April 4, 1930

UFA

Henry Elvins Spencer

United Farmers of Alberta

Mr. SPENCER:

I thought the hon. member had reference to the men on the prairies generally.

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CON

Hugh Guthrie

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. GUTHRIE:

No, to the minister.

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UFA

Henry Elvins Spencer

United Farmers of Alberta

Mr. SPENCER:

When the Prime Minister spoke on April 3, I had hoped that as a student of social problems he would give us one of those able speeches which he can make and often does make in this house, dealing with the problem that is confronting us, stating whether he considered it a federal, provincial or international problem, showing the causes why it was with us and why it was increasing, and at least point the way to how best we could relieve this growing distress and this growing expenditure on account of unemployment in Canada. I must confess, however, that I was very badly disappointed in his address. I had expected that he would make one of the best speeches of which he is capable. I cannot congratulate him on some of the remarks that he made during his address, particularly those of a partisan character. With reference to the province from which I have the honour to come, he said:

As regards Alberta, we have had no request from the premier or any member of the government of Alberta for assistance with respect to an unemployment situation there.

He further went on to say, if I remember correctly, and I do not wish to misquote him, that none of the provincial governments were represented at the unemployment conference which was held in this city. In that statement I claim that he is not correct as no less than three of the provinces, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba, were represented. With further reference to his statement that no action had been taken in this regard by the province of Alberta, let me point out that this morning I happened to come across in the Edmonton Journal of March 11, 1930, a resolution that was passed unanimously by the Alberta assembly, reading as follows:

Whereas unemployment constitutes a recurring and serious problem requiring large expenditures of public money for relief purposes and in non-productive work;

Therefore be it resolved that this assembly is of the opinion that the government of Canada should, with the least possible delay, call a conference representative of the federal government and of the provincial governments for the purpose of investigating and considering this problem, and particularly to consider whether any nation-wide plan of unemployment insurance is practicable and feasible, having regard to all circumstances;

Provided that in any action, legislative or otherwise, taken by the government of Canada following such conference, the province of Alberta shall not be deemed to concur therein, or to be bound thereby, until this legislature gives its approval thereto.

That is sufficient, I think, to show that the province of Alberta at least has taken the problem of unemployment quite seriously. It also is quite conclusive that the province does not consider that the, responsibility of carrying this burden is entirely its own.

In my opinion, Mr. Speaker, no government can claim exemption from responsibility with regard to unemployment so long as it controls the fiscal policy of the country, its immigration policy, and its currency and credit policy. I am sorry to see that in the course of this debate my friends of the official opposition have claimed that the only panacea for the unemployment situation is a change in the fiscal policy to higher and higher tariffs. If I were going to blame the government at all, I would blame them because they have not reduced tariffs where they might have done. We have seen in past years a large number of people, particularly from western Canada, drift into the United States, but so far as I know, and I know a great many who have gone to that country from farming in Canada, not a single one of them has taken up farming in the United States. That is an evidence of the poverty of agriculture in this country. If we are going to help agriculture, the basic industry of this country, one of the ways in which we can help it is to cut down the tariff on the many things which the farmer has to buy, particularly on those necessaries that go into his household.

With reference to immigration, we know full well that much against the insistent demand from this corner of the house during the last eight years, the government, with the fullest support of the opposition, have done their best to aid immigration to this country in greater and greater numbers. But the time has come, and it has probably been accelerated by the short crop which, unfortunately, we had in Canada last year, when the public generally realize that a stop has to be made. Looking at the figures of deportation for 1929, I see that they have risen to the large number of 3,267. Of these, 1,788 are listed as public charges. They would not be public charges if there was lots of work in this country, and if there is not plenty of work for them to do, it is proof that we had too many men with us at the time, or these men would have found work. But the most regrettable thing about these figures is that no less than 574 people were deported for criminality. The hon. member for Comox-Alberni (Mr. Neill), in the very excellent speech he made yesterday, pointed out that there was a very fine line to be drawm between the unemployed and the unemployable. In that I quite agree. He said further that there was also a fine line

Unemployment-Mr. Spencer

to be drawn between the unemployable and the criminal cases. There is not one of us if placed in the same position, say of starvation, particularly if we had a wife and children depending upon us, who would not hesitate to take food to sustain life. Therefore it seems to be the duty of any government not only to see that the country is not over populated, but also to see that the people have work, and particularly to arrange that there are as few people as possible so badly off that they have nothing to lose. The most dangerous position for this or any other country to be in, is to have a large proportion of its people destitute, for these unfortunates in their extremity will have slight respect for law and order. I fear that is the position we shall drift into if we do not make some change in our economic system.

The hon. member for Comox-Alberni also raised the question of the cost of looking after the unemployed. I entirely agree with him that we cannot afford not to look after them. I would remind the house that in Great Britain, where they have had a serious unemployment situation for a long time, they adopted unemployment insurance, and it has had a marked effect in reducing crime, so much so that they have been able to close some of their jails. In other words, unemployment insurance, or the dole if you like, has relieved extreme poverty; and we all know that poverty is the mother of crime.

We often hear that machinery is doing away with man power, that is, it is doing the work that men used to do, and some argue that the men so displaced will be employed in making more machines. This fallacy I think, has been exploded by several speakers during the course of this debate. I may be permitted to refer to an instance that comes within my own personal recollection. I well remember the time in Great Britain some years ago when men and boys used to be employed by the thousands in selling boxes of matches to railway passengers. Then somebody invented a very simple slot machine. These machines were placed on the station platforms and all the passengers had to do was to put a penny in the slot whenever they wanted a box of matches. It is quite possible that the men and boys who were thus displaced were able to get employment in the factories manufacturing those machines; but in a few years enough of such machines could be turned out to put one on every railway platform in the United Kingdom, and as, barring accidents they would last for a hundred years, it will easily be seen that within a few years at the latest, those men and boys would again find themselves among the unemployed.

Some people think that we are still in the age of scarcity. That was the case not more than fifty years ago, but they fail to appreciate that to-day, through the aid1 of science and invention, we can with ease produce all the goods we need. This is true not only of the factory but also of the farm. The whole problem is to get the clothes and food that we can so easily produce distributed to the population that needs them. In a word, today the problem is one of markets, both domestic and foreign. To-day Canada can produce more wealth than all her inhabitants need. Every session we hear in the Speech from the Throne of the great prosperity this country is enjoying, but as the hon. member who last spoke (Mr. Howden) said, prosperous as this country may be, the rank and file of the people are not well off. This can be proved very readily by looking at the income tax returns, where we find in round figures that only fifteen per cent of the population pay income tax, which means that the other eighty-five per cent do not get sufficient income to pay the tax. It is admitted that large numbers of our people are on the verge of poverty-want and abundance go hand in hand. Speaking at an unemployment conference in Baltimore last April to deal with local and national unemployment, Dr. Sumner Schlicter, professor of economics at Cornell university said:

We are eliminating jobs faster than we are creating them. The problem before the nation is how to create new jobs as rapidly as machines destroy the old ones.

We must face the five-day week and the six-hour day.

Is there any more reasonable demand than that every man willing and able to work shall be guaranteed that opportunity?

Let me also refer to Doctor Irving Fisher, head of the department of political science at Yale university. He advocated unemployment insurance, stabilization of price levels and currency, stabilization of seasonal employment and the regulation of employment by building programs.

I have been amused during this discussion to notice how much stress was placed by certain hon. members on a higher tariff as the only panacea for unemployment. We have only to look to the United States, one of the highest tariff countries in the world, where unfortunately to-day, both for themselves and the world, they have over 6,000,000 unemployed. If the 9,000,000 of our people to-day had all they needed without any extravagance, there would not be a single mill or factory idle throughout the country. The answer, of course, for our present condition is largely insufficiency of purchasing power. Our money

Unemployment-Mr. Spencer

system places industry and the people in a strait-jacket. Some blame must be laid at the door of the policy known as the gold standard, under which we are supposed to keep down the currency in circulation in relation to the amount of gold we have in our vaults, and to issue credit only in proportion to the amount of currency. If, for instance, we have a limited amount of gold, or ill luck in finding more, and the country demands a large increase of credits to carry out needed developments, those developments will be handicaped because of the system to which we tie ourselves. The time will come, to my mind, when we shall have to recognize that we must place the country on a "goods basis" and not on what is termed and claimed to be a "gold basis." These conditions exist in most modern countries. We have heard that France, being a protectionist country, is well off. I think this statement was exploded only yesterday by the hon. member for Wetaskiwin (Mr. Irvine), when he pointed out that France was not increasing her population and was one of the few countries in the world which was wise enough after the war to refuse to have her currency deflated. Our fiscal policy in respect to unemployment will not solve the problem. It might make a slight difference one way or the other, but ultimately neither free trade nor protection is a panacea for the problem before us. The economic warfare existing between countries will lead ultimately only to military warfare; war is inevitable under the present economic system. Nations must adopt a new system of distributing goods, because machine power is emancipating mankind from toil. This was very ably expressed the other day by my friend the hon. member for Bow River (Mr. Garland), and I will not take up the time of the house repeating his remarks. He placed on record the most outstanding facts in this connection I have ever heard.

Unemployment insurance will help to some extent. I am not suggesting for one moment that it will solve the problem, but like old age pensions it will give the people a certain purchasing power; it will keep them from penury and protect them from extreme suffering, thereby helping to eliminate a certain amount of crime. The taxation necessary to get the money for unemployment relief will, to a certain extent, help to level incomes, but it will not increase the volume of money. Though it is only a temporary relief, I am in favour of it, because I think it is a great deal better than the policy of stagnation under which we are slumbering at the present time. The policy of immigration is, of course,

relative to unemployment and I am very glad that the government of the day has realized this fact and has decided to change its policy in respect thereto. We have heard many figures as to the world's jobless. Different figures have been stated during the course of this debate, but the figures I obtained the other day are, to my mind, fairly accurate. I have a statement before me from the London Daily Herald, which gives the number comprising the world's jobless as between

15.000. 000 and 16,000,000. Of this total the United States has 6,000,000 unemployed; Germany, 4,5000,000; Russia, 2,000,000; Great Britain, 1,500,000; Japan, 800,000, and Italy,

500.000. This article goes on to say that the hope long held by economists that the situation was only temporary and would right itself, has vanished, and that unemployment seems likely to increase rather than to decrease.

Although this discussion has taken up considerable time in this house, it was no doubt introduced because the hon. member responsible for it felt he had to bring it forward as an amendment to the motion to go into supply. He had no other opportunity, owing to the fact that private members' days have been cancelled. For my part, however, I do not regret that the subject has come before the house for discussion. The subjects of unemployment and financial reform are, to my mind, two of the outstanding subjects to which this parliament particularly, as time goes on, is in duty bound to pay more attention. We have had some very excellent speeches with regard to this subject, but as I said before, only five or six of the hon. members have, in my opinion, actually reached bedrock. It does not matter what government may be in power; they will always have this unemployment problem to solve until we pay more attention to the very important problem of distribution, and as to how we can make it possible for the people of this country to get the purchasing power to buy the goods they require.

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CON

George Reginald Geary

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. G. R. GEARY (South Toronto):

Mr. Speaker, it is always a pleasure to listen to the remarks of my hon. friend from Battle River (Mr. Spencer). His speech follows in the train of others I have heard from him, and like those others bears the impress of thought and consideration.

I propose to join my hon. friend from North Winnipeg (Mr. Heaps), in support of his resolution and to vote for it. It is drawn in such wide terms that it has invited discussion not only of the situation as it exists to-day, but of the causes of that situation,

Unemployment-Mr. Geary

and of possible solutions of the problem as we have it before us. My hon. friend from Battle River, in common with others, has engaged himself more particularly with the root causes, as he sees them, of the condition which we face to-day. It is well that we should have had such a discussion, giving an opportunity for exposition of the various views which are held in this house as to our position in regard to unemployment. I do not propose, however, to deal so much with the question of the cause of unemployment as with the fact that it exists, and to offer some suggestions as to how it may be immediately met-to use the exact wording of the resolution.

It has been very instructive to hear the remarks of the hon. member for Bow River (Mr. Garland), w'ho in giving his views, lays particular emphasis upon his conviction that we must return to the question of distribution of production-not so much production itself, but the question of distribution of production, and the profit taken. He suggests that in that way we might arrive at some solution of the cause of unemployment. Others have considered the question of immigration; others have dealt with the supersession of man power by machinery. One hon. gentleman has said that in his view our difficulty is in the worship of the " fetish " of maintaining the gold standard. It would be very interesting to enter into a discussion of all these points, but it is not my purpose to do so. For my own part, I will say what is probably not to the taste of my hon. friends to my left and my friend who proposed this resolution, that I think one of the main contributing causes of the difficulty in which we find ourselves today is to be found in the fiscal policy of the government. With that ground I am not going to deal; other opportunities will present themselves, and it does not seem to me that I would be serving any useful purpose to elaborate further upon a point which has already been well put to the house in this debate.

We must agree, and take it as proved, that we have to-day a serious situation in regard to the employment of our people. The Minister of Labour (Mr. Heenan) has accepted that proposition. Not only does he make no attempt to deny it, but one cannot read his speech without observing that he is fully conscious of the importance of the situation; I venture to say if we were able to read his mind it would show that in his personal view the proper thing to do, out of consideration for the rights of the people, would be to take some action, and to take it at once. The Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) says

unemployment does not exist to-day in such a degree as to warrant our attention at the present time. I do not know which of these hon. gentlemen is in the better position to know the facts. I would think that he who is supposed to be more in touch with labour conditions than any other member of the cabinet, the Minister of Labour, would ascertain exactly what conditions existed in Canada in that regard, and that his finding that serious unemployment exists, should be valid and sound.

The Prime Minister seems unaware of some things that have occurred, and I should like to make a slight correction in what he said yesterday, when he stated that no municipalities have ventured to express their views to this house or to the government. I took part in a deputation from the city of Toronto and the surrounding municipalities, the head of each municipality being there, and without doubt these gentlemen stated clearly the very serious conditions which exist in their municipalities in regard to unemployment. The Prime Minister was corrected also by my hon. friend from Battle River with regard to the province of Alberta, so I venture to say that he has not thoroughly acquainted himself with the conditions as they exist. For that reason, and also because I believe the Minister of Labour is in the better position to know, I agree with the Minister of Labour that there is a very serious condition of unemployment in the country to-day which merits the immediate attention of the government.

I do not, however, agree with the attitude of the Minister of Labour with regard to that situation. I remember two lines of a song descriptive of a bird which roams the deserts of another continent. This bird is quoted in this way:

"I will bury my head in the sand," quoth he,

"And I won't tell where I am."

It seems to me that is exactly the position this government are taking at the present moment; they think that by concealing the facts of the situation from their eyes they can ignore them completely.

The Prime Minister has discussed the question of the constitutional limitations of the federal parliament, and I should like to say just a few words on that point. As I understand him, he does admit quite freely that there is no restriction on parliament voting money to be spent in any way that parliament desires it should be spent, but he goes on to say that under the British North America Act unemployment relief is not one of the matters for which the government

Unemployment-Mr. Geary

should provide by expenditure of public money. We are authorized in one very broad clause of the British North America Act to enact measures for the peace, order and good government of the Dominion of Canada. I do not say for a moment that that definitely authorizes us to impose financial liabilities or responsibilities upon the provinces or to interfere with the provinces on the question of contracts. However, under that provision the Canada Temperance Act was upheld many years ago as being within the jurisdiction of the Dominion, and I would point out that at all events, following the argument of the Prime Minister, anything which affects the peace, order and the good government of Canada is something with which the Dominion properly can deal. Surely no one will deny for a moment that unemployment is productive, not of order, but rather of disorder.

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LIB

Lucien Cannon (Solicitor General of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. CANNON:

Will my hon. friend allow a question? Has it not been decided many times by the privy council that these opening words of the residuary clause mean that this power can be exercised only provided that we are not dealing with subjects included in section 92?

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CON

George Reginald Geary

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. GEARY:

Yes, that is quite true.

Mr, BENNETT: No, it has been decided

in the opposite way.

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CON

George Reginald Geary

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. GEARY:

Let me put it this way:

This is one of the subjects allotted by section 91 to the Dominion, but it is restricted to a great extent by the exclusive power and control given to the provinces under section 92. However, it is also clear, as I am sure the Solicitor General knows, that the power given the Dominion under section 91 is not strictly so limited. That is to say, the Dominion power can reach over, impinge upon and interfere with the exercise of provincial powers if such is necessary or if it is ancillary to the jurisdiction of the Dominion parliament. With regard to something which may be ancillary to a provision for the peace, order and good government of the Dominion, or in a matter which has grown too large to be considered local, we may reach over into the provincial sphere. I think that is a correct statement of the law in that regard.

There is no question but that the regulation of trade and commerce is within the jurisdiction of the Dominion. That is a very wide power, and I fail to see how the provinces, in exercising any of their powers under section 92, can bring about unemployment. Unemployment must result from the exercise or non-exercise of the powers of the Dominion; there is nothing under provincial juris-

'

diction which would bring about the result. Similarly there is the question of immigration. Hon. gentleman during the course of this debate have indicated that the immigration policy has had a very great deal to do with unemployment, particularly in western Canada. With that statement I am inclined to agree. Now, since unemployment may result from the policy of this or any other federal government in regard to immigration, so far is it a matter which can be dealt with by this Dominion government.

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UFA

Edward Joseph Garland

United Farmers of Alberta

Mr. GARLAND (Bow River):

The statement my hon. friend has just made is fully borne out by the fact that the premier of one of the western provinces announces that 61 per cent of all the relief granted this year was granted to immigrants.

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CON

George Reginald Geary

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. GEARY:

Yes, that confirms the

impression I had gathered from listening to my hon. friends to my left. Yet the Prime Minister yesterday blamed this party for all the immigration difficulties of the country. I remember very well the first campaign in which I was engaged in connection with the federal parliament. That was in 1925, and during that campaign the Prime Minister outlined four distinct points upon which that election was being fought. They were the tariff, railways, immigration and Senate reform. The immigration policy of the government at that time was to bring in more people. It was not a Conservative policy; it was a policy of the Liberal party five years ago, at the beginning of a new parliament. That parliament did not last very long, and perhaps my hon. friend meant to say that by the beginning of the next parliament conditions had changed, but that was not the case. Until this year the government have taken no steps with the view to restricting very severely immigration into this country.

The Prime Minister stated that the provinces have under their jurisdiction such things as charities and eleemosynary institutions. That is not at all applicable to the situation we have to-day. That refers to such things as asylums or other institutions, incorporated bodies if you like, which take care cf people who are indigent or in need of some sort of help or treatment or assistance of that nature. By no stretch of the imagination can it be deemed to include charity. Much less can it be taken to include what is spoken of here, which is not charity but rather the provision of work to be done by the unemployed, for which they will receive money and for that money give value. Similarly with municipal institutions; that point can have no bearing here, nor can matters of a local or private

Unemployment-Mr. Geary

nature, because this is a general, national situation. The only ground upon which tae Prime Minister can rest is that property and civil rights come within the jurisdiction of the provinces, and that that might interfere with the exercise of any compulsion by this Dominion. But is there anything in that analysis of the respective jurisdictions of the Dominion and the provinces to prevent the Dominion from, first, spending its money in the alleviation of unemployment or, second, taking the initiative in calling a meeting of the provinces and the Dominion in order to evolve some system of unemployment insurance, or a general discussion of the situation? That is the point I desire to make in my analysis of the question of jurisdiction.

The municipality is primarily liable. Whether or not it is right as a matter of fact, in practice it is so. It is the city hall or the town hall-the mayor or the reeve-they are accessible to the man or woman who desires employment, and naturally the matter is brought up in that form. It is then passed on to the province, and in cases of extreme need it should be passed by the provinces to the Dominion. I think that is all we desire at the present moment to draw to the attention of the government, the theory that the Dominion cannot absolve itself from taking some interest in this matter.

If a poor chap were to come to one of us and ask for some work, such as cutting wood or mowing grass or anything which might be within our power to give Kim, I do not think anyone would feel that he was doing right if he catechized that man and said: "Are you a Grit? Are you a Tory? Are you a Jew or a Christian? Do you speak English or French?" It would be a poor man indeed who would grant relief only upon such a catechism as that. Yet the Prime Minister has indicated that as being the principle upon which relief should be given to the provinces. That was his meaning when he said: If you are a Tory, you come to us with no hope of success; if you are a Progressive you can come to us with partial hope of success, and if you are a Grit you can come to us with the most complete hope for success. It would be bad enough for one of us so to conduct his affairs, but when the Prime Minister of this Dominion adopts that attitude in regard to provincial relations, it is to me beyond all question of right doing. I suppose the right hon. gentleman made those remarks in that fine zeal for unity which he is preaching from one end of this country to the other.

Knowing the conditions in my own city, and having heard of the conditions which exist elsewhere, my view is that immediate

action should be taken, not next week, not the week after, but to-day. Other forms of relief may be considered a little later, but a sum of money should be made available immediately in order to take care of the requirements of the moment. In suggesting this I do not forget what other hon. members have offered in the way of a solution of this problem. I agree with the hon. members for St. Boniface (Mr. Howden) and Winnipeg South Centre (Mr. Thorson)), and with other hon. members who have stated, against the dictates of their leader, that in their view this government should initiate the calling together of the provinces with a view to considering some form of unemployment insurance. I do not know whether or not I am correctly quoting the hon. member for St. Boniface, but the other hon. gentleman stated in terms that he felt that the Dominion government must Share some of the responsibility for unemployment. If the responsibility be shared by this government, surely something should be done by it towards alleviation. Although I do not possess the knowledge necessary to enter into a concrete discussion of this matter, I believe that a system of unemployment insurance could be worked out, providing for contributions and actuarially sound. All these things should be the subject of discussion with the provinces. The provinces are vitally interested and this government should lead the way in suggesting a conference or discussion of this matter. I do not think it can be said that the provinces should do this, because at is not possible. We have in this government a central body dealing with all the provinces and it is in a better position to initiate a conference of that sort than is any one province An endeavour should be made to have all the provinces attend this conference, but the Prime Minister says, "No, we will not do anything of the kind, we will wait until the provinces come to us." I would like to point out to the house that having said that the Prime Minister immediately nullified any good which might be in his suggestion, by saying to the Tory provinces: You need not come, for you will not get a five cent piece.

I have no desire to be drawn into a partisan condemnation of the Prime Minister; his words speak for themselves; he who runs may read. That is the exact attitude taken by the Prime Minister, and I do not desire to emphasize it. Government should not proceed on any such basis. If a conference were called the provinces should be able to feel that they are coming to discuss a matter of jurisdiction or contribution in the creation of an unemployment insurance scheme, and not that any favour or refusal would be based upon their

Unemployment-Mr. Geary

political affiliation. The present policy of the government is that certain provinces would be refused.

I would like to consider in a brief manner the various suggestions put forward by hon. members. While I press my suggestion that money should be provided immediately, I do not by any means disregard the valuable information given to the house by other hon. members. The hon. member for Bow River contended that an investigation should be held into the causes of unemployment. That would also be an investigation of the solution of the difficulties, economic or otherwise, under which we labour at the present time. The hon. member's suggestion is well worthy of thought and consideration and I would not for a moment suggest that it be discarded. I think one might well say that that is a very proper course to pursue, and it should receive attention. Perhaps this suggestion, instead of being brought to the attention of the house through an amendment, might be brought forward in a more definite form.

I think every hon. member has had some experience with the unquestionably pathetic results of unemployment, and I do not think I can usefully add to the store of knowledge of hon. members of this house. In common with others, I have had experiences which were heartbreaking, which made one think that all constitutional limitations should be smashed if that were necessary to give relief to people suffering as such people do. Rather than sit with folded hands, rather than give up the ghost as the hon. Minister of Labour has done, and as the government itself has done, I would like to see them up and doing in their attack upon this problem, and holding out some promise that their consideration would lead to action. It is the helpless, do-nothing attitude of the government which we deprecate most at the present time. We would urge them to forget what has been said; as the hon. member for South Wellington (Mr. Guthrie) said, let them forget what position they have taken; let them consider the matter from the standpoint of the human being and of the humanity that is in the whole question and say: We may have committed ourselves to a course of action, but we are men enough to free ourselves from that and we will endeavour with you to find some solution that trill clear up a situation that is tearing at the heartstrings of men and women in this country. May I say to the Prime Minister, as the hon. member for South Wellington said yesterday: if he does that he will find unanimity behind him; there should be no question of support from the men who sit to the right of the Speaker; he certainly will have no

measure of opposition from those who sit in the corner or those who sit to your left.

An emergency exists. There is no use quibbling about it or finding a little lack of expression here or an over-expression there to indicate that it is not national; that it is local and provincial; that it is usual, seasonal, recurrent and not an emergency at the present time. There is no use arguing in regard to that. We have an emergency to-day and practically overnight the federal government could relieve it to an appreciable extent. If the government were to take that attitude they would have the support of the whole country.

The Prime Minister has asked hon. gentlemen to my left not to be inveigled into supporting any policy of the Conservative party. I know them as well as and perhaps better than he does, and I do not think we could do that. We have endeavoured to impress the truth upon them and they do not receive it. They have their own views and they are going to hold to them. Why does he not say to us: Do not be coaxed, cozened or cajoled into supporting any of the policies of the Progressives who sit to your left?

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UFA

Edward Joseph Garland

United Farmers of Alberta

Mr. GARLAND (Bow River):

The danger in the case of the hon. gentleman's party is greater.

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CON

George Reginald Geary

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. GEARY:

That is the situation as I

see it. One does not want to be sentimental about the matter; but one wants to see the facts as they are. The situation should be remedied and if it be of any avail I should like to add my voice to that of the hon. member for South Wellington who yesterday left the door open to the government to do what, not only from a humanitarian standpoint, but even from the lower ground of policy, is one of the best things they could do.

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PRO

John Evans

Progressive

Mr. JOHN EVANS (Rosetown):

Mr. Speaker, notwithstanding all that has been said to the contrary I believe the unemployment question to-day is a national one. The Dominion is practically in control of all policies relating to labour, for instance, immigration, et cetera. That unemployment will occur during the winter months is perhaps inevitable because of our climate, but for the whole of 1929 work was scarce for all those who seek their living by their day's wage. In any case, unemployment is not an emergent question to-day; it is with us and with us to stay. The question is whether we want to tackle the problem in the manner we should. Unemployment insurance, while

Unemployment-Mr. Evans

not a cure, will at least relieve the sufferings of many, some of which sufferings I myself saw last winter.

There are many causes for unemployment and I am going to enumerate some of them. One fact that we must face in our economic life to-day is that we are everlastingly driving our workers into our industrial centres, our cities. Our population is being more and more separated into two distinct groups; and we need not seek very far for the cause. In the cities we have the capitalists and the wage earners; in the country we are getting more and more into the way of the older countries, and we have the landlord and the tenant; both these groups corresponding to the old days of feudal lord and serf.

The high cost of living certainly debars many people from entering into small industries and concerns for themselves; it puts all such enterprises out of reach of those who are willing to work. I meet to-day in the country many who express their desire to go into poultry raising or dairying on a small scale, believing that the family could keep those things going while it was profitable for the father to work out while wages were at their highest. But it seems to me that the policy which our friends to my right are advocating is killing this spirit of enterprise, and we are driving our population into two distinct groups.

Let us see what the man who would go into an industry on a small scale is up against. First he builds a house, however humble it may be. He goes to the lumber yard nearest to him and there he finds that the price of common lumber, probably planed on one side and one edge, is as high as $56 a thousand retail in any yard in Saskatchewan to-day. Perhaps he asks the price of siding and finds it runs all the way from $80 to $90 a thousand, I believe a good deal dearer than the price at which the mills in British Columbia have been delivering it in the Orient. He can, however, secure at $62 a thousand a grade of siding which, I would draw to the attention of the hon. member for Vancouver Centre (Mr. Stevens), carries a 25 per cent duty. This is the cheapest grade of siding at present in the yards in the west. It is called No. 2^ siding, and it is cut, I believe, from stumps, such as fallen logs that are over ripe. He can get this for $62 a thousand by calling a five-and-a-half-inch board six inches. Sometimes it is five and three-eighths inches, but he must pay for six inches. Every worker, too, must buy flour, and he finds that a sack of good household flour costs about eighty

cents more to-day at his point than the price at which the same grade made from Canadian wheat is quoted in Liverpool. In fact, flour, Manitoba Top Patents, is sold at about $1.69 per barrel cheaper in Liverpool than in Winnipeg. If he goes into dairying he finds himself up against a fiscal policy which can easily be explained by the action of the government in removing all protection on the dairy products which he expects to produce and placing it on the necessaries of life which he must buy, tending still further to herd our workers into the cities. Let me give a case in point. To provide that freer entry into the Australian market for the manufacture of Canada the government took three cents a pound duty off butter and placed it on raisins. In fact, this was the foundation of the Australian treaty. I would not mention it but for the fact that it seems to have been the policy of governments in this country for the last sixty years so to divide our people into two distinct groups, the capitalists and the wage earners. When there was a duty on butter which promised to be a factor in price fixing, it was at once taken off and that duty was placed on the necessaries of life. The old duty on butter was four cents a pound, but it was never then of any use to the farmer.

The efficiency of any nation must always be judged according to the cost of living and the cost of production in that country, and not by the ease with which the earnings of the worker are filched from him, which in the past has been mistakenly called prosperity. Land is cheap all over Canada to-day. It is the necessaries for settlement that are beyond the reach of the worker's energy and enterprise. We guarantee the profits of the owners of urban industry, but there is absolutely no security for the workingman, particularly the unskilled. There is no security either for the man on the farm. Everything seemingly is done to aid the capitalists, whose profits are guaranteed; but the workers are herded together without any consideration for their well-being. Urban industry to-day seems nothing better than an excuse to secure privileges by legislation and to filch the earnings of the farmer and the worker.

The Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) said that capital was the great essential in industry. The great essential in industry, to my way of thinking, is energy and enterprise, and the end in view should always be the well-being of the subject. I had a resolution sent in to me, which I passed on to the Prime

Unemployment-Mr. Evans

Minister, from the Biggar division of the Canadian Brotherhood of Railway Employees, and it reads this way:

Whereas it has been brought to our attention that thousands of railway employees who would normally have steady employment throughout the year have been laid off, and are feeling severe privation 'and hardship resulting therefrom,

Be it therefore resolved that Biggar division No. 151, Canadian Brotherhood of Railway Employees, go on record as favouring a conference of representatives of the financial, industrial and labour organizations being called with a view to stimulating industry, restoring the confidence of the public, and reducing unemployment.

The Minister of Labour says that the Dominion government has no responsibility in the matter of calling a conference to consider the question of unemployment. I have thought since that perhaps it was a good thing that a conference was not called on the spur of the moment, because after calm and more mature consideration a commission may be appointed, composed of men of economic thought and foresight, who will go to the root of the matter and find some permanent solution of the problem for the future as well as the present. The fact is that the worker's lot in Canada-and I must say that it is also the lot of the farmer, who is being continually driven into the industrial centres-is a precarious and haphazard one, subject to all kinds of class legislation and class privileges which neither the agriculturist nor the workingman shares. The ease with which production is carried on should be a national benefit. If it is easier to produce, it should be easier for the workingman as well as the capitalist. To the capitalist, ease of production is a bonanza; but to the wage earner it is a nightmare.

I was struck by a remark of the hon. member for Toronto-Scarborough (Mr. Harris) in his speech the other day. He wants the farmer to make more butter, and he would place a duty on butter for that purpose. He really is speaking there for the great creamery combine or merger which is being formed to control that business from one end of this Dominion to the other, and for which he wants to secure all kinds of advantages. When the farmer's wife was the butter maker, everything she needed was, in price, out of line with the butter which she made and sold. But now that the merger is being formed, every advantage will be given to it, particularly the power of price fixing.

As I said before, the farmer has to pay high duties. He is penalized on all his raw material. Take salt, for instance. The packers and fish curers can get their salt in free, but the farmer must pay a high duty,

not only on the salt itself, but on the covers containing the salt. By these means the small farmer is soon driven to throw up his hands and to tell the mortgage holder or the banker to take what is left, and he himself then crowds in with those who are already standing outside the factory doors in our industrial centres waiting for employment.

The hon. member for Toronto-Scarborough, who made a very good speech in a way, deplored the fact that we were importing a large quantity of foodstuffs which we might be producing here. Yet he very illogically advocates an increase in tariffs, which is the very bane of agriculture. He never told us, though, with what we pay for the goods we import. If the price of farm products today were in line with the price of manufactured goods, and the farmer were given, the freedom of exchange which he needs, there would be a rush to the farm, and more people would be making their own living. Intensive farming would be the result, and our cities would not, even in the wintertime, be overburdened with workers. The means of production here should be the cheapest in the world. They say that unemployment exists in England as well as in Canada-one a free trade and the other a protectionist country; but the difference lies in this, that in England land is very dear, here it is cheap. In fact one of my protectionist friends told me not so long ago that if a farmer wants to sell out to-day in Ontario all he expects to get for his farm is the cost of his buildings -very little more. Indeed, I know one farmer who did sell out for less than the buildings could be put up to-day. That means the land is within reach of everybody, but the necessaries to make it productive are out of reach of the man who in an honest and humble way, with his own courage and enterprise, can make it go. Here is one of the real causes of unemployment at the present time.

Now, the demand for unemployment insurance is simply a natural growth of urban industry, as our fiscal policy is maintained to-day. We are subject to panics and industrial depression, very often seemingly for no cause whatever. The present situation may have been brought about largely through a bearish pressure on the stock market, which created a lack of confidence, and that in turn brought about a period of under-consumption. This is a fact anyway, that underconsumption is not only rife amongst the working class who are out of work, but people of independent means have curtailed purchases to bare necessities. The curtailing of the British preference by the latest restriction, a

Unemployment-Mr. Evans

measure brought into force by our government a year ago, has prevented, I feel, a very large portion of our wheat being moved, and in this way we have the cause of unemployment accounted for in large measure.

It is a terrible indictment of our economic system that while our warehouses are full of manufactured goods and our granaries are full of grain, our industrial centres are full of hungry people out of work. Our manufacturers for whom this nation has been bled white take upon themselves no responsibility for the welfare of the men and women who work in their factories, and on the most flimsy excuses they have thrown them out of employment. The Canadian Pacific Railway Company, which was actively engaged in immigration, turned immigrants loose on a sympathetic rural municipality or village without any further care for them. I have here a letter written by the pastor of one of the churches in MacGregor, Manitoba, in which he says:

I had made up my mind to write you regarding a number of Welsh miner immigrants. Their statement to me was that they had come to Canada under what was known as the Canadian Pacific Railway cottage scheme. Their passage was paid, and then when they arrived in Canada they were to be put in a cottage with furniture supplied, and at once they were to receive wages amounting to about five dollars per day. Then after a year's experience on a farm they were to be placed in charge of a farm for themselves, etc. Rosy and bright was it not? When they arrived here, the cottages were old, unused, unfurnished houses, and there were no farmers looking for men at any such wages. I do not think much is to be gained by having men come to Canada under any such conditions, but at the same time the citizens of Canada ought not to permit any company whatsoever to bring immigrants here and dump them on a community in the expectation that the neighbours of those unfortunates would not see them starve. Four of the five families went into Winnipeg securing work for the summer, but how about the winter ?

They are there to-day, swelling the ranks of the unemployed.

Regarding the conference which the Minister of Labour has been urged to call, the Saskatoon Star has this to say: '

Only the Dominion government can take a proper survey of the economic problems thus created, chiefly the problem of seasonal unemployment. This is very clearly a national issue. No province or municipality can see the whole of it or attempt to control the movement of seasonal workers.

There are other reasons why the Dominion government has a duty to give a lead. It is responsible for immigration policy. It can, if it chooses, shut the door tight on immigration or open it wide and the policy it elects to follow evidently has an important bearing on the state of the labour market. Again, the

Dominion government is the only government in the country which has any control over the monetary and financial policies of the banks, another powerful factor in limiting or enlarging opportunities for employment.

I think a duty rests there on the Dominion government, and I shall hope to see a commission appointed that will go to the root of this matter. A similar resolution to the one I have already read was passed by the United Farmers of Canada at a conference composed of the executive of the united farmers, the trades and labour council and the churches in Saskatoon. They, too, called on the government to investigate the present situation. I believe with the Star that the government must take the responsibility in a very large measure for unemployment, seeing that they control practically all the policies relating to labour conditions. I believe, too, that the present crisis is largely due to the inelasticity of credit. In point of fact, since the bank is the nerve centre of modern business, all crises are financial more or less.

Now, whatever we do, there is a duty we owe to those who are suffering hunger and the want of the necessaries of life, and without doubt some way will have to be found to bring about a scheme of unemployment insurance. The responsibility for this must be placed on the protected industries, and I believe with a proper system of such insurance based on the responsibility of the protected parties, the manufacturers of this country, a far more stable condition of affairs would be brought about. I am sure that under such a scheme employers could not create panics in the hearts of their workers through the threat of taking their jobs to the extent that it is done to-day. Labour is itinerant because of the uncertainty of employment. Employment insurance must be based chiefly on protected industry. Established industry in Canada to-day has an assurance which is not enjoyed by capitalists in any other country, and these capitalists must be made responsible for the working men whom they have induced to take employment in their factories. At the conference held by the United Farmers of Saskatchewan, the secretary of the trades and labour council told us that a very large concern which had established itself in Regina employed last year about a thousand workers. It laid off practically three-quarters of them at the beginning of this winter. When the manager was consulted he made the statement that it was the policy of his company to have one man on the job and two at the gate. It is unreasonable to expect that the nation's workers should be subjected to the exigencies of capitalism, and panics created to satisfy

Unemployment-Mr. Evans

greed. I would tolerate protection in some form, and to some extent, if it were extended to the worker, but it is unreasonable to tax their necessaries of life. If the protectionist system, which at the present time is only a debauch, could be extended to the worker, and give some assurance to the wage earner, it might be more tolerable. There is no stability in our present method of manufacturing and distributing goods, and we may as well ask ourselves what it is that gives value to the subscribed capital of going concerns, all of which depend upon the exploitation of the people. It depends very largely on the control of parliament by the capitalistic concerns of to-day. Let me quote the words of Roger Babson, that great wizard of business and finance. This is what he has to say in regard to capitalistic investments:

The value of our investments depends not on the strength of our banks but rather on the strength of our churches. The underpaid preachers of the nation are the men upon whom we are really depending, rather than the well paid lawyers, bankers and brokers. The religion of the community is really the bulwark of our investments.

To my mind those words are rather significant. It is a telling indictment against our present business methods when it can be said that the safety of the whole structure depends, not on a square deal for all, but on the want of proper information and the piety of our people.

Of the country's earnings last year, the banks took some $27,915,255 in net profits. Exorbitant profits mean under-consumption. We only need to know something of the A.B.C. of economics to understand that the fact that there are exorbitant profits means that there must be under-consumption. I have the following figures as to the net profits of Canadian banks, obtained from the bureau of statistics:

Bank of Montreal $7,070,892

Bank of Toronto 1,453,436

Banque Provinciale du Canada. 551,622

Canadian Bank of Commerce.. 5,066,229

Royal Bank of Canada 7,145,137

Imperial Bank of Canada.. .. 1,561,561

Banque Canadienne Nationale. 1,053,099

The profits of the Bank of Nova Scotia, the Dominion bank and the Weyburn Security bank are not given. If we take the returns of those three as published last year and add them to the others, it brings the total amount up to about $30,000,000. This is so much money taken out of the Canadian industry. Canadian industry during 1930 will be that much more dependent upon borrowed money, unless agriculture is able to export at a profit what it has on hand. We have been able

to meet these exorbitant profits by expanding agriculture year by year, but agriculture has reached the stage where it can no longer bear the strain. I see no hope of equity between the classes so long as our present system of privilege continues, and exorbitant profits are taken each year from the earnings of the workers. In fact, to me it is no wonder there is unemployment; big profits, I say, cause under-consumption. Credit and banking should be public utilities, publicly owned and controlled. More and more it becomes evident that the state must assume certain functions hitherto not deemed to be appropriate to it. Canada's inefficiency to-day is to be seen in the cost of living and the cost of production. The cost of living in Canada is higher than in any country to which she exports her goods, whether they be agricultural products or manufactured articles. Such a condition cannot be very long continued; the cost of living and the cost of production must be lowered as the first step in solving the unemployment problem.

With regard to the Prime Minister's speech yesterday, I want to say that if this government refuses to cooperate with the provinces, then the provinces, as sovereign entities, will have to take steps to protect themselves. In the past neither the Dominion nor the provincial governments have had any control over the welfare of our people, as a result of whose brawn and sweat the industries of this country have been established. The fiscal policy of this country has been in the hands of the capitalists, who nominally own the industrial plants of the Dominion. I say they only nominally own the plants which they direct, and with which they exploit the workers of the country. Neither Roger Babson's method, the capitalistic control of parliament, nor .even the militia will be able to hold this country in peace, order and good government if the railway companies and other concerns, such as Besco, are allowed to import labour, as they import raw material, for their own .benefit. I have here a clipping from the Toronto Star which describes conditions in the United States and contains also a warning which was thrown out the other day to one of the committees of congress in Washington. The clipping is dated April 1, 1930, and states:

The country is faced with possibility of revolution unless the unemployment situation is met, William Green of the American Federation of Labour warned the Senate Commerce Committee to-day demanding enactment of the three pending Wagner bills to alleviate conditions.

Unemployment-Mr. Ryerson

Conditions are much the same in this country; we are following exactly the same policy that has brought United States agriculturists to the point where they must accept direct aid.

Topic:   SUPPLY-UNEMPLOYMENT AMENDMENT OF MH. HEAPS TO MOTION FOR COMMITTEE
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LIB

Hewitt Bostock (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER:

The hon. gentleman's

time is up.

Topic:   SUPPLY-UNEMPLOYMENT AMENDMENT OF MH. HEAPS TO MOTION FOR COMMITTEE
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CON

Robert Edwy Ryerson

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. R. E. RYERSON (Brantford City):

quarters in the city and who lived under the conditions described until latter part of October. Upon their arrival in Brantford they were taken to the cottages and from there efforts were made to place them at farm work. Any hon. member who is familiar with farm conditions in the province of Ontario well knows that comparatively few farms are provided with secondary homes for hired help. With few exceptions the only homes available were deserted or anbandoned, most of which were unsuitable for human habitation. A family would be taken to one of these places and told: There is your home, the rent will

be so much, and we have a temporary job for you on another farm, which might be a mile or a mile and a half away. Some thirteen or fourteen families found their way to the city and to the suburbs. Three or four families have been deported on account of having become public charges, and one woman was sent back on account of an improper medical inspection having been made.

At six o'clock the house took recess.

After Recess

The house resumed at eight o'clock.

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PRIVATE BILL


merchants' and employers' insurance


COMPANY


Mr. JEAN FRANCOIS POULIOT (Temis-couata) moved the second reading of Bill No. 52, to incorporate the Merchants' and Employers' Insurance Company. He said: Mr. Speaker, I have been asked by my desk mate, the hon. member for Laurier-Outremont (Mr. Mercier), to take charge of this bill of which he is the sponser. Motion agreed to and bill read the second time.


DIVORCE COURT FOR ONTARIO


On the order: House in committee on Bill No. 20, to provide in the province of Ontario for the dissolution and annulment of marriage.-Mr. Woodsworth.


April 4, 1930