April 6, 1938

CON

Denton Massey

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MASSEY:

Let me repeat what the minister said:

I do not think it is advisable that the domitdon parliament should assume what might be regarded as legislative jurisdiction over apprenticeship.

Who wants legislative jurisdiction?

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT RELIEF
Subtopic:   MEASURE FOR ALLEVIATION OF UNEMPLOYMENT AND AGRICULTURAL DISTRESS
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LIB

Norman McLeod Rogers (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. ROGERS:

A question was put to me by a member of the house, or there was criticism on the part of the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre.

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT RELIEF
Subtopic:   MEASURE FOR ALLEVIATION OF UNEMPLOYMENT AND AGRICULTURAL DISTRESS
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CON

Denton Massey

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MASSEY:

Let me read the context:

Mr. Woodsworth: But surely if it is possible to do that in what are termed learnership courses, it would be possible to do it in the case of apprenticeship.

Mr. Rogers: I shall not quarrel with my

hon. friend over the use of terms. But I shall say this, that, particularly at th* present time, I do not think it is advisable. . . .

My whole point is that it is not a question of legislative jurisdiction, but a question of cooperation, a question of working with industry-not working for industry, but working with industry. I repeat, I cannot find in the minister's speech nor can I find in the employment commission's report any reference that leads us to believe that industry has been consulted to see whether or not it is prepared to cooperate with any government, provincial or federal.

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT RELIEF
Subtopic:   MEASURE FOR ALLEVIATION OF UNEMPLOYMENT AND AGRICULTURAL DISTRESS
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LIB

Paul Joseph James Martin

Liberal

Mr. MARTIN:

As the minister has pointed out, the administration of this problem is in the hands of the provinces, and while some of the provinces have not cooperated to the extent we should like, some have. In Ontario, in my hon. friend's own city as well as in Windsor, men have been appointed and at this moment are making a canvass of industry in the community to ascertain the extent to which industry is prepared to cooperate with the government in this problem.

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT RELIEF
Subtopic:   MEASURE FOR ALLEVIATION OF UNEMPLOYMENT AND AGRICULTURAL DISTRESS
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CON

Denton Massey

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MASSEY:

In regard to apprenticeship?

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT RELIEF
Subtopic:   MEASURE FOR ALLEVIATION OF UNEMPLOYMENT AND AGRICULTURAL DISTRESS
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LIB

Paul Joseph James Martin

Liberal

Mr. MARTIN:

Yes.

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT RELIEF
Subtopic:   MEASURE FOR ALLEVIATION OF UNEMPLOYMENT AND AGRICULTURAL DISTRESS
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CON

Denton Massey

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MASSEY:

Well, since we are not clairvoyant, the minister will admit that we could not know it if it were not in his remarks.

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT RELIEF
Subtopic:   MEASURE FOR ALLEVIATION OF UNEMPLOYMENT AND AGRICULTURAL DISTRESS
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LIB

Norman McLeod Rogers (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. ROGERS:

I did not catch the remark.

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT RELIEF
Subtopic:   MEASURE FOR ALLEVIATION OF UNEMPLOYMENT AND AGRICULTURAL DISTRESS
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CON

Denton Massey

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MASSEY:

I find no reference in the minister's speech to anything of the sort now mentioned by the hon. member for Essex East. I did not know that the matter was going forward in that capacity. All I know is that the premier of Ontario is reported to have referred to the minister's speech as a "headline and a headache."

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT RELIEF
Subtopic:   MEASURE FOR ALLEVIATION OF UNEMPLOYMENT AND AGRICULTURAL DISTRESS
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LIB

Norman McLeod Rogers (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. ROGERS:

That has reference to some other matter.

Relief and Agricultural Distress

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT RELIEF
Subtopic:   MEASURE FOR ALLEVIATION OF UNEMPLOYMENT AND AGRICULTURAL DISTRESS
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CON

Denton Massey

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MASSEY:

It is hard to say to what matter the premier of Ontario refers at any time. The hon. member for Essex East will, however, agree with me in this. We were told in the election of 1935 that there would be great harmony between the federal government and each of at least eight of the nine provinces, were a Liberal government elected. There was even a love-feast in Toronto prior to the election. But now harmony is conspicuous by its absence, which seems to be highly regrettable. It is extremely unfortunate that as we rise in our places here to make a few remarks in regard to such a matter, we have to conjecture whether there will be harmony or not. The minister himself admits that the whole matter hinges on such harmony. It was successful in previous years because the provinces cooperated. I have here a list of what was spent in those years. But to-day youth is handicapped because two Liberal prime ministers cannot get along.

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT RELIEF
Subtopic:   MEASURE FOR ALLEVIATION OF UNEMPLOYMENT AND AGRICULTURAL DISTRESS
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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

Who said that?

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT RELIEF
Subtopic:   MEASURE FOR ALLEVIATION OF UNEMPLOYMENT AND AGRICULTURAL DISTRESS
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CON

Denton Massey

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MASSEY:

I say it.

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT RELIEF
Subtopic:   MEASURE FOR ALLEVIATION OF UNEMPLOYMENT AND AGRICULTURAL DISTRESS
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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

I thought so.

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT RELIEF
Subtopic:   MEASURE FOR ALLEVIATION OF UNEMPLOYMENT AND AGRICULTURAL DISTRESS
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CON

Denton Massey

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MASSEY:

I do not think the Prime Minister will contradict that statement.

May I now refer as briefly as possible to the question of housing. At page 1990 of Hansard the minister is reported in regard to housing; he had a few remarks to make on the subject. Later on, after the dinner recess, at page 2000, he made a further reference. In the course of his speech, which fills no less than twenty-six pages of Hansard, he devoted only half a page to the important question of national housing. Why was so little said upon this subject? Because so little has been done. Let us look for a moment at the home improvement plan. The minister reports proudly that under the plan, which was itself under the aegis of the national employment commission, the sum of $15,000,000 has been spent in a year-splendid, as far as it goes. But I challenge the statement that the home improvement plan is some sort of serendipity, so that as a result of it some S60.000.000 or S70.000.000 have been spent in the building industry, that this sum has been spent as a result of the home improvement plan.

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT RELIEF
Subtopic:   MEASURE FOR ALLEVIATION OF UNEMPLOYMENT AND AGRICULTURAL DISTRESS
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LIB

Norman McLeod Rogers (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. ROGERS:

The hon. member for Davenport reminded me of that.

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT RELIEF
Subtopic:   MEASURE FOR ALLEVIATION OF UNEMPLOYMENT AND AGRICULTURAL DISTRESS
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CON

Denton Massey

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MASSEY:

I cannot challenge so eminent an authority as either the minister or the hon. member for Davenport. I am, however, stating my own humble views, and I say that in my opinion the home improvement plan is not a serendipity. The minister as-

sumes that eighty-five per cent of what was spent under the home improvement plan was spent for labour, and that a $60,000,000 or $70,000,000 impetus was given to the building industry as a result of this plan, basing his figures on what was done in the United States. Well, let us see what has been done there compared with what we have achieved in Canada. The cities in the United States have done considerable work in slum clearance and home improvement. The housing division of the PWA has completed fifty-one projects, having expended $130 million. The minister probably knows of the Williamsburg homes in New York and other places. The housing division employed 102.000 men last year, and enabling acts were passed by various states without undue difficulty. Under the new United States housing act of 1937, twenty per cent of the cost of construction will be met by local and state government and twenty-five per cent by the federal government. And that was followed by the announcement on January 12, 193S, that S146.645.000 had been set aside for the use of forty cities-some $18,000,000 in New York, S4,900,000 in Buffalo, and so on. What have we done in Canada to stimulate building? Have we before us at this moment any low cost housing scheme? Has any such housing scheme been put forward to reduce unemployment? Definitely, yes. But the only direct action taken so far was taken under the Dominion Housing Act of 1935 before hon. gentlemen opposite came into office.

Let us turn for a moment to the final report of the national employment commission. At page 9 there appears this:

However, the revival of activity in house construction has not kept pace with the revival in other lines. Despite the shortage of housing in most parts of the country, people show little disposition to invest money in this field. There are several reasons for this attitude.

The commission goes on to list five reasons which it regards as adequate to explain the apathy of people in regard to the scheme. The commission feels very strongly on the subject, however, for at page 36 we find this language:

To direct expenditures on public works it is all-important that there should be added measures for stimulating private expenditures, of which successful examples are to be found in the Dominion Housing Act and the home improvement plan.

There are inherent difficulties in subsidizing employment in private industry, but the expenditure of public funds to promote private expenditures in providing more suitable housing for the country is desirable. In the field of slum clearance and the development of low

Reliej and Agricultural Distress

rental housing for those whose earning capacity does not enable them to live under conditions which are conducive to their own health and employability, or indeed to the public health, direct subsidizing of private and local initiative, whether by cash subsidy or by loan at less than commercial rates of interest, is desirable. This is only so, however, if adequate care is taken to ensure, first, that there is a supply of unemployed labour of the type required and, secondly, that the benefits of subsidization will go to the low income groups whose position it is desired to benefit.

Now, it is interesting to know on the basis of that thesis that the national employment commission were not derelict in their duty. They did submit a plan; it will be found on page 101 of their report, appendix E, "low rental housing plan." I shall not take the time of hon. members to read that plan, but it is worthy of being read with a great deal of care. There is much to warrant the exercise of critical judgment; there is much to commend this plan to our consideration. But when we turn to page 11 of the appendices we find this statement:

The plan recommended by the commission was put before the minister some time after the opening of the parliamentary session of 1937, and it is understood action thereon has been held over.

A plan was submitted. They even went so far as to submit a draft bill. The plan was submitted towards the beginning of the session of 1937. Here we are now in the middle or towards the end of the session of 1938, and we are still waiting to see. Why? Why has this plan not been brought forward? The minister gave his reason the other day, as reported on page 2000 of Hansard:

The national employment commission made proposals to the government last year with respect to low cost housing. These proposals were later given the form of a draft bill which reached the government at a time when it was not feasible to give it the necessary consideration before the prorogation of that short session of parliament.

Is that a reason? Does parliament have to be sitting before the government can consider these matters? Did we arrive here last January and find a draft bill ready to submit to this house for consideration? Is it necessary for the house to be sitting before emergency matters such as this can be given consideration by the government? And where is the legislation at even this late date? There is no legislation. We are waiting to see. Surely the minister will admit that his reason for delay is a lamentably weak reason for not having introduced a housing scheme. Surely the house does not have to be in

session before the matter can receive the active consideration of the minister. We did not arrive here and find any plan ready for us. The employment commission reports, and we " wait and see," while another commission reports. Meanwhile what are we doing about slum clearance? What are we doing about low cost housing? What have we done about the report submitted a year ago? What are we doing in regard to farm housing? What are we doing about the dilapidated homes in the rural areas? Soon it will be too late to do anything. As I said at the beginning, we are temporizing with results rather than dealing with causes. We are failing to tackle directly any specific problem. We pay out millions of dollars for relief and flirt flippantly with the causes that make it necessary.

We are faced with many difficult problems which the minister touched upon or brushed in his three hour speech; I have mentioned only two to-day, youth rehabilitation and housing. Much could be said of a positive nature in this regard but I have already taken a good deal of time, and I shall reserve what I have to say of a constructive nature to a later occasion. Meantime we are to " wait and see " and mark time. We must " wait " for another commission to report, and " see " what they report. Meantime what of the employable unemployed? What about those employed part time? What about untrained youth? What about dwellers in slums and dilapidated farm houses? Are they to remain neglected? Is a vast percentage of our youth to remain untrained? Must we expect those who live in farm houses that have long outlived their usefulness to continue to live under such unspeakable conditions? Will slums not be cleared? How long is the government to continue this policy of " wait and see "? There is an emergency facing this dominion which calls for something more than a three hour speech, an emergency which goes to the very quick centre of our national life; for it affects the homes of the country and those who live in them. The government, by neglecting the training of our youth deprives them not only of the opportunity to earn, but to leam how to earn. We are compelling many of those who live in our cities and on our farms to live under horrible conditions while we " wait and see."

In the name of humanity, let us away with this policy of " wait and see."

Progress reported.

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT RELIEF
Subtopic:   MEASURE FOR ALLEVIATION OF UNEMPLOYMENT AND AGRICULTURAL DISTRESS
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At six o'clock the house adjourned, without question put, pursuant to standing order. Pelagic Sealing



Thursday, April 7, 1938


April 6, 1938