March 20, 1935

CON

Arthur Sauvé (Postmaster General)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Hon. ARTHUR SAUVE (Postmaster General) :

I answered that the question was

under consideration.

Topic:   ST. ALEXIS, QUE., MAIL SERVICE
Permalink
LIB

Charles Marcil

Liberal

Mr. MARCIL (Translation):

Will the

hon. Postmaster General read over again question No. 12 on the order paper of to-day and tell me whether he considers that his answer is sufficient?

Topic:   ST. ALEXIS, QUE., MAIL SERVICE
Permalink
CON

ROYAL CANADIAN MOUNTED POLICE

REPORTED PRESS INTERVIEW GIVEN BY POLICE OFFICIAL


On the orders of the day:


CON

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

Conservative (1867-1942)

Hon. HUGH GUTHRIE (Minister of Justice) :

Mr. Speaker, referring to a matter

that was mentioned in the house the day before yesterday by my hon. friend from Gloucester (Mr. Veniot) in regard to an alleged interview with Inspector Zaneth of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police which appeared in the Montreal Herald of March 14 last, I beg to say that upon making inquiry I have received the following report from the officer commanding "C" division:

Inspector Zaneth informs me that he was rung up by the Herald reporter who said, "Have you heard that there is going to be a royal commission and that the Hon. Mr. Veniot said that the mounted police destroyed a boat and some food?" Inspector Zaneth replied that he did not know anything about it. The reporter then asked if the mounted police would destroy anything like that in the course of their duty, and Inspector Zaneth replied that no destruction of any goods would take place without the order of the department concerned. That was the whole of the telephone conversation.

1S90

Unemployment Relief-Mr. Rinjret

Topic:   ROYAL CANADIAN MOUNTED POLICE
Subtopic:   REPORTED PRESS INTERVIEW GIVEN BY POLICE OFFICIAL
Permalink

UNEMPLOYMENT AND FARM RELIEF

FURTHER PROVISION FOR CARRYING OUT RELIEF


Hon. W. A. GORDON (Minister of Labour) moved the second reading of Bill No. 41, respecting relief measures.


LIB

Louis Édouard Fernand Rinfret

Liberal

Hon. FERNAND RINFRET (St. James):

Mr. Speaker, before this bill is read a second time I wish to say a few words only because this matter has often been discussed in this house and we had a debate upon it on the motion for going into supply a couple of weeks ago. I wish, however, to make my attitude with regard to this bill quite plain.

On the previous occasion I stressed the necessity for federal help in this matter, and in that spirit I may say that I welcome this bill, without going into the details of it. The necessity for federal help in the matter of relief is universally acknowledged, although people differ as to the form it should take. I wish to draw the attention of the Minister of 'Labour to the fact which has perhaps been signified to him already, that in the city of Montreal not very long ago the present mayor took the stand that if federal help was not available he would not attempt to carry on, and he considered it absolutely essential on account of the unemployment situation existing in the city of Montreal that proper help should be available from this government. He also pointed out that he considered that for the last month the help that had been given by the government was not sufficient.

The present bill is similar to previous bills. It authorizes the government to do things but it does not specify exactly what the government is to do. It is carrying out the policy of a blank cheque, which policy has been discussed before. During the time when I was acting in the dual capacity of mayor of Montreal and member of this house I voted against my hon. friends on this side because I considered that the federal government should do its part in meeting the relief situation. As to how the government does its part is perhaps a matter for discussion in the committee stage. I am quite willing to support this bill but I regret that it is another blank cheque. It not only enables the government to do everything it pleases but it enables the government to do less than it should. I would prefer if the Minister of Labour (Mr. Gordon) would indicate what the government intends to do for the municipalities in the different provinces in the way of relief. I have no

doubt that this bill will pass but I think the minister should give an explanation as to how he intends to use the bill for the few months he will be in office.

The question of delays comes up every time the relief situation is discussed. I do not intend to revive that issue to-day as the minister has always been very insistent that his department was not responsible for the delays. The Quebec government takes the same .position as do the Montreal authorities who disclaim the accusation that they are slow in producing their accounts. Inasmuch as the government is expected to pay a certain sum I do not see why it considers it necessary to wait until all accounts are checked before making payments. After all, the provincial governments are solvent as are most of the municipalities. If there should happen to be a delay in checking accounts I think it should be possible to pay a city like Montreal a certain amount on account. I am sometimes reproached for having been at the head of the administration of that city, it being said that I should not discuss these matters. I think it is just the other way around. Whatever public opinion may be as to how the city was administered during the two years I was mayor, I think everyone will admit that I have acquired considerable experience in municipal matters. I say to the minister that it is very embarrassing for the administration of a large city like Montreal to have to wait months before it receives payments from Quebec and Ottawa. The city has lost considerable in interest because of payments which were not received in time. This has added considerably to the burden which the city has to carry.

1 do not wish to speak any longer on this matter as I expressed my opinion during the debate two or three weeks ago on the motion to go into supply. I repeat that I do not like bills of this kind which are not precise in their text and which allow considerable leeway to the government. We seem to be indulging more and more in government by commissions and by orders in council. Practically every bill which has been before the house this session calls for a commission. We are drifting more and more away from the system of parliamentary representation; we are giving to commissions the work which should be done by the representatives of the people. In this instance no commission is contemplated but the government is reserving the right to do what it pleases, to increase or reduce the amounts to be paid for relief to the different provinces.

Unemployment Relief-Mr. Heaps

I consider that the unemployment situation is primarily a federal obligation and I think the government should be in a position to discuss in detail the policy which it intends to follow. I think it is a good policy to construct public works in order to provide employment and the government has had the endorsafion and approbation of this side of the house in its hope that by a new policy of reforms it will create employment for a larger number of people. I contend that public works which are not needed providte only an artificial means of meeting the unemployment situation. The only cure will be through a return to normal conditions, through an expansion of trade and a recurrence of industrial activity. This is such a common sense truth that it is not necessary to stress it. No matter how many public works may be constructed throughout the country there will always 'be a certain number of unemployed in the larger centres. This will be so until there is a return of normal conditions in this and perhaps in other countries. In the meantime the government cannot escape its responsibility. This bill indicates that it is quite willing to meet that responsibility but I repeat that the minister should indicate in a more precise way what the federal government intends to do and to what extent it is ready to meet its obligations.

My remarks are not inspired by any political thoughts. I realize as well as any hon. member and perhaps better than most the extraordinary difficulties connected with this problem. However, if there was a time when the federal government should not shirk its responsibility, it is the present. The situation is very serious as many municipalities have practically given up hope of meeting the expenses which will be incurred in this respect. Even Montreal with its policy of heavy taxation will be able to meet only the immediate deficit in the municipal budget. The city will not be able to carry on if the government comes to its assistance in only a half hearted manner. 'It is not a question of limiting the amount, it is a question of meeting the difficulties as they present themselves. Therefore I will approve of the second reading of this bill in the hope that when we discuss the matter more fully we shall get a very detailed and precise statement from the government as to its intentions.

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT AND FARM RELIEF
Subtopic:   FURTHER PROVISION FOR CARRYING OUT RELIEF
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURES, MEETING FINANCIAL CONDITIONS AND MAINTAINING CREDIT OF DOMINION AND PROVINCES
Permalink
LAB

Abraham Albert Heaps

Labour

Mr. A. A. HEAPS (North Winnipeg):

With one part of the speech delivered by the previous speaker (Mr. Rinfret) I am heartily in 92582-120

agreement. I think that the present unemployment situation puts too great a burden on our municipal authorities. At the present time many of the municipal bodies are almost breaking under the load which the unemployment situation places upon them. I think that the situation as it exists to-day may be called normal; we may have to wait a long time before we return to conditions as they were seven or eight years ago. The municipalities at one time were expected to take care of indigent cases within their own boundaries and as a result of the unemployment problem having assumed the vast proportions it has, it has become almost impossible for the municipalities to carry the enormous burden. Even when the present opposition was in power I suggested that unemployment had become so acute a problem as to have become more or less a national burden, and that the federal government should undertake the responsibility. For after all the municipalities are not in the least degree responsible for unemployment within their own borders, and if the causes of unemployment are national in their scope then the federal government ought to assume full responsibility for the situation. I believe that the added burden placed on municipalities by the federal government last year was a mistake, and I hope that before the bill is finally adopted in this house we shall have a statement from the Minister of Labour (Mr. Gordon) that the government intends to a very large extent to relieve the municipalities and if possible the provincial governments as well of the burden which they are carrying at the present time.

Another aspect of the question is this. I think it is a fact that every member of this house, irrespective of party, dislikes the idea of giving this form of relief to men and women, to those who are dependent on the public authority for relief. I think that parliament ought to get down during this session to something fundamental to deal with the unemployment situation, something more fundamental than the granting of this form of dole, which is the worst form of relief one can possibly think of. In my opinion the conditions in which we find ourselves at the present time are by no means abnormal, because conditions that have been in existence for a period of five years may be regarded as having become normal. We shall probably within the next few years at least be obliged to take care of quite a large number of our people in this country by means of relief, and I should like to see the government of the day, whatever government is in

Unemployment Relief-Mr. Coote

power, take the question seriously into consideration and find for these men and women more useful ways of spending their lives than by waiting for the government to hand them relief. I should like to see our men and women absorbed in some town of useful and productive activity. My main purpose in speaking is to try to obtain from the government some promise, some pledge that they will make it easier for the civic governments to proceed in the giving of relief to those who come within their jurisdiction, because many of our municipalities to-day are on the verge of bankruptcy. If they are forced to go the way the city of Vancouver is going and the way the city of Hull proposes to go in the near future, if they are forced into a condition similar to that which now exists in Montreal, the financial capital of the dominion, whose authorities say that they cannot afford to maintain the unemployed within their borders, and if as I believe the unemployment problem is a federal responsibility, then I submit that the federal government should assume that obligation.

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT AND FARM RELIEF
Subtopic:   FURTHER PROVISION FOR CARRYING OUT RELIEF
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURES, MEETING FINANCIAL CONDITIONS AND MAINTAINING CREDIT OF DOMINION AND PROVINCES
Permalink
UFA

George Gibson Coote

United Farmers of Alberta

Mr. G. G. COOTE (Macleod):

I had hoped that as part of the reform program which the government have introduced this session there would be some new methods suggested of dealing with the problem of unemployment. I particularly object to the present method because it places on the municipalities the onus of taking care of the unemployed. Every time I have spoken on the problem during the present term of parliament I have objected to this attitude both of the present government and of the former government. The policies which determine the possibilities of employment for our people are determined by this parliament, by this cabinet, and the municipalities are perfectly helpless in the matter. They are victims of bad policies which are initiated or allowed to develop through action or inaction in this house. Our policies in regard to trade and commerce, tariffs, immigration, railway rates and particularly in regard to the whole question of money and credit-these are the things that determine the chance of the people to get employment; and because of bad policy in connection with all these various matters we have the present condition of unemployment.

There is no good excuse for unemployment in a new country like Canada. The municipalities are helpless to do much in the matter; the provinces are really helpless, and the responsibility rests on this house. It is a national problem that should be dealt with in a national way. If it is the considered

fMr. Heaps.]

opinion of the government that they will not care for it except through unemployment relief or the dole, then the government should provide the dole. I do not believe in taking care of unemployment in that way. As I say, in a new country like Canada, undeveloped and with great national resources, with numbers of workmen the equal of any in the world, there is no excuse for unemployment. We have it because of our own stupidity. But why should this parliament inflict on the municipalities this task of taking care of the unemployed? I notice in this morning's Citizen that the cities, being unable under the present financial system to cope with the problem, have gone so far as to instruct the police to prevent people from moving in. According to the Citizen the mayor of Ottawa has issued to the chief of police the order that if families are not bona fide residents of Ottawa they will be ordered out of the city. I quote that to show the point to which our cities have been driven. After four years of taking care of the unemployed by the present method, the cities are being forced into bankruptcy, and I say that with a full realization of the conditions. There are several cities in Canada-I will not name them

which I think are virtually bankrupt to-day, and certain provinces are almost in the same position. They have had to be helped by the federal government and the reason they are in that position is, as I have stated, that wrong policies have been initiated in this parliament. I should like to see parliament take a determined stand on the matter. Let us say that it is the responsibility of the federal parliament to deal with the problem of unemployment. It would not be quite so bad if by legislation we did not go so far as to prevent the cities from doing one of the few things that they perhaps could do to deal with this question. We make them financially responsible for taking care of the unemployed, but the only sources from which they can get the finances to do it are either the citizens by taxation or the banks by borrowing. We will not allow them to create a little money of their own; section 138 of the Bank Act imposes a fine of $400 on any one except a bank who issues money or substitutes for money. When that act was being passed through this house a year ago some of us discussed this question for an hour or two in an endeavour to have that section deleted. It prevents some of the municipalities from issuing a certain amount of municipal scrip which otherwise I think they could do and so provide in some degree for the unemployed, but by legislation we prevent them from going even that far. So

Unemployment Relief-Mr. Hackett

that the only method at their disposal of taking care of the unemployed is by raising money either through loans from the banks, or taxing their ratepayers, and in many cases the rate of taxation has become so high that it has destroyed the value of the property on which it is levied. Personally I can no longer sit still in this house and see this burden imposed upon the municipalities and the provinces without voicing my protest.

Mr. JOHN T. HACKETT (Stanstead): I shall not attempt to follow the argument of the hon. member for Macleod (Mr. Coote) or the hon. member for North Winnipeg (Mr. Heaps) because they both profess economic doctrines which are a complete denial and reversal of accepted doctrine in Canada at the present time. I shall however direct a few remarks to the observations of the hon. member for St. James (Mr. Rinfret). He has put forward in a mild and bland way the suggestion that the federal government should contribute large and definite amounts to the maintenance of the unemployed in the cities. I have no quarrel with the method or the manner of his presentation, but is not his suggestion this, that this parliament should pour untold treasure into the laps of the civic adminstrations, there to be spent without let or hindrance and without control of those who are supplying the funds? I venture to suggest that the hon. member for St. James would not care to see the administration of the cities and the spending of the money controlled by the federal authority. He is, I believe-and I have no quarrel with him on this point-a pronounced and avowed believer in provincial rights, and would resent any encroachment by the federal authority whether by control or by direction, upon provincial or municipal policy in the expenditure of money. Many people believe that the administration of some cities, and in particular of the city of Montreal, has not been beyond reproach, and many believe that some of the financial problems that confront Montreal to-day are to some extent due to unskilful administration of the affairs of that city. Therefore it does not seem to me reasonable that the federal treasury should be asked to contribute large amounts to the requirements of Montreal unless it were to have control over the disbursement of those moneys, and I doubt very much whether the hon. member for St. James would be willing to concede that control.

After all, unemployment results from the fact that people cannot find work in the production of goods which may be sold. For a time there was great industrial activity in our cities; it has now subsided, and for the last 92582-1204

four or five or even six years there has been a dropping off in employment. There has been some revival in recent months, but I doubt very much whether any one who looks into the figures carefully can find reason to hope that all the unemployed can again find gainful occupation in the industrial life of this country. It seems to me that loss of equilibrium is fundamental to the troubles that we are now experiencing, and that until a policy is initiated which will put the people who are now dependent upon the dole where they can provide for themselves food and shelter and clothing, we are bound to be afflicted by the ills resulting from unemployment. The hon. member for Macleod did make a reference to the abundant resources of the country, but those resources are not open to development by men who are out of work and are being fed by the municipalities and the provinces aided by the dominion. Until colonization becomes definitely and exclusively the prerogative of the dominion, in which event our constitution would have to be amended accordingly, we must look to those who exercise control over that department of our national life to reestablish this equilibrium. So long as people are permitted to remain in the cities and receive weekly allowances more or less adequate to their requirements, so long will this disequilibrium continue. I believe that a solution could be found by taking back to the land numbers of those who have come into the cities from the rural districts. I have said frequently in the house that I do not advocate sending these people to remote parts of the country, but a few acres in settled districts could be made available at moderate cost to those now unemployed in the cities. I believe that if this housing plan of which we are hearing so much, and which is now occupying the attention of a special committee of the house, were amended to provide small homes in the old and settled districts at low prices, a definite step would be taken towards solving this problem. Paying out money to feed people from day to day, when there is but slight chance of the majority of them becoming again self-sustaining, seems to me to be a policy which does not lead to permanent relief. I therefore again suggest to the minister that the provinces be made to understand that unless they are willing to abandon their prerogative as regards colonization, and unless the cities are willing to make over the administration and control of relief to the federal authorities, permanent assistance from the federal treasury should not be anticipated.

1894 COMMONS

Unemployment Relief-Mr. Lapointe

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT AND FARM RELIEF
Subtopic:   FURTHER PROVISION FOR CARRYING OUT RELIEF
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURES, MEETING FINANCIAL CONDITIONS AND MAINTAINING CREDIT OF DOMINION AND PROVINCES
Permalink
LIB

Ernest Lapointe

Liberal

Hon. ERNEST LAPOINTE (Quebec East):

Mr. Speaker, I am sorry that I cannot see my way clear to support the second reading of this bill, for reasons which are very few but very definite. This parliament was elected in 1930 on the statement and the assertion that unemployment had 'become a national problem, that it was a problem that had become so wide in its scope that it was a matter for the dominion parliament to deal with and a question for the dominion parliament to solve. (I am opposed to the second reading of this bill because after five years of administration no relief program and no program to solve unemployment as yet has been placed before this parliament and the people of Canada. Indeed a blank cheque, instead of being a program, is a confession of failure, an admission that there is no program. I quite realize that the first year a measure of this kind was proposed in this parliament the government may have had some measure of justification for pleading that they had not had time to deal with suoh an important question as unemployment, but this has been going on for five years. This is the fifth session in which a measure of this kind, a blank cheque, has been presented for the endorsation of parliament, and it comes just at the end of the time fixed by statute for the duration of parliament.

Well, I do not think the government are justified in introducing such a measure this year. We were hoping, as some hon. gentlemen said, that in this reform program there would be a measure to deal with unemployment, but I think everyone will agree that in no bill that has been introduced this session and that has been called a measure of reform has there been anything that could in any way alleviate the serious unemployment which is distressing the country at the present time.

My other reason is also very definite and very simple. The same clauses against which we have always protested, including that clause having to do with peace, order and good government, which gives the government the right to do anything whether or not it is in the statutes, are included in this bill, and I do not think that at this time, after the government have been at the head of affairs for more than the usual term of office, we would 'be justified in giving them this power to do anything, whether it is or is not already in the law. So far as I am concerned I confess that I have not a sufficient degree of confidence in the government to entrust them with that power.

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT AND FARM RELIEF
Subtopic:   FURTHER PROVISION FOR CARRYING OUT RELIEF
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURES, MEETING FINANCIAL CONDITIONS AND MAINTAINING CREDIT OF DOMINION AND PROVINCES
Permalink
LIB

William Daum Euler

Liberal

Hon. W. D. EULER (North Waterloo):

Mr. Speaker, it would be very distasteful .to me to place myself in any position as a result of which it might be represented that in any sense il otpposed the voting of money for the relief of the distressed and unemployed people of Canada, and certainly I do not intend to take any such action. At the moment I rise not to discuss the policies or lack of policies which have resulted in the present condition of unemployment but to refer more particularly to the- question raised by the hon. member for Macleod (Mr. Coote) and the hon. member for North Winnipeg (Mr. Heaps), as to the method of relief which should be adopted at this time, especially with regard to the municipalities.

I think it will be admitted even by hon, gentlemen opposite that what has been done already by the government in the way of what is called reform legislation can have no possible bearing on the question of curing unemployment. What has been done-I do not like to use the word-is more or less trivial in the effect it can have on the present situation. It can have no great bearing at all on the question of curing unemployment. The unemployment insurance bill, while laudable in its intention, it must be admitted will not help in the slightest degree the people who are now unemployed.

It has been said that there is some improvement, that there is more employment in the country than there was previously. In some degree that may be true; speaking of my own city I think perhaps there is a little more employment than there was a few months ago, although I believe that in the last few months we have been slipping in that respect, if I may use that term. But the fact remains that to-day in that city- and I do no suppose it stands alone in that respect-we are spending more money for relief than we ever spent before. The reason, I think, is that people who for the last two or three years have lived on their savings, now find themselves without means and under the necessity of applying to the municipality for relief.

As I said at the outset I am not going to discuss the policies of the government, or whether or not they are entirely responsible for the condition in which we find ourselves. I do agree, however, with the hon. member who preceded me, the hon. member for Quebec East (Mr. Lapointe), that in the last five years there has not been developed any definite plan for the cure of unemployment or any definite, systematic plan that can be recommended as having been successful in

Unemployment Relief-Mr. Euler

the distribution of relief. I agree with the hon. member for North Winnipeg and the hon. member for Macleod that the care of the unemployed has become more than ever a national duty. Speaking for my own city, and I believe for a good many other municipalities, the burden of relief is becoming heavier than the municipalities can bear, and I think it has become a matter not only of right and duty but almost of absolute necessity for the federal government seriously to consider taking over if not the entire burden of relief at least a very much greater share than they have assumed up to the present.

My hon. friend from Quebec East has objected to the bill on the ground that it again grants a blank cheque. We on this side have always disagreed with that procedure, and I am not retreating from that position. If there were any justification for again giving the government a blank cheque, however, it might lie in the fact that in the mind of ,tthe government to-day there is some intentioin of taking over a greater share of the sums required for the relief of the people in the municipalities, and relieving the municipalities to a greater extent than is being done at the present time. I am quite sure the minister will, and certainly I believe he should in his explanation, tell us a little more about the government's intention concerning the proportion of relief they propose to undertake on behalf of the municipalities. I have risen for this purpose, namely, to say that the government should do something to help the municipalities- and for two reasons. In the first place, as has been said before, the matter of unemployment has become of national importance. The people in these municipalities are not simply citizens of Kitchener, Montreal, Quebec or any other city, but they are citizens of Canada. For that reason I say it becomes the duty of the government of Canada to assist those municipalities. Secondly, I would call attention to the absolute impossibility of some of those municipalities continuing longer the contributions they have made in the past.

If the minister has not already considered the matter I would suggest that he consider seriously having the federal government relieve the municipalities, if not entirely then to a much greater extent than obtains at the present time, of this burden of taking care of the unemployed.

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT AND FARM RELIEF
Subtopic:   FURTHER PROVISION FOR CARRYING OUT RELIEF
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURES, MEETING FINANCIAL CONDITIONS AND MAINTAINING CREDIT OF DOMINION AND PROVINCES
Permalink
UFA

Henry Elvins Spencer

United Farmers of Alberta

Mr. H. E. SPENCER (Battle River):

Mr. Speaker, for several years past possibly at some risk of criticism I have supported the government on their relief measures, even

when they have asked for blank cheques, because I have realized that the- unemployed had to be cared for. The government was functioning in very difficult times, and had its hands very full. However, now that the government has been in power for nearly five years, and after the radio speeches delivered by the Prime Minister I had hoped we would have before us at this session some policy other than that of recommending a blank cheque for this particular purpose. Possibly the minister will have something to say on the matter, and I shall be interested to hear his observations. I would intimate however that at the present time we have no definite plan before us, nor have we any indication that the government has any other way of meeting unemployment than has been followed during the past years.

During the first year the government, in cooperation with the provinces and municipalities, put into effect an extensive public works program. I am sorry that policy was not continued. I suppose it was withdrawn because they felt the debt created would be too great. I submit however we must recognize that if we are financing undertakings really needed for the public welfare, and if we recognize that an asset is always produced to offset a liability we should not hesitate to proceed with puiblic works which are really needed. On the one hand we have the raw material and on the other an over supply of labour.

I was interested in the remarks of the hon. member for Stanstead (Mr. Hackett). His observations always hold great interest for me because I believe he and I take an entirely different view of most matters which come before the house for consideration. He is of the opinion that if the provinces would give up to the federal government their right to colonization, and if the federal government would carry out an extensive program of colonization, placing people who have left the country back on the farms, all would be well. May I remind the hon. member there are very definite reasons why people have left the country to go to the cities. I believe the main reason lies in the fact that on the whole the standard of living is much higher in the city than it is in the country. Furthermore agriculture in Canada to-day is possibly at She lowest ebb it has been for generations. Surely the hon. member could not have noticed the prices which have obtained for some years past for farm products. He must realize that when wheat is selling below cost, when prime steers are selling as low as $12 or $16 per head, when sheep are selling at $1 each,

1896 COMMONS

Unemployment Relief-Mr. Spencer

when dressed carcasses of prime lamb are selling at 82, when butter has sold as low as from six to twelve cents per pound, and wthen eggs have sold as low as four cent to six cents per dozen, it is impossible to exipeot to put people back on the land and keep them there. Especially is that true when we realilze that other prices have not dropped proportionately. Further, if the provinces gave up their rights to colonization surely they would have to give up their rights to the land they control, something which would involve practically the giving up of their provincial rights. Surely we could not expect them to do that.

On other occasions I have drawn attention of hon. members to the fact that while we have unemployment in industry we have an over-employment problem in the country. If farming could be put on a paying basis, when most farms in Canada could quite easily use the help of an extra man, I believe we might take up the slack of unemployment, and would be adopting one of the means of curing at least for the time being the unemployment problem.

I would remind the house that the mechanization of industry and the use of solar energy constitutes one of the reasons why we have unemployment. A few days ago an hon. member stated that in Canada we have 8,000,000 horsepower created by waterpower. That would mean that we have the equivalent of eight man slaves behind every man, woman and child in the dominion. The effect has been that we have been able to produce quickly and in enormous quantities the goods we require. A further effect has been that of transferring work from the shoulders of man to machinery. We must recognize therefore that we cannot solve the problems of the future as we have solved those of the past, by producing more and consuming less.

I suggest there are ways and means of taking up the slack of unemployment. For instance I am told on very good authority that if we took proper care of our forests we could easily employ all the men now idle for some years to come. May I remind the minister that the problem is to a great extent one of purchasing power rather than of unemployment. We have unemployment because we have a glut of goods. In other words, the richer we are in the possession of goods the more unemployment we have, because people are not wanted to produce more goods unless the goods already produced are moving to consumers.

Some weeks ago the hon. member for Macleod (Mr. Coote) suggested another way to solve unemployment, namely, the pensioning

r.Mr. Spencer.]

of people who have reached the age of sixty years. We find that people try to continue to work until they are seventy, seventy-three or possibly seventy-five years of age, while on the other hand we are at our wits' end to take care of the younger generation of people between the ages of twenty and thirty years. Surely it would be only common sense to pension off the older people who are working only to have security, and many of whom would be only too glad to accept a small pension for an assurance of security, and thus make room for the younger generation. I believe our problem is to a great extent one of deciding how best to make use of the vast quantities of goods and services which can be produced so easily to-day. As was stated a few days ago the problem is not one of production, but one of distribution. In my opinion there is never sufficient money paid out for the cost of the production of goods to enable those goods to be bought; in other words, there is never sufficient total cash in the country, taking the cash in the pockets of the people, plus all deposits drawable by cheque, to equal the price of the goods offered for sale, and therefore it becomes the duty of the government to monetize the national credit and make up this deficiency. This would enable the people to live on a much higher standard of living. It would begin to move the goods and services of which we have now such a glut, and would create a call for more. It would also call for more people to be employed, and the situation would be entirely changed.

A dole as a dole is wrong, and should be discontinued. If we have public wrork to do, it should be done, as long as we have the raw material and the people who want to do it. I am sorry that the government has not put forward some other proposal this session to meet this very aggravated situation. I believe we have to look at it in a way entirely different from that in which it has been vie-wed in the past. We are not going to solve the problem simply by suggesting that people work harder and produce more but at the same time consume less. That recommendation was perfectly all right prior to the machine age, but is entirely wrong to-day.

lion. MAURICE DUPRE (Solicitor General) : Mr. Speaker, I was surprised a moment ago to hear my hon. friend from Quebec East (Mr. Lapointe) oppose our legislation on the ground that he thought this government had not the right to do anything of the kind. He was opposed to this legislation for the reasons

Unemployment Relief-Mr. Dupre

that had already been given against this policy of giving the government a blank cheque. But this same member for Quebec East was some time ago in Quebec alongside the premier of the province praising the principles and the unity of the Liberal party, and stating that the Liberal party was fighting just one fight in both the provincial and the federal arena. Has my hon. friend the ex-Minister of Justice (Mr. Lapointe) forgotten the legislation which the Liberal government in the province of Quebec is trying to pass in the provincial legislature? I have before me Bill No. 15, which has already been presented to the legislature of Quebec and is now awaiting its second or third reading. It is entitled, the Needy Unemployed Aid Act, 1935. What does the second section of that bill say? It reads as follows:

The lieutenant governor in council- shall have power to do or authorize such acts and things and to make from time to time such orders and regulations as he may deem necessary or advisable with respect to the steps to be taken with a view to remedying unemployment, and-

May I draw your attention, Mr. Speaker, to the following words:

and, without restricting the generality of the foregoing terms, he-

That is the lieutenant governor in council.

-may, for the same purposes amend', suspend, repeal or add to any provisions of previous Unemployed Aid Acts or to any other act of the legislature.

In other words, if this bill which I have in my hand goes through the provincial legislature, the lieutenant governor in council will have the right to amend any legislation already passed, to repeal any legislation or to add any provisions of previous unemployed aid acts, or to any of the acts of the legislature of the province of Quebec. I think this is more than a blank cheque.

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT AND FARM RELIEF
Subtopic:   FURTHER PROVISION FOR CARRYING OUT RELIEF
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURES, MEETING FINANCIAL CONDITIONS AND MAINTAINING CREDIT OF DOMINION AND PROVINCES
Permalink
LIB

Ernest Lapointe

Liberal

Mr. LAPOINTE:

If!

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT AND FARM RELIEF
Subtopic:   FURTHER PROVISION FOR CARRYING OUT RELIEF
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURES, MEETING FINANCIAL CONDITIONS AND MAINTAINING CREDIT OF DOMINION AND PROVINCES
Permalink
CON

Maurice Dupré (Solicitor General of Canada)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. DUPRE:

Does my hon. friend agree

with that measure?

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT AND FARM RELIEF
Subtopic:   FURTHER PROVISION FOR CARRYING OUT RELIEF
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURES, MEETING FINANCIAL CONDITIONS AND MAINTAINING CREDIT OF DOMINION AND PROVINCES
Permalink
LIB

Ernest Lapointe

Liberal

Mr. LAPOINTE:

No.

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT AND FARM RELIEF
Subtopic:   FURTHER PROVISION FOR CARRYING OUT RELIEF
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURES, MEETING FINANCIAL CONDITIONS AND MAINTAINING CREDIT OF DOMINION AND PROVINCES
Permalink
CON

Maurice Dupré (Solicitor General of Canada)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. DUPRE:

I take it that on this question my hon. friend from Quebec East does not agree with the Liberal government of Quebec.

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT AND FARM RELIEF
Subtopic:   FURTHER PROVISION FOR CARRYING OUT RELIEF
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURES, MEETING FINANCIAL CONDITIONS AND MAINTAINING CREDIT OF DOMINION AND PROVINCES
Permalink

March 20, 1935