March 20, 1935

?

An hon. MEMBER:

Shame.

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:

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
CON

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

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. GORDON:

The hon. member for

Quebec East (Mr. Lapointe) laughs about that-

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:

I was laughing at the

" shame."

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 beg your pardon. That

was the difficulty in Montreal. I should like to refer to a dispatch which appeared in the Montreal Gazette of March 20, 1935. I apologize for quoting from a newspaper as I believe this is the first time I have done so and I do not want to break my record. According to this article, this is what was said by the premier of Quebec in the legislature of that province:

It was true, admitted the premier, that there were^ delays in making payments to the municipalities, but such delays were inevitable. There had to be checking of accounts, and this took time.

That is quite true. The article continues:

Ottawa had insisted that Quebec check all municipal accounts, and the provincial auditor had been obliged to do so.

That is quite true. I continue:

Was the provincial government now to write cheques in blank without verifying the accounts submitted by the municipalities?

Certainly not. I continue:

Last year Quebec had paid Montreal three millions, but Ottawa had not done as much.

I hope the premier of Quebec did not make such a statement because I intend to show just what are the facts. I quote from a letter dated July 25, 1934, from Mr. Ivan E. Vallee, deputy minister of public works, to the Department of Labour at Ottawa, as follows:

Unemployment Relief-Mr. Gordon

I beg to acknowledge receipt of your letter of the 23rd inst. transmitting dominion government finance department cheque for $3,000,000 which it is represented is an accountable advance made by the dominion government on behalf of the city of Montreal unemployment relief expenditures.

Hon. Mr. Francmur wishes it distinctly understood that in accepting this cheque no interest obligation on the part of the province of Quebec is incurred, as we have already advanced to the city of Montreal sixty per cent of our share, and are remitting the balance up to $3,000,000 to-day together with the $3,000,000 received from you.

The hon. member for St. James knows that the accounts of Montreal got behind very badly. I do not blame him for this as I think he fell heir to many difficulties when he took over the mayoralty of the city. But the fact is that the accounts got behind so badly that representations were made to the government by both the city and the province. After consultation with my colleagues, I agreed to make an advance to the province in order that the financial position of the city might be eased. I want to make this statement because I still believe that Mr. Tasche-reau may have been misquoted.

Other measures are under consideration by the government at the present time but what they will contain I cannot disclose to the house. This bill is designed only to preserve the continuity of the agreements until they come to an end. I trust they will come to an end as I hope shortly to convene another meeting of the premiers of the provinces when an effort will be made to understand their present difficulties.

I should like to point out one difficulty which arises when you endeavour to correct unemployment by the erection of public buildings. If the dominion government decides to erect a public building to cost a quarter of a million dollars in a county town, a certain situation arises immediately. The plans and specifications are drawn up and are referred to in the local press. The building is started and for the first week or two the local situation is relieved. However, the news soon spreads all over the county that labourers are being paid from thirty-five to forty cents per hour, whatever the wage may be. Practically every labourer who is receiving less quits his job and. comes to town. I have watched this situation for the last three or four years and this is what always happens. I do not know how it can be corrected but it is something which must be considered.

The observations I have made are designed to show the position of the dominion with respect lo the agreements at present in force

and what I believe to be the necessity for continuation of help to the provinces, in whole or in part, in order to take care of direct relief.

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

John Campbell Elliott

Liberal

Mr. ELLIOTT:

The minister stated a

moment ago that within a month this form of relief could be cut off. Does he mean to imply that that position will be possible because of other measures which may be brought down to deal with the situation?

Mr. 'GORDON: I do not think the hon.

member heard me correctly as I do not believe this form of relief can be abandoned. It may be possible to adjust it in the light of other measures which may be brought down in this house or in the legislatures, but I do not think direct relief could be abandoned entirely within such a short period.

Perhaps it would not be out of place to call attention to the improvement which has taken place in employment in Canada. I think the figures which I shall quote can be relied upon. The unemployment as reported by trade unions as of December, 1932, and January, 1933-that was the peak of unemployment-showed 25-5 per cent of the members of trade unions out of employment. In December, 1933, that had fallen to 21 per cent, and in October, 1934, it had fallen to 16-2 per cent. You can see therefore that there is an improvement with respect to labour as reported by the trade unions.

The bureau of statistics figures are I think very interesting. If we take the low point of the depression, April 1, 1933, based on the 1926 index figure of 100, we find that the low point was 76, and turning to April 1, 1934, we find that it had advanced to 91-3; and if we move to July 1, 1934, we find that it had gone to 101. On November 1, 1934, it had gone down to 100-2, and then there was a recession in January, as usually happens, to 94-4.

Let us take a glance at the figures with respect to employment by industries, because I think it is proper that attention should be called to these matters. There is at times a tendency to be so gloomy and to so spread the gloom on if it suits the occasion, that it is refreshing to take a look at the facts as they are. I would not suggest for a moment that anyone in this chamber would deliberately paint the gloomiest picture for political purposes; that is something that is unthinkable. But there are of course some people in every country who are prone to do things like that. I have very great difficulty in being good humoured when I hear them- and it is difficult indeed to disturb my good

Unemployment Reliej-Mr. Gordon

humour. But as regards those who in the face of apparent facts continue to foul their own nest, I have very little patience. There are some vocations that provide but few moments of pleasure, but with respect to that crowd, I may tell you that if I were a hangman I would enter into service for a few moments with a great deal of enjoyment.

Let us see what the figures are with respect to industry generally. Industry generally is broken up in this statement. Showing the percentage of those employed in the following industries to the number employed by all industries, as of December 1, 1935, to be as follows: manufacturing, 49-3 per cent; logging, 6-0; mining, 6-0; communications, 2-3; transportation, 10-2; construction, 13; services, 2-6, and trade, 10-6. Taking 1926 as the index figure, we find with respect to manufacturing that on April 1, 1933, the low point, the figure had dropped to 76 per cent. In Logging it had dropped to 35-6 per cent; in mining, 91-4 per cent; in communications, 84-5; in transportation, 74-2; in construction, 54-7; in services, 102-5, and in trade, 107-6. Then we move to November 1, 1934, and we find that the index of employment in manufacturing had gone up to 92-8; in logging to 171-9. You will note that this is after the

British empire trade agreements came into force. We find that in mining it had gone up to 121-2, and that also is largely accounted for by reason of Great Britain having taken over Canada's base metals; for theretofore they had been sold in the United States, before an impossible barrier was placed against our copper, lead and zinc in June, 1930.

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

Robert James Manion (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MANION:

Before the election.

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:

Yes. We find that on

November 1, 1934, the index of unemployment in communications had gone down to 80-7; and it had risen in transportation to 83-9; in construction to 111; in services to 114-9, and in trade to 121-3. So that the percentages of increase, as between the low of April 1, 1933, and November 1, 1934, are disclosed as follows: Manufacturing, 22-1

per cent; logging, 382-87 per cent; mining, 32-7 per cent; communications, 4-5 per cent; transportation, 13 per cent; construction, 102-9 per cent; services, 11-1 per cent; trade, 12-7 per cent. In other words there was a general average improvement from the low of April 1, 1933, to November 1, 1934, of 31-38 per cent. For the clearer understanding of the above figures, I would ask that the statement from which I have quoted appear in Hansard.

Industry-[DOT]

Manufacturing..

Logging

Mining

Communications Transportation. Construction. .

Services

Trade

All

EMPLOYMENT FIGURES BY INDUSTRIES (Index figures are based on 1926 = 100)

Percentage of employed by all Index Index Percentage of increase Nov., 1934,industries figure figure overDec. 1, 1934 April 1, 1933 Nov. 1, 1934 April, 1933. 49.3 76.0 92.8 22.1. 6.0 35.6 171.9 382.87. 6.0 91.4 121.2 32.7. 2.3 84.5 80.7 4.5. 10.2 74.2 83.9 13. 13.0 54.7 111.0 102.9. 2.6 102.5 114.9 11.1. 10.6 107.6 121.3 12.'. 100.0 76.0 100.2 31.38

I would ask that you call it six o'clock, Mr. Speaker.

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

At six o'clock the house adjourned without question put, pursuant to standing order. Thursday, March 21, 1935


March 20, 1935