Mr. E. A. LANCASTER (Lincoln and Niagara).
I desire to take this opportunity of impressing upon the Prime Minister and upon the House that this is a matter that ought not to be delayed for one minute. I come from a border county and know what is happening in the neighbouring city of Buffalo and along the Niagara frontier, and know how badly the citizens of Canada are being treated under the alien labour laws of the United States, which have just been read by the hon. member for Jacques Cartier (Mr. Monk). Knowing how the honest labourers and workingmen of this country are now being treated on the other side of the line, I cannot urge too strongly upon the hon. premier that he should take back what he has just said, and immediately comply with the request which has been made by the hon. member for Grey (Mr. Sproule), and give us the assurance that private individuals will be allowed to put
this law In motion, as they are allowed to do with regard to any other law. I say to the hon. premier that we should stop trafficking in a sort of bureaucracy, we should stop dealing politically when we come to the enforcement of the criminal law. We heard from the Postmaster General the other night that the government still go on cutting off the heads of the postmasters for political purposes ; do they propose also to stop the administration of justice in this country ? It seems that they are only willing to enforce the criminal law when it suits their convenience. It is my duty to urge the government to consider the rights of. the people of this country, the rights of our workingmen in regard to the importation of alien labour. Can they give any sound reason why a law that applies for the protection of the workingmen of this country should not be enforced in the same manner as any other law upon the statute-books ? What good or sound reason can there be for not enforcing it, or for refusing to say unit they are going to enforce it ? Why should they not be willing to assure us at once that this law will be enforced in exactly the same way as any other, so that a person who is aggrieved can go to the nearest magistrate and lay his complaint, and secure redress In the same way as he can do with regard to any other law ?
This matter, being one that affects my constituency as much, and perhaps more than other constituencies in this country, I think it is my duty to submit with all the force I can, to this House and the government, that this matter must be, in the interests of Canada, attended to, and attended to at once, so that we cannot have it said, as it is said, and I am sorry to say, said truly, that young men from St. Catharines or Merritton, who are skilled artisans, who have learned their trade well, cannot go over to Buffalo if they are thrown out of work without being turned back. We had an instance not long ago when one of our largest factories in St. Catharines by tire was shut down. Axe makers, saw makers and agricultural implement makers, 300 and odd of them, were thrown out of employment, who were as able to do good work as any men in the Dominion of Canada. Some of them went over to Buffalo seeking in every way they could for work. They were turned back at once, unless they would swear allegiance to the United States. They were turned back without going to Washington to And out whether they should be turned back or not. Canadians are sent back because they are considered to be aliens and must not be allowed to get employment until they have made themselves citizens of the United States. If we are going to have reciprocity in tariff's or anything else, let us have reciprocity also in protecting our workingmen the same as the United States protect their working-Mr. LANCASTER.
men. Let us say, that, if our young men are to be turned back, we shall turn back theirs. If this law, now on the statute-book, is a good one, enforce it and enforce it the same as you would any other law. I do not think that I am called upon to argue in this case upon the question as to whether we should protect our workingmen or not. It seems to me that the law as it stands on the statute-book does protect them ; at least it is supposed to do so, and the people will insist upon enforcing it in the amplest and fullest manner as soon as possible. I urge upon the House and upon the government that this is a matter which ought to be attended to, and we ought to have an assurance that it will be attended to as expeditiously as possible upon the lines proposed by the hon. gentleman who has introduced this Bill.
Topic: ALIEN LABOUR LAW AMENDMENT.