May 23, 1935

LIB

Cameron Ross McIntosh

Liberal

Mr. McINTOSH:

We will help the hon. member to get one there some time.

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Subtopic:   WORKS, UNDERTAKINGS AND GUARANTEE OP RAIDWAY EQUIPMENT SECURITIES TO CREATE EMPLOYMENT
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CON

Ambrose Upton Gledstanes Bury

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BURY:

I hope, if I do not get it this year, I may get it next, and in the very remote possibility that by an extraordinary freak of circumstance my hon. friends opposite find themselves on this side of the house, I may get it from them if I cannot get it from my own party.

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LIB

Thomas F. Donnelly

Liberal

Mr. DONNELLY:

Following what has been said by the hon. member for East Edmonton (Mr. Bury) and the hon. member for North Battleford (Mr. Macintosh), I just wish to say that probably this Ceepee bridge will be needed in the near future. I hope and trust that southern Saskatchewan will continue to have the rains which it has been having in the last few weeks and will continue to have them for the next year or two. If the rains continue that bridge will be needed in order that the people who migrated north of the North Saskatchewan may return south, because I assume they will all come back after having migrated to the north about which the hon. member for North Battleford spoke.

As regards unemployment, I fail to see why the people in that district should be unemployed. They have been having good crops for the last few years. This is in a country section some distance from a city. Why should there be a lot of unemployment there? The situation is entirely different in the southern part of the province where the people have had no crops for six years. Why at the time of the election last summer should a lot of money have been sent in to the northern part to relieve unemployment and to build roads while nothing was done in the southern part, where the people had no work, no crops, nothing to do and were living entirely on relief? It looks as if this action was taken to help out not so much the unemployment as the political situation. However, it did not do a great deal of good anyway in the election last June.

I wish to compliment the minister upon his saying that in looking over the proposition they decided to spend $225,000 on bridge work in Saskatchewan because that province has no harbours or wharves, breakwaters and things of that kind to construct. I notice what he said with regard to the money that is to be spent, namely $500,000 for building dams and $750,000 for rehabilitating the dried out area. Well, the Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Weir) was out in the west, 'but he did not come into the central part of the dried out area. I have the misfortune to represent the constituency of Willow Bunch in the central part of the dried out area, and I did not see anything of the Minister of Agriculture there, nor did I hear of any proposition to build dams or reservoirs or anything else in my constituency. He went around on the outside of it. I notice there was a proposition in the west in the Cypress hills to dam the Frenchman river and the White Mud. There was another proposition in the northern part to dam the Saskatchewan river, and another to build a reservoir or dam on the Souris river in the Estevan district, but I did not hear of any proposition in regard to Willow Bunch. It looks as if what the people out there say is true, that this proposition of building dams is not to dam the water but to damn the Grits; it is a political manoeuvre. The people say; Whan the next election comes around we will have a pork barrel election; we will have these dams all over and people surveying them in all parts of the west.

An hon. MEMBER; The government will be damned.

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LIB

Thomas F. Donnelly

Liberal

Mr. DONNELLY:

They will be the ones that will be damned, and not the Liberal

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party; it will oome back on the government just as it did last June. There will be a lot of parties sent out looking for farms for strip farming, tree planting and that kind of work. There will be another lot of people prospecting for gold. We expect to see them going over all the hills looking for gold. There will be another lot travelling around from farm to farm, asking the farmer if he does not want a loan and saying: Come up before the debt adjustment board; we will adjust all your debts and lend you money at five per cent; there will he no more of this eight or nine per cent. Of course there will not be any amount of money lent until after the election. There may be some small sums lent here and there just to entice people to think they are going to get the money, but there will not be much done. I do hope the minister will be just as sincere with regard to the constituency of Willow Bunch and the people there as he tried to show he was towards the people of Saskatchewan, and that when it is a matter of building dams and putting in reservoirs he will not forget that there are sites in the constituency of Willow Bunch in the centre of the dried out area that he might work on just as well as in some of the other constituencies round about.

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LIB

Paul-Arthur Séguin

Liberal

Mr. SEGUIN (Translation):

Mr. Chairman, it is not to object to the $4,000,000 vote that I rise at the present time. I believe that in proposing this vote the government wishes to redeem the monumental error they committed in spending million after million to maintain people in idleness, instead of employing them at useful work. I should consider myself recreant to my trust if on this occasion, when a large sum is sought for public works, I did not once more ask the Minister of Public Works to use part of this $4,000,000 to rebuild the post office at L'Assomption.

Many times have I drawn the minister's attention to this matter, even showing 'him a photograh that I can now exhibit to the house. The present building, supported by props, is a disgrace to the town of L'Assomption and to the government. Its reconstruction or permanent repair is not only absolutely necessary, but would help to relieve unemployment. When I insisted on its reconstruction, a few more stays were simply added to prevent the building from crumbling. And when I repeated my request last year, a coat of paint was applied to the props in an endeavour to improve the appearance of this tottering structure owned by His Majesty. It is not too much to ask, now that a vote

[Mr. Donnelly.J

of $4,000,000 is before the house, that a reasonable sum be devoted to providing the t#wn of L'Assomption with a less disgraceful post office than it now has.

Many people in my district are out of work. During the past few years the government has had to disburse vast sums to maintain people in idleness, when they could have been employed at useful work. A post office has long been sorely needed at St. Lin des Laurentides. It had been decided in 1910 to build one, but unfortunately a change of government took place as the work was about to begin, and it was not proceeded with. Now that the government intends spending money to relieve unemployment, I think it would be proper to devote part of the $4,000,000 to the construction of a public building in the town of St. Lin des Laurentides.

May I remind the minister that my district contains a large number of farmers who grow vast quantities of tobacco. The construction of warehouses would prove a great advantage to the tobacco producers. There is urgent need, in many parishes of my district, of warehouses to enable the tobacco growers to market their product in good condition and at the right time.

I therefore suggest to the hon. minister that he relieve unemployment in my district by providing from this vote a sufficient sum to build warehouses, for example at L'Epi-phanie, at St. Jacques l'Achigan, at St. Esprit, at Ste. Julienne, at St. Alexis. Should he find that I am asking too much and that the building of small warehouses here and there will prove -too costly, I would ask him to build one large one, say in the town of Joliette, where the farmers of L'Assomption, Montcalm and Joliette counties could store their tobacco, keeping it safe and in good condition until the time came to market it at a decent price.

I respectfully submit these various propositions to the consideration of the minister. I could also add a request for the construction of the dam at Charlemagne that the Chambers of Commerce of L'Assomption and L'Epiphanie have already asked for. Senator Rainville, chief organizer of the Conservative party, has promised that a grant would be made for that purpose. I would point out to the hon. minister that this project is very important and will increase the value of all the land fronting on L'Assomption River. I would ask him to endorse the promise given by Senator Rainville and pro-

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vide a sufficient amount to erect this dam that will make L'Assomption River navigable once more and give to the whole district the benefit of the fine stream that the present bed of the river makes possible.

That is all I am going to say. I trust the hon. minister will take these requests under consideration and will not fail to grant at least one or two of them, among others the rebuilding of the post office at L'Assomption, which is a disgrace to the town and district, the construction of a large warehouse at Joliette, of a dam at Charlemagne and of a post office at St. Lin.

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Subtopic:   WORKS, UNDERTAKINGS AND GUARANTEE OP RAIDWAY EQUIPMENT SECURITIES TO CREATE EMPLOYMENT
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CON

Hugh Alexander Stewart (Minister of Public Works)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEWART (Leeds):

I gather that

my hon. friend is making representation in regard to the construction of public buildings in his constituency. I shall read in Hansard to-morrow very carefully what he has said and see what can be done about it.

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LIB

John Campbell Elliott

Liberal

Mr. ELLIOTT:

I wish to make a suggestion that I hope will meet with the approval of the minister and of the members of the. committee. There is an amendment moved to the section on which this schedule is based, and it would be convenient for those in charge of that amendment if the minister and the committee could see their way clear to discuss it now. It involves a number of things which if they are out of the way may obviate discussion that might otherwise have to take place.

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LIB

Charles Gavan Power

Liberal

Mr. POWER:

Shall we pass the remaining items of the schedule?

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LIB

John Campbell Elliott

Liberal

Mr. ELLIOTT:

No, let them stand. I

assume they cannot all be completed anyway.

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CON

Hugh Alexander Stewart (Minister of Public Works)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEWART (Leeds):

There is only

one other small item, No. 14, I suggest that we deal with that. And there is the item that is standing until the hon. member for Edmonton comes in. If this last item could be disposed of then I have no objection.

Item 14 agreed to.

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CON

Finlay MacDonald

Conservative (1867-1942)

The CHAIRMAN (Mr. MacDonald, Cape Breton):

An amendment has been proposed

to clause 2, as follows:

That section 2 of Bill 63 be amended by adding thereto subsection 2A:

2A. That in all employment arising out of the execution of such works and undertakings, whether under contract or by day labour (a) those most in need and available shall have first benefits from the employment to be created; (b) preference shall be given to unemployed and needy ex-service men and to unemployed and needy married men with dependents; (c) in no case shall discrimination be made in the employment of any person by reason of political

affiliation, race, or religious views; (d) where such works or undertakings are of a local character and the expenditure involved does not exceed $25,000, all persons employed shall be residents of the locality in which the work is to be performed; (e) it shall be the duty of the minister concerned to see that the provisions of this section are complied with and, in respect of works or undertakings done under contract, he shall be entitled to cancel the contracts forthwith in the event of any breach of such provisions by the contractor.

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CON

Hugh Alexander Stewart (Minister of Public Works)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEWART (Leeds):

During the recess I have carefuly studied the amendment prepared by the hon. member for West Lamb-ton (Mr. Gray). It is drastic, severe in some of its limitations, and I suggest in some respects from an administrative standpoint perhaps impossible, fully to comply with. Some part of what the amendment proposes is already observed in the specifications and in the practice of the department. I am prepared to go a long way to meet the suggestions of the amendment, with the general purposes of which we are quite in agreement; there should be no discrimination, there should be preference for ex-service men, for married men with dependents, and also unmarried men with dependents, for whom the proposed amendment does not provide.

I have drafted an amendment to the amendment which I think will make for the same ends, and which I trust will be acceptable to the hon. gentleman. I move, seconded by Mr. Manion:

That section 2 of Bill 63 be amended by adding thereto the following:

Provided, however, that in the execution of such works, as far as practicable and consistent with reasonable efficiency and economy, first consideration shall be given to the employment of those who if available and competent are most in need in the locality in which the works are to be performed, without any discrimination whatsoever; preference being shown to unemployed ex-service men and unemployed married and single men with dependents; and that the minister of the department responsible for the execution of such works may take such action as he may deem necessary and proper to enforce compliance with the foregoing provisions.

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LIB

Ross Wilfred Gray

Liberal

Mr. GRAY:

The amendment which I moved, seconded by the hon. member for Shelburne-Yarmouth, on the 17th day of April, has been read by the chairman and is on record in Hansard, so I feel sure hon. members have had an opportunity of considering it. I have not seen the amendment to the amendment, and did not hear it until the minister read it a moment or so ago, and while I appreciate the spirit in which the minister has viewed my amendment I feel that the amendment to the amendment is

Public Works Program

too general, and that we cannot accept it. I feel that my amendment has teeth which will help to overcome some of the difficulties about which we have been hearing during the discussion of this bill. The hon. member for North Winnipeg (Mr. Heaps) has stated some of the difficulties with which we have been confronted throughout the dominion in connection with this public works program, and the hon. member for Provencher (Mr. Beau-bien) has mentioned others. I quite realize the difficulties with which the government are faced; 1 quite realize that the government themselves are desirous of seeing that there is no discrimination and that certain preferences are lived up to, but I wish to point out that what has taken place in the past has caused that attitude on the part of the government to become nothing more than a pious hope. The first provision of my amendment is that:

(a) those most in need and available shall have first benefits from the employment to be created.

I realize that probably it is sometimes a little difficult to decide who are most in need, but in 193)1 the government recognized that this provision should be in all contracts having to do with the work being promoted in the various municipalities. In their instructions issued under the unemployment relief act of 1031 they stated, in a bulletin issued by the Department of Public Works, that those most in need should first derive benefit from the grants, which should be apportioned with impartiality. The president of the United States, in announcing his relief program a week or so ago, stated that in all cases those on relief rolls should be first considered. I think that is the wish of the committee, and I believe it was with that point in mind that the hon. member for Provencher directed the attention of the minister this afternoon to a project in the city of Winnipeg on which, out of a total of some four hundred men employed, it had been reported to him that only about 150 had been taken from the relief rolls. So it is the intention of my amendment to put into the act a specific subsection stating first, as I have said, that those most in need and available shall have first benefits in the employment to be created. I do not think the government should object to that provision because, as I have said, they have already given similar instructions, though in many cases these instructions have turned out to be merely pious wishes.

The next provision is that:

(b) preference shall be given to unemployed and needy ex-service men and to unemployed and needy married men with dependents.

I agree with the minister that we should include needy single men with dependents as well. First I should like to say a word as to needy and unemployed ex-service men. It is quite true that in the regulations issued, and I think in the contracts as well, it is stated that a reasonable quota of unemployed returned men shall be employed, but I think we would strengthen the hands of the government, of the minister and of the contractor if we inserted this provision. Apparently the minister recognizes this, because he is prepared to go that far in his amendment. I commend to the government the fact that they have already recognized that in this country there are large numbers of needy unemployed ex-service men. The Minister of Pensions and National Health (Mr. Sutherland) has appointed a commission, known I think as the Hyndman commission. In answer to a question asked this afternoon by the hon. member for Quebec South (Mr. Power) the Prime Minister (Mr. Bennett) stated that the report of this commission had not been received, but from the press one learns that the commission is hearing of the large number of needy unemployed ex-service men we still have in this country. I think it is to be deplored that during the five years they have been in office the government have not been busy classifying the unemployed of this country so that we might know how many ex-service men, how many men of different ages and so on are among them. I think we should have had that information long ago, but in any event in this program of unemployment relief which we are about to launch and in completing the construction program of 1934 I suggest that we should place upon the statute books the preference that is to be given to the needy unemployed ex-service men, the needy unemployed married men with dependents and, as the minister has suggested, and as I should be glad to include in my amendment, the needy unemployed single men with dependents.

The next provision of my amendment is as follows:

(c) in no ease shall discrimination be made in the employment of any person by reason of political affiliation, race, or religious views.

I think in this particular also the amendment to the amendment is very general in its terms. I believe we could divide it up and place this provision in a separate subsection as I have tried to do in my amendment.

Public Works Program

The government say in their bulletins they recognize that this should be the case, but again may I point out that hon. members have often stated to this house that this has not been followed in the works that have been undertaken during the past year. The government stated in their bulletins in 1931 that in no case should discrimination be made or permitted in the employment of or in the granting of direct relief to any British subject by reason of his political affiliation, race or religious views. But we all know that unless the minister has enabled to hold a club, so to speak, over the contractors, that is difficult of fulfilment. I am going to read a letter which my right hon. leader has received from the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America, just to illustrate what is taking place in one section of the country. I grant that the matter I am about to refer to does not come under the Minister of Public Works, but in view of the fact that this is a public works measure as a whole, he must take responsibility for it as well as the minister under whose department the particular work directly comes. The letter deals with the barracks being built at Calgary under the Department of National Defence. It is from Local Union No. 1779, and reads as follows:

The members of the above local wish to inform you that when the building of the barracks at Calgary was announced it was lenerally accepted that the available Work would be spread out to afford a maximum jf assistance to the various classes of craftsmen which it might employ.

Contractors opened lists for the carpenters who had worked for them at various periods, and many workmen hoped that after waiting many months for the work to begin that at least they would be able to get a few days' employment. Now we are to understand that the only hope of ever getting work on the barracks job is when his name is on the approved list which is furnished to the contractors.

The members of Local No. 1779 request that when parliament is opened a protest be vigorously made against the practice of using this patronage list, as it is debarring carpenters who are loyal and have been citizens of this country for the last twenty-five to thirty years, also a large percentage of the members being ex-service men. Owing to this approved list being used certain carpenters are being given employment by the various contractors on the scheme, thereby making it impossible for others to get employment.

Trusting you will give this appeal your greatest consideration,

Yours truly,

per Charles E. Scott,

Recording Secretary.

This illustrates what has come to the attention, I feeil sure, of many hon. members present. The minister a few days ago stated

in reply to a question which had been raised by the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre (Mr. Woodsworth).

The government leaves it largely to the contractor whom he shall employ, with this reservation, that we stipulate in our contracts that he must employ a reasonable quota of returned soldiers and_ local labour where it is available and competent. That is as far as we can go, I think, in reason with the contractor. If we go further, then the contractor has the right to make a claim for extras or anything else if you are going to dictate to him just whom he shall employ.

I say with all due respect that contractors who are receiving public money, and in respect of expenditures such as we are making for the relief of unemployment, certainly should be told to as great an extent as the government sees fit whom they shall employ, and to do that it is necessary to put some teeth into the act, which I am suggesting shall be done.

Clause (d) of my amendment is as follows:

(d) where such works or undertakings are of a local character and the expenditure involved does not exceed $25,000, all persons employed shall be residents of the locality in which the work is to be performed.

I realize that the minister in his contracts with the contractors does state that as far as practicable the people of the locality shall be employed. What I am attempting to do here, sir, is to see to it that in works of a purely local nature, and works not exceeding $25,000 only local men shall be employed. But in large works where half a million dollars or more are being expended, whether in Toronto, Halifax or any other city, men in the surrounding, outlying localities should surely be just as much entitled to employment as residents of the particular city concerned. They are purely dependent on the city, and I think they should be given some consideration.

Clause (e) of my amendment reads:

(e) it shall be the duty of the minister concerned to see that the provisions of this section are complied with and in respect of works or undertakings done under contract, he shall be entitled to cancel the contracts forthwith in the event of any breach of such provisions by the contractor.

That is a necessary provision in order that the minister may be able to enforce strictly the provisions that have been dealt with in clauses (a), (b), (c) and (d).

Again may I say that while I appreciate the government's attitude with respect to my amendment, I feel that the amendment to the amendment is in much the same general tone as the various orders in council and the various instructions that have been

Public Works Program

communicated to the provinces heretofore under the relief acts. I hope that with the fact in mind that I am trying to put some real strength into the section, some real power into the hands of the minister, whatever department the work may happen to come under, the government will see fit to accept my amendment as moved on April 17.

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LAB

Humphrey Mitchell

Labour

Mr. MITCHELL:

I have listened attentively to the remarks of the hon. member for West Lambton (Mr. 'Gray). I am not unmindful of the necessity of work for returned soldiers, and of the necessity of work for those, both married and single with dependents. But speaking from my own practical experience I sometimes think that not enough attention is given to those who should be on relief but are not. I mean that large body of workmen who have mortgaged their homes, who have saved by thrift, and have stayed off relief, and I think that in connection with work of this description something should be done for such people. I do not think they should be placed outside the pale, so to speak, in connection with this building policy of the government, because after all is said and done it would be a penalty on thrift if you denied to them the right of effective labour simply because through their own efforts they have kept off the relief roll.

The question of politics, of course, enters deeply into work of this description. We have not yet reached the stage in this dominion where the secretary of the local political organization has not some say as to who shall be employed not only on works of this description but also on contract work. I believe that is unsound and unfair. I believe that when a government launches a works policy for the unemployed' the political stripe of the individual and the influence that comes from political organizations should not enter into the matter at all. I think it is fair to say that the unemployed men in the trades and the labourers of this dominion look forward with a great deal of satisfaction to the launching by the government of this works program. I have no knowledge of the manner in which contracts are allocated to individuals who are on the right side of a particular political organization, but I think such practices are unfair and not in accord with British justice. Another great difficulty will arise in deciding who is and who is not needy. I am dealing with conditions in Ontario with which I am better acquainted, and I contend that this work should be given through the labour exchanges. These organizations are non-

political and they have rosters of the unemployed men and women in the different localities. I know of no fairer way of hiring men and women. No matter whether the amendment of the hon. member for West Lambton (Mr. Gray) or the amendment to the amendment of the Minister of Public Works (Mr. Stewart) should pass, the government would be well advised to use these employment offices in giving employment in connection with the public works program. The government owes it to the unemployed to see that no unemployed man or woman is denied work because of his or her political affiliation. From my practical experience of many years I question very much whether any government is benefited by political patronage, because for every man who gets a job the particular government makes twenty enemies. The question of political affiliation should not be considered at all; this should be a public works program for the benefit of those deprived at the moment of productive labour. When a contract is let there may be difficulty in deciding who is the most efficient man to employ, but that difficulty is met every day. If the government is going to demand that certain labour shall be employed by the contractor, I do not know where the thing will end. The employment service of Canada can supply all the necessary labour through its various offices. I urge the minister and1 the government to put forth every effort to see that men and -women are given work irrespective of their political affiliations.

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LIB

Charles Gavan Power

Liberal

Mr. POWER:

Is the question on the amendment or on the amendment to the amendment?

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CON

Finlay MacDonald

Conservative (1867-1942)

The CHAIRMAN (Mr. MacDonald, Cape Breton):

On the amendment to the amendment.

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LIB

Charles Gavan Power

Liberal

Mr. POWER:

The amendment to the amendment reads:

That section 2 of Bill 63 be amended by adding thereto the following:

I submit that that is badly drawn; it should read, "that all the words after 'that' be struck out," or something similar. I ask you to rule the subamendment out of order. It is drafted not as a subamendment but as an amendment, and there is already an amendment before the chair.

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CON

Hugh Alexander Stewart (Minister of Public Works)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEWART (Leeds):

When I moved it I said it was an amendment to the amendment.

Public Works Program

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LIB

Charles Gavan Power

Liberal

Mr. POWER:

It does not read that way. I suggest that as we now have it, it is out of order.

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CON

Finlay MacDonald

Conservative (1867-1942)

The CHAIRMAN (Mr. MacDonald, Cape Breton):

The motion as made by the Minister of Public Works (Mr. Stewart) was an amendment to the amendment.

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May 23, 1935