Le Mouvement ouvrier canadienby Jean-Pierre Després

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  • Le Mouvement ouvrier canadien by Jean-Pierre DesprsReview by: A. AndrasThe Canadian Journal of Economics and Political Science / Revue canadienne d'Economique etde Science politique, Vol. 14, No. 2 (May, 1948), pp. 266-267Published by: Wiley on behalf of Canadian Economics AssociationStable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/138018 .Accessed: 16/06/2014 03:53

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  • 266 The Canadian Jourtral of Economiiics and Political Science

    intensity with the progress of the Konjunktur and resulted in an increasing pressure for expansion of the economic and political sphere of influence of the state. "The road of German aggression, which ultimately led the Nazi state to a catastrophic collapse, was traced long before the actual outbreak of the second World War. It was an inevitable stage in the dynamic evolution of the 'New Economic Order'" (p. 223).

    There are naturally most vital differences in economic purposes and methods between the Nazi state as it existed in the period 1933 to 1939 and our western democracies. Nevertheless, this reviewer feels it to be true that democracies committed to full employment policies or to investment controls may learn quite a great deal from the "steering" and other experiences of the Nazi economv. Dr. Lurie's objective analysis in this book is a good source of information in this field.

    MABEL TIMLIN The University of Saskatchewan.

    Le Mouvement ouvrier canadien. By JEAN-PIERRE DESPRE,S. Montreal: e;ditions Fides. 1947. Pp. 205. ($1.50)

    LITTLE as there is on the Canadian labour movement, there is even less for the general reader or student who wants to start at scratch with a general outline. M. Despres's little volume is therefore a welcome addition to the literature on this subject.

    Brief though the book is (only 144 pages are text, the rest appendices) it manages to cover a number of important headings: trade union structure, his- torical background, principles and policies, political action and international con- nections, together with a quick look into the future. The three appendices deal respectively with the structure of the labour market under capitalism, industrial relations as a career, and the post-war programmes of the major trade union congresses. There is a bibliography but unfortunately no index.

    M. Despres provides a good description of trade union structure and govern- ment. He explains the differences between craft and industrial unions and the raison d'etre of both types. The relationship of the local union to its national or international parent body, as well as to trade and regional councils is carefully outlined; so is the function of the trade union centre. The uninitiated will appreciate the distinctions made between the business agent and the organizer in trade union administration. M. Despres makes a sound point in showing that unions have developed an elaborate structure and are dynamic in character. "Le mouvement ouvrier possede donc une structure organique tres accentuee. C'est une force qui se developpe constamment . . ." (p. 29).

    Although the historical chapter is the longest in the book it is nonetheless (of necessity) very sketchy. It does manage, however, to outline the major trends in the development of Canadian labour. It is weakest in its references to recent history and points up the fact that there is nothing more recent than Professor Logan's The History of Trade Union Organization in Canada, published in 1928.

    Fortunately a new edition is on its way. It is a pity that 1\M. Despres did not

    make special reference to the war-time developml-ents which mark a turning point in Canadian trade union history.

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  • Reviews of Books 267

    The chapter on principles and policies (principes et tendences doctrinales) also suffers from brevity but manages nevertheless to describe the main character- istics of the three trade union congresses: the Trades and Labor Congress of Canada, the Canadian and Catholic Confederation of Labour, and the Canadian Congress of Labour. The analysis of the Trades and Labor Congress shows a shrewd perception of its nature. M. Despres considers it an organization for defensive purposes, rather than for emancipation "un syndicalisme de defense et non un syndicalisme d'emancipation comme on l'entend sur le continent europeen" (p. 70). The Canadian Congress of Labour is treated altogether too briefly, possibly because it is too recent in origin to have been dealt with by any labour historian and the material about it has yet to be collected. In giving its research director, Dr. E. A. Forsey, all the credit for the Congress's aggress- iveness ("le plus aggressif du Dominion") M. Despres is guilty of underestimat- ing the calibre of its elected leaders, Mr. A. R. Mosher and Mr. Pat Conroy, and of others like Mr. C. H. Millard of the United Steelworkers of America, and Mr. F. W. Dowling of the United Packinghouse Workers of America.

    The chapter on political action is partly historical, partly critical in character. It is the latter aspect, of course, on which readers are most likely to differ with M. Despres. The influence of Samuel Gompers, M. Despres states, has left its mark on the political attitudes of Canadian workers, particularly in the Trades and Labor Congress of Canada; even in the Canadian Congress of Labour the endorsation of the CCF has not yet produced any significant changes in the political scene. M. Despres, as a matter of fact, doubts whether Canadian workers can be expected to engage with any enthusiasm in political action through their unions. He will undoubtedly follow with close interest the steps being taken at present by the Canadian Congress of Labour to implement its endorsation of the CCF among its membership.

    Appendix I on the nature of the labour market is an interesting and useful job, and manages to cover a good deal of territory. It provides not only an economic analysis of the market, but includes also a note on the role of the state, the right of association, compulsory collective bargaining, compulsory arbitration, and the extension of collective agreements by government decree as practised in Quebec. This reviewer, however, and most people in the labour movement do not feel as kindly disposed as does M. Despres to the labour laws which are at present in effect in that province.

    M. Despres's book makes no pretence at academic aloofness. It is obviously sympathetic to the aspirations of organized labour and indicates a practical knowledge of the trade unions. It is highly readable and should be useful to those who want a quick review of Canadian labour.

    A. ANDRAS Ottawa.

    History of Agricutlture in Ontario, 1613-1880. By ROBERT LESLIE JONES. With a foreword by FRED LANDON. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. 1946. Pp. xvi, 420. ($4.25)

    To describe a work of fiction as a "one-sitting" book is common tribute which

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    Article Contentsp. 266p. 267

    Issue Table of ContentsThe Canadian Journal of Economics and Political Science / Revue canadienne d'Economique et de Science politique, Vol. 14, No. 2 (May, 1948), pp. 163-300Royal Commissions and Canadian Agricultural Policy [pp. 163-175]The Multi-Product Firm [pp. 176-190]Political Participation and the Organization of the Cooperative Commonwealth Federation in Saskatchewan [pp. 191-208]The Break-Up of the Poor Law in Britain 1907-47: An Historical Footnote [pp. 209-219]The Canadian Labour Press from 1867: A Chronological Annotated Directory [pp. 220-245]Notes and MemorandaOaths of Ministers without Portfolio [pp. 246-247]Reservation of Manitoba Bills and Refusal of Assent by Lieutenant-Governor Cauchon, 1877-82 [pp. 247-248]

    Review ArticleReview: The Works of Francois Simiand [pp. 249-254]

    Reviews of BooksReview: untitled [pp. 255-258]Review: untitled [pp. 258-261]Review: untitled [pp. 261-263]Review: untitled [pp. 263-266]Review: untitled [pp. 266-267]Review: untitled [pp. 267-269]Review: untitled [pp. 269-270]Review: untitled [pp. 270-272]Review: untitled [pp. 272-273]Review: untitled [pp. 273-275]Review: untitled [pp. 275-276]Short NoticesReview: untitled [p. 276]Review: untitled [p. 277]Review: untitled [p. 278]Review: untitled [p. 279]Review: untitled [p. 279]Review: untitled [p. 280]Review: untitled [p. 280]Review: untitled [p. 281]Review: untitled [pp. 281-282]Review: untitled [p. 282]Review: untitled [pp. 282-283]Review: untitled [pp. 283-284]

    Books Received [pp. 285-288]A Bibliography of Current Publications on Canadian Economics [pp. 289-300]


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