March 15, 1932

?

An hon. MEMBER:

Give us something new.

MARCH 15, 1932 113X

Unemployment Continuance Act

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT AND FARM RELIEF
Subtopic:   CONTINUANCE ACT, 1932-CONSIDERATION OF RESOLUTION
Permalink
LIB

George Washington McPhee

Liberal

Mr. McPHEE:

An hon. member opposite says: Give us something new. These gems of the Prime Minister were ambrosia to my hon. friends' nostrils in 1930, and it is no fault of mine if they are effluvia to-day.

In Winnipeg, on June 8, 1930, the leader of the government (Mr. Bennett) used these words:

Listen you agriculturists from the west and all the other parts of Canada-you who have been taught to mock at tariffs and applaud free trade

tell me, when did free trade fight for you? Tell me, when did free trade fight for you. You say tariffs are only for the manufacturers. I will make them fight for you as well. I will use them to blast a way into the markets that have been closed to you.

Speaking at Vancouver on June 18, 1930, he said:

If Mr. Mackenzie King thinks I will not so build up our agricultural and industrial life that its strength will drive our products into the markets of the world, then he is wrong, for that I will do. If he thinks I will not establish new markets for these products, strive with all my heart to retain them, drive our products with all my power into new markets, into old markets, into reluctant markets, he is wrong. For that I will do.

In order to complete the picture all he needed to have said further was: "Come,

unto me all ye that labour and are heavy laden and I will give you rest." In effect that is what he said and yet in the month of September, following the election, we had a special session of parliament at which the sum of S20,000,000 was voted for unemployment relief. Last year at the regular session of parliament the government received a blank cheque to spend whatever money they wished, and yet, after all this, unemployment in Canada has doubled in the last eighteen months. And then a few days ago we had the spectacle of a few hundred people who took the Prime Minister at his word in 1930 parading to these parliament buildings, the deliberative assembly of the people, and these same poor people who took the Prime Minister at his word in 1930 were met at the gates by men armed to the teeth. It was that kind of political enchantment that won the election for my right hon. friend in 1930. Never did fabled enchantress lure her unsuspecting victims with such effect as did my right hon. friend at that time. It was that kind of political effervescence which placed the primary producers of Canada, the agriculturists, the lumbermen, the fishermen, and the miners, in the hopeless position in which they find themselves to-day. I remember one cartoon which was put out by the Conservative party during the campaign. It showed a Canadian wheat field with Jack Canuck standing in the centre

and with the then Prime Minister, now the right hon. leader of the opposition (Mr. Mackenzie King) standing to one side. Jack Canuck was saying to him: "What are you

going to do with my wheat?"

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT AND FARM RELIEF
Subtopic:   CONTINUANCE ACT, 1932-CONSIDERATION OF RESOLUTION
Permalink
CON

William Earl Rowe

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. ROWE:

What did he do with it?

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT AND FARM RELIEF
Subtopic:   CONTINUANCE ACT, 1932-CONSIDERATION OF RESOLUTION
Permalink
LIB

George Washington McPhee

Liberal

Mr. McPHEE:

I will tell my hon. friend.

At that time wheat was selling at $1.10 per bushel. One year later it was selling at 69 cents, and to-day it is selling at 46 cents per bushel. How about the new markets? .How about the old markets and the reluctant markets?

I come to the matter of dairy products. Oh, the protective tariff so far as the dairymen of this country were concerned was going to be as a well of water to the thirsty soil. It was going to make the prairie provinces and the eastern townships of Quebec blossom as the vale of Sharon. I remember well that during the election campaign my opponent happened to be the manager of a creamery company, and he was supposed to know all about butter. If he had got into power with the right hon. gentleman he was going to smite the New Zealand treaty hip and thigh. So assiduously did the Conservative party carry on their propaganda against New Zealand butter and spread the doctrine of protection as a cure-all for the troubles of the dairymen, there were some even in my district who thought that the poor old female of the bovine species became influenced by it. I remember very well, Mr. Speaker, on the evening of the 28th of July, 1930, wending my way through the pleasing and pleasant countryside of the Yorkton district back to the city of Yorkton, there to learn the result of the battle of the ballots. I remember seeing many an old cow coming home a little earlier in the evening than usual to be milked, going by herself to the milking stool, lowing almost with tears in her eyes as she anticipated the increased reward for her labour when on the morning of the 29th of July, the buttermilk crew would be in charge of the ship of state of the Canadian nation. But oh, the great disillusionment, not only for the poor female of the bovine species but for the dairymen of Canada and for the business interests of this country. New Zealand retaliated with disastrous results so far as the industrialists of this country are concerned. No wonder that the farmers of Canada are now in dire need and require relief. It is because of the tariff juggling and manipulation of this government, and again I plead with my right hon. friend in all sincerity to get off the backs of the farmers of this country, and then prosperity will come to them.

1132 COMMONS

Unemployment Continuance Act

I must hurry on as my time is almost up. I have here a voucher sent to me by a farmer in my district who lives fifteen miles from the city of Yorkton. He killed four steers and brought their hides to market, one hundred and sixty-eight pounds of hides. The best price he could get for these hides was one and a half cents per pound, and he could not even get cash for that. Here is the voucher, and I place these facts in all sincerity before my hpn. friend the Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Weir). The credit side of the voucher shows 168 pounds of hides at li cents per pound, $2.52; the debit side shows one pair of rubbers, $1.00; overalls $1.25; tobacco, 25 cents; credit, 2 cents. And yet the Minister of Agriculutre states that mixed farming is the hope of the west.

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT AND FARM RELIEF
Subtopic:   CONTINUANCE ACT, 1932-CONSIDERATION OF RESOLUTION
Permalink
CON

Robert Weir (Minister of Agriculture)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. WEIR (Melfort):

Would my hon.

friend mind giving any authority at all for that statement?

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT AND FARM RELIEF
Subtopic:   CONTINUANCE ACT, 1932-CONSIDERATION OF RESOLUTION
Permalink
LIB

George Washington McPhee

Liberal

Mr. McPHEE:

Does my hon. friend deny that he made the statement?

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT AND FARM RELIEF
Subtopic:   CONTINUANCE ACT, 1932-CONSIDERATION OF RESOLUTION
Permalink
CON

Robert Weir (Minister of Agriculture)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. WEIR (Melfort):

I never made the

statement.

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT AND FARM RELIEF
Subtopic:   CONTINUANCE ACT, 1932-CONSIDERATION OF RESOLUTION
Permalink
LIB

George Washington McPhee

Liberal

Mr. McPHEE:

I wish to be fair. I find

this in the Winnipeg Tribune and also in the Ottawa Journal:

Toronto, February 1.-Mixed farming west's hope, claims Weir.

My hon. friend has a very efficient secretary, and if he has not brought this to the attention of the minister, I will pass the clipping over to him as I have not time to read it now, and then to-morrow he can deny it if he wishes.

Hon. gentlemen opposite now as ever claim that the present hard times have been brought about by influences other than those arising from the actions of this government, A few days ago I was going through Hansard to read the budget speeches of the various Ministers of Finance during the past fifteen or twenty years. Here is one striking passage from the benediction pronounced by Sir Henry Drayton, Minister of Finance in the government of the Right Hon. Arthur Meighen, and delivered after ten years of Conservative government in Canada under Sir Robert Borden and the Right Hon. Mr. Meighen. In the last budget speech delivered by a Conservative Minister of Finance previous to 1921, Sir Henry Drayton paints this picture in his peroration of May 9, 1921.

The world is sadly out of tune. May we help in restoring harmony. Trust and confidence are sadly lacking. Class interests are

rMr. McPhee J

advanced with selfish insistence. Unemployment is with us. Faith in our fellowmen is weakened. Doubt of the future is often voiced.

Those words, Mr. Speaker, are applicable to the present day. But listen. The next two lines are gems:

The sun still shines, the rivers still sparkle, our lands are as great and fruitful as ever- our resources just as vast.

Thank Heaven, Mr. Speaker, that the sun still shines and that the rivers still sparkle on their way to the sea. Thank Heaven that this government, and especially the right hon. gentleman who leads it, has nothing to do with the shining of the sun, because if he had, and he used the same mad-bull-in-a-china-shop methods with regard to things celestial as he does with respect to trade terrestrial there would be chaos in the firmament and darkness would be over the land.

My parting word, Mr. Speaker, as an elected representative in this house would be this: Let the government get off the backs

of the farmers of Canada; let them get away from the stifling of trade, and then this great country will take its place among the nations of the earth that God Almighty intended it should take, by virtue of the almost illimitable natural resources that have been placed at our disposal.

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT AND FARM RELIEF
Subtopic:   CONTINUANCE ACT, 1932-CONSIDERATION OF RESOLUTION
Permalink
CON

Onésime Gagnon

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. ONESIME GAGNON (Dorchester):

Mr. Speaker, I have listened with a great deal of interest to the speech made by the hon. member for Yorkton (Mr. McPhee), but I fail to see any connecting link between the legislation now before the house and butter or wheat. The hon. member has intimated that butter had something to do with our coming into power. That may be. I say however that the bread we are now giving to the poor through the legislation before the house will keep us in power.

I have listened with care to the speeches made by my hon. friends opposite, and I regret to say I have not been struck by their extreme moderation. This debate has lasted more than a week, and I am sorry to note that many hon. members have indulged in personal attacks against the leader of the government. May I, Mr. Speaker, pass in review some of the very pleasant compliments paid by hon. members opposite to the right hon. Prime Minister and his colleagues. The hon. member for Teimiscouata (Mr. Pouliot) has referred to monkeys, and the hon. member for Quebec East (Mr. Lapointe) and ten or eleven of his followers have referred to the regime of the French revolution and have called our leader a despot and an autocrat. Last but not least the hon. member for Mel-

Unemployment Continuance Act

ville (Mr. Motherwell) called us collie dogs. After listening to such convincing arguments I am sure you sir, will be struck by the soundness of the constitutional doctrines propounded by hon. members opposite. I would certainly be surprised if you, sir, were not moved by their logic and consistency expressed in such glowing terms of admiration.

Having listened to them I cannot but remember that the depression we are passing through has shaken the whole world. In all countries political parties are confronted with a similar situation but they take different views as to the different questions at issue. In Great Britain I understand a by-election is being held in the county of Dumbartonshire, and on Saturday morning last the papers reported that Premier MacDonald had sent a letter to his standard bearer in which he said:

Return to-day to partisan polities would shatter the foundations of confidence at home and abroad on which all the national services must rest.

These are the views of a real statesman. Everywhere in the overseas dominions, in Australia, in New Zealand political parties are trying to cooperate in order to achieve a return to prosperity and the end of unemployment. In the Free State of Ireland the elections are over and we hear with pleasure that Mr. Cosgrave is extending a friendly hand to Mr. De Valera. Should a foreigner visit Canada certainly he would be led to believe after reading the speeches of hon. members opposite, that an entirely different situation prevails here. He would be led to believe that here in Canada constitutional liberties are being crushed by the Conservative party; he would be led to believe that the people are oppressed, that the leaders of the opposition have been muzzled and representatives of the press imprisoned.

Why such violence of language, why such a display of literary indignation? Have the banks closed their doors? Has the Liberal party in Quebec repealed the famous Dillon bill and let the sixty election contestations be argued on their merits before the courts? Has the government refused to relieve the unemployed? Has the constitution been suspended? No, Mr. Speaker; no such unprecedented or unforeseen events have taken place. The government of the day, to comply with the numerous petitions they have received from all over Canada, has decided to give two months' further time to the municipalities and provinces to carry to completion their works of relief. That is the purport of the legislation this party is desirous to put through parliament; nothing else.

May I read the resolution?

Resolved that it is expedient to introduce a bill to amend chapter 58 of the statutes of Canada 1931, striking out the word "March" in section 8, and substituting the word "May" therefor.

That is all. That resolution is being moved to give bread to the needy and comfort them during the last days of winter. The other day the hon. members for Lake St. John (Mr. Duguay) and Champlain (Mr. Baribeau) told of petitions they had received from their constituents. I received a similar petition from the city of Levis, one from the city of Riviere du Loup in the constituency of my hon. friend from Temiscouata (Mr. Pouliot), and a telegram from Colonel Lavigueur, the mayor of Quebec, who was a distinguished member of this house, asking for an interview with the Prime Minister tomorrow morning to submit a similar petition with regard to the unemployed.

May I pass in review some events of the past with respect to unemployment? During the session of 1930 this parliament voted $20,000,000 for the relief of the unemployed. The critics on the opposition benches, in no mild terms, stated that that amount was not sufficient. During the session of 1931 hon. members opposite, especially the hon. members for Kenora-Rainy River (Mr. Heenan) and Winnipeg North Centre (Mr. Woodsworth) censured the government for doing nothing at all. Finally, realizing the situation was becoming worse and worse in Canada on account of the disastrous crop failures in Saskatchewan, and that conditions were tantamount to a national calamity, the government presented the bill from which came the Unemployment and Farm Relief Act of 1931 authorizing parliament to meet the emergency, and providing adequate measures to meet the lamentable situation the equal of which no parliament in the history of Canada had before to meet. Many hon. members to the extreme left of Mr. Speaker expressed their willingness to vote for the bill. It appears however that followers of the leader of the opposition had not yet emerged from the valley of humiliation and unfortunately for themselves expressed their willingness to vote against the measure.

But, Mr. Speaker, a by-election was to be held in the constituency of Three Rivers-St. Maurice, and general provincial elections were imminent in the province of Quebec. It was decided therefore by hon. gentlemen opposite to strike a great blow. Their legal advisers were hastily summoned, and after many hours of desperate juggling with constitutional precedents, they decided to resort

Unemployment

Continuance Act

to the old cry, "Let us save the constitution." The cry of conscription was stale, so they had to resort to the cry, "Let us save the constitution."

For days, Mr. Speaker, this government has been assaulted and, 'by the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre (Mr. Woodsworth) the Conservative leader has been compared with Lenin, while another eminent hon. member has compared him with Mussolini. Finally, however, at the last session of parliament, the Unemployment and Farm Relief Act of 1931 became law 'because it was necessary in the public interest as the only means to face the emergency. When it was adopted the election was in full swing in Three Rivers-St. Maurice, and the Liberal party decided to lead the attack on the government on that very question. The hon. member for Quebec East (Mr. Lapointe) and the hon. member for St. James (Mr. Rinfret) went there and denounced the so-called "blank cheque" legislation and the so-called "despotism" of our leader. A great battle was waged. In the course of his attack the hon. member for Quebec East referred to the French revolution, and gave to the electors of that constituency the first edition of the interesting speech he made in the house a few days ago. On a beautiful Sunday night at Shawinigan Falls he said:

Parliament committed suicide for six months. It does not count for anything. Bennett has established in this country a real dictatorship. He leads by force. He is a true dictator. If Nero at the time of the Roman empire kept the people in misery and gave them bread and circuses to amuse them, Bennett gives them bread but gives it through force.

I quote those words from page 7 of La Presse, the great Liberal daily paper of Montreal, of Monday, August 3. A few minutes afterwards the hon. member added, speaking of the government and of Conservatives:

They capitalize the sufferings of the people. The Tories are only the members of depression, the offspring of the crisis which is passing over the country.

These are samples of some of the mild expressions that were used by the hon. members opposite when attacking the government during the by-election at Three Rivers-St. Maurice. A very interesting speech was also made by the former Secretary of State, the hon. member for St. James. Explaining what was meant by the words "peace, order and good government" in the bill, he stated to the crowd that those words meant that Mr. Bennett wanted to impose that bill on parliament in order to revive conscription. He also stated that every attempt would be made by the government to curb the liberties of the

people. But the humble Conservative members of this house, guided by their ministers from Quebec, went into the constituency and ventured to explain to the people the real purpose of the legislation, that it was presented to the house in order to give bread to the poor and the needy during the depression. They also stated in their humble way that the government 'was doing its very best to redeem its pledges, and that the Prime Minister had resorted to the legislation reluctantly because he deemed it was the only way to face the emergency.

The hon. members of the opposition, Mr. Speaker, were much more violent in Three Rivers than they have been in this house, but nevertheless the constituency of Three Rivers-St. Maurice, which for more than thirty years had never elected a Conservative, chose for its worthy representative an eminent lawyer who at one time had been the baton-nier of the bar of this province, a true Conservative-my friend Mr. Charles Bourgeois. In that instance the province of Quebec gave parliament and this country unmistakable evidence of its good judgment and its political sagacity. It expressed its willingness to cooperate with the English-speaking people of the other provinces in order to solve the pressing problems which confront the government. The province also gave the Prime Minister testimony of its admiration and gratitude for the strenuous work he has been carrying on to save Canada from bankruptcy. The county of Three Rivers-St. Maurice expressed the real mind of Quebec, which hon. members-

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT AND FARM RELIEF
Subtopic:   CONTINUANCE ACT, 1932-CONSIDERATION OF RESOLUTION
Permalink
?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Oh, oh.

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT AND FARM RELIEF
Subtopic:   CONTINUANCE ACT, 1932-CONSIDERATION OF RESOLUTION
Permalink
CON

Onésime Gagnon

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. GAGNON:

-which hon. members

opposite do not seem able to understand. The province of Quebec has always been ready to respond to any expressions of good will, and bonne entente. The province of Quebec has been deaf to the cry of conscription and despotism. The people of Quebec do not believe in appeals to passion and prejudice. The county of Three Rivers-St. Maurice gave a vote of confidence to the Prime Minister which did certainly console him for the base accusations that were heaped upon him by many members of the opposite party, and especially by the former Secretary of State (Mr. Rinfret) when he stated that the Prime Minister in his capacity of (Minister of Finance proposed to amend the income tax in order to de-tax himself and his multimillionaire friends thereby increasing the burdens on the shoulders of the poor.

Since the Three Rivers-St. Maurice byelection the Conservative party has done its

Unemployment Continuance Act

best to redeem its pledges to relieve unemployment by cooperating with the municipalities and with the various provincial governments all over Canada. In this respect millions have been spent and the credit of Canada has not been shaken. Owing to the devotion of the Solicitor General (Mr. Dupre) more than $5,000,000 have been put at the disposal of the district of Quebec for the relief of unemployment. I may not be endowed with the great vision with which hon. members opposite have been favoured, but I fail to see in the legislation voted last July all the evils which characterize a usurpation of power. This legislation is of a remedial character. Its object is to carry out a scheme of unemployment relief in cooperation with the municipalities and the provinces. Relief moneys have not been spent in the fanciful way depicted by hon. members of the opposition; many people had to be consulted. According to the regulations adopted by the Department of Labour, all requests for public works had first to be submitted to the municipal authorities, who discussed the measures and adopted the resolutions which afterwards were sent to the provincial authorities. The provincial authorities on the other hand made an investigation through their inspectors and sent a list of questions to the municipal councils with respect to the number of unemployed and the nature of the public works necessary to relieve unemployment. In short, Mr. Speaker, all relief measures have been thoroughly discussed and submitted to the people-first to the municipal council, secondly to the provincial authorities, and when the provincial authorities had come to an agreement with the municipal authorities, the proposals were submitted to the federal government. In no case has the federal government ever refused to comply with the requests of the provincial governments.

Now that I have stated how the relief scheme is operated, can it be said that the government is acting arbitrarily, despotically and extravagantly in the measures which it has taken to relieve unemployment? As I said a moment ago, Mr. Speaker, the federal government has never refused to comply with the requests of the provincial authorities, which requests sometimes, especially in Quebec, were submitted with a view to prejudice the Conservative party. The other day the hon. member for Labelle (Mr. Bou-rassa) denounced in the most emphatic way the partisanship which was displayed by the Liberal party in the spending of relief money in his county. I may say that in the county of Dorchester, which I have the honour to

represent, the same situation existed. For instance, though a large number of municipalities and the county council of my county recommended to the provincial government the expenditure of $75,000 for the construction of a road, that recommendation was not approved because the provincial authorities did not want the credit to go to a certain extent to the Conservative member for Dorchester. But, while the provincial government thought it extravagant to build a good road for the use of the farmers, which would have provided work for about one thousand unemployed, that same government authorized the expenditure of $75,000 for the construction of a zoological garden near the city of Quebec. I am not opposed to the construction of this garden, *which will prove an asset to the province and to the county of Quebec-Mont-morency in which it is situated, but why should the provincial government refuse to spend $75,000 for a road which would give bread to the poor farmers while they consent to the diversion of 375,000 of relief money to provide a shelter for animals? I give that example, Mr. Speaker, not in a spirit of criticism but only to show that the federal authorities have never put obstacles in the way of provincial authorities. They have accepted even such schemes as the one to which I have referred, which may be considered rather a doubtful way to relieve unemployment.

Coming back to the constitutional issue raised by the hon. .member for Quebec East (Mr. Laipointe), I agree that legislation by order in council in ordinary circumstances ought to be resorted to only in cases of necessity, but the Prime Minister stated in this house that he assumed this power reluctantly and only because we were facing a national calamity, and he and his colleagues knew of no other way to deal with the situation. In the past the great Liberal party has resorted to that method. We all remember the election of December, 1921, when the issue of conscription was raised in Quebec. The ministers were sworn in some time in January, 1922, and early in February the hon. member for Quebec East, who was Minister of Marine, by order in council transferred the entire administration of fisheries in the province of Quebec to the government of the province without receiving the authority of parliament. Does my hon. friend think that, when one morning the Canadian government learned with great surprise that England was off the gold standard, the government should have waited fifteen days to call a special session of parliament to pass the necessary legislation? That would

1136 COMMONS

Unemployment Continuance Act

not have been a wise thing to do. The Prime Minister could deal with the situation instantly, because he was given the necessary powers during the last session of parliament. The hon. member might agree that in this instance we could cite the old axiom "Gouverner, c'est prevoir." The Prime Minister would not have been the statesman he is if he had not foreseen, when the bill was before the house last year, that the time might come when such power would be needed, and I am not surprised that our Liberal friends are dissatisfied because the government is doing so well in keeping Canada in safety.

Perhaps it would be refreshing for all of us to find in the speeches of hon. members opposite good reasons far holding to the stand we have taken. Speaking in Quebec, when the election in Three Rivars-St. Maurice was proceeding, the hon. member for Quebec East condemned the remedial legislation passed last year with regard to unemployment. He eloquently appealed to the passions of the masses, and among other things he said:

"What can be said about those who have just voted $15,000,000 to give a premium on wheat to the western farmers, when they do not give a cent to the Quebec farmers whose butter does not sell?"

The hon. member does not deny having made that statement; he repeated it in Three Rivers, and it went all over the province during the campaign. I have great admiration for the hon. member for Quebec East, and I must say that he is faithful to the doctrines he has often enunciated in the province of Quebec during elections, and he has been faithful to the tactics of his party and orators who are accustomed during election times to arouse province against province and race against race. The hon. member is too wise to repeat those words in this house or in western Canada.

There is no doubt, Mr. Speaker, that the farmers o>f Quebec are suffering, but they are not unmindful of the sad plight of the farmers of the west. We members from Quebec, however, are handicapped in our efforts to aid the farmers by such statements as those made by Mr. Taschereau at St. Raymond on June 15 last, when he said:

It is agreeable for me to be able to say to the people that we are able to help the province without compelling it to fall in debt. When Ottawa is found with a deficit ot $75,000,000, and facing a deficit of $105,000,000 for the current year; when Ontario and the other provinces of the west are bankrupt, tbe province of Quebec has a surplus of $5,000,000.

In 1930 Mr. Taschereau stated there was no unemployment in Quebec; in 1931, by the

TMr. Gagnon.]

w.ords I have just quoted, he implied that his province did not need any help from Ottawa. A few days ago, when the governments of all provinces were asking civil servants to accept reduced wages, the premier of Quebec said that the credit of the province of Quebec was still good, suggesting thereby that it was not necessary to practise economy. I say to the hon. member for Quebec East and his friends sitting opposite that we do not receive any cooperation whatever from the Quebec government. How can we tell the leaders of 'this government that the farmers of Quebec are ruined while- the premier of that province boasts of a surplus of $5,000,000? When the hon. member for Quebec East spoke in Quebec on August 7, Mr. Taschereau was present, and he cheered the remarks of my hon. friend. What logic! what consistency! The hon. member for Quebec East, during the course of his eloquent speech, said "Bennett does nothing for Quebec," while Mr. Taschereau says "We do not want any help from Ottawa." I ask you, Mr. Speaker, which of the two leaders voices the sentiments of the province of Quebec?

I have a great liking for the hon. member for Quebec East; but I would like to refer to another part of his famous speech delivered in the city of Quebec on August 7 last. Speaking of 'the remedial legislation of 1931, he denounced the so-called autocracy of our chief and the wickedness of our policy. In referring to the Unemployment and Farm Relief Act he said that the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre (Mr. Woodsworth) referred to it as being sovietism, the hon. member for Labelle (Mr. Bourassa) referred to it as being fascism, and he added "I call it Bennettism, which is a mixture of fascism and sovietism."

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT AND FARM RELIEF
Subtopic:   CONTINUANCE ACT, 1932-CONSIDERATION OF RESOLUTION
Permalink
?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Oh, oh.

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT AND FARM RELIEF
Subtopic:   CONTINUANCE ACT, 1932-CONSIDERATION OF RESOLUTION
Permalink
CON

Onésime Gagnon

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. GAGNON:

I am not surprised at hearing hon. members opposite cheer the words of their leader. Unfortunately some of them cheer too often when the word "sovietism" is mentioned in this house. I ask myself if the great Liberal party of Canada will not, as has the Liberal party in England, some day fall into sovietism and communism. Now, with all due respect to the hon. member for Quebec East, I contend that he was wrong when he tried to associate two contradictory terms such as sovietism and fascism. A study of what is going on in Germany, Japan, China and Russia will convince one that some day we may have to choose between sovietism and fascism. Speaking for myself and for my friends on this side of the house, I prefer Bennettism, because in these days of struggle

Unemployment Continuance Act

and strenuous efforts our chief symbolizes the aspirations of the younger generation of Canada.

The young men and women of Canada are fed lip with party politics as they have been played during the past eight days. More than fifty speeches have been delivered from the other side in order to prevent this government granting an additional sixty days to the municipalities and provinces to complete the works started to assist the unemployed. The young men and women of Canada are disgusted to hear hon. gentlemen apposite say, when we happen to laugh in this house for one reason or another, that we on this side are laughing at the sufferings of the people. They are amazed at seeing the leader of what was once a great party take thirty-one minutes of the time of this house to define the word "humbug" and eighteen minutes to define the word "demagogue". The young men and women are disgusted with such .practices; they want men, they want leaders, they want action, they want order, discipline and security and this party is the only instrument whereby they can get what they hope for. The name of the Prime Minister Bennett forever will be associated in history with order, discipline and security. It will always be associated with the slogan "Canada First". "Canada First" has been proclaimed in Westminster as well as in Quebec city, Toronto, Montreal and Winnipeg, and that will be the rallying cry of our party. The words "Canada First" embody all our social, economic and political aspirations. Because young men and women in Canada, love order, peace, discipline and security, they love Bennett, they follow him. And they follow Bennett because they love Canada.

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT AND FARM RELIEF
Subtopic:   CONTINUANCE ACT, 1932-CONSIDERATION OF RESOLUTION
Permalink
UFA

Edward Joseph Garland

United Farmers of Alberta

Mr. E. J. GARLAND (Bow River):

Mr. Speaker, I do not propose to follow the last speaker in the amiable attempt he made to bring harmony into party strife. In his condemnation of party politics I am afraid he overlooked the fact that in the delivery of his speech in which he sought to castigate the party system he himself was possibly one of the most guilty. I wholly agree with him that there is nothing so futile or stupid as an attempt to carry on the public business under a party system which has shown that it is more interested in inter-party strife than in the affairs of the country. The last orator- I think I am entitled to call him that, for I have seldom heard such a flow of words from the lips of any hon. gentleman; showed his talent in excellently-studied language- was describing Bennettism. If I were one of his race and a member of his party I think 41761-72

I should attempt to describe the present proposed legislation as an attempt to induce this House of Commons to give its "Bennettietion" to the laying of the corpse of constitutional liberty and of custom long established and approved. However, I do not think that language of that kind can be fittingly applied to this question.

There are several reasons why both sides of this house should not support the proposed introduction of the measure suggested. First, this resolution asks for greater powers than have ever been asked for in this House of Commons since the day it first exercised its functions as such. It asks for greater powers than were granted under the War Measures Act; it asks for greater powers than were granted under the war appropriations acts, in fact it asks for greater powers than were granted by all these acts combined. The second reason I have for objecting is that the procedure followed is utterly unnecessary. Parliament is sitting, as has been said time and time again; I simply repeat that in passing.

The Minister of Trade and Commerce (Mr. Stevens) defended the introduction and passage of this measure last year on the ground that we were about to prorogue and that an emergency faced both agriculture and labour. He stated that these matters could be dealt with in the intervening period only by the passage of legislation such as this. I disliked it and I disapproved of it last year; when I spoke on the question I pointed out that the introduction of the measure had been made necessary by neglect on the part of the administration to make the necessary plans and preparations to meet a crisis of which it had been forewarned during the earlier part of the session. We knew it was coming; it was inevitable and nothing could stop it. Yet the present government delayed taking action until the closing days of the session, when it placed this proposal before us and demanded that it be given the most amazing and extraordinary powers with regard to the voting of moneys and any other legislative action it might desire to take.

The third reason why I oppose this measure is that unquestionably it is an attempt on the part of the administration, supported by a supine majority, to take away from parliament the rights and duties which we have sworn to undertake. I am quite willing to admit at the outset that the unemployed man who is hungry and cold is not interested in constitutional questions. Heaven knows, there are many of these men. We have heard the protestations of hon. gentlemen opposite,

1138 COMMONS

Unemployment Continuance Act

we have heard of the statements of Mr. Taschereau, but nevertheless it is a fact that the misery which exists from coast to coast is heartrending. The farmer in the west who is facing the crisis of supplying himself with seed when he has no money, of financing repairs to machinery and the preparation of the land, is not interested in the constitutional aspect of this matter. But that does not relieve us as members, their representatives in the House of Commons, of the obligation of observing our sworn duty and it is not our part, whilst parliament is sitting, to relinquish into the hands of an executive the power that parliament alone should exercise.

The struggle for this very liberty that we have to-day is not of contemporary history. It stretches away back for hundreds of years. If a student looks the matter up he will find that it is 635 years ago when the right of parliament to grant moneys to the crown was first determined under statute 25 of the reign of Edward I in 1297. The language used in that Confirmatio ohartarum is:

No aids, tasks and prizes are to be taken except by the common consent of the realm and for the common profit.

Thenceforth the crown, asked parliament for the assent of the nation to its financial proposals. There were of course, one or two attempts on the part of the crown, as there is on the part of the present administration, to usurp that right and it was not really until 1407, or 525 years ago, that the definite principle that all money bills must originate in the commons, was first established. Then the powers of the commons slowly expanded under parliamentary practice and procedure, generation by generation, parliament by parliament, in spite of the stubborn, almost rigid opposition by Conservatives in those days, just as to-day. It was not until several centuries had elapsed that the practice of setting up committees of supply and committees of ways and means was established. The reason for the setting up of those committees was that they might determine first the amounts of money that parliament was to be called upon by the administration to vote, and, second, the destination of the amounts. Only by those two methods has parliament a certain control over the amounts and their destination. It is true that under Public Accounts, established about the same time, we can ascertain afterwards the character of the expenditure of the money. Let me put the matter in this way: Anson, in his Law and Custom of the Constitution, has clearly indicated that in recent generations the power of parliament is steadily being encroached upon by the cabinet, age

by age and parliament by parliament. At pages 133 to 135 of volume 2 he uses this language:

"The modern rules of procedure and the closure place both business and discussion in the hands of the cabinet." . . . Hence the' Commons have become dependent on the cabinet, rather than the other way round, and a threat by the cabinet to dissolve parliament may command the continued support of a working majority long after the Commons has ceased to really represent the political opinions of the country.

Now we come to this particular case. If you turn back the pages you will find that in volume one of this book he indicates the last five remaining measures of control that parliament has over the executive. The third of these, which is relevant to this discussion, is as follows:

The Commons exercises control over the executive as to spending departments, by committee of supply to vote money, by committee of ways and means to raise money.

Now the effect of this legislation will be to remove from us the power to consider in committee of supply the amounts to be voted, nor shall we be able to determine the destination of the vote. Last session it was indicated to the house-and many of us gullibly believed it-that this money was to be voted for farm relief and for unemployment relief. I was astonished when the Minister of Trade and Commerce (Mr. Stevens) spoke, that he did not, in discussing the orders in council, appear to be seized of the fact that the government did not live up to that understanding, but diverted sums of money to other purposes than either farm or unemployment relief. There is no question they had power to do that, but we had no understanding that that was their purpose, and if in the absence of understanding they were guilty of so much in one year, of what may they not be guilty if we renew that vast power to them? The Minister of Trade and Commerce mentioned the orders in council; he disposed of them with an airy, discursive statement in respect thereto, and asked the general question: Was it not all in the best interests of the country? Did anybody suffer by it? That is not the question. It is as to the powers to be exercised under legislation of this character. While parliament is sitting, parliament has no right-and I say this advisedly-in the face of its sworn obligation to do its duty in respect to certain matters, to delegate to an executive the power to legislate. The power to legislate as well as the power to vote money is inherent in parliament itself, and while it is sitting, it cannot, constitutionally, without doing violence

Unemployment Continuance Act

to the oath of office taken individually by its members, delegate such powers to the executive.

In respect to one of these orders in council, the last one mentioned by the Minister of Trade and Commerce, I wish to make some comments. I find that on the 16th December, 1931, the executive, the governor in council, passed an order in council diverting moneys to the establishing of an additional number of Royal Canadian Mounted Police. The Minister of Trade and Commerce said 200, but I think that must have been a slip on his part. He does not often make slips like that, but as a matter of fact the number was 300, or an increase of one-third. Then he argued that this order in council was made necessary by an agreement entered into by Alberta and another province in respect of policing. I challenge the hon. gentleman in that regard. This order in council was passed on the 16th December, 1931, and no agreement, even with Alberta, was entered into until the end of January, 1932.

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT AND FARM RELIEF
Subtopic:   CONTINUANCE ACT, 1932-CONSIDERATION OF RESOLUTION
Permalink
CON

Charles-Philippe Beaubien

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BEAUBIEN:

And no agreement with Manitoba was contemplated at that time.

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT AND FARM RELIEF
Subtopic:   CONTINUANCE ACT, 1932-CONSIDERATION OF RESOLUTION
Permalink
UFA

Edward Joseph Garland

United Farmers of Alberta

Mr. GARLAND (Bow River):

I am now informed that no agreement with Manitoba was even contemplated at that time. I say to the Minister of Trade and Commerce and to the house, that this order in council does not indicate in any way anything that would justify his allegation that it was for the policing of Alberta or any other province. The fact is, as he must know, that it was for the purpose of increasing the personnel of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police under the jurisdiction of this administration. The money diverted amounts to quite a sum, more than a quarter of a million dollars diverted to the addition of 300 men to the force and, amongst other things, to the purchase of bombs, riot equipment. Imagine money alleged to be voted for the purpose of unemployment and farm relief being diverted, as we now find, to the purchase of riot equipment, bombs, artillery, ammunition, additional horses, including $1,750 to pay twenty special agents! Another item is $20,000 of unemployment relief funds used for the general expenses of secret investigations by the police force. That may all be justified, but it certainly was not what parliament was led to believe last year. This type of legislation by order in council is unjustifiable, and it should always be submitted to parliament. Above all others, a type of legislation involving the peace, order and good government of Canada should be submitted to parliament itself.

41761-72i

I said a moment ago that this statute would give to the executive greater powers than had ever been given to any executive in the country before. I say it advisedly. I challenge hon. gentlemen to study the War Approprition Act where some $50,000,000 was voted, and the amount was stated definitely, for past appropriations made by governor generals' warrants for requirements prior to the sitting of parliament.

The next is the War Measures Act. It did not give the government of the day any right whatever to appropriate sums of iponey for war purposes, not one cent. Not even during the war crisis, the greatest with which this country was ever faced-not excepting the present one, although this closely parallels it so far as suffering is concerned-was the House of Commons asked to divest itself of constitutional customs. All the appropriations for the carrying on of the war were voted in the estimates annually and discussed by this house annually.

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT AND FARM RELIEF
Subtopic:   CONTINUANCE ACT, 1932-CONSIDERATION OF RESOLUTION
Permalink
LIB

Eugène Fiset

Liberal

Sir EUGENE FISET:

Under the name of war appropriations.

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT AND FARM RELIEF
Subtopic:   CONTINUANCE ACT, 1932-CONSIDERATION OF RESOLUTION
Permalink
UFA

Edward Joseph Garland

United Farmers of Alberta

Mr. GARLAND (Bow River):

Exactly, and the fullest discussion was afforded before the money was voted except in regard to the war appropriations bill, which was for commitments entered upon prior to the sitting of parliament.

When the Prime Minister spoke the other day he made a very good case. He spoke eloquently, as he always does, and signified that we ought to be proud of the fact that under the act of last session work had been provided to something over three hundred thousand men. They had been provided with six million hours of work. It sounded splendid. The Prime Minister said six million hours. Iam sure he must have been mistaken. He possibly meant six million days, but I take the statement as recorded in Hansard and as I heard him say it. Six million hours' work for three hundred thousand men gives them exactly twenty hours' work during the six months period of operation of the act that we were being asked to consider. At the rate of thirty cents per hour, which is the rate paid in part of my province, twenty hours' work gives them six dollars for six months' work. That is something that we ought to be very proud of! May I say right now that if I have any complaint in regard to the unemployment relief scheme it is certainly not on the ground of extravagance on the part of the government, but on the ground that the government has not taken the neces-

Unemployment Continuance Act

sary measures adequately to deal with unemployment throughout the various municipalities of this country.

The Prime Minister then went on to discuss the Saskatchewan farm relief emergency, and again pointed with pride to the fact that three hundred thousand persons had been fed plain but ample food-that is his own language; had been provided with fuel, and in addition to both those, with medical care. All three had been, he stated, adequately provided. I am prepared to accept his word as I would that of any hon. member of this house, but let us analyze that statement. It means, with a total cost of $5,250,000, which was the amount stated, the sum of $17 per person for a period of six months, or 72 cents per week per person. That is, adequate food, adequate fuel, and adequate medical care was provided at a cost of 72 cents per person per week. My benediction, Mr. Speaker, on efficiency of that kind, and if that can be done throughout the country there certainly will be no criticism from me in regard thereto. The point I wish to make in that regard is that I would like to have the matter further discussed. I would like to find out the exact measure of relief that was extended to those districts, and whether it really was adequate as the Prime Minister would persuade us to believe. I will say this, however, that whether it was adequate or inadequate, we in the province of Alberta feel that we have a distinct grievance in regard to this matter. There are districts in Alberta suffering as acutely as any of the acute drought-stricken districts in Saskatchewan. Reading the Prime Minister's statement and listening to him the other day I would gather that the province of Alberta, having made a careful survey of the situation, was satisfied that $140,000 was sufficient to take care of immediate requirements; that that is what they asked for. Is that correct? If the Prime Minister intended to say that that is all the province asked for and that it is satisfied with that amount, the statement is grossly misleading. The province is not satisfied with that. I have a telegram here from the Minister of Agriculture of the province of Alberta dated March 8, 1932, similar to telegrams which have been quoted by hon. members from other provinces:

Following wire to Minister Agriculture sets out our position relative seed grain.

Have been obliged make arrangements to assemble required amount seed grain for distribution dry area.

Haying regard burden now thrown upon municipalities and provincial government respectfully urge dominion should assume one-third freight rates and one-third loss to municipalities resulting from such distribution.

I understand that so far no satisfactory action has been taken by this government to meet the requests of the province in that regard. This is dire necessity in the province of Alberta. This need must be met. The government of the province of Alberta has asked this government to grant to certain areas in the province affected in exactly the same way as certain areas in the province of Saskatchewan just the same treatment as is being meted out to Saskatchewan, and we have been refused. This government has not indicated its willingness to treat certain areas in the province of Alberta, involving an area twelve or fourteen municipalities in extent-I am speaking from memory-in the same way that it has been treating like districts in the province of Saskatchewan. We do ask the government-I petition the Minister of Agriculture myself-that at the first opportunity he take this matter up.

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT AND FARM RELIEF
Subtopic:   CONTINUANCE ACT, 1932-CONSIDERATION OF RESOLUTION
Permalink
CON

Robert Weir (Minister of Agriculture)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. WEIR (Melfort):

I do not wish to

interrupt, but Alberta has been given exactly the same opportunity.

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT AND FARM RELIEF
Subtopic:   CONTINUANCE ACT, 1932-CONSIDERATION OF RESOLUTION
Permalink
UFA

Edward Joseph Garland

United Farmers of Alberta

Mr. GARLAND (Bow River):

My information is to the contrary. I had a meeting with the cabinet in Alberta in January last, and both the Premier and the Minister of Agriculture of the province asked me to see that the matter was brought to the attention of the minister. I spoke to him the other day about it, urging that exactly the same measure of relief, that is one hundred per cent federal liability, should be assumed by the federal government in respect of certain areas in Alberta which were in precisely the same position as certain drought-stricken areas in Saskatchewan. I ask the Minister of Agriculture, is his government prepared to take upon its shoulders the burdens of paying one hundred per cent relief in the areas I have mentioned in Alberta on the same basis on which it is giving relief now in Saskatchewan? I pause for a reply.

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT AND FARM RELIEF
Subtopic:   CONTINUANCE ACT, 1932-CONSIDERATION OF RESOLUTION
Permalink

March 15, 1932