March 2, 1938

LIB

William Daum Euler (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Liberal

Mr. EULER:

It is in the British North

America Act.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   UNEMPLOYMENT RELIEF
Sub-subtopic:   FEDERAL RESPONSIBILITY FOR DIRECT RELIEF- CONSTITUTIONAL REFORM AFFECTING SOCIAL SERVICES
Permalink
LIB

Norman McLeod Rogers (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. ROGERS:

The British North America Act gives parliament the power to raise money by any mode or system of taxation.

It is true that certain assurances were given by Sir Thomas White at that time, but even

he did not anticipate the way in which dominion expenditures would pyramid during the war years.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   UNEMPLOYMENT RELIEF
Sub-subtopic:   FEDERAL RESPONSIBILITY FOR DIRECT RELIEF- CONSTITUTIONAL REFORM AFFECTING SOCIAL SERVICES
Permalink
CON

Thomas Alfred Thompson

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. THOMPSON:

The premier of Ontario says we have no authority.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   UNEMPLOYMENT RELIEF
Sub-subtopic:   FEDERAL RESPONSIBILITY FOR DIRECT RELIEF- CONSTITUTIONAL REFORM AFFECTING SOCIAL SERVICES
Permalink
LIB

Norman McLeod Rogers (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. ROGERS:

I wish to refer finally to

the reason why the dominion government should not at this time under existing conditions assume entire responsibility for relief. I refer to the question of administration. This resolution does not make any reference to administration, but I would like hon. members to realize that under present conditions the administration of relief is conducted almost exclusively by officials of our municipal governments. They have gained a very wide experience in these last years, and many of them administer relief without additional recompense of any kind. If the dominion government assumed responsibility for relief, it is clear, I think, that this would mean of necessity the setting up of a self-perpetuating organization for administration and at the present time there is no branch of the government that is equipped with an organization suitable to deal with relief across the entire dominion. The one organization which would be useful in this connection is the employment service of Canada, but that employment service is not a national employment service in the strict sense of the word. Contributions are made to it by the dominion government, but the actual control of it lies with the provinces.

Not only that, but if the mover of the resolution does not suggest that the dominion should take over the cost of administration of relief and does mean that the dominion should pay the entire cost but leave the administration to the municipalities, it is clear that we shall be entering into a most vicious arrangement. Under that arrangement municipalities, instead of having two or three dollars from outside to one of their own to expend, would receive all that was required for relief purposes without at the same time being responsible in any way for raising that money by taxation. I believe we have had sufficient experience in this country with the abuses of a system of that kind to convince us that, whatever the errors of the past may have been, we certainly ought not to repeat and extend them at this time.

Finally, as to the proposal for constitutional reform, it does seem to me that my hon. friend who has suggested in the first part of his resolution that the dominion government should take over the entire cost of relief has, so to speak, allowed the horse to be stolen

Questions

and in the second part of the resolution is professing a willingness to lock the stable door. I feel there is a grave necessity for a constitutional revision and this whole question of relief and social service must play an important part in that investigation, but certainly, in advance of that investigation, it would be folly for the dominion government to assume this entire burden of unemployment relief, without any readjustment of powers or revenues of the provinces.

On motion of Mr. Euler the debate was adjourned.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   UNEMPLOYMENT RELIEF
Sub-subtopic:   FEDERAL RESPONSIBILITY FOR DIRECT RELIEF- CONSTITUTIONAL REFORM AFFECTING SOCIAL SERVICES
Permalink

At six o'clock the house adjourned, without question put, pursuant to standing order. Thursday, March 3, 1938


March 2, 1938