March 5, 1937

PRIVATE BILLS

FIRST READINGS-SENATE BILLS


Bill No. 43, to enable the establishment, operation and maintenance of free foreign trade zones.-Mr. Deslauriers. Bill No. 44, for the relief of Clara Emily Taylor Elkin.-Mr. Jacobs. Bill No. 45, for the relief of Yetta Gins-burg.-Mr. Jacobs. Bill No. 46, for the relief of Marguerite Emily Coombe Low.-Mr. Jacobs. Bill No. 47, for the relief of Mary May Rowell Thom.-Mr. Reid (for Mr. Factor). Bill No. 48, for the relief of Eva Josephine Millicent Good Ross.-Mr. Jacobs. Natural Products Marketing Act


NATURAL PRODUCTS MARKETING ACT

JUDGMENT AGAINST CHAIRMAN OP BRITISH


On the orders of the day:


LIB

Thomas Reid

Liberal

Mr. THOMAS REID (New Westminster):

Mr. Speaker, I should like to direct a question to either the Minister of Justice (Mr. Lapointe) or the Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Gardiner), and I am basing it upon a telegram which has reached me in connection with a very serious matter affecting the chairman of the vegetable marketing board in the province of British Columbia. Before I ask my question I will read the telegram.

Leslie Gilmore, chairman of the coast vegetable marketing board, is being sold out by the sheriff to-morrow, Thursday, on account of judgment against him in respect of claim for return of levies collected under Dominion Marketing Act. Surely dominion government will not permit such a thing to happen. Respectfully suggest immediate action be taken . . . to protect this man who acted in all good faith under a statute enacted by dominion government.

My question is: is it the intention of the government to take immediate action to prevent Mr. Gilmore, chairman of the marketing board, from losing all he possesses and being thrown out on the street; or in the event of this happening will the government protect Mr. Gilmore by indemnifying him?

Topic:   NATURAL PRODUCTS MARKETING ACT
Subtopic:   JUDGMENT AGAINST CHAIRMAN OP BRITISH
Sub-subtopic:   COLUMBIA COAST VEGETABLE MARKETING BOARD FOR RETURN OF LEVIES COLLECTED
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LIB

Ernest Lapointe (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Liberal

Hon. ERNEST LAPOINTE (Minister of Justice):

Some questions have been submitted to the Department of Justice with regard to the operations of the marketing act in British Columbia, as a result of the recent decision of the privy council. There are a few actions already before the courts. One judgment has been delivered against the gentleman mentioned in the telegram which has just been read, making him responsible for his actions when acting for the marketing board. Upon communicating with the provincial authorities I have been given to understand that this judgment is being appealed, and we hope all the other lawsuits will be suspended until there is a final judgment on this action. Meanwhile I am informed by the attorney general of British Columbia that he is taking all possible steps to prevent any difficulty and to protect the individuals involved.

Topic:   NATURAL PRODUCTS MARKETING ACT
Subtopic:   JUDGMENT AGAINST CHAIRMAN OP BRITISH
Sub-subtopic:   COLUMBIA COAST VEGETABLE MARKETING BOARD FOR RETURN OF LEVIES COLLECTED
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SOCKEYE SALMON TREATY


On the orders of the day:


IND

Alan Webster Neill

Independent

Mr. A. W. NEILL (Comox-Alberni):

I

wish to ask the leader of the government a question based on an answer to a question

which I got the day before yesterday. I asked if the Fraser river treaty had been ratified; if so, whether it was subject to any reservations; if there were reservations, what were they, and would we be given an opportunity to consider them in this house. The answer was that it was considered that they were of such a character as to constitute only clarification or interpretation, and therefore would not be submitted to the house. I submit that the change is a very material one. equivalent practically to changing the treaty by order in, council. Since the matter is of great importance to British Columbia, I ask the government whether they will not afford an opportunity to debate it in the house. I for one at least would like to protest if the treaty is to be made law without an opportunity of debating such a material change.

Topic:   SOCKEYE SALMON TREATY
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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Right Hon. R. B. BENNETT (Leader of the Opposition):

Before the minister replies I would like to say that I have given some attention to the answer made by the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) in connection with the approval of the treaty by the senate of the United States, and I should like to join with what has been said by the hon. member for Comoix^AIberni (Mr. Neill); for I regard the government's course as establishing a precedent of very doubtful validity. I trust no action will be taken until the house has had opportunity at least to express itself; for the treaty that we approved is not the treaty that will go into effect if the reservations made by the senate of the United States are to be regarded, as part of it. I make this observation in order that the Minister of Justice (Mr. Lapointe), who obviously will not answer the question to-day, may have that view before him when he considers what has been said by the hon. member for Comox-Alberni.

Hon. ERNEST LAPOINTE, (Minister of Justice): Yes full consideration will be

given to the representations of both the hon,. member for Comox-Alberni and the right hon. leader of the opposition. Meanwhile we shall consider this as a notice of motion.

Topic:   SOCKEYE SALMON TREATY
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THE BUDGET

CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE


The house resumed from Thursday, March 4, consideration of the motion of Hon. Charles A. Dunning (Minister of Finance) that Mr. Speaker do now leave the chair for the house The Budget-Mr. Stirling



to go into committee of ways and means, and the proposed amendment thereto of Mr. Bennett.


CON

Grote Stirling

Conservative (1867-1942)

Hon. GROTE STIRLING (Yale):

I am sure I voice the feeling of every hon. member of this house when I express the hope that the measures which the Minister of Finance (Mr. Dunning) will take in this early stage of his indisposition will enable him to return quickly, in health and vigour, to the discharge of his onerous duties.

Everyone who read the statement of the Minister of Finance will I think be gratified by the improvement in the trade figures of Canada and the increase of the revenue; will be gratified to realize that Canada in her trading adventure with other nations of the world still retains her forefront position, and will hope that the improvement which has started will continue. We are all gratified also, I imagine, to see that the minister has adopted the better precedent in the form in which he has presented to the people the national balance sheet. It is now a plain and intelligible document. It does not very much resemble the documents which were presented by ministers of finance when the Liberal party was previously in power; for now we do not have to take what was virtually a sham surplus, reduce it almost to the vanishing point by the deduction of certain special expenditures, and then turn it into a deficit by applying the deficits of the Canadian National Railways. Now we have exhibited to us the extent of Canada's commitments, the amount of her trade, where her revenues come from, and what they amount to. In all it is an understandable document which should be of great value to the people of Canada. I wonder whether it will have some effect in tending to diminish the number of applications, requisitions and even demands which are made by people in Canada on whatever government is in the saddle at the time. The dominion government is asked to provide money for this, to give grants for that, quite irrespective of the fact that the revenue which the dominion government is called upon to administer comes from the pockets of the taxpayer. Frequently it looks as if the people who make these demands are of the opinion that there is some hidden source of wealth into which the minister of finance can put his hand other than that which they themselves have to contribute. If this method of presentation will accomplish anything to help Canadian citizens to realize that their problem must be looked upon from a national point of view and no longer a parochial or even provincial point of view, great good will ensue.

The minister did not devote very much time to what is an undoubted fact, that the turning point in the improvement of Canadian trade dates back to the Ottawa agreements of 1932. It is a self-evident fact, a fact which every Canadian citizen acknowledges whose mind is not rancid with partisanship. But it is unfortunate that there were so many who in those days of abuse occupied their time in abusing the agreements in public and blessing them in private. The government of the United Kingdom saw fit to change its fiscal policy. That was the opportunity that the self-governing dominions had been seeking for many years, and due to the foresight of one man an invitation was issued to the self-governing dominions to send their delegations to this city in 1932 to discuss the possibility of arriving at trade agreements. The difficulties were great. Some of them were surmounted by little more than the presentation of the facts on both sides of the question. Others were more obstinate, and the fact that that work was brought to a successful termination is due to two things; one, the spirit which animated the delegates from all the participating nations, a spirit which was responsible for the determination that agreement should be reached; two, the ability and the patient genius exhibited by my right hon. leader (Mr. Bennett). Outside Canada that fact is recognized; inside Canada it is not so often recognized by those who take part in partisan speeches on this question. But there is no doubt that the Ottawa agreement was the turning point in Canada's fight with the adversity ef depression.

The other agreement which was arrived at last year was undoubtedly arrived at by this government, but the fact is that the spade work had been entirely done when the government came into office. A year and a half previously the president of the United States had received power from congress which enabled him to reduce the tariff of the United States in order to obtain trade agreements with other countries. As soon as that had happened the technical men on both sides were able to prepare both facts and figures, and that work was accomplished in the summer of 1935. A draft of the agreement was presented, which was not in the opinion of the late administration one which Canada could properly accept. Negotiations were in process when the election came, and this government hurried to Washington, signed the agreement and accepted the terms offered by the United States; and it is perfectly right

The Budget-Mr. Stirling

that it should cherish this child as if it were its own even though it does rather resemble a foundling.

The Minister of Finance (Mr. Dunning) in presenting his budget warns us of two or three dangers which encompass us. He points out the seriousness of the financial position of certain of the provinces. He draws our attention to the fact that once more the get-rich-quick spirit is abroad, and I notice in yesterday's press that the president of the Montreal stock exchange is of the same opinion. He also draws our attention with emphasis to the fact that the position with regard to the relief of unemployment is a disheartening one. The relief figures are not responding in the same proportion as the figures of Canada's increase in trade. Whilst the Minister of Finance is disheartened, the Minister of Labour (Mr. Rogers) is encouraged though not satisfied. I do not know to what extent the Minister of Labour's view that it is an encouraging situation will be borne out throughout this country, but he will no doubt on a future occasion enlarge on the brief statement which he made the other night in reply to my right hon. leader, and explain to us in more detail the measures which he has employed, with the assistance of the employment commission, to bring about an amelioration of the situation.

The minister does, however, find encouragement in the fact that we no longer have relief camps. He tells us it was the determination of the government that these camps should be closed. He tells us that he had a strong opinion based upon his knowledge of conditions in these relief camps, and his knowledge of the sense of frustration and despair which was developed by them, that the best way to deal with the relief camps was to close them as quickly as possible. That presentation is well known to have been this government's policy, and so a committee of investigation was set up which investigated the camps; and it is not surprising that the report of that committee bore out the opinion of the minister and advised that the camps should be closed. He does not refer to the fact that nine months before that committee reported another committee had reported. I want to draw the attention of hon. members to a few phrases from these two reports to show that, at least in the opinion of the men on these committees who investigated the conditions in the camps, their feeling was not as bad as the minister's.

The one that I have in my hand is the report of the committee set up by the previous administration under Mr. Justice W. A. Macdonald supported by Mr. C. T. McHattie

and the Rev. E. D. Braden, who were instructed to inquire into conditions obtaining in all camps and any complaints which had been made with respect to the administration and management of the camps established by the Department of National Defence in British Columbia. They proceeded to visit the camps, and listened to all who had evidence to give pro and con, and any complaints which anyone desired to make before them. I want to refer, because of what I am going to say later, to one or two remarks which are made in the report. On page 8 the committee men report:

Questions were continually submitted at the public sittings, as to the existence of any militarization in these camps. We feel no hesitation in reporting that it did not, and does not, exist in the slightest degree.

They inquired into food,-sleeping accommodation, cleanliness, sanitation and so on, and commenced the summation of the report as follows:

The object of the establishment of relief camps is clearly indicated in the manual of policy and instructions available in every camp as follows:

As a measure designed to care for single, homeless men without present employment and in need of relief the Department of National Defence lias been entrusted with the organization and execution of a series of projects on works to the general advantage of Canada which otherwise could not be undertaken at this time. We find that these camps have reasonably fulfilled the object of their establishment and afforded the intended relief. It is well known that they were expected to be only of a temporary nature. The reason for their continuance is the prolonged depression, and we hope that this cause will soon disappear.

The report then goes on to refer to various items of complaint and the committee men make their comments thereon. It will be seen from that report, therefore, that in their opinion at least, there was no truth in the allegation that there was militarization of the camps. The camps, of course, had been instituted as a temporary measure, and the committee men deal with the complaints that were so made.

Then I come to the report of the committee which this government set up and to which the Minister of Labour referred. The report is dated January 31, 1936, and after dealing with the visit which was paid to the United States camps, where it was found that the situation was so entirely different as to be of little value to a consideration of our problem-it having been found that the camps there were fully military in type-they go on to make the comment which the minister quoted about the desirability of closing the camps and they make the remark en passant

The Budget-Mr. Stirling

that no police authority is vested in the camp administration. I can well imagine the storm of abuse which would have fallen upon the late administration and the minister in charge of this particular piece of work at anything in the nature of a police organization being connected with the camps. I will read a paragraph which goes to show that there had been a certain amount of misapprehension on the part of the public with regard to the remuneration received by those who were in the camps.

A strong body of public opinion exists that is opposed to the principle of the allowance of twenty cents per day for work performed over a nominal period of eight hours. It might be emphasized that the fact is lost sight of that in addition to food, shelter, clothing and medical attention, tobacco is provided along with canteen supplies at a cost below that paid by the general public outside the camp, and recreation facilities varying in degree according to the size and location of the camp.

The report says that an adequate supply of warm and serviceable clothing is supplied; it deals with the fact that recreation and education were provided for those in the camps; it remarks that the meals served in the relief camps were plain but wholesome and clean; it deals with the facilities providing for the washing of clothes, with the provision of medical services and so on, and states that a canteen existed in every camp. Then I want to read the last paragraph but one:

The Department of National Defence has built up an organization that has been fair to the men under its charge, and efficient in the administration of the various activities in the management of the camps. The work is being carried on in addition to the ordinary departmental duties, assisted by a small civilian staff, reflecting a decided saving to the exchequer. It should be pointed out that the staff officials of the Department of National Defence, are by training eminently suited to the task of organization work of this character, and in this regard have rendered a distinct service during a most trying time. To brand the camps as military establishments is unfair.

I want the 'hon. members to remember that phrase.

In our inspection not the slightest trace of the general conception of military discipline was m evidence. In fact, the officers of the Department of National Defence have leaned backward in this regard. Not one man was seen in military uniform. Those in the service whose duties carried them into the camp wore civilian clothes. As far as we could observe, the administration is of a non-political character, a factor of vital importance in an undertaking requiring the utmost discretion if serious trouble is to be avoided. In this connection, if it is thought desirable that some change should be made, consideration might be given to the suggestion that the services of those branches of the Department of National Defence peculiarly suited to camp activities be retained.

It will be noticed1, Mr. Speaker, that the reports of both these committees of investi-

| Mr. Stirling.]

gation went to show that the camps, as such, were well conducted and carrying out the purpose for which they were established. The minister, however, considers that the policy was all wrong, that they were established as the result of a counsel of despair. I maintain that there was no counsel of despair at all connected with the policy with regard to the camps. Rather it was one step in the long chain of policies built up by agreement between the dominion and provincial governments, which resulted in the dominion government taking over a certain share of the responsibility in order to assist the provinces, whose duty it is to look after unemployment.

I suppose we all remember the abuse, the vilification, the innuendoes and the whisperings that went on with regard to these camps. It was not confined to the members of this house in this house; it was carried on throughout the country and was taken up by supporters of the then opposition. I am not going to fill the pages of Hansard with a large number of quotations of that description, but I do want to put on record two utterances which are attributed to the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King), both taken from the Ottawa Citizen. The first is dated September 22, 1935, and is the report of a speech delivered by the right hon. gentleman in Prince Albert. I quote:

Organization of relief camps under the Department of National Defence was a great mistake, Mr. King said. They were military camps and could be nothing else while they were under military control.

"Has a government that would do a thing like that ihe least appreciation of the psychology of the whole situation?" asked Mr. King. "I say it has not."

Young men who were unemployed would have to be cared for but they should be paid wages and made to feel they were part of society, not outcasts to be thrust into internment camps. They should be employed on socially useful works in which they could take pride and organized under the labour or some other department.

The other extract I wish to read is from the Ottawa Citizen of October 14, 1935, referring to a speech delivered foy the right hon. gentleman in this city:

"At this time it is a necessity as well as an opportunity to have a strong, united government. We have had a 'one man' government during the past five years, but no one man or no one government can cope with the problems facing us to-day! In eight out of nine provinces we have Liberal governments whose leaders have pledged themselves to the support of the federal government. Our present social problems cannot be adequately solved without all these provinces coming together in unity of cause."

At this juncture in Mr. King's address, someone in the audience shouted: "What about the relief camps?" The Liberal chieftain replied:

The Budget-Mr. Stirling

"Yes, my friend, I will tell you about the relief camps. When the Liberal party comes back into power the unfortunates in these camps will be made to feel that they are human beings like everyone else, not lost souls placed out of the way in remote places! An agency such as the Department of National Defence, a department established solely for the administration of military affairs and warfare, will not be placed in charge of these men!"

I quite agree that the Prime Minister has kept his word. But he reiterated that the camps were militaristic; he referred to those in the camps'as unfortunates, and he called them internment camps.

Why was this work given to the Department of National Defence? It was done for this one reason, that under the Department of National Defence there existed throughout Canada an organization in skeleton form which could be expanded to take care of this emergency work. Without thought a man might say these camps should be under the Department of Labour. Why place them under a department which did not have the necessary organization? Why create an organization to do work which was looked upon as temporary, which was never considered as anything else, and which could be carried on quite well by a department which already had the organization established? It will be remembered that Canada is divided into some nine military districts. In each district there is an officer commanding who has under him an engineer officer, a medical officer, a commissariat officer and a transport officer, and in their turn they have under them staffs which could be and were expanded to take care of the work of looking after these camps.

I have the very greatest admiration for the work done by Major General McNaughton and subsequently by Major General Ashton and the officers under their charge, for the way they adapted themselves to the changed requirements and carried on this most difficult piece of work in the face of the vilification that was going on almost daily inside this house and out of it, in the press of the country and in correspondence between individuals. The work was carried on at a time when these men, like all other servants of the state, were foregoing a portion of their remuneration as their gesture towards assisting the government in that difficult time. It was carried on by day and far into the night, and was a most difficult type of work to do. I do not think sufficient tribute has been paid to those responsible for doing it. It was not their policy, but that of the government.

May I refer, too, to the technical staff which it was necessary hurriedly to get together to look after the superintendence of the work

and the camps. The Department of National Defence was successful in collecting a band of technical men, engineering men, superintendents, foremen; people, then out of work, who were connected with construction, which was then in the doldrums, and others. They took over the technical work in connection with the camps and carried it out with most commendable efficiency. In some cases they did it in the face of abusive opposition from those in the camps who did not want to conform to the arrangements made therein, and also in the face of the general criticisms so often directed against them by a public which did not always understand. It is most satisfactory to know that at a time of need it was possible for the department to collect a body of men who were experienced, and capable of doing the work. It must be remembered that in the course of time, while the camps were open, very large sums of money passed through the hands of those in charge. There was a commissariat and there were necessary petty cash expenditures. I believe it is a notable point that the total defalcations from beginning to end amounted to only a small fraction of one per cent. I am only too glad to have had this opportunity of paying tribute to the work which was accomplished in connection with the camps.

But the minister considers that the whole idea of the camps were a counsel of despair. I maintain it was nothing of the sort. I shall run over briefly the steps which preceded the setting up of the camps under the dominion government. It will be remembered that in 1930 the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King)-and he was prime minister then -was not of the opinion that an emergent situation existed. He regarded the relief of unemployment as a matter to which the provinces should attend, a view with which in general this party was in entire accord. Buit that there was an emergent situation then was becoming more and more evident to the people of Canada. It was then, too, that he pronounced that strange partisan political doctrine, to which he referred again in one of the extracts to which I have referred, a doctrine which startled the people of Canada and filled at least some of his supporters with consternation. He referred to it only the other day when he stated his views with regard to a national government.

However, whatever the Prime Minister's political views were on that occasion, he did not come forward to assist the provinces to carry on this particular form of relief. When parliament assembled in the fall of 1930, immediately after the election, it was asked

The Budget-Mr. Stirling

to vote the sum of $20,000,000 for the relief of unemployment, and particularly for construction work, (to assist in the distribution of natural products, and to aid the provinces in carrying on their construction work. The $20,000,000 having proved to be insufficient, in the following year parliament was asked to empower the governor in council to expend such moneys as in its discretion might be deemed expedient for the relief of distress, for providing employment and for maintaining peace, order and good government.

From then on, annually-for these were annual measures-parliament was asked to vote certain sums of money for this purpose. Just prior to the passing of the 1932 measure, at a provincial conference it was decided the provinces were unable to extend public works, but they asked the dominion government to continue to contribute to direct relief, and in that the dominoin government acquiesced. In the following year, just prior to the 1933 act, the provincial conference requested governments to revert to the public works program, and the agreements were again arrived at as to terms. Again the dominion government acquiesced. Towards the end of 1932 it became evident in western Canada that the provincial governments were no longer able to cope with the burden of transient unemployed, the birds of passage who were here to-day and gone to-morrow. In order to give assistance to the provincial governments, and in order to lift that burden off their shoulders, by agreement the dominion government took over the entire responsibility for the transient unemployed in need of relief.

Once the federal government had set its hand to the task, what possible way, may I ask, would there have been to do the work, other than by camps? It was imagined that this would be a temporary measure. It was desirable that certain work should be carried out by the men in the camps, work which would be of general benefit to Canada but which would not otherwise at that time have been carried out. That was the policy the government adopted. May I remind hon. members first of all that it was commonly stated no work was accomplished as a result of what the Prime Minister chooses to describe as internment camps. Yet in the time elapsed up to September 30, 1935, I find from the last report available to me, and which was tabled at the last session, that 142,690 were taken into the camps, and that 31,502 definitely left the camps to take up employment. Besides there were a considerable number concerning whom there was not definite proof that they had gone to do any certain work.

It is well known, however, that they left the camps for the purpose of taking work; that they did take work, and so reestablished themselves.

The Prime Minister may go on saying that these camps accomplished nothing, and that they were mere internment camps, but may I place on record some of the work successfully undertaken. It will be remembered that in some parts of Canada there were disturbances. Those disturbances were at their worst in British Columbia. Ever since the days of railway construction the seasonally unemployed have flocked to British Columbia to spend winters in the milder climate. Into British Columbia the transients flocked, and it was there that the subversive elements got in their evil work and fostered disturbances which only to a limited extent spread from British Columbia, through literature, into other camps of Canada.

Here is a list of the works accomplished by the camps. There was the restoration work at the citadels of Halifax and Quebec. There were six airdromes and forty-two emergency landing fields. No doubt these will be found of considerable value to the Minsiter of Transport, as it would appear that we are about to embark upon an airways system. Then, there were municipal airports at Saint John, New Brunswick; Cooking Lake, Alberta; Cranbrook, British Columbia; Ladder Lake, Saskatchewan.

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
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LIB

Gordon Benjamin Isnor

Liberal

Mr. ISNOR:

May I ask the hon. member a question? Would he estimate the value of the work done at Halifax?

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

How could he do that?

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
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CON

Grote Stirling

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STIRLING:

The hon. member asks me if I can estimate the value of the work done, but it would be quite impossible for me to do that from memory. It can be ascertained by referring to the records. Air stations were developed at Dartmouth, Ottawa, Trenton and Lac du Bonnet. Forestry operations were carried on at Colter's Siding, New Brunswick; at Valcartier, Quebec; Petawawa, Ontario; Duck Mountain, Manitoba, and Kenanaskis, Alberta. Another operation was the clearing of the foreshores at Lac Seul to assist in regulating the flow of the Winnipeg and English rivers. This work was carried on in cooperation with the Ontario government, and1 was necessary for hydroelectric power development. Highway construction work was carried out in conjunction with the various provincial governments. Development of training areas took place at Valcartier, Petawawa, Shilo and Dundum. There was also building construction at Kingston, Barriefield', St. John's, Winnipeg, Esqui-

The Budget-Mr. Stirling

malt and Long Branch. Rifle ranges were erected at Winterburn, Sarcee, North Vancouver and Cranbrook.

It will be seen that a considerable amount of work was accomplished by the men in these camps. From my constant contact with many of them I know that the majority of the men desired to work in return for that which the taxpayers of Canada were providing for them. When the time came to close the camps there were scores and scores of these men who sufficiently appreciated* the treatment they had received to regret deeply the closing of the camps. The minister looked upon the setting up of these camps as the product of a counsel of despair. He has told us that they are closed as far as the dominion government is concerned, but he knows quite well-we shall perhaps have information in detail at a later date-that camps are being conducted in British Columbia for exactly the purpose that the minister condemns.

The minister referred shortly to the methods undertaken by his department, with the assistance of the employment commission, to take care of the men who left the camps. He referred to the farm placement scheme, and' to the fact that 46,000 men had' found employment on Canadian farms. He referred to the rehabilitation scheme which was largely the child of the employment commission. He referred also to the camps opened by the transportation companies. I was interested in just what results were obtained from this particular measure. I applied for particulars to the department, and certain information was furnished me by the director of labour transference. Unfortunately this information is not intelligible to me. I asked the department for information as to the number of men employed' in these railway camps, the period of employment, the cost incurred, and what share of the cost was borne by the dominion government and the transportation companies. I also asked the amount of remuneration received* by the man, what deductions were made and what hours were worked. Here is what I got:

Number of men transferred from camps

to railway work 9,224

Total number of men employed by the railways, drawn when no further men

available in camps 7,107

Number of men employed and paid directly by railways in servicing extra gangs 2,432

Total 18,763

It is not clear to me whether all the 18,763 men would come under the agreement, and I shall be interested at a later date in having the minister explain in greater detail the meaning of these figures. I

asked for the cost of these operations and what portion fell on the dominion government and on the transportation companies. So far as I can ascertain from these figures, the total amount expended by the government and the railroads was $5,591,199.18. As the total amount expended by the railways amounted! to $2,956,267, it would seem that the amount expended by the dominion government, that is by the taxpayers, would be $2,634,932.18. Whether this amount applies only to the 9,224 men who left the camps when they were closed, or to the total of 18,763 men, I do not know. In any event, it is a considerable sum of money to expend to provide relief work for six months for men who will have to have some provision made for them when the work was finished. The information given in connection with remuneration is as follows:-

The prevailing rate of 25 cents per hour was paid and the basic eight hour day was recognized but in view of the fact that the work was of a seasonal eharacted and subject to discontinuance owing to climatic conditions and other causes, arrangements were made that the hours of labour should not exceed 208 hours per month for a period of six months making the total 1,248 hours; this being carried out to permit as many as possible to reach the maximum of six months' work under the terms of the agreement. The summer turned out to be exceptionally dry and little time was lost because of wet weather.

The total number of men who completed 1,248 hours or worked until the gangs were broken up was 7,773. The deductions for board and medical services were the same as those of other extra gangs in the district and varied to some degree in different parts of Canada. The maximum charge for board was $6 per week, including bedding and blankets.

If my arithmetic is correct, the result is that at the end* of six months the maximum amount which a man would receive, after paying for board! and lodging, would be $156. It is hardly reasonable to expect that during the six months a man would, spend nothing for tobacco, clothing and incidentals. A total of 7,773 men received this maximum amount of $156, and how much that would be reduced by the time they left camp, I do not know. Nor d.o I know how they got away from camp to where they desired to reside, or whether they had homes to go to. The fact remains that the whole idea was built on the theory that if we could put these men to work for a number of months they would have in their pockets a certain sum of money which they could use to take care of themselves for a time after the camps closed. Whether or not that actually happened, I am not aware, and I shall look

The Budget-Mr. Hansell

forward to receiving further details when the minister places his estimates before the house.

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
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March 5, 1937