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Tuesday, 5 December 1905
Page: 6217

Mr ISAACS (Indi) (Attorney-General) . - I do not intend to take advantage of the present opportunity to make any general reply. A very few minutes will suffice for what I have to say. First of all, I should like to say that the members of the Government do not feel it necessary to express their individual opinions, more particularly in view of the limited time that is at the disposal of the Committee, having regard to the arrangement arrived at. There is one thing I wish to do, however, and which I think I can do in five minutes, and that is to dispel a misunderstanding that has been circulated throughout the community as to the attitude of Canada in regard to this matter. It has been asserted time after time in the press, and in circulars that the attitude of the Canadian Legislature is against this principle. Nothing could be further from the truth. It is true that the nominee House, the Senate of Canada, which is nominated by the GovernorGeneral, and the members of which hold their office for life, and, therefore, are not in touch with the people of Canada, have, on various successive occasions, rejected this measure. But it is equally true that the House of Commons of Canada, occupying the same position as our House of Representatives, in constant touch with the people, has on many successive occasions passed it.

Mr Glynn - I stated that distinctly ; there was no misrepresentation by me.

Mr ISAACS - The honorable and learned member was not guilty of any misrepresentation. But I desire to make a definite statement, and to refer honorable members to the Canadian Hansard - not the latest edition, I regret to say, because I believe it has not yet arrived in Australia

Mr Kelly - Was the measure passedin a Trade Marks Bill in Canada, or in a separate measure?

Mr ISAACS - I wish to speak with reference to the principle of this legislation, and so far as the principle is concerned, it matters very little whether it was passed in conjunction with another measure or by itself.

Mr Kelly - Will the Minister answer the question?

Mr ISAACS - We do not want any quibbling as to whether it was passed in one measure or in two.

Mr Kelly - I thought that perhaps the Minister would be able to answer my question.

Mr ISAACS - The honorable member will have his answer in what I propose to read.

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Surely the Minister does not call such a question a quibble?

Mr ISAACS - It is indeed a quibble. When it is urged in the press that the Canadian Parliament is against the principle, surely it is a quibble to ask whether it is against it as passed in one Bill or in another.

Mr Conroy - It might make all the difference, constitutionally.

Mr ISAACS - Perhaps honorable members will allow me to proceed. The important point is : What is the principle of the legislation favoured by the Legislature of Canada? I was going to say, when I was interrupted, that I have not before me the Canadian Hansard for the present year. I am told that it has not yet arrived in the Commonwealth, and, at all events, that it is not within the reach of our Parliamentary Librarian.

Mr Glynn - I think I read the debates a few weeks ago.

Mr ISAACS - Then the honorable and learned member has been more fortunate than I have been, for I have been unable to secure copies of them.

Mr Glynn -i got them from a patent attorney, who may have had advance copies.

Mr ISAACS - I have been unable to get them. The honorable and learned member for Angas, having read the debates, will be able to correct me; but I understand that the House of Commons of Canada this year passed the Bill, but limited its operation to incorporated unions, and that when it went before the Senate that nominee House rejected it. I have the Canadian Hansard debates for1 904, and I propose to refer very shortly to what I find there. Unfortunately, in that year a technical error was committed in not putting the Bill, which related to trade, before a Committee of the Whole House in the first instance, and the Speaker was, therefore, reluctantly I should say, compelled to rule it out of order. The reference to the Bill', to which I direct the attention of honorable members, is to be found in the Canadian Hansard of the House of Commons for June, 1904, Vol. II., columns 3829 and 3830, from which I quote the following: -

Mr. RALPHSMITH (Vancouver) moved the second leading of the Bill (No. 35) respecting union labels. He said : - I do not think if necessary, Mr. Speaker, to take up the time of the House for many minutes in explaining this measure. A Bill similar to this has already gone through the House, but was defeated in the Senate. This House -

He is there speaking of the House of Commons of Canada, the popular Chamber - has given its opinion three different times that the request made by the trades unions of this country in favour of a registration of the union label should be complied with. Members of this House on both sides -

I ask honorable members' attention to that - have agreed to that principle, but unfortunately the Senate has seen fit to kill each Bill to that effect as it came before that body. The principle of the present Bill is very simple. It provides that any body of men may present a label representing their production to the Minister of Agriculture, and the Department of Agriculture shall provide a certificate of the registration of such label.

The Department of Agriculture takes the place ofthe Registrar of Trades Marks. The report continues -

Mr. Heyd.Could there be any objection to that ?

Mr. RALPHSMITH. The House of Commons has never objected, but the objection comes from the Senate, inspired by the Manufacturers' Association. The union label is operating in this country very extensively, and there is nothing in this Bill which would bring about a condition of things that might not happen under the present operation of the label.

Mr CLARKE (COWPER, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The use of the label is not compulsory.

Mr.RALPH SMITH. No, there is nothing provided in the Bill to compel any employer to use it. The use of the label, if the Bill passes, will be the same as it is now. It will only become operative on the voluntary consent of the working men and the manufacturers. The Bill provides against a fraudulent use of the label -

That is what we say -

The request is a very reasonable one, and one which has been granted by thirty-one States of the American Union.

Since then other States have legislated on the subject, and now there are forty States and Territories which have done so.

Of course, there the power to provide legislation of this kind is in the hands of the State Governments, which is not the case in the Dominion, but thirty-one American States have provided for the simple principle of registration of the union label. In England the same thing is provided for under the Trade Marks Act, and the Manufacturers' Association of that country do everything to encourage the operation ofthe principle of the label.

Finally, I invite the attention of honorable members to this statement, which was made, unchallenged, by a responsible member of the Canadian House of Commons -

In my opinion the tendency of the operation and use of this label would be to bring the organized bodies of working men and the organized bodies of manufacturers together, and thereby bring about a better understanding between them, and better conditions of industrial peace.

Mr Knox - Has the Attorney-General been quoting the remarks of the Minister in charge of the Bill ?

Mr ISAACS - The remarks of the member in charge of it.

Mr Glynn - The Ministry declined to father it.

Mr ISAACS - The Prime Minister of Canada declared himself to be in favour of the Bill.

Mr Glynn - From what I read, I thought that he was trimming.

Mr ISAACS - I will read to the honorable and learned member exactly what he said. The rest of the discussion, from the report of which I have just quoted, is immaterial to us, since it is concerned with the Speaker's ruling that the measure was out of order, because the standing order had not been complied with, requiring that the measure should be submitted in the first instance to a Select Committee. Let me now quote from the Report of the Proceedings of the Canadian House of Commons of the 3rd August, 1904, volume V., columns8260 and 8261. Mr. E. F. Clarke, a week before the prorogation of the House, asked the Prime Minister -

If it is the intention of the Government to expedite the passage of Bill (No. 135) respecting Labour Union Labels? I think an assurance was given that the Bill would be taken up by the Government and passed.

Sir WILFREDLAURIER. There are numerous public Bills which are not amongst Government orders on the paper, the passage of which the Government have been asked to favour, but at this late period of the session I think it would not be possible to pass these Bills, and I think this one must share the fate of the others. I regret that the Bill has not passed -

I invite the attention of honorable members to that sentence - but I think it will come up early next session.

Mr Glynn - It was left open to the Canadian Ministers to vote for or against the measure.

Mr ISAACS - It is clear from what I iia ve read that both parties in the Canadian House of Commons are in favour of the principle here at issue, the House having, on at least four occasions, passed a Bill providing for the recognition of the union label, although the Senate - a nominee Chamber - has as often rejected it. The Prime Minister of Canada is in favour of the Bill, and there has been no outcry against it there. I have not been able to get a copy of the debates for this year, though I have tried my best to do so, and have sent to the representative' of Canada here for them ; but, so far as I can gather, even from adverse criticism, the House of Commons has since agreed to a Bill, limited in its operation to incorpoarted unions, while the Senate has again rejected the measure. Therefore, the people of Canada are in favour of this legislation, and it is only, the action of the nominee House of Legislature that has prevented it from Decerning law a considerable time ago.

Mr. JOSEPHCOOK (Parramatta).The Attorney-General, if he were conducting a case in court, and such evidence as he has given to the Committee were offered by the opposing side, would make veryshort work of it. He has not told u» whether Mr. Ralph Smith was a supporter of the Canadian Government when he made the speech which has been quoted!, nor did he tell us what is the attitude of the Government of Canada in regard to the measure.

Mr Isaacs - I have said that the Prime Minister of Canada is in favour of it.

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