March 20, 1935

LIB

Ross Wilfred Gray

Liberal

Mr. GRAY:

By whom? Name him.

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:

I am told by my hon.

friend from Bow River (Mr. Garland) that this is a C.C.F. speech. I am not quite sure yet whether the C.C.F. are willing to accept the leadership, though they may accept the principle. It has been pointed out to me that the words are words of the C.C.F. but the music is by someone else.

When this speech was made in January, 1935, the right hon. gentleman who made it must have had something in his mind, he must have had some idea of the manner in which he was going to do away with this dole which is a condemnation of our economic system. And he said so. In a speech delivered in New York on February 16, 1935, the Prime Minister said:

I would find it impossible to conceive and to develop a scheme of recovery and reform unless I first had definitely decided upon the answer to it.

Therefore anyone and everyone in this country who had been listening to the Prime Minister must have been under the impression that he had some new scheme, some new plan to do away with this dole, this thing that makes the people of Canada look like a young and vigorous man in the poorhouse. We could not believe anything else but that there was something new to be brought down. And now we know what it is.

Yesterday during the course of the debate my hon. friend the Minister of Railways (Mr. Manion) rose in his place and said that the " brain trust " bill, the bill for the economic council, was considered by him to be-one of the most constructive measures any Canadian government has brought forward. Then in dealing with the problems which were to be solved-or rather to be studied, which is worse-by this council, the minister said:

Unemployment Relief-Mr. Power

* " To-day we have such problems as unemploymentand I am laying aside the railways problem for the moment.

His economic council does not know enough about the railways. They can deal with other things, but I do not know how the railway question will be solved.

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

Robert James Manion (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MANION:

By the hon. member for

North Waterloo (Mr. Euler).

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:

And perhaps the hon.

member for North Waterloo will find a good many advisers to tell him how to solve it. Then let us see what else the minister said, because this is worth repeating.

Then let me suggest that a group of men such as is proposed in this bill, if they are given a problem such as that

That is, unemployment.

-to consider, if they give their best brains to it as fifteen men of this type will do, may well succeed in bringing forth a settlement of such a vital problem to this country and to the world in general as unemployment.

Our fifteen men, including seven civil servants, are going to settle this problem for the world. This is a super brain trust. It is better than the Nazi brain trust in Germany, better than the Fascist brain trust, better than the Soviet brain trust and far better than the brain trust poor President Roosevelt has had to discard.

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

Robert James Manion (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MANION:

I rise to a point of order. I do not like to interfere with the hilarity aroused by the speech of the hon. gentleman, but I think he is breaking a rule in quoting in this debate a speech made on another question during the present session.

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:

Then I will not quote from Hansard, although I am dealing with unemployment and I think possibly on a point of order it might be possible for me to quote what was said by the hon. gentleman during the debate yesterday. His words were so important that they were seared into my brain and I remembered them. My hon. friend said it was quite possible that this economic council, composed of people who will sit down and think-

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

Raymond Ducharme Morand (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Conservative (1867-1942)

The DEPUTY SPEAKER:

The hon.

gentleman certainly cannot quote from a speech made during the present session.

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:

Then I will not quote

from it; I will stand here away from it. I pay particular attention when my good friend the Minister of Railways speaks; I remember what he said.

fMr. 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
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CON

Robert James Manion (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Air. MANION:

It will do you good if

you remember enough of 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

Charles Gavan Power

Liberal

Mr. POWER:

I remember it all. My hon. friend said it was quite possible that this council of fifteen, of whom seven are civil servants, five, chosen by some sort of society and three, other kinds of liars' experts, who will meet twice a year and sit down and think, might solve this problem. The point was that they are to sit down and think as we-and my hon. friend referred to himself and his colleagues-have not been able to do in the last five years. I hope the minister will admit that I have been quoting him fairly; I am told that I have given his remarks almost verbatim. That is something I cannot forget; it is too good. The Prime Minister says we must do away with unemployment; he goes down to New York and says he has all the answers, and now the Minister of Railways says that this country, including the seven civil servants, will be able to think and we will be able to settle this question, as the government would have been able to settle it long ago if they had been able to do the same. I will leave that with my hon. friend. The unemployment question has been hovering over the people of this country for the past five years, and the only solution we have heard is that repeated by the minister to-day.

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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UFA

Edward Joseph Garland

United Farmers of Alberta

Mr. GARLAND (Bow River):

Hovering

is hardly the word.

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:

Hovering is hardly the word, unless it has some reference to the bad anigels who, when the good angels came along, were cast into the nethermost depths of hades. The unemployment question and its accompanying problem, that is to say the present government, perhaps would be in the same position as those bad angels whom the name-sake of our race, St. Michael, was able to chase into those nethermost depths of which I spoke.

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

Edward Joseph Garland

United Farmers of Alberta

Mr. GARLAND (Bow River):

Now St. Patrick is at work.

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:

No, St. Patrick is not working until next year. I direct the attention of my hon. friend the Solicitor General (Mr. Dupre) to this situation, and I will make him this challenge without being in any way authorized to do so. If this government will bring down any clear and definite program and policy of reform, including a definite demand on the provinces to deal with colonization and public works, asking them definitely what they are going to do about it, then I will guarantee that not only the

Unemployment Relief-Mr. Gordon

province of Quebec but every province in the dominion will be very grateful and only too glad to cooperate, as we on this side of the house are now and have been in the past on every occasion when such a bill has been brought down. We said to the government then, as we say to them now: Tell us what you want to do with the money. Tell us what you have in mind to deal with this situation. Tell us if you have any plans, any program or any policy. Give us some limit to the amount of money you propose to use. Tell us in what manner you are going to use the powers for which you are asking, and we will vote all the money you want and give you all the powers you require without further discussion.

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

Wesley Ashton Gordon (Minister of Immigration and Colonization; Minister of Labour; Minister of Mines)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Hon. W. A. GORDON (Minister of Labour):

It is a matter of some gratification, though from one point of view I hesitate to say so, that hon. members opposite can deal with this problem in such a fine spirit of . levity. It reflects the great deal of serious thought, or lack of such, that has been given by them to this most baffling problem. Speeches have been referred to-many of the speeches made here are thoughts in quotation marks-as to what someone said he could do or thought he could do with respect to unemployment in Canada. Criticisms have been offered, and anyone who is a member of a government oan expect criticism. I invite it, because out of the criticism one frequently becomes better acquainted with the problem in hand and perhaps better able to attack that problem and solve it if it is capable of solution.

The first criticism levelled at the government seems to be that the federal state has not relieved the muncipalities and-or the provinces of the responsibility of taking care of those unable to take care of themselves and of providing employment for those who are ready, willing and able to work. Unemployment is not a new problem, by any means; I presume it existed at the beginning of time and I expect it will continue to the end of time. A condition of unemployment existed in Canada twelve or thirteen years ago, and we know that the government of that day under the leadership of the present right hon. leader of the opposition was called upon to outline a plan to help the unemployed, a plan of contribution from the federal treasury which would conform to the limitations placed upon the federal state. At that time it was made abundantly clear that in order to assist or to make contributions

the federal state must deal with the provinces, and the order in council passed at that time recited in clear terms the respective responsibilities so far as unemployment was concerned. That order in council stated that the responsibility for unemployment was primarily that of the municipalities, that it was next the problem of the provinces and that only in cases of national emergency should the federal state take a hand .towards assisting the provinces and municipalities. That principle was spread on the records of this house not only by the right hon. gentleman opposite but by the then leader of the opposition, .the present Right Honourable Arthur Meighen.

Let me put this question to hon. members: What kind of machinery is available to the federal state for the administration of direct relief when there are unemployed not only in the cities but in every little hamlet throughout the country? What machinery is there in the federal state; to whom must we turn and what body must we rely for the administration of those funds? There is only one machinery, namely the provincial and municipal machinery set up by the various units in our country. It would not be possible for the federal government to administer direct relief without setting up machinery which unquestionably would result in quite unjustifiable administration expenses.

Having that in mind, and having also in mind the fact that relief such as that to which I have been addressing myself is primarily a municipal responsibility would the dominion government as has been suggested by hon. members opposite be justified in taking the taxes of the dominion taxpayers and paying 100 per cent of those moneys over to bodies over which they have no control, and in the disbursement of which they would have no say? I imagine all of us are fairly human, and we realize that annually there are municipal elections throughout the country. Each municipality has its opposing local forces, and if the dominion government undertook to supply unlimited amounts of money, and turned those moneys over to the municipalities or provinces without any control, then I am wondering just in what position the treasury would be. How possibly could this country carry on? I have great sympathy with those municipalities the resources of which, by reason of the times through which we are passing, have been subjected to heavy drains. One of the very best safeguards upon which we can rely however is the fact that municipalities

Unemployment Relief-Mr. Gordon

and provinces must make contributions towards the fund, and while making those contributions they are zealous to see that the money is properly spent and goes for the purposes for which it was intended. There is no question about that.

I am not going to discuss the attitude taken by the late government respecting these matters. I have heard it said, although I have never been curious enough to consult Hansard, that upon one occasion the right hon. leader of the opposition indicated how little he would give to any province which did not conform to his political views.

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

Joseph Georges Bouchard

Liberal

Mr. BOUCHARD:

You promised us everything and gave us nothing.

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

Hugh Alexander Stewart (Minister of Public Works)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEWART (Leeds):

Gave nothing,

did you say?

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

Wesley Ashton Gordon (Minister of Immigration and Colonization; Minister of Labour; Minister of Mines)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. GORDON:

I am afraid I do not follow the hon. member. I have not been curious enough to consult Hansard and to read the statements made by the right hon. gentleman. I must say however that I have heard his observations quoted. I think perhaps he made his statements in a spirit of petulance, and I do not hold it against him, as some people do. However he indicated his attitude. I think probably what he meant or what he would have liked to say, upon reflection, was that he would be extremely careful in handing over federal funds to the provinces, lest those provinces might not see eye to eye with him in the disposition of such funds, or the necessity for disbursements.

In order that there may be no doubt about the attitude the present government has followed, may I state that immediately upon taking office we caused conferences to be held at which provincial representatives and premiers of the various provinces attended. Who better than those men would know the peculiar difficulties with which they were confronted? Remember this, that while the policy of relief is to be commended, because in a large measure we are taking care of those unable to take care of themselves, we must not deceive ourselves in the belief that relief has been effected entirely free from politics. Many times I have had occasion to review the matter from that angle. During the last five years conferences have been called by the federal government at which the provincial representatives were given the opportunity to review their respective positions and to determine the extent to which they could carry on alone and, further, the extent to which the federal state would have to come to their assistance. I do not know of any other method

that could have been employed in order to acquaint oneself with the difficulties with which we were engaging ourselves.

Much has been said about the province of Quebec and about the city of Montreal. Let it be understood that in the month of July, I think it was, 1931, when there was an election pending in the province of Quebec, the premier of the province made it clear and plain in public meeting that the province did not want relief, did not need it. There is no question about that, and I am not going to hold that against the premier of the province of Quebec, but there was an immediate change after the election, and the demand was made, and of course relief was given.

Each succeeding year agreements have been entered into with the provinces. It is true that the plans changed from time to time. They were changed on every occasion, changed because the consensus of view of the representatives of the provinces with respect to the best method of dealing with their problems was given effect to. That was clear and plain at each one of those conferences.

References have been made to offers that provinces have made to the dominion. They first offer it to the press1 as a rule. I get it sometimes a week later, and sometimes I never get it at all, but I read about it in the papers. It is true that offers have been made by the province of Quebec that if the dominion will pay fifty per cent of the municipalities' burdens, they will assume the other fifty per cent. Now if such a calamity should happen that after the next election our good friends opposite should be sitting on these treasury benches and this same offer is made, I prophesy that they will not agree to it. They certainly will not.

There are some municipalities in Canada having an extremely difficult time, but let me say that there are many municipalities in Canada which by efficient and careful administration are taking care of this problem and are willing and able to share their part of the burden because, in addition to efficient administration, they know as Canadians that if an unlimited fund of the taxpayers' money is placed in the hands of those who are not immediately in touch with this problem, that is if you remove it and place it in a detached position, as it were, then there is no end to the demand that will be made on the treasury of this country. I have the greatest sympathy for those who want to work and cannot get work, but let me pause for a moment to say this. I have heard it said and repeated in this house that there are a million people unemployed in Canada. That is not true.

Unemployment Relief-Mr. Gordon

That is a misstatement of what the fact is, in so far as there are dependable figures, and figures with respect to this matter are not dependable in any country in the world. 1 have heard it said that all these unemployed in Canada are unemployed through no fault of their own. That is not a correct statement, not correct by any means.

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 Benjamin Howard

Liberal

Mr. HOWARD:

Pretty near 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
Permalink
CON

Wesley Ashton Gordon (Minister of Immigration and Colonization; Minister of Labour; Minister of Mines)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. GORDON:

Someone says, " pretty near it." But let me say this. There is no one in this house who feels more keenly than I do for the position of the man who wants to work, who wants to discharge his responsibilities, and is unable to get work, and there is no one in this house who is more ready to condemn that percentage who are living on the state to-day and who are not trying and do not want to get work; and make no mistake about it, we have those people throughout (the world; that is not common to this ;ountry.

Criticisms have been made that the present government has not solved unemployment, has not spent enough money, for it comes down to that. But what country in the world has done it? Take that great wealthy nation to the south of us, and look at the huge sums, the billions and billions of dollars that they have spent, and what is the position there to-day? They are relatively much worse off than we are in Canada; that is admitted by every competent authority. What about Great Britain to-day, with the huge sums that she has spent? Has she solved unemployment? Of course she has not.

Someone says that this bill represents the total of all that the government has to offer with respect to the future regarding unemployment. That is not correct. Before this session ends other measures will come before this parliament, other measures will be presented for its approval or disapproval looking towards providing work for our citizens. But this bill is absolutely necessary for the very reason that you cannot continue along a course for some four or five years with respect to direct relief, because that is really what this bill is designed to take care of, and then stop suddenly at the end of a month or at a certain stated time. That is the real reason why the government is presenting this bill and asking for the approval of the house.

Criticisms have been made by the hon. member for St. James (Mr. Rinfret) with respect to the attitude of the dominion government regarding the situation in Montreal. I thank the hon. gentleman for the moderation of his observations, and I think that he made his speech to-day in a spirit of helpfulness.

I do not wish to criticize unduly or even criticize at all the municipal administration of that great city. They have tremendous problems. I am sure if the hon. member for St. James cared to make a confession he would say that when he was elected mayor he was not in office long until he almost wished that he had not taken on the responsibility, and I think certainly he would say that he would not care to go back to it to-day. There are tremendous problems there unquestionably. But the difficulty with which I have been confronted with respect to Montreal is that we could not get from the province of Quebec, Montreal's accounts. Can you imagine a big city which could not get its accounts out for submission to us before seventeen months had 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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March 20, 1935