June 25, 1943

LIB

Humphrey Mitchell (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. MITCHELL:

That may be true, but wages are involved also. It is a joint meeting of the two boards.

War Appropriation-Labour

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LIB

George Ernest Wood

Liberal

Mr. WOOD:

The minister has just given us some timely advice, and if we would listen to it and endeavour to live up to it I think we would make a greater effort than we are making at the present time. I listened with considerable interest to the criticism put forth by the opposition with regard to the minister's department and the man-power problem generally.

There is a phrase, "Saying so does not necessarily mean that it is so". Consider the record of production which the Minister of Munitions and Supply brought down a few days ago, showing that Canada is making every week 80 planes; 4,000 motor vehicles; 450 fighting vehicles; 940 heavy guns, barrels or mountings, and that our small arms plants turn out 43,000 smaller weapons. Every week our ammunition factories make 525,000 rounds of heavy ammunition and 25,000,000 rounds of small arms ammunition. In view of this huge production, a lot of the criticism we have been listening to seems hardly justified. After all, we have history to light the path of the future. We have learned to recognize the lighthouses on the rocks of disasters, so that we need not fall into the errors of the past.

I should like to say to the leader of the opposition, whose modest, placid way of indulging in biting criticism of the government of the day I admire, that from the impression he has so far made I think he is more likely to be Prime Minister than his leader who is running at large, but I cannot harmonize his actions with some of the views which he has expressed. The other day he championed the cause of the little man. I have sometimes wondered where the little man ever came in on the platform of the Conservative party, with which my hon. friend has been associated for so long. The party has now adopted the hyphenated name Progressive Conservative, but what that means none of us knows. We have heard a great deal about unity in Canada, but I can see no unity, no unified policy which this new hyphenated party-

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NAT

Gordon Graydon (Leader of the Official Opposition)

National Government

Mr. GRAYDON:

I do not want to destroy my hon. friend's argument, but there does not happen to be a hyphen in the name.

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LIB

George Ernest Wood

Liberal

Mr. WOOD:

It is characteristic of the Conservative party that they manufacture a new name, such as National government, or a new programme whenever they think it is expedient to do so, and I will say that the hon. member is just carrying out the record of his party in changing its name.

We are all proud of the development that has taken place in our army, navy and air force since the beginning of this war, but what was the attitude of my hon. friend's party in

1911 when the Liberal government of that day proposed to build a Canadian navy? The Conservative party described it as a tin-pot navy and proposed instead to contribute to-Great Britain $35,000,000 to buy three dreadnoughts for the British navy. They had noconfidence in the Canadian people being able to build up and manage a navy of its own. But, thank goodness, the Liberal party had the courage to set about building a Canadian navy, which to-day is a credit to the Canadian people and to the British empire as a whole.

The same sort of thing happened in connection with our air training scheme. True, this government did not approve the first plan of air training which the British government proposed, but that was because the colonial mind was more or less associated with it. We wanted a larger air training scheme purely under the jurisdiction of Canadian laws and the Canadian parliament, and ultimately our modern air training plan has grown into the greatest in the world. Surely the record of this government is hardly one that justifies the picayune type of criticism to which we have been listening and which does not do credit to our own country. The fact that one-half of our whole economy is devoted to the production of war implements is an indication of what we have accomplished in spite of the man-power shortage. But for that manpower shortage, what might our accomplishments not have been? The leader of the opposition said on June 3:

There is no question that the policy of the government with respect to man-power has been muddled, misconceived and misfitted.

That criticism is hardly characteristic of the leader of the opposition in his genial moments.

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NAT

Gordon Graydon (Leader of the Official Opposition)

National Government

Mr. GRAYDON:

It was hard to say, but I had to tell the truth.

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LIB

George Ernest Wood

Liberal

Mr. WOOD:

I did not think the leader of the opposition would ever come to the point where he would say that he had to tell the truth; I thought he would tell it voluntarily.

I thought better of him.

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NAT

Gordon Graydon (Leader of the Official Opposition)

National Government

Mr. GRAYDON:

It was not an unusual situation.

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LIB

George Ernest Wood

Liberal

Mr. WOOD:

The leader of the opposition also waxed eloquent about the farmer. I admire his legal mind and his solicitude for his farmer friends in Peel county. The Ottawa Journal runs a reprint every day from its corresponding issue of twenty-five years ago, and on May 14, 1918, this appeared in the Ottawa Journal and was reprinted about a month ago:

War Appropriation-Labour

Ottawa in 1918

From the Journal of May 14, 1918

Some 4,000 farmers, largest deputation ever to visit Ottawa, came to try to persuade the government that the draft regulations should not apply to agriculture. Two thousand of them crowded into the Russell theatre, where they presented their case to Prime Minister Borden and his colleagues. Sir Robert told them flatly the government would not change its course.

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NAT

Gordon Graydon (Leader of the Official Opposition)

National Government

Mr. GRAYDON:

Was not the Minister of Mines and Resources, whom the hon. member follows, a member of Sir Robert Borden's cabinet at that time?

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LIB
NAT
LIB
NAT

Gordon Graydon (Leader of the Official Opposition)

National Government

Mr. GRAYDON:

Mr. Chairman,, may I rise to a point of order? I seldom interrupt my hon. friend the member for Brant,, but it does seem to me, in view of what the minister has said, and the commendations the hon. member has made of the minister's statement, that he might get on with the job. Perhaps we are entitled to have some explanation by the hon. gentleman as to how relevant this quotation is to the item of labour.

Mr. MaicNICOL: It has not any relevancy.

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NAT

Gordon Graydon (Leader of the Official Opposition)

National Government

Mr. GRAYDON:

It is the Department of Labour which is now being discussed in the committee. It may be there is some connection, but I would like the hon. member's explanation.

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LIB

Ian Alistair Mackenzie (Minister of Pensions and National Health)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE (Vancouver Centre):

It is perhaps as relevant as the mention yesterday of the Winnipeg convention.

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LIB

George Ernest Wood

Liberal

Mr. WOOD:

I am prepared to say that what I am quoting is quite relevant to the situation. I qualified my remarks in the beginning by saying that we may learn from experience to plant lighthouses on the rocks of disaster so that we shall not suffer ship-

War Appropriation-Labour

wreck. I bring this quotation before the committee to show that, though the government may have made some errors, a (person's worth must not always be measured by his errors, but sometimes by the temptations he has avoided-which occurs very much more often than the errors. Some credit should be given to the government for its accomplishments, and hon. members should not always be emphasizing its mistakes. Ministers are only human, but I believe the Minister of Labour has made an honest attempt to give efficient direction., and as far as the manpower situation is concerned we have accomplished sufficient to make me willing to take the commendation which Mr. Churchill gave of Canada's contribution. I listened also to the Right Hon. Anthony Eden, and he made complimentary remarks about what our people have done. More recently, an eminent Chinese lady, Madame Chiang Kai-shek, referred to Canada as having given the greatest contribution per capita of any of the united nations. Surely such statements explode all the arguments which have been advanced against the government to-day.

The leader of the opposition interrupted me, but I should have liked to finish this record of evidence before the public accounts committee:

By Mr. Hanson:

Q. Were they worn?

A. Very much worn.

By Mr. Vien:

Q. If I understand rightly your statement, it is that in respect to the mechanical transport the government got from the Imperial government more than they had paid for it?

A. Yes.

Q. And made a profit ?

A. Yes.

Sir Henry Drayton: Fifty per cent?

I draw this to the attention of the committee. I wish also to quote some other comments, emanating from the New York World-Telegram, concerning Canada's contribution. This is a sheet reproducing a series of articles written by William Bloeth. I will just read the headlines:

1. Canada convoying ships across Atlantic and supplying resources to war effort.

2. Canada produces both munitions and skilled help.

3. Canada now ranks as major builder of ocean carriers.

4. Canada becomes largest exporter of basic metals.

5. Alcan highway seen reviving interest in development of oil in western Canada.

6. Canada laying groundwork for bright postwar future. Increasing industrialization expected to trim dependence on other nations.

'Mr. Wood.]

It goes on to say:

Canadian arms are helping the Chinese, and Canadian clothing is warming the Russians. Russia has publicly acknowledged her indebtedness to Canada for some $50,000,000 of tanks that are the "best of our imported tanks."

The country sends some 15,000 tons of wheat to Greece each month as a gift and three-fourths of all hogs, representing a quarter of the total meat supply, was sent to Britain last year.

This writer is far enough away to get a proper focus. I will draw the attention of the leader of the opposition to the old saying that there are those who cannot see the forest for the trees. I think that is the situation with him. Here is another heading:

Canada's example is an inspiration to the United States.

Just think of that.

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NAT
LIB

George Ernest Wood

Liberal

Mr. WOOD:

Here is what this newspaper says:

In publishing such articles as these by William Bloeth, the New York World-Telegram is doing more than giving due recognition to the great dominion. It is holding up Canada's war record as one that will help the United States to set still higher goals in production and in war loan subscriptions, and to realize its own ability to pay still higher taxes. The United States, in its second year of war, can learn much from Canada as the dominion continues to set new records in this, her fourth war year.

After all, I would rather accept the conclusions of those whose opinions concerning Canada's war effort are not coloured by prejudice or preconception, and1 who try to give the facts as they present themselves in the actual working out of the country's war programme.

There are several matters I should like to comment upon. The fact is that agriculture, in spite of the shortage of help and the hardships which the farmers have had to labour under, produced the largest income last year that we have ever had. The weather conditions this year are such that it is difficult to say what the future may have in store for us, but even with the shortage of labour the farmer will do his best to see that this nation will have an abundance of food. There are some things that we shall probably have to go without, but let us remember that we cannot win wars without sacrifice.

So far as our Cooperative Commonwealth Federation friends are concerned, they wax eloquent about the necessity for farmers receiving higher prices, and in the next breath they urge that the labouring man be given higher wages. They forget that if the farmer receives higher prices, wages will go up, and if

War Appropriation-Labour

wages go up, the things which the farmers buy will also rise in price. In other words, they attempt to ride two horses. The hon. member for Rosetown-Biggar (Mr. Coldwell) rather outdid himself in his speech when he referred to some of the actions of this government as reprehensible. I have come to the conclusion that the record of the C.C.F. in this country, the attitude that they have taken when we try to pass a measure in this house for the defence of Canada and their attitude at the present time, are not at all consistent. Their whole policy has been inconsistent from beginning to end, and I would hate to think what the future would have in store for Canada if that element of society were called upon to form a government.

So far as our Social Credit friends are concerned, I give them far more credit for sincerity. They believe that they have a solution for Canada's problems, and that that solution is largely in the direction of monetary reform. While I may not agree with them, at least they are reformers, and since Liberals have always been reformers, I feel at any rate that I have a good deal in common with them. Even if some of the things they advocate are far-fetched, I think they are consistent, because they have stuck to that one particular idea. But the C.C.F. will cater to almost any element or type of society, and as far as playing politics is concerned, they have the Conservatives and the Liberals beaten a long way. I am led to believe that an arrangement has been arrived at in Ontario for collusion between the C.I.O. and Mr. Joliffe in the forthcoming election which it is expected will take place in that province, and the hon. member for Vancouver East (Mr. Maclnnis) and the hon. member for Cape Breton South (Mr. Gillis) will no doubt play their part in delivering the goods in this House of Commons. It is all arranged. However, I do not believe that the good people of Ontario will fall for that kind of trash. We in Ontario have worked hard to build up one of the best standards of living to be found on the North American continent. Just consider the fact that one in every five people in Ontario can drive an automobile and you will realize what their standard of living is. I do not think, therefore, they will throw caution to the winds and embrace every sort of economic proposal that is submitted to them by hon. members.

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CCF

Angus MacInnis

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. MacINNIS:

There is one thing which the hon. member for Brant (Mr. Wood) said that pleases me, namely, that he has nothing in common with the members of this group, because nothing would convince me that we

were absolutely wrong so much as to have anything in common with the hon. member for Brant, and I say that after listening to him for many years in this house. However, that is not what I rise to say. I hesitate to say anything at this late hour, but we are not likely to do any business this evening apart from a general discussion, and therefore I want to emphasize as strongly as I can some of the points made by the hon. member for Cape Breton South (Mr. Gillis) when he spoke earlier in the evening.

Undoubtedly we shall have a certain number of labour disputes no matter what our labour laws and regulations are, and no matter what the policy of the government may be. But there are two kinds of disputes that should not be allowed to develop or to stand in the way of a settlement, and that is, the sort of dispute where one side or the other-and it is usually the employer-refuses to negotiate. Most, or at any rate a great many of our disputes are of that kind, and a dispute of that kind should not be allowed to continue. The Department of Labour has sufficient authority to' deal with it.

Another dispute that should' not be allowed to continue is the dispute that arises because the bargaining agency has not been determined. I have on a previous occasion mentioned to the minister my personal opinion that the moment a dispute arises in an industry as to which group should be the bargaining agency, a vote should be taken to determine that agency, and then the minister should exercise his authority to see that the bargaining is done through that group.

Those are two matters particularly that I wish to impress upon the minister, because it is impossible to resolve disputes if one side refuses to negotiate, or if the bargaining agency is not determined. These are the first essentials to the resolving of labour disputes.

There is another point in connection with the Canadian Ingersoll-Rand company matter. Two weeks ago I asked a question about a lay-off in this plant. The minister replied that he was informed that the reason for the lay-off was union activities. I do not know whether he has ascertained if that was the fact or not, but I tell him that if he has found out that these lay-offs occurred in a war industry where a company had transferred its work to another plant simply because its workers were organizing, because they were carrying out the right guaranteed them by order in council passed by this government,

Privilege-Mr. St. Laurent

then the minister is certainly falling down on his job if he has not brought that to the attention of the company.

I have just one or two words more to say and I shall conclude. We are not only building for the organization that will carry on this war; we are building for what will come after the war, and the government of the *day .can help to build a labour organization that will promote the prosecution of this war, and help the government to organize after the war; or on the other hand it can build up a working-class movement where there will be nothing but bitterness and frustration.

I want the minister to feel that anything I may say at the present time is not said in the way of carping criticism-; it is not said to embarrass him. It is said to help him, because I am convinced that the questions I have mentioned will have to be dealt with and dealt with in no uncertain terms before we can get an orderly arrangement of labour affairs in this country.

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Item agreed to. Progress reported. * At eleven o'clock the house adjourned, without question put, pursuant to standing order. Monday, June 28, 1943


June 25, 1943