I am paired with the
hon. member for Montcalm: I would have voted against the amendment.
Amendment (Sir Wilfrid Laurier) negatived.
Mr. VERVILLE moved in amendment, seconded by Mr. Carroll:
That the said Bill he not now read a third time but that it be referred to a Committee of the Whole with instruction that they have power to amend the same by providing that the Act shall come into force by proclamation of His Royal Highness the Governor General, which may be issued when Mackenzie and Mann Company, Limited, who are the owners of coal mines in the Island of Vancouver, shall have agreed to a board of conciliation, as requested by the operatives of the said mines.
He said: In support of my amendment 1 shall be very brief. In the discussion we had in the House some time ago, and in the return presented to the House, it was admitted that it was almost impossible for the Government to compel Mackenzie, Mann and Company to accept a board of conciliation. It was proved by the return, and in the agreement -at that time, and admitted by the Minister of Labour, that it was impossible to get the opposing parties
together. It was proved, by the return that the men were largely favourable to having a board of conciliation, and it seems to me at the present time that we have the power in our hands, and it is the right time, to force Mackenzie, Mann and Company, who are anxious to receive the guarantee of this amount of money, to accept a board of conciliation. My amendment does not say that the strike should be settled, because I do not believe it is within the jurisdiction of the Government or of this House to say that a strike should be settled. At the same time we should force, whenever we have occasion to do it, those who may be interested to agree to conciliation. I say that, because any one who wants a guarantee of public money should abide by the laws of the country. In the past, we have seen the Grand Trunk and the Grand Trunk Pacific having to accept the awards of boards of conciliation; and I should have the support of the Minister of Labour because I have heard him make such statements in this House time and again, and I know he has forced the Grand Trunk to abide by the decision rendered by a board of conciliation. At this stage, Mr. Speaker, the strike which is still on in Vancouver island, is too costly for. the country. I could not get the amount it has cost the Government, because I had a question on the Order Paper, which has been made an order of the House, and the information has not yet come down; but we can imagine that it has cost probably one quarter or half a million dollars so far to have the militia guarding the mines. It seems to me at the present time it would be a great saving to the country to force the owners to have a conciliation board, so as to enable not only the members of this House but also the public to understand the real situation existing on Vancouver island.
The House will agree with me that my amendment is strictly on conciliation grounds, and I do not see why I should not, and I hope I will, receive the approval of both sides of the House on this question. There is no harm whatever in forcing Mackenzie and Mann to accept a board of conciliation, so as to give an opportunity during the recess of Parliament to find out the exact condition of affairs, because in the return we have had we have seen only one side of the question, and it has been explained in another way by the other side. By this resolution it is particularly stated that this principle not only applies to the Canadian
Northern railway, but should apply to every railway company when it makes a demand for assistance. It is outside the jurisdiction of the Government to state plainly that strikes must be settled, because the trouble may come from one side or the other; but we have a law on the statute-books which has worked fairly well in a good many cases, and at the present time I do not see why we should not force Mackenzie and Mann to have a board of conciliation. That is the reason I move this amendment.
Topic: CANADIAN NORTHERN RAILWAY AGREEMENT.