebec, which I am glad to say are as yet untouched by the prevailing malady, industrial unrest; we have an upheaval such as this Dominion has never seen. ' And, if we are to believe the reports of the press, anarchy is being openly advocated, revolt is being encouraged, and grim revolution stalks unmolested through the cities of our country.

The lime therefore has come for us to face the situation, and I am convinced that we will do so, not in a cowardly, vacillating fashion, but in the manner in which we have for four years faced the issue of war- as men, conscious of our duty, proud of our common heritage and steadfast in our purpose to maintain justice and advance the common welfare.

In order to come to a proper understanding of our situation, it is perhaps well to go back to those first principles which should be the mainspring of any action in the relations between man and man. These relations have become more and more complex as our civilization has advanced, and in modern times we are occasionally at a loss in our endeavours to establish a code for their proper determination; but the principles themselves are as immutable as the laws of nature, as old as the human race, as true to-day as they were when the tablets were delivered to Moses, or when the Saviour of the world delivered his sermon on the Mount.

Applying these principles to the relation of capital and labour, it is possible to enunciate certain truths which are generally admitted. These truths have found their best-expression in modern days in an encyclical of His Holiness, Pope Leo XIII, from which I expect to quote at great length. These truths can be summed up somewhat as follows: The condition of the worker is

primarily of the utmost concern to the State: He should not be allowed to be

exploited by capital as a mere instrument for the making of money; hence it is unjust that the fruits of man's sweat and labour should not belong to him: As a

rule it is quite legitimate for the worker and the capitalist to bargain; but there comes a time when, driven by fear, necessity, or otherwise, the labourer finds it im-

possible to make a bargain which will give him sufficient to gain a frugal, honest and honourable living: When that time comes it is the duty of the State to see that the labourer is not oppressed by the capitalist -to enable the employee to make a fair bargain with his employer: Further,

the standard of living should not be the minimum at which the worker can keep body and soul together; there should be given to him a wage sufficient to provide him with comfort and recreation, to enable him to educate his family, and to provide against accident, sickness, and old age: To establish this standard, it is essential that the workers unite, for experience teaches us that man is naturally greedy, and the rich and powerful will rarely concede anything to the poor unless coercion is applied: It is the duty of the State,

therefore, to foster and encourage such unions when the poor have not the same facilities for protecting themselves as the rich: It is also the duty of the State as much as possible to remove all causes of complaint between employer and employee, to prevent by remedial measures, taken beforehand, any recourse to the strike, which is invariably a great economic loss, in many cases most seriously affecting those not intimately concerned in the struggle, and always leaving rancour and bitterness in its train. It is neither justice nor humanity to grind men down and stunt their minds with labour of their bodies: Daily labour must be regulated so that it is not protracted beyond the strength of the workers. In all agreements between master and workman it is implied that proper leisure be left to the workman for rest, recuperation and recreation.

Now, having laid down these principles, let us examine the present situation. The demands of the men on strike, if I understand them rightly, are somewhat as follows: first, recognition of their unions;

second, an eight hour day; third, collective bargaining.

With regard to the first, recognition of The unions, it is so generally admitted that the necessity for argument is scarcely apparent. Besides, I have an Order in Coun-[DOT]cil of July, 1918, in which it is stated:

That all employees have the right to organize in trade unions, and this right shall not be ^denied or interfered with in any manner whatsoever, and through their chosen representatives should be permitted and encouraged to negotiate with employers concerning working conditions, rates of pay, or other grievances.

tMr. Power.]

So there is no doubt that the Government acknowledges that the unions are to be recognized.

The second point, the eight-hour day, presents, perhaps, more difficulty. But bearing in mind that the sweating of employees is a most inhuman and immoral act, we have to come to the conclusion that under the strain of modern industrial conditions a man cannot work very much more than one-third of the twenty-four hours. This fact had been scientifically proved before the war; but it became more generally admitted when a commission of the British Government on the health of munition workers found that the efficiency of the labourers was augmented and that their health was better undeir an eighhhour working day than under a nine-hour or ten-hour working day. Ten hours work was found over-fatiguing and incompatible with the highest efficiency. Further, since the labourer is entitled to a certain time for rest and recreation, we must at least take that time from the ordinary ten hours of work. The members of the American National War Board on July 20, 1918, issued a memorandum on the eight-hour working day, and their conclusion was as follows:

The way to crime and chaos lies' plainly in the exploitation of our men and our women as if they were coal or oil. In our free America there is to be industrial and social freedom. Out of the ferment of unrest there has already begun to come a truer sense of the human values; a better adjustment of law to those values; a keener conscience as to the treatment of those values and the conservation which shall not stop with saving water or wood, but will make its greatest and more fruitful task the conserving of our people themselves.

So that we find it generally admitted in Europe and in America that an eight-hour day increases efficiency, promotes health, and helps' towards the happiness of the labourer.

Now I come to what is, perhaps, the most difficult of the demands made by the workmen-that is, collective bargaining. It is generally admitted that unions of any particular craft or trade should be recognized, and should be allowed to bargain with their employers.

But it is not generally admitted that, for instance, the employer of a metal worker can be asked to bargain with regard to the wages of that worker with a typesetter or a carpenter. This is the objection which,

I understand, has been voiced by the Winnipeg Citizens' Committee, and also by the

Minister of Labour. If we admit that a worker may bargain collectively in a given trade, I hardly see how we can deny him the right to bargain as a class. We have already granted different classes in this country the right to bargain as a class. Lawyers, for instance, in every province in Canada, have their bar associations or societies, and they not only bargain, but have their bargains, arrangements and fees consecrated by Acts of Parliament. The farmers-and all farmers are not the same kind of farmers, because there are different classes of farmers-are now endeavouring to bargain with the Government with regard to the tariff, although I do not know with how much success. The manufacturers -and there are many different classes of manufacturers-are also endeavouring to bargain collectively with the Government. Therefore, if one class, the farmer class, or barrister class, or manufacturing class, is allowed to bargain as a class collectively, I cannot understand why the labourer should not be allowed to do the same.

As I have already said, capital is invariably greedy of its privileges, it invariably seeks to obtain further privileges; and it can hardly obtain these further privileges except at the expense of the man who produces the capital. Therefore, if we are to remain in the present state; that is to say where one trade bargains with its employer, we might be in such a situation as this. We might find a strike of metal workers, such as we have, in which the employers would win. The strikers would be obliged to return to their work and the increase in wages and the better conditions of labour which they demanded would not be granted. I have no doubt that other capitalists, encouraged by this victory and using the military tactic of destroying one enemy after another, would be very pleased to emulate the victory of the metal men, and, one by one, our trade unions would be destroyed or rendered impotent. I, therefore, hardly think it is possible for us to admit the right of one trade, one craft to strike and not admit the right of all other labourers in the same locality or even in the same country to bargain collectively with regard to their own conditions, providing they have a common interest, and in the class which we have before us there is a common interest. There is a general demand in Canada for an eight-hour day. There is very little more to be said as regards the sympathetic strike. If we admit the principle of collective bargaining, there is absolutely no reason why we should not admit the principle of a

sympathetic strike. The same arguments apply in both cases, and if we admit recognition of the unions and collective bargaining, we should admit the principle of sympathetic strikes.

There is a question whether or not we should admit the advisability and the possibility of a strike amongst the servants of the State. By servants of the State, I mean those who serve a Government, whether federal, provincial or municipal. The condition of the worker under the State is somewhat different from that of the worker under the private capitalist. The former is assured, first of all of a permanent position; he receives his wages, and he knows that through political action he may be able to obtain higher wages. I do not think anybody can reasonably object to his striking, but we can all reasonably object to his joining a sympathetic strike. He, after all, is the servant of the people of Canada; he, after all, is administering or operating utilities for the whole of the people of Canada. The postal clerk is delivering the mail; the fireman is putting out fires; the policeman is the bulwark of law .and order. The same reasons which apply in favour of allowing a sympathetic strike in other trades apply in favour of prohibiting a strike amongst the servants of the State, because the latter can, by direct political action, increase their salaries, improve their conditions and establish a condition whereby their wishes may be met. The civil servant has not been sweated by the ordinary profiteer; he is the servant of the State, and should things not satisfy him, be has a good weapon in his hand-the ballot. Therefore, we should admit recognition of the union, the eight-hour day, collective bargaining, the right of civil .servahits to strike, but not the right of civil servants to join a .sympathetic strike.

It would, perhaps, be well to examine a little into the causes of the present unrest. There is, I admit, a general world-wide cause. We have just been through the greatest war in history; commerce has been dislocated, and if I may say so, our population has, to a certain extent, been brutalized. We have found that might and force have been the only means whereby justice and humanity have been able to conquer, so that in .spite of ourselves we have come to the conclusion that if we are right, we must fight. Therefore, amongst the people of Canada, as amongst other people throughout the world, the feeling ha*

arisen that we should have no patience; that we should proceed at once to obtain what is ours. This feeling is general, and it is probably brought about by the conditions of the last four years. But we cannot altogether blame on the world-wide war the state of unrest into which our country has been brought. There is no doubt that some time before the war the labouring classes were in a state of ferment. We had strikes; we had threatened strikes; we had unemployment; the conditions of labour were by no means normal.

However, we have found that in the four years of the war the world has advanced probably two or three generations, and that which satisfied the people before the war will satisfy them no longer. We have also found that there has been something wrong with our economic system. To quote a newspaper which I read recently;

The traditions of law show more respect for *property than for the person-more for Capital than for the Labour that makes wealth. This is all wrong. And labour does well to try by every honourable means in its power to procure for itself equal justice. Labour has as good a right as Capital to collective bargaining. Capital is doing it all the time in spite of laws to the contrary. As well might the Kaiser have attempted to dispute the right of the Allies to make Poch their generalissimo, as for capital to dispute allied labourers right to unity of action and collective bargaining.

The world has changed, and we cannot judge men and affairs by the standards which we would have used four or five years ago. To come down.to the more particular causes of the strike, we have found, to quote again the same paper, which dn turn quotes from one of the Winnipeg papers, I think tihe Labor News:

The Government was indifferent to it all. It appointed food controllers who did not control. It recommended titles for profiteers. It muzzled criticism, suppressed free speech, strangled independent newspapers, censored the truth and imprisoned the protesters. It let contracts to its patrons, and so by sharing in the plunder rendered itself impervious to protest and indifferent to need.

We find that the Government of this country, in disregard of our constitution and our traditions issued during some eight or nine months decrees as tyrannical and ukases as evil as ever were issued by the Bolshevik government of Russia or by its predecessor the Czar himself. Order in Council after Order in Council was issued until at last the people decided that they would no longer have any respect for them. The Government considered Parliament useless, Parliament was not summoned in any crisis whatsoever, but an Order in Council was passed; and, whether right or wrong,

the result was always the same-to bring into still greater disrepute the law and constitution of our country.

The policy of the Government with regard to the labour situation has been weak and vacillating. It reminds me of nothing so much as the policy of the last king of France before the Revolution, who, when the revolutionists were crying at the gates of his palace, was one moment for granting them a National Assembly and the next, for sending the ring-leaders to the Bastille. It might be likened also to the policy of the Czar just before the revolution, when one moment he was for summoning the Duma, and the next for letting loose the most reactionary elements in that country. And so with the Government of this country. In July, 1918, a set of pious ejaculations were issued by the late lamented Minister of Labour (Mr. Crothers). We were told what the relations of capital and labour ought to be. The capitalist was told to be good, the labour man was told to be good, we were all told to be good; but no solution was found for the difficulty. Still later, after a trip West of the Minister of Public Works (Mr. Carvell) an Order in Council was issued on October 11, 1918, in which it was decreed:

Any male person, employer or employee, of military age, 'as defined1 by the Military Service [DOT] Act, who violates any of the regulations above-mentioned shall be subject to the military law for the duration of the present war and de-mobilzation thereafter, and shall forfeit any exemption granted him and any right to obtain exemption under the Military Service Act.

As hon. gentlemen will remember, that raised a storm of protest throughout the country, and on the 2nd of November the Order in Council was amended. Later on, when we were still in

That the Government is informed that concerted movements are now under way on the part of employers and workmen respectively which aim at improved relations as between employers and workmen, and looking to the elimination, so far as may be practicable, of lockouts and strikes in connection with Industrial disputes.

'I am very glad the Government was informed of that, and I would have been still more glad had their hopes been well founded. Unfortunately, shortly after this pronouncement from the Government, the unrest became acute, culminating in the present strikes at Winnipeg, Vancouver and elsewhere.

We have, therefore, as one of the proximate causes of the present unrest the diffi-

culty which the Government has found in demobilization. I do not intend to go into this question at any great length. Many theories have been advanced as to whether demobilization should proceed more rapidly or more slowly, but we have found this: The Government, despite all its agencies-its employment agencies, its land settlement scheme, its war-service gratuity scheme, and even its pension scheme-has been unable to find work for the returned soldier, and unable to provide for the dislocation of industry consequent on the armistice. The Government have been unable in any way to prevent or forestall the unrest which it was patent to any one of us would follow the conclusion of the war.

The cost of living has been going up by leaps and bounds, and there has been no attempt to prevent or control it on the part of the Government. I do not wish to tire the House by quoting the figures of the percentage of rise for all the countries in the world, but I might mention the increase that has taken place since 1914 in the following countries: United Kingdom, 120 per cent; France, 137 per cent; Sweden, 220 per cent; Canada, 84 per cent; United States, 75 per cent. One hon. gentleman stated today that in New Zealand the cost of living had gone up higher than my figures show, but if my figures are correct, and I have reason for thinking so, the cost of living in New Zealand in October, 1918, had increased only 42 per cent. So it will be seen that the increase in the cost of living in Canada has been exceeded only in European countries subject to blockade conditions. Compared with all other countries except these the increase in the cost of living in Canada is by far the highest.

It has increased considerably more than in the United States. There is twice the increase suffered by New Zealand and nearly two and-a-half times that in Australia. In one paper it is stated:

For four years our Government has permitted and even fostered one of the most nefarious following now to become organized into a band of middlemen, which is as great a curse upon the country as the cold storage octopus. It has an army of agents running wild through the country buying up everything in and out of sight upon the farms, giving the farmers such fabulous prices that it not only unsettles and sometimes prevents them from taking advantage of the normal rise in prices, but they themselves are admitting that the produce is not worth the prices that they are being sold for in the city of Quebec.

The excuse is that there is a shortage of food in Europe. If there is a shortage of food in Europe, where there is revolution and strife, is that any reason why we

should export more of our surplus and create the same labour unrest at home? Would it not be better to take the bull by the horns and bring down the high cost of living by spending millions immediately in building cold storage houses and controlling the farmers' produce, so that there may be normal prices, only charging sufficient commission to pay the working expenses of the cold storage plants? Then, again, can we not make a law to imprison the dishonest promoter and speculator by making it an offence punishable by imprisonment for middlemen to engage in speculation?

There is another reason for this general unrest. I think the Government is, to some extent at least, responsible for it. The wealthy people of Canada have not been judicious in the manner in which they have enjoyed their wealth. It is said:

The wage-earner is measuring his income against the evidences of luxury, advertisements of ladies' dresses at prices that have to support a family for a year, and not too much of them at that. Gentlemen's neckties at from five to fifteen dollars, and all else in proportion- goods whose commendation evidently is their dearness. Daily appear such appeals to fashion luxury in the newspapers as might well be called immoral in their encouragement to ungainly waste. Meantime, the wage-earner reads with rage of millions made out of war necessities, and of one claim upon the government, that he has to support, for eighteen million dollars, which a contractor would have made had his product not been rejected. He stands aghast at such figures, and, in his corporate capacity of trades unionist, he rebels against it. Here is the way the Winnipeg worker sees it: "During all these fearful years the rich became richer and the poor poorer, and with the increase of wealth the arrogance of the wealthy increased. Their wealth did not make them more beneficent. It made them mad for still more wealth. They became more and more callous and indifferent to the needs of the masses."

I charge the Government with responsibility, even though indirect, for this condition of things, in that they allowed this profiteering. They .allowed great wealth to be made in munitions and in the sale of supplies to our Allies, and people made wealthy through the instrumentality of the Government used their wealth most injudiciously. We have been told that we have in this country a very undesirable element-the Bolshevik!-and that in Winnipeg this element is in control. I am not fully apprised of all the circumstances of the strike in Winnipeg, but so far as I can see there is little on the part of the labour men except a just and legitimate claim of labour to enjoy the fruits of its labour and to enjoy better conditions. But it is be-

coming the habit in this country to designate every one a Bolshevist with whom we cannot agree. This is a very old failing of the Tory party. For centuries any one who opposed the Tory party was always hailed as the Bolshevist of that day. I remember having read in my history of England of Lord Russell and Sydney having been called Whigs. They were hanged for saying and, indeed, for believing, that the King was not King by divine right. They were the Bolshevists of those days. And the Roundheads, the Puritans, were the Bolshevists of the day of Charles I and Charles II, because they dared to insinuate that the immorality and the bestiality of the courts of England of that time were not conducive to the proper government of the people of England. Later on people were condemned to the dungeons for being Liberals. Then it became a byword of reproach to call a man a Radical. We have learned a lot from the early Radicals, and we have learned a lot even from our own "Radicals. Had it not been for the Liberals and the Radicals of this country we should not at the present time be enjoying responsible government! Men of the Family Compact in Ontario, I presume, called William Lyon Mackenzie a Radical; and yet, were it not for William Lyon Mackenzie,

I doubt whether we would be sitting here in this Parliament to-day. Again, men in Quebec who denied responsible government to the people of Quebec and Lower Canada, called Louis Joseph Papineau a Radical and drove him into exile. But had Louis Joseph Papineau and those associated with him not taken the stand which they took, I am very doubtful whether there would be responsible government in that province and whether we would be sitting here to-day. Later on still, the same attitude was held in regard to those whose views were different from the policies of the party in power, particularly the Tory party, and such persons were called Socialists. Yet we have taken a great deal from the Socialists. The present Government, Tory and all as it is, has adopted the naturalization of railways, something which thirty, forty or fifty years ago would have been considered extreme socialism. To come to our own day and to the present moment, any one who seems to oppose the Government is promptly described as a Bolshevist. Well, Mr. Speaker, if opposition to the Government, and if a desire to establish the rights of labour, and a wish to have it understood once for all that we in this country are opposed to anything which will rob labour of

its dignity and nobility, is Bolshevism, then Sir, I am wilding to be called a Bolshevist. But if Bolshevism means the subversion of all authority; if it means anarchy; and if it means the government of the country by one class alone; lastly, if it means, as we have been told it does in Russia, the nationalization of women and the murder of all those who are opposed to the theories held by certain sections of the people, then undoubtedly I am opposed to it. And I think you will find that in expressing this opinion I am voicing the views of most of those who have seen service at the front. The ordinary returned soldier has been a labourer, and was such before the war and during the war. I should say, without hav-ig 'the exact figures at my disposal, that before the war fully 20 per cent of the army consisted of wage earners; and further that 60 to 75 per cent were those who worked with their hands as day labourers. These men cannot be expected to become strike breakers. You cannot expect them to lose sympathy with their fellow workers. You cannot expect them to enter into competition with the men at present engaged in manual labour. You cannot expect them in any way to help the capitalist, whom to a large extent they blame for the late war. You cannot expect them to give up their own comrades and to put their services at the disposal of any person who has in view the victory of capital over labour.

He also knows what the promises of the Government are. He has been promised a great deal and given very little. He has his own troubles with them in connection with demobilization, pensions and gratuities and I consider that he is more apt to side with the worker than with the capitalist.

Having said all this, I think the least I should do is to suggest a remedy. A remedy would be to grant the demands of the strikers in so far as an eight-hour day and collective bargaining are concerned. In regard to the civil servants, if they do not want to go back to work, put somebody else in their places. In regard to the undesirable elements which we have in the country, or which I am told we have, if they are undesirable, if their theories and actions are such that we find that the free air of Canada does not suit them, let us deport them. Let us deport them whether they come from the slums of Warsaw from the ghettos of Rome, or whether they be the cockney off-scourings of Whitechapel or the dock rats of Liverpool. It matters not who they are, if they are undesirable citizens; I do not care where they come from; they are not fit to remain in

our country. We had been led to believe until to-day that this undesirable element in Western Canada was the foreign element. We find now that the leaders of the Winnipeg strike are not of the foreign element but are British born-the British born that we heard so much about a few years ago. If these men are not satisfied with the laws of our country as they are at present administered; if they are not satisfied with our manners and customs, deport them. I would like to quote from a little pamphlet entitled " Social Reconstruction -A General Review of the Problems and Survey of Remedies." It is signed by such a conservative body the Roman Catholic bishops of the United States. They say:

The labourer must come to realize that he owes his employer and society an honest day's work in return for a fair wage, and that conditions cannot be substantially improved until he roots out the desire to get a maximum of return for a minimum of service. The capitalist must likewise get a new viewpoint. He needs to learn the long-forgotten truth that wealth is stewardship, that profit-making is not the basic justification of business enterprise, and that there are such things as fair .profits, fair interest and fair prices. Above and before all, he must cultivate and strengthen within his mind the truth which many of his class have begun to grasp for the first time during the present war; namely, that the labourer is a human being, not merely an instrument of production ; and that the labourer's right to a decent livelihood is theT'first moral charge upon industry. The employer has a right to get a reasonable living out of his business', hut he has no right to interest on his investment until his employees have obtained at least living wages. This is the human and Christian, in contrast to the purely commercial and pagan, ethics of industry.

In conclusion, I have confidence in the Canadian workman. I have seen the Canadian workman in more difficult circumstances than those of to-day. I remember well the circumstances under which I saw the Canadian workman two years ago to-day when our trenches from Hooge to Mount' Sorrel had been completely wiped out. I saw the Canadian workmen counter-attack in broad daylight and in the face of numerous machine guns they never faltered. They carried on until there was hardly a man of them left and although they did not take the position on the first day they tried again and again and within two weeks every inch of the trench lost on the 2nd of June, every gun and every trench instrument that had been taken, were once more in the hands of the Canadian workman. Bearing that in mind I have no doubt that the man who was able to do that under those circumstances will be able to make arrangements whereby he will see to it that

he works for the greater prosperity and greater benefit of this country.

Topic:   J006 COMMONS

Arthur Meighen (Minister of the Interior; Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs)


Hon. ARTHUR MEIGHEN (Minister oi the Interior):

Mr. Speaker, the subject of debate does not concern directly any of the departments of the Administration for which I am just now responsible, but inasmuch as for the moment the seat of chief disturbance is in the province from which I come, and inasmuch as I had something to do with the study of the situation on the ground, I venture to intervene in the debate. The motion of my hon. friend from North Winnipeg (Mr. Blake) will have served a good end if it succeeds in throwing some light upon the age-long problem of the relations between capital and labour -and it can do no more than throw some light upon it-or if it succeeds in bringing into relief, and enabling us to study at close range, the difficult and concrete conditions under which that problem has taken acute form in Winnipeg and various cities of the country. It is wholly beyond hope that by any consideration this Parliament can give to it in any single debate, we can make any substantial progress .towards a solution of the world-wide problem of labour and capital. But perhaps it is not impossible that some ideas and principles may more clearly emerge whether merely precautionary, as were those with which the excellent speech delivered by the

9 p.m. hon. member for Kingston (Mr. Nickle) was replete, or whether of constructive positive policy, of which, I fear, so far every speech has been barren. In the struggle between labour and capital the history of the past has been the advance of the cause of labour, and the history of the future will he the same. No one can read the progress of the past or the signs of the times aright who is not prepared to admit that to the labourer belongs a larger, and ever larger, share of the product of his labour. Whenever legislation interferes it must be on behalf of the man behind. But merely stating a general principle like that does not lead us far in the consideration of any specific administrative acts that we can apply to the conditions that exist in this country.

The first thing necessary is to know the conditions that do exist and the causes that brought them about-what they are, and how far any general principle can be applied thereto. A general strike was declared in the city of Winnipeg on the 15th day of last month. Previous to that on the 10th day of the same month a strike had been

declared on the part of the employees of three concerns-the Dominion Bridge Company, the Manitoba Bridge and Iron Company, and the Vulcan Iron Works-of the city of Winnipeg.

The dispute between the employees of those companies and the companies was a dispute as to what part, if any, should be taken by a body of men elected by certain branches of labour known as the Metal Trades Council in the determination of the conditions of labour in the shops of those three concerns. It is commonly said in Winnipeg, and has often been repeated here, that the principle of collective bargaining was the principle upon which the two sides to that initial dispute split. In one sense that may possibly be correct, but a mere statement like that leads us nowhere, because collective bargaining in the form described by many members has never been denied, and is not claimed to have been denied, by any of the three companies who are taking part in this dispute.

Collective bargaining on the part of all three had been their practice for some time; so much so that one at all events, and I think all of them, had adopted the habit of each week consulting with shop committees of their men as to conditions in the factory, as to improvements that might be made, as to hours of labour and wages. That is to say the principle of collective bargaining had been applied, insofar as collective bargaining was constituted by the negotiations between any single concern and the employees of that concern as a body. That fact admits of no dispute.

On the other hand, however, it was contended on the part of the Metal Trades Council, which is affiliated with, or indeed a constituent part of the Trades and Labour Council of the city of Winnipeg, that a bargain made between the collective employees of a concern and that concern, should not stand as a bargain until it was ratified by the Metal Trades Council. To that the employers in each case objected. They placed their objections on the ground that the Metal Trades Council was constituted by men elected by bodies and by crafts who in large degree had no part in and had no relation to any craft engaged by them; on the further grounds that the Metal Trades Council as constituted was composed very largely of men elected by the Metal Trades of the railway companies, and that conditions that might obtain in the shops of the railway companies could not possibly apply to conditions in the competitive shops of the other companies, inasmuch as the one had to compete in the

markets and the other had not. However, it will be realized at a glance that there was a margin between the two sides to the controversy. There was a " No Man's Land " between. Collective bargaining by the employees in a single concern was not accepted as collective bargaining by the Metal Trades Council, nor by the Trades and Labour Council of the city. The employers, on the other hand, refused to extend, temporarily at all events, the principle of collective bargaining. They did, however, later agree that upon the establishment of anything in the nature of an organization between the employers themselves they would then be prepared to deal collectively with jthe united employees of the three concerns, or with a body of craftsmen of the description of those engaged by the three concerns, though there might be included outside parties not actually engaged by those concerns themselves.

It is only fair to those who went on strike to say that at the time the strike had been declared there was, so far as I know, no concession made of the willingness of the employers to negotiate otherwise than collectively with the employees of the three concerns respectively. Now in this relation it should be known at this stage, that in the opinion of the Minister of Labour the conception of collective employment, as entertained by the employers in that case was somewhat too narrow. fl&t was equally and very decidedly his opinion that the conception of collective employment, as contended for on the part of the Metal Trades Council, was so wide as to be impracticable and dangerous to the cause of labour itself. Hit is the opinion of the Minister of Labour that where there is an organization of employers, then it is the duty of that organization to deal collectively, not only with the united body of their own employees, but with at least single crafts and unions of employees, consisting not merely of their workmen but of men in the same trade or craft though employed by others.

The point at issue mainly is this, and the reason I will explain as I pass along: The employees contended that the Metal Trades Council should be supreme, that they should have the right of imprimatur and ratification of all engagements entered into by the employees of any concern with the management of that concern and the Metal Trades Council as constituted undoubtedly held within its personnel representatives of crafts that have nothing to do with the crafts engaged by the three concerns affected.

Now there are other elements in the controversy of which it is well that Parliament should have full knowledge. The Government of the province, chiefly through the spokesmanship of the Premier, had made strenuous endeavours to effect a reconciliation. In the course of its endeavours meetings were held and a proposal was made that everything in dispute, and the main thing was the principle of collective bargaining, because on the part of one at all events arrangements had really been arrived at between the employers and the employed, but had been refused ratification by the Metal Trades 'Council-a proposal was made that all the matters in dispute be referred to a board of arbitration, the personnel of which should be five, and all selected by the Prime Minister of the province. That w'as not concurred in on the part of the strikers. Then later on, and before the general strike-before the 15th day of May, when the general strike was declared-the Premier requested from the Trades and Labour Council, or the Metal Trades Council, I am not sure which and it does not make any difference-yes, he requested of the Trades and Labour Council, to know whether or not, if the principle of collective bargaining on the part of the Metal Trades Council were conceded by the employers the general strike would still take place, and to that request he received a negative reply. As to that there is no dispute, there can be no dispute. The general strike took place in the face of the denial of the president of the Trades and Labour Council-in the face rather of his assertion that it would take place whether or not collective bargaining on the part of the Metal Trades Council was acknowledged as a sound principle by the employers. Whether or not it would have been so acknowledged I cannot say, but at all events the contingency of its being acknowledged was refused on the part of the president of the Trades and Labour Council as sufficient to ward off the general strike. As a result the general strike took place. The industry of the city of Winnipeg was for the time being paralyzed ; public services were placed in a state of tie-up, and Winnipeg was virtually in a condition of isolation and siege.

Now, in discussing the inner principle of a general strike, and the rightness and the soundness of the action of a sympathetic strike, it is well to consider where action of that kind is bound to lead. It led in Winnipeg, as I say, to a general paralysis of the whole industrial structure of the city. It led to a denial of the necessities of life

to the people of that city, even to the strikers themselves.

And as a consequence inevitably it led to the establishment of a separate Government-or better, assertion of governmental functions on the part of those in charge of the strike itself. And why? Because it could not lead anywhere else. A general strike ties up all industries and all activities, and denies to all parts and elements of the community the service of the necessities of life, not only public service but each and every ministration, the delivery of bread, the distribution o,f milk, the circulation of water-indeed all things that are necessary for the protection and preservation of life. As a consequence, and in order that the strikers might themselves exist, they had to exercise control over the distribution of the necessities of life; they had to appropriate to themselves public services to which all the people had contributed; they had to declare that the public services were their property for the time being and could be used for their benefit alone. And they did so declare, and upon that declaration they acted. They had to declare, furthermore, that there should be such a distribution of water by which they themselves should be served, but by which many others should not be served at all; that there should be a distribution of the milk of the city, that whom they nominated should be provided but that the general public should be denied; they were further bound to declare that the very bread of life should be distributed to such as were named by them, but that it . should be refused to all others within the compass of the city of Winnipeg.

Those pretensions are an assertion of governmental authority. But the strike leaders were driven to make them if they were to continue effectively anything in the nature of a general strike. Consequently I say it is proved by the example of Winnipeg, and indeed follows inevitably from the very logic of the situation, that a general strike to succeed or, indeed, to continue, must result in the usurpation of governmental authority on the part of those controlling the strike. It did so result in Winnipeg; it must ever so result.

When that stage was reached, when that object lesson confronted the citizenship of Winnipeg, that citizenship was aroused and became organized, and as a consequence of that organization and of the united front it presented there was a rapid retirement on the part of those controlling the strike from the position of governmental authority

that they had assumed, and consequently and inevitably there was a reduction in the general strike itself, because the leaders could not continue the strike as an effective general strike without the maintenance at the same time of the exercise of the functions of 'Government. That is why in the last ten days the strike has not assumed the proportions and has not involved the hardship that it did in the early days of the struggle.

A sympathetic strike is, of course, essential if a general strike is to take place. A sympathetic strike is a strike on the part of a class of labour, based not upon any grievance of its own, but founded entirely upon sympathy for those involved in another quarrel. Hon. gentlemen opposite and also, I think, some hon. gentlemen on this side, have approved the principle of the sympathetic strike. Now, I do not want it to be assumed from what I shall say that there is any statutory office this Parliament can fill with regard to sympathetic strikes-at all events, any useful statutory office; there is, however, a function that any Government can exercise in this Dominion, and that is by making known where it stands on this question, and why it stands where it stands, and let that have its influence by way of conciliation, or by way of moral constraint.

Now, what I am arguing is that the sympathetic strike almost necessarily involves the violation of contracts. A union itself is based upon the principle of collective bargaining. A union cannot effect its purpose unless it can bargain as a union, and make its engagement with an employer or combination of employers. In a word, one of the principal functions of a union is to make an engagement on behalf of its constituents with the employer concerned. If, having made any such engagement it is to be free to break it by reason of the quarrels of others, then of what value is the engagement? As a result we found in the city of Winnipeg the remarkable spectacle of men in 'the city by the hundred, yes, I believe by the thousand, who were on strike, as they claimed, for the principle of collective bargaining, and who at the same moment were declaring that any bargain on their pant had no validity at all. In one breath they were saying: A collective bargain must be acknowledged on the part of the employers in this city. In the next breath they were saying: No bargain, collective or otherwise, has any force with us at all. Indeed they themselves were

f Air. Meighen.]

violating a collective bargain which they had made in one case only some few weeks before.

Now, it must be clear to hon. members that if the principle of the sympathetic strike, resulting in a general strike, is to be sound, then there can be no such thing as the sacredness of contracts-there can be no attribute of a bargain that would make a collective bargain of any value whatsoever. Therefore, I say that the Minister of Labour is sound and right when he declares that while a strike may be just when the balance of merit is on the side of the strikers, there is nothing that can justify a sympathetic strike in breach of a bargain; and there is nothing at any time that can justify a general strike involving upon the whole innocent community, the paralysis of industry, and the denial of the necessities of life.

In that condition of affairs we found Winnipeg when we visited it last week. We found at the same time a tremendous volume of public opinion well aroused and determined that assertion of government authority on the part of the strike leaders -or on the part of any one else-as opposed to the constituted authority of the country, should be at no time acknowledged by the-people of Winnipeg. And the citizens of Winnipeg in taking that position have rendered a service not only to their own city and province, but to this entire Dominion. They have shown an example to the citizens of this country that the body of sensible opinion in Canada can and will set its face decidedly and effectively against anything in the nature of a general strike-anything in the nature of a soviet or any other form of government inconsistent with constituted authority.

I do not think it is necessary for me to bring written evidence of the assumption of soviet or other irresponsible authority further than the facts that I have adduced as to the declaration of right, and indeed, the acting upon that declaration of right to control the distribution of the necessities of life. But if further evidence were needed all one has to do is to look up the columns of the Labour News of that city and read the statements of the strike leaders themselves, who openly declared that they were in control and intended to continue in control, although they said they intended to do so without bloodshed and without force. Just as if the whole principle of government of this country could be overturned without bloodshed and without force! But

it is apparent from a perusal of that paper that the strike leaders for a time believed themselves to be in possession of governmental power and were determined to exercise it, but were faced by an overpowering concentration of public opinion against which they could not avail.

Furthermore, the opinion had taken permanent root in that city that the issue that had given rise to the strike on the part of the employees of the three concerns was no longer the main or the present issue to be decided; that it had been swallowed up in a far greater issue, just as if a man or a class of men, in determining that (hey should assert a privilege of their own, had burned a city in reaching out for that privilege. Therefore, they said: Those who are fighting here for some form of collective bargaining have, to ensure the success of their claim, taken steps that are inconsistent with constituted Government, and they have raised an issue that entirely overshadows the first issue on whioh they went out on strike, an issue that must be decided once and for all before we return to weighing and determining the merits of the first cause of quarrel. In that position, I submit the citizens of Winnipeg were right.

It was essential that the greater issue raised by the assumption of Soviet authority-and it was nothing less on the part of those in control of the strike in the city of Winnipeg-should be once and for all decided and be decisively beaten down before they should concern themselves with the smaller and much less important issue upon whioh certain men had originally gone on strike. That is the stand the citizens of Winnipeg took. That is the stand the Minister of Labour took, and I leave it to the House whether or not he acted in the interests of this country in taking that stand as determinedly as he did. In that position the matter rests to-day.

We found as well that about 450 employees of the city post office about 180 of whom were letter-carriers and the rest postal -clerks, had joined in the sympathetic strike, and in violation, as we claimed and I think rightly, of their oaths of office, had deserted their posts, and as a result the postal service, a necessary public -service, was out of existence. What'-action should have been taken under those circumstances? Inasmuch as the strike on their part was on a sympathetic footing and nothing more; inasmuch as within only a few weeks before representatives of those men had, in writing, assured the Government of the satisfactory treatment of their grievances; inasmuch as they had gone out without notice and without cause, we decided that some time should be given to them to return and that with the approval of the Government on the expiration of that time their positions should be vacant if they failed to return and they should be no longer employed in the public service. As a result of the announcement of that decision which appeared in the issue of the Morning Press of Saturday, the 24th May, there returned on the morning of the 26th, I think, 70 of those employees. On the morning of the 26th May returning employees were harangued by the Eev. Mr. Ivens on the one hand and Mr. Winning, President of the Trades and Labour Council on the other, who standing respectively in the rear and in the front of the office tried to persuade the returning men that they should hold back; that the decision of the Government was nothing more than a hoax or a bluff, and with all the. force of their oratory-and it has some quality-they endeavoured to make the men hold fast against constituted authority and stand in full allegiance to the strike leaders instead of to the public of this country. Had it not been for that, I doubt not that more would have returned. The -business, however, of this Government was to see to it that all desiring should have free access to the office; that no physical impediment and no threats should deter them, and that duty was fully carried out on the part of the officers of the Government. No man was deterred, no man was intimidated; all had free and full privilege of' returning to work, and not doing so, the promise of the Government was implemented, and at twelve o'clock on the 26th May all who did not return, about 380 in number, lost their positions in the service of Canada and shall not be further employed.

Concurrently with the action of the Dominion Government in this regard, the Provincial Government took precisely similar action with regard to the telephone employees and their decision took effect also at exactly the same hour. The city of Winnipeg has since taken similar, although not wholly similar, action with regard to its employees. As a consequence, it is only the truth to say that the force of the general strike in the city of Winnipeg has been very largely broken; business has been restored, not to normal, but to something approaching normal level. At all events, the conditions of life are tolerable, but the-attitude of mind of the citizens remains still, in my belief, adamant that nothing

but defeat and complete defeat shall attend the efforts of men who dare to assert the authority of Government and who in doing so 'bring hardship on the whole community in order that they might win in a quarrel between certain employees and certain employers. The strike about that time and since has extended to some other cities in Canada, strikes not altogether related to that in Winnipeg, although in many cases related. Wherever in those strikes, the public service has been demoralized, the attitude taken by the Government and the policy adopted has been, the same as it was in .the city of Winnipeg. We have notified all concerned that if they engage in those strikes on a sympathetic basis-and there is no other-they thereby resign their posts in the public service and they are not further to be employed. That has taken effect in Calgary, and in the city of Winnipeg some 109 railway mail clerks went out on strike after I left, but all returned within the twenty-four hours' time given to them by the Minister of Labour for that purpose. They had not been warned in the same way as postal clerks in other cities, and that being the case, it was deemed fair that a reasonable time should be given to them, so they were allowed 24 hours, and all returned within the 24 hours.

We felt it necessary that the Government of the country should be well advised as to the exact facts connected with the extraordinary circumstances obtaining in that city. The telegraph was more or less denied; communication with the city was very limited; it was impossible at this distance to gauge not only what were the exact facts in dispute and the merits of the various classes that went out on strike, but the state of public opinion in that city in order to enable us to know whether or not we could supply voluntary effort to take the place of the strikers; whether or not public opinion was sufficiently aroused and seized of all the facts to back up the Government and enable it to carry out a policy of replacing those strikers , by voluntary workers for the time and by permanent substitutes at the expiration of a fixed period. Consequently, it was visited by members of the .Government and a survey was made of the whole situation. Men representing the strikers were taken into conference fully and at length. All they had to say, everything they had to urge, was heard sympathetically on the part of the representatives of the Government. For, let me say here: If there stands in Canada to-day a man who repre-

sents in fullest sympathy the cause of labour and labour organizations and labour unions, it is the Minister of Labour; a man who has undoubtedly the confidence of labour and labour organizations in this Dominion, and a man who, in my judgment, having had some opportunity to study closely the circumstances has to-day the confidence even of most of the strikers in the -city of Winnipeg. '.

I have argued that the sympathetic strike cannot at all events become general, and in the main cannot take place, unless we concede the right to the violation of solemn contracts. I have argued further that the general strike cannot take place unless it is to be followed by an assumption of governmental power on the part of the leaders of the strike, who have no constituted responsible authority.

Let me carry that argument a little further, because what I want to impress upon the House is this: There is not in this dispute any question at all about the recognition of the right to labour unions; none whatsoever. No man can give a moment's thought to the circumstances and pretend to argue that the question of the recognition of labour unions is an issue in any degree at all; it is not an issue. The question as to the form of collective bargaining is in part an issue, and there may be merit on one side and merit on the other. In the opinion of the Minister of Labour there is demerit on the part oi both, and some merit on the part of each, hut no one can argue that the right to labour unions was involved in this strike, What shall be the form of collective bargaining was in the first place an issue. It was superseded after by a far greater, and a far graver issue that is now being fought out and decided; but for the time being it was an issue. What I want to impress upon the House is this: If collective bargaining is to be granted as a principle-and it is granted as a principle, as hon. gentlemen say, in other countries as well as in this-then there must be some unit to which the principle of collective bargaining is to apply, and beyond which it cannot go. It cannot for one moment be argued merely because collective bargaining is to be acknowledged that there shall be an unlimited and heterogeneous collection of all classes oi labour that may get together ad infinitum and then say to employers or to any class of employers "You must bargain with us and cannot come to a decision unless with us." If that is to take place then not only

the Metal Trades Council of the city oi Winnipeg, composed of crafts that are in no way concerned or employed by the employers in the dispute, can itself bargain as to conditions and wages with many of its members, even the majority of its members, have nothing at all to do therewith, but the Trades and Labour Council of the city of Winnipeg may also do the same, and you might extend 'it right on and on until you would have every organization of labour in the Dominion united and all exerting their united influence in every dispute that might occur. Can any one contemplate such an event? Can anyone contemplate that such an event could possible exist concurrently with responsible government by the people? Are we to have on the one hand a concentration of employers, and on the other hand a concentration of all the labour interests of the Dominion, fighting it out for supremacy? Collective bargaining, unless you bring it down to some unit, is bound to reach that end. If you are going to have a combination of all organizations of labour in the Dominion taking part in and determining the event of every dispute as to labour conditions and wages here, there, and at any other point, why then you have the perfection of Bolshevism. It would be nothing less. You would have an organization that could hold aloft the weapon of the strike or any other weapon- could hold that weapon aloft in majesty and dictate and read out to the rest of this country the conditions of life itself. Can any one find fault with the reasoning that leads to that conclusion? .

All I say in this: Collective bargaining

is sound, but a unit must be found towards which the principle of collective bargaining is to apply and beyond which it must not go. Otherwise, you lead inevitably to a concentration of labour on the one hand, and of capital on the other, to a condition of dictation on the one hand and subordination on the other, whichever it may be, and to the complete elimination of governmental authority, because under those conditions it could not subsist. A general strike would then mean a paralysis of the activities of the entire Dominion, and indeed it might extend beyond the nation itself. Therefore, let me repeat, you must come to some unit, whatever it may be when you apply the principle of collective bargaining.

What should the Government have done that it has not done? I remarked early in my address that we had had nothing in the

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way of constructive suggestion. It is true that the hon. member for Kamouraska (Mr. Lapointe) prefaced his speech by the assertion, in language of which he is a master, that by our long career of errors and blunders and disasters this Government had brought about the terrible condition of affairs that he says now presents itself, but, no doubt out of affection for the Administration, he mercifully refrained from even mentioning any of these blunders or errors.

Topic:   J006 COMMONS

Arthur Meighen (Minister of the Interior; Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs)



It would not take too

long to mention one, and I am not in such a hurry that I would not give the honourable gentleman a chance to mention one just now.

Topic:   J006 COMMONS

Arthur Meighen (Minister of the Interior; Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs)



That is the safer course I will give the honourable gentleman a chance to name them all in a few moments, and I hope he will support what he .says. It is true that the honourable member from Kamouraska ended by a pitiful appeal to the Government to do something-something- he knew not what. The honourable member for (South Quebec (Mr. Power) also seemed to think we could in some way reduce the high cost of living by taking the bull by the horns. Outside of these two admirable suggestions, I am afraid the afternoon has passed without any recommendation being offered, except indeed a word of practical caution on the part of the mover and of the honourable member for Kingston (Mr. Nickle).

The Government of this country is peculiarly responsible for the administration of the public service to the best advantage of the people of this country. Is there any step we could have taken with relation to the public service that we did not take? It is argued on the part of some that there was a failure to implement promises made last summer to the post office employees. There was no failure at all. I had (Something to do with the settlement of that strike last summer. With all my limitations, and I know they are many, I ventured to act as a conciliator, and some way or other I had some success. Every promise I made was carried out to fulfilment. I said that if they should return to work I would recommend pay while out, that all should be accepted back, and that immediately the Civil Service Commission should sit upon the determination of their grievances, but that I could not recommend an increase by

way of bonus or otherwise without the authority ,of the Civil Service Commission. Not only were all these promises implemented, but under the special circumstances which were revealed here, a bonus was granted. Consequently, no fault can be brought home to the Administration that has the remotest relation to the strike on the part of the members of the public service that has taken place in the city of Winnipeg. Furthermore, whatever one might argue in that regard the strikers themselves by their action put any such argument by the board because they openly and frankly declared that they struck out of sympathy with the metal workers of that city, and in order, as they thought, to establish the principle of collective bargaining.

Now I am not here to argue as to what should be the change, if any, in the law with regard to strikes. That should first be considered collectively by the Administration, if any change indeed can be suggested. But I do wish to impress this upon the House: that the authority under our Federal constitution of the Dominion Government or of the Dominion Parliament with relation to the settlement of strikes is limited-very limited indeed.

Whether or not it is best that the precise division of responsibility that now constitutionally exists should have existed, or should continue to exist, I do not say. But the fact is that it does exist. It is fixed by the law and constitution of this country, and it is well that all should understand where that division is. The determination of civil rights in this Dominion is in the hands of provincial legislatures and those alone. The relations between employers and employed as to hours of labour, conditions of toil, and so forth, are relations of civil rights, and as such are beyond the jurisdiction of the Parliament of this Dominion. The habit has grown of following a plain assertion of truth of this kind by the comment that it is passing the buck to another; but the buck can never lie at the feet of those who are constitutionally incompetent to move it. Truth lies on one side or the other. Why should we not face it? I am making no complaint as to failure of any provincial authority to intervene or establish different relationships between employers and employed. That is another question altogether. On authority of the officers of the Crown, that power is not ours, and consequently we cannot exercise it, and should not be complained of for not indulging in the exercise of an aut'hor-

ity which we have no power to make effective. We could, it is true, by constituting the employment of labour, say, beyond a certain number of' hours per day, a criminal offense, assert and assume jurisdiction. But it is going pretty far to ask the Parliament of Canada, especially as respects employers and employees in private concerns, to say that a certain act on the part of these concerns is a crime, before any provincial legislature has decided that the prevention of it is a civil obligation. Laws regarding hours of labour in certain classes of workers have been passed by some, I think by all, provincial legislatures of the Dominion. Laws upon that subject generally, upon conditions of labour, child labour, women labour, hours of labour in general, have been passed by provincial legislatures almost times without number and are clearly within their jurisdiction and competency. Laws of that nature are not within our jurisdiction unless we choose to make a certain deed, which is not perhaps at all an offence against civil law, and which is not denied as a matter of civil right, a criminal offense. It would scarcely be suggested that we should take that course. Therefore, let it be clear that as respects a general law for the reduction of the hours of labour in this Dominion the problem, for the present at all events, is one for the provincial legislatures. Furthermore as to a general law setting up and enforcing the principle of collective bargaining, that itself is also a matter in regard to which the function of the Dominion Government can not be directory but com ciliatory and advisory alone. We could not by specific legislation declare and make it an obligation of an employer or set ot employers to adopt the principle of collective bargaining. All we can do in that regard is to say where we stand on the subject-where the Department of Labour stands and what is its advice and to press that advice by way of conciliation where-ever it can do good. Having done that, our powers are exhausted so far as these subjects are concerned.

Now, in a general study of the whole problem, while I think all hon. members will agree that the whole tendency has been and will be an addition to labour of its share in the product of industry, the part that any single country can play at any one time in the solution of that problem is very limited indeed. ,No single nation, no single industrial national unit, can advance appreciably beyond the general line of the industry of the

world. The industrial units of the single pation must compete in world trade with the industrial units of others, and handicaps cannot he put upon them which will unduly or disastrously militate against them in that competition. If such is done all will suffer-employers and employed. Subject to that consideration, it seems to me the duty of Parliament and of Governments, provincial and federal, is to see to it that labour conditions are ameliorated and that labour hours are reduced, because unquestionably with the multiplication and increased efficiency of machinery all the wants of mankind can be supplied without anything in the nature of oppressive toil. Unquestionably, by a much shorter day than has obtained in times gone by we can get along in this world and have all the legitimate wants of mankind supplied; and I say that it is the duty of legislatures and of Governments to make it possible, and indeed to make it imperative so far as lies in their and our constitutional powers, that the hours of labour be shortened and the conditions of labour be improved, so long as we do not go more rapidly than is consistent with the reasonable necessities of our industry in competition with the industry of other nations. That is the way in which I view the duty of the Parliament of Canada, and the duty of the provincial legislatures of this Dominion as a matter of general principle.

The problem is, indeed, a difficult one. These particular employers in Winnipeg have said already, " We are quite ready to go down to nine hours and we believe we can do that and compete with our competitors in Ontario and other provinces, but we say we cannot go to eight hours until they do the same." And they have said- at all events the Manitoba Bridge and Iron Works have said clearly, that just as soon as their competitors in Eastern Canada went to eight hours they were prepared to do the same and to bind themselves in writing accordingly upon that proviso. That is an illustration of the condition and the difficulties that present themselves in one province as compared to another. Consequently it might have been well-I am not arguing whether it would or not; there are difficulties .the other way also-if the constitution had been framed so as to make this question a federal instead of a- provincial one. But it is not worth arguing. The fact is that it is not a federal question.

The tendency is, and I hope it may be more rapid in the future than it has been in the past, to a reduction in the hours of

1931 tP

toil, particularly on the part of the manual labourer, whose title to such reduction is sounder and more just than that of any other class of labour in the world. The tendency, I repeat, is to a reduction in the hours of labour and toward an increase in the remuneration of toil, both in the absolute and relatively, to other occupations. My only object has been to set out as clearly as I could what concrete facts present themselves in the face of the dispute that exists in the city of Winnipeg, and its reflection in many other cities in the-country, to submit that those concrete facts comprised the issue in the first place were overshadowed by a subsequent larger issue, and that such larger issue must be rightly decided before the officesof thisGovernmesrut, or, indeed, of the provincial government can be usefully exercised towards a settlement of the initial dispute. That view I believe the provincial government share.

I have also ventured to outline the general principle along which I think legislation should move in the treatment of the great struggle that has for ages long subsisted between capital anl labour and that can at best be ameliorated and not, at all events for many years, wholly removed or solved.

Topic:   J006 COMMONS

June 2, 1919