June 2, 1919 (13th Parliament, 2nd Session)


Matthew Robert Blake



I have moved this motion, Mr. Speaker, because of the great industrial unrest which exists in this country to-day. I am somewhat surprised at the great anxiety of the Opposition to precipitate this debate to-day, instead of waiting until Wednesday, as I had planned. Of course, we must appreciate their kindly interest in the strikes in Winnipeg and elsewhere, but I wish to recall the fact that last year, when a much more serious condition, riot and bloodshed existed in Quebec City, not one of the members now so insistent, rose to support the motion of the hon. member from Simcoe to discuss those serious disturbances which existed at that time. I hope, Mr. Speaker, this discussion will be of a moderate nature and in character entirely constructive, which will have a tendency to allay the prevailing unrest and be of some assistance to the Government in its efforts to formulate a policy which will effectively deal with

the situation. II hope the tariff is not unduly blamed for all the high cost of living and unrest, as I am informed that barring probably New Zealand, the cost of living is lower in Canada than it is in any other country in the world. Mackenzie King in his booklet " The Four Parties to Industry," starts out by saying the truth must be arrived at, and the truth shall set us free from fear of the future and shall aid in the enforcement of that social justice which the truth demands.
Canada stands to win more out of this war than any other nation of the world, provided we are fully united in taking the full measure of the opportunities afforded. The eyes of the world are upon Canada. Her sons have done as good fighting, and I think I might safely say the best fighting in this Great War, that has been done on any of the 37 different battle fronts. Industries must needs flock here to a country whose natural resources are so great and opportunities almost unlimited. Canada is confronted with the opportunity of developing more in the next ten years than probably she has in the last fifty years. But, that development cannot be expected to take place unless we have industrial peace.
When we see a patient we must first make a diagnosis and then proceed with the treatment. At the very .bottom of this unrest lies misunderstanding and distrust and jealousy. If we define industry as King does in his little book-and I would commend its perusal to hon. members-we get this definition:
Industry is the means by which the material resources of the world are transformed, through human intelligence and human energy, with the aid of natural powers, tools, and machines, into commodities and services available for human use. It is a vast process of transformation, itself a series of transforming- processes so inter-rclated and numerous as to unite mankind, in this age of world-wide industrial expansion, in an enterprise that encompasses the globe.
The four parties to industry he defines as labour, capital, management and the community. We have heretofore been inclined to regard labour and capital as the two factors of industry, leaving out both management and the community. This is King's definition of the community:
It is the community which provides the natural resources and powers that underlie all production. Individuals may acquire title by one means or another, hut it is from the community, and with the consent of the community, that titles are held. It is the community, organized in various ways, which maintains government and foreign relations, secures law and
order, fosters the arts and inventions, aids education, breeds opinion, and promotes, through concession or otherwise, the agencies of transportation, communication, credit, banking, and the like, without which any production, save the most primitive, would be impossible. It is the community which creates the demand for commodities and services, through which labour is provided with remunerative employment, and capital with a return upon its investment. Apart from the community, inventive genius, organizing capacity, managerial or other ability would be of little value. Turn where one may, it is the community that makes possible all the activities of industry, and helps to determine their value and scope.
Labour must fully appreciate its responsibility to capital and the State, -and capital must as fully appreciate its responsibility to labour and the State. The tired feeling is abroad in this land. Nobody seems to want to work. In many industries, I am told, only 40. per cent to 60 per cent of efficiency is produced. This is not fully appreciating the responsibility to capital and the State.
The aim and object of many of the workingmen to-day seems to be to get the most possible money for the least possible expenditure of energy. The tramp says the world owes him a living, and he is going to get it. I hope we are not coming as a nation to the same status as the tramp.
One may well wonder that capital takes no more interest in labour than it is now doing. For nearly 100 years workmen and employers have been organizing, and as yet we do not find a full understanding between the four parties interested in industry. We seem to be much in need of reconstruction in our industrial life. 'Some people have defined reconstruction as restoration; others demolition and reconstruction from the ground up. Between these extremes stands a majority which interprets readjustment as restoration, with more oi less modification, the degree of modification varying considerably, hut' the structure of pre-war days being in its essentials retained.
I have seen both capital and labour abuse their privileges. I had an opportunity of spending two winters in the lumber camp" of Northern Ontario. During the first winter 1906-7-lumber was at a premium, prices were good, and labour was in great demand, but the labourers were not producing anything like their maximum. If the foreman said a single word to them of complaint or reprimand they would walk ovei to another camp of the same firm and get work. The next year there was not much demand for lumber, and one firm which had intended operating a large number of

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