March 3, 1933

LIB

Joseph Georges Bouchard

Liberal

Mr. BOUCHARD:

Will the right hon.

gentleman permit me a question?

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

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

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

Certainly.

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

Joseph Georges Bouchard

Liberal

Mr. BOUCHARD:

When the right hon. gentleman promised that he would cure unemployment, I suppose he had a scheme in his mind to cure it?

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

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

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

That question is one

which I am perfectly prepared to discuss at any time. World conditions were improving, rapidly improving. In fact we were back to prewar conditions in 1931 when Great

Relief Act, 1933-Mr. Bennett

Britain went off the gold standard. If the * hon. gentleman is, as I believe he should be, a student of the history of our time, he will know that is the fact. That being the fact he knows what world conditions have been since. He knows what has followed, he knows that the richest country in the world, the country to the south of us, is experiencing conditions such as were never heard of before, never in the history of man. He knows what public men have said the past few weeks. He saw what happened during the past week. I ask each member of this committee, as a fair-minded Canadian, to put to himself this question: take that Relief Act of 1931, take these subdivisions as they have been put to this house this afternoon by the leader of the opposition and ask himself if he knows of any committee that could have named the amount that would be required during the next twelve months to meet the conditions that have arisen in this country. That is the real issue, it was that we dealt with. It was that we dealt with in connection with insurance enterprises, the power under the section with respect to our financial institutions. And now we have at least the satisfaction of knowing that what we did then was to foresee a condition that enabled us at least to ride the storm up to the present moment. That is what we have done. We have done it with the legislation which we asked from this parliament, and which this parliament did give us in the plenitude of its power. They say part of this legislation was obtained by closure. Closure is a rule adopted by the house to enable governments to govern, and we used it to govern. What is more, under similar circumstances we would do it again to-morrow. When you find the Liberal newspapers in the country condemning the leader of the Liberal party for the obstruction that took place in parliament, when you find resolution after resolution being passed, great bodies meeting together regardless of political affiliations, saying to this parliament that it was time to do business and stop talking, you can understand why it was not necessary for us to do more than make a preliminary application of the rule to enable the legislation to be passed.

Now I ask this committee once more to get right down to the merits of this particular legislation. We reenact a statute of the past year, and it is subdivided into heads that have been given by the leader of the opposition, and looking out upon the world today with the dark horizon that we see, the heavy clouds that are there, will any man accept the responsibility of standing up in this house and saying that "X" money will

be sufficient to meet that position or the other? Will he? Will he risk it? That is the question. I leave that problem with each member of this committee to answer for himself. Study those words. They were not put there accidentally or loosely, they were put in there with the greatest care.

Then it is suggested that some private enterprises have received money from the government. One hon. member of this house is authority for the statement that she was told that money had been given to Mr. Wright's furniture factory at Stratford by this government. That is the story that is circulated in the back concessions. Every one knows how false that is. The orders in council have been laid upon the table of this house; if not they were published in the Gazette. That safeguard was established in last year's legislation. The Auditor General will not honour a single cheque that has not behind it the authority of an order in council, and these orders in council have either been published in the Gazette or laid upon the table of the house, so that every member could fully know and appreciate how every dollar has been spent. The two orders in council with respect to the Canadian Pacific Railway Company are known to everyone; the orders in council have been issued. They were passed to provide for wages paid to workmen, and the money did not go to the railway company. The great mass of receipts signed by the workmen themselves was lodged in this house; not one single dollar but went to the workmen from the Atlantic to the Pacific. In the first instance the order in council did not issue for many months after the money had been expended by the railway company because, had traffic conditions improved, it would not have been necessary for the company to have borrowed the money from the government. But the order in council is known to all, and the latter of the two orders in council is known also, because it is here. I repeat that every dollar provided was. spent for wages, and was not even used for the material that was used in connection with the work.

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

Charles Edward Bothwell

Liberal

Mr. BOTHWELL:

Who got the benefit

of the work?

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

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

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

Why, the men got the

benefit, the families throughout this country who were enabled to earn a living instead of having to go upon relief. It inured to the benefit of the railway company as well, and the company has promised to pay back the money if ever conditions improve to the extent of their being able to earn it. There

Relief Act, 1933-Mr. Bennett

is nothing to object to in connection with that company; the shareholders have $119 in cash invested in the company for every S100 outstanding. There has been no watering of the common stock of the Canadian Pacific Railway Company. As I say there is more than $119, I should say $120 at least, in cash in the enterprise for every $100 of stock certificates outstanding. That is the position, and they have said that before any dividend is paid on their investment this money that was loaned to them by the government of the day will be repaid. And let me repeat that this money was loaned for the purpose of providing work for 8,800 men from the Atlantic to the Pacific. Had conditions improved and had there been the increase in traffic that was anticipated there would have been no necessity for the loan. So if any hon. member of this committee will take the statute and be fair to himself and the citizens of this country and go over it item by item he cannot say to himself that he can fix, or any committee can fix, with any degree of certainty any sum of money that will be required to meet the demands that may be made.

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT AND FARM RELIEF
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION FOR ONE TEAR OF PROVISIONS OF RELIEF ACT, 1932
Permalink
IND

Alan Webster Neill

Independent

Mr. NEILL:

Would the right hon. Prime Minister permit a question for the sake of information? If the argument is sound that unlimited credit was necessary in the past why is it not necessary still? There may be a further crop failure this fall for all we know.

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

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

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

I was just coming to

that. I wonder if the hon. gentleman realizes that the $20,000,000 is applicable to direct relief only. The leader of the opposition did not follow the amendment that was moved; $20,000,000 is not the sum total that will be required; that amount is for direct relief only.

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

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

Exactly; that

is the point.

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

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

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

Why is that? It is because the minister who is in charge has been able, in the light of three years experience, to ascertain what should be the maximum amount that should be necessary for direct relief. That is my answer to the hon. member for Comox-Alberni, who apparently was of the opinion that this was a limitation upon the whole. It is not; it is for direct relief only. We know that no body of legislators in any part of the world can foresee or predict with certainty what conditions will be, so we have sought the renewal of this legislation in the terms in which it appears. Because of the facts as ascertained with respect to direct relief, however, the minister proposes a limita-

tion of $20,000,000 for the fiscal year from March 31 of this year to March 31 of 1934. -The reason he has given has been said by the right hon. leader of the opposition to be chaotic and difficult to understand, but I think-of course it may be that what I think will not appeal to others here-that if hon. gentlemen will take the trouble to read what has been said they w'ill agree that whatever criticisms may be fairly urged there has been an earnest and sincere attempt to see to it that the great catastrophe that has overtaken the Canadian people should be ameliorated as far as the federal government, within the ambit of its powers, may do so. This committee must remember that as recently as the conference- which we held this spring it was reiterated that the provinces would not permit us to discharge their functions.

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

Wilfred Hanbury

Liberal

Mr. HANBIJRY:

They would not permit

you to look after your own money.

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

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

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

We have looked after

our money to the extent of checking and rechecking the expenditures which have been made and the contributions we have granted, but that is all. The provinces will not permit the national government to undertake their functions. Some of them made that perfectly clear. Hon. gentlemen opposite talk about a national commission to deal with relief problems, but everyone who knows the elementary principles of our constitution knows that we cannot force the federal power upon the provincial authorities.

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

Wilfred Hanbury

Liberal

Mr. HANBURY:

But we can withhold

federal money.

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

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

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

We certainly can, but

does the hon. gentleman advocate that we should withhold assistance from those who require it? WThat we have done is this: We have loaned money to the provinces. To-day the right hon. leader of the opposition put a premium upon their not paying it back; he said they will not pay it back.

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

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

The minister

said so.

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

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

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

Did the minister say

that?

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

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

The other night the minister said that many of them would not pay it back.

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

Wilfred Hanbury

Liberal

Mr. HANBURY:

He said some had been

paid back and some he does not expect to be paid back.

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

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

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

We expect to be repaid, but not as the loans mature. Let me give an illustration, and just listen to this

Relief Act, 1933-Mr. Bennett

for a moment. In the province of Manitoba they had what they called a savings bank in which the people of tihat province had deposited some $12,000,000 in small savings accounts. When the cheques were being written to withdraw that money what did they have? They had the promises to pay, the I.O.U's of the province of Manitoba. The money was gone; in its place had been substituted I.O.U's of the province of Manitoba that could not be sold.

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

Charles-Philippe Beaubien

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BEAUBIEN:

Does that not apply to

all banks to a certain extent?

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT AND FARM RELIEF
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION FOR ONE TEAR OF PROVISIONS OF RELIEF ACT, 1932
Permalink

March 3, 1933