April 28, 1944

NAT

Grote Stirling

National Government

Mr. STIRLING:

Oh, yes; that is another 4hing.

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Mr. S@

That is being handled *by the provincial authorities, and there is this understanding: The R.C.M.P. are prepared to supply personnel from the localities where they *can be spared, if and when required to do so by the attorney general of British Columbia.

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NAT

Grote Stirling

National Government

Mr. STIRLING:

The minister agrees, therefore, that in infractions of the regulations with regard to registration it is the R.C.M.P. who take action.

Mr. ST. LAURENT: It is the R.C.M.P.

who are called upon by the registrars under the mobilization act when they have knowledge of an infraction.

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NAT

Grote Stirling

National Government

Mr. STIRLING:

Will the minister be good enough to say whether any of those 1,333, who were believed to be unregistered as a result of the report of the R.C.M.P., have since registered? Could he say that registrations are now going on particularly with regard to those who have become sixteen years of age and who are consequently subject to the registration since the time of this report and since the year 1940 when registration was put into force? In other words, could he tell the

(

committee how many of these people in southern British Columbia have snapped their fingers at registration and have not registered?

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LIB

Humphrey Mitchell (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. MITCHELL:

Some of them have registered, but I do not think a great number. I could not give the exact figures of those people who have snapped their fingers at the regulation, as my hon. friend has suggested.

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NAT

Grote Stirling

National Government

Mr. STIRLING:

No doubt thousands of them have not registered.

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LIB

Charles Robert Evans

Liberal

Mr. EVANS:

Could the minister give us any information with regard to the bottleneck that has become apparent in packing plants throughout Canada consequent upon the transfer of labour from those plants to the farms? Live stock have become marketable; the yards are full and the packing plants cannot get the help to take care of them. It has been suggested that some of these men should be transferred back to the packing plants. Experienced men went back to the farms on April 1, and the bottleneck has been the consequence. Could the minister give us any information on that?

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LIB

Humphrey Mitchell (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. MITCHELL:

My hon. friend is speaking of the packing situation generally across the country? Twice as many people are engaged in the packing industry to-day as there were in 1939. In the last season we put 4,(XX) additional people into the packing industry. I should like to say this about the packing industry: it is hard work, and requires men with strong backs and strong arms. I think we generally recognize that feature of it. What we did was we made possible the transfer of men from agriculture to the packing plants and so on. Many of these men were owners of farms, and when spring came along and it was time to seed, they went back to their farms. It has been said that some of them went back because they felt the special consideration given to agricultural workers under the mobilization regulations would be withdrawn if they stayed in the packing industry. We indicated clearly, and in fact instructions were sent to our officials in the field, that these men could stay in the packing industry and enjoy the same rights, if you call them rights, that were granted to agricultural workers generally. We appreciate that there is a shortage of labour in the packing industry at this time, but constant attention is being given the problem and it is no worse now than it was three months ago. It is this rush of cattle and hogs to the packing plants that has brought about the difficulty. I should like it clearly understood, however, that to-day we have twice as many people working in the

War Appropriation-Labour

packing industry as we had in 1939, and that selective service has made possible the continuation of that industry on a much larger scale than was the case in the days of peace.

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PC

Mark Cecil Senn

Progressive Conservative

Mr. SENN:

Is it not a fact that instead of a shortage of labour in the packing plants the abattoirs and freezers are so full that they cannot handle the meat which is being processed at the present time?

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LIB

Humphrey Mitchell (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. MITCHELL:

I could not answer that question; I deal with the man-power end of it and do not know much about any other phases of the industry.

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LIB

Charles Robert Evans

Liberal

Mr. EVANS:

I have had some correspondence from the west in regard to the backing up of hogs on the farms, and it is serious. When a' hog reaches a certain weight it should be marketed. The information I had from Saskatchewan was that last week the stockyards were full of hogs, and that an embargo was imposed at some of the shipping points. It may be that we have twice as many employees in the packing plants as we had in 1939, but we are marketing more than twice as many hogs. The fact that many of these men left the plants on April 1 has put the farmers in the west in a serious position, as far as marketing their hogs is concerned.

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LIB

Humphrey Mitchell (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. MITCHELL:

The situation in Calgary is that they want no more men there at all. In the other plants there is some difficulty at the moment, particularly at Edmonton. We did offer to move a certain number of Japanese into this industry, but I am given to understand that this offer was refused by the industry itself. In the very tight labour situation which exists to-day, sometimes we cannot be too choosy as to the labour we may employ. Everything it is humanly possible to do is being done to face up to the labour situation in the packing plants. At the present time we are passing through a seasonal period when, by the very nature of things, there is a movement of labour from industry back to agriculture, and I can only repeat that everything possible will be done to man the packing plants in western Canada.

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CCF

Stanley Howard Knowles (Whip of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation)

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

Mr. KNOWLES:

Would the minister mind turning to some figures that appear at page 799 of Hansard?

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LIB

Humphrey Mitchell (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. MITCHELL:

Read the figures.

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CCF

Stanley Howard Knowles (Whip of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation)

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

Mr. KNOWLES:

I do not wish to read the figures; I wish to ask the minister whether

he can bring them up to date. The simplest way of explaining the figures desired would be to ask the minister or his officials to refer to page 799 of Hansard for February 24 of this year.

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LIB

Humphrey Mitchell (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. MITCHELL:

I do not think I can do that to-night; it is nearly eleven o'clock. If my hon. friend can give it .to me across the floor now,- or after the house adjourns, I shall be glad to do whatever I can to bring the information up to date.

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CCF

Stanley Howard Knowles (Whip of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation)

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

Mr. KNOWLES:

I am giving the information to the minister now; it will be in Hansard, and he can pick it up from there. The figures have to do with the total number registered at the employment and selective service offices, by provinces, under various categories, as set out at the page I have indicated. The figures given there were up to January 27 of this year, and cover the year previous, as at a number of specified dates. My question, which I take it the minister will answer on Monday, is whether he will bring these figures up to date as much as possible.

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LIB

Humphrey Mitchell (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. MITCHELL:

The hon. member wants the latest figures?

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CCF

Stanley Howard Knowles (Whip of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation)

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

Mr. KNOWLES:

Yes.

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NAT

James Arthur Ross

National Government

Mr. ROSS (Souris):

I should like to ask the minister a question which has to do with one or two other departments of the government as well. Agriculturists, especially in the swest, are having great difficulty in obtaining farm machinery. We questioned the Minister of Munitions and Supply in regard to the material available and were told that the Steel available now amounted to 291 per cent of the steel available in 1939. Then we had a report from the war expenditures committee to the effect that plenty of factory space is available in Canada. Therefore, it would seem that there must be a shortage of experienced labour. Would the minister tell us if he has had any demand lately for labour from the manufacturers of farm machinery, or what are the prospects of the farm implement factories obtaining sufficient labour to carry on, because the situation is much more serious now than at any time since the outbreak of war, and the prospects are that it will continue to be serious for many .months to come.

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April 28, 1944