March 12, 1935

UFA

Edward Joseph Garland

United Farmers of Alberta

Mr. GARLAND (Bow River):

That is correct, but the rest is not.

Sir GEOiRGE PERLEY: If the employee is not to pay then the exchequer must pay more.

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

Edward Joseph Garland

United Farmers of Alberta

Mr. GARLAND (Bow River):

Not necessarily.

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

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Order.

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CON

George Halsey Perley (Minister Without Portfolio)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir GEOIRGE PERLEY:

Well, the hon. gentleman has already spoken. If the employee is not to pay anything the exchequer must pay more, which makes the amendment involve a charge on the people of this country. My colleague has already mentioned one paragraph of the rules which prevents any amendment of that kind being made by a private member. Further than that, paragraph 568 says: .

The Governor General's recommendation to any resolution involving a payment out of the public treasury must be formally given by a privy councillor in his place at t'he very initiation of a proceeding, i.e., as soon as the motion has been proposed for the house to go into committee on the resolution.

Therefore I submit that the point taken by the Minister of Railways is correct and that this amendment is entirely out of order.

Mr. ANGUS MaoINNIS (Vancouver South): I contend that the amendment is quite in order. In tlhe first place it is not contrary to the principle of the bill. The principle of the bill, if we are to follow precedents that have arisen in this house, is that of unemployment insurance. When we were discussing the central bank bill we tried to move an amendment providing for a

Unemployment Insurance

publicly owned and controlled bank, and we were told by both sides that that was not a principle of the bill, that the principle of the bill was the institution of a central bank. Using the same logic the principle of this bill is unemployment insurance.

Then as to the point that it involves expenditure of public money, the proposed1 amendment does not say anything of the kind; it says only that as far as the employee is concerned it shall be non-contributory. Where the other contributions are to come from is no concern of the mover of the amendment-

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE
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?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Oh, oh.

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IND

Angus MacInnis

Independent Labour

Mr. MacINNIS:

I am speaking to a point of order, that is what we are concerned with. It does not necessarily follow that there must be a contribution from the crown. As a matter of fact the contribution should come from production. Consequently we may say, as far as the mover and seconder of the proposed amendment are concerned, that our purpose is that the contributions should come from the employers, or out of industry. For these reasons I contend that the amendment is in order.

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CON

Pierre Édouard Blondin (Speaker of the Senate)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPEAKER:

I have given the matter

some consideration, in anticipation of an amendment being moved, having followed the remarks of the hon. member for Bow River (Mr. Garland). To my mind there is no question whatever that the amendment is out of order. So far as concerns the first point raised by the Minister of Railways and Canals I do not think it necessary to rule on that, but the authorities are very clear, as all hon. members will agree that no private member has the right to introduce an amendment which would have the effect of augmenting taxes or charges on the people. That is clear from paragraph 551 and following paragraphs of Beauchesne's Parliamentary Rules and Forms. The matter is also quite clearly set out in a short paragraph in May's Parliamentary Procedure at page 511 where it is stated that:

No motion can therefore be made to impose a tax, save by a minister of the crown, unless such tax be in substitution, by way of equivalent, for taxation at that moment submitted to the consideration of parliament; nor can the amount of a tax proposed on behalf of the crown be augmented, ...

It seems clear that if the benefits under the bill are to remain the same the charge upon the crown must be augmented if the amendment of the hon. member for Bow River came into effect. Therefore I rule that the amendment is out of order.

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

George Douglass Stanley

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. G. D. STANLEY (East Calgary):

My views are very considerably at variance with those expressed by the hon. member for Bow River (Mr. Garland). I have supported this bill and still support it because it is an insurance bill. Under it there is to be a three way contribution to a fund, and by reason of such contributions benefits are to be paid from that fund. It is an insurance proposal, presumed, as has been so frequently stated, to be on an actuarial basis; certain benefits in return for certain contributions. The hon. member for Bow River found himself in a rather peculiar position. He voted for the principle of the bill, and by doing so intimated' to the house and through the house to the country that he was in favour of the insurance principle on which the bill is based, that he believed in contributions being made towards the insurance fund and under certain conditions benefits being paid therefrom. Then he found himself arguing that upon this insurance measure there should be superimposed relief measures, so that those who are not making any contributions to the fund should be taken in and granted benefits for which they had not contributed. It is I suppose distinctly popular to contend that from this or any fund contributions should be made for the benefit of those who are unemployed and on relief in our country. There is no question in the world but that measures should be provided to take care of those who require relief, who are unfortunately in a position that they cannot sustain themselves and their families. But when one endeavours to attach to an insurance bill relief measures which belong to some other phase of governmental undertakings he is doing something which would defeat the very purposes o.f the bill. The purpose of this bill is to provide insurance facilities whereby benefits may be extended to men and women employed in industry in this country. Hence the hon. gentleman argues himself into this position, that from the contributions which men who are employed in industry-associated with others, that is the government and the employers-make to a fund, should be taken the relief which is justly due to tfrose who are unemployed and in distress. In other words he says that the men who are paying contributions into an insurance fund, presumed to be on an actuarial basis, should be taxed in order to relieve the. treasuries of the respective authorities whose obligation it is to care for them, and the burden placed on the backs of the contributors to this insurance fund. That is a most untenable position. If there is anything that would condemn this

Unemployment Insurance

bill, anything that would render it absolutely futile, it would be the endeavour to place upon the backs of the men who are employed in this country the responsibility which be* longs to the people as a whole.

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UFA

Edward Joseph Garland

United Farmers of Alberta

Mr. GARLAND (Bow River):

I rise to

a question of privilege. The statement of the hon. member for East Calgary (Mr. Stanley), quite unwittingly I am sure, is not accurate. I did not make any such proposal. I proposed that the employed in Canada under this scheme should be relieved of any cost.

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE
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CON

George Douglass Stanley

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STANLEY:

Perhaps the hon. gentleman will allow me to make my address. He made a good long speech.

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE
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UFA

Edward Joseph Garland

United Farmers of Alberta

Mr. GARLAND (Bow River):

Do not

make misstatements.

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CON

George Douglass Stanley

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STANLEY:

The hon. gentleman

stood up in his place in this house and registered his vote on the second reading of the bill, accepting the principle of the bill. By doing so he pledged himself before this house and the people of the country to support the principle of the bill, and the insurance principle was the principle for which he was voting. But no sooner had he done that than he proceeded to introduce what he considered was a vote-catching proposition. There is no question in the world about that.

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UFA

Edward Joseph Garland

United Farmers of Alberta

Mr. GARLAND (Bow River):

That is

pretty cheap. I would expect that from the hon. gentleman.

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

George Douglass Stanley

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STANLEY:

My hon. friend has

argued himself into that position; not only that, he has voted himself into that position; he has placed himself on record in this house as taking that position, and that is the position in which he stands before the unemployed workmen of this country to-day. I do not think it unjust to point that out. When the hon. gentleman found himself in that most paradoxical position he certainly had to square himself, so he proceeded to try to eliminate the contributions from the men; he proceeded to say that this bill should not be supported, that it should not become law because it is not as good as the British bill, because it is twenty-five years behind the British act. It is true that when the British workman becomes unemployed he is given unemployment insurance. When he becomes ill he receives sickness insurance. When he reaches a certain age he is given old age insurance, and when he dies his widow receives widow's insurance. That is quite correct, and I wish that situation obtained in Canada. But the fact that Great Britain

is ahead of us in connection with social insurance and that Great Britain has gone forward in regard to measures of this kind more than Canada has surely is not a reasonable argument why this parliament should not proceed to enact at least the first stage, which is this unemployment insurance measure.

Is there any argument against it? The hon. gentleman very well might have said, "Let us start with this and as rapidly as possible bring in the other measures." He might even have argued that at this session of parliament we should proceed to bring in the legislation which would grant the benefits extended to the workmen in Great Britain. That would have been an argument, but the fact is that we are considering one measure, an unemployment insurance measure, and by our votes in this house we must determine whether we propose to take this first step and provide the unemployment benefits which are contained in this bill. For the life of me I cannot see the force of the argument that because Great Britain gives something more therefore we should not give anything at all.

The hon. gentleman has brought in the question of relief measures. Personally I cannot see that this question arises in connection with this bill. The hon. gentleman also said that this was the sum and substance of the reform program, but he knew very well that he was making an exaggeration that was hardly fair. This measure speaks for itself; it is an unemployment insurance measure based on certain very definite principles which are thoroughly understood by all the workmen of this country. They know exactly what it means; it is a contributory insurance measure against unemployment. The hon. gentleman went a step further and quoted the amount of relief given in various municipalities in Canada, intimating that one city pays so much, another city so much more and so on. That is not the question at all. The hon. gentleman knows that this measure provides certain benefits in return for certain contributions. If he had wished to do so he might very well have argued that the contributors to this fund should be asked to contribute more than twenty-one cents or twenty-five cents a week, and that because of the larger contribution they should receive larger benefits. That argument would have been quite sound from that standpoint but taking this as an insurance measure the principle of the bill is that for this contribution, which is to accumulate in a fund, certain 'benefits will be extended on an actuarial basis. In connection with these

Unemployment Insurance

benefits the use of the words "relief measure" I think is unfair. This is not a relief measure at all; this is an insurance measure which extends benefits to workmen in return for contributions they make together with the employer and the state. Whether those benefits equal the amount of relief provided in the city of Ottawa or the city of Calgary is entirely beside the question. That is not the point at all. If Calgary or Ottawa see fit to contribute to the relief of citizens who require relief, that is their own business and that is another consideration entirely. When a workman, by reason of the contributions he makes, is entitled under his contract to certain benefits the question of whether he is wealthy, whether he has saved his money or whether he has spent it does not enter into the situation at all. He has a contract, signed, sealed and delivered, under which he can claim certain benefits definitely stipulated in the contract.

That is a very different thing from a consideration of the relief which is extended to a family who happen to be in dire need and who, as a result, receive certain assistance from the municipality in which they live. A man works week in and week out, month in and month out, and by reason of his contributions he is entitled to certain benefits when he becomes unemployed. That is very plain, and I do not see how the word relief can be mixed up with this question at all. This is an actuarial measure which does not undertake to give a dollar for fifty cents. No insurance measure can do that. The hon. gentleman spoke about various life insurance companies in this country exploiting the public. Those were not the words used, but in substance I believe I have indicated the correct meaning. I know nothing about that particular phase of the matter, nor does it enter into the present situation. This is an insurance measure by which the government of the state handles the finances at a minimum of expense, and pays out on an actuarial basis benefits to those who are entitled under the contract.

Then the hon. member introduced the matter of relief, and spoke about the relief extended under the insurance legislation of Great Britain. If one had the time to go back over the history of that legislation he would have these general conclusions borne out: First, that the 1911 measure was actuarially sound, but that in 1920 upon the return of the soldiers there was imposed upon the measure the question of relief. People who had not made contributions and were not contributors under the act were given relief from the fund. That was a violation of the principle

of unemployment insurance. When we read the 1927 legislation we find that much of that difficulty was removed, and if I understand the 1934 measure it would seem to indicate that they have gone back to a straight insurance proposition.

The fact of the matter is that the insurance measure in Great Britain was almost wrecked because they violated the very insurance principles behind the 1911 measure. Had not the treasury of Great Britain come to the relief of the insurance fund to the extent of hundreds of millions of pounds there would have been no unemployment insurance for the workmen of that country. One of the important principles in any unemployment insurance scheme is that there shall be contributions by all concerned, not simply for the purpose of obtaining the money but for the moral support and sympathetic assistance such action gives to the administration of the measure. One of the greatest dangers facing any unemployment insurance scheme in Canada would be the dissemination of an idea that down here in Ottawa there is a bottomless purse, and that all one ihas to do is to dig in and get his money. That view would wreck the insurance undertaking. If the government of this or any other day conceives the idea that it can pay out under an unemployment insurance scheme moneys away beyond the contributions which should be made, then at that moment it is undertaking to wreck the whole insurance arrangement. There must be behind any successful scheme the moral support to which I have referred. I would emphasize the necessity of undertaking to impress upon the minds of our public men, our representatives in parliament, employers in industry, employees in industry, organized labour unions and others, the fact that this is an insurance measure, that it should be continued on an insurance basis, and that benefits should be paid to the unemployed under the contract contained in the act.

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LAB

James Shaver Woodsworth

Labour

Mr. J. S. WOODSWORTH (Winnipeg North Centre):

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member for East Calgary (Mr. Stanley) has attempted to draw a sharp distinction between an unemployment measure and a relief measure. I quite concede that theoretically that may be done, but I should like to impress upon the hon. member and other hon. members that in practice we have a right to judge any particular measure in the light of the unemployment situation now existing. The hon. member for East Calgary said: "If Calgary chooses to make a relief contribution to the unemployed, that is their business," and he says that is a matter distinct and different

Unemployment Insurance

from any measure which the dominion government may pass. I wonder if it is necessary once more to 'remind the hon. member what his leader in Calgary on June 12, 1930, was reported as saying:

This is a new country and there is no excuse for unemployment in Canada if a government does its duty.

Later on he said:

After all, no man who has a heart can see the mothers and children without clothes or food without emotion, however hardhearted he may he. What are we going to do about it? I say to you my fellow citizens, my fellow Canadians, speaking to the larger audience, I am convinced this problem has now ceased to be local and provincial, and has become national in its importance.

Then later:

I propose that parliament shall formulate a definite plan for permanent relief, and that parliament shall deal with this national problem and provide amelioration for the condition in order that next winter Canadian people may not be facing the crisis that is upon us without having a remedy at hand.

That was in 1930. It is now 1935, and we are quite justified in using the Prime Minister's own words, and asking "What are we going to do about it?" Again and again this session hon. members in this corner of the chamber have urged the government to bring down relief legislation. That has not been done nor is there any indication that a relief measure will be brought down.

Under the circumstances I say the hon. member for Bow River is quite right when he suggests that the present measure does not begin to meet the unemployment problem. I shall refer to the figures he quoted from the statement issued by the board of governors of the Canadian council of child and family welfare. It states:

Thus 1,700,000 of the gainfully occupied population will be eligible for insurance, and a total of 2,260,000 not covered by any such measure.

It seems to me that is a very serious situation. The hon. member for East Calgary states that the bill undertakes to provide for periods of unemployment of men and women employed in industry. Yes, it does provide for some 1,700,000, but it does not provide for 2,260,000. Surely, that is a serious situation. Referring to the figures in the pamphlet already quoted by the hon. member for Bow River, I find the following:

It would seem a safe premise that there are not less than 500,000 to 525,000 persons now unemployed, and in receipt of relief, making with their dependents, a total of not less than 1,350,000 recipients of public unemployment relief, quite apart from the great load of dependency from all other sources.

That is the situation. The British bill is supplemented by an assistance measure; if this bill was supplemented by an assistance measure some of us would feel a great deal better about it, but no assistance measure such as that now in operation in Great Britain is being enacted, and so I think we have a right in discussing this particular measure to ask how far it covers the case.

People must be kept alive. I think that might be taken almost as axiomatic. We cannot allow people simply to starve, although some of them are coming perilously near that condition. I noticed in the Montreal Daily Star of February 26 this news item:

Sickness and unemployment have caused nine suicides in nine days in greater Montreal. This was shown this morning in morgue records.

In the next issue of the Montreal Star, that of February 27, there is reported the tenth suicide that of a man who had been unemployed for six months and was in ill health. The coroner rendered the verdict of "suicide while in a state of mental depression." Such tragedies occur among those who are not able to stand the strain, and are some little indication of the suffering and hardship and despair which are being experienced by great masses of our people to-day.

What are we going to do about it? That is what the Prime Minister asked five years ago. He replied that he proposed that parliament would bring in a definite measure, but parliament has, not done that during the past five years, and this year again we have no definite measure at all.

My 'hon. friend from Bow River (Mr. Garland) by his amendment would suggest that we extend this measure in some way until it becomes equal to the emergency, and that could be done only by what has been called noncontributory unemployment insurance. As I said on the second reading of the bill, I frankly recognize that that phrase, "nomcon-tributory insurance" may be somewhat of a misnomer, although some large corporations who do not insure in the regular fire insurance companies lay aside a certain sum to provide *against fire, and they frequently speak of that provision as the carrying of their own "insurance." So we have some little precedent even for that term. But I do not care what term you use. The principle is that in some way or other these unemployed people should be systematically provided for. It is obvious that that cannot be done through an actuarial scheme under which the employee himself makes a contribution. I think my hon. friend from Bow River was right when he pointed out that wages are so very low to-day that

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BET1SED EDITION


Unemployment Insurance



this scheme involves a hardship even on those who are at present employed. He was quite right when he pointed out that this measure meets the needs of only a small group of workers, and meets them in only a very, very inadequate degree. But what about those whose needs are not met at all? That is the important question before us to-day. Personally I regret that the rules of the house do not permit our having a vote on the very important question whether we should make some provision along the line of noncontributory unemployment insurance. May I -point out the enormous losses that are now being incurred through unemployment? Again and again in this house we have had members point out the heavy cost of the strikes that have occurred from time to time and which have to a certain extent impeded industry, but, according to the census figures given by the Prime Minister on Fe-bruay 18, strikes account for only -04 per cent of lost time, illness for 5-74 per cent, temporary lay-offs for 12-56 per cent, and no jobs for 80-26 per cent.


LIB
LAB

James Shaver Woodsworth

Labour

Mr. WOODSWORTH:

Yes, I was quoting from the census figures as given in this bouse by the Prime Minister on February 18. Bas' ing an estimate on the average income, and on the census figures as contained in the Canada Year Book at page 770, there is an income loss by the wage earners through having no jobs and through temporary lay-offs amounting to nearly $400,000,000 a year. That is an astonishing situation-$400,000,000 a year actually lost through unemployment and temporary lay-offs. I am not so sure that the hon. member for Bow River might not very well have argued that if we could save that $400,000,000 a year we would not need very much in the way of unemployment insurance, and if there was an occasional unemployed man he could very easily be taken care of. The problem is not simply that of taking care of the lost time of a portion of our population. It is a bigger problem than that. It is taking care of the needs of the people during a period of extreme depression when very large numbers are out of work. That, it seems to me, is the responsibility of the state.

I shall vote for this bill, as I did on the second reading, because it seems to me that on balance it is to the good. In so far as it may help a small portion of our people in a very inadequate way, it is to the good, and I

suppose to that extent one is justified in voting for it. Further than that, I hope it is, as the hon. member for East Calgary indicates, a first step. It is a certain recognition of responsibility on the part of the government to provide for unemployment. As such I welcome it and I will vote for the bill also because of that consideration, -but I want it very clearly understood that those of us who do vote for the bill for these reasons do not believe that at is at all adequate to meet the very pressing needs of our people to-day.

Mr. J. R. MaciNlOOL (Toronto Northwest) : Mr. Speaker, hon. members in the far corner of the house have to-day, as they did when the bill was before the house recently, made many statements that should be set right before the question is put. il want to refer for a moment to the remarks of the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre (Mr. Woodsworth) -who spoke of the unemployed who are not covered by this bill. I have in mind, Mr. Speaker, what the Prime Minister (Mr. Bennett) said when he was speaking on this bill. On being asked whether this bill would -cover those who are not working, and who therefore would not come under an unemployment insurance -measure, the Prime Minister said, if my memory serves me aright, that he had in- view a measure to alleviate that situation, and in view of that statement I cannot understand why the two members who have spoken from the far corner of the house to-day continue to refer to those who will not be covered by this bill. Representing a large industrial riding, and as one who for a long time has been associated with industry and with many thousands of workers, I believe I can speak for the average worker as much as the hon. member for Bow River (Mr. Garland), who I understand represents a purely agricultural riding. My life has been spent among many thousands of workers. What the hon. member knows about the problems of the worker I do not know; perhaps he knows a great deal but at any -rate I represent an industrial riding and he does not. He says that the bill can have no effect at present. Yesterday I remained in Toronto to visit industrial institutions, and I visited five large -concerns, primarily to discuss with them the effect of the eight hour day bill; but in the course of my remarks in that connection I discussed also the problem of unemployment insurance. Let me tell the hon. member -for Bow River and the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre that they are not speaking for the average worker employed in industry when they denounce the present unemployment insurance bill.

Unemployment Insurance

Mr. WOODSWORiTH: The hon. member will remember I said I was going to vote in favour of it.

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March 12, 1935