February 19, 1935

LAB

Abraham Albert Heaps

Labour

Mr. HEAPS:

There is another point: Suppose men are working twenty hours a week, spread over a five day week, what would the situation be? The basis of their employment is probably only a half or a third of the total regular weekly employment. I believe there is nothing in the measure which takes care of a situation of that kind, and I am wondering whether men working those hours would come under its provisions.

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE
Subtopic:   MEASURE TO ESTABLISH AN UNEMPLOYMENT ANB SOCIAL INSURANCE COMMISSION
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CON

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

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

I shall look into that

point.

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE
Subtopic:   MEASURE TO ESTABLISH AN UNEMPLOYMENT ANB SOCIAL INSURANCE COMMISSION
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UFA

George Gibson Coote

United Farmers of Alberta

Mr. COOTE:

I should like to draw to

the attention of the Prime Minister a condition among the coal miners of my constituency. They may be employed on an average of two days a week over a period of several months. That period of employment may drop to one day a week at one time and go up to five days a week at another. This is a bituminous coal mining district. I am wondering whether those miners would be covered by subsection 4 as it now stands.

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE
Subtopic:   MEASURE TO ESTABLISH AN UNEMPLOYMENT ANB SOCIAL INSURANCE COMMISSION
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CON

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

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

I would suggest that

subsection 4 be allowed to stand.

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE
Subtopic:   MEASURE TO ESTABLISH AN UNEMPLOYMENT ANB SOCIAL INSURANCE COMMISSION
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UFA

George Gibson Coote

United Farmers of Alberta

Mr. COOTE:

If possible I believe this subsection should be redrafted so as to include men who have employment of such a precarious nature. I believe if that were done it would be worth while.

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE
Subtopic:   MEASURE TO ESTABLISH AN UNEMPLOYMENT ANB SOCIAL INSURANCE COMMISSION
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CON

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

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

I have noted on my bill the hon. member's suggestion, and we shall deal with it.

Subsection 4 stands.

Subsections 5 and 6 agreed to.

On subsection 7-Employment which is unsuitable within the third statutory condition.

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE
Subtopic:   MEASURE TO ESTABLISH AN UNEMPLOYMENT ANB SOCIAL INSURANCE COMMISSION
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CON

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

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

I suggest that we take this subsection by paragraphs.

Unemployment Insurance

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE
Subtopic:   MEASURE TO ESTABLISH AN UNEMPLOYMENT ANB SOCIAL INSURANCE COMMISSION
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CON

Ernest D'Israeli Smith

Conservative (1867-1942)

The CHAIRMAN (Mr. Smith, Cumberland):

We are on paragraph (a), "unemployment due to trade dispute."

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE
Subtopic:   MEASURE TO ESTABLISH AN UNEMPLOYMENT ANB SOCIAL INSURANCE COMMISSION
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UFA

Edward Joseph Garland

United Farmers of Alberta

Mr. GARLAND (Bow River):

Would the Prime Minister explain this paragraph and indicate to what it refers? By a "stoppage of work" does he mean a lockout or a walkout?

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE
Subtopic:   MEASURE TO ESTABLISH AN UNEMPLOYMENT ANB SOCIAL INSURANCE COMMISSION
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CON

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

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

Under the measure three statutory conditions must be observed in order to enable the claimant to receive a benefit under the fund. It will be observed, further, that subsection 7 provides:

An insured contributor shall not be deemed to have failed to fulfil the third statutory condition by reason only that he has declined-

That is, he must be ready to work, or to accept work, but he is not bound to accept work if it is-[DOT]

(a) an offer of employment arising in consequence of a stoppage of work due to a trade dispute.

That is, if there is a strike, or whatever you choose to call it, in connection with any particular work where he could obtain employment he is not said to have declined employment simply because at that time there happens to be a trade dispute. Then he is not said to be in default if he declines-

(b) an offer of employment at wages lower, or on conditions less favourable, than those which he might reasonably have expected to obtain, having regard to those which he habitually obtained in his usual occupation, or would have obtained had he continued to be so employed.

That is, if the only work he could secure was work for which the wages offered were less than those he had been receiving, or the conditions of work were such as to be at variance with those habitually encountered, he could not then be regarded as being in default. Or, he could not be regarded as being in default if he received-

(c) an offer of employment in his usual occupation at wages lower, or on conditions less favourable, than those observed by agreement between employers and employees, or failing any such agreement, than those recognized by good employers.

I realize the words "good employers" are vague, but in actual practice they have been found satisfactory. In other words, a man shall not be punished if he has not been able to find employment because there has been a trade dispute, or because the offer of work is greatly at variance with that to which he has been habitually willing to undertake, both as to wages and conditions; or, even if conditions in his usual occupation are such as to make it

unreasonable to expect him to undertake the work at a lesser wage or under less favourable conditions.

At six o'clock the Speaker resumed the chair and the house took recess.

After Recess

The house resumed at eight o'clock. DOMINION ELECTIONS ACT

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE
Subtopic:   MEASURE TO ESTABLISH AN UNEMPLOYMENT ANB SOCIAL INSURANCE COMMISSION
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ABSENTEE BALLOT FOR MEN IN UNEMPLOYMENT RELIEF CAMPS


Mr. ANGUS MacINNIS (Vancouver South) moved the second reading of Bill No. 16, to amend the Dominion Elections Act, 1934. He said: Mr. Speaker, this amendment to the Dominion Elections Act is similar to an amendment which I moved on the third reading of the bill last year. The purpose of the amendment is to extend' the privilege of voting by absentee ballot to the men in the unemployment relief camps. Voting by absentee ballot was not in the Dominion Elections Act up until the act of 1934. The privilege is restricted to lumbermen, miners, sailors and fishermen. The purpose of that provision is to allow men to vote by absentee ballot who are unavoidably away from their polling division or electoral district on election day. The Dominion Franchise Act made provision for the registrating of the men in the unemployment relief camps, and I am quite satisfied that the government had in mind that they should have every opportunity of exercising their franchise. I will read the section dealing with that so that hon. members may have it clear in their minds that there was no intention, so far as the act itself was concerned, to deprive these men of their franchise. Rule 9 of subsection 2 of section 3 of the Dominion Franchise Act reads as follows: Notwthstanding the provisions of any other of these rules, time spent by a person at any unemployment relief camp, or in any institution or refuge maintained, either by public or private moneys, for the relief of distressed or unemployed persons, shall be deemed to have been spent by that person in temporary absence from his last place of residence as determined pursuant ito these rules, and if there be any such place of residence or home, either of himself or of any member of his family, to which he could return, he shall, notwithstanding his presence in such unemployment camp, be registered at such place or residence or home, and moreover no person who is registered as an elector under this act shall merely because of Dominion Elections Act time spent by him at an unemploylment relief camp, or in such an institution or refuge, lose his residence qualification in the electoral district in which he is so registered. I think that makes it quite clear that the government and parliament had in mind that these men should have the opportunity of exercising their franchise. But a peculiar circumstance in connection with the men in the unemployment relief camps is that most of them are away from the constituency in which they are registered. At some of the camps in the interior of British Columbia, for instance, no doubt a great many of the men come from Vancouver or New Westminster or neighbouring constituencies. It is impossible for these men to leave the camp and go into their own electoral districts to exercise their franchise on election day. So that while provision has been made for registering these men presumably for the purpose of allowing them to exercise the franchise, conditions are such that it is impossible for them to do so. They are, as a matter of fact, in just the same position as those for whom provision has been made to vote by absentee ballot. I remember that in the debate on this question last year the hon. member for Comox-Alberni (Mr. Neill) made this statement: It is no crime to have to earn your living away from home and by the methods I have indicated. There is no suggestion that these people are of a low standard because they have to go away to earn their living. Surely they are entitled to a chance to vote. He was referring at the time to lumbermen, miners, sailors and fishermen. Now I take it that what holds for these occupations holds equally well for the men in the unemployment relief camps. It is no crime at this time to be unemployed. It may be inconvenient, but it certainly is not a crime. The amendment would apply only to such men as are entitled to vote in the particular province in which they live. That is, if a person in an unemployment relief camp in British Columbia is not ordinarily entitled to vote in the province of British Columbia, and is not registered in any constituency of that province, this amendment will not give him that right. He must 'be registered in some constituency in the province before he is allowed to vote. I think it is very important, Mr. Speaker, that we should give every consideration to these men. They are in rather difficult circumstances, and because of their condition they feel that society is, as it were, against them. We should employ every means possible to disabuse their minds of that idea, ideas which they have every opportunity of hearing propagated. I was at a meeting only last week where one of the questions asked was: "How can we change the present order by constitutional means when the men who are now in the camps are disfranchised? And this is only a beginning. Next year we might see more of them disfranchised." Now unless we take steps to see that these men are placed at least on the same basis as those already provided for in the act I believe they will have a good case for the statements that are being made. During the debate on the elections act last year the Prime Minister (Mr. Bennett) said: If people go about and try to raise passions and prejudices by saying that parliament is endeavouring to take away from persons the rights and privileges they enjoy, that argues ill for democracy and for its future. But people will do these things as long as we give them an opportunity, as long as we leave any loophole for them to do so. I am convinced that if we are to get out of the difficulties we are in now we can only do so through the cooperation of all our people, and that includes the men in the relief camps. I noticed in the press a few days ago a statement by the Archibishop of York. The church officials were discussing the problem of unemployment, and this is what the archbishop said: The great thing is to make the unemployed feel that they still count as members of the community. I do not know of any better way at the moment to make them feel they are members of the community than to make it as easy as possible for them to exercise their franchise. It is a duty we owe to them, and it will take away any excuse they may have for saying that they have no part in the government of the country. I would therefore ask the house to consider this amendment seriously, to try to see the justice of it, to pass the amendment and extend to these men the privilege which we have already accorded those who are fortunate enough to have employment but are away from their constituency on election day.


CON

Hugh Guthrie (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Hon. HUGH GUTHRIE (Minister of Justice) :

As my hon. friend (Mr. Maclnnis)

has said, this identical motion was introduced by him last year when the Dominion Elections Act was up for its third reading in this house. Last session a special committee studied the provisions of the Dominion Elections Act and one of the proposals which I think the committee very fully considered was * that now put forward in the bill before the

Dominion Elections Act

house. I think the committee spent two meetings in a discussion of this question, and we unanimously agreed that the men in unemployment camps, while they could not and should not be disfranchised, should not be entitled to vote in the particular riding where the camp happened to be situated. It was pointed out to us, and I think everyone is aware of the fact, that to a very large extent the men in these camps are transients and not residents of the riding in which the camp happens to be located. My hon. friend from Quebec South (Mr. Power) who is not in the house, was a member of the committee and he pointed out very forcibly that there was a very large camp in his riding, that the men there were not residents of the riding, and that it would be most unfair to allow them to vote in that particular district where they were merely transients.

Topic:   ABSENTEE BALLOT FOR MEN IN UNEMPLOYMENT RELIEF CAMPS
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IND

Angus MacInnis

Independent Labour

Mr. MacINNIS:

This amendment does

not suggest that they should be allowed to vote in the constituency in which the camp is located, any more than the amendment proposed last year provided that the miners, sailors and fishermen should vote in the constituency in which they were employed.

Topic:   ABSENTEE BALLOT FOR MEN IN UNEMPLOYMENT RELIEF CAMPS
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CON

Hugh Guthrie (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. GUTHRIE:

Yes, but these men in

the camps were largely transients and provision was made in the bill to permit them to vote in their ordinary residential constituencies, in the place where they were accustomed to reside, and machinery was introduced into the act for that purpose.

Topic:   ABSENTEE BALLOT FOR MEN IN UNEMPLOYMENT RELIEF CAMPS
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LIB

Ian Alistair Mackenzie

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE (Vancouver):

Was

that for voting or registration?

Topic:   ABSENTEE BALLOT FOR MEN IN UNEMPLOYMENT RELIEF CAMPS
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CON

Hugh Guthrie (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. GUTHRIE:

Both.

Topic:   ABSENTEE BALLOT FOR MEN IN UNEMPLOYMENT RELIEF CAMPS
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LIB

Ian Alistair Mackenzie

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE (Vancouver):

Was

arrangement made for transportation?

Topic:   ABSENTEE BALLOT FOR MEN IN UNEMPLOYMENT RELIEF CAMPS
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CON

Hugh Guthrie (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. GUTHRIE:

No. On this point the

committee was unanimous and we reported the bill to the house. A suggestion was made by the hon. member for Comox-Alberni (Mr. Neill) that there should be special provision with regard to fishermen, sailors, miners and lumbermen-not for such sailors, fishermen, miners and lumbermen as were in unemployment camps, but men whose business called them away from home and made it very difficult if not impossible for them to reach their homes to vote. A special amendment was introduced by the hon. member for Comox-Alberni to allow men living within a radius of fifty miles, I think-

Topic:   ABSENTEE BALLOT FOR MEN IN UNEMPLOYMENT RELIEF CAMPS
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IND

February 19, 1935