March 20, 1935

LIB

Ernest Lapointe

Liberal

Mr. LAPOINTE:

Since my hon. friend has asked me a question I suppose I may answer it. The minister who is in charge of this bill, when I talked to him about it, stated that this clause would never be passed.

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
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CON

Maurice Dupré (Solicitor General of Canada)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. DUPRE:

I do not agree with the hon. member. I will agree that this projected legislation has stirred up public opinion so

much in the province of Quebec that the Liberal government of the province has not dared up to now to go through with it.

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
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LIB

Ernest Lapointe

Liberal

Mr. LAPOINTE:

But you are going through with this.

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
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CON

Maurice Dupré (Solicitor General of Canada)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. DUPRE:

That Bill No. 15, however,

is still on the order paper of the legislature of the province, and all we have is the declaration of the Minister of Public Works for the province, the Hon. Mr. Francoeur, who states at the present time that he does not know what he will do in regard to this legislation, but that he has not bound himself to withdraw the bill.

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
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LIB

Ernest Lapointe

Liberal

Mr. LAPOINTE:

What about yours?

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
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CON

Maurice Dupré (Solicitor General of Canada)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. DUPRE:

That is not all. The second paragraph of section 2 of Bill No. 15 reads as follows:

The lieutenant governor in council may likewise authorize the Minister of Public Works to enter into any agreements or arrangements with the government of the dominion or with any municipal corporation of this province, or with both, having for object the relief of unemployment.

Here may I draw attention to the fact that there is no limitation on the amount. Then section 4 of the bill reads as follows:

If required for the purposes of putting into effect the provisions of this act, the lieutenant governor in council is authorized to acquire, by agreement or expropriation, the necessary immovable properties and every immovable right, charge, lease for occupation or emphyteutic lease, constituted rent or other rights affecting such properties.

Again there is no limitation on the amount. Then I come to section 5 of the same bill, which reads as follows:

The lieutenant governor in council may authorize the provincial treasurer to advance or pay, out of the consolidated revenue fund of the province, on the certificates of the Minister of Public Works, the sums which the province of Quebec may be called upon to expend under the provisions of this act.

Again I say to

The lieutenant governor in council may, if he deem it expedient for the purpose of paying all or part of the sums required or for reimbursing any advances made, also authorize the provincial treasurer to contract a loan or loans, by means of bonds or inscribed stock issued on the credit of the province.

In other words, if I understand this paragraph well, the lieutenant governor in council may, if he deem it expedient, borrow any amount

1898 COMMONS

Unemployment Reliej-Mr. Merrier (St. Henri)

of money. There is no limitation as to the amount and no limitation as to the rate of interest or the term of the loan.

Then I come to section 7, which reads as follows:

Notwithstanding any provisions to the contrary of any general or special act, every municipal corporation, however incorporated and whatever the law governing it, is authorized:

(a) To benefit from the carrying out of the provisions of this act;

(b) To do and order, by resolution of its council, all things necessary for such purposes;

(c) To contribute towards the expenditure incurred out of its general funds.

And then comes the important part of that section:

(d) To make by-laws for loans by an issue of bonds or debentures or otherwise, without other preliminary or subsequent formality than the approval of such by-laws by the majority of the members present forming a quorum of its council and by the Quebec Municipal Commission and' the lieutenant governor in council.

The borrowing power granted by this section shall not affect the borrowing power possessed by such municipal corporation and shall be construed as authorizing one or more loans exceeding the limit fixed by the acts governing . such corporation.

If this legislation passes, any municipal corporation will have the right to borrow any amount of money, the only formality necessary being approval by the majority of the quorum of the council of the municipality, by the Quebec municipal commission and by the lieutenant governor in council. It is stated that the borrowing power granted by this section shall not affect the borrowing power already possessed by such municipal corporations.

We have heard one of the authorized voices of the Liberal party raised in opposition to our legislation because of the powers conferred upon the governor in council. I have related to the house the legislation which the Liberal party of Quebec is trying to pass through the legislature at the present session. If this legislation passes it will give the lieutenant governor in council the right to amend, to suspend, to repeal or to add to any legislation already in force and to borrow any amount of money. The right is given to any municipal corporation to borrow any amount of money. In view of this, I think the best thing our Liberal friends from Quebec can do is to remain silent.

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
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LIB

Paul Mercier

Liberal

Mr. PAUL MEROIER (St. Henri):

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
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LIB

John Campbell Elliott

Liberal

Hon. J. C. ELLIOTT (West Middlesex):

Mr. Speaker, I intend to devote only a few moments to this bill, because on looking it over I find that there is nothing new in it. It is copied from the bill of last year, which was a copy of the bill of the year before. The new deal which the people of Canada have been looking for ever since the radio speeches to which they were treated dwindles down as we make its acquaintance. The question of the blank cheque has been argued before in this house, and as the government evidently intends to insist upon it I do not suppose there is much object in taking up the time of the house by discussing a copy of an old measure which has proved to be so unpopular throughout the country in recent years. For that reason I do not intend to devote to it any time. In the province from which I come, since this house met last there were five by-elections, and in every one of them one of the great issues stressed on behalf of the government was its unemployment policy, which hon. gentlemen opposite attempted to defend, which this opposition condemned and in particular its blank cheque feature. I need not tell you, Mr. Speaker, nor the minister in charge of this bill, nor the Minister of Railways, nor the Minister of Public Works, all of whom come from Ontario and who took part in these discussions, how unpopular the unemployment policy of this government proved during those by-elections, and particularly the blank cheque feature of that legislation. I do not suppose that if this house were to debate the matter for a month until closure was applied, as was done when the measure was first introduced, it would change the views of this government. They tell us that they have changed and are reformers now, but when we begin to examine their legislation we find that

it is just the old type of Tory legislation, bearing no semblance of reform whatever. For that reason I do not intend to debate it at further length. I think it is just as iniquitous as the members of the opposition claimed it was when it was first introduced. This government, with its majority will likely pass it. This government and its supporters constitute the only tribunal to which I believe it will appeal. Throughout the country, wherever there has been, a chance to vote upon it, the most severe condemnation has been passed on it and I am satisfied this is the only place where it will carry. It will however, carry and for that reason I think we should get along to an examination of some of the reforms which we were promised a couple of months ago. Therefore, though opposed to the bill, I do not intend to take up the time of the house going over straw that has been already threshed two or three times. This legislation has received the most cordial disapproval of electors throughout the dominion whenever they have had a chance to vote on it.

Mr. JEAN-FRANQOIS POULIOT (Temiscouata): I merely wish to put on record a question which I would ask the minister to reply to. I would refer him to page 2117 of Hansard of April 13. 1934. A question was put then to the leader of the government with regard to the classification of the unemployed. It is a matter of great importance. Yesterday the (Minister of Railways blamed the opposition for not offering any constructive suggestion of policy. Now this is a most timely suggestion, which has been offered again and again to the Minister of Labour, and the only reply which I have received was the reply from the Prime Minister who spoke as follows, as reported1 at page 2118 of Hansard of April 13, 1934:

The government has done everything it reasonably could do, in cooperation with the provinces and otherwise, to classify the unemployed.

This is a suggestion which has come from the opposition, and until the unemployed are classified nothing practical will be done for their relief. I would therefore ask the minister to be good enough to comply with my request to tell the house what has been done in accordance with the statement made by the leader of the government with regard to the classification of the unemployed. What has been done in that regard from 1930 to date?

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
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LIB

Charles Gavan Power

Liberal

Mr. C. G. POWER (Quebec South):

I do not know whether we should continue complaining of the treatment we have been receiving from the government, whose attitude

Unemployment Relief-Mr. Power

has been-be damned if you do and be damned if you don't. Yesterday I complained that the Minister of Railways and others opposite had chastised us because we did not put up any strenuous opposition to the brain trust bill, and now we have our good friend the Solicitor General-and by the way may I be permitted to congratulate him on his birthday-

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:

Thank you so much.

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
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LIB

Charles Gavan Power

Liberal

Mr. POWER:

-blaming us because we support a government wihich apparently has in mind or has proposed to pass legislation similar to that wihich his government is introducing in this house. We are damned if we support Tasohereau in Quebec and I presume we are damned if we oppose this government in this house. There is only one way out of the dilemma and that is for the government to get out of power and then perhaps we might get that absolution to which our good deeds entitle us and be allowed to carry on the government of the country without being worried -by my hon. friends opposite.

The Solicitor General (Mr. Dupre) has I think correctly stated the terms of the bill which has been introduced in the Quebec legislature, and may I say that possibly it shows more than anything else the influence of bad example on the public life of this country. But the Solicitor General would seem to blame us for supporting that bill. Speaking for myself alone, though I have high respect and admiration for the Hon. Mr. Taschereau, I would no more support the bill introduced by Mr. Francceur if carried in its present form than I would such a bill introduced by hon. gentlemen opposite.

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
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CON

Maurice Dupré (Solicitor General of Canada)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. DUPRE:

That is what we wanted to know.

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
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LIB

Charles Gavan Power

Liberal

Mr. POWER:

You know now. I will give the Solicitor General some of the reasons why there was at least ample justification for the introduction of such a bill in the legislature. In the first place he is not unaware that since this government has -been in power, over five years now, it has never had anything even approaching a vestige of a .policy on unemployment. It has kept on repeating that unemployment was primarily a matter for the municipalities, secondly a matter for the provinces and thirdly that grants in aid were to be made by the federal government. But never has it stated definitely what its policy was in the matter. Never -has it said how much or in what manne-r it would give aid to the provinces. The first unemployment

fMr. Power.]

measure was a vote of $20,000,000 whereby the municipalities and provinces were encouraged -to spend thousands of dollars in many instances on useless public works and to bring themselves to the very verge of bankruptcy. The next thing we had was relief, then we went off relief and went on to public works, and then back to relief; and now we have apparently a contbination of relief and public works. No provincial government has been able to say in advance just what policy or program would be followed or would be suggested or would be put before them by this government.

On many occasions, as has been pointed out, this government has threatened to withdraw all manner of assistance, particularly in the way of relief. Provincial statutes, provincial legislation, provincial departments are all interested in the policy which may be laid down by this government. It was absolutely essential that the government of the province of Quebec should be prepared, in case their session finished before the labours of this session are concluded, as it nearly always does, and should have the authority and power and jurisdiction to deal with, let us say, colonization, let us say, public works, let us say, relief. And it was in order to obtain those powers that the bill was introduced. If the Minister of Labour, if the Solicitor General, if any hon. member of this government will definitely say to the government of the province of Quebec what their policy is, the government and legislature of the province of Quebec, now in session, will pass legislation enabling it to cooperate to the fullest extent with this government.

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
?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Oh, oh.

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:

If I may ask a question, what about the right conferred on the legislature by the bill to repeal any act already passed, whether it be about unemployment, or any other act of the legislature?

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

Charles Gavan Power

Liberal

Mr. POWER:

I am sorry if I am not speaking loud enough for the hon. gentleman. I stated that many departments of the government of the province and presumably many statutes on the statute books of the province of Quebec would be or could be affected by proposed legislation in this house, and in order to cooperate in every way with this government it was necessary to prepare so as to be able to meet the wishes of this government with respect to relief. I simply point out that the government of the province of Quebec has not been remiss in its duty. As long ago as January, if I mistake not, it offered to pay fifty per cent of the cost of

Unemployment Relief-Mr. Power

relief in municipalities-yes, longer ago than that, I think last November. For many days and months no reply came from this government, and finally the offer was absolutely rejected. Only a few days ago the premier of the province of Quebec offered to the federal government to take over the whole cost of relief if the federal government would remit to the province the collection exclusively of the income tax in that province. It is difficult for the province to be prepared to deal with this government when almost invariably action is deferred until the last week of the month of March, just about the time when their powers under former legislation have expired. This year I must congratulate the minister upon the fact that he is five or six days ahead of his schedule but on other occasions the bills were introduced about the 24th, 25th, or 26th of March and we were told, "we must vote this before the last week of March or else people will starve throughout Canada. It is pointed out to me that the session started a *week or so earlier this year. But we had reason to expect, and the government of the province of Quebec had reason to expect, that this year the unemployment bill would be something important; it would not be only a repetition of last year's. That is an additional reason for having prepared for it by giving themselves wide powers of legislation. I will tell you why. On January 2, 1935, we heard the following words:

Therefore, now that the time has come, I am determined to try with all my strength to correct the working of the system in Canada so that present unemployment conditions may be put an end to. When I say I will correct the system I mean, that I will reform it, and when the system is reformed and in full operation again there will be work for all.

Consequently no need of this unemployment and relief legislation.

We then can do away with relief measures. We then can put behind us the danger of the dole.

But what is this except a dole bill? It is nothing else. We were promised that we could put behind us the danger of the dole. Therefore the provinces expect some kind of legislation which will do away with the danger of the dole.

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

Ross Wilfred Gray

Liberal

Mr. GRAY:

Who made that speech?

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

Charles Gavan Power

Liberal

Mr. POWER:

The speech was made by

the authorized-not then authorized, but the gentleman who has since been confirmed as the authorized spokesman of the government. He goes on:

I am against the dole. It mocks our claim to progress.

This bill that we are asked to pass on, which provides for relief-if it provides for anything at all it certainly provides for the giving of relief,

-mocks our claim to progress. Canada on the dole is like a young and vigorous man in the poorhouse.

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
?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Hear, hear.

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

Charles Gavan Power

Liberal

Mr. POWER:

I ask my hon. friend the

Solicitor General, what does he think of that?

The dole is a condemnation, final and complete, of our economic system. If we cannot abolish the dole we should abolish the system.

This is the radio speech made on January 2, 1935.

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