Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)
In the coal fields?
In the coal fields?
Mr. STEWART (West Edmonton):
and in every other industry in Canada.
I could hardly do that.
M'r. STEWART (West Edmonton): I know my right hon. friend. I know he would have been taking a great deal of credit for the changed conditions in Canada. I do not recollect a time when there was not a difficulty in some part of Canada and in sofcne part of the United States, that hon. gentlemen opposite did not proclaim that the United States was happy, contented and prosperous, forsooth, because of a high tariff, and I know my right hon. friend would be declaiming in the same pronounced way about the prosperity that had come to Canada. Are we not entitled in some respects to say the same thing? We are not worried about the situation in Canada despite the criticism of hon. gentlemen opposite. We are do-ing very well and we shall continue to do very well.
Get your cabinet.
Mr. STEWART (West Edmonton):
cabinet will be here in due course if hon. gentlemen will just have patience. This impatience of hon. gentlemen opposite with respect to running the affairs of this country is remarkable. AVe shall have a cabinet in due course and we shall be able to carry on.
Mr. MElGHElN: In due course!
Mr. STEAVART (West Edmonton):
I have Stated what the practical solution is that the
tMr. C. A. Stewart.]
government to-day are offering with respect to a situation that now exists in Nova Scotia. We will get into communication with Premier Rhodes to-night and I hope a satisfactory answer will be received from him. May I say to our western friends that we will do exactly the same thing with respect to the movement of coal from the west? We had $25,000 voted at the last session of parliament for the specific purpose of guaranteeing the railway company against any loss that may have accrued over $7 a ton for a test movement of coal from Alberta eastward. The whole matter of rate structure, as I pointed out a few minutes ago, is before the railway board, and they are dealing with it. The whole matter might very well be threshed out before that board. As regards the fuel board, I have 'asked for a hearing for that board, and I propose to send them before the railway board to point out the situation as we see it with respect to the acute fuel area in central Canada and the possibility of obtaining supplies both east and west. But this is an emergency, and the government are readv to step in and assist, as they will in an emergency of any sort.
Mr. MacDONALD (South Cape Breton):
May I make a suggestion to the minister?
The hon. gentleman has already spoken. I understand he wishes to put a question to the hon. member. He may do so by leave of the House.
Mr. MacDONALD (South Cape Breton):
The suggestion is this: that in placing the order for the 120,000 tons the government should see to it that the 120,000 tons are going to be mined. I am now in receipt of advice that a part of this quantity of 120,000 tons has already been taken from a dump that is at present on the steel company's property. I should like to have the order for the
120.000 tons devoted in its entirety for the production of wrork in the mining area.
Mr. STEWART (AVest Edmonton):
I cannot speak with any authority about what is mined. My understanding from the Deputy Minister of Railways, who, by the way is a director of the National railways, and who was present when the correspondence passed from the hands of Sir Henry Thornton, was that it would be 120,000 tons to be mined and placed in bank that the railways would take next year as soon as navigation opened. If I am wrong, I stand to be corrected.
Mr. MACDONALD (Richmond-West Cape Breton):
Mr. Speaker, for the infor-
. Nova Scotia Miners
mation of the House I will read this telegram just received from one of the citizens of Glace Bay:
Banked coal order from Thornton to relieve distress, allocated 20,000 goes to mainland-
That is, the mainland of Nova Scotia and not the distressed area.
-where there is no distress. 66,000 to be taken from bank already at steel works, Sydney-
That coal is already banked at Sydney and will give no employment to anyone working there.
-where it was put down before order was given. 33,000 to come from Caledonia and New Aberdeen. Latter gets a total of 4 days' work from to-day. To April 10 over a thousand families must live on 4 days' net earnings for 58 days. Caledonia gets 2 days' work a week. Relief order does not mean one extra dollar to distress; district committee does not know if Besco or railway is to blame. Ask you to question latter.
I suppose that means to question the Railway department.
Situation getting worse daily.
This is signed Stuart McCawley, one of the citizens' committee.
Mr. STEWART (West Edmonton):
I can only say that according to my understanding of the matter the order for the 120,000 tons would go to the area where acute suffering exists. I did not understand that it was for the other mines which are shipping and running, although of course on short time. There would seem therefore to be a great deal of misunderstanding about the whole matter, but I can assure the House that we will attempt to get to the bottom of it. I have the Deputy Minister of Railways working on the matter and he is in communication with Sir Henry Thornton. Unfortunately Sir Henry is on the train but as soon as we locate him we shall try to get definite information. I do believe however that the statement which has just been made is incorrect.
Mr. J. S. WOODSWORTH (Winnipeg North Centre):
I was not present when this
discussion was initiated and I did not hear the exact words of my colleague (Mr. Heaps) and some of the other hon. gentlemen who have spoken on the subject, but I should like to refer briefly to several matters that have already been touched upon. First of all let me say that I am rather grateful to the hon. gentleman who introduced the motion for having again brought up the matter of the coal miners in Cape Breton. Hon. members will recall that on several occasions it has been my privilege to introduce this question in the House, when I have urged that far more definite action be taken than has been
done by this government. I was very glad indeed to hear the statement made by the Minister of the Interior (Mr. Stewart, West Edmonton) a few minutes ago; it seems to me to indicate a decidedly changed attitude on the part of the government towards this question. I welcome that change. I do not know the reason for it nor do I think that it is for me to inquire as to that reason. It is sufficient for me to learn that the government intends at any rate to do something; it may mean that we may get some definite action. When we introduced this subject a year ago on February 24, the government absolutely refused to act in the matter. Accepting the advice of one of the local members, Mr. Kyte, they shelved the whole matter. I should like to read to the House on this occasion an interesting statement made by that gentleman at that time. That statement is rather illuminating at a distance of twelve months. Referring to certain despatches in which Mr. McLurg was credited with certain statements, Mr. Kyte said: ,
Knowing the conditions in Sydney at the present time I accept the statement attributed to Mr. McLurg in this despatch; there is no doubt or question about it. But my right hon. friend and his friends will doubt it, and I question whether they will be very highly elated when they find that the statement made here is true. The question of unemployment, therefore, is about settled so far as Sydney and Glace Bay are concerned. If this despatch is true, and I believe it is; if the steel plant will soon be working on a basis of one hundred per cent production, then there will be employment for every steel worker in the city of Sydney and for every coal miner in the county of Cape Breton. That is the happiest solution of our difficulty, and I think the hon. member for Centre Winnipeg might very well allow the matter to drop with the assurance given in this despatch that unemployment will cease entirely and that the plant wi be working full time by the sixteenth of March.
That statement appears at page 488 of Hansard of 1925. Now instead of the unemployment having ceased we find the situation jusl as acute as it was a year ago and the general condition even more unsatisfactory.
If I may do so, I should like for a moment to refer to some discussion that arose with regard to directorships. I understand that there was some question as to whether the hon. member for Pictou (Mr. Cantley) was a director of Besco. I notice according to Poor's 1925 that there are several subsidiary companies in which the hon. member's name occurs. In the Nova Scotia Steel & Coal Company, controlled by the British Empire Steel Corporation, Limited, we find that the board of directors-
Order. The hon. member was not in the House a moment ago when this very point was raised. The statement
ATova Scotia Miners
was made that the hon. member for Pictou was one of the directors of the British Empire Steel Corporation and that statement was denied. I understand that the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre (Mr. Woodsworth) is questioning that denial on the part of the hon. member for Pictou.
I beg your pardon, Mr. Speaker; I am simply reading a list of the directors of certain companies which are subsidiary to the British Empire Steel Corporation. In the Nova Scotia Steel & Coal Company, which is controlled by the British Empire Steel Corporation, the board of directors consists of the following gentlemen: ,1. W. Allison, Hector Mclnnes, Halifax, N.S.; Thos. Cantley, New Glasgow, N.S.; W. D. Ross, Toronto, Ont.; F. W. Ross, Quebec; R.
M. Wolvin, Hon. J. P. B. Casgrain, C. P. Beaubien, L. C. Webster, Montreal; Sir Newton J. Moore, London, Eng.; Sir A. Trevor Dawson, London; Geo. F. Downs, R. F. Hoyt, New York; J. E. McLurg, Sydney, N.S. I notice further that in the Acadia Coal Company, Limited, controlled by the Nova Scotia Steel & Coal Company, Limited, the directors are: J. W. Allison, Hector Mclnnes, Halifax,
N. S.; Thos. Cantley, New Glasgow, N.S.; W. D. Ross, Toronto; F. W. Ross, Quebec; R. M. Wolvin, Hon. J. P. B. Casgrain, C. P. Beaubien, L. C. Webster, Montreal; Sir Newton J. Moore, London, Eng.; Sir A. Trevor Dawson, London; George F. Downs, R. F. Hoyt, New York; J. E. McLurg, Sydney. And in the Eastern Car Company, Limited, also controlled by the Nova Scotia Steel & Coal Company, Limited, the directors are: J. W. Allison, Hector Mclnnes, Halifax, Nova Scotia; Thomas Cantley, New Glasgow, Nova Scotia; W. D. Ross, Toronto, Ontario; F. W. Ross, Quebec; R. M. Wolvin, Hon. J. P. B. Casgrain, C. P. Beaubien, L. C. Webster, Montreal; Sir Newton J. Moore, London, England; Sir A. Trevor Dawson, London; George F. Downs, R. F. Hoyt, New York; J. E. McLurg, Sydney, Nova Scotia.
It seemed to me that perhaps it might be wise to have that information before the House. I am not prepared to say just what the relationships are which exist between the subsidiary companies and Besco, nor do I know just the attitude taken by some of the directors with reference to the policies of the company.
Would the hon. gentleman like to have the information now?
The hon. gentleman has already spoken.
I thought possibly the hon. gentleman wanted the information, and I could give it to him. Might I speak on a question of privilege?
On a question of privilege, yes.
Mr. Speaker, there seems to be some misapprehension, and I take it that the hon. gentleman who has just spoken really desires information. When the British Empire Steel Corporation was formed, it embraced in the province of Nova Scotia, the Dominion Coal Company, the Dominion Steel Company, the Scotia Company-or the Nova Scotia Steel and Coal Company, to give its full name
and two subsidiaries of the last named company, the Acadia Coal Company and the Eastern Car Company. I have been a director of the Scotia Company for twenty-five years and I am proud of it; I have been associated with it for forty years. I never became a director of Besco. I am not now, and never intend to be. The reason these corporations are kept in existence is that there are underlying securities of all three corporations which could not be wiped off except by paying a premium, and to get sufficient money to replace the securities, the bonds and debentures would have meant a cost of $2,000,000 or $3,000,000 at least.
For that reason Besco has continued the independent corporate existence of these different companies. I have remained on the board partially because I wanted to have an opportunity of watching what our friends the Besco were doing with these corporations in which I have had a vital interest for a long time. Beyond that I have no interest whatever in them, and as I said before I have no connection with the Besco corporation as such. I have been asked to join the Besco board on several occasions, and have declined. I hope I have made myself perfectly clear.