Mr. CHARLES ROBERT HARRISON (Nipissing):
Mr. Speaker, I do not intend to take up very much of the time of the House, for I do not feel that I can add anything that would be of material benefit to what has already been so ably said by hon. members on this side of the House in connection with the important matters
that have been placed before us in the speech from the Throne.
First, I want to congratulate the mover and the seconder of the Address upon the very able manner in which they performed that duty. I would also like to say a few words in connection with the amendment moved by the leader of the Opposition (Mr. Mackenzie King). In listening to the speeches of hon. members opposite, and especially the hon. member for Cape Breton North and Victoria (Mr. McKenzie) when he spoke of the wonderful leadership of the leader of the Opposition, who is going to blaze the way to greater things, as I am a labour man and one who was very closely associated with the Grand Trunk railway employees who went out on strike in 1910, my mind naturally went back to that time, and also to the famous resolution which was presented to the House last year by the leader of the Opposition, which is almost the same as the amendment moved by the leader of the Opposition at this session, and now before the House for discussion. Mr. Speaker, I believe that the leader of the Opposition was just as insincere last year when he moved that famous resolution as he is this year in moving the amendment, and as he was when he promised the Grand Trunk Railway employees their positions back in 1910. The leader of the Opposition was Minister of Labour when the Grand Trunk strike occurred and as Minister of Labour he attempted to arbitrate between the company and the men, and after the strike had lasted for several days, on the assurance of the then Minister of Labour that the men would receive their positions back, or in other words, be reinstated in good standing, the strike was called off. And what were the results? We all know too well. Many of the men were never taken back, and many that were taken back did not receive their seniority standing. Apparently the now leader of the Opposition either betrayed the men or he did not have the ability to negotiate a proper settlement. In any event, he did not live up to his promises that if the men called off the strike he would accept the responsibility of seeing that the men got their positions back, as was the basis of the negotiations and settlement. I am informed that one of his party has been heard to remark that when the Opposition defeats the Government and the now leader of the Opposition becomes the leader of the Government, the Grand Trunk men will receive their pensions. As a matter of fact, the
only Grand Trunk employees who are not now receiving their pensions are those who failed in obtaining reinstatement by reason of the breaking of the promise given by the present leader of the Opposition. Had he at that time kept faith the pension dispute would never have arisen.
It is to be observed that the present Administration has done everything to facilitate a prompt and proper adjustment of the claims of these ex-employees, by placing in the hands of their solicitor all the information available in the files of the Department of Labour, and it has agreed that they shall have the opportunity to present their case as a claim against the Grand Trunk before the Board of Arbitration now sitting, and I have every confidence that justice will be done and that the men will receive their pensions.
Mr. Speaker, how do the issues now standing before the country affect the working man? The present Government stands for just such a measure of protection in our tariff system as will enable Canadian industries-agriculture, mining, lumbering and manufacturing-to continue to carry on to the greatest possible degree. The tariff proposals of the Opposition to the Government are that the protective principle must be eliminated; that industries that cannot meet the competition of the surplus products from the industries of the United States and the cheap labour of foreign countries must be sacrificed without any regard to what happens to the thousands of men that these industries employ. That, Mr. Speaker, I think you will agree, is a fair statement of the issufe as it is presented to us.
Well, Sir, how is that going to affect the wage-earner? The industries of the province of Ontario employ around around four hundred thousand men. They use large quantities of raw material produced by other Canadian workingmen. They furnish traffic to our railways and employment to our railwaymen. They provide markets for our farmers and business for our business men. Every industry added to those we now have widens the opportunity and improves the conditions of our people. Every industry forced to close by unfair competition has just the opposite effect. How would it affect the workmen if in Ontario, for instance, the Westing-house Company, the Ford Motor Company, the United Typewriter Company, the Simonds Saw Company, the Yates Machine Company, and scores of other American
companies with branch factories in Canada, closed their doors and furnished the Canadian market from their American plants? Yet, Mr. Speaker, the only thing that is keeping these industries in Canada is a moderate protective tariff. Every time the output from a Canadian industry is reduced or curtailed by the competition of imported goods, workingmen suffer. Every dollar's worth of goods imported into this country that could be legitimately produced here means taking the bread and butter from some Canadian working man's child. And yet we have public men going about this country preaching the doctrines of class warfare, with one object, and one object alone-the hope that they may enlist the support of workingmen in a movement destined to destroy their chances of earning a decent livlihood.
There is another question that has not been touched upon by many o' the previous speakers, and it is one in which I am deeply interested. It is the investigation that is being conducted by the Department of Labour into a system of unemployment insurance and old age pensions. On account of being a labour man, I1 perhaps know a great deal more of the actual conditions of the workingman than the majority of the members of the House, and I also feel I am in a better position to know just about how much the labourer can save out of his earnings after he properly cares for his family. Unemployment may arise from other causes than the loss of position. A man may become unemployed through sickness, invalidity or old age. Very few labourers are able to make provision for these contingencies and the question of making some provision by a system of state social insurance for those who through no fault of their own are unable to work whether the inability arises from lack of opportunity, sickness, invalidity, or old age is of very great importance. Such insurance would remove the, spectre of fear which now haunts the wage earner, and would make him a more contented and better citizen. I have in mind at this time, labouring men who were strong and robust when the war broke out. They were too old to go to the front, but I know for a fact that they contributed every dollar they could spare to help along the good work. Sickness has overtaken them, and they are to-day down and out, through no fault of their own. These men might have saved money had they not been so generous, but they felt
that as true Canadians they had a duty; not being able to fight themselves, they helped in every way possible the men who were fighting for them. I hope that the department's investigation will be carried on, and that we may be successful in having legislation placed upon the statute books at this session of Parliament, providing insurance of this character.
Mr. Speaker, what has made this possible, and what has this Government done for labour? The Minister of Labour, who himself was a labour man, was appointed by this Government, and he has shown to the people of Canada that he is worthy of the honourable position he now holds. In 1919 the Government of Canada established a Royal Commission presided over by Chief Justice Mathers of Winnipeg, whose duty it was to inquire into and take evidence respecting industrial conditions in Canada. Following their report, the Department of Labour invited to a conference a substantial number of representative employers and of organized labour throughout Canada, with representatives from each of the Provincial Governments. This body after going fully into the report of the Mathers Commission, appointed a committee - composed of representatives of employers and of labour. This committee endorsed the recommendation of the Mathers Commission and suggested that a careful investigation of the whole subject should be undertaken. This was done, and I am informed that our Department of Labour has been making a careful investigation and has gathered a large amount of useful information from all countries in the world that have adopted, or contemplate adopting, legislation on unemployment insurance. I am further informed that the information so gathered is being submitted to the Canadian Manufacturers' Association and to the Trades and Labor Congress of Canada, which organizations are the principal representatives of employers and employees in this country. I therefore think the .Government of Canada is to be complimented upon the sane, careful methods which it has adopted in co-operation with those most intimately concerned, and that this House, may without hesitation, give hearty approval and endorsement to that portion of the speech from the Throne which indicates the policy of the Government in connection with these two most important questions, which, if solved, will tend more to stabilize industry, promote peace, and make happy citizens than anything else that could be done.
(I Mr. Harrison.]
Subtopic: ADDRESS IN REPLY