February 19, 1935

IND

Angus MacInnis

Independent Labour

Mr. MacINNIS:

Just a word or two in

connection with this amendment. Following the remarks made by the hon. member for MacLeod (Mr. Coote), I think we can readily see that the first effect of this legislation will be a reduction in purchasing power and consequently an increase in unemployment. So that when the purchasing power in the hands of the workers is reduced the first result of this measure will be to hasten the day when they are unemployed. It may equalize itself to a degree when they begin to receive benefits, but undoubtedly, as has been pointed out already, the first result will be to increase what it aims to reduce. Then again we found during the investigation by the price spreads and mass buying committee that many of those who are employed had to receive help from the relief departments of the cities in which they lived. If something more is to be taken out of their wages by contributions under this bill that will have to be made up by the municipalities. So I do not think we are getting anywhere by this legislation as long as it remains on a basis requiring contribution from those who are already receiving far less than is necessary for a decent standard Of living.

Unemployment Insurance

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):

Last year

we had an illustration which should have made it clear to the Prime Minister how one can vote for the general principle of an unemployment insurance bill without committing himself to the contributory feature-. That was not regarded as the principle of the bill either on second reading or at any time. Last year when the central bank bill was under consideration an attempt was made to move an amendment providing that the central bank should be publicly owned, and the house was informed both by the Minister of Finance and by the leader of the opposition that the principle of the bill was the setting up in Canada of a central bank, not the question whether it was to be publicly or privately controlled. That, they said, was a detail which could be determined in committee. So in this case the contributory or non-contributory feature obviously must be a detail, and was held to be so from the beginning; nothing to the contrary has ever been said.

As to the question whether or not the figures I have given in regard to the distribution of the wage earner's dollar are fair, the Prime Minister is probably as good a judge as I am. I gave the committee exactly what appeared in the monthly survey of the American Federation of Labour. I quote further in order to make it very clear:

That the workers have taken the "rap" during the depression is graphically revealed by Department of Commerce figures quoted by the "Survey." They show that during 1933 dividend and interest payments were 64 per cent of the 1929 level, while wages were only 41 per cent.

Even more startling was the statement that workers are getting less and less from the income they create. This is demonstrated by a graph reprinted herewith-

From which I have already quoted.

On the other hand, profits and overhead during the same period increased from a half to nearly two-thirds of the value created by manufacture. This, the "Survey" pointedly remarks, has steadily decreased the amount of goods workers can buy, with the result that efforts to get back to normal conditions have been halting.

So is it with this bill. This is going to halt recovery instead of advancing it. To the extent that it extracts purchasing power from the people, to that extent it hampers recovery.

Amendment (Mr. Garland) negatived.

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

Joseph-Arthur Bradette

Liberal

Mr. BRADETTE:

I want to call the

attention of the committee to another feature of this matter. There is no doubt this question has been thoroughly studied in England and elsewhere. When I spoke last year on the resolution of the hon. member for East

Hamilton (Mr. Mitchell) with respect to unemployment insurance I said that the machine should also be taxed. I believe that unless this is done the present bill is going to have the effect of bringing about more rapid industrialization of industry. No one can quarrel with the use of machines in the present industrial order, yet the fact remains that the machine is replacing men in great numbers, and unless it is found possible under this measure to tax to some extent the mechanization of industry it will defeat its own end, for the good reason that industries will try to use more and more machinery. I could give many instances of mechanization so highly advanced in some factories that practically no men are employed. This does not apply so forcibly in the mining and the newsprint industries. I want the Prime Minister to study that question. I am very serious in making the statement that this legislation will operate to encourage higher mechanization, replacing the human worker more and more, and unless something is done towards a graded ratio of taxation on the machine we are going to have more and more people unemployed, because it will simply hasten the natural evolution towards higher mechanization. Some two years ago the civilized world was startled by the famous term "technocracy." It was recognized that machinery was creating an anomalous situation, although perhaps not so serious as some of those American engineers tried to make the world believe; nevertheless the fact remains that at the present time when we are suffering so much from unemployment it is largely due to the fact that man is the servant and not the master of machinery. This has become more and more pronounced in our industrial life. I repeat the statement I made last year, that unless we find it possible to make the machine that is replacing men so rapidly pay something toward the state so as to allow men to remain at their occupations it will not help the functioning of the new social order. No doubt this angle has been studied by different committees, but I believe it would be in order for this committee to establish a ratio, inasmuch as the machine is entering to a greater degree into some industries than others, as a means towards the establishment of an equilibrium in the working population. If this is not done unemployment is going to become more and more pronounced. Anyone who has been studying the industrial evolution of this country for the last twenty-five years can see the stupendous changes that have taken place. These changes should work for the

Unemployment Insurance

welfare of civilization, but unluckily they have worked to the detriment of the workingman. This bill should provide that highly mechanized industry should be taxed on a higher scale than industries which do not use so much machinery. I make this prophecy, that unless it is found possible to establish an equilibrium so that the replacement of men by machines is made to serve the welfare of the working population as a whole, such legislation as this will defeat its own end.

Subsection 2 agreed to.

Subsections 3 and 4 agreed to.

On subsection 5-employer's contribution payable in respect of exempted person:

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

Harry Butcher

Liberal

Mr. BUTCHER:

I should like to ask the Prime Minister a question. Subsection 5 says:

The employer of a person who holds a certificate of exemption under this act shall be liable to pay the like contributions as would be payable by him as employer's contributions if -that person were a person insured under this act, and in this act any reference to the employer's contribution shall be construed as including a contribution payable under this subsection.

Section 16 was rather glossed over, but I notice among the exempted persons under subsection (b) we have-

-a person who is employed in an occupation which is seasonal and does not ordinarily extend over more than twenty-two weeks in any year and who is not ordinarily employed in any other occupation which is insurable employment; or

(c) a person who habitually works for less than the ordinary working day-

I wonder why it is provided that in this case the employer must pay the contribution. Will the Prime Minister explain?

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:

A certificate of exemption-is in certain cases granted to an employee under section 16. By subsection 5 of section 17 the employer must continue to pay in the case of one exempted under section 16 as in all other cases. Therefore the employer must pay, just as if he had not applied for the certificate, so far as the individual employee -is concerned.

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

Harry Butcher

Liberal

Mr. BUTCHER:

Then the employee would not receive benefits if he -became unemployed?

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:

No, he would not.

Mr. HO-WDEN: That covers a large number of employees. Subsection (b) of this section deals with persons employed in 92582-62

seasonal occupations. There must be very many persons who are employed seasonally in the one industry alone.

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE
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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:

Section 16 deals with the case where the person himself applies for and obtains from the commission a certificate. Under subsection (b) he is a person employed in an occupation -which is seasonal, which does not ordinarily extend for more than twenty-two weeks in a year, and who is not ordinarily employed in any other occupation which is insurable employment. That is one class; the other is composed of persons who habitually work for less than an ordinary working day. The application is made by the individual, in order to relieve himself of any further interest in. the matter. The counterpart of this section will -be found in the English act of 1920. If he did not ask for the certificate he would have to pay. By asking for the certificate he is exempt from the opportunity of obtaining insurance in the event of his falling within the provisions of the act concerning benefits, but the employer must continue to pay. It is an arbitrary exercise of power; he continues his payment to the fund.

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE
Subtopic:   MEASURE TO ESTABLISH AN UNEMPLOYMENT ANB SOCIAL INSURANCE COMMISSION
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Subsection agreed to. Subsections 6 and 7 agreed to. Section agreed to. On section 18 (as printed; now section 17) -Payment by stamps or otherwise.


LIB

Ian Alistair Mackenzie

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE (Vancouver):

Might I ask the Prime Minister how these stamps are to be distributed, either through the post offioe or otherwise?

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 thought the h-on. gentleman would ask that, because it is a reasonable question. The government has given some thought to the matter, and my personal view is that this should be the method of distribution. But it is thought that possibly the commission should make its own regulation in order to deal with the matter as it thinks best under the circumstances. My own view, which I -believe is shared by a great many persons-I shall have something to say about it in connection with another measure that will be submitted to the house later-is that the post offioe does offer the facilities to enable the stamps to be distributed.

Mr. MITCHE-LL: Will they be special stamps?

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:

Yes.

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE
Subtopic:   MEASURE TO ESTABLISH AN UNEMPLOYMENT ANB SOCIAL INSURANCE COMMISSION
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Section agreed to.



Unemployment Insurance



Section 19 (now section 18) agreed to. On section 20 (as printed; now section 19) -Statutory conditions for receipt of unemployment benefit.


CON

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

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

I think this section might be taken by paragraphs. It is a very important section, to which I particularly directed the attention off the hon. member for North Winnipeg and the hon. member for East Hamilton.

Subsections 1 and 2 agreed to.

On subsection (3)-Enlargement of first statutory condition.

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

William Mulock

Mr. MTJLOCK:

Are the benefits paid regardless of whether or not the person entitled to them remains in Canada?

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:

The hon. gentleman will remember that in the first part of the first schedule, at page 31, the following words occur:

(b) Employment under the dominion, or under any province of Canada with the concurrence of the province-

(c) Employment outside of Canada, or partly outside of Canada, for the purpose of the execution of some particular work, by persons who were insured contributors immediately before leaving Canada-

So it might be that to a limited extent and under certain conditions payments might be made out of Canada.

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

William Pate Mulock

Liberal

Mr. MULOCK:

What I had in mind was that if it was cheaper to live in the United States people might draw benefits under this act and spend the money in the United States.

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:

That contingency we

know is always a possibility, because in connection with the pensions paid returned men that is so. Perhaps the hon. member for Labelle will permit me to continue without interrupting.

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE
Subtopic:   MEASURE TO ESTABLISH AN UNEMPLOYMENT ANB SOCIAL INSURANCE COMMISSION
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February 19, 1935