March 31, 1938

LIB

Charles Avery Dunning (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. DUNNING:

I am sorry I have no information here in respect to that matter. It does not arise in connection with this vote. All that I have here is the explanation of this warrant. It was a special grant to the Canadian Red Cross Society to enable it to assist the sufferers from the disaster to which my hon. friend refers. Perhaps he will avail himself of some other occasion, when Public Works estimates are up, or some item on which the minister concerned can give the information.

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CON

William Earl Rowe

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. ROWE (Dufferin-Simcoe):

It was under discussion recently, was it not, between the provincial government and the federal government in regard to a conservation scheme?

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LIB

Charles Avery Dunning (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. DUNNING:

I believe there was something under discussion, but I have no personal knowledge of it. It does not connect with my department, at least not yet.

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Item agreed to. Miscellaneous- Additional temporary grant to the province of Saskatchewan to enable that province to continue essential services pending improvement in crop conditions and pending report of royal Supply-Finance-Grants



commission to investigate financial powers and responsibilities of the dominion and the provinces, $2,000,000.


CON

William Earl Rowe

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. ROWE (Dufferin-Simcoe):

I do not want to hold up the committee so close to eleven o'clock, but this seems a most exceptional item. It is a further grant to the province; it is not in the form of relief or the cost of shipping cattle or fodder or feed or the movement of foodstuffs; it seems to be more or less a direct grant in assistance to the province. Perhaps the Minister of Finance might tell us what they are doing in the way of direct grants to Alberta. That province has defaulted on its bonds; yet we find that Saskatchewan has received about ninety per cent of these different grants, and now we find a further $2,000,000 being granted to that province for essential services. I only wish to point out that Alberta is perhaps recognized generally to be in more difficult financial circumstances than Saskatchewan.

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LIB

Charles Avery Dunning (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. DUNNING:

Oh, no. I am glad to give the information upon which this vote is based. It became apparent during last September that the whole basis of living and tax-paying in Saskatchewan was disrupted to an extent which had never previously occurred in the history of any Canadian province. It will be remembered that last session votes passed this committee in exactly the terms of the one now under discussion, following an examination by the Bank of Canada and a report to the house with respect to the financial condition of the provinces of Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta. When September arrived, it became quite apparent that the $1,500,000 previously voted would be completely inadequate to enable Saskatchewan to perform the essential ordinary services on a minimum 6cale for its people, in spite of the fact that they had imposed on themselves increased taxation by way of a two per cent sales tax in order to raise the necessary funds to keep their educational system going. I have some figures which would illustrate the situation in that regard as between the three provinces. The value of the wheat crop for 1935, 1936 and 1937 in each of the three provinces-

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CON

William Earl Rowe

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. ROWE (Dufferin-Simcoe):

I do not think it is necessary to put that on the record. I believe it is generally recognized.

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LIB

Charles Avery Dunning (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. DUNNING:

But the figures are so staggering and bear so directly upon the question asked by my hon. friend that I think he must permit me to state that the value of the crop in Saskatchewan dropped from $101,000,000 in 1936 to only $38,000,000 in 1937, for the whole province. In Manitoba it increased from $23,000,000 worth of crop

in 1936 to $46,000,000 worth in 1937. In Alberta it also increased from $60,000,000 worth in 1936 to $72,000,000 worth in 1937. That represented a tremendous cut in the income of the people of Saskatchewan, so that practically four-fifths of them have had to go on some form of relief, partial or entire. Consequently the ability of the people to pay taxes to support their institutions was simply nonexistent. After a careful examination with the province, following along the line of the bank's report of the year before, the government decided that an additional grant of $2,-

000.000 was necessary. On the instructions of the government I wrote a letter to the premier of Saskatchewan expressing our willingness to include in these estimates such a sum in addition to that which was voted in the house a year ago.

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CON

William Earl Rowe

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. ROWE (Dufferin-Simcoe):

Did the minister say it was a million and a half a year ago?

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LIB
?

Thomas Miller Bell

Mr. COLD WELL:

Would the minister tell the committee precisely what is included under the term "essential services."

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LIB

Charles Avery Dunning (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. DUNNING:

All the services of the province.

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CCF

Major James William Coldwell

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

Mr. COLDWELL:

Perhaps it would be interesting if we had before the committee an outline of what those services are, because, as the minister says, the income of the province was cut so severely that none of these sendees could have been carried on. As a matter of fact, not only would the usual municipal officers have had to be dispensed with, but medical assistance in some instances could not have been maintained or forthcoming. I should like, of course, to have seen some provision made to assist the educational system of the province, which has suffered severely. I have outlined in the house previously the cuts in wages that the teachers have had to accept. Some of them, in fact all within the drought area, have had cuts amounting to sixty per cent of their salaries. In the drought area the average salary paid in cash amounted to only $10 a month in some instances, while some worked for $100 for the whole year.

These essential services are of interest to the whole dominion. They are not for any particular locality, because if the health of the people deteriorates or the children cannot secure education, this reacts adversely upon the entire life of the dominion. To my mind, this vote is one of the most deserving that the committee has been called upon to pass, and I hope it will be carried.

Ensol

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SC

Victor Quelch

Social Credit

Mr. QUELCH:

What do the words "temporary grant" mean? Is it in the form of a loan?

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LIB

Charles Avery Dunning (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. DUNNING:

No; it is a grant.

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CON
?

Mr DUNNING:

That was carried this

afternoon. It is a federal district commission item, covering extra cost of snow removal and work in connection with four additional buildings, the grounds of which have been committed to the care of the commission.

I should like to thank the committee for its forbearance in this matter to-night, and to assure every hon. member that he will lose . nothing in the way of opportunity for discussion by having cooperated in putting through these estimates. I move that the committee rise, report that it has considered certain resolutions, and ask leave to sit again. I shall not present the bill to-night, as it will be necessary to make other provisions. I spoke to the right hon. leader of the opposition with regard to interim supply, which we have to provide. In that connection there is this difficulty, that there are certain items which normally come down in supplementary estimates for the new year which are not yet before the house, and hence would not be covered by an interim supply vote. It may be necessary to introduce supplementary estimates for the coming year in order to take care of the needs for a month or two under items which would not be covered now by interim supply because they are not before the house. For that reason I should like to leave the bill over.

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CON

William Earl Rowe

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. ROWE (Dufferin-Simcoe):

They are not as large as these?

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LIB

Charles Avery Dunning (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. DUNNING:

Oh, no, thank goodness.

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March 31, 1938