November 21, 1932

CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

The question now before the house, Mr. Speaker, is a question of order.

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LAB

Abraham Albert Heaps

Labour

Mr. HEAPS:

I am dealing with the question of order. In 1930, I remember, a similar motion was made and was discussed, and there was no question as to the propriety of the motion, after the speech from the throne had been voted upon and an amendment somewhat similar to the one now before us had been discussed. On the motion to go into supply an amendment was moved dealing with unemployment. I will read the amendment to show the difference between the motion made two years ago and the motion now before the house. That motion read:

That all the words after "that" be struck out, and the following he substituted:

"in the opinion of this house the government should take immediate action to deal with the question of unemployment."

I was glad to observe on March 31, 1930, that the present Prime Minister voted for that amendment. I submit that if the interpretation which the right hon. gentleman now endeavours to put upon the rules of procedure is accepted it will narrow discussion to the point where private members will have practically no redress whatever.

The Minister of Justice has referred to the item in the estimates dealing with unemployment. May I read the item, which appears under administration of justice. There are the following headings: penitentiaries, legislation, agriculture, pensions, mail subsidies and steamship subventions, miscellaneous. Then:

Pensions and National Health-unemployment relief-further amount required, $975,000.

It is for unemployment relief only so far as pensioners are concerned, and when we are in committee on that item the Chairman may quite possibly confine the discussion to that one particular aspect of the unemployment situation. We have not yet reached that item in the estimates, but if the interpretation which the Minister of Justice puts upon the rule is sustained, when the general estimates come before the house it will be impossible to raise any question that is not strictly relevant to that particular item. I trust, Mr. Speaker, that on this occasion, as custodian of the rights of private members, you will come to our assistance and rule the amendment in order.

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LIB

Peter Heenan

Liberal

Hon. PETER HEENAN (Kenora-Rainy River):

I would remind the Minister of Justice that when a similar amendment was before the house in 1930 he took a view diametrically opposite to that which he has expressed to night, because I recall his words, wherein he stated that the government need not accept as a motion of want of confidence, the amendment then proposed. I just wish to remind him of that fact.

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CON

Hugh Guthrie (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. GUTHRIE:

It all depends on the motion.

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LIB

Joseph Philippe Baby Casgrain

Liberal

Mr. CASGRAIN:

Anything was good

enough to get into power in those days.

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CON

Pierre Édouard Blondin (Speaker of the Senate)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPEAKER:

As this is a very important question affecting the interpretation of the rules of the house, I will reserve my decision until three o'clock tomorrow. Only twenty minutes remain of this evening's session and I shall compare the amendment moved earlier in the session with the amendment now before the house before deciding upon the question.

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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

In the meantime, the discussion can proceed on the motion to go into ways and means. It is only the question of the amendment that I am directing attention to, but there is no reason why the discussion should not proceed for the next twenty minutes.

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CON

Pierre Édouard Blondin (Speaker of the Senate)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPEAKER:

There is no reason why

the debate on the motion to go into committee should not be continued regardless of whether or not the amendment is found to be in order.

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LAB

James Shaver Woodsworth

Labour

Mr. WOODSWORTH:

Under the circumstances, would your honour call it eleven o'clock?

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LIB

Ernest Lapointe

Liberal

Mr. LAPOINTE:

The Minister of Labour wanted to speak.

Unemployment-Mr. Woodsworth

Mr. WOODSWORTH; Have I a right to spgak? ; * - [DOT]

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?

An hon. MEMBER:

The minister has.the floor.

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LAB

James Shaver Woodsworth

Labour

Mr. WOODSWORTH:

Have I a right to

speak now?

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CON

Pierre Édouard Blondin (Speaker of the Senate)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPEAKER:

The hon. member is in

order in speaking.

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LAB

James Shaver Woodsworth

Labour

Mr. J. S. WOODSWORTH (Winnipeg North Centre):

- My colleague has discussed the extent to which unemployment has grown in this country. I do not think anyone can doubt the seriousness of the situation. . The census figures:as at'June 1, 1931, show 471,668 unemployed, but this figure may have included some who were unemployed through sickness. However, I submit that it does not include those who were working for themselves or those who never had. jobs. There must also be added the large numbers of young people who have not as yet been absorbed into industry. I submit that there is no prospect of improvement in the immediate future. The indices of business conditions are not favourable. It is true the Prime Minister as a professional optimist, along with Mr.-Hoover, another professional optimist, may. tell us that everything is on the mend, but that viewpoint is not borne out by a careful study of business indices. I think we are safe in assuming that there is no sign of relief upon the horizon; indeed the primary causes of unemployment would seem to be permanent. I should like to call the attention of the house to a very suggestive article which appears in the New Outlook of November, 1932. This is an article by Wayne W. Parrish and is entitled "What is Technocracy?" Since there are certain hon. members who do not read these articles upon the economic situation, I propose to read a few extracts. The first is:

. The ancient miller of Athens or Rome ground out in a day, between his two crude milling stones, a barrel to a barrel and a half of indifferent (lour. A modern flour mill in Minneapolis produces 30,000 barrels a day per man with a much shorter day and a much better flour. But for whom?

A shoemaker of ancient Rome took five and a half days to make a pair of shoes. The 7,200 shoemakers in the shoemakers' guild of Roman days would make only 7,200 pairs of shoes in five and a half days. The same number of employees in a modern shoe plant in five and a half days would produce 595,000 pairs of shoes. But for whom?

The brickmalcers for over five thousand years never attained . on the average more than 450 bricks a day per man,-a day being over ten 53719-90

hours. A modern straightline continuous brick plant will produce over 400,000 bricks a day per man. . . .

A photograph of a modern steel rolling mill in full operation will show a large plant without' a human being on the floor. . . . Machines were recently installed which produce 2,500 to 2,600 cigarettes a minute, compared with the previous maximum of 500 to 60.0 cigarettes a minute. . . . A still more fantastic illustration is in incandescent lamp manufacture, where one man is doing today in one hour as much as it took him 9,000 hours to do only so short a time past as 1914. It required only a force of thirty-seven men six weeks to build this high-speed machine.: ... In pig 'iron production one man working one hour can do what it took him 650 hours to, accomplish fifty years ago. In agriculture one man can do in one hour what it required 3,000 hours for him to accomplish in 1S40. A still more striking example is a Milwaukee plant with its daily output capacity of 10.000 automobile chassis frames and 34 miles of pipe line with a total of 208 men in the plant. . . . Technocracy tells us that with what is known now about the application of technology, the adult population of this nation would have to work only four hours a day for four days a week to supply us with all our material needs.

If the statement of these technicians is at all correct, it is manifest that our present way of dealing with unemployment is nonsensical and that we must find some fundamental solution of this problem. I quote again:

The steam engine was introduced, electric power came into being; and within one hundred years we have multiplied the original output rate of the first, or human, engine by 9,000,000, as expressed in. a modern energy transversion unit! But most significant of all is the astounding fact that most of this advance, or 8.766,000 of the 9,000,000 increase, has come within the last thirty years. Is it any wonder that our ancient political system is hopelessly incompetent to furnish the rigorous and exacting technical control necessary to save our highly powered industrial system from collapse?. . . It is after sober, scientific review of such facts that our engineers report that we are faced with the threat of national bankruptcy and perhaps general chaos within eighteen months. . . .We have been attempting to

operate the delicate controls of a high-powered energy civilization with methods that were crude enough in the ox-cart days when almost every home was self-sufficient and independent. . . . We are faced with the problem of having to desert a system that has become obsolete and at the same time of designing a system to take its place.

I submit that the present relief policy is wholly inadequate, resulting as it does in hardship and demoralization. Indeed, I do not know that it can be said that the government has a policy on relief matters. It had when it came into office, and I think that policy can be summed up in three sentences uttered by the Prime Minister, as appear in

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CON

Sidney Cecil Robinson

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. ROBINSON:

And food and clothing, don't forget that.

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LAB

James Shaver Woodsworth

Labour

Mr. WOODSWORTH:

Men to be given this without doing any work at all. They are to be fed and clothed for forty cents a day. I mean they are given forty cents a day.

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CON

Martin James Maloney

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MALONEY:

With board.

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LAB

James Shaver Woodsworth

Labour

Mr. WOODSWORTH:

No, without board.

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CON

Martin James Maloney

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MALONEY:

Terrible.

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LAB

James Shaver Woodsworth

Labour

Mr. WOODSWORTH:

The hon. gentleman is facetious. I wonder whether he knows what it means to try to live on forty cents a day. I hope he will return to his constituents and endeavour to tell them he expects them to live on forty cents a day when even members of parliament get considerably more than that, when high officials in this country get a great deal more, when great industrial magnates receive thousands of dollars a day.

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November 21, 1932