March 3, 1933

LIB

William Duff

Liberal

Mr. DUFF:

When was this?

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT AND FARM RELIEF
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION FOR ONE YEAR OF PROVISIONS OF RELIEF ACT, 1932
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LIB

John Vallance

Liberal

Mr. VALLANCE:

This was during the

1930 election campaign. I think the following is the choicest one of the lot. Speaking in Winnipeg, he said:

Listen you agriculturists from the west and all the other parts of Canada, you 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.

I quote merely that one. Will any member sitting behind the government or any member of the government rise in his place now and tell me of one instance where this administration has ever opened a new market, let alone blasted its way into one? Our exports show that it has not done so. It has even closed markets. The last night we wrere discussing this question, not under this minister, but under the Minister of Trade and Commerce, I drew to the attention of the government the fact, which they were very reluctant to admit, that we had been offered the sale to China of 50,000,000 bushels of wheat, which sale this government did not blast its way mto but blasted its way out of, and 'this at a time when Canada needs every possible market in order to get rid of the wheat surplus we are holding. As I have said, I hope before this measure goes through that the minister of immigration, mines, labour and deportation will tell us just the position the government finds itself in to-day with regard to the wheat situation.

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT AND FARM RELIEF
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION FOR ONE YEAR OF PROVISIONS OF RELIEF ACT, 1932
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LIB

William Richard Motherwell

Liberal

Mr. MOTHERWELL:

Friday afternoon is usually looked upon as the parliamentary quiet week-end; it is the day that is usually chosen to put through knotty bills, agricultural estimates, difficult resolutions and that sort of thing, but this afternoon has proved to be an exception to the rule in this respect. We had a violent volcanic eruption on the part of the Prime Minister and then a sudden departure; and we have not seen him since. I was going to make the suggestion to the minister who is leading the house-it may be the Minister of Railways at this moment- that as it can be seen by the temper of this committee we are not going to get anything through to-night, they might as well take up something that we might agree on>

and thus save time. If, however, that is not considered advisable, I shall proceed.

What was the cause of the gaseous eruption we had this afternoon on the part of the Prime Minister? The Minister of Immigration and some other portfolies, in explaining this resolution, said that an amendment was to be made to the bill based on the resolution when the bill came before the house, and it was a very important amendment inasmuch as it meant reverting to the good old practice of responsible government and supervision of all expenditures by parliament. This is something that has been fought for by the Liberal party for nearly a hundred years and won, and for the first time departed from by this government. Does anybody think our right hon. leader, who has been noted ever since this government came into power for fighting first for the retention of that right and afterwards for the restoration of it, could, when he sees it restored, ignore the change? He could not lightly pass that up. Nobody would expect anyone in the position that my right hon. leader occupies would have let that pass without some comment. What was the comment? I have not read Hansard since, though I might have done so, but I recall quite well that no offensive language was used in making the criticism, nor was the tone offensive. In fact, the observation was particularly mild when one considers that after three years my right hon. leader has attained his objective with respect to this important matter. Yet the Prime Minister did not seem to take it in that way. I did not dream of such an eruption and explosion as a result of the fair comment of my leader. Well, it came, I suppose all of us have bad days and this may have been one of the Prime Minister's. He apparently got up on the wrong side of the bed. Those of us who have been in cabinets and know how tired* we sometimes are

Relief Act, 1933

towards the end of the week realize the situation. But I would ask his colleagues that when he gets into that frame of mind that he cannot control himself, they keep him out of the house altogether for a little while till recovery ensues. Let him not run amok for half an hour, pawing up the ground and throwing things around, and then take to the curtains-a curtain decorator. That is not fair either to the rest of us or to himself. We take no pleasure in discussing this matter in his absence. We would rather defer this resolution, and if the minister will say that he will do so, I shall stop talking about it right now. He can bring on supply. We can deal with the grain act, as the Board of Grain Commissioners are here, I understand; and there are a number of other items that we might discuss to better advantage than this resolution.

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT AND FARM RELIEF
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION FOR ONE YEAR OF PROVISIONS OF RELIEF ACT, 1932
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CON

Robert James Manion (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MANION:

Go on. We always like to hear the hon. member.

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT AND FARM RELIEF
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION FOR ONE YEAR OF PROVISIONS OF RELIEF ACT, 1932
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LIB

William Richard Motherwell

Liberal

Mr. MOTHERWELL:

If the government dio not choose to do that, we can continue to discuss the resolution even in the Prime Minister's absence.

As I indicated at the outset, there was no occasion for the violent language indulged in by the Prime Minister, and if the ministry want to get the session over in reasonable time, that is not the way to proceed. There is an impression abroad that as soon as our money plays out, the opposition is going to play out. That is not the case. The money may play out on the third of April, but we shall play on, especially if we get a few more scenes like this afternoon. Let hon. members make no mistake about that. An important railway bill is coming before the house on Monday and I would rather have been in a quiet frame of mind for it; but I feel we on this side have had just cause for indignation, and in the absence of the Prime Minister we are precluded from going into the matter in the way we should.

I want to commend the minister now, and I hope I can do it without any further irruptions from the treasury benches, for having reverted to the policy of having at least part of the expenditures under this bill discussed in this house. We are not possibly taking the best advantage of the opportunity at the beginning, but that is not our fault. I certainly was one of those who thought that this $20,000,000 was the entire amount that was going to be spent under this bill, but instead I find that that is only the amount for direct relief. Will the minister tell us how he arrives at that $20,000,000?

In extenuation of or excuse for the arbitrary blank cheque method of administering public moneys which this government has been practising for the last two years, the Prime Minister this afternoon made a lot of the fact that no individual could estimate the requirements of the country and specify any definite amount that would be required for relief. But you can say that of any vote in the estimates. As my right hon. leader has pointed out times without number, the Prime Minister might mention any amount he liked and my leader would let it go, and if the amount designated were not enough, the usual practice of resorting to governor general's warrants would meet any further situation that might arise. So there was no justification for departing from the regular practice of the supervision of all government expenditures by this parliament, instead of playing the dictator, mighty unsuccessfully too in this respect, until now the proper pra.ctioe is about to be resorted to.

What is the trouble then, with the Prime Minister? I know it is hard to climb down. Don't we remember in this house the night the special income tax bill was climbed down from and the booby talk that was indulged in by the Prime Minister? The coon came down, however. We do not know or care whether it was head first or tail first, but he came down, and he has had to come down many times since, and will have to many times more, and the sooner the Prime Minister learns how to back away from his many blunders the better it will be for this country. He had not the grace to climb down properly and gracefully this afternoon, but instead he blew off like an extinct volcano come to life again. He has been an extinct volcano for the last month. I thought his colleagues were bringing him up, like Maggie was bringing up Jiggs, making him behave better. But even if Maggie were successful for a while Jiggs still blows off now and again as he did this afternoon. We do not want any more of that, Mr. Chairman. We do not mind it once. We do not mind having some consideration for the Prime Minister and his colleagues in their troubles in trying to bring him up, while he is trying to bring them up. Has there been one thing that they have put their hand to that they have not made a botch of in the last two years? I do not know one. They could not come down on this policy of parliamentary control of money without making a mess of it also. If the Minister of Labour had been left to himself I think he would have acted all right. He is a ponderous gentleman but

Relief Act, 1933

I think he is a pretty good scout taken on the whole. I do not know how he came to speak of the amendment on the resolution, but since he spoke about it I presume I am also in order, Mr. Chairman, although I think he should have waited till the bill came down.

Anyway, the government has made many blunders, and the Prime Minister has not yet learned how to back down in spite of all his experience in that respect. He will have to learn soon because the way is thorny and strewn with many back-ups, and I am sure that the government will have to get a fresh pair of breeching straps on because the other ones are all worn out by this time with backing up and backing up from the sight of themselves and their evil works. Our good friend the Minister of Labour, with his more phlegmatic character, and not so much like a spirited racehorse, does not mind it so much. But they have got to do it just the same.

There are one or two other matters to which I wish to refer. The Prime Minister was continually complaining that there was no way of estimating the nature of the crop or the nature of the climate next year. Then how was this $20,000,000 estimated? There is direct relief still being given in southern Saskatchewan over a considerable area where there is no more prospect of a crop this year than there has been for the last two years, so far as the condition of the soil is concerned. The summer and fall there were exceptionally dry, the winter has been dry; there has been no snow or very little. The cars are running from Weyburn to Moose Jaw yet. The result is that the prospects in that area were never worse, and my hon. friends opposite have made an estimate under the worst possible conditions of what is likely to be required in other parts of Canada during the coming summer. If they can do that now, why not at other times? Has there been some new knowledge of meteorological conditions whereby you can forecast the rainfall for next summer? I never heard of any such new information, but if the minister has any, I wish he would tell us upon what he bases this estimate for the coming summer. If he cannot tell us, then all this fumadiddle nonsense the Prime Minister was indulging in, because that is what it was, goes by the board.

One of the statements which the Prime Minister made when he was trying to get himself out of a dilemma, although he succeeded only in getting deeper into the mire, was that the present government in Saskatchewan had inherited a legacy of a great debt from the previous government. That has not

very much to do with this debate, but since the Prime Minister indulged in gross misrepresentation regarding the debt of Saskatchewan, I may say that in the last three years, sinoe the Tory government came into power there, the debt of Saskatchewan has doubled. It was $60,000,000, in round figures, when they came in, and now it is twice that amount and more. So I would suggest to the Prime Minister that when he is speaking of Saskatchewan matters he regard the facts a little more closely. Let him go to his chief organizer, C. B. Daniel, in southern Saskatchewan, and he would get better information even from that partisan source.

I am going to deal for a little with the Saskatchewan relief commission. The hon. member for Willow Bunch has indicated to whom the relief notes were payable-to the Dominion government. The relief commission acted merely as an intermediary agent for collecting the notes. He also indicated that in the south everybody had to sign in advance a promissory note for the least little thing that would go around one's little finger before one could get anything. Contrast the violent difference between those who got relief in the south, all returnable to the government, and those who got the five-cent bonus in the north. In the northern part of the three prairie provinces, they got over $11,000,000 as a gift, and none of it was returnable. Why, you could not find fifteen children just out of high school who would make a worse muddle of administering that relief relatively between the northern and southern parts of Saskatchewan, Alberta and Manitoba. Go to any bunch of school children and their infantile minds could devise something better than hon. gentlemen opposite did on that occasion, and that has been about the size and measurement of this government on most questions.

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT AND FARM RELIEF
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION FOR ONE YEAR OF PROVISIONS OF RELIEF ACT, 1932
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CON

George Gordon

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. GORDON:

The hon. member for Last Mountain does not agree with you.

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT AND FARM RELIEF
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION FOR ONE YEAR OF PROVISIONS OF RELIEF ACT, 1932
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LIB

William Richard Motherwell

Liberal

Mr. MOTHERWELL:

They all agree

with me.

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT AND FARM RELIEF
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION FOR ONE YEAR OF PROVISIONS OF RELIEF ACT, 1932
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CON

George Gordon

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. GORDON:

The hon. member for Last Mountain does not.

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT AND FARM RELIEF
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION FOR ONE YEAR OF PROVISIONS OF RELIEF ACT, 1932
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LIB

William Richard Motherwell

Liberal

Mr. MOTHERWELL:

Of course, he agrees with me. Every sensible man agrees with me except this ministry. There is not a man from the west, no matter on which side of the house he sits, who does not consider it the standing disgrace of this government the way that relief was handled in the west, because the bigger the crop a man had the more relief he got in the way of a bonus, and the less crop a man had the less the government

Relief Act, 1933

gave him. If he had no crop at all, he got nothing except what he had to sign up for and pay for, giving promissory notes in advance or a seed grain lien on the resulting crop. Rather than go out of their way to talk about this most unjust relief distribution the government should go and buiy themselves politically for the rest of their natural lives, get out of sight of their fellow men, for the disgraceful manner in which they handled that important problem.

Now I think I will give my hon. friend the minister an opportunity to speak if he will. We might get along if he would show us how he arrives at that 820,000,000 as the amount for direct relief when he has no more opportunity to-day of forecasting the requirements than he had formerly, so far as crop prospects are concerned. He has the experience of the former two years, that is admitted, but he knows nothing about rainfall next summer, and that has everything to do with the question of relief or no relief after the crop is harvested. I shall be very pleased to hear what he can say to clear that up, then we may make some progress. I think my hon. friends on the treasury benches will agree that for the last month or so those on this side of the house have been making every endeavour to facilitate the work of the session-

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT AND FARM RELIEF
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION FOR ONE YEAR OF PROVISIONS OF RELIEF ACT, 1932
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LIB

James Houston Spence

Liberal

Mr. SPENCE:

To block everything, you

mean.

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT AND FARM RELIEF
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION FOR ONE YEAR OF PROVISIONS OF RELIEF ACT, 1932
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LIB

William Richard Motherwell

Liberal

Mr. MOTHERWELL:

I have only to

point to two weeks ago to-night when, for the first time in my experience at any rate, two thirds of the estimates of the Department of Agriculture were passed in a little more than two hours. We gave them fair discussion; we did not neglect our duty, but we did our best to facilitate the work of the session. We have been doing that all along. I have been here for ten days at a time without opening my mouth. We cannot, therefore, be charged with holding up the work. But when we have such an exhibition of anger and venom as we had this afternoon, nothing like this can go through until we have some reasons given why they have changed their policy, or until the Prime Minister comes here and faces it out. That is the position I take. We should not be expected to go ahead with this vote in his absence. If he knows he is going to be absent-I can understand his being unavoidably absent; that is the misfortune of every leader; but if he knows he is going to be absent he should not give us such a fishwife tongue-thrashing immediately before he retires. I thought I had some of the grace

of patience and endurance left, but I cannot stand that in silence and I am not going to, and that is all there is to it.

That is all I am going to say just now. I hope the minister can explain his change in policy or acknowledge the com at once. If he does, I think we shall get along with the resolution, otherwise we cannot and will not.

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT AND FARM RELIEF
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION FOR ONE YEAR OF PROVISIONS OF RELIEF ACT, 1932
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LIB

Charles Edward Bothwell

Liberal

Mr. BOTHWELL:

I am going to take

the time of the committee for only a few minutes. I would not have risen at all had it not been for the statement of the Minister of Labour to-night that he does not supervise expenditures made by the provinces, but endeavours to give the provinces a free hand in matters of relief. That is the way I understood the minister to express himself. This afternoon the Prime Minister said the situation in the province of Saskatchewan, and the reasons that so much money had to be advanced to that province, was due to the debts incurred Iby the previous Liberal government. The last speaker has referred to that, and I wish to put on Hansard the figures in connection with the situation in Saskatchewan. It is about time the Minister of Labour did see how relief moneys are being expended there.

At the time the Liberal government went out of power in Saskatchewan after being in office for twenty-four years, they left a debt of some 882,000,000. Out of that public debt they had about $10,000,000 invested in farm loans; they had about $10,000,000 in their provincial telephone system, leaving a balance of some $42,000,000 for which they had built the parliament buildings, ten or fifteen court houses, three normal schools, two tubercular sanatoria, two mental asylums, and roads and bridges. That $62,693,011.44 of debt has been increased from April 30, 1929, to December 31, 1932, to $137,819,430.97. If the province of Saskatchewan has piled up a debt such as that in some forty months, and this government, as anounced by the Prime Minister to-day, has paid most of the relief in Saskatchewan-we do know that they paid all the direct relief in the dried out area-then we would like to know as representatives of the province of Saskatchewan where the rest of the money has gone, and what it has been used for. If Conservative governments are so wonderful, as intimated by the Prime Minister, how is it that every year since they came into office in that province they have had deficits, varying from $518,177 to $5,820,289? I feel that it is time this government took steps to see how relief is being distributed in Saskatchewan, and to look

Relief Act, 1933

after the money that they are responsible for.

I want to correct one other statement made to-night by the hon. member for East Lamb-ton (Mr. Sproule), who-said that prices of all farm products are higher in Canada than in the United States. I have quotations of March 1, from Chicago and Toronto. On that date, prices in Chicago, as quoted in the Chicago Tribune, on prime steers weighing from 1,000 to 1,500 pounds, were 6 cents to 7i cents. Making allowance for exchange the Canadian price there would be from 7 to 8-t cents. In Toronto on the same date, according to quotations in the Mail and Empire, prime steers of 1,050 pounds were worth from 3-5 to 3-6 cents.

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT AND FARM RELIEF
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION FOR ONE YEAR OF PROVISIONS OF RELIEF ACT, 1932
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CON

John Thomas Sproule

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPROULE:

If the hon. gentleman

would be fair he would not take the lowest price on one market and compare with the highest price on the other.

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT AND FARM RELIEF
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION FOR ONE YEAR OF PROVISIONS OF RELIEF ACT, 1932
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LIB

Charles Edward Bothwell

Liberal

Mr. BOTHWELL:

I took the papers and gave the quotations for the latest available date. I just wished in rising to mention those two matters, in order to correct the statement made by the hon. member for East Lambton, and to draw the attention of the Minister of Labour to the fact that it is time someone was looking after relief expenditures in Saskatchewan.

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT AND FARM RELIEF
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION FOR ONE YEAR OF PROVISIONS OF RELIEF ACT, 1932
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LIB

Charles Benjamin Howard

Liberal

Mr. HOWARD:

I would like to ask the

hon. minister a few questions before making the few remarks I have to make.

I understand that the advances made to the Canadian Pacific Railway under the first order in council amounted to $1,447,222.71. Can the minister tell me what the second advance is up to date?

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT AND FARM RELIEF
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION FOR ONE YEAR OF PROVISIONS OF RELIEF ACT, 1932
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CON

George Gordon

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. GORDON:

The second loan to the

Canadian Pacific Railway Company was $1,000,000. I do not believe that money has yet been paid. As the order in council says -it is tabled-the money was to be devoted to payment of wages for shopmen in the various shops of the company, and to that alone, I believe. The exact amount that has been earned up to date I have not in detail, and I believe that no money has yet been paid upon the last million.

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT AND FARM RELIEF
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION FOR ONE YEAR OF PROVISIONS OF RELIEF ACT, 1932
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LIB

Charles Benjamin Howard

Liberal

Mr. HOWARD:

Then this means that on the first loan the Canadian Pacific Railway is not to pay any interest, and that the money is not to be repaid until the company earns dividends in excess of 5 per cent on its common stock. 'Conditions were changed in the second order in council, however. This after-

noon the Prime Minister and the Minister of Labour said that these loans were made to assist the men employed in the different shops from coast to coast. Some time ago I directed a question to the Prime Minister on the orders of the day, to which I received a very evasive answer. Now I wish to press the question, though possibly I would not have done so if I had been given a proper answer previously. In the city of Sherbrooke there is a shop belonging to that branch of the Canadian Pacific Railway known as the Quebec Central. During the last three years the number of employees in this shop has been gradually decreasing; finally they closed the shop, boarded up the windows and dropped their last 125 men on the streets in addition to the other unemployed in Sherbrooke. A great many of those men were heads of families, and some twenty-five of them now are on direct relief. If the government of Canada, administering the property of the people and the money of the taxpayers, can hand over to a private corporation some $2,500,000 of public money, I ask for an equal distribution. At least that money should be spent pro rata as between the different shops from coast to coast; I think that is only a just and reasonable demand.

There is some further information which I should like, and I ask this question because of a question and answer which appear at page 1095 of Hansard. The leader of the opposition directed the following question to the Prime Minister:

Am I right in understanding that this guarantee is given under the Unemployment Relief Act?

The Prime Minister's answer was:

I believe the correct name is the Unemployment and Farm Relief Act.

So I am going to ask the Minister of Labour to tell this committee the extent to which the government of Canada has guaranteed to support the wheat market or the Canadian Cooperative Wheat Producers, Limited, in the marketing of the wheat crop of western Canada.

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT AND FARM RELIEF
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION FOR ONE YEAR OF PROVISIONS OF RELIEF ACT, 1932
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CON

George Gordon

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. GORDON:

With reference to the first part of the observations of the hon. member for Sherbrooke I may say that the management of the Canadian Pacific Railway and the employees saw the government on a number of occasions with regard to the closing down of what are known as the main shops. The first order in council passed with respect to loans provided for the sum of. $1,447,222.71, and it affected 8,455 employees.

Relief Act, 1933

The shops concerned were Angus, Carleton Place, McAdam Junction, West Toronto, North Bay, Winnipeg, Ogden and Vancouver. All the money was paid in wages, as follows:

Angus

$813,989 64Oarleton Place

11,103 58McAdam Junction

22,461 25West Toronto

58,924 93North Bay

27,326 92Winnipeg

319,175 98Ogden

156,041 18Vancouver

38,199 23

That order in council was passed under the provisions of the Unemployment and Farm Relief Act, 1931. The next order in council that was passed in order to keep these men at work was dated December 22, 1932, and provided for an advance not to exceed $1,000,000, to be devoted to the payment of wages to employees in the shops. The loan is to be paid back to the government before any further dividends on the common stock of the Canadian Pacific railway are declared and paid. The work has been done but the money was not to be advanced until the spring.

With regard to the other question asked by the hon. member, it is unfortunate that the Prime Minister is not in his seat just now. He is engaged with a committee of western farmers, discussing with them some of their problems. If the debate cannot go on without the answer desired by my hon. friend from Sherbrooke I will move that the committee rise, but if the answer can be delayed until the prime minister is able to be present I see no reason why the debate should not proceed.

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT AND FARM RELIEF
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION FOR ONE YEAR OF PROVISIONS OF RELIEF ACT, 1932
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LIB

Charles Benjamin Howard

Liberal

Mr. HOWARD:

I will let the question

stand, so long as the debate is to continue. But let me bring up this further point. Does the minister consider that the men in Montreal, in Calgary or in Vancouver are more important or stand in any different position from that of the men working in the shops in the city of Sherbrooke?

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT AND FARM RELIEF
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION FOR ONE YEAR OF PROVISIONS OF RELIEF ACT, 1932
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CON

George Gordon

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. GORDON:

I would not care to express an opinion one way or the other. The Canadian Pacific Railway and their employees made representations to the government, and I take it that the Canadian Pacific Railway and its employees probably knew better than anyone else could know where they could keep the men on and do the work that required to be done to the best advantage and for the benefit of the greatest number. I do not think the hon. member himself would suggest that the government should inject itself into the management of the Canadian Pacific Railway. I think we have had quite enough experience in the management of railways in the past.

53719-172i

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT AND FARM RELIEF
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION FOR ONE YEAR OF PROVISIONS OF RELIEF ACT, 1932
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March 3, 1933