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Docks Dispute

Volume 466: debated on Tuesday 28 June 1949

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25.

asked the Minister of Labour from what sources he obtained his information and what inquiries he made as to the docks dispute.

Information was obtained through the usual channels. [Laughter.] All necessary inquiries were made.

I am sorry, Sir, I did not hear the last part of that answer because of the reasonable laughter at the first part of the answer.

The second part of the answer was that all necessary inquiries were being made.

The last is even worse than the first, if I may comment. Will the Minister tell the House what are "the usual channels"? Really far more important, may I ask the Minister if he was not aware at the time of his statement in the broadcast that the Canadian Seamen's Union were fighting against—

The hon. Member is not asking, a question, he is making a statement. He is giving information.

On a point of Order, Mr. Speaker, I really want to find out the source of the information which the Minister of Labour had. [An HON. MEMBER: "Ask for it."] On a point of Order, Sir—[HON. MEMBERS: "Sit down."]—I want to establish my point to know whether I am on good grounds, for the reason that the Minister used on that occasion certain expressions, and it is important for this House to know whether those expressions were based upon bona fide information. Am I in order to pursue the matter?

The hon. Member is not entitled to give information. He is entitled to say that he thinks the Minister is misinformed.

Can I therefore ask the Minister if he can give the source of the information? Can he say whether, among other sources, he inquired of the Canadian Seamen's Union itself as to what the conflict was about?

There were two specific pieces of information which I published relating to the dispute. The only comments made upon the merits were a statement issued by the Canadian Trades and Labour Congress and a statement issued by the International Longshoremen's Association.

In view of the fact that the particular union involved in this struggle was and is the Canadian Seamen's Union, how is it that the Minister of Labour does not find out from the Canadian Seamen's Union in Canada what are the problems, but consults an organisation which is opposed to it, and on that basis how dare he speak in the name of this House—[HON. MEMBERS: "Order."]—to the country?

I do not want to become involved in an argument, but the fact is that the Canadian Trades and Labour Congress issued a statement. Their statement, coming from a responsible trade union organisation in Canada, I accepted, and still accept, as being in good faith—

The hon. Member for West Fife (Mr. Gallacher) cannot take it, can he? The International Longshoremen's Association, an organisation concerned with the loading of these ships, also published a statement. In view of the statements published by the Canadian Seamen's Union here, which are completely unreliable and untruthful, I could not accept anything from them.

Further, as I have no right to intervene in the merits of the dispute itself, I did not think it necessary to do so.