June 24, 1946 (20th Parliament, 2nd Session)


Humphrey Mitchell (Minister of Labour)



It was not my hon. friend, I know.
I know that labour has, during these last six years, made greater gains in this direction than it has in any other like period in the history of the movement. The ideal should be to consolidate those gains. What I am afraid of-and I say this with all sincerity-is that any untoward advance in the present wage structure is going to do one of two things: either it will force prices up, whereupon the increased rates will count for naught, or it could force a buyers' strike to curtail production, and of course that will mean unemployment.
This government is in favour of good and fair wages; let no one think that any member of the government holds a contrary view. Good and fair wages are just that as long as they can maintain a real standard of living.
What all should strive for is production. A normal flow of goods and services will indeed form the real income of the community. It is the responsibility of management and labour, acting as a team, to work for the maximum production of goods and services, and anything which stands in the way of this is contrary to the best interests of all, particularly the wage earner.
What I have said has been for a definite purpose. I do not want anyone to think that, because the wartime wages control order has been amended, the lid is off. The revision of the order imposes upon all a very special duty, that duty being to work together through this transition period to the end that we can come out of it with an economy second to none. That should surely be a duty which all good Canadians should be glad to assume.

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