Right Hon. ARTHUR MEIGHEN (Leader of the Opposition) :
On the 24th of April this House passed a resolution, which was accepted by the Prime Minister for the Government, in the following words:
That, in the opinion of this House, in vietv of the widespread unemployment with which the municipalities and provinces find themselves unable to cope, it is desirable that the federal government should devise some means of dealing effectively with the situation.
That was the order of Parliament; would the Government tell us now, before we prorogue, what means they have devised, since this resolution was passed, dealing with the situation?
The explanation, I think, can best be given in the language of a letter recently addressed to the mayor of one of our western cities, in which it was stated:
The intention is that the general question of unemployment and relief for distress growing out thereof will toe the subject of further careful general review within the near future and in anticipation of the needs of Canada during the coming winter. -
It seemed inadvisable to convene a gathering of representatives of organizations in the various provinces interested in this matter while Parliament was in session. As soon as possible after Parliament prorogues the matter will be given the attention which it deserves and of the importance of which the Government is fully advised. It is only proper to say, though, that we think the unemployment situation has materially improved during the past few weeks.
On the 10th day of June, attention being called by the member for Macleod (Mr. Coote) to certain commitments of the present Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Motherwell) as regards the removal of the Chairman of the Railway Commission, the Prime Minister stated, as reported on page 2872 of Unrevised Hansard, that the Minister of Agriculture had made certain representations to the Government as regards such removal; that the same had been considered, but that no definite conclusion had been reached. May I ask if a definite decision has been reached, and if so, what is it?
the 19th of May the attention of the Government was called to a very great flood disaster between Portage la Prairie and Winnipeg. The Prime Minister stated that that was being considered but that the Government had not come to a decision whether to grant relief or not.
Yes. I have not observed yet that any relief has been provided. Has the Government decided to do anything or not to do anything, and if to do anything, what is it?
Mr. STEWART (Argenteuil) : The
matter was taken up with the provincial government and an offer made that a survey of the whole situation in connection with the flooded areas of that river be undertaken at the expense of the federal government, on the clear understanding that that would not involve on the part of the federal government responsibility for
Assiniboine River Floods
the carrying out of any plans that might be suggested; that matter was to be decided upon later. The idea was primarily to get a complete survey and a knowledge of what would be required to obviate, if possible, a recurrence of the floods on that river.
I can see that the survey might have something to do with preventing floods in the future, but what it has to do with relieving the damage caused by a flood of the past I do not know. Has the Government decided to relieve those who suffered, or not, and if so, to what extent?
I would say-though I am not saying it in any way to make it official-that this matter should come through representations from the provincial governments, and I have so intimated on the occasions when the question has been brought to my attention. I do not think it would be the business of this Government to step into the province of Manitoba in this respect unless requested by the provincial authorities so to do, or to assist.