June 12, 1931

CON

Henry Herbert Stevens (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEVENS:

Is the hon. member in

favour or not of the government making a genuine effort to give five cents a bushel to the farmers of the west in the way of a bonus this year?

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF THE DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
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LIB

Edward James Young

Liberal

Mr. YOUNG:

I am not in favour, to use

the Prime Minister's own words, of trying to debauch the people with their own money.

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CON

Henry Herbert Stevens (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEVENS:

Then I take it the hon.

member is not in favour of the effort.

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LIB

Edward James Young

Liberal

Mr. YOUNG:

I am not in favour of taking thirty-five per cent from the farmer's income and trying to compensate him with eight per cent for one year. I honestly believe this five cent bonus on wheat will prove an apple ot Sodom, tempting to the eye, but one that will turn to ashes in the grasp.

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CON

Henry Herbert Stevens (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEVENS:

I think some of the

farmers will welcome the cheque when they, get it. .

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LIB

Edward James Young

Liberal

Mr. YOUNG:

I hope they will get it.

In conclusion, might I appeal to the government-the Prime Minister is not in his seat- to forget this mad policy of trying to restrict trade in a world that is suffering from trade restriction, to set to the world an example of common sense and fair dealing, to show thia tariff mad world there is at least one country that has not lost its reason, and to show the people of Canada and of the world that we can get along better and prosper more without those restrictions on trade than ever we could with them:

O ve, the wise who think, the wise who reign. From growing commerce loose her latest

AmMet the fair wliite-wing'd peacemaker fly To happy havens under all the sky,

And mix the seasons and the golden_ hours; Till each man find his own in all men s good, And all men work in noble brotherhood, Breaking their mailed fleets and armed

towers, , ,

And ruling by obeying nature s Powers And gathering all the fruits of earth and

crown'd with all her flowers.

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IND

Angus MacInnis

Independent Labour

Mr. ANGUS MacINNIS (Scuth Vancouver):

In speaking to this motion, I think

I can pass over the formality indulged in by my hon. friends opposite who have spoken to it in congratulating the Minister of Finance (Mr Bennett) on what they are pleased to term "this excellent budget". I am spared that formality in the first place because I am not on the government side of the house and consequently I need not pay any great attention to the conventions of the moment. In the second place this is my first experience of a parliamentary budget and I have in my mind nothing with which to compare it excepting the promises that were made a year ago during the election campaign. If we compare it with those promises, it falls very far short, and consequently I cannot with sincerity offer any congratulations in regard to it.

It is, however, a conventional budget. The maker of it is no Columbus. Regardless, of what age he might have lived in, he never would have ventured on an uncharted sea in search of a continent. But if ever there were a time in the history of Canada when conditions called for a bold lead, when the dire necessities of large masses of the people were calling for long overdue relief, that time is the present. If ever there were a time to break a new trail, that time is now. But in this budget there is nothing new, only old things that we thought we had some time ago got away from. All we get in this budget is a three-fold application of taxation upon the poor and a considerable exemption from taxation for the very rich.

There are many parts of the budget I might criticize; the first part is merely a recitation of figures, which are very good in their way but which do not help us very much, but with regard to possibly the entire latter part of the budget I could and perhaps should express some criticism. However, I will try to confine myself largely to the outstanding and unpardonable fault, which is the omission of any reference to unemployment. I am not particularly surprised at that. Although this government was elected on the issue of unemployment, an issue which was raised here by my colleagues in this section of the house and taken up by the government as an election cry, on which they were elected as a government, during the session they have done everything possible to prevent any discussion of unemployment in this house. In reply to the criticism of the hon. member for Shelburne-Yarmouth (Mr. Ralston), the Minister of Trade and Commerce (Mr. Stevens) did condescend to devote thirteen lines out of nine and a half pages in_ Hansard to the question of unemployment, j. auppuoe we will have to thank him for that, but what did he say? This is what he said:

This is scarcely the time, just m the spring of the year, for us to be making proposals to the house to deal with unemployment which may be anticipated next autumn.

Let us go back just one short year, though I suppose perhaps the shortness of the year depends upon whether or not you have, been employed. If you have been unemployed, it has been a long year; if you have been fairly wrnll employed, or if you have been receiving a salary for doing nothing, the year might have passed very quickly. However, let us go back one year and see what the same hon.

The Budget-Mr. Maclnnis

gentleman had to say. He, together with other members of his party, went from one end of this country to the other bewailing the distress of the unemployed and bemoaning the fact that the King government would not give a five cent piece to relieve unemployment. The present Minister of Trade and Commerce, speaking in Vancouver on June fl-just a year ago yesterday-is reported in the Vancouver Province of June 12 as follows:

Mr. H. H. Stevens was caustic at the expense af the Hon. Peter Heenan, Minister of Labour, as he approached the question of unemployment. "What did he do in the house when he was forced, after two days, to make a statement?" he asked.

Let me say that this government could not be forced to make a statement in any length of time; they would not make a statement under any consideration. Possibly we did not have quite as much force as they had last year, but we did the best w'e could and we did not get any statement. The report continues:

. read us Christmas cards from prime ministers of the Canadian provinces, messages sent out full of good will natural to that time of the year. While he was doing it unemployed wore marching the streets of Vancouver, Calgary and Winnipeg. The minister said there was no unemployment."

What is the difference this year? While unemployed are marching the streets in Vancouver, Calgary, Winnipeg, and every other city and hamlet throughout Canada-more than there were last year-the Minister of Trade and Commerce says:

This is scarcely the time, just in the spring or the year, for us to be making proposals to the house to deal with unemployment which uiay be anticipated next autumn.

We need not anticipate unemployment next autumn; we have it now, and unless something is done before next autumn we are definitely sure that we will have more unemployment than we have at the present moment.

It is not a matter of anticipation; it is a matter of actual realization, yet this is all we get. It would not seem so bad, perhaps, if they had not been so virtuous about it last year. Quoting again from the Vancouver Province of July 13, 1930, the Minister of Trade and Commerce is reported as having said:

Unemployment is the most serious problem lacing Canada to-day.

I quite agree, but when unemployment is considerably increased, does that lessen its "eiiousness? If it does not, surely before now we should have had some discussion on the matter and some proposals from the govern-[Mr. Maclimis.l

ment before now as to what they are prepared to do.

People may ask why it is brought into politics.

They may ask; it was a legitimate subject for discussion; but the reason it was brought into politics was because a certain party wanted to get into power. Having served its purpose, it is forgotten. He continued:

My answer is to quote from a report I hold in my hand of a banquet given to Ontario members of the federal cabinet at Brantford m January. In that report, the Hon. Mr. Elliott, Minister of Public Works, deprecated the clamour for a national conference on unemployment and asserted that the responsibility lay with the municipalities.

The Minister of Trade and Commerce said at that time:

I take issue with Mr. King and his colleagues on that point. Wherever else the responsibility lies, it is not with the municipalities. Take our own city:

That is the city of Vancouver.

1 venture to say that two-thirds of the men we have to look after here come from outside. Remedy of this situation is the business of some outside authority, something bigger than the municipalities.

I think that still holds good. The number of outsiders in the city of Vancouver has not lessened at all during the year; in fact, from information I have received, I believe it has increased. I was rather impressed with the statement made in this house a few evenings ago by the hon. member for North Winnipeg (Mr. Heaps), who said that since the Conservatives moved to -the other side of the house they had become good Liberals. I think it would be more correct, however, to say that when the Liberals were on the other side of the house they were good Conservatives, and the Conservatives now are merely running true to form. Compare the statements of the Minister of Trade and Commerce in 1931 with the statement of the Minister of Public Works in 1930. Hon. Mr. Elliott deprecated the clamour for a national conference on unemployment in 1930. while the Minister of Trade and Commerce says this is scarcely the time, just in the spring of the year, for the government to make proposals to the house to deal with unemployment.

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF THE DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
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CON

Henry Herbert Stevens (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEVENS:

Will my hon. friend permit a question? Is he not entirely ignoring the fact that immediately following the statements to which he is referring, and the change of government, we called parliament together; we dealt with the problem; we voted 820,000,000, which brought another 860,000,000 from other sources? While unemployment is not ended, we dealt with the

The Budget-Mr. Maclnnis

situation in an effective way last winter, and what I meant was that this is not the time to start a new discussion on the question or to bring in new measures. There will be time enough before the session ends to disclose the policy of the government in that regard.

Topic:   THE BUDGET
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IND

Angus MacInnis

Independent Labour

Mr. MacINNIS:

I think the Minister of

Trade and Commerce has heard me say in this house that I greatly appreciate what the government did at that time. I have pointed out that while there was a good deal of criticism and dissatisfaction with regard to the way the appropriation was allocated, I was satisfied that with the time at their disposal the government did all that could be done. But when he says that they dealt effectively with the situation, he is far from right. They actually helped the situation, but by helping it in that way the result has been that to-day the municipalities are in perhaps a worse condition than they would have been otherwise, as far as their finances are concerned. However, I will deal later with the situation in that regard.

That $20,000,000 is gone now, and the situation is worse than it was at this time last year. I say that without fear of contradiction. This is the time to discuss the question, while we are here, and while the government can formulate policies and we can criticize or approve of those policies, as the situation may require. And it was in exactly the same period of the year that the Minister of Trade and Commerce was speaking in 1930. I believe I heard someone across the way suggest that the situation today is not as bad as it was last year. I do not _ think anyone needs to refute a suggestion of that sort.

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CON

Harry James Barber

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BARBER:

Will the hon. gentleman give figures from coast to coast to show that the situation is worse than it was last year?

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IND

Angus MacInnis

Independent Labour

Mr. MacINNIS:

Did my hon. friend have the'figures last year to show the situation at that time?

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CON

Otto Baird Price

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. PRICE:

The hon. gentleman should be prepared to give figures when he makes the statement that conditions in the provinces are worse to-day than they were last year. Let him back up his figures.

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IND

Angus MacInnis

Independent Labour

Mr. MacINNIS:

The hon. member has all the information I have.

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CON

Otto Baird Price

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. PRICE:

The statement is absolutely incorrect so far as the maritime provinces are concerned, at least. If the hon. gentleman's information with respect to the rest of the country is the same as he has given regarding the maritime provinces, he does not know what he is talking about.

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IND

Angus MacInnis

Independent Labour

Mr. MacINNIS:

I have had letters and telegrams from the maritime provinces indicating the situation there, and it is surely no better than it was last year.

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CON

Otto Baird Price

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. PRICE:

From the maritime provinces?

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IND

Angus MacInnis

Independent Labour

Mr. MacINNIS:

Yes. From the Montreal Star of June 6 I quote the following:

With vast numbers walking the streets of the city in search of jobs there can be no mistake that Montreal is face to face with a grave crisis. Stark poverty and wretchedness is the lot of hundreds, maybe thousands, in the midst of a city whose reputation for organized charitable effort is acknowledged all over Canadji. Once again it becomes vitally necessary to plan ways and means of relieving the hungry and homeless sufferers. To enable the unmarried man who is genuinely seeking work to go on hoping, to save him from the bitter thought of utter defeat, prompt action is absolutely necessary.

As regards Vancouver, I know what the conditions were like there last year, for I was closely connected with the unemployment situation. The following is from the Province of June 5:

"Well, we are rapidly approaching a financial crisis," said Alderman Bennett. "When these 1,400 men are laid off this month it will mean we have 3,000 families to keep. Unless one or both governments come to our aid, it means a bank overdraft or having to close up shop."

Last year we did not have 3,000 families on unemployment relief at this time of the year. That would represent from 12,000 to 15,000 persons. But let us take the city of Ottawa. In the Citizen of yesterday, I find the following report:

A round-up by city police yesterday afternoon of the rat-ridden hovels netted 69 unem ployed men, who were brought to police headquarters and placed in custody on vagrancy charges.

The round-up followed complaints from residents of Ottawa east. Six trips were made by the police patrol to bring in the men, who instead of being placed in cells were turned loose in the cell corridor. According to Deputy Chief Gilhooly it is likely that the men will not be arraigned in police court but will be given their liberty this morning. Following the arrests the police purchased four dozen loaves of bread, and a contribution of bologna and cheese was later sent to the police station. Then to complete a meal for the unfortunates the_ authorities ordered ten gallons of coffee which was delivered at the police station. This raised the spirits of the prisoners, some of whom said they hadn't had a square meal for a considerable time.

It did not require a great deal to raise their spirits.

The meal provided by the police at least surpassed what some of the men had intended for their supper before their arrest. As if some of them had been disturbed in the preparation of their meals, here and there food, some of it with the appearance of having been picked

The Budget-Mr. Maclnnis

up in the dump, remained lying around when a Citizen reporter visited the dump last night.

Take next the evening edition of the same paper:

Homeless Men Get Police Sympathy Building for Dogs to Replace Shacks Inhabited . by Transients .

While detectives were in the city engineering department arranging for the demolition of shacks on city property, the Lees avenue dump, which had housed three or four score unfortunate men, an officer of Ottawa Humane Society was in the same office to submit plans for a' $10,000 building to be erected on city property for the care of dogs.

. It is proposed to erect the Humane Society building on part of the Broad street corporation vard in the opposite end of the scity to the city dump where the men established themselves in make-shift shacks. Even the_ officers and men wiio arranged for the demolition ot shacks expressed the opinion that until better provision were made for the men they should be allowed to continue in the shacks so long as they did not molest or offend others.

I see by the Evening Journal of the same date that the police have announced their intention of making periodical visits to the dump and vicinity in the future, to forestall settlement there. Surely these are wonderful conditions, when the police have to guard the city's dump to keep Canadians from making their domicile there. Yet my hon. friend says that conditions are not as bad as they were last year. Let me read a question which was put to Sir Henry Thornton in the railway committee yesterday. The question was asked by the chairman of the committee, the hon. member for York-Sunbury (Mr. Hanson).

What did the railway intend to do about falling revenues, asked R. B. Hanson. Conservative member for York-Sunbury. "In view of the alarming conditions, what does the road intend to do?" he repeated. Revenues of the road-for the first part of June dropped 25 per cent, and "things are worse now than they were in 1930."

"You are quite correct, and I share your alarm," replied Sir Henry, "but frankly I do not know the answer to your question. Perhaps it should be addressed to the prophets of Israel. We cannot announce what we are going to do because we do not know."

And I presume the government is in the same position. But while the Minister of Trade and Commerce in the election campaign .was seized -with the seriousness of the situation, he was quite moderate in his language in comparison with his leader. I do not think he said that they were going to end unemployment; I feel sure he did not. But the present Prime Minister, speaking in Regina on June 10, and as reported in the Daily Province of June 11, said:

I never in all my life saw- such unemployment in this Canada of ours as in this year of 1930. . . . Canada is blessed with great natural resources; yet we find something which

saddened my heart to-day. I met men wearing the white button of the unemployed, and all they ask is a chance to work.

It was in June, 1930, when the hon. gentleman's heart was saddened, but, as I said before, there are more unemployed to-day in June, 1931, in every city in Canada than there was in June, 1930, and yet there is no mention in the budget of relief for unemployment.

I was wondering who went to the trouble of obtaining the white badges for the unem-ploj'ed in Regina in June last. It was not the labour or the communist parties because in that case the buttons would have been red, or at least pale pink; it was not the Liberal party, because there were no unemployed last year, and they would not buy buttons for anybody. I do not think it was the farmers because they had not the price. That cuts down the list of those who might have purchased those buttons, and I leave the house to conjecture just who it was.

Since last year it has been found expedient for the government to realize that world economic conditions have a bearing on the economic conditions prevailing in this country, and that it was not all due to the fiscal policy of the preceding government. I have quoted these statements to show where the party in power stood when in opposition, when the conditions of unemployment were not as serious as they are to-day. A few days ago I gave to the house the unemployment figures for Vancouver; the hon. member for Comox-Alberni (Mr. Neill) has given the figures for Vancouver island, and the hon. members for Winnipeg North Centre (Mr. Woodsworth) and North Winnipeg (Mr. Heaps) have given the figures for Winnipeg. A few moments ago the hon. Minister of Trade and Commerce (Mr. Stevens) mentioned what had been done last year, but I feel that any proposals which the government may make should be made in sufficient time to enable this house to consider them. He stated, as I quoted a few moments ago, that two-thirds of the unemployed who had to be kept by the city of Vancouver were from outside the city. The unemployment figures for October 31 show that the total unemployed in Canada amounted to 47,682; the figure for British Columbia was 8.581, and for Vancouver. 4.712. It will be noticed that the city of Vancouver had well over half of the total unemployed in the province of British Columbia; that British Columbia had 18 per cent of the total unemployed in Canada, and Vancouver, *9-86 per cent of the total. Based upon these figures British Columbia was entitled to 18 per cent of the federal grant, or $2,880,000, when in fact it was allocated $900,000 or 5-6 per cent. On

The Budget-Mr. Maclnnis

the basis of unplaced applicants on October 31, the, cjty of Vancouver was entitled to 9-86 per cent, or SI,577,600, when in fact it received 1-3 per cent or $220,000, approximately one. eighth of its just proportion, or a shortage of SI,356,600. That is one of the reasons why I, at least, want to know in good time what the government has in mind and what proposals it intends to make in connection with unemployment.

Canada is a country possessed of great natural wealth and wealth in usable form, and yet we are told that there must be retrenchment, that strict economy must be practised. What does strict economy mean as far as the working class is concerned? They are economizing all the time. Strict economy on the part of this government will mean less work and more unemployment; strict economy will mean more hunger, more destitution, more . want, more disease, more crime, more insanity, more suicides and more human deterioration.

An lion, MEMBER: Does the hon. member want the country to go bankrupt?

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF THE DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
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IND

Angus MacInnis

Independent Labour

Mr. MacINNIS:

It is quite possible that

we might go bankrupt in figures, but we would not be bankrupt in actual wealth. Economy- when we have our trade commissioners in every country of the world trying to dispose of our surplus products, and there are in this country the trade agents of other countries trying to dispose of their surpluses. Economy -when millions of bushels of wheat and other grains are rotting in the elevators of this country.

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CON

Otto Baird Price

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. PRICE:

Who is responsible?

Topic:   THE BUDGET
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IND

Angus MacInnis

Independent Labour

Mr. MacINNIS:

Well, possibly-

Topic:   THE BUDGET
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June 12, 1931