§ MR. CLELAND (Glasgow, Bridgeton)
I beg to ask the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies whether his attention has been directed to the derelict condition in which 250 Scottish artisans are placed who arrived at Portage La Prairie on 20th May, having signed an undertaking for construction work on the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway in Canada on the distinct and specific pledge that immediate employment would be provided on arrival at the railway camp; whether he proposes to make representations to the proper authorities to enforce fulfilment of this contract on the part of the railway company, and to take steps to prevent British workmen from being 152 recruited under false pretences for labour in any part of the British Dominions; and whether he will consider the propriety of making representations to the Dominion Government to secure some compensation to these men either from the Government or the railway company.
I am informed that when the workmen in question arrived at Portage La Prairie the local contractor had no work ready for them at the moment. They immediately complained to the Canadian authorities, who communicated with the railway company, by whom instructions were telegraphed to the local contractor to supply the men with work even if they were not needed. The men were thereupon put to work at once. The men, I am informed, had been on arrival taken into the railway camps, provided with beds and given food. In the circumstances the Secretary of State sees no necessity for any action on the part of His Majesty's Government.