June 29, 1943

NAT

Richard Burpee Hanson

National Government

Mr. HANSON (York-Sunbury):

That may be the proper sort of agency to hire for this purpose, I do not know. I am not concerned about that; I am not prepared either to condemn or to commend the employment of this agency, but I want to know what is being done to vindicate the law. The law has been set at defiance by a large number of people.

War Appropriation-Labour

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NAT

Richard Burpee Hanson

National Government

Mr. HANSON (York-Sunbury):

It depends on where these defaulters are located. I am happy to think that in the little province of New Brunswick from which I come there have been few defaulters. I am happy to think that the citizens of New Brunswick have not had to be taught a sense of national obligation, as we were told by the chief of the general staff in October, 1940, was needed. So far as I know, there have been no prosecutions in the maritime provinces. The minister ought to tell us what he proposes to do to get these men into the army. He should give us particulars of the machinery used in sending out these calls, because so many of them seem to remain undelivered. My understanding is that every call was sent out by registered mail, so that every one of them could be traced, mathematically. What happened when that machinery broke down? Who has been penalized, if anybody, because the law was not carried out? These are all interesting queries that I am putting to the minister, and I hope he will take the time to put the position before the Canadian people, because they want to know, and they are not satisfied with what has been done in the past.

In particular the Canadian people were not satisfied with the administration of the Department of National War Services. If ever there was a washout in government departments in the history of this dominion it was the institution of that ministry and its career from that time down to this. I am not going to blame the minister who first occupied that position, because he is a busy man and I venture to say that he took on the job only because nobody else would take it. I have an idea that is the fact. I happen to know that when the Prime Minister was endeavouring to get gentlemen from outside the pale of the Liberal party to enter his government after May, 1940, he approached various gentlemen who were adherents of the Conservative party and offered one of them this job of minister of national war services, but to his everlasting credit the gentleman spurned the offer because he was not going to do the dirty work of the administration. That is true; that is a matter of history. I shall not mention the man's name. As I have said, I am not blaming the Minister of Agriculture, who was the first minister of national war services, but I do say that the performance of his successor in that position- I am sorry he is not in the house so that I could say this to his face, and I am not going to cast reflections upon him now that he has become a member of the judiciary-was a perfect wash-out, and the Canadian people

never had any confidence in his administration of the office. I wonder why the ministry has been continued until this day. What useful function does it perform?

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Karl Kenneth Homuth

National Government

Mr. HOMUTH:

That is why the former minister was given social security.

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Richard Burpee Hanson

National Government

Mr. HANSON (York-Sunbury):

The hon. gentleman is quite capable of expressing his own views and I invite him to do so when I am through, but I am expressing the thoughts that are running through my mind. Is the ministry being maintained for the purpose of political expediency, to find a place for the present minister who was put into office for the ostensible purpose of converting his compatriots to the principle of conscription for military service overseas? That is what we were told prior to the by-election in Outremont, but I notice he soft-pedalled that in all the speeches he made during the contest, and we have never heard from him since with respect to that aspect of the matter.

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NAT

Richard Burpee Hanson

National Government

Mr. HANSON (York-Sunbury):

I am

speaking of this particular question of interesting his compatriots in the great national effort in which Canada is at present engaged.

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LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. GARDINER:

Mr. Chairman, the

discussion which has been going on since Wednesday last with respect to certain matters having to do. with man-power has caused quite a number of speakers to refer to the registration which was made in 1940. The hon. member for York-Sunbury has called attention to the fact that I was minister of national war services in 1940 and therefore in charge of that registration. The fact which has brought about the discussion that has been taking place was that 988,475 men of certain age groups from nineteen to forty six years were available in Canada, single men who at some time might be called for military service. After a call had been made, 608,642 of these men responded to the call and 379,833 did not. If I remember correctly the argument which was used in the house and certainly in some of the press of this country was to the effect that these men had simply disappeared, and that if such a considerable number of men could disappear and their whereabouts not be known to the government there must be something seriously wrong with the system in force. As I understand the remarks made last evening by the Minister of Labour, he accounted for these men in a way that must have been satisfactory to the last speaker; because I listened to his

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remarks last evening when he suggested that at some later date, after he had had time to review the figures, he would tell the house what he thought about it all. But this afternoon, instead of telling the house what he thinks about it, he has risen in his place to tell us that he wants a little further explanation from the minister. In other words he has discovered that instead of 379,000 men there are some 68,000 men who are not entirely accounted for, and he wishes the minister to tell him who those 68,000 are and where they are. I tell him in a word that if he read's the explanation that was given by the Minister of Labour last night he will find everything explained, and that the whereabouts of many of the 68,000 are pretty well known.

That brings me back to the question of the registration itself. One of the members speaking last night agreed that the registration had been fairly well carried out and that the results were satisfactory. I recall that the statistics then available from the statistical branch of the Department of Trade and Commerce, following the previous census, indicated that there were in the neighbourhood of 8,000,000 people in Canada who were sixteen years of age or over. A registration was taken in 1940 of the people of Canada who were sixteen years and over, and the actual registration reveals that 7,862,920 people registered. The highest estimate that we have of the number of people in that age group in Canada was around 8,000,000, and the final result of the registration was that 7,862,920 people registered. I venture to say that there is no other country in the world in which, if the people had been called upon to register their names in three days the result obtained would have been as favourable as the result obtained in Canada on that occasion. When the second chance was given last year to those who had not registered in 1940, about 144,000 turned up and registered. If you add that 144,000 to 7,862,920 you get almost exactly 8,000,000 people, which was the estimate that was made of the number of people in Canada from sixteen to the top ages of our population. In other words, practically all the people registered on the first occasion, and practically all of the few who did not register at first registered on the second occasion, when some 144,000 appeared.

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John Ritchie MacNicol

National Government

Mr. MacNICOL:

On the second occasion

did the number not include those who in the interim had reached the age of sixteen?

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LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. GARDINER:

No, I understand not. It was the persons who should have registered in the first place but did not, because the idea was that any who did not register after

f:Mr. G*rrlinf*r.l

this second chance were to be prosecuted. As I understand the figures given last night, some 1,300 have been prosecuted, most of them convicted, and some 14,000 cases are still in the hands of the courts. That is the position in connection with the registration itself.

But the chief charge or the chief claim which was made in the press which criticized the statement made last week was that all these people should have been followed throughout the year, that this registration should have been kept up to date, and that somebody in the government should know exactly where every one of these 8,000,000 persons is at the present time. I submit that any member of this house or any person in Canada who is interested only in seeing a job done knows how ridiculous a thing like that would be. Any man in any community knows that at least seventy-five per cent, in many cases ninety per cent, of the people in the community are living to-day exactly where they were living in 1940. Everyone in the community knows where they are, knows that they were there in 1940 and that they are there still. As a matter of fact, when we examine into the farm population situation, we find that about twenty-five per cent of the man-power from our farms of certain large groups who are ablebodied men, have left the farms and gone into some other employment. That means that seventy-five per cent of them are still on the farms-that is, speaking of the man-power- and I venture to say that when you take the vroman-power into account a much larger percentage than the seventy-five per cent are still on the farms. What would be the sense in a government or anyone else sending a body of people around to inquire every once in a while whether these people are at home or where they are? The facts with regard to the whole case demonstrate they are at home, and they are not only at home but they are working.

Something has been said as to whether the method which has been followed in connection with our man-power is a good method. I believe the minister, speaking in the house, said the other day that under the circumstances this was the best plan that could be devised in this country. Well, if one wants to test the plan itself what one should take into consideration is the results. What are the results? The hon. member for Temis-couata, (Mr. Pouliot) speaking a few moments ago, referred to the position of the farm population in his province; and he has a perfect right to discuss that and should discuss it, but in discussing it I submit that he was not altogether fair. The orders and the statements made in 1940 and 1941 with regard to persons who were on farms permanently and persons who were there only seasonally had to do

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with the policy which was then being put into effect. The policy was one which was intended to give thirty days' training in the first few months, and, later, four months' training to every man of a certain age in Canada if he were single. In putting that into effect it was said that agriculture is more or less seasonal, and it was said, in the interests of agriculture, not in the interests of someone else, not in the interests of the army-the army if left to themselves would have desired to get those men called, so many in each six weeks period, as was done at the beginning, from every area right across Canada- but agriculture said, and certainly the Minister of Agriculture, who happened at the time to be Minister of National War Services, said, that the proper time to train men off the farms is in the season when they are least employed. In the western sections of Canada, where we are grain growers, we said, "If you want to call men for training from the farms, call them in the winter months and not in the summer months so far as those areas are concerned." It is true we had protests with regard to that policy from dairy areas across Canada where, they said, labour was just as necessary for dairying in winter as in summer, and conditions were provided to meet situations of the kind, and men went forward to training. It is true that when it was changed from thirty days to four months some difference was made in the ruling, and then, when the four-months regulation was removed and men were supposed to remain in, other changes had to be made, and one was the change which was made in the spring of 1942. Within six months of the time that the limitation had been taken off the four months' training, and within three months of the beginning of the off season, the regulation was that men who were on farms and were essential to agriculture and asked for postponement were entitled to be given indefinite postponement.

Some hon. members from the west raised the question last evening as to whether that intention was carried out. I do not need to repeat in this house what I said here last February, that in certain areas the intention of the regulations had not been carried out.i I do not need to repeat what was said within the last three weeks in this chamber, and admitted by hon. members from every part of it, that since February last the intention had been fairly well carried out throughout the length and breadth of the country. But I do come back to this point, that an effort has been made to do what is the fair thing in connection with the calling up of men and to allow persons to remain in places where they are most useful.

After we have been carrying on for almost four years in connection with this war, what is the position with regard to man-power? If one were to take the able-bodied man-power of this country and divide it into three groups: first, the group that is on the farms; second, the group that is in the munitions plants, or in the yards that are building ships, or in factories which are building planes or tanks or trucks, and then take the group that are in the army, it will be found that the statement I made back in 1941 which my hon. friend was quoting a few moments ago has turned out to be not very far wrong. That statement was to the effect that if it ever became necessary in this country to have a million men in the army or in the armed forces of Canada, it would be found possible to produce the munitions of war, the ships and the machines of war, and also to produce a great deal more food than we had ever produced in Canada in the past. I backed up that statement by saying that if the registration showed approximately 8,000,000 people in Canada, and 1,000,000 were taken out to fight the war, surely the other 7,000,000 could take care of the other jobs, the jobs of providing the wherewithal to fight and the food to keep those who were fighting as well as ourselves.

Well now, coming to the position of to-day, where do we find ourselves? We find ourselves with 988,000 young men who have been called for service. Of that number, 550,000 are in the armed forces; 257,000 of them, as the figures revealed the other night, were found unsuited because of their physical condition to go into the armed forces; approximately

100.000 men have been found to be entitled to postponement and have been given postponement. Men in other exempted categories number about 12,000. When you go over the figures of the men who were available for military service because of being in certain age groups, and single, you have only some

68.000 of them still to account for, and they are accounted for in the general terms used by the minister the other night. In addition to that you have the married men who joined the forces and others who did not come in these groups who were in the forces. The figures given the other day show that approximately

700.000 men have joined the fighting forces of Canada, and in addition to those there are some 150,000 men, some of whom perhaps are too old to go into the fighting forces, to go overseas or into battle, but who nevertheless are in the forces performing services as guards or otherwise throughout the country. In addition there are 38,000 men in the merchant

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marine, who are as truly facing dangers today as are the fighting men on any front in any part of the world.

These figures bring us dangerously close to the point where we are providing as many men as anyone ever estimated, since the war started, that the dominion would provide for the fighting forces. When I made that speech in 1941 I received criticism from every part of Canada. I was asked, how do you expect that there ever will be 1,000,000 men in the armed forces of this country? My own opinion has been from the beginning of the war that some day there ought to be three-quarters of a million men ready to fight for Canada in this war, and we are getting so close to it now that I feel rather pround of having made the estimate away back at the time when I was minister of national war services.

We have approximately 3,000,000 ablebodied men in Canada of these age groups, married and single who might be pushed around. Over 1,000,000 are on the farms, and almost 1,000,000 will be found in the armed forces, or among those who are doing work similar to that of the armed forces, and another million, approximately or more than a million of them, will be found in our munitions plants and factories of one kind or another doing work associated with the war. In other words, without getting down to exact figures-and exact figures bore a lot of people in this country-our population is split about three ways. I have listened to statisticians, and I have sat in committees with statisticians, who can give figures to the last man and the last fraction of a man, and I have listened so long now to that sort of thing that I am getting tired of it myself. However, I say that you can take the manpower of the country and split it into three about equal groups, and you will find that one-third of them will be doing something to produce food, another third will be doing something to produce munitions and equipment for the war, and still another third will be found in the armed forces or getting ready to go in.

That, I think, is the way in which the whole system should be viewed and criticized. Is that a proper division of the population? I submit that the results seem to indicate that it is. And what do I mean by that? In 1940 we were told in this country-I have repeated it in this house before and I will state it again on this occasion

that when the armed forces came back after Dunkirk there was not enough ammunition in Britain to keep them shooting for one hour if they had been given all the guns that were there

and all the ammunition and told to shoot. But we in Canada and the people of the United States and of every one of the democratic countries which to-day are favourable to the allied cause were asked to produce munitions of war and machines of war as soon as possible. I am proud of the fact, whether my friend the hon. member for Temiscouata criticizes me or not, that I did not stand up on that occasion and say that every man ought to remain on the farm. We would not be in this House of Commons to-day discussing matters with the freedom which we enjoy, and the right we have to say anything we like, whether it hurts or not, if on that occasion men had not gone into the factories and the shipyards and into the munitions plants from every part of this country and other countries, from every activity of the country, and rolled out the munitions and guns and tanks and ships as they have never been rolled out in any nation of similar size before. We were told in 1940 that no nation could equip itself in less than three and a quarter years after it had begun to do so.

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LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. GARDINER:

My hon. friend says

he does not remember that. He does not remember it because it was said to me in London by men who know, that no nation could equip itself with munitions inside of three and a quarter years after it had begun the task. It was estimated that because we did not begin until 1938-and I am not speaking of Canada; we did not begin in the world to realize that we were going to have a war, we did not realize that among the democratic nations until 1938-it would take until 1942 at best to become equipped with ammunition alone, to the extent of being able to beat the enemy on a battlefield.

When Mr. Churchill came over on his first visit to Washington he told us that we would have to be delayed on that job until 1943, and now in 1943 the allied nations are producing munitions, ships, equipment of . various kinds, and Canada stands second to no nation in the world in that regard. In other words, we have a sufficient number of our population engaged in the task to-day to accomplish what was expected of us.

What about the farms? We have talked a lot about farm labour and the shortage of farm labour, and I agree with everything that was said a few moments ago by the member for York-Sunbury. I agree also with much of what was said by the member for Temiscouata with regard to hardships. But you will

War Appropriation-Labour

have noted, Mr. Chairman, that in order to substantiate the criticisms which are made it is always necessary for members to come back to individual cases. It is all very well to say that in one family four sons went while in another family none went. I venture to say to the member for York-Sunbury and the member for Temiscouata that in those families where four sons went, no law or regulation, no organization in Canada, could have prevented those young men from going. They went because they thought it was their duty to go, and no one could have stopped them. No regulation or dictation from Ottawa, no indication, "We want you to follow a team of horses on the farm instead of going to fight," would have kept that type of man at home. And lam not too sure that some of the others that are spoken of would have made very good soldiers. I say, I am not too sure of it. Probably they would have found themselves in some job that was not as essential as the job they were doing before. I am not going to comment further on that.

I will not argue in this committee or anywhere else that war does not bring hardships. War is bound to bring hardships to any family or group of people who take their patriotism seriously. It will not to those who just talk about it. I heard a gentleman only today-I am not going to say who he was-make the statement in a meeting that a plan is no good if it is just on paper, a treaty is not of much use if it just has signatures on it. After all, what counts is work. The thing we have to do is to work at the job. I think that is very sound. These people of Canada on our farms have befen working at the job, and to-day we are producing more food than anyone in this house would have stood up four years ago and prophesied that we could ever produce with the normal farm population.

I have heard members every session in the last four years declare that before the end of the year we are going to find out that our farms are lacking in labour and machineiy and fertilizer, and for that reason we are not going to be able to produce in Canada what we were hoping to be able to produce. But every year we have been able to produce more than we hoped to be able to produce. As late as the year 1942 we sent to Great Britain all the essential products that she asked us for. In cheese and pork products we sent approximately eighty per cent of our production. And not only eighty per cent of our production, but we sent her in so far as pork products are concerned eighty per cent of what she got from all the countries of the world, before the war started. Our great problem in agriculture is the problem of determining what we are

going to do in the future with all we are producing. But I have never met a farmer in Canada-and I travel among farmers from the Atlantic to the Pacific-who has told me that he is not prepared to produce until it hurts, even though he may be called upon to cut down again at the end of the war to where it hurts. He is not talking about that, seriously, until he has the first job done. And the first job is the winning of this war.

We know in Canada what it means to us to lose; I should say, not to completely win a war in which we take part. We went through one of them within the lifetime of every member in this house. Every man who got by the last war, even though many members of his family did not, and thought that war was over for his lifetime, has found out since, if he raised a family in this country, that im conditions which existed in the world his family might go down in battle, in due course. And having found that out on two occasions, what the men of this country want is to win this war, and a condition in the world which will make it possible for him to go on and to produce for a ,peace-loving world. We are producing more munitions than anyone ever expected us to produce. We are producing more machineiy of war, more ships of war and more food from our farms. We have many men in the armed forces of Canada to-day who, had it not been for the war, would have been ini the farm forces of Canada. Thousands of them did not wait for the call, but joined up. That was the meaning of what was said the other night by the Minister of Labour. If anyone believes they are not listed, he should consult the lists in our forces. It must be remembered that we have only 12,000,000 people in Canada. We cannot feed China with its 400,000,000. If it is left to us to do that job, some of them will be left to starve. We are doing the best we can do, with around 12,000,000 people. We cannot produce enough munitions to supply the millions who will come from Great Britain and the United States, with the millions of men they have already at the front, and the additional millions in China, and other places where there will be shooting. But we can produce and are producing our share of it. Every statesman of the world, including the stateswoman, Madam Chiang Kai-shek, who was here the other day, who has discussed the question at all, has said that Canada has done more than her share in connection with the war, in the production of machines and munitions of war. When it comes to our food supply, any information

War Appropriation-Labour

we get from outside Canada is to the effect that they cannot understand how Canada accomplishes as much as she does.

When it comes to our armed forces for all services, our m.n manning the ships at sea, our men fighting in the air and our men in the army who have been making ready since the outset of the war, all are going to be available to finish it in numbers greater than was anticipated. None of the allies except Russia ever thought they were ready even to start fighting in this war until 1943. Those men who have died at sea and in the air in the past two or three years have died to give us an opportunity to get ready. We are ready now. The fight is still ahead. And as that fight goes on, we will continue to require men in the armed forces.

I can understand the hon. member who has just spoken saying that it is important that we should have men in the army. But I do not think he should have bothered making the correction he made a while ago. I still think it is important that men should be in the armed forces. And I still think we are doing a very good job on the farms-not we who are sitting here in this house. As a matter of fact, if we had been more anxious to get the jdb done on the farms, we would have been out of here two months ago, doing a little farming. Again I agree with my hon. friend that such work is more important than talking, and must be done. I know he is really anxious to get it done. I am anxious to get out on my farm and do a little work, too. There are other members who are anxious to get away. We all of us can help, out on the line in our country, if we are not able to help on the front line over where the battle is being carried on. If we want to do a real job, we have to get out as soon as possible where production is being carried on. We are not going to accomplish anything if we hold the opinion that the front line is here, in the House of Commons, and that we should sit here for twelve months talking about it. If we would just get the estimates through, we would then have an opportunity to get busy. Let every business man and every farmer here get back to his work, in the busy season, and we shall be doing the best job we can do, and getting on with the war.

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John Ritchie MacNicol

National Government

Mr. MacNICOL:

Yesterday I asked the

minister a question with reference to the manner in which men are selected to be sent to the various industrial institutions. The military end of this matter has been discussed at some length. My remarks will be with respect to the industrial end. I asked the minister what the procedure would be if one asked the selective service office at Toronto

for ten boilermakers, or ten riveters, or men of that type. He replied that the selective service office has all people in the community classified as to their various skill and training. That would indicate that selective service must take the responsibility for those who are sent to any industrial institution.

On the 23rd instant the Toronto Telegram contained an article which to my mind revealed a grave condition in the shipbuilding industry at Toronto. I am wondering if selective service sent the men referred to in this article to the Toronto Shipbuilding plant. I have had a great deal to do with labour, and to my mind this is almost an impossible situation. The article states:

Employees of the Toronto Shipbuilding Company have asked munitions minister C. D. Howe to investigate conditions in the Toronto shipyard, said to be retarding production and resulting in the waste of thousands of dollars of public money.

The production end, of course, is under the Department of Munitions and Supply. But the sending of men to the plant is under the Minister of Labour. This article states:

1. Certain types of ships which are under construction at the yard for the past twenty-two months have not been commissioned.

That is a very long time in which to turn out a ship in war time. Then:

It was pointed out that hulls Nos. 31 and 32 left the yard in September, 1942, uncompleted and were sent to the yard at Saint John, New Brunswick.

At the time of the writing of this article they were still not commissioned. The article sets out the reason for this situation as faulty workmanship, wrong material, faulty measurements which necessitated the almost complete rebuilding of the ships when they arrived at Saint John.

I have had a great deal to do with steel in connection with boilermaking. I know that to compete in the building of boilers it is necessary to drill and shear a number of plates at one time, perhaps two, three, four, five or six at once. Therefore the measurements have to be perfect or there is great loss and great delay. In my time we could not afford to have men who could not measure steel or who could not properly mark the holes to be drilled in the boiler sheets; we could not afford the losses, but evidently there is a great deal of trouble here if this article is based on fact. I have no doubt it is, because the brief on which this article was based was submitted by Mr. L. Sefton of the United Steel Workers of America. I assume that the brief is correct, and of course the article itself would be correct to the extent that the brief is accurate.

War Appropriation-Labour

This article goes on to state that the mast on one of these ships was erected at the position indicated by the foreman superintending the construction of the ship. It was erected in front of the door leading to the captain's cabin; after it had been welded to the deck and all the work had been finished of course they found that the captain could not get into his cabin and the mast had to be taken down again. Surely that is a situation for which somebody must be responsible. I do not know how far the minister can go, but he is the Minister of Labour; he is a man in whom I have confidence, and he may have authority to see that conditions of this kind are wiped out. Certainly they should be. Certainly no plant building ships in war-time should have such incompetent labour or incompetent management or incompetent foremanship; I am not going to condemn one or the other.

The article goes on to speak of the ship's brass. Instances are mentioned of material being provided such as naval brass, which had to be scrapped because it was improperly laid out. Brass is one of the commodities of which we can hardly get enough for the construction of ships and the necessary workaday life of this country. There is something very seriously wrong in that respect. What kind of men were sent to that plant? Did the men in the national selective service offices who looked them over know enough to see that the proper men were sent there? I do not know; I am not saying they did not. I do not know how much they had to do with it, but certainly if all the facts set out in the brief are correct there was something very seriously wrong. The article goes on to tell about the boring of holes. That is something with which I have had experience, as no doubt the' minister has. In steel or in iron you may allow a variation of perhaps one-thousandth of an inch, but if you go much beyond that you make an error which results in a good deal of material being wasted.

The article goes on to speak of brass storm valves, costing approximately $50 each, which were not the correct type and which were thrown into the bay. If that actually occurred I think the minister should make an investigation. To me it seems almost incredible that valves costing $50 each should be thrown away like that. Were there no foremen on the job? Where was the management? This is a government plant, remember; was it being run in this fashion? If so it is an alarming situation. Fancy throwing $50 valves into the bay! I think the minister

should send a man to that plant and have a diver go down and dig those valves out of the bottom of the bay; they are too expensive to be thrown away like that.

The article goes on to speak of the difficulties in connection with welding. Well, that is also something with which I have had experience. It has to be done properly; certainly if two steel plates going into the construction of a ship are not properly welded, there will be a leak. Perhaps that is one reason why these ships had to be partially rebuilt when they got to Saint John. Mention is also made of the riveting of the plates. The article states:

In the matter of wastage of public moneys it was pointed out that in Hull 43, when tested, 1,700 rivets leaked and had to ibe replaced, wasting material, time and money. It would appear that the system of paying a bonus for the number of rivets driven, rather than for the rivets tested watertight, "mitigates against efficient workmanship. ..."

How much national selective sendee has to do with the muddle in this shipyard I do not know, but someone should be held responsible. WTe require ships; but when it takes twenty-two months to turn out a ship of that kind, and then it is necessary to keep it for approximately another year at Saint John being refitted and rebuilt before going into commission, it does not help to win the war. I think we should have an explanation as to just what part national selective service officers play in the distribution of man-power.

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LIB

Humphrey Mitchell (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. MITOHELL:

If I could answer my bon. friend in a sentence-

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NAT

John Ritchie MacNicol

National Government

Mr. MacNIOOL:

I shall be through in a moment. I sat for many hours in the labour offices in Manchester, Birmingham and London; and as a former employer of labour it did me good to listen to the questions which were asked by the men behind the counter; for I appreciated their knowledge of the trades to which they were sending men. Perhaps our national selective service has not had time as yet to get properly organized to send the most competent men to work in our munitions plants. If what was said yesterday or the day before by the minister or the hon. member for Essex East is correct, that there are 4,500 men and perhaps women employed in the national selective service offices, and that only 900 people have been transferred from one plant to another, perhaps the time has come when we should send 3,500 of the people employed in these offices to work in the factories, because it would appear that they have been doing very little.

War Appropriation-Labour

I read in the press to-day, as no doubt the minister did, an article in regard to the strike in the Quebec shipyards. Something must be done to eliminate strikes in this country. Those shipyards have been shut down for two weeks, and 672,000 man-hours of labour have been lost. Well, surely there is something wrong when in the shipyards of one .province, in war-time, 672,000 man-hours of labour can be lost. Surely the department should be Able to cope with a situation of this kind. Surely they should be able to see that the men receive proper treatment, that the management gives them whatever fair treatment they are asking for, and that they are kept at work.

I wish to say a word1 or two about priorities. Some days ago I asked a question or two on this matter, and later the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre asked further questions on the same point. At the time I was not paying very much attention to what the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre was saying; I was busy at something on my desk, and I did not just grasp the significance of the minister's reply to questions 1 and 2. Questions 1 and 2, which I asked on June 16, 1943, were:

1. Is there a priority list or classification of industries or firms for the guidance of national selective service in placing workers?

2. If so, who prepared this list?

The minister's reply, as reported at pages 3998 and 3999 of Hansard, is as follows:

Let me say without equivocation that national selective service is not, to my knowledge, being used to cut down wages. That is question No. 1.

I did not say anything about wages, although the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre may have. The minister continued:

As to number 2, with regard to the priority schedule, that of course is confidential for obvious reasons.

Farther down on the page he gives a list of those who make up the board that decides whether this or that factory is to have preference in connection with men. This advisory board is made up of representatives of employers' organizations such as the chamber of commerce, the manufacturers' association, the mining association and so on, and on the labour side are representatives of the Canadian congress of labour, the railroad trades, the Catholic syndicates and the trades and labour congress of Canada. There are also representatives of the departments concerned in the production of war materials.

I can picture a cast iron boilermaker sending to national selective service for ten moulders, and a hot air furnace manufacturer also send-

[Mr. MacNicol.J

ing for ten moulders to make fire-pots. If there is a representative of the castiron boiler manufacturers on the board, he will probably see that the cast iron boiler manufacturer gets the preference, or vice versa. I would suggest that the foremen in the shops should be represented, because in many instances they know just as much as or more than the manufacturers as to the type of man that is needed. Who represents the retail trade on the board? As we all know, the retail merchants distribute vast quantities of manufactured articles.

Take the large restaurants on Sparks street like Woolworth's or Kresge's or the large restaurant operators in Toronto. They buy their * sugar and flour by the bag or barrel. The plan is to have girls and women handle all this work. A girl or a woman should not be asked to lift a 100-pound bag of flour or a 200- or 300-pound barrel, whatever a barrel weighs.

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?

An hon. MEMBER:

One hundred and ninety-six pounds.

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NAT

John Ritchie MacNicol

National Government

Mr. MacNICOL:

That is too much weight to ask help of that kind to shuffle around. Then take shortening, for instance. I understand it comes in 400-pound barrels. It is all very well to say that it could be put up in ten-pound or forty-pound kegs, that sugar and flour could be put up in ten-pound or forty-pound bags, but if that were done we might hear from the Minister of Munitions and Supply. The plants now turning out these containers are designed to manufacture those particular sizes. I am wondering if such things are not partly the cause of the muddle we now have in man-power. I am not blaming the minister for this, because I realize he has had a terrific job to handle. I would rather help him than do anything that would give him more worry. But the man-power situation is so serious that something must be done, especially in connection with ships and equipment for ships. They must be turned out more rapidly and sent down to the sea to safeguard the supplies going overseas.

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LIB

Humphrey Mitchell (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. MITCHELL:

I think the hon. member asked me whether the Department of Labour had to do with materials. That would be under the jurisdiction of the Department of Munitions and Supply. My hon. friend also said something about the transfer of 900 people. I should like to tell him that during last year selective service placed 1,400,000 people in jobs.

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NAT
LIB

Humphrey Mitchell (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. MITCHELL:

That was all done within a short period. In Great Britain over 90 per cent of the transfers or placements have been

War Appropriation-Labour

made without any direction. I feel sure that the Canadian men and women will give the same degree of cooperation as has been given in Great Britain. As to the fitness of a man sent to take a job, I may say that in the unemployment insurance offices we have card indexes of three and a quarter million people which indicate their skills, but the final say as to the fitness of a man must be the employer himself. National selective service regulations have been so devised as to take care of that particular phase of selective service activity, and either the workman can leave or the employer can ask the workman to leave without giving the usual seven days' notice up to a period of thirty days after work has been accepted.

My hon. friend inquired also about the priority list that is given to national selective service officers. As I indicated the other day, this list is drawn up by the priority division of the Department of Labour and representatives of the Department of Munitions and Supply and wartime prices and trade board. Naturally the list is confidential, because it changes from day to day in conformity with the changes in work being undertaken by different industries.

The hon. member for Temiscouata (Mr. Pouliot) referred to Mr. Gunn who came to Canada at my request from the department of labour in Great Britain. Mr. Gunn was of great assistance in the early stages of the organization of selective service. He has spent his life in the administrative side of the British ministry of labour, having been in it almost since its inception. He is one of the permanent officials of that department. I do not think it is a crime to go outside the boundaries of this country to get advice in connection with any work which any government, federal, provincial or municipal, might carry on. It is often done. I know the United States government requested Mr. Bevin to lend them one of his ranking officials in connection with their organization, and it is to the credit of Mr. Bevin, in view of the tremendous pressure under which the British ministry of labour is functioning at the present time, that he found it possible to lend us one of his senior officials for nearly six months.

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June 29, 1943