April 20, 1936

?

James McCrie Douglas

Mr. DOLTGLAS:

I think the explanation of the leader of the opposition will cover the point. In order that it may not be thought that I was trying to put too high a figure on record, I should like to quote from the sessional paper as follows:

On the basis of all expenditures made including expenditures for equipment, transportation, camp construction, provisions, supervision, allowances, medical care and hospitalization and construction materials but making no deduction for the equipment and usable goods, and materials on hand, the average cost per man month was-*

(a) 1935..

(b) 1934..

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT
Subtopic:   ASSISTANCE FOR AGRICULTURAL SETTLEMENT AND REHABILITATION AND DEVELOPMENT OF NATURAL AND OTHER RESOURCES
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LIB

Walter Adam Tucker

Liberal

Mr. TUCKER:

The minister stated that in order to look after this problem as it should be looked after it might be necessary to give some consideration to the extension of the farm placement scheme. I am in entire accord with this policy, as I agree with the hon. member for Portage la Prairie (Mr. Leader) when he states that if it is going to cost around $50 per month to look after these people in camps, they could be looked after for less much better and more satisfactorily in the farm homes of this country where they would not be segregated by themselves as they are in camps. This would be a much better policy in every way than placing these men in camps. I assume that such a

Unemployment

scheme would be the result of agreements between the dominion and the provinces and as I understand it, under subsection 2 of section 4, no such agreement would be valid until it had been approved by resolution of this House of Commons. I should like to know whether the government intends to make agreements with the provinces to take care of this problem which will probably become acute before parliament meets again. Will the government take care of this matter by making the necessary agreements with all the provinces and having those agreements approved by parliament before we prorogue? Are we going to be sure that these people will be looked after or are we going to have to say after prorogation, as was pointed out by the hon. member for Vancouver-Burrard (Mr. McGeer), that our hands are tied? From what the minister said, I take it that this matter is going to be dealt with, but I should like to know whether he is quite satisfied that subsection 2 of section 4 will not prevent us from dealing with it.

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT
Subtopic:   ASSISTANCE FOR AGRICULTURAL SETTLEMENT AND REHABILITATION AND DEVELOPMENT OF NATURAL AND OTHER RESOURCES
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LIB

Norman McLeod Rogers (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. ROGERS:

Under the terms of this bill when it is passed agreement will be made with the several provinces, and I would anticipate no difficulty in inserting in the agreement a provision for a farm placement scheme in a particular province. I may say that at the present time all the provinces have not adopted a farm placement scheme; it has been adopted only by the three prairie provinces.

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT
Subtopic:   ASSISTANCE FOR AGRICULTURAL SETTLEMENT AND REHABILITATION AND DEVELOPMENT OF NATURAL AND OTHER RESOURCES
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LIB

Gerald Grattan McGeer

Liberal

Mr. McGEER:

On behalf of the city of Vancouver I took this matter up with the provincial government in Victoria, and I was informed that they could do nothing with reference to their association with municipal problems until such time as they could find out what could be done with the dominion government. They were not prepared to entertain any proposal for cooperation between the provincial government and any municipality until they knew the policy of the dominion government. This means that at the moment we cannot deal with the provincial governments.

We are told that the camps are to be closed, and I am afraid that there can be very little real merit in the minister's suggestion that a few months' work on the railways will provide the unemployed who were in the camps with a sustenance allowance for the winter months. Even though a man had worked in the past, after working at these wages and being thrown out of employment he will find himself destitute. These men will crowd into the cities if there are no camps to go to. At the present time

we have something more than the mere unemployed and destitute to deal with; we have to deal with public opinion. On my return to Vancouver I was surprised1 to learn that the police in that city were trying to enforce the bylaws which prevented the holding of tag-days and that sort of thing. They arrested certain men and brought them before a magistrate. The magistrate said that these men were entitled to earn a living; that as far as he was concerned, sitting as a magistrate, he was not going to be a party to persecuting them and that he would not punish them. Public opinion was overwhelmingly in favour of that sentiment.

The problem of the municipalities is not merely that of taking care of the unemployed; it concerns the protecting of the life and property of the individual. Law enforcement falls upon the municipal administrators. If you are going to close these camps and not provide an adequate program of employment, there will develop in the cities, particularly in British Columbia in which there is during the winter months a heavy concentration of unemployed from all over the west, a situation which will prove to be of grave and serious concern for the peace, order and good government of these cities and the liberty and security of every individual in them. It was because of this that I asked the government what agreements they had in mind other than those with the railways. I assumed that under the latter part of subsection 1, of section 4, which provides for agreements with corporations, partnerships or individuals engaged in industry respecting the expansion of industrial employment, provision would be made for some program of employment being developed. However, I take it from the minister's answer that no such program is in contemplation; that the only agreements being considered are the general ones with the provinces providing for some contributory form of assistance. It may be laudable and advisable to close these relief camps, but I contend it is a desperate and dangerous thing to do if no adequate program of employment is developed in the meantime to carry these men through, not only the summer months but the winter months as well.

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT
Subtopic:   ASSISTANCE FOR AGRICULTURAL SETTLEMENT AND REHABILITATION AND DEVELOPMENT OF NATURAL AND OTHER RESOURCES
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LIB

Norman McLeod Rogers (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. ROGERS:

I think I have assured the committee already that we shall take every possible means of ensuring that the employment of these men will continue as long as possible. I want to put to the committee and to my hon. friend the implication of the figures I gave a few moments ago. It was announced that the allowances in the relief camps would be increased to $15 per month

Unemployment

on February 29. The total as of that date is 20,376, while the last total is 16,039, so there has been a reduction of some 4,000 men, and that after the announcement that the wage allowance would be increased to $15 a month in addition to board and lodging. A reasonable inference from that surely would be that these men were going to their own homes; that they were going to some other employment which gave them a greater wage than $15 a month with board and lodging, or that they did not wish to remain in the camps and work as they were obliged to do under the new policy.

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT
Subtopic:   ASSISTANCE FOR AGRICULTURAL SETTLEMENT AND REHABILITATION AND DEVELOPMENT OF NATURAL AND OTHER RESOURCES
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LIB

Gerald Grattan McGeer

Liberal

Mr. McGEER:

As a matter of fact I

think anyone who is conversant with the relief camp situation knows exactly what happens every year. There is a large number of men, just about the number mentioned by the minister, who, as soon as spring comes and weather conditions make it possible, leave the camps. Most of them leave not to go to work but to roam about as adventurers and to "hit the road."

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT
Subtopic:   ASSISTANCE FOR AGRICULTURAL SETTLEMENT AND REHABILITATION AND DEVELOPMENT OF NATURAL AND OTHER RESOURCES
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LIB

Norman McLeod Rogers (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. ROGERS:

Does my hon. friend

think those men are proper charges for this or any other government, with regard to securing employment?

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT
Subtopic:   ASSISTANCE FOR AGRICULTURAL SETTLEMENT AND REHABILITATION AND DEVELOPMENT OF NATURAL AND OTHER RESOURCES
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LIB

Gerald Grattan McGeer

Liberal

Mr. McGEER:

I do not say that; I am

just mentioning the fact. As a matter of fact, in every year during which the camps have been in operation that very thing has taken place. If the minister will go to the foremen or to any of the men conversant with the problem he will find out the type of men who have left. They prefer to roam about the country rather than to continue in the camps, and if he will check up the statistics as to rod-riders during . this particular period he will see a proportionate increase in the number of men who are roaming about, picking up work indiscriminately here and there, wherever they can find it. This is no indication whatever that there is any improvement in the employment situation throughout the Dominion of Canada this year as against last year. I venture to suggest that if the minister will check up the statistics of last year he will find that just about the same number left the camps at this time, and I venture the further suggestion that he will find that in the main they were the same men. To suggest that this is any indication that the problem is not one that will have to be dealt with next winter or that the unemployment problem is moderating of its own accord is not in accordance with the facts, and no such conclusion is justified.

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT
Subtopic:   ASSISTANCE FOR AGRICULTURAL SETTLEMENT AND REHABILITATION AND DEVELOPMENT OF NATURAL AND OTHER RESOURCES
Permalink
LIB

Norman McLeod Rogers (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. ROGERS:

That was not my implication.

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT
Subtopic:   ASSISTANCE FOR AGRICULTURAL SETTLEMENT AND REHABILITATION AND DEVELOPMENT OF NATURAL AND OTHER RESOURCES
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LIB

Gerald Grattan McGeer

Liberal

Mr. McGEER:

The implication was that

these men left to go to better jobs, paying more than $15 a month, or that they went to their homes. No such conclusion is justified. Probably the men will not be getting as much money, nor will they be getting as good shelter or as much food as they were receiving in the camps, but they prefer to leave the camps and have the adventure of moving about the country. Speaking as one who knows something about this problem in Vancouver I think every member of this House of Commons must view the situation with the greatest concern if the government is to be tied down in meeting emergencies, as apparently this measure contemplates tying it down.

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT
Subtopic:   ASSISTANCE FOR AGRICULTURAL SETTLEMENT AND REHABILITATION AND DEVELOPMENT OF NATURAL AND OTHER RESOURCES
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CCF

Abraham Albert Heaps

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. HEAPS:

Perhaps, following this discussion, the minister might be good enough to inform the committee what would be the position of the government in case the appropriation was entirely exhausted and further sums were required. Would it be necessary to wait until parliament reconvened in order to vote these sums?_

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT
Subtopic:   ASSISTANCE FOR AGRICULTURAL SETTLEMENT AND REHABILITATION AND DEVELOPMENT OF NATURAL AND OTHER RESOURCES
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LIB

Norman McLeod Rogers (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. ROGERS:

I understand there is

statutory provision under which governor general's warrants may be issued to meet an emergency when it arises.

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT
Subtopic:   ASSISTANCE FOR AGRICULTURAL SETTLEMENT AND REHABILITATION AND DEVELOPMENT OF NATURAL AND OTHER RESOURCES
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SC

John Horne Blackmore

Social Credit

Mr. BLACKMORE:

There is one other

thing I should like to see done; I should like to suggest that the minister assume the task of seeing that in every little community a place is provided where these people can register. Let it be the post office or some other place where, when the boys come in, they will not be insulted; plenty of them meet with insults when they come to town honestly looking for work.

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT
Subtopic:   ASSISTANCE FOR AGRICULTURAL SETTLEMENT AND REHABILITATION AND DEVELOPMENT OF NATURAL AND OTHER RESOURCES
Permalink
LIB

Norman McLeod Rogers (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. ROGERS:

I shall be glad to look into that.

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT
Subtopic:   ASSISTANCE FOR AGRICULTURAL SETTLEMENT AND REHABILITATION AND DEVELOPMENT OF NATURAL AND OTHER RESOURCES
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SC

John Horne Blackmore

Social Credit

Mr. BLACKMORE:

In that way the minister will know who are transients and who are not; it will not cost much and will be a wonderful help to the boys. Then I should like to make one other observation. If the amount of money the boys will be able to make on these railroad jobs is more than the amount they could make on farms, this will put the farmers at a disadvantage in getting help. I more than suspect that this is one reason why the farmers are having difficulty in getting these men to come to work for them, and inasmuch as I represent an agricultural constituency I am concerned about this. I should also like the minister to look into the matter of helping the farmers more.

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT
Subtopic:   ASSISTANCE FOR AGRICULTURAL SETTLEMENT AND REHABILITATION AND DEVELOPMENT OF NATURAL AND OTHER RESOURCES
Permalink

Subsection agreed to. Unemployment On section 3, subsection 3-Contracts to be approved.


LIB

Ian Alistair Mackenzie (Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE (Vancouver):

I have an amendment to move, inserting the words "to which the dominion government is contributing" after the word "undertaking" in the first line of this subsection.

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT
Subtopic:   ASSISTANCE FOR AGRICULTURAL SETTLEMENT AND REHABILITATION AND DEVELOPMENT OF NATURAL AND OTHER RESOURCES
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LIB

George Washington McPhee

Liberal

The CHAIRMAN (Mr. McPhee):

An

amendment has been moved also by the Minister of Pensions and National Health, that the words "dominion engineer" be struck out and the words "engineer in the service of the dominion government" be substituted therefor.

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT
Subtopic:   ASSISTANCE FOR AGRICULTURAL SETTLEMENT AND REHABILITATION AND DEVELOPMENT OF NATURAL AND OTHER RESOURCES
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Amendments agreed to. Subsection as amended agreed to. On section 3, subsection 4-Minister may take action.


CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

The minister made a most illuminating observation a moment ago, when he suggested that governor general's warrants might be the last recourse. What is the difference between a blank cheque and governor general's warrants?

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT
Subtopic:   ASSISTANCE FOR AGRICULTURAL SETTLEMENT AND REHABILITATION AND DEVELOPMENT OF NATURAL AND OTHER RESOURCES
Permalink

April 20, 1936