I am glad to hear the
hon. gentleman say that. I can assure the house that the average worker in industry sincerely hopes that this bill will be enacted as soon as possible, so that a year hence, if he is unfortunate enough to be thrown out of work, he will benefit. I believe that is the attitude of the large majority of them.
The hon. member for Bow River referred to the police, and to teachers and ministers. Well, the position of the policeman and of the teacher is entirely different from the position of the man engaged in industry. I know that policemen have been ill for six months in the city of Toronto and have received pay from the treasury, and I think they should receive it after having served on the force a certain length of time. The same applies to school teachers, and I do not believe that the average clergyman is not taken care of by his congregation if he is ill for a time. But the position of the worker in industry is altogether different. When he is laid off his pay stops.
The hon. member for Bow River used almost every adjective in the dictionary in denouncing this legislation; he used the words ridiculous, pernicious, weak, ineffective, hopeless, ruthless. If he had had the dictionary before him he might have drawn a few more adjectives from it. He tried to denounce the bill by saying that the man on relief receives more than he would under the unemployment insurance provisions. But there is a difference. The man on relief does not receive cash; he receives vouchers for supplies-at any rate that is the way it is in Toronto-for food and clothing and perhaps an allowance for rent. Under the unemployment insurance measure, on the other hand, he will receive cash.
I dislike the hon. gentleman's denunciation of manufacturers, whom he describes as ruthless. I know a great many manufacturers and I can assure you that the very great majority of them are right-thinking, sympathetic men who do not by any means come within the category of the hon. gentleman's denunciation. I repeat, I dislike the hon. gentleman's almost constant hostility to employers of labour. Those who employ large numbers of men deserve support and not constant denunciation; I do not understand why anyone should call them ruthless, and one name after another.
I understood the hon. gentleman to say that no unemployment insurance act is
solvent. He is entirely wrong there. The British act, now operating under the amendments made in 1933, is solvent as proved by the fact that it is returning to the British government twelve and a half millions a year to pay off the loan which the British treasury advanced to take care of what was commonly called the dole; and it is expected that within forty years the whole of the five hundred millions or more will have been paid.
The hon. gentleman also tried to compare the British act, with all its various amendments, to this legislation, but he does not appreciate the fact that the British act of 1911 is by no means the same act as the British act as it is in force to-day, because it has been subject to many minor and major amendments. My hon. friend's comparison in that respect is therefore not fair. I would point out to him that the Canadian bill compares very favourably with the compulsory contributory acts which are in operation in the eight countries that have passed such legislation. Only two nations, Bulgaria and Italy, have a lower commencing age limit than is proposed in the Canadian bill; in these two countries the commencing age is fifteen years whereas in Canada it is sixteen. But several other countries that have adopted unemployment insurance legislation have fixed the limit at a higher age.
The hon. member also referred to the conditions of benefit. He said that the Canadian employee has to make forty payments in two years. Well, in Bulgaria and Germany the worker has to make fifty-two payments in two years, so that the Canadian bill is better than either of those so far as that is concerned, and the unemployment insurance act in Germany is generally conceded to be a fairly substantial and satisfactory piece of legislation. He also referred to the period of waiting in Canada, which is nine days. Well, in Poland it is ten days; in Germany, fourteen; in Queensland, fourteen; in the State of Wisconsin, fourteen; under the Nema, electrical interests, plan it is fourteen; and under the Rochester plan, both operating in the United States, it is also fourteen days. So that the hon. gentleman has not been fair to the Canadian people in making that comparison.
My hon. friend also referred to the amount of money to be received by the unemployed worker with a wife and three children, but I would point out to him that what the worker in Canada will receive is greater than the amount paid in any other country apart from in the United States under the Nema and