February 7, 1934


Total 1,129,046 Mr- VAlLLANCE: _______ For a return in tabulated form showing the _ . amounts expended monthly for material and 2 to 5. The information is not available. supplies tor unemployment relief in Prince Albert national park, from the inception of the QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR ^ t in tabulated form showing the RETURNS amount expended per month on unemployment relief in Prince Albert national park, together BUTTER IMPORTS with the number of men employed during each ,, month, from the inception of the camps to


LIB

John Knox Blair

Liberal

Mr. BLAIR:

date.

1. What were the quantities of butter For a copy of pay lists showing the moneys exported to Canada during years 1930, 1931, expended in wages or salaries to foremen, 1932 and 1933, by: (a) New Zealand; (b) superintendents, inspectors and subforemen, in

Australia? connection with unemployment relief in Prince

2. What were the prices of the butter each Albert national park. Such lists to indicate

month during the above-mentioned years at the amounts paid monthly from the time the camps Canadian ports of entry? were established in the said park to date.

Motions for Papers

For a copy of order in council, if any, dealing with unemployment relief of permanent park residents in .Prince Albert national park.

For a copy of order in council F.G. 2358,

1932, and P.0. 52, 1933, and any other orders in council, in connection with unemployment relief of single homeless men in Prince Albert national park.

Topic:   MOTIONS FOR PAPERS
Subtopic:   UNEMPLOYMENT RELIEF, PRINCE ALBERT NATIONAL PARK
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PENSIONS OF DEPENDENTS

LIB

Mr. RALSTON:

Liberal

1. A statement giving the following particulars respecting reviews made during 1933 of dependents' pensions, separating the information as respects reviews made, from January 1,

1933, to September 30, 1933, and from October 1, 1933, to December 31, 1933, showing: (a) the number of files reviewed; (b) at whose instance reviewed, i.e., board of Pension Commissioners or Canadian Pensions Commission, Auditor General, Department of Pensions and National Health; (c) number of pensions reduced; (d) total yearly amount of reduction; (e) number of pensions cancelled; (f) total yearly amount of cancelled pensions (g) number of cases in which suspension or partial suspensions, withdrawal or reduction, has been made in order to recover an alleged overpayment of pension on the ground of alleged invalidity of marriage or absence of proof of marriage; (h) total yearly amount of such suspensions or partial suspension, withdrawals or reductions.

2. A statement giving similar information regarding disability pensions.

3. The number of eases in each class in which pensioner was given the opportunity to be heard in respect of such suspensions or partial suspensions, withdrawals or reductions.

4. The above information to exclude suspensions or reductions to repay previous lump sum payments or gratuities.

Topic:   PENSIONS OF DEPENDENTS
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PENSION COMMISSION

LIB

Peter John Veniot

Liberal

Mr. VENIOT (for Mr. Power):

For a copy of all papers, documents, correspondence, resolutions or protests emanating from any ex-soldiers association and addressed to any member of the government, in connection with the appointment of members of the Canadian pension commission.

Topic:   PENSION COMMISSION
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RIVER GLADE, N.B., POSTMASTER

LIB

Peter John Veniot

Liberal

Mr. VENIOT:

For a copy of all correspondence, evidence, and report of investigator, relating to the dismissal of the postmaster at .River Glade, New Brunswick, and appointment of present incumbent.

Topic:   RIVER GLADE, N.B., POSTMASTER
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SALISBURY, N.B., MAIL CONTRACTS

LIB

Peter John Veniot

Liberal

Mr. VENIOT:

For a copy of all correspondence, reports and calls for tenders, in connection with the mail contract for delivery of mails on route R.R. No. 1, Salisbury, New Brunswick.

For a copy of contract, correspondence and all reports relating to the awarding of a contract, which recently expired, for the delivery of mails on route R.R. No. 2, Salisbury, New Brunswick, and all correspondence relating to the award of a new contract.

[Mr. Vallance.l

Topic:   SALISBURY, N.B., MAIL CONTRACTS
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LIB

Peter John Veniot

Liberal

Mr. VENIOT:

Mr. Speaker, before asking the house to adopt these two motions I should like to ask your permission to let them stand.

Topic:   SALISBURY, N.B., MAIL CONTRACTS
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CON

Pierre Édouard Blondin (Speaker of the Senate)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPEAKER:

Motions Nos. 8 and 9 on the order paper will stand.

Topic:   SALISBURY, N.B., MAIL CONTRACTS
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UNEMPLOYMENT RELIEF

PROPOSED PROGRAM OF PUBLIC WORKS FINANCED BY DIRECT DOMINION NOTE ISSUE

UFA

George Gibson Coote

United Farmers of Alberta

Mr. G. G. COOTE (Macleod) moved:

That, in the opinion of this house, in view of the large number of unemployed, and with the necessity of increasing the purchasing power of the people, it is expedient that the government give immediate consideration to the inauguration of a large scale program of public works, to be financed by a direct issue of noninterest bearing dominion notes.

He said: It is almost unnecessary to state at the outset of my remarks that the reason for introducing this resolution is found in the deplorable conditions existing in Canada, particularly with regard to the employment situation. It is unfortunate that we have no accurate statistics as to the number of people unemployed, but it is safe to say that there are at least over half a million of them. These people are producing nothing; they are living on the taxpayers and consuming real wealth. But that is not the worst of it; they are losing their morale and their ambition. There are thousands of young people who have completed their schooling and are ready for work. During the last three years they have graduated from the various schools and universities, but in that time have been unable to get a worth-while job with an income. I believe that is one of the greatest tragedies of the present situation. Complementary to that, thousands of farmers and merchants in Canada are facing bankruptcy through lack of business. Many farmers are remaining on their farms only through the grace of their creditors or because of protective legislation passed by the provinces.

Our two great problems to-day are first, to give an income to our farmers, and second, to give employment with incomes to those now unemployed.

In considering any remedy which might be brought forward at this time we must of course have in mind its effect upon the whole problem, not merely upon particular sections of the problem. The action which I am suggesting to-day constitutes, I believe, the best way of dealing with the unemployment problem and, incidentally, it will help to improve general conditions in Canada, and the whole national situation. I believe many recovery methods will have to be tried out

Unemployment Relief-Mr. Coote

before Canada finally emerges from the depression, and before we have recovered anything like the degree of prosperity enjoyed in 1929 and the years immediately preceding.

I believe one of the first steps to be taken should be that of instituting a program of public works so as to give direct employment to and increase the purchasing power of the people. Speaking to the board of trade of Toronto on Monday, the Prime Minister (Mr. Bennett) is reported to have said, "We cannot offer you anything spectacular, nothing but thrift and hard work." That is perhaps a poor enough outlook, but it would not be so bad if we were in a position to offer work to our unemployed. How can people work hard if there is no work to do? Many of our Canadian people have worn the soles off their shoes looking for it; they want to work. The great majority of the unemployed in Canada want work; let us give them that chance. Unemployment is one of the greatest of our present problems-'

I am of course referring to unemployment without money. One of my returned friends said to me a year ago, "Unemployment with money is leisure, but unemployment without money is hell." I do not need to emphasize the terrible condition of mind of the men who for years have looked for work but without success. The policy of unemployment relief as it has been carried out in Canada is of course to be commended, if we cannot do anything better, but it is really striking at the very heart of the nation. Our greatest asset is our people. I wonder what is in the minds of the people who sing so lustily, "0 Canada, we stand on guard for thee." Surely the only thing we can have in our minds when we sing, "We stand on guard for thee," is the ten millions of people who make up this nation. No other asset of this country is so worthy of considering as the people themselves. The future of Canada depends upon its people and upon future generations. We are destroying the morale and the ambition of our people so long as we tell them that they really ought to work, that the way out will be found through thrift and hard work, and yet keep them unemployed. The state for its own protection should see that every man has a chance to work at fair wages; we ought to see, and we can see if we have the will to do it, that there is real work provided for real men to do.

J. A. Hobson in Poverty and Plenty says:

The right of the worker to demand work on reasonable terms and the correlative obligation of the organized community to provide it, are

basic conditions of a civilized government. He has a right to demand work: it (the state) has an obligation to supply it.

Coming to one of our own economists in Canada, Professor Stephen Leacock, in The Unsolved Riddle of Social Justice he says: The government of every country ought to supply work and pay for the unemployed. . . . Society owes to every citizen the opportunity of a livelihood. . . . Work must either be found, or must be provided by the state itself.

I agree with Mr. Leacock. I think that is sound philosophy and sound economic doctrine.

It is generally supposed that private industry should and will provide employment, but after three years of waiting we know that it will not furnish that employment, that it is unable to do so. There is not sufficient purchasing power in the hands of the consumers to take up the products of industry, and so industry languishes and employment dies. There is no place to-day for capital investment which offers a return of interest and dividends. People will not invest in new industries until it is apparent that sufficient purchasing power rests in the hands of the people to take up the new production. We should all by now realize that the confidence of the people has been hit to the extent that private industry will not furnish the purchasing power and will not furnish employment. Even those who still have money have lost confidence and are afraid to spend the purchasing power which they hold. As a result of this refusal to spend, unemployment is increased, and when this condition occurs, as has been very well said by John Maynard Keynes, organized society must step into the breach and distribute purchasing power. It must, in other words, start on a spending program. Organized society, of course, means the government, and I think the time has arrived,-indeed it arrived long ago,-that as an organized society we can no longer hold back from the inauguration of a spending campaign,-or, in other words, the putting of purchasing power into circulation.

This principle is very well realized in the United States, where the new recovery plans are now under way, and where the government under the "New Deal" has started a real spending program. I read in a United States paper recently that the plans under contemplation in that country provide for the spending of practically $13,000,000,000, which is more than half the total amount spent by the United States in the prosecution of the great war from the time of its entry into the conflict until June 1921. In that period they spent for war purposes $25,749,000,000, and theii

34S

Unemployment Relief-Mr. Coote

present plans contemplate the expenditure of more than half that sum to combat the depression. In other words, the United States is engaged in a war to end poverty and unemployment. They have already allocated

S3,500,000,000 for expenditure under the public works administration.

The United States policy is described by their president as one of work instead of doles. The president is reported as using these words:

This program will end the "dole" with all the disintegrating effects it has on the unemployed, and replace it with "made" work at honest wages.

That is a program which Canada might very well imitate. For three years we have followed the United States in a policy of financial deflation and consequent depression, and surely now that the United States has reversed its policy and is attempting to climb up out of the hole, Canada might at least keep pace with our great neighbour to the south.

I saw in a recent press dispatch from Washington lhat five million men had been reemployed by agencies financed with funds provided through the public works administration. That is just an indication, Mr. Speaker, of what could be done in Canada if a vigorous policy of public works construction was undertaken and financed by the federal government. I believe that such a program of public works would be the best method of getting our people back to work.

Mr. John Maynard Keynes, who is listed by Professor Irving Fisher as one of the men in the world who does know something, if not all, about money, stated three years ago: For every man given employment direct on a program of public works two other men will find employment as a result. Large numbers of men will secure employment in making the materials which will be used in the construction of these works, and others will find employment in making consumers' goods which the newly employed men will want to purchase with the wages which they receive.

The falling off in the construction industry appears to be responsible for much of the unemployment that now exists. In a statement presented last fall to the royal commission on banking by the National Construction Council of Canada, it is pointed out that the estimated volume of construction work in Canada for 1933 was only $66,000,000, compared with an average of $430,000,000 for the years from 1925 to 1930 inclusive. That is, the construction industry itself put out new purchasing power to the extent of $66,000,000 in 1933 as compared with an average of $430,000,000 for the years I have mentioned.

The value of construction in 1933 was estimated at less than 12 per cent of the 1929 figure. The industry employed at its peak in 1929, 300,000 direct workers. Those figures would indicate that the unemployed due to the falling off in construction in Canada probably number more than 250,000 people. The submission made by this association to the banking commission goes on to say that, after taking into account those employed indirectly in the industry:

It is obvious that the lack of work in the construction industry is responsible in a very large measure for the numbers of unemployed in the country. It is also correct to state that if the construction industry were operating at the 1929 rate, 500,000 people would be back in employment to-day who are at present unemployed.

That is a striking figure, Mr. Speaker, but I believe it can be substantiated. It says 500,000 people would be back in employment. The submission goes on:

In other words, about half of the unemployment problem in this country can be laid at the door of this particular industry. The construction industry, beyond all other industries, is unique in its ability to provide great diversity of employment. The ramifications of this industry are so far-reaching that it is difficult to find any major industry in the country not seriously affected by its prosperity or otherwise. It follows that a dollar spent in the construction industry is diffused through the whole fabric of industry. JSo particular group and no particular locality is affected more than any other group or locality. A bridge on the west coast will provide work for steel makers in Sydney. An office building in Toronto provides work for the lumberman in British Columbia. To this -aspect should be coupled a second significant factor, that for every dollar spent in this industry approximately 82 cents goes towards labour. In other words, it goes into the pay envelopes of the workers in this country whether they be on the job or whether they be in the factory working on materials and supplies.

Speaking in this house a week ago the Prime Minister referred to the large increase which had occurred this year in the exportation of lumber from British Columbia. I thought it would be interesting to find out how much lumber was being consumed in Canada. I was not able to secure the figures for 1933, but I have them for 1929, 1930, 1931 and 1932. Deducting the exports from the production we find that in 1929 there was an apparent consumption of lumber in Canada amounting to 3,079,474 thousand board feet; in 1930, it amounted to 2,500,904 thousand board feet; in 1931, to 1,560,820 thousand board feet, and in 1932, it had fallen to 1,135,717 thousand board feet. The consumption had fallen from 3,000,000 thousand board feet in 1929 to a little over 1,000,000

Unemployment Reliej-Mr. Coote

in 1932. If we were to revive the building industry in Canada we would increase the consumption of lumber, provide more employment in the bush, more employment in the mills and more traffic for our railways.

From the figures I have given it would appear that the inauguration of a program of public works would be one of the best means of providing employment for those who are now out of work. The submission of the National Construction Council, to which I have referred, states that a survey made by the manufacturers of vitrified tile in Canada showed that 232 municipalities with a population of over 1,000 were in need of sewage systems. I do not think there is a city in Canada to-day in which a program of public works could not be put into operation if funds were provided. I understand that the city of Lethbridge has stated that if the government will furnish them with $500,000 free of interest for ten years they will engage upon a construction program and assume all responsibility for unemployment relief, thus relieving the federal and provincial governments of responsibility in that regard.

We know that the federal government has a large program of public works under consideration, and it ought to be put into operation. I know the minister has received many applications for public works and I am sure that almost every province would be glad to embark on a program of public works if financing could be arranged. I was told by the minister of public works of one of our provinces that he would like to have $5,000,000 for a program of bridge building alone. He stated that these bridges were all needed and that value would be obtained from the money so spent. I do not intend to go over the whole list of useful public works, but I shall give just a few.

Some people think that we have too many highways, but according to the census of 1931 there are 150,000 farms in Canada located on unimproved dirt roads. There is a great need for culverts and bridges, for safe railway crossings, technical schools, hospitals, power plants, power distribution lines, slum clearance work, and housing projects, both urban and rural. Our aim should be a home for every family, houses instead of slums, and homes instead of shacks. Reforestation projects should be undertaken, and there is a need for more parks. One of the latest plans under the new deal in the United States is to provide money for the remodelling of old-fashioned homes. The following is one paragraph which appeared in the United States [DOT]News dealing with this new plan:

President Roosevelt again is turning his attention to the home owner. This time he thinks that the man with a home may help along the recovery program by providing work for the laggard construction industry.

To give him a real incentive, the President is prepared to ask Congress to appropriate $250,000,000 that can be loaned at low interest rates for home rebuilding and home repair. If this fund is eagerly used by the owners of the country's 25,000,000 dwellings, then it can be expanded to open a vast new field for government credit.

There is room in Canada for a similar program. It may be urged that we cannot afford such a program in Canada. Let us see, then, what is needed for a program of public works such as I have suggested. First of all, we need men, or labour; next, we need machines and equipment, and, lastly, we need materials. If we go over the whole list of such works we find that there are plenty of men available; there are architects, civil engineers, electrical engineers, artisans and mechanics in every trade. The same is true with regard to materials and machinery of all kinds. For highway construction we have ample supplies of gravel and rock; we have sand and cement; we have scrapers; we have horses and trucks for hauling. For bridges, we have the steel and lumber. For buildings of all kinds, we have plenty of brick, sand, stone, cement, lumber and hardware; in fact we have everything except glass, and we could trade wheat with Belgium for that commodity. The same thing is true of all the other works which I have suggested. Practically all the transportation facilities, materials and equipment that are necessary are available in Canada, so that any such works which are undertaken can be carried out with the use of our own natural resources and our own men. Why not therefore, proceed with the work?

Professor Henry Clay, a very prominent economist in England, says:

If we leave money and credit out of account, there is obviously no theoretical impossibility of employing men who at present are kept doing nothing, on plant which is also idle, at any useful work within their capacity.

I agree absolutely with Professor Clay. We have all the men, the machines and the materials necessary, it is only a matter of organization to bring them together to get the work done. But in organizing, we use money to measure the value of labour, of machines and of material. Whether we like it or not, we cannot leave money out of account. Fortunately in this case, under our constitution the Dominion government has control of currency and coinage, banking and the issue of paper money, as well as the raising of money by any mode or system of taxation and the

Unemployment Relief-Mr. Coote

borrowing of money on the public credit. As we are at present taxed to death, I want to rule out taxation as a method of raising money. In addition to having complete power with regard to the creation and control of money, the dominion has control of trade and commerce, interest, legal tender, immigration, tariffs, transportation, and so forth,- in short, over all the vital economic policies which determine whether or not the people of the country shall have employment.

As I have said before on many occasions, in my humble opinion the Dominion government should assume at least the major share of the responsibility for unemployment. This is just another reason why they should engage in a program of public works to give employment to the people.. The question of money seems to be the sticker. Mr. J. S. Lennox, in his very interesting book entitled The Cause and Cure of Unemployment, which I am sure many hon. members have read, proposes that public works should be used as a basis for the issue of currency, that public works should be treated as assets and not as liabilities. When we learn to do that we will not have any trouble in financing public works. Whether or not we should go as far as Mr. Lennox suggests, the fact remains that the construction of public buildings to be financed by the issue of dominion notes has been suggested by hon. members in every section of the house. I know that many hon. members will agree that'Canada can well afford to finance such a program by the issue of notes.

When I drafted this resolution last year, Canada had no central bank. Having moved, in 1931, a resolution asking for the establishment of a nationally-owned central bank, and having received no support from any quarter of the house except this corner, I did not expect that this year we would have one. Had I known a central bank was to be set up I might have suggested that the money be raised by borrowing from that bank on treasury notes of the Dominion of Canada. That has been done to quite an extent in Australia through the commonwealth bank, and it may be done here yet if we get a central bank-that is, if it is the proper kind of bank. The amount of dominion notes outstanding now is about $150,000,000 less than in 1920, so I am certain that we could with both safety and advantage issue $150,000,000 or $200,000,000 in dominion notes for this purpose. If this were more than was necessary for circulation, the notes would find their way into the vaults of the

chartered banks and strengthen their cash reserves. They would also serve as a basis for the further extension of credit by the banks when the demand for such was created by improvement in business conditions.

I have one other suggestion to make if neither of these proposals is satisfactory to the government. The world conference, we are told, agreed that a 25 per cent gold coverage would be sufficient for our note issue. The government could buy gold produced in Canada to the extent of $100,000,000, or to whatever amount they thought best, and issue, on that $100,000,000, $400,000,000 of notes for financing such a program as I have suggested. Even if the $100,000,000 were borrowed at 4 per cent, this would be equivalent to a rate of 1 per cent on the amount of notes issued, which could easily be carried by the revenue received on business resulting from the circulation of the $400,000,000.

I have one further suggestion. As the primary purpose of this program would be to create employment, it seems to me that it would be wise to pay for at least part of the program with what is called stamped scrip money, a special issue of notes. Such scrip or notes would require to have placed upon them at stated intervals, preferably monthly or twice a month, stamps equal to 1 per cent of the face value of the note. I am suggesting 1 per cent, but it might be one-half or 2 per cent. The hoarding or saving of money and the slowing-down of the velocity of circulation have depressed business at least as much as if not more than the contraction in the volume of money in circulation. While present money is hoarded or lying idle in banks, this stamped scrip money would provide a substitute which would circulate three or four times as fast as ordinary money. The great advantage of stamped scrip money is its rapidity of circulation. It would not be inflation; it would put no strain on our gold reserves. If it circulates three times as fast as money, $1 worth of scrip will do as much work as $3 worth of orthodox money in exchanging goods and providing employment. The stamps required to keep it current would provide funds to retire the- notes over a period of years.

Professor Irving Fisher, whom the Minister of Finance (Mr. Rhodes) quoted a few days ago as naming the men in the world who knew something about money, has given his blessing to stamped scrip money. In 1932 he wrote an article entitled "What Can Congress Do," and perhaps I might quote two or three sentences from that article, in which he discusses measures that might be adopted to break the depression.

Unemployment Relief-Mr. Coote

He says:

There is, in particular, one measure little known as yet, but which, I believe, is destined soon to command nationwide attention, which might bring us substantially out of the depression if properly applied, in a few weeks. This is "stamped scrip." ... Stamped scrip will give the consumer the buying power needed to start up operations from the consumer end. . . . One of the chief advantages of the stamped scrip plan, ... is the speeding up of circulation. Any holder of the scrip naturally wants to pass it on before the next_ stamp date arrives. No one wants to keep it long, lhe stamp operates as a stamp tax on hoarding. . . . We ought, not to wait four years. We ought not to wait even till the new congress assembles in March. Why should not the "lame duck" congress cover itself with glory by pulling U3 out of the depression in a few weeks by priming the pump through consumer demand and so let loose the waiting millions of bank credit';. . . But just now, as a capstone of what has already been done, we need what stamped scrip can give us and give us faster than any other means in sight.

I suggest to the government that they might cover themselves with glory before this term of parliament is over by putting stamped scrip money into circulation to prime the pump, as Professor Fisher says, and break this depression.

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT RELIEF
Subtopic:   PROPOSED PROGRAM OF PUBLIC WORKS FINANCED BY DIRECT DOMINION NOTE ISSUE
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CON

George Reginald Geary

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. GEARY:

What has been the experience of other countries with stamped scrip money?

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT RELIEF
Subtopic:   PROPOSED PROGRAM OF PUBLIC WORKS FINANCED BY DIRECT DOMINION NOTE ISSUE
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UFA

George Gibson Coote

United Farmers of Alberta

Mr. COOTE:

I do not know of any country that has tried it, but I know of quite a few municipalities that have done so, and if I had time I could give the hon. gentleman several very good illustrations of the success it has met with.

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT RELIEF
Subtopic:   PROPOSED PROGRAM OF PUBLIC WORKS FINANCED BY DIRECT DOMINION NOTE ISSUE
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CON

George Reginald Geary

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. GEARY:

I will give my hon. friend a great many illustrations.

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT RELIEF
Subtopic:   PROPOSED PROGRAM OF PUBLIC WORKS FINANCED BY DIRECT DOMINION NOTE ISSUE
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UFA

George Gibson Coote

United Farmers of Alberta

Mr. COOTE:

Unemployment .Relief-Mr. Hackett

we should undertake this work without further delay and I hope the house and the government will give this resolution their most favourable consideration.

Mr. JOHN T. HACKETT (Stanstead): Mr. Speaker, I am neither a sceptic nor a scoffer. I enjoyed listening to the hon. member for Macleod (Mr. Coote), because he was attempting to deal in his way with a very great problem. He finds that unemployment is a canker in the body politic and he would apply to it as a remedy a vast program of public works. If I have understood the source of many of the difficulties under which Canada is labouring at the moment, it is that the Canadian people, the people of the provinces, cities and municipalities have overindulged in public works. It is because they have paid out money which they are unable to repay to-day and because they have incurred liabilities, the interest upon which they find onerous in the extreme, that we are in distress at this time. The hon. gentleman, knowing well the poison which has brought about our illness, suggests an additional dose as a means of regaining health.

I agree with him that unemployment is a very serious problem, but I would suggest to him that a remedy other than the one which he has advocated, a remedy which is perhaps more simple and elemental, must be applied to the malady. I think we can all agree that disequilibrium in our population is the great cause of want and unemployment. It is true that farming is not a very prosperous undertaking to-day, yet there is no unemployment on the farm and in so far as eastern Canada is concerned, where farming is carried on more as an avocation than as a vast business, there is no lack of food, fuel or raiment, which, after all, are the things essential to livelihood.

In the city of Montreal in December, the last month for which figures are available, 202,895 people were receiving direct relief from governmental authorities and in April, 1933, 280,096 were receiving sustenance from the same source. In April 34-24 per cent of the population was receiving direct relief, while in December last only 24-79 was receiving direct relief. These figures should be considered critically because they show a decrease in unemployment despite seasonal unemployment which is a characteristic of Montreal, a seaport where there is a long, severe winter and where from time immemorial there are four or five months of the year when the great river is held in the grasp of the ice king, business slows down and employment is not available to a substantial number of

artisans, labourers and others who, during the active season, are able to lay up enough to carry them over this long period. There has been some improvement in the situation, but the fact remains that that city is top heavy, other cities in the dominion have a population which is entirely out of proportion to the gross population of the country. The trend of population from the rural districts to the urban centres has been manifest for the last 40 years; in 1890, 70 per cent of our people were on the land, if we are to take the words of Mr. Taschereau, reported to have been pronounced in Montreal the other day, 70 per cent of the people of the province of Quebec are now urban dwellers. For this vast accumulation of population in a few centres there are many reasons; some of them are economic, some are due to the war and I daresay there are a number of undisclosed reasons for this turning of the people toward the cities. Wo have built up an industrial establishment, of which we are proud and which has aided to make this relatively small country the fifth trading nation of the world. We boast of that fact, and we have reason to be proud. It was while we were building up this machine and while we were taking men and women from the land to man it that the population of the cities grew so rapidly. During the last ten years fully 70 per cent of our entire growth has gone to the cities.

When depression came, when there was a cessation in trade, we found that we had vast numbers of people who were helpless, unable to provide for themselves, not luxuries, not comforts, but the things which are essential to the maintenance of life. They could not provide food, fuel or raiment. For a time we did engage in a program of public works, determined by the various provinces, but ultimately we had to turn to the dole and speaking for Montreal at least, to-day we are feeding at the expense of the public purse more than two hundred thousand people. I suggest, Mr. Speaker, that quick, quack methods prescribed by the hon. member for Macleod are inadequate.

We may establish a central bank; we may provide rural credits; we may enact laws providing for insurance against unemployment; these measures may help to reduce the acuteness of the malady but they will not cure it, because in our cities are hordes of people who depend for food and clothing upon industrial work and wages, and when these wages cease the people became dependent upon the state. I submit that a back to the land policy must be practised. I do not mean that we should send these people

Unemployment Relief

Mr. Hackett

to the outskirts of civilization and beyond. I do not mean that we should send them to Abitibi and Temiskaming. Last year from Montreal three hundred families went back to the land, but only a relatively small number of people are suited to pioneering. Pioneering is a profession for which people are not prepared by urban life. In the immediate vicinity of our large cities are organized territories provided with highways, schools, churches, telephones, electrical energy and all those things which go to make life possible and even agreeable to the ordinary man, and within those areas are any number of acres of good land which can be obtained at a very low price.

It is my suggestion that if public works are to be undertaken, these areas which are awaiting the return of those who abandoned them for the cities should be rehabilitated in some measure. It is not necessary that a family should have one hundred or one hundred and twenty dive acres; ten or twenty acres in the wooded districts of the eastern townships will provide a family with all the essentials. Where land is situated within reach of industrial centres there is bound to be a certain amount of interrupted employment in the factories which would provide workers with some money after they had met their immediate and urgent needs from the land. Moreover it is a strange thing that in Quebec, which is one of the oldest provinces and which is considered more rural than many of the others, there is produced only a small percentage of the foodstuffs consumed by the people of the province. To a greater extent, perhaps, than in any other province of the dominion the meats, vegetables and fruits consumed there are imported. Market gardening and small farming can be carried on to advantage.

I think this lends point to the suggestion that if people were helped back to the land within a radius of from twenty-five to seventy-five miles of the city of Montreal they could do much to bring back prosperity to the land and relieve the congestion in the cities. I do not suggest that every mechanic is suited for life on the land, but the fact remains that men were drawn from the farms into the factories during the days of great expansion. We built railroads, and some people think we built too many of them. We had to roll rails; we had to provide equipment. The late Sir Henry Thornton told the railway committee some time ago that within a few years, under his administration, the number of cars that had been scrapped and replaced, if put end to end, would reach from Montreal to the city of Kitchener. It was

that type of work that gave employment in the cities. Highways were built, and machinery for their construction was necessary. Grain elevators were constructed, and they had to be equipped with all manner of devices which were manufactured in the factories in the cities. Conservation dams and other great undertakings, including waterways were constructed. All the equipment, all the explosives and the other tools and agencies necessary to carry out these great works, were made in the factories, which were located principally in the cities. I for one fear that these days are over, for the immediate present at any rate; I believe that no matter if better times do return there can be no resumption of the volume of industrial activity which will absorb our people into the industrial life of the country. Therefore it is necessary that something be done to find gainful employment, or at least self-sustaining employment, for those who have been out of work for two, three and even four years in the cities.

I said a moment ago that everyone is not suited for service on the soil, but let us take a census; let us find out what proportion of the people in the cities who are unemployed came from the land. I am informed that in the city of Montreal there are between 15,000 and 20,000 families, the heads of which are out of employment, who were brought up on the farm and know in a small way at least how to cultivate the soil and care for domestic animals. Those men, if they were given an opportunity, could grow the food which they require for themselves and their families, commodities which are now being bought for them by the various governments, federal, provincial and municipal. Under the government's policy for reestablishing people on the land an amount of $600 is allowed to each family. This policy has been carried out in conjunction with the railway companies. It may be entirely accidental, but the fact is that the points at which these families have been established are so remote from the points from which they originated that more than half of the amount allotted to them is consumed in transportation expenses. If they could be taken to an area where land can be cheaply acquired and where, in many instances, buildings needing only slight repairs already exist, where schools, churches and other incidents of civilization are available,

I feel much would have been done both to rehabilitate the soil in the older sections of rural Quebec and Ontario and to relieve the strain of unemployment in the cities.

^54 COMMONS

Unemployment Relief-Mr. Hackett

Then, there is the other class to whom the hon. member for Macleod referred, namely the youth, the boys and girls who have attained maturity during the depression and who for the last two or three years have festered in activity and have seen the hopes of youth blighted by a hoplessness which they may never be able to shake. They would welcome this outlet for their energies. Employment, life in the open, a sense of responsibility and respectability which comes from doing something, would be one of the not inconsiderable and invaluable results from such a policy.

We are now in the month of February. This is the time a census should be taken in the large cities. I know that would not be difficult in the city of Montreal, where there are social agencies representing every class, every creed and almost every nationality. These agencies would, I am confident, be glad to place themselves at the disposal of the government to take the census. When the census is taken in the early spring- because it is only then that the people can, with wisdom, be taken to the land- many thousands of families could be located at short distances outside their respective cities. This would give employment. Many of the unemployed have worked in the Angus shops and in the Canadian National railway shops. Their services under the present railway policy when so much track is to be torn up and there is a limitation in the need for cars and other equipment, and a tendency to pool the resources of the railway companies will not be in demand for some time to come. If these people could turn their energies toward the construction of modest houses, they could thus pay a substantial amount of the cost of their own homes.

There is nothing original in a scheme of this kind; it has been worked out by several people, one of whom is the mayor of Moncton. My suggestion is that now is the time to take the census; now is the time to ask the big cities to ascertain the number of their unemployed and unemployable, and to find out the number of those suited for reengagement in activities on the soil. I believe that a policy of this kind has more real value than some of the untried suggestions and schemes which could succeed nowhere except in the fertile minds and imaginations of their proponents. These old fashioned methods would do more than the new to bring relief.

We know that the people who first came to Canada had nothing but the soil, a few

crude implements and their courage. The land is still here; we have implements, and I for one refuse to believe that the courage is lacking. This is a moment of trial,, so frequent in the life of the individual as well as in the life of a nation. From the very first day of a plantation in Canada the Canadian people have had to encounter difficulties, arising from climate, Indian warfare, border feuds, conquests, racial hatreds, political difficulties, constitutional difficulties, and now economic difficulties-that is life. Someone has said that the "joy is in the journey" and "the secret in the search." We may not be able to make of Canada the Eden that the proponent of this resolution believes that its adoption would make it, but we can place within the reach of our people the means of providing food and other essentials for themselves, and make them again self-respecting, self-sustaining and free from, I shall not say the curse but the misfortune of being unable to provide for themselves.

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT RELIEF
Subtopic:   PROPOSED PROGRAM OF PUBLIC WORKS FINANCED BY DIRECT DOMINION NOTE ISSUE
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LIB

Thomas Reid

Liberal

Mr. THOMAS REID (New Westminster):

Mr. Speaker, in rising to support this, resolution may I say, with hon. members who have spoken not only in this but in other debates during the present session, that one of the most serious problems facing Canada to-day is that of unemployment. Nor is unemployment a problem wholly related to those who are out of jobs; I have in mind many hundreds of people on the land, especially in the province from which I come, who, through the necessity of circumstances, are forced to go out seeking either direct relief from the municipalities or work of some kind so that they may be in a position to augment their meagre income. But to my mind the most serious -aspect of this unemployment problem is the estimated 500,000 youths of this land who cannot find employment, I would ask any hon. member present what his answer would be to those youths when they ask him: Can you find employment for us? To my mind that is one of the most serious things, almost a disaster, that is overtaking this country of ours.

I realize, Mr. Speaker, that public works is not a solution of our difficulties, and no one I believe has ever advocated that public works conducted either by the municipalities or by governments, provincial or federal, would be a solution of all our difficulties. Nevertheless something must be done; we cannot stand idle while a half million of our people lack employment and well over one million need relief.

Unemployment Relief-Mr. Reid

Some have criticized the policy of President Roosevelt in the United States-what is called the N.R.A. Personally I hope it will be a success, because it has a material bearing on the affairs of Canada and the welfare of our people. If the people across the line begin to purchase more and are provided with more of the sustenance of life, it is bound to react to the benefit of Canada. I hope the N.R.A. will be a success in three of its objectives. Its first objective is to put more people to work; its second, to put more purchasing power in the hands of the people, and its third to ensure a more just distribution of rewards as between labour and capital. Surely no hon. gentleman would dispute that these are three most desirable objectives to be attained.

Some have criticized us for boosting President Roosevelt and his N.R.A. scheme, but if it were true, as the Prime Minister (Mr. Bennett) stated, that many Liberals were hop. ing that the Ottawa conference would be a failure, it would be equally true for me to say that many members opposite were hoping that President Roosevelt's scheme would fail.

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT RELIEF
Subtopic:   PROPOSED PROGRAM OF PUBLIC WORKS FINANCED BY DIRECT DOMINION NOTE ISSUE
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February 7, 1934