March 29, 1932

LIB

Pierre Auguste Martial Rhéaume

Liberal

Mr. RHEAUME (Translation):

I was

paired with the hon. member for Berthier-Maskinonge ('Mr. Barrette). Had I voted I would have voted against the motion.

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT AND FARM RELIEF
Subtopic:   CONTINUANCE ACT, 1932-MOTION FOR CLOSURE
Permalink
LIB

Eusèbe Roberge

Liberal

Mr. ROBERGE (Translation):

I was paired with the hon. member for Kingston (Mr. Ross). Had I voted I would have voted against the motion.

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT AND FARM RELIEF
Subtopic:   CONTINUANCE ACT, 1932-MOTION FOR CLOSURE
Permalink

UNEMPLOYMENT AND FARM RELIEF

CONTINUANCE ACT, 1932-CONSIDERATION OP RESOLUTION


The house resumed from Wednesday, March 23, consideration of the motion of the Prime Minister that Mr. Speaker do now leave the chair for the house to resolve itself into committee of the whole on the following proposed 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, arid on the proposed motion of Mr. Weir (Melfort): "That this question be now put."


LIB

Peter Heenan

Liberal

Hon. PETER HEENAN (Kenora-Rainy River):

Fortunately, Mr. Speaker, the carrying of the closure motion does not prevent us from drawing to the attention of the country that closure is being applied in this case for one reason and one reason only, and that is to permit the government of Canada to legislate by order in council, so that the government may do in the east block the things which they ought to do in this house of parliament. The government is asking for a blank cheque to spend the money as it pleases, and not in the interests of the unemployed. This is but one more evidence of the fact that the Conservative party and this government is again attempting to play petty politics with the unemployment situation in this country. They want to make it appear to the public that they are really sincere in their professions that they want to do something for the unemployed and that they are being blocked by the opposition, but, Mr. Speaker, the people have been too often deceived by such tactics on the part of the Conservative party to take any stock in such representations again. The people are aware that the leader of the Liberal party, even before this debate began, urged the government to bring down a supply bill to provide an adequate sum for unemployment and farm relief and assured the Prime Minister that if such a measure were brought down it would speedily pass the house. The people are also aware that that offer has since been repeated many times from this side of the house. Indeed, with the acquiescence of the Liberal party in this house I had the honour to make to the government as late as March 11 last, this offer, that if they would bring down a measure to appropriate a sum sufficient to take care of unemployment and farm relief in this country we would pass it within the hour. The government persists in telling the unemployed that they will receive nothing unless the parliament of Canada hands over its powers to the cabinet in council. They persist in telling them that distress will not be relieved unless by a measure coupled with provisions for peace, order and good government. Well, they have had some peace, and a little order, but we have seen no evidence of their good government.

The proposal now before us gives no assurance to the unemployed that one penny of the proposed expenditure will be spent on

1430 COMMONS

Unemployment Continuance Act

their behalf. It simply gives to the government the right to say whether or not they will do anything for tihe relief of the distressed. Why keep the unemployed in suspense?

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

Henry Herbert Stevens (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEVENS:

Hear, hear.

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

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Why, why?

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

Peter Heenan

Liberal

Mr. HEENAN:

Mr. Speaker, there is one very significant fact about hon. members opposite: They have no constructive suggestions to make, but-

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

Eccles James Gott

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. GOTT:

This ought to be good.

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

Peter Heenan

Liberal

Mr. HEENAN:

-but they are always making ignorant cat calls, heckling and using abusive language. Then when hon. members on this side of the house give them a little of it, Hansard will show that they cringe and whine and ask for the protection of the rules of the house.

Why keep the unemployed in suspense? Why not bring in a measure, now?

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

Richard Burpee Hanson

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. HANSON (York-Sunbury):

That is what we are asking.

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

Peter Heenan

Liberal

Mr. HEENAN:

Mr. Speaker, last year I had to threaten to keep order myself; I hope I shall not have to follow that course this year. Why not bring down a bill so that this government may do even some little thing, in an endeavour to redeem some of the pledges they made in the year 1930?

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

Eccles James Gott

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. GOTT:

What about the five cent piece?

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

Peter Heenan

Liberal

Mr. HEENAN:

Up to the present time this government has done little except to supplement the efforts of the provinces and the municipalities. Hon. members opposite have encouraged and induced provinces and municipalities to proceed with large expenditures on public works, and at the present time those smaller communities are unable to go farther. Those contracts were undertaken because encouragement had been given by this government, and they were told they would receive assistance. Indeed, on the one hand they did receive assistance to the extent of approximately $50,000,000, while on the other hand the provinces and municipalities were forced to commit themselves to the extent of over $100,000,000.

I repeat that if this measure were to become law to-day we have no assurance that the farmers and the unemployed would receive one cent. Such a measure would simply hand over to the government of Canada powers which they might use at their own discretion, and they would be in a position to decide

whether or not one dollar would be spent. If the government adheres to the principle it has already adopted, namely to supplement only what the provinces and municipalities do, I say, "God take care of the unemployed of this country," because many of the provinces and municipalities are to-day on the verge of bankruptcy. I fear the unemployed will be disappointed just as they were last spring, summer and fall. Why cannot the government bring in a supply bill providing an amount sufficient to attend to the needs of the unemployed? Parliament should be given an opportunity to vote a specific sum so that those in distress may have some assurance that they will receive substantial assistance.

Many excuses have been offered by members of the government as to why the present and no other procedure should be followed. The Minister of Trade and Commerce (Mr. Stevens) gives one excuse, the Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Weir) gives another, and the Prime Minister (Mr. Bennett) yet another. I submit any one of the excuses given by ministers of the crown is ample reason why this government should not be entrusted with the powers they seek. Government supporters, many of my hon. friends opposite, who are now laughing, know very well that this government is taking a wrong step. Knowing that, they have busied themselves in an effort to make people believe the opposition has been blocking the relief measure. My reply to that is that the people have been deceived too often by the tactics of the Conservative party to believe any such suggestion. They were deceived in 1930. In that year the Conservative party promised that if returned to power they would end unemployment. They were deceived when unemployment increased as it still continues to increase. The people were deceived when the Conservative party promised that the unemployment problem would be dealt with on a national basis. The deception was completed when this government would do nothing except supplement the efforts of provinces and municipalities. On the one hand the people thought that this government had assisted the provinces and municipalities to the extent of about $50,000,000. They found however on the other hand that they had been deceived because this government withheld public works, old age pensions, technical education and national highways contributions to the extent of over $60,000,000.

We are asked by this measure to hand to the governor in council the rights of parliament, to trust to the discretion of a government which has already attempted to make

Unemployment Continuance Act

a mockery of parliament. Hon. members are brought from every part of Canada and faced with a measure which deprives them of their rights. We are asked, in a period of distress, when people want work, to give up the powers which parliament possesses. We are asked to trust to a party which treats with scorn, disdain, abuse and heckling any constructive suggestion offered by hon. members on this side of the house. We are asked to trust a party which said in the year 1930, "We want no conferences; we want to give the people work. If we are elected to power we will give them work." Now, when all their policies have failed and they have brought bankruptcy on some provinces and municipalities, they cry out for a conference. We are asked to trust a government that on the floor of this house promised to insist on the payment of fair wages on all public works to which federal funds were contributed. Yet after parliament prorogued this government made agreements with the provinces providing for a maximum instead of a minimum wage and stood idly by while the government of Ontario reduced the rate of wages on such works in northern Ontario to thirty cents an hour, although in the constituency of the Minister of Labour (Mr. Gordon) the federal government paid forty cents an hour for the same kind of work. We are also asked to trust a government whose Minister of Railways (Mr. Manion) has admitted that he has reduced the wages of men working on our canals. But he did more than that; he established certain classifications and grades by which the wages of those men could be still further reduced, and when this retrograde step was brought to his attention he enunciated a principle that I have never heard before in this house- that the government proposes to pay not one cent more than private employers are paying for similar work. In other words, if private employers take advantage of the times to treat labour as a commodity and drive men into slavery-and many employers are doing this-then the government is prepared to follow suit. We are asked to trust a government the head of which promised that if elected he would make everyone in this country prosperous; but when all his policies failed he went to the city of Toronto and told the people there that it was only by the grace of God that we could be saved; and then he comes to this house after making that declaration and asks for a blank cheque in order to try to save the country himself. Yes, we are asked to trust a government that during the last election organized the unemployed, furnished them with white ribbons

to wear in their lapels, and sent them in to meetings to hiss and jeer at the then Prime Minister and his candidates, and to attend meetings of the Conservative candidates to cheer the great doctor that was to cure all their ills. But after the election when those same men marched to Ottawa to ask for work they were met at the gates of these grounds by an armed force. These same men who in 1930 were told that they were good honest citizens and simply wanted a chance to work, in 1932 are designated as communists and radicals and not to be trusted. How can anyone who has ever given a thought to labour affairs expect that a Conservative government will grapple successfully with any of the problems of the workers? They never have yet, and I do not expect they ever will solve the problems of our workingmen. It is only recently that this government has been converted to the idea of even suggesting any help for the workers. During the 1930 elections the Prime Minister told the people of Guelph: Never trust a convert to do anything that he has not been brought up to do, because he will always make a mess of it.

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

Eccles James Gott

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. GOTT:

We have heard that forty

times.

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

Peter Heenan

Liberal

Mr. HEENAN:

I will give it to you forty-one times.

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

Pierre Édouard Blondin (Speaker of the Senate)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPEAKER:

Order.

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

Peter Heenan

Liberal

Mr. HEENAN:

The Prime Minister enunciated the principle, "Never trust a convert." I say he is right in that principle, because the Conservative party has only recently been converted to try to do anything for the unemployed.

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

Eccles James Gott

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. GOTT:

You are a convert yourself; you were elected first as a Labour member.

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

March 29, 1932