April 10, 1934

LIB

Edward James Young

Liberal

Mr. YOUNG:

I understood, at the time

the commission was set up, that the federal government would furnish all the money they spent. Here is 810,000.000 odd furnished by the federal government and spent by the commission, and we find in addition to that that they borrowed some from the government. Is that correct?

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

George Gordon

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. GORDON:

I shall have to look into

these figures to make sure that the information is correct.

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

Edward James Young

Liberal

Mr. YOUNG:

Will the minister also look into the amount collected by the commission and ascertain how much has been returned? I understand that for the past two falls the commission has been making vigorous efforts to collect the notes they took from the farmers when they granted relief, and I should like to know how much was collected and how much was returned to the federal government. Can the minister get that?

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

George Gordon

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. GORDON:

That was the subject of

quite a long discussion this afternoon when the hon. member was not in his place, and the amount is on Hansard. In round figures, the notes amounted to slightly over $200,000 and the amounts refunded amount to slightly over $8,000.

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

Edward James Young

Liberal

Mr. YOUNG:

The minister means that

the amount collected was slightly over

Relief Act, 1934

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

George Gordon

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. GORDON:

No, the amount of the notes.

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

Edward James Young

Liberal

Mr. YOUNG:

Oh, it was more than that. They took notes for all they granted. The first year they operated they took notes in advance for everything. The notes were signed in blank when they made application for relief and covered everything they were to get.

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

George Gordon

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. GORDON:

I shall have to go into

the figures. I took the figures from what was read out of the auditor general's statement by an hon. member who was discussing it at the time. However, I shall look into it and get a statement.

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

Ross Wilfred Gray

Liberal

Mr. GRAY:

The minister has said on

different occasions, certainly when speaking in the house on Wednesday, March 8, and again this evening, that this bill No. 42 omits the provision contained in the 1933 act with respect generally to the right to loan or advance or guarantee the payment of money by any public or corporate body. In the last few weeks we have had specific reference to the advance guaranteed to the Canadian Pacific of the sum of $60,000,000. I take issue with the minister on the question whether or not this bill does in fact ensure the limitation which he has told us it provides, and I would ask him to consider seriously making a positive statement to the house on the question. We should like to know definitely whether or not such power will be exercised. Section 2 begins:

Notwithstanding the provisions of any statute or law the governor in council may . . .

I understand that the Prime Minister's amendment reads " in addition to." Quite frankly, I think that if anything he has added to rather than taken from the powers sought, though I doubt that it makes any great difference whether he says " notwithstanding " or "in addition to." But whether we read it " notwithstanding " or " in addition to," the section will read, in subsection (b):

When parliament is not in session, to take all such measures as in his discretion may be deemed necessary or advisable to maintain, within the competence of parliament, peace, order and good government throughout Canada; and at all times to take all such measures as in his discretion may be deemed necessary or advisable to protect and maintain the credit and financial position of the dominion or any province thereof.

In the discussions which have taken place in connection with the advance or guarantee made to the Canadian Pacific Railway of some $60,000,000, we have been led to believe that that advance or guarantee was made for

the specific purpose of maintaining the credit of the Dominion of Canada. I submit to the minister that under Bill No. 42 as at present drafted, the government still has that power and that unless we have from the minister, as a representative of the government, an assurance that such power will not be exercised, they can still proceed to make such guarantees as they have in the past and at the next session of parliament come before the house and state that they were made in order to preserve the credit and integrity of the dominion or of some province. The minister, not internationally but by his repeated assertions that this clause has been amended, has permitted an erroneous impression to go throughout Canada that the government can no longer -make those guarantees. I submit with great respect both to the minister and to the Prime Minister, who has made a similar statement, that the government still have that power if they wish to exercise it.

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

Joseph-Arthur Denis

Liberal

Mr. DENIS (Translation):

I wonder

whether, according to the provisions of this section, the government is really in earnest when it requests parliament to sanction the expenditure of unlimited amounts for a purely political purpose.

Hon. members opposite have stated and repeated that we were on the road to prosperity. Last year, a fixed amount was voted to relieve unemployment, while, to-day, the house is requested to sanction an unlimited amount. On the eve of a general election, the government should be more scrupulous and not insist that it be granted such powers which would permit it to distribute political favours in any province it pleases.

According to the report submitted to the house, we find that the government has expended, this year, in Ontario, the sum of $7,753,625.54 and in Quebec, $2,524,402.98. I do not think that there are more unemployed in Ontario than in Quebec; however, the government has, perhaps, more political friends in Ontario. As to public works submitted for the approval of the dominion government, the department was rather reluctant in accepting those proposed by Quebec and it thought fit to curtail them. That is why, we, from Quebec, should feel more reluctant in accepting this section which is inserted in order to favour the government's friends and, thereby derive political advantages.

The other day, I crticized the government for not having acted in a regular way and carried out the distribution of funds more justly. I note that the government has not mended its ways for it still persists in re-

Relief Act, 1934

questing unrestricted powers so as to expend the relief funds rightly or wrongly.

I, therefore, am opposed to this section and I think the government should be more considerate of the rights of this house and should state the amount to be appropriated for the relief of unemployment. With what experience we have had we should drop the dole system and replace it by public works which would raise the morale of workers and, thereby, enhance the public wealth of the provinces and Canada.

The government should be more considerate of the rights and prerogatives of parliament and the constitution and should only request the house to vote definite amounts. It is no excuse, because an extraordinary crisis prevails, to set aside parliamentary rights. I strongly resent these unconstitutional methods and request the government to be respectful of the rights and privileges of this house.

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

Maurice Dupré (Solicitor General of Canada)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. DUPRE (Translation):

As in British

Columbia!

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

Joseph-Arthur Denis

Liberal

Mr. DENIS (Translation):

I am not concerned with other provinces, sir; however, I think that the government have been too lavish, and have not been sufficiently sparing in their political favours; they have not lived up to their obligations nor have they submitted to the house the necessary measures not only to carry out the pledges made by them, in 1930, but also to acquit themselves as Canadian citizens should. The time has arrived for the government to display some human feelings, to carry out its duty and consider the hardships from which we suffer, moreover, to find a remedy.

I shall not further insist. The government must bring down a measure to solve the problems of this crisis. During the 1930 election, members opposite insisted that the solution of the crisis fell to the lot of the Dominion government rather than that of the provinces. To-day, with amazing boldness, they deny all their statements made during the 1930 election. To excuse themselves, they contend that the crisis is world wide and simply ask the people to trust the government, an incompetent and inert administration-

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

Joseph Philippe Baby Casgrain

Liberal

Mr. CASGRAIN (Translation):

They

should be ashamed of themselves.

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

Joseph-Arthur Denis

Liberal

Mr. DENIS (Translation):

*-which appropriates only a few million dollars to relieve unemployment, while setting aside in the estimates, an equal amount for public works. It is high time for the government to show that they are well disposed towards the people, the workmen and the poor. It is high time, I state, to check this revolutionary spirit which has begun to show itself. According to hon. members opposite, this section is unnecessary, however, since they wish to have it passed, it simply proves their lack of sincerity.

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

Joseph Philippe Baby Casgrain

Liberal

Mr. CASGRAIN:

Mr. Chairman, I think I can agree with most of the remarks made by the hon. member for St. Denis (Mr. Denis). He is right in recalling the promises made by the government a few years ago, and more especially in 1930 when this government was supposed to settle all the ills and troubles and problems of the country, to give to the workingmen six days' work a week and to the farmers large profits for the things they produce on their farms. We now have to consider this bill, which is to reenact legislation put before the house by this government in the years 1932, 1933 and 1934. When we look at the results that have been achieved under this measure we really do not think that the government has any reason to be proud of them. There is still unemployment in all parts of this country; in the province of Quebec from which I come, in Ontario, in the western provinces and in the maritimes. We are told to-day that this legislation is absolutely necessary, that it was necessary before the month of April-and we were taken to task by the government because this legislation was not renewed before the first of April. The legislation was not renewed, and up to the present time we do not find that things are going so badly as we were told they would. We have before us the consequences of the operation of this act, resulting in an expenditure of 8110,198,272. I started to scrutinize the expenditure item by item and asked the government for some explanation, but although these figures have been placed on the table of the house for the attention and consideration of the members, when we asked the minister this evening for certain explanations with reference to large amounts such as the one I started to discuss concerning the Department of the Interior, amounting to over $2,000,000, it appears that there are yet some figures not within the minister's reach. I do not want to be unfair to him; he is not now in his seat-it may be that he has gone to look for some of the information that has been asked by hon. members on this side. The reason this bill is put before the house at this time is that the government wants to have another chance to settle the problems which it undertook to settle in 1930. For this purpose the government comes to us and asks us to renew legislation which we have been enacting for the last three years, to give them blanc seing, a blank cheque as it was called when this legislation was intro-

Relief Act, 1934

duoed, permitting the government to do all that it thinks best in the interests of the community in order to relieve unemployment throughout the country. I for one think that in view of what the government has achieved in past years under this legislation they should not be entrusted with this blank cheque. We criticized this legislation when it was first introduced, and we oppose it now for the reasons which have been pointed out by my hon. leader and other members of this party including the hon. member for Ontario (Mr. Moore) who spoke this evening. We hear from people all over the land who speak on behalf of the government that things are going a little bit better. One thing the people need to-day is confidence, and I think this is reactionary legislation the effect of which is to weaken confidence, at a time when the government should be doing everything it can to encourage people to start works that may give more employment and more bread and butter to the population. This afternoon in the banking and commerce committee a most important witness, Mr. Jackson Dodds, said that more trade is the cure for our ills and problems. This government may bring in all kinds of legislation, but they will not be able to achieve their end and settle the problems of this country and bring back prosperity as long as these provisions remain on the statute book.

I have some further remarks to make, but I think some other hon. members want to take part in the discussion.

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

George Gordon

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. GORDON:

Mr. Chairman, a while ago the hon. member for Charlevoix-Sague-nay (Mr. Casgrain) asked for figures concerning the Yukon. The amount in the estimates for this year is $102,000. In former years the amounts for similar purposes were as follows:

1929- 30 $217,7001930- 31

225,5001931- 32

185,5001932- 33

162,5001933- 34

115,000

So hon. members will see that the estimates for the Yukon have been reduced from $225,500 in 1930-31 to $102,000 this year. With respect to the sums that were allotted in connection with relief I am told, although I am not acquainted with that locality, that there was a great deal of distress among the elderly prospectors and the Indians. The money was devoted partly to direct relief and partly to relief by way of work on roads, bridges and so on. In the county of Char-levoix-Saguenay last year the Dominion government, having had representations made to it that people needed relief, approved of

thirty-five schedules covering works aggregating some $207,800.

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

Samuel Gobeil

Conservative (1867-1942)

The CHAIRMAN (Mr. Gobeil):

Shall

the amendment moved by the right hon. leader of the opposition carry?

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

George Gordon

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CORDON:

With respect to the question raised by the hon. member for West Lambton (Mr. Gray) of course I cannot agree that this legislation does not take away from the government rights which they had under the legislation of last year. If one examines section 2 (a) it will be seen that it gives the governor in council power, upon such terms and conditions as may be agreed upon, to enter into agreements with any of the provinces respecting relief measures therein and to grant assistance to any province by way of loan, advance, guarantee or otherwise. If reference is made to the legislation of last year hon. members will see that these words followed:

-loan, or advance money, or guarantee the payment of money by any public body, corporation or undertaking.

Those words are deleted from the legislation of this year, and in my opinion the language of the section that follows is not broad enough to permit, and I think is not capable of any interpretation that would permit, the governor in council to make such guarantees to public bodies or corporations. As the Prime Minister has said, the words " peace, order and good government " have been interpreted on a number of occasions down through the years by the judicial committee of the privy council, and with the deletion of the specific words to which I have made reference my opinion is that the remainder of the section would not invest the governor in council with the right to make guarantees to public bodies and corporations.

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

Ross Wilfred Gray

Liberal

Mr. GRAY:

I do not like to interrupt the minister, but will he make special reference to the sentence on page 2 of the bill beginning with the words " and at all times."

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

George Gordon

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. GORDON:

That is section 2, subsection (b); the sentence reads:

*-and at all times to take all such measures as in his discretion may be deemed necessary or advisable to protect and maintain the credit and financial position of the dominion or any province thereof.

I am not at all prepared to agree that this section is capable of any interpretation that would invest the governor in council with authority to guarantee public bodies, corporations, and so on, as was done under the legislation of last year.

Progress reported.

Questions

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

April 10, 1934