March 26, 1934

LIB

Albert Edward Munn

Liberal

Mr. MUNN:

In regard to what?

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT AND FARM RELIEF
Subtopic:   BILL IN TERMS GENERALLY OF RELIEF ACT, 1933, WITH PROVISION RESPECTING DELAYED RELIEF ACCOUNTS
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CON

D'Arcy Britton Plunkett

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. PLUNKETT:

In regard to what I have just said. It is not my fault if the hon. gentleman did not hear me.

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT AND FARM RELIEF
Subtopic:   BILL IN TERMS GENERALLY OF RELIEF ACT, 1933, WITH PROVISION RESPECTING DELAYED RELIEF ACCOUNTS
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LIB

Albert Edward Munn

Liberal

Mr. MUNN:

I heard you; I know all about the situation there.

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT AND FARM RELIEF
Subtopic:   BILL IN TERMS GENERALLY OF RELIEF ACT, 1933, WITH PROVISION RESPECTING DELAYED RELIEF ACCOUNTS
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CON

D'Arcy Britton Plunkett

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. PLUNKETT:

Would the hon. gentleman make a statement?

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT AND FARM RELIEF
Subtopic:   BILL IN TERMS GENERALLY OF RELIEF ACT, 1933, WITH PROVISION RESPECTING DELAYED RELIEF ACCOUNTS
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LIB

Albert Edward Munn

Liberal

Mr. MUNN:

I am not contradicting your statement.

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT AND FARM RELIEF
Subtopic:   BILL IN TERMS GENERALLY OF RELIEF ACT, 1933, WITH PROVISION RESPECTING DELAYED RELIEF ACCOUNTS
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CON

D'Arcy Britton Plunkett

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. PLUNKETT:

Thank you. Then, Mr. Speaker, I am through.

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT AND FARM RELIEF
Subtopic:   BILL IN TERMS GENERALLY OF RELIEF ACT, 1933, WITH PROVISION RESPECTING DELAYED RELIEF ACCOUNTS
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LIB

Thomas F. Donnelly

Liberal

Mr. T. F. DONNELLY (Willow Bunch):

Mr. Speaker, I am intensely interested in this unemployment and farm relief bill, and wish to make a few remarks in regard to it. I have the misfortune to represent a district which for the past five years has had no crop whatever. Of our people ninety-five per cent are on direct relief; ninety-five per cent have to receive their dole from the government each month. In regard to conditions in my constituency may I say that it is necessary for the farmers to haul their grain, straw, hay and rough feed from the towns out to the country so that they may feed their stock. No hay, straw, grain or rough feed of any kind have been grown there for the last five years. One may gather from that information an idea as to the conditions under which the people in that district have been living due to the crop failures in the past five years.

I do not wish to criticize the government with respect to the manner in which it has handed out unemployment and direct relief in my constituency. Politics has played no part in the handing out of relief, but I do offer criticism from a business standpoint, because in relief measures there has been an absolute lack of business practice. As the years go by and relief measures are continued the people in charge seem to become more and more inefficient, and each year more difficulties arise.

May I give an illustration of what took place in my own district. The people there were told that anyone living within twenty miles of the coal mines had to go to the mines to get coal. They were ready to comply with that arrangement, and were waiting for orders. They waited a long time, and time after time sent in requests for coal orders. At last, when winter weather had set in and coal was essential, they went to the coal miners and, almost on their knees, asked for coal. The coal miners replied, " We will give each of you a ton of coal, so as to carry you over, and when your orders come in let us have them." The people got their coal from the miners, but did not receive any orders until late in November when the snow was on the ground and frost had set in. Why those orders could not have been given

Relief Act, 1934-Mr. Donnelly

earlier, when the officials knew that relief had to be given, nobody knows. This is only one example of a lack of business ability.

Let me give another. For some reason last fall the authorities took the notion that all orders for flour had to be for a particular brand; the order received indicated the type of flour which had to be purchased. The result was that sometimes sixty or sixty-five orders would reach a small town, all calling for a certain kind of flour. Often the particular brand named on the orders could not be obtained in the town, and the people had to wait two or three weeks until that flour was brought in. Why could this matter not have been handled as it had been for years previously1-give a man an order for so many sacks of flour, and let him get it?

These are only examples, and I could give many, indicating an entire lack of business ability in handling relief problems out there. Many other problems of the same type exist; these are not political difficulties, but arise from a lack of business ability in the handling of relief. One would think that an organization which had been handling relief measures for five years would be working smoothly by this time, but year by year they seem to be unable to meet the difficulties and get into more and more trouble.

As I have said, ninety-five per cent of the people in my constituency are ion 'relief. Let me indicate for the benefit of ban. members the amount of relief they receive. A family of eight wild receive each month an order for groceries, such order not to include flour or coal; these two items are 'extra. The order for groceries will amount to $8 a month. With that amount of money these people are supposed to buy their tea, sugar and groceries. Then, if they have on the farm a hog, cows, eggs, milk or butter, or if they have a hen so that 'they may get an egg now and then, the $8 is reduced and they must accept less. The amount the person on relief receives depends upon how much he produces himself. Hon. members may imagine what a fiat 'living the people receiving this relief must enjoy.

Then, as to clothing the adult receives $9 a year, with which he is supposed to buy overshoes, boots, socks, unddrwear, overalls, smocks, caps, mitts, and if he has anything left he must buy his bedding. Hon. members will know about how much bedding he could buy with anything left from the $9. The relief - which these people are handed each month is their only moans of keeping alive. Children do not receive as much as adults.

fMr. Donnelly.]

Depending on its age, a child will receive $5.50 or $4.50, and as to the amounts received a distinction is made between boys and girls. This is an indication of the way people are being treated in this district. They are alii on the dole. I know of only one or two farmers who are not receiving relief from the federal government working in combination with the provincial government.

Hon. members will recall that during the last election campaign the Prime Minister (Mr. Bennett) went through the country almost crying for the unemployed. He was going to have work for all of them. Instead of that, however, they have received nothing but the dole.

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT AND FARM RELIEF
Subtopic:   BILL IN TERMS GENERALLY OF RELIEF ACT, 1933, WITH PROVISION RESPECTING DELAYED RELIEF ACCOUNTS
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CON

Raymond Ducharme Morand

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MORAND:

He has no control over

the weather.

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT AND FARM RELIEF
Subtopic:   BILL IN TERMS GENERALLY OF RELIEF ACT, 1933, WITH PROVISION RESPECTING DELAYED RELIEF ACCOUNTS
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LIB

Thomas F. Donnelly

Liberal

Mr. DONNELLY:

We should have had

some kind of work. Let me telll my hon. friend that practically no money has been spent on road work in our district, while in the northern part of the province where there were crops thousands of dollars have been spent. The authorities seem to think that the people in my constituency do not need the work, that as they are living on the dole they should: not have employment. Although the government has kept those people alive, kept their foodies and souls together, what about the stock? What about the horses, the cattle, the pigs, the sheep and other animals? Last winter all through the country horses were dying through lack of feed. They were coming to town and 'lying down to die beside elevators filled with grain, because there seemed to be no way to get the feed out of the elevators. I remember quite well that a request was sent in to the relief officers asking for feed. The provincial Minister of Labour went through our district, returned home and stated that he had not seen any horses dying,-just as if a farmer would drive his horses to town to die! Following that the officers of the municipality became indignant and wrote a letter to the Regina Leader explaining conditions in their locality. They stated:

In five municipalities in southern Saskatchewan more than 600 horses have died since October 1, 1933. In the rural municipality of Lake of the Rivers more than 100 horses have died. ... In Stonehenge municipality officials reported 120 horses dead. ... In Waverly municipality about 130 horses have died. . . in the rural municipality of Wood River more than 150 horses have died since October 1. . . . Rural municipality of Pinto Creek is in the same position; 100 horses have died.

Relief Act, 1934-Mr. Donnelly

Horses are dying all over the country just for lack of feed. Here is another letter written to the Regina Leader:

I have nine horses and two cows. Seven of the horses are trying to get a living out on the bald prairie. This winter I got a ton and three-quarters of hay and eighty bushels of oats, which is used up. I have 150 acres for crop this spring and these horses must do it. Four of the seven just manage to walk around. If I do not get feed within a week it will be too late.

I could read many other letters. Here is one from a municipality:

Our allotment of feed grain from the Saskatchewan relief commission is just over

49.000 bushels, which figures out to approximately twenty bushels per horse in this municipality, and this leaves nothing for other live stock such as pigs and poultry. Owing to the scarcity of forage and fodder it has been necessary to feed the grain shipped in by the commission during the past months. We have already received two-thirds of the allotted

49.000 bushels and the balance, if and when received, will no more than carry the stock through to seeding time.

We have made representations to the commission that we will require at least a further allotment of 50,000 bushels to feed our horses during seeding time but to date have had no assurance that any further amount than the

49.000 bushels will be supplied.

Here is another letter:

We have the unfortunate experience of a great many of our clients coming in and advising us in some cases that they have no horses left, in other cases that they have two or three or four where they need six, seven, eight or ten. The high mortality which has taken place during the past winter is, in our opinion, almost entirely due to shortage of feed.

Those are the conditions that exist, Mr. Speaker, with regard to our stock. We listened the other day in the banking and commerce committee to a story-

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT AND FARM RELIEF
Subtopic:   BILL IN TERMS GENERALLY OF RELIEF ACT, 1933, WITH PROVISION RESPECTING DELAYED RELIEF ACCOUNTS
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CON

Pierre Édouard Blondin (Speaker of the Senate)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPEAKER:

Reference to what takes place in a committee is not in order until the committee reports.

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT AND FARM RELIEF
Subtopic:   BILL IN TERMS GENERALLY OF RELIEF ACT, 1933, WITH PROVISION RESPECTING DELAYED RELIEF ACCOUNTS
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LIB

Thomas F. Donnelly

Liberal

Mr. DONNELLY:

We have heard from many sources, Mr. Speaker, of the terrible problem that exists in this country with regard to our wheat. We have a great carry-over of wheat that we do not know what to do with. We want to get rid o'f it; why not put some of it to a useful purpose? Some have suggested that this wheat be sent to China to feed Chinamen. Charity begins at home. Why not use a little of it to help our own people? If I may suggest it to the government, why not take this wheat, mix it up with oats and barley and other grains, have it ground up into feed and give it to these farmers so that they may feed their stock? Finance them, if

you will. Do not give it to them, for they do not get relief to-day in any form whatever for nothing. The farmers have to sign notes for whatever they get from the relief commission; let them sign a note for the feed. Then they will have something to do; it will enable them to work for a living. They can start to feed poultry and pigs and sheep and other stock, and raise and sell this stock and make a living in that way. If this suggestion were acted upon, not only in the west but all over Canada, the government financing it, if you will, in a year's time or eighteen months, or at most two years, we would be able to supply our full quota of bacon and ham in the English market; there is no doubt about that, and our people would be doing something and earning a living. Besides we would be getting rid of this surplus glut of wheat of twenty or thirty or fifty million bushels. France has a scheme whereby she puts an analine dye in her wheat to make it unfit for use as flour. Why not in somewhat the same way grind our surplus wheat up with oats, barley and other grains so that it cannot be used for flour, and then hand it out to these people to be used as feed for their stock.

The whole morale of our people has gone. When you put people on the dole, on charity, and tell them to live on a handout from day to day, their whole morale goes. I have heard people say, "Oh, the morale of the west is as good as ever," but I do not find it so, I am sorry to say, and I believe it is due to the dole more than anything else.

I just want to leave that suggestion with the government. I believe it would be a good scheme to take some of our surplus grain and grind it up into feed and supply it to our farmers, financing the thing so that the farmers could earn a living for themselves and not have to be kept on the dole.

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT AND FARM RELIEF
Subtopic:   BILL IN TERMS GENERALLY OF RELIEF ACT, 1933, WITH PROVISION RESPECTING DELAYED RELIEF ACCOUNTS
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LIB

Joseph Enoil Michaud

Liberal

Mr. J. E. MICHAUD (Restigouehe-Mada-waska):

Mr. Speaker, the bill that is now

before the house for consideration is entitled the Relief Act, 1934. The fact that for the fifth consecutive year it has been found necessary to submit a relief measure to the house for renewal is sufficient to arrest public attention and indicates a situation that is deserving of serious consideration on the part of members of this house.

One must not forget that this country was promised that unemployment would cease four years ago. It is interesting to recall those promises in view of the statements which were made in this house on Friday last and today. In 1930 the country was promised that if the present government was elected unem-

Relief Act, 1934-Mr. Michaud

ployment would end, work would be provided for all those who were willing and able to WOrk-that work, not doles, would be provided for Canadian workmen. But to-day we are asked to renew a relief measure in which there is no program of work whatever. Coupled with that is the statement made by the Minister of Labour (Mr. Gordon) in the house the other day that the government has no unemployment relief program.

This bill by its preamble and its main provisions gives power to the government, first, to enter into agreements with any of the provinces respecting relief measures; second, for the granting of financial assistance to any province by way of loan, advances, guarantee or otherwise; and third, to maintain peace, order and good government when parliament is not in session. These last mentioned powers, as contained in paragraph (b) of section 2, were not within the last five years directly used for the purpose, and so for the moment I will dismiss that provision.

The main features of the legislation are to enable the government to enter into agreements with the provinces to relieve unemployment, and to grant financial assistance to provincial governments under the guise of unemployment relief. The principle of the bill, and its main feature, is to enable the government to help the provinces solve the unemployment problem, in spite of the fact that the government had promised that it was to undertake a program of public works for the definite purpose of relieving unemployment. The following admission of the Minister of Labour (Mr. Gordon), appears on page 1721 of Hansard of March 22:

It must be remembered that at no time was the policy of direct relief or of works or otherwise a policy of the Dominion government.

I should like to know what has been the policy of the Dominion government with regard to the relief of unemployment if the methods adopted by the provinces in conjunction with the dominion for the last five years are not the policies of the Dominion government? This is the system which was adopted in 1932 and continued during 1933, but the minister does not want to acknowledge it as a child of the government. Section 4 of the act of 1932-33 reads:

The governor in council may pay out of the consolidated revenue fund such moneys as may be necessary for all or any of the purposes of this act, but the amount paid for direct relief for the fiscal year ending the 31st day of March, 1934, shall not exceed the sum of twenty million dollars.

I submit that during the last fiscal year the government has been committed to the extent of twenty millions to a direct relief policy or

dole system. We now hear from all quarters that this is not a proper policy for the permanent solution of unemployment, but so far the government has failed to submit to the country a proper scheme or program for the solution of this problem. All it promises to do is to help the provinces with respect to relief measures that may be adopted. The government have failed to implement the promise made five years ago, and repeated since, that they would offer a program for the permanent solution of unemployment. They have also failed to adopt a permanent program to deal with the nine provinces. The minister has stated that as far as certain provinces are concerned there is a defmiie program of public works projects. As I understand the statement made on page 1720 of Hansard of March 22, the policy of the department is to agree upon certain projects of public works submitted by the provinces. When these projects are submitted the Department of Labour sends an inspector to the district in which the work is proposed to be carried out. If the inspector reports that the work is necessary and is of such a nature as will relieve unemployment; if he reports that relief is necessary in the district, then the department approves the proposal and the work is proceeded with. I submit that this is the method which should be adopted with all the provinces. So far as I have been able to ascertain, it has been followed in the province of Quebec. No work has been carried out in that province without first receiving the approval of the Minister of Labour.

However, I find that a different policy has been followed in New Brunswick. It has been brought to my attention that during the past year no projects were agreed upon by the Department of Labour and the provincial authorities. The provincial authorities informed the public during last spring and last summer that no works were being carried on for the relief of unemployment and that there was no necessity for any such works. However, we find that on October 10* twenty days before the end of the fiscal year in the province, a retroactive agreement was made with the Department of Labour under which the province was to be reimbursed for work done. It was to receive forty or fifty per cent of the expenditures made on the trans-Canada highway and fifty per cent of the expenditures on road work and bridges.

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT AND FARM RELIEF
Subtopic:   BILL IN TERMS GENERALLY OF RELIEF ACT, 1933, WITH PROVISION RESPECTING DELAYED RELIEF ACCOUNTS
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LIB

Peter John Veniot

Liberal

Mr. VENIOT:

For which no projects were submitted.

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT AND FARM RELIEF
Subtopic:   BILL IN TERMS GENERALLY OF RELIEF ACT, 1933, WITH PROVISION RESPECTING DELAYED RELIEF ACCOUNTS
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LIB

Joseph Enoil Michaud

Liberal

Mr. MICHAUD:

For which no projects were submitted. After the provincial authorities had broadcast that no money was being

Relief Act, 1934-Mr. Michaud

spent last year on public works for the relief of unemployment, and only ten days before the close of the fiscal year, this agreement was arrived at. I submit that the works for which the province has been reimbursed to the extent of forty and fifty per cent were not works carried on for the relief of unemployment but were simply the usual road work carried on year after year by the provincial department of public works. It was only toward the latter part of October that certain districts in the province were told that there was money available for the relief of unemployment. When the soil was frozen several inches deep and when in some districts there were two inches of snow on the ground, the government of New Brunswick and the federal Department of Labour got together and decided that some money should be spent for the relief of unemployment in my province. This was at a time of year when in the province there was no need for that because lumbering operations were resuming and the men were being engaged in some kind of employment, more or less profitable. This, however, synchronized with the election which was then being carried on in my district. On that occasion responsible ministers of the crown in New Brunswick made statements to the electorate of the province directly promising that under the unemployment relief program work would be given to those who would support the government candidate. Only to this extent was unemployment relief granted to that province last year under the act of 11930. I submit that this is an abuse of power, and if the relief has been carried on in other provinces as it has been in New Brunswick it is no wonder that irregularities have crept in and that to-day criticism from all sides is being directed at the Minister of Labour for the way in which unemployment relief money is being spent in the various provinces. This is one of the results of the fact that the Dominion government has not outlined any unemployment relief policy.

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT AND FARM RELIEF
Subtopic:   BILL IN TERMS GENERALLY OF RELIEF ACT, 1933, WITH PROVISION RESPECTING DELAYED RELIEF ACCOUNTS
Permalink
CON

Wesley Ashton Gordon (Minister of Immigration and Colonization; Minister of Labour; Minister of Mines)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. GORDON:

I assume the hon. gentleman wants to be sure about his facts. In New Brunswick fifteen projects were approved in 1933, and only one of them in Restigouche county.

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT AND FARM RELIEF
Subtopic:   BILL IN TERMS GENERALLY OF RELIEF ACT, 1933, WITH PROVISION RESPECTING DELAYED RELIEF ACCOUNTS
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LIB

Peter John Veniot

Liberal

Mr. VENIOT:

On what dates were they approved?

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT AND FARM RELIEF
Subtopic:   BILL IN TERMS GENERALLY OF RELIEF ACT, 1933, WITH PROVISION RESPECTING DELAYED RELIEF ACCOUNTS
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CON

Wesley Ashton Gordon (Minister of Immigration and Colonization; Minister of Labour; Minister of Mines)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. GORDON:

I can get the dates when the bill is in committee. It is quite true the agreement was dated October 10, 1933.

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT AND FARM RELIEF
Subtopic:   BILL IN TERMS GENERALLY OF RELIEF ACT, 1933, WITH PROVISION RESPECTING DELAYED RELIEF ACCOUNTS
Permalink
LIB

Joseph Enoil Michaud

Liberal

Mr. MICHAUD:

Will the minister state to the house that the projects were approved 74726-117^

before October 10, 1933? They could not have been approved before that because the agreement with the New Brunswick government regarding unemployment relief in that province for 1003 was entered into only on October 10, 1933. If the minister wants to refer to the report of the Minister of Public Works for New Brunswick for 1933, he will find on page 3 this statement:

Lnder the terms of the agreement made with the federal government under date of October 10, 1933, the federal government

agreed' to pay 50 per cent of work on trans-Canada highway and 40 per cent of other projects retroactive to June 1, 1933, on

colonization roads and to August 1 on other projects. This agreement terminates March 31,

So the agreement between the Dominion government and the government of New Brunswick regarding not direct relief, but unemployment relief works for that province, was entered into only on October 10 last, twenty-one days before the close of their fiscal year. As a result of this agreement and the payment of $200,000 by the federal Department of Labour to the province of New Brunswick, applicable to the works as mentioned in the agreement, the deficit of the province was lowered to that extent. In view of the attitude taken by the Department of Labour, the minister and the government towards Quebec, I submit that the same policy should be followed in regard to the agreements with the other provinces. This would prevent abuses and it might save money from being wasted.

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT AND FARM RELIEF
Subtopic:   BILL IN TERMS GENERALLY OF RELIEF ACT, 1933, WITH PROVISION RESPECTING DELAYED RELIEF ACCOUNTS
Permalink
CON

Otto Baird Price

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. PRICE:

I should like to ask the hon. member for Restigouche-Madawaska (Mr. Michaud) whether it is not a fact that during the period of which he speaks in the month of October, he and his friends were complaining about certain piles of broken crushed stones, asking what they were for-if they were there simply to look at, or if they were to be put on the roads. Was the hon. gentleman during that campaign not asking why this pile of stones had not been put on the roads, and by so doing did he not show that nothing of the kind he suggests was being done to help the government candidate?

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT AND FARM RELIEF
Subtopic:   BILL IN TERMS GENERALLY OF RELIEF ACT, 1933, WITH PROVISION RESPECTING DELAYED RELIEF ACCOUNTS
Permalink
LIB

Joseph Enoil Michaud

Liberal

Mr. MICHAUD:

If my hon. friend does not yet know the history of that pile of stones, he must be deficient in his knowledge of the history of New Brunswick. He refers, no doubt, to the Dalhousie pile of stones, which has been there for three years and has cost New Brunswick $67,000, pprhaps half of which was paid for by the Dominion government. The pile is there yet.

Relief Act, 1934-Mr. Michaud

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT AND FARM RELIEF
Subtopic:   BILL IN TERMS GENERALLY OF RELIEF ACT, 1933, WITH PROVISION RESPECTING DELAYED RELIEF ACCOUNTS
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March 26, 1934