The house resumed from Wednesday, March 31, consideration in committee of Bill No. 80, to assist in the alleviation of unemployment and agricultural distress-Mr. Rogers-Mr. Sanderson in the chair.
On section 1-Short title.
Mr. JEAN-FRANQOIS POULIOT (Temis-couata): Mr. Chairman, I should like to give the committee some information based on returns that I have received with regard to an investigation into the situation of settlers in some new parishes of Temiscouata county. I desire to make but very few comments in this connection, but it is important that hon. members should be informed as to the distress of these settlers, because the government is paying a share of the cost of direct relief, which is not given to all who need it and which many times is granted only for political considerations.
At St. Jean de la Lande, there is Madame Mastai Allaire, who has four children, three of whom are boys, the oldest thirty-two and the youngest thirteen. She has no more construction timber on her lot, and only a little fuel wood. She had eighteen animals, but she was obliged to sell them because she had
no money and no cedar on her lot to build fences. She has one cow and no horse, no pigs, and no sheep, because they were sold. She has eight hens. I shall not read all her remarks but she does state that in that community one woman died of hunger and cold. She was sick and had to sleep on boards placed on nail kegs, because she had no bed.
There is Louis Bard of St. Jean de la Lande. He has nine children, five of whom are boys. The oldest is fifty-one and the youngest twenty-nine. He is an old gentleman. He has no construction timber, no fuel wood and no animals.
There is Auguste Belanger, who has six children, three of whom are boys. The eldest is nineteen and the youngest eight. He has no construction timber, and only ten acres of fuel wood. He has two animals, one cow and one horse, and eight hens. Usually he receives direct relief, but has not had it for three months.
Then, there is Cleophas Balduc of Lac Thibeault, who has two children, both of whom are boys. The older is one and a half years and the younger eight months. He has two thousand feet of construction timber and seven acres of fuel wood. He has two animals, one cow, one horse and eleven hens. He received direct relief.
Then there is Frank Boutin, a veteran of the great war. He has three children, two of whom are boys aged sixteen and fourteen. He has no construction timber and forty acres of fuel wood. He has two animals, a cow and a horse, and ten hens. He does not receive direct relief.
There is Alexandre Caron, of St. Jean de la Lande. He has four children, two of whom are boys. The older is aged ten and the younger two. He has no construction timber and twenty cords of fuel wood. He has one cow and six hens. He has neither ox nor horse to work his lot, and stated that he had not received direct relief for two months. His statement was that the settlers are in distress. They have no roads, no shelter for the winter and receive no assistance in that respect.
There is Emile Caron, of St. Jean de la Lande. He has six children, he has no construction timber and no fuel wood. He has one cow and receives direct relief.
There is Leon Durepos, of Lac Thibeault. He has four children, two of whom are boys, the older thirteen and the younger eight years. He has no construction timber and no fuel wood. He has no lot and no animals. He states that he is dying of hunger. Just imagine, here is a family of six people without any animals or timber. He does not receive any relief.
Unemployment and Agricultural Distress
Then there is Josephat Fecteau, St. Jean de la Lande. This man has ten children, seven of whom are boys, the oldest nineteen years and the youngest eighteen months. He has no construction timber and fifteen or twenty cords of fuel wood. He has two animals, one cow and one horse. He has no hens, no sheep or no pigs, and receives direct relief. His statement is that he lives on a lot not suitable for farming purposes, and does not see how he can live any longer with his family. He has to sow his seed on the rocks.
There is Maxime Garneau, of St. Jean de la Lande. This man has eight children, three of whom are boys, the oldest being seventeen years and the youngest seven. He has no construction timber and only a little fuel wood. He has seven animals, two cows and two oxen. In addition he has one pig and two sheep. He has twenty hens. Compared with some of the others, this man is rich, but he needs the relief that he receives.
Then, there is Joseph Gravel of St. Jean de la Lande. This man has five children, three of whom are boys, the oldest twenty-nine and the youngest twenty-three. He has no construction timber and only a little fuel wood. He has no animals and receives direct relief irregularly.
There is Madame Leon Leclerc, of Lac Thibeault. She has five children, the oldest ten years and the youngest eleven months. There is only one boy. She has no construction timber and no fuel wood. She has only one cow. Her statement is, " I am alone with my five children. We are very poor, and have not sufficient money to look after the family." She receives $16 per month.
There is Felix Morin, of Lac Thibeault. He has one child aged fifteen years. He has two thousand feet of construction timber and fifty cords of fuel wood. He has fifteen hens, and receives direct relief.
Joseph Pelletier, of St. Jean de la Lande, has two boys aged nine and seven years. He has no timber of any kind and only two animals, one cow and one pig. He has fourteen hens. Although ordinarily he receives direct relief, he did not get the last payment because he had received a cheque of $28.82 as a settler's premium. He owed that premium on the cow he had purchased. His statement is, " I need my relief for my family."
These are sad cases. As settlers some of these farmers receive a small amount of relief. They have to live on it, and can make no money in addition. If they make $4, $5 or $10 on the road they must lose their relief. If a settler buys a horse he has to transfer his colonization premiums, and the money he gets for working on the roads, or from any other source. If he sells some timber he gets
no more direct relief and then he cannot pay for bis animals. Suppose a farmer purchases a horse for $150, the current price. He transfers his settler's premium and anything he can get for his timber to the one who sells him the horse. Suppose that amounts to $100; that is given as a guarantee. Just because he has that money due to him he does not receive direct relief. When he cannot pay the balance of $50, the horse dealer comes and takes the horse away and the settler has nothing and is still unable to get direct relief. This is an absurd situation. I understand that they have tried to make some improvement but I do not see how it can be done. The whole responsibility rests with the provincial government and especially with Mr. Laforce. This man has been loaned by the Canadian National Railways to the Quebec department of colonization.