May 2, 1951

PC

Gordon Francis Higgins

Progressive Conservative

Mr. G. F. Higgins (St. John's East):

Arising out of the Prime Minister's statement of yesterday on United States bases in Newfoundland, may I ask the Prime Minister when I may have an answer to some of the questions I asked, and will there be an opportunity for further discussion?

Topic:   NEWFOUNDLAND
Subtopic:   LEASED BASES AGREEMENT
Sub-subtopic:   RECOMMENDATION OF PERMANENT JOINT BOARD ON DEFENCE
Permalink
LIB

Louis Stephen St-Laurent (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Right Hon. L. S. St. Laurent (Prime Minister):

I would not undertake to answer all the questions the hon. member asked yesterday, but there will be ample opportunity to discuss the matters he has in mind.

Topic:   NEWFOUNDLAND
Subtopic:   LEASED BASES AGREEMENT
Sub-subtopic:   RECOMMENDATION OF PERMANENT JOINT BOARD ON DEFENCE
Permalink

WAYS AND MEANS

LIB

Douglas Charles Abbott (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Hon. Douglas Abbott (Minister of Finance) moved

that the house go into committee of ways and means.

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS
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HOTEL AND WATER TRANSPORT WORKERS- AMENDMENT, MR. KNOWLES

CCF

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

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

Mr. Stanley Knowles (Winnipeg North Centre):

Mr. Speaker, before Your Honour leaves the chair on this motion to go into committee of ways and means there is a matter which I should like to bring to the attention of the government. It is a situation which has been brought to their attention outside of this house a number of times, but I refer in particular to the occasion on which the Canadian Congress of Labour waited on the government, on April 11, and submitted their memorandum on matters of concern to organized labour. Included in the brief they presented was a section dealing with the manner in which the railway strike of last fall was settled. More particularly, the point raised by the delegation representing the Canadian Congress of Labour related to the failure of the arbitrator to give to the hotel and water transport workers the same terms that were accorded to the railway employees involved in last fall's dispute.

May I read two or three sentences from the representations made to the government just a short while ago-as I have already said, on

April 11-by the Canadian Congress of Labour. Discussing this matter the congress brief says:

The impression given by the Prime Minister in the House of Commons debate on the railway strike was that all employees would be treated on an equal basis. No other impression could be taken from the remarks made by the Prime Minister with respect to this vital issue, and it was accepted in good faith by the employees.

Later, after referring to the difference in the award as between railway employees on the one hand and hotel and water transport workers on the other, the congress in its brief went on to say:

In spite of the fact that the government appears to take the position that nothing further can be done in this matter, the railway employees feel that the legislation passed by parliament did not give them the protection which they were led to believe it provided. There has been a distinct loss of morale in the railway service, and the congress urges in the strongest possible manner that the government take whatever action may be necessary to remedy what the railway employees believe was a discriminatory decision on the part of the arbitrator.

Now, Mr. Speaker, it so happens that there is nothing in the legislative program before parliament at this session that relates to this matter. There are no items in the estimates that deal with it, and this is in fact one of the very first opportunities that I have had to raise this question in such a manner as to get from the government the consideration that I believe it deserves. I wish to point out that I raise the question because I believe the good name of this parliament is at stake.

Last fall when we met here in a special session to deal with two main matters, one of them being the railway dispute, we had presented to us a bill known as the Maintenance of Railway Operation Act. That bill had a preamble which, amongst other things, said:

Whereas the operation of railways and subsidiary services serving the country as a whole has been suspended by reason of a failure of the railway companies and the bargaining agents of nonoperating and certain other employees of the companies to reach agreement as to certain terms and conditions of employment . . .

Then later on these words:

And1 whereas the railway companies and the bargaining agents of the employees appear to have agreed that existing wage rates should be increased, and the forty-hour week introduced but appear to have been unable to agree as to the amount and effective date of the wage increase or the date at which the forty-hour week would be effective and the terms and conditions upon which it would be introduced . . .

The preamble continues, and eventually as one reads he gets down to the operative sections of the act. The reason I read these two paragraphs from the preamble was to

Hotel and Water Transport Workers point out that they referred collectively to the whole group of employees who were out on strike. Not only did these two paragraphs refer collectively to all the employees who were out on strike, but they referred to them as being employees of the railway companies and of their subsidiary services. In other words, some of us in this house, and certainly the employees, thought that that bill, on the basis of its preamble, was designed to treat all employees who were involved in that dispute on precisely the same basis, whether they were railway employees or employees of subsidiary services.

When we got to discussion of the clauses of the bill we reached a clause which I felt had a bearing on this matter, and as a matter of fact I had my doubts as to whether the operative provisions of the bill were clearly enough drawn to make sure that the hotel and water transport workers would get as of right the same treatment that was to be accorded to the railway employees. I asked questions along that line, as recorded at pages 71 and 72 of Hansard of August 30, 1950. At this point may I say in fairness to the Prime Minister that he gave an answer which seemed to me to indicate that I was right, namely, that the bill did not give a guarantee that all employees would be treated in the same way. Well, there was not much satisfaction in being right on the point, because I wanted the bill to be worded so as to guarantee that hotel and water transport workers would be treated in the same manner as the railway employees. So I pressed for the section to be properly drawn, and other members, particularly from this group, supported me in that effort. I find that the hon. member for Vancouver East (Mr. Maclnnis) and the hon. member for Rosetown-Biggar (Mr. Coldwell) pursued the matter, and eventually got a statement from the Prime Minister which -certainly was different in tone from the one he had given me, and which seemed to be more satisfactory to the members of this house; indeed it seemed satisfactory to the railway employees affected.

At page 74 of Hansard the hon. member for Rosetown-Biggar set the stage for what the Prime Minister had to say in answer to him. The hon. member for Rosetown-Biggar said:

There is a certain amount of loyalty among these union- members who have been working together through their groups. They would have felt, I am sure, that to accept for themselves an agreement which separated in any way the smaller group of workers would have been disloyalty to that group. The government would be well advised to consider this small group of people as coming under any of the decisions that are beneficial to the larger unions.

I have heard it said that the railway management considered throughout that after all this was a minor matter. In fact on one occasion I heard it described as peanuts. If for the sake of a small

Hotel and Water Transport Workers part of the negotiating unions we fail to do what is justice to them, and give the larger unions the feeling that this group which has relied on them has been discriminated against, I think it will tend to create bad public relations and bad union relations in the future.

I wish now to quote what the Prime Minister (Mr. St. Laurent) said immediately after these observations of the hon. member for Rosetown-Biggar. The Prime Minister is reported on page 75 of Hansard for August 30, 1950, in these words:

They are not being discriminated against in any way. The government, in the bill which is recommended to parliament, has treated them in the same way as the other unions, namely, as one unit; and everything that binds the arbitrator with respect to any one binds him as much with respect to those two small groups as it does to the others.

This is a long paragraph, so I do not need to read it all. But I draw your attention to another statement by the Prime Minister which he made later, immediately after an interjection of mine. These are his words:

I would not like to discuss these details, but in the recommendation we made to parliament and in the bill itself we have attempted to treat as one unit all those involved in this dispute.

Later on he says:

We have endeavoured to treat the whole group who are out, those who have withdrawn from work, as one unit; and our reason for doing so is that we thought it would be unfortunate to ask by legislation that any portion of them should do something which they would regard as disloyal to their comrades.

As was pointed out in the brief presented by the Canadian Congress of Labour on April 11, those words of the Prime Minister were taken in good faith by the employees. They thought that made clear the meaning and the intention of the bill. They thought that the Prime Minister's words were in keeping with the terms of the preamble, particularly the two paragraphs I quoted a while ago. They thought that all the employees on strike, both the railway workers and the hotel and water transport workers, would be treated as one unit; they thought that whatever award was made by the arbitrator under the act would apply equally to the railway employees and to the hotel and water transport workers.

In due course an arbitrator, in the person of Mr. Justice Kellock of the Supreme Court of Canada, was appointed. I must say that on other occasions I have quoted from that report in laudatory terms. In particular I feel Mr. Justice Kellock is to be commended for the way in which he treated the railway employees, giving them the highest increase the act permitted, and giving them, as he did, the forty-hour week at the earliest date the act permitted. His reasons for those two

decisions are clearly stated in his award, and I need not take time to go into that matter now.

But with respect to the question as to what to do with the hotel and water transport workers, Mr. Justice Kellock took a different view from the one indicated in the words of the Prime Minister, as I have just quoted. At page 8 of the mimeographed copy of Mr. Justice Kellock's award I find these words- and he is speaking at this point about the position of the hotel and water transport workers:

On behalf of the union it is contended that the effect of the statute has been to equate the hotel and water transport employees with the other employees here in question, so that if there is to be an adjustment in, wages or hours1 as to the latter group, the same must apply to all. In support of this contention reference is made to certain expressions in the preamble of the statute-

-which I have just read.

Then Mr. Justice Kellock says:

I was also referred to the discussion in parliament when the bill was under consideration.

I have just referred to that same discussion, which was brought to the attention of Mr. Justice Kellock by the representatives of the employees. Then he goes on to say:

In my opinion the language in subsection 3 of section 5-

He is referring to the Maintenance of Railway Operation Act.

-is clear and mandatory. The arbitrator is to decide any particular matter "within the limits of the proposals that he determines were made by the railway companies and the unions in respect of that matter" at the time pointed out by the statute. Accordingly, even if there can be said to be any ambiguity in the preamble, which I do not suggest, the operative provisions must govern1.

Well, I am not a lawyer, and sometimes I join in the cracks made about lawyers; but I must confess I think Mr. Justice Kellock is following good legal practice in that interpretation of the statute. We all know it to be perfectly true, that it is the operative provisions of a statute which must govern. In my view therefore the thing that is unfortunate about this is that the operative provisions of the statute failed to reflect the intention of parliament, as indicated by the words of the Prime Minister which I read, and which we in the house were asked to accept as interpreting the intention of the bill, and which the employees accepted in good faith.

The result of this whole situation, namely, a statute the operative provisions of which in the opinion of Mr. Justice Kellock do not carry out the clearly stated intentions of the Prime Minister-

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS
Subtopic:   HOTEL AND WATER TRANSPORT WORKERS- AMENDMENT, MR. KNOWLES
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LIB

Louis Stephen St-Laurent (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Mr. SI. Laurent:

He does not say that at all.

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS
Subtopic:   HOTEL AND WATER TRANSPORT WORKERS- AMENDMENT, MR. KNOWLES
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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 saying it.

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS
Subtopic:   HOTEL AND WATER TRANSPORT WORKERS- AMENDMENT, MR. KNOWLES
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LIB

Louis Stephen St-Laurent (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Mr. St. Laurent:

You say that in the opinion of Mr. Justice Kellock the operative clause does not conform with the preamble. He did not say that.

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS
Subtopic:   HOTEL AND WATER TRANSPORT WORKERS- AMENDMENT, MR. KNOWLES
Permalink
CCF

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

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

Mr. Knowles:

I am sorry, but I think the Prime Minister misunderstands me. I am not putting words into the mouth of Mr. Justice Kellock, other than the words I quoted from him. Anything else I am saying is my own.

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS
Subtopic:   HOTEL AND WATER TRANSPORT WORKERS- AMENDMENT, MR. KNOWLES
Permalink
?

An hon. Member:

Mr. Justice Knowles.

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS
Subtopic:   HOTEL AND WATER TRANSPORT WORKERS- AMENDMENT, MR. KNOWLES
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CCF

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

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

Mr. Knowles:

What I am saying is this, that the result of a statute which failed to include in its operative sections what we were told was the clearly stated intention of parliament is that Mr. Justice Kellock made an award that was different with respect to the railway employees from what it was with respect to the hotel and water transport workers. It was not his fault, but it was contrary to what parliament expected.

In brief I would point out that the railway employees were awarded an increase of seven cents an hour, whereas the hotel and water transport workers were awarded an increase of four cents an hour, that being the floor provided by the statute. The railway employees were awarded a forty-hour week at the earliest date provided in the statute, namely, June 1, 1951, without any loss of take-home pay, but there was no provision for a forty-hour week for the hotel and water transport employees. Indeed, no change in their working week was made under the provisions of Mr. Justice Kellock's award. Hotel and water transport workers work varying numbers of hours in various parts of the country. It may be forty-four or forty-eight hours or more. Whatever hours they worked before still obtain. Another difference between the two groups is that the hotel and water transport workers were given a one-year contract, while the railway employees were given a two-year contract. The only point of significance about that difference, as I see it, is that these groups are being separated; because the hotel and water transport employees will have to seek a new agreement at a time when the railway employees will not have to do so. The smaller group will be splintered off from the larger group, and will therefore have less bargaining power.

In that connection may I point out that Mr. Justice Kellock states that there were 148,433 railway employees involved in the dispute, but that there were only 9,263 hotel and water transport workers involved. In

2. 1951

Hotel and Water Transport Workers other words it is for that small group of slightly more than 9,000 employees that I am speaking on this occasion.

When parliament met this year one of the first questions that I put to the Prime Minister was in relation to this matter. My question will be found in Hansard of February 1, 1951, at page 17. I need not quote the question, but it related to the matter of whether or not the government intended to do anything to get that award adjusted. The Prime Minister replied to the effect that representatives of the railroad unions had waited on him prior to that date with regard to this matter and that his answer to them was that the provisions of the statute had been carried out and it was not then the intention of the government to ask parliament to change that matter.

As is clear from letters that have been addressed since that time to the Prime Minister and letters that the rest of us have received, and as is clear from the representations made by the Canadian Congress of Labour on April 11, this is a matter which still exercises those who are affected by it. My purpose in rising at this time is to ask the government, on the floor of this house, to reconsider this whole position. I feel that it is our duty as members of parliament to concern ourselves, particularly when smaller groups are affected.

It is all well and good to say that the award was a fair award so far as the 148,000 railway workers were concerned. I have gone into that on other occasions, and I shall not now repeat my argument that the statute should not have limited the increase to seven cents per hour. But here we are confronted with this smaller group of 9,263 who feel they have been discriminated against. What rankles with them most of all is the feeling that parliament-indeed the government-let them down. They relied on the letter and the spirit of the words of the Prime Minister on August 30 to the effect that the whole group of employees, that all who were out, that all who were involved in the strike were to be treated as one unit. The phrase "one unit" was used by the Prime Minister at least twice. Whatever he may have meant by it, certainly the workers thought that it meant that the same treatment would be accorded to all.

I could go into the merits of the case on the basis of the wages these hotel and water transport workers are receiving and the hours that they work, but I am refraining from doing that on this occasion. I think that whatever may be their due because of their

Hotel and Water Transport Workers low wages and long hours, because of comparisons with people in other occupations, the main point so far as we are concerned is the good name of parliament.

May I remind you and the house that there have been other occasions on which the government felt that the intention of parliament had not been carried out fully. I have before me references dealing with two such cases. In both of those cases the government either has taken action already or has announced that it will take action to see to it that the intentions of parliament are carried out.

One case came up in this house on February 26 of this year. We were having a debate on a matter which has taken a more favourable turn since then, namely, the question of trade union dues in relation to income tax. I was complaining about the action of the government several years ago in setting aside the provisions of the statute. I refer now to what happened in 1945, 1946 and 1947. I pointed out that just as soon as the Exchequer Court of Canada ruled that the right to deduct trade union dues from income tax was really included in the statute in 1945, 1946 and 1947, in fact just as soon as the matter was referred to the court, the government brought in a bill to amend the act and take away that privilege.

When I was complaining about this the parliamentary assistant to the Minister of Finance (Mr. Sinclair) argued that I should commend the government for taking action to change the law so as to make it conform with what had been the intention of parliament. The parliamentary assistant was definite about it. The debate took place on February 26 and may be found at page 677 of Hansard. His point was that if the act was as I said it was and as the Exchequer Court said it was, that was not the intention of the government when it presented its original legislation to parliament. As soon as the government discovered that it had made what it regarded as a mistake in the legislation, it amended the legislation so as to carry out its intention, and the parliamentary assistant said to me on that occasion that that was something for which I should commend the government instead of criticizing it.

The other example was brought to our attention in the first instance on February 16 of this year, as reported at page 421 of Hansard, by the Minister of Justice (Mr. Garson) who got up on the orders of the day to tell us that the government was going to take to the privy council, if you please, the famous Nolan case, in an endeavour to get a change in the decision of the Supreme Court of Canada. The Minister of Justice announced on that

[Mr. Knowles.)

occasion that if the decision of the privy council was likewise against the government, he was giving notiee that the government would bring in legislation to amend the statute so as to carry out what had been the intention of the government and the intention of parliament. I think I should read a few of his words. The minister said that the government:

-gives notice that it will, in order to carry out the principle of preventing such fortuitous profits, introduce legislation in parliament confirming the settlements with all of the commercial traders in oats and1 barley, other than Mr. Nolan . . .

This matter came up again later on in the session. As a matter of fact it was raised by the leader of the opposition (Mr. Drew) in such a manner that the Prime Minister felt that he had to reply to it, and he did so as recorded on page 827 of Hansard. Speaking of what the courts had done in connection with the interpretation of the legislation, he said:

They may be right but if they are right the government made a mistake in the method adopted to carry out the intention of parliament. It did not make any mistake as to what was the intention of parliament. It made a mistake, if that is correct, as to the method it adopted to carry out the intention of parliament.

A little later he described the arrangements the Minister of Justice was making. He said that if the privy council ruled against the government the government would be saying: We did not make any mistake as to what parliament wanted done, and we ask you to confirm the settlements that were made with those who did not institute proceedings. There is a clear case where in the words of the Minister of Justice and of the Prime Minister we are told that the intention of the government and of parliament was clear. The courts having placed a different interpretation on the statute than was the intention of the government and of parliament, the government feels itself obligated to bring in the necessary legislation to change the statute so as to carry out what was the intention.

There is my case. Surely what is fair to do in one instance is fair to do in another. The Prime Minister told us on August 30 of last year that it was the intention of the government to treat all the employees involved in the dispute as one unit. He used that phrase at least twice, and its spirit runs through all his remarks. There was to be no discrimination. There was to be nothing done to make any group feel that they were disloyal to any of their fellow workers. It was so clear that the representatives of the employees who were sitting in the gallery on that occasion felt satisfied, even though they might have had some doubts about the wording of the bill. They were satisfied that if the

matter went to arbitration the intention of the government and of parliament would be carried out.

The matter did not go to the courts, but it did come into the hands of a justice of the supreme court. That justice of the supreme court did not interpret the operative provisions of the statute in the way the Prime Minister had indicated to us on August 30, 1950.

It seems to me the course to be followed by the government on behalf of parliament is clear. If when the Nolan case reached the point it did the government felt that its intention had not been carried out and it therefore has the right to bring in legislation to carry out that intention, surely the hotel and water transport workers have a moral claim upon this government to have the same course taken on their behalf. As I say, I have refrained from going into the rate of wages and hours of work; I do not want to complicate the question. If I did go into those matters, from my point of view their case would be even stronger. Here is a small group, and we often find that small groups are discriminated against. But I object to such treatment, and on behalf of these 9,263 hotel and water transport workers I submit that something should now be done to alleviate their situation. Therefore I move, seconded by the hon. member for Yale (Mr. Jones):

That all the words after the word "that" to the end of the question be struck out, and the following words be substituted therefor:

"this house is of the opinion that the government should give consideration to the advisability of taking appropriate steps to secure an alteration in the award which was made under the Maintenance of Railway Operation Act of 1950, so as to extend to the hotel and water transport workers involved1 in the railway dispute of last fall the same terms awarded to the railway employees involved in the same dispute."

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS
Subtopic:   HOTEL AND WATER TRANSPORT WORKERS- AMENDMENT, MR. KNOWLES
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LIB

Louis Stephen St-Laurent (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Right Hon. L. S. St. Laurent (Prime Minister):

Mr. Speaker, I am not rising to defend the award made by Mr. Justice Kellock, nor to defend that hon. gentleman himself; I do not think he requires any defence in this house. I regret that the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre (Mr. Knowles) does not agree with Mr. Justice Kellock's interpretation of the statute and its preamble, and does not agree with the conclusions at which the hon. justice arrived. But it so happens that it was Mr. Justice Kellock who was selected to preside over this arbitration, and that it is the decision of Mr. Justice Kellock which by statute is binding upon the parties.

I rise merely for the purpose of pointing out to my hon. friend that he can take some 80709-167

Hotel and Water Transport Workers phrases from the language I used at that time and interpret them as he has chosen to do this afternoon, but if he reads the whole of what I said-and I said quite a lot on that occasion, as many of us did, because we were very much disturbed over the serious situation which had arisen-he will find that I said the government had come to the conclusion very reluctantly that it should not ask the other unions to abandon any of their fellows with whom they had bound themselves together for a common cause, because it would probably have seemed to them we were asking them to do something disloyal. So I said the government did not recommend1 that parliament do that, but that the matters in dispute would remain to be determined by the arbitrator. I even pointed out in express terms that if the arbitrator came to the conclusion that a certain group should get a larger increase than another group, that would be something he could include in his award. He was the one to determine what remained in dispute between the employers and the employees, and he was the one to determine how the dispute should end.

At page 13 of Hansard I commenced by pointing out that we found it difficult to ask parliament to declare that it was in the national interest that the services of the Chateau Laurier here in Ottawa should be resumed at once. We found it difficult to come to that conclusion and to ask parliament to come to that conclusion, but we felt there was the overriding consideration that if we did not do it we would be saying to the men that they had to do something which they might consider disloyal to the smaller group included1 in their number. When the question was raised by the hon. member I gave him the answer to which he has referred, which is at page 71 of Hansard; that we were saying that though the railways in their discussions had not agreed to four cents for everybody, there would be four cents for everybody, but that was all we were determining; and that as far as we were concerned', if there was a continuance of this dispute between the parties in regard to treating water and hotel operatives in a different fashion from the ordinary railway operatives, the arbitrator would have before him the example of what the government was recommending to parliament, and what parliament was doing, but that it would be his responsibility to make the decision.

Now the decision has been made, and I must repeat that it is not the intention of the government to ask parliament to set aside the decision. I would ask the hon. gentleman to read again everything I said on that

U' HOUSE OF COMMONS

Hotel and Water Transport Workers occasion. I am sure he will come to the conclusion, which is apparent from what I said, that here was the example the government was giving, here was the example parliament was giving, but that was not to be binding upon the arbitrator with respect to any of the matters that might be in dis>-pute; that he would have to settle them, and he did.

The union leaders felt they could not take any other position than to ask for equality Of treatment fox the hotel and water operatives. I felt that parliament could not take any other position than to determine what it was determining with respect to those who were involved; but that what was left to be determined under the act would be determined by the arbitrator. The arbitrator came to. the conclusion

and I am not going to discuss whether or not it was a proper conclusion-that those who happened to be working in railway hotels had no good-reason to expect substantially better treatment than operatives in other hotels. When the labour leaders made their representations to the government some time ago, we told them the contract with the hotel operatives would expire shortly and would have [DOT]to be renewed, and they could make their representations to the management. They said it would make for better public relations between the railways and all their employees if they treated- their hotel employees on the same footing. I said, "Well, make that representation to the railway management. I am not. going to take the responsibility of asking parliament to intervene and set aside the decision made in this exceptional case." This was regarded and treated as a case of compulsory arbitration. It was .very exceptional, and- I hope it will long remain so. I hope there may never again be any situation in which parliament will have to exercise its authority to secure the functioning of essential services in this country.

It may be urged upon the railway management that it would make for better personal relations with their employees if they did that, but I do not think it is a matter in which any responsible government could ask parliament to intervene again to change the award that was made at that time. I repeat that I made it abundantly clear that the questions remaining in dispute could be dealt with by the arbitrator. I said, as recorded at page 75 of Hansard for August 30, 1950:

... I would- not like to give any opinion as a lawyer as to whether or not in the position taken by the parties at the last moment there would still be rooni for the arbitrator to say that one group, perhaps the ear men, would get one rate, arid another group, perhaps the boilermakers, would get another.

I do not know. We have endeavoured to treat the whole group who are out, those who have withdrawn from work, as one unit; and our reason for doing so is that we thought it would be unfortunate to ask by legislation that any portion of them should do something which they would regard as disloyal to their comrades.

Then the member for Rosetown-Biggar (Mr. Coldwell) said:

Then we can take it that the intention of the legislation is so far as possible to keep the unions as a unit in their negotiations?

I answered:

I would not put it in that way. The intention was not by legislation to require any of the unions to adopt a course that they would regard as disloyal to their fellows.

That was the position in parliament, that we should not by legislation do something which would have been very embarrassing to the constitution of this country had they refused to comply with it. That was one of the very serious motives which induced us to do this rather illogical thing of including the operations of the Chateau Laurier as something that was essential to the functioning of the Canadian economy. The matters remaining in dispute were left for the arbitrator. I may say I thought that, with our example before him, he might decide to treat them all on the same footing, but it was a matter that had to be determined by him. I believe it would be wrong for the government to ask parliament to vary the decision at which he arrived.

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS
Subtopic:   HOTEL AND WATER TRANSPORT WORKERS- AMENDMENT, MR. KNOWLES
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CCF

Angus MacInnis

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

Mr. Angus Maclnnis (Vancouver East):

It

is not my intention to speak at any length on this question. The member for Winnipeg North Centre (Mr. Knowles) has made his case so clear, as he always does, there is nothing much left for anyone else to say. After hearing what the Prime Minister (Mr. St. Laurent) has had to say there is still less left for me to say, because I believe in his concluding words he has upheld the contention of the member for Winnipeg North Centre.

Let me point out that, so far as my understanding goes, the member for Winnipeg North Centre did not say that Mr. Justice Kelleck misinterpreted the act. What he did say was that the act did not express what parliament intended, that is that all of the groups on strike should be treated alike. The Prime Minister read the part of the debate that I was going to quote, that is part of his own statement which appears at page 75 of Hansard. But let me read it again, for emphasis, and I shall leave my participation in this debate at that. This is what the Prime Minister said, as reported on page 75 of Hansard for August 30, 1950:

For instance, I would not like to give-

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS
Subtopic:   HOTEL AND WATER TRANSPORT WORKERS- AMENDMENT, MR. KNOWLES
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LIB

Louis Stephen St-Laurent (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Mr. Si. Laurent:

Perhaps you should start four or five lines above that.

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS
Subtopic:   HOTEL AND WATER TRANSPORT WORKERS- AMENDMENT, MR. KNOWLES
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CCF

Angus MacInnis

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

Mr. Maclnnis:

I would be glad to do that.

On all of the points in which we have provided expressly, we have stated the arbitrator cannot undo what we are doing. On the other matters he will have to make a determination as to the extent of the gap and the bridging of the gap.

It is clear that the arbitrator felt there was a gap, and he used the discretion given him in the act.

Then the Prime Minister proceeded:

For instance, I would not like to give any opinion as a lawyer as to whether or not in the position taken by the parties at the last moment there would still be room for the arbitrator to say that one group, perhaps the car men, would get one rate, and another group, perhaps the boilermakers would get another. I do not know. We have endeavoured to treat the whole group who are out, those who have withdrawn from work, as one unit;

I think that is clear. So far as parliament was concerned, the purpose was to treat all the employees, both hotel employees and water transport workers on the same basis as those other railway employees who participated in the strike.

Then the Prime Minister continues:

. . . and our reason for doing so is that we thought it would be unfortunate to ask by legislation that any portion of them should do something which they would) regard as disloyal to their comrades.

My understanding of the point made by the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre, and I agree with it completely, is that if the act did not express specifically what parliament intended, parliament should now remedy that situation and do justice to these employees that we feel were discriminated against in the arbitrator's findings.

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS
Subtopic:   HOTEL AND WATER TRANSPORT WORKERS- AMENDMENT, MR. KNOWLES
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CCF

Owen Lewis Jones

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

Mr. O. L. Jones (Yale):

I should like to

briefly outline a little problem we have in the interior of British Columbia, and this has a distinct bearing on it. I feel I would be remiss in my duties as a member of that area if I did not bring it before the house. On Okanagan lake we have barges, tugs and other equipment operated by both the Canadian Pacific and Canadian National. The men operating this equipment are well organized, and are part of the transportation system, so were affected by the strike. As has been pointed out by the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre, today they feel that they have been let down by parliament. They were led to believe, rightly or wrongly and I am not going to go into that, that an implicit promise had been made that they were to be treated fairly with all other railroad workers. They took that from the statement of the Prime Minister (Mr. St. Laurent), and from the preamble to the act.

80709-167*

Hotel and Water Transport Workers They still feel that way today, and believe they have been badly let down.

The men employed on these barges and tugs are of a very high calibre, the masters, general officers and the men themselves. Many of them are former naval men or deep-sea seamen who have turned to lake service in their advancing years. They feel that they are supplying a vital service in the transportation system, because except for this water transportation the railway would end at Kelowna. They feel, therefore, that they are a vital part of the system, and the same situation would apply to Kootenay lake and the other lakes in the interior of British Columbia. It is felt also that no sound reason has been advanced for excluding them from the general recognition of the railroad workers, which naturally produces a divorcing of their group from the general category of railroad workers.

I wish to place on record the reasons they advanced for placing themselves in the same category as ordinary railroad workers. They are very simple. They are as follows:

(1) The earnings from our efforts go into the railroad coffers.

(2) Our pay cheques are issued by the railroad companies.

(3) Our work is governed by rules and regulations issued by the railroad companies.

(4) Should we incur any expense through breakage or waste we have to explain very thoroughly to some office of the railroad company.

(5) From the standpoint of peculiarities of duties our deck crews have to switch and spot freight cars just as do railroad brakemen and conductors. This is additional to the regular ship's duties.

(6) Touching on the hotel employees issue we leave it to you to take notice of your railroad timetable and newspaper advertising wherein no punches are pulled in telling you that hotels owned and operated by the railroad companies offer the finest of service andi accommodation to the traveller.

(7) Last but not least-when our agreement expires it has to be renegotiated at the office of the divisional superintendent, these recommendations of which are subject to final ratification by the general head office of the railroad company.

That seems to me to place on record the close touch there is between the water transport workers and the general set-up of the railway transportation system in Canada. They feel that they have the same grievance that the other railway workers have. They went on strike for the same reasons, at the same time, for the same principle, namely, the high east of living and their inability to meet it. They feel that they should not be segregated from the bodies rendering public service under identical conditions, identical management, subject to identical punishment, merit marks and so on. Of course they have to do something about it. They have a feeling that they may again have to consider strike action. I am not saying that

Hotel and Water Transport Workers is a general feeling, but they have got to do something to raise their present standards.

May I point out that another thing that seems to me to tie them in with other railroad workers is that before any organized body of workers who contemplate strike action may take such action they must receive the sanction of the government through the Department of Labour. The water transport workers and hotel employees were granted such permission to take part in the railroad strike. To my mind this is a tentative admission by the Department of Labour that both groups were subject to the same governing factors and should be dealt with collectively. Parliament unconsciously acknowledged the unity of the workers by calling the bill not the railroad workers bill or the waterworkers bill, but the maintenance of railway operation bill. I submit that the railway could not be maintained without these vital links in its operation. To my mind the act was intended to cover them.

These men, unfortunately, are still working a 48-hour week and they are still under the 1939 agreement. The company is quite satisfied because that suits them, and they refuse to allow any changes to be made in those working conditions. These men have had no raise in pay since 1948, and we all know how greatly the cost of living has gone up in the meantime. It is on their behalf that I would ask that consideration be given to granting to these men, by negotiation if necessary, the same terms, the same increases in salary and the same lowering of the weekly working hours. I ask that their case be subject to immediate negotiation. I believe that they are as much entitled to a home life that the longer hours there would give them as are their colleagues with whom they work every day. I think that it is unfair, and constitutes an injustice, when one group of a given service is segregated and told, "You shall have nothing" while the others are treated well according to the settlement made.

I feel that the government have a responsibility. Whether what has happened was intentional or unintentional is a matter which I am not going to go into at all. But at any rate, the impression was given that these men would be treated on a basis similar to that which was used in the treatment of all other railroad workers who were on strike. To bring back the good name of parliament, and I believe the Prime Minister (Mr. St. Laurent) feels that something should be done on behalf of these men, I appeal to him to use either negotiation or some other instrument-and I do not know what is available- whereby a hearing could be given these men

and their case could be dealt with on its merits, in order to give them a decent chance to raise their standard of living to meet the present high cost.

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS
Subtopic:   HOTEL AND WATER TRANSPORT WORKERS- AMENDMENT, MR. KNOWLES
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CCF

Robert Ross (Roy) Knight

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

Mr. R. R. Knight (Saskatoon):

Mr. Speaker, I think my friend the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre (Mr. Knowles) has made an excellent case. I do not intend to add to it; that is to say, I do not intend to add to it anything in the form of argument. I should merely like to add my endorsation of the words that he has spoken. I am one of those citizens who are fortunate enough to have in their midst a Canadian National Railway hotel, the Bessborough, which I have no doubt has played host to a good many members of this house, including the Prime Minister (Mr. St. Laurent). I have heard no good reason advanced today as to why there should have been a discrimination and a division as between these two classes of workers or why that other class of workers which was discriminated against should not share the benefits of the award under the recent decision. The employees of the hotels, of course, were disappointed also. There is one fine gentleman who lives close to my house, who was engaged in some humble work, as it is termed, at that place; he came to me when I was at home at Easter and expressed bitter disappointment, not perhaps so much in the matter of the money award as in the fact that some distinction had been made as between the particular class of workers of which he was one and those other classes of workers who had received better treatment. This was something he bitterly resented. I am prepared to accept the interpretation which the Prime Minister has made of his own words, but may I say that the only reason I accept it is that he has so interpreted them. If I am paying the Prime Minister what I think is a well-deserved compliment in that regard, I may remind him that a great many people of this country and those workers of whom we are at the moment speaking, accept the Prime Minister's word in that same spirit. It is therefore unfortunate that they should give to the Prime Minister's word an interpretation which he had not intended; because when he speaks, the people listen and believe. These people listened and they believed; and there are no tricks in plain and simple faith. The Prime Minister said that he is not prepared to recommend to parliament that it should remedy this injustice to these particular workers; he did not call it an injustice, but that is what I call it. Although the Prime Minister is not prepared to submit the matter to this parliament may I say that this matter, like most others, is within the jurisdiction of this parliament and that this

parliament could do something about it if the government were to give to it the necessary leadership.

I shall close these few remarks with the fine words that were spoken by our former colleague in this house, the hon. member for Calgary West (Mr. Smith), when he said that, among the things that he had found out, the one which stood out most vividly from his experience in the years he had spent here was this, and he expressed it in the following words:

I came to a very simple conclusion, a conclusion that I know to be right, namely, that perhaps the chief thing that rests upon us here is that within these four walls and in our hands rest the honour and conscience of the Dominion of Canada.

Let me say that this is one of the things which rest upon the honour and conscience of this house.

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS
Subtopic:   HOTEL AND WATER TRANSPORT WORKERS- AMENDMENT, MR. KNOWLES
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CCF

Major James William Coldwell

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

Mr. M. J. Coldwell (Roseiown-Biggar):

really did not intend to say a word, and I have been considering whether I should say it or not; but I think perhaps I owe it to my colleagues in the house as well as to myself to say what I am going to say. I have a vivid recollection of this discussion on August 30. In common with all other members of the house, I was anxious to see the matter settled then and the railways resume their operation immediately. I followed very carefully the course of the debate. The Prime Minister (Mr. St. Laurent) has quoted the question that I put to him as recorded at page 75 of Hansard. That question was put immediately after the paragraph that has been quoted two or three times this afternoon. I will, if the Prime Minister will allow, not quote the first paragraph of the two, because it does not have any bearing on what I am going to say, but I listened very carefully to this:

For instance. I would not like to give any opinion as a lawyer as to whether or not in the position taken by the parties at the last moment there would still be room for the arbitrator to say that one group, perhaps the car men, would get one rate, and another group, perhaps the boilermakers, would get another. I do not know. We have endeavoured to treat the whole group who are out, those who have withdrawn, from work, as one unit; and1 our reason for doing so is that we thought it would be unfortunate to ask by legislation that any portion of them should' do something which they would regard as disloyal to their comrades.

In the sitting that afternoon I considered that to mean, rightly or wrongly, and apparently wrongly now, that we were not going to ask by legislation the segregation of the large group of railway workers from the small group of water and hotel workers. That was my interpretation at the time, and I asked the question to confirm it. When the question was answered I thought that it confirmed the opinion that I had formed during

Hotel and Water Transport Workers the discussion, namely, that the intention was not by legislation to require any of the unions to adopt a course which could be regarded as disloyal to their fellows.

I may say that immediately I turned to the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre (Mr. Knowles) and to the hon. member for Vancouver East (Mr. Maclnnis) and said: "I think that is very satisfactory. I do not think we should delay this matter any longer. I suggest that we co-operate to end this discussion and get the railways working." My impression at that time was as I have suggested, and I thought that I owed it to my colleagues, to the Prime Minister and to the house, to say that that was my interpretation. It was on that basis that I so suggested to the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre, who at that time was doubtful, and was not satisfied; but we had a long discussion, and I thought that the statement of the Prime Minister, my question and his reply clarified the situation sufficiently that it was clear that we were going to treat all the employees as a unit in the proposed arbitration, and that no group would be separated from the others. It was upon that basis that I said to my friends who have spoken this afternoon: "I think that that is good. I think that that settles the matter, and we should try to get the railways in operation and not delay this bill any longer." I thought perhaps I should say that. I am sure, as a matter of fact, the representatives of the railway men in the gallery thought the same because I saw them immediately after I left the chamber and they said so.

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS
Subtopic:   HOTEL AND WATER TRANSPORT WORKERS- AMENDMENT, MR. KNOWLES
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May 2, 1951