Certainly it is a free country, and I want to keep it so. It seems to me that the duty of the Minister of Labour is to be impartial in matters of this kind. I would hope that once in a while he would really see the workers' side of these things. But despite the fact that from January 30 of this year it was agreed to add that other clause, despite the fact that it was recognized by all concerned, the publishers and printers and labour department officials, that it took care of the matter, the minister kept on saying in this house as late as June 4, as reported on page 2153 of Hansard, in . answer to a question asked by my colleague the hon. member for Winnipeg North, that the basic issue was the desire of the union for something that was contrary to Canadian law. That is the idea the publishers have been spreading. The minister by making a similar statement-let us face up to this- has made it difficult for the union to establish its case in the eyes of the Canadian public as strongly as was warranted by the iacts.
In the meantime certain commissions were appointed to look into this matter. First of all there was a commission headed by Mr. REVISED EDITION
Justice Major of the province of Manitoba. His report was much along the same line, that the trouble arose from the fact that the union wanted something contrary to Canadian law. I challenge that statement outright, whether it comes from the publishers, from Mr. Justice Major or from the Minister of Labour. The very wording of the clause in the contract does not substantiate that. Furthermore, the agreement made in the office of the Department of Labour on January 30, 1946, wiped out any question about it at all.
A little later another commission was established, this time under Mr. Card. In due course Mr. Card made a report in which he made the same claim, that the trouble arose out of the desire of the union for something that was contrary to Canadian law. He also tried to make the point that the trouble arose because the head office of the union in Indianapolis was dictating to the union in Winnipeg. If there was any truth in these charges one would not be so much annoyed about them, but when they are untrue and are handed out by the publishers, then by the commissioners that are appointed and then are concurred in by the kind of statement the Minister of Labour has made, it makes one wonder how much impartiality there is so far as labour disputes are concerned.
There has been one commission since then, the Lett commission. Brigadier Lett and others were appointed in British Columbia to inquire into the dispute out there between the Vancouver Province and the union. As hon. members know, the disputes in Vancouver, Edmonton, Hamilton and Ottawa were sympathetic disputes because the members of the same union in these other newspapers felt that their colleagues in Winnipeg have not been, fairly dealt with.
The report of the Lett commission was definite, namely, that the federal Minister of Labour should take steps to bring together the principal parties to the dispute. That has been one of the claims of the union throughout the whole story-that it was not just a . local matter to be referred to provincial authorities but a matter of concern to the federal Department of Labour because on the one hand you had a chain of newspapers and on the other a union that is nation-wide.
After the Lett commission report was tabled -I regret to say that the newspapers did not see fit to give it a great deal of publicity-a request was made in the house by the hon. member for Calgary West, and I frankly wonder why he made it, for the tabling of the Card report. That report was tabled by the minister, and although it was actually pre-
[Mr. Knowles. 1
sented to the minister some months before the Lett commission report, it has been given all kinds of publicity by the newspapers, whereas the same newspapers have given very little publicity to the Lett report. I cannot blame the minister for that, because he does not control the newspapers-somebody may interject, thank goodness for that. The fact is that the impression has been created that the Card report is the last word because it is the most recent one tabled in the house and it is the one which has been given most publicity. That is not true; it is not the last word. And in fact it simply mouths the charges which the publishers have made right from the beginning, that the union was being dictated to from Indianapolis and was asking for something contrary to Canadian law. All of this adds up, as I said, to a distortion of the true picture and my quarrel with the minister- he says we have no quarrel, but we certainly have-is that his statements to us in the house right down to June 4-and his statements since have not been very helpful-have had the effect of giving credence to these charges made by the publishers and supported by the first two commissions established.
Latterly, as I began to put questions on the order paper to get the facts before us, we were able to get the information brought out in public that the unioi had agreed on January 30 last, to that additional phrase in the contentious clause. We were able to get the information about other newspapers having similar contracts and were able to get attention directed to the Lett commission report. The minister then appointed Mr. Justice Richards as an informal investigator into the whole matter.