April 28, 1938

LIB

Mr. CARDIN: (Minister of Public Works)

Liberal

1. Edmond Mercier.

2. District engineer.

3. (a) $5 per day. (b) $686.25.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   BERTHIEB, QUE., WHARF
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POST OFFICE-ILLEGAL LOTTERIES-EMPLOYMENT OF A. F. MENARD

LIB

Mr. DESLAURIERS:

Liberal

1. Was Mr. A. F. Menard relieved from his special duties as inspector or postal employee

specially charged with the supervising of lotteries (Army and Navy), etc., in the postal service superintendent's office at Montreal during the years 1933, 1934, 1935, 1936 and 1937? If so, on what date?

2. For what reasons, and upon instructions from what authority ?

3. Who is his successor?

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   POST OFFICE-ILLEGAL LOTTERIES-EMPLOYMENT OF A. F. MENARD
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LIB

Mr. EULER: (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Liberal

1. Yes, in January, 1937.

2. During the years in question the work pertaining to illegal lotteries was under the personal supervision of Mr. Menard. In January, 1937, on the amalgamation of the post office and district director's staffs into one unit the Postmaster General instructed that this work should be dealt with in the enquiry section of the Montreal district office which is the section dealing with the fraudulent and illegal matter sent in the mails.

This work has been assigned to Mr. Boileau, a clerk of that section, under the direction of the head of the section, Mr. Chartrand, who is responsible to the District Director of Postal Services, Montreal.

3. See answer to No. 2.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   POST OFFICE-ILLEGAL LOTTERIES-EMPLOYMENT OF A. F. MENARD
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QUESTION PASSED AS ORDER FOR RETURN

CON

Mr. MASSEY:

Conservative (1867-1942)

1. Has W. J. Lindal, K.C., of Winnipeg, Manitoba, been employed by the government or any department since November, 1935?

2. If so, in what capacity?

3. What moneys has he been paid to date, giving details of such payments?

4. Are there any fees now owing the said W. J. Lindal, K.C.?

5. If so, how much, and for what?

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   QUESTION PASSED AS ORDER FOR RETURN
Sub-subtopic:   W. J. LINDAL, K.C.
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CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILWAYS


Hon. CHARLES A. DUNNING (Minister of Finance) moved that the house go into committee at the next sitting to consider the following proposed resolution: That it is expedient to bring in a measure to provide for the refunding of matured, maturing and callable financial obligations of the Canadian National Railways and for the issue of securities guaranteed by the Dominion of Canada in respect of such refunding to an aggregate principal amount not exceeding $200,000,000. Relief and Agricultural Distress He said: His Excellency, the Governor General, having been made acquainted with the subject matter of this resolution, recommends it to the favourable consideration of the house. Motion agreed to.


ANTHRACITE COAL


On the orders of the day:


LIB

Charles Eugène Parent

Liberal

Mr. CHARLES PARENT (Quebec West and South):

Mr. Speaker, I should like to direct the attention of the government and particularly the Minister of Labour (Mr. Rogers) to an increase of seventy-five cents per ton on anthracite coal which has been put into effect throughout the province of [DOT]Quebec. It is said that this increase is necessary because of an increase in transportation and insurance rates as well as in the wages paid to the coal miners. We have had a lot *of trouble in the province of Quebec in previous years in connection with this coal situation, and I submit an investigation should be .made immediately to see whether this increase is justified. It seems to me to be extraordinary that the increase should be applied to the whole province, and I do hope the Minister of Labour will look into the matter and try to stop this increase, if possible.

Hon. NORMAN McL. ROGERS (Minister of Labour): The hon. member for Quebec West and South (Mr. Parent) was kind enough to give me notice of this question. My present information is that the increase to which he has referred, in the price of anthracite coal, is due to a corresponding increase in the price of British anthracite. However, I shall be very glad to look further into the matter.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   ANTHRACITE COAL
Sub-subtopic:   INQUIRY AS TO INCREASE IN PRICE IN THE PROVINCE OF QUEBEC
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CRIMINAL CODE


On the orders of the day:


CON

Thomas Langton Church

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. T. L. CHURCH (Broadview):

Mr. Speaker I should like to direct a question to the right hon. the Attorney General of Canada (Mr. Lapointe). At the request of the minister, Bill No. 10, which stands in my name on the order paper, and was debated at length, was allowed to stand on February 17. I am willing to have this bill stand over during this session as the minister intimated that he would bring in a government bill. Can the minister give us any information soon

as to when this bill will be brought down and if it will cover hit-and-run drivers? There have been thirty-one killed in our city since February 17, when the bill was up before, and the deaths from this cause in Ontario have increased for 1936 and 1937 from 221 to 304, or an increase of 37 per cent. Will the bill also include an offence for unlicensed drivers who are also causing many accidents?

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   CRIMINAL CODE
Sub-subtopic:   PROPOSED AMENDMENT RESPECTING OPERATION OF MOTOR CARS
Permalink
LIB

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

Liberal

Right Hon. ERNEST LAPOINTE (Minister of Justice):

I am able to satisfy in part the curiosity of my hon. friend. I expect to be able within the next two weeks to introduce a bill to amend the criminal code. I can only say that this bill will contain some provision with reference to the matters covered by the bill of the hon. gentleman, but he will understand that I am unable to disclose to-day the extent to which these matters will be covered.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   CRIMINAL CODE
Sub-subtopic:   PROPOSED AMENDMENT RESPECTING OPERATION OF MOTOR CARS
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UNEMPLOYMENT RELIEF


Hon. NORMAN McL. ROGERS (Minister of Labour) moved the second reading of Bill No. 105, to assist in the alleviation of unemployment and agricultural distress. He said: Mr. Speaker, when the resolution which preceded this bill was before the house I gave a general statement covering unemployment conditions and the various measures adopted by the government during the past year to deal with those conditions. In view of that statement and the debate which followed during the greater part of the week before the Easter recess, I think it would meet the convenience of the house if I simply made a formal motion for the second reading of this bill at this time in order to advance it to the committee stage. I Shall only say in addition that this bill does not differ in any material respect from the Unemployment and Agricultural Assistance Act, 1937, which expired on March 31 of this year. It provides the authority by which the government may make expenditures, subject to parliamentary appropriation, either directly or under agreement with the provinces, for the relief of unemployment and agricultural distress.


CON

Thomas Langton Church

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. T. L. CHURCH (Broadview):

Mr. Speaker, I do not want to detain the house, but I had no opportunity of speaking during the committee stage of the resolution. The resolution which preceded this bill is not the same as the bill itself. That is my first

Relief and Agricultural Distress

objection. My second objection is that there is no amount named in t'he bill, and my third objection is that it contains the same principle as previous bills of providing for contact only with the provinces, but not with the larger cities and towns. Last year we had in the bill a clause dealing with industry, but not a thing was done. Our apprenticeship problem could be solved if we had a proper contact with industry, the only agency that can aid in the solution.

Under the rules of the house the proper time to object to the principle of a bill is when it is up for second reading. May day comes next Sunday, and I do not think this bill will appeal to employers, the unemployable unemployed or the employable unemployed. The bill does not create any new jobs in Canada for Canadians. Instead of the municipalities being given some comfort in this bill, the larger cities like Montreal, Hamilton and Toronto are told that they must go to see the provincial authorities; we have no contact with you. We had commission No. 1 appointed and now roving; commission No. 2 has been appointed and we shall probably have its report after two or three years, at which time it is quite likely that another commission will be appointed.

I want to protest against the principle of this bill inasmuch as it grants no power to the government to make agreements with the larger municipalities that are suffering. The unemployed in industry are to be found in the cities and the towns, in the townships and the counties; they will not be found in the parliament buildings in the capitals of Quebec, Manitoba, British Columbia and the maritime provinces, the only people with whom the minister will make contact. All jobs in those places are patronage.

The bill itself is defective. There should be federal loans to industry, and a system of bonuses, subventions and subsidies should be established for certain key industries, just as we did with the coal industry, steel and iron to a moderate degree, and agriculture, with stabilization and other funds. On the second reading I cannot discuss the bill clause by clause, but the bill speaks of making agreements with industry as it did in 1937. No sur'i agreement has been made, so that is a mere paper clause; any agreement made, I suppose, will be about on the same basis as last year, and as a result nothing will be done. The amount for the whole bill is not named. It is to be left, no doubt, to considerations of political expediency because, as I said and as my leader said, there are politics mixed up in many of these votes for public works

rMr. Church.1

for relief. Some of the provinces get the votes and others do not. To those who vote properly shall be given, and those who do not vote properly shall not be given a five cent piece, as was said a few years ago with respect to unemployment relief in Ontario. That is the kind of treatment we are getting to-day.

These loans to the provinces, and the agreements under which they are made, are of no value because the province can take the money and do what it likes with it. The auditor general has no control over its expenditure. We know how the money is spent. There has been a certain amount of chiselling in connection with relief grants. In Ontario on one occasion they struck off fifteen per cent, and in addition they took away income tax from the municipalities by two raids, first, federal, and then, provincial, 'by the economic raid and the financial raid. The cities and towns have had income tax from confederation down to 1918; but since then two raids were made on them, one by the province and the other by the dominion. That revenue would otherwise have gone to help take care of the relief bill, hospital and social services, in the city of Toronto, which was 851,000,000 in the last seven years, and the taxes had to be put on real estate. Of that amount, $20,000,000 is paid by the city and the balance by the dominion and the province. That is a very heavy burden for real estate to carry, and the result is that the building and construction industry is almost at a standstill. This bill will afford no comfort at all to those engaged in that industry and to the industrial workers. They are asking for something, and the government gives them nothing; they ask for bread and are given a stone. There are to be no loans under this bill to the provinces unless there is a' certified statement made.

When you look at the votes for public works you find there are votes to build uneconomic roads away back in the north country. It is just a straight hand-out to a certain few contractors and those who attend the good roads meeting for the building of uneconomic roads in the back districts to Hudson bay where nobody who is an industrial worker can work. What about fifty per cent of the industrial workers of the country who will not share in any part of these votes for uneconomic roads? These votes are a direct subsidy to the oil ring and motor car industry, which is competing with the railways and taking business away from them. This bill extends the same principle. In my opinion the principle is wrong and should be remedied. There was a debate in the Ontario legislature on this subject, and the leader of the opposi-

Relief and Agricultural Distress

tion there said that this bill was very largely "headlines." The leader of the government of Ontario said not only that it was "headlines" but "headaches" as well. It will give the unemployed and the municipalities a headache too on May 1 next because under this bill there is no relief provided from the intolerable conditions of last year, no relief for real estate or the cities and towns and no relief for the construction and building industry' in this country. The relief being provided is only for a certain few.

Summing up the government's policy, in my opinion it is one largely of inertia, coma, vacuum, somnolence, and May day will show that I am correct. The government have no contact with the unemployed at all. The only contact they have is with the provinces, whereas the agreement should be made with the municipal authorities where relief is being paid out on the ground by the cities and towns. The government has done nothing but waste time for two years by appointing the Purvis commission. That commission did nothing but talk. Its report has come out, with a blue cover on it; but.on next May 1, I am afraid the unemployed will say it should have a black cover on it, because it provides no relief for the unemployed industrial or agricultural workers who will still be carrying the black flag. This is not a practical house or a practical government, or such a state of affairs would not be tolerated.

What did they do in the United States? Compare the principle of this bill with what was done in the United States, with a population of 127,000,000 people. There, one man, Mr. Hopkins, spent 88,000,000,000 on relief for

15,000,000 people, unemployed and some of them employable. What did the United States senate tell him the other day? They passed a resolution of thanks for his great work in the past five years in the United States. The United States ten years ago had prepared by surveys and reports for those unemployment conditions. Here in Canada ten years ago, when we were sitting in opposition, I urged the government to appoint a commission after the fashion of the Couzens commission of that year in the United States. In Washington they had appointed a senate commission, and the result was they were prepared for the unemployment situation when the great crash came. They had their unemployment surveys and agencies, and all these other agencies, some of which are now recommended in the Purvis report, and I might add that some of the recommendations in the 1'eport of the Purvis commission are taken from the report of the Couzens commission re employment agencies, youth, public works and apprenticeship. I contend, Mr. Speaker, that instead of this whole question being sent to a commission, it should be handled by a committee of the House of Commons. You have reports these days, and very good ones, from committees of this house, and especially the mass buying committee of 1935 that was appointed by the present leader of the opposition. Take, for instance, the report of the Bennett mass buying committee, over which the hon. member for Kootenay East (Mr. Stevens) presided. That commission did more work than the Purvis commission, or the Rowell commission, or any other kind of commission; the money spent on it was the best spent money this country has ever had, and the Conservative government did the work well. It showed the people and the unemployed what could be done by careful consideration by this house of this great economic problem and the real facts. The solution of unemployment should be a responsibility of the house and not of any commission, and the house should not be the slave of any commission. Are we to sit here, 245 members, and admit we are slaves to whatever commission is appointed? Are we going to admit that any commission can usurp our functions and powers, take them out of our control without the consent of the majority of the 245 members of this house? The present commission and the last commission may collect all the statistics they like and from whom they like, and gather up the fragments so that none may be lost, but they will be no closer to a solution of the problem of providing jobs for Canadians on relief. The relief problem cannot be solved by these commissions or by any maelstrom, or through a carnival of collecting facts and statistics. The unemployed on May 1 next are not going to depend upon the report of a man who is at the head of duPont's, General Motors and Canadian Industries, one of the directors of the British American Oil Company and of many other Canadian industries that are going to benefit by the policy of the government in building these uneconomic roads away in the back concessions and up around Hudson bay for the oil and motor companies as a subsidy. AVhat. benefit is that going to be to the unemployed industrial and agricultural workers? If you thus grant the oil ring and motor car companies a subsidy, so should there be subsidies, bonuses and subventions to industry and the municipalities.

As I say, the policy of the government seems to be to balance their budget, to collect income money from the municipalities, and

Relief and Agricultural Distress

also to enable the provinces to balance their budgets at the expense of the hungry and unfortunate unemployed. There was a million dollars in this bill in 1937 for youth, and by contrast there is in the same estimates an amount of three and a half million dollars for the health of animals. All that is done for vouth is little or nothing. In my opinion there is no basic difference between losing one's home on a farm in Saskatchewan by the drought route, and losing one's job at home by the unemployment and foreclosure route, which is the way the industrial worker is losing his home. This parliament puts one section, Saskatchewan, on a preferred basis compared with other provinces where the industrial workers are. We are supposed to legislate on a fair, just and equal basis for the whole dominion. But this parliament places agriculturists in a preferred class. I do not object to what has been done out there; far from it; but I object to the treatment meted out to the outcast and forgotten man under confederation, the industrial workers, comprising fifty-one per cent of the population of Canada.

Further, parliament imposes all kinds of taxes. It has raided the income tax field. Now, after two years' delay, the government is back to where it started. It has collected all the facts, but the unemployment situation is very little better than it was before. True it is that there are a few more men in casual work and some other occupations; but it is seasonal, and there has been no proper count made of the unemployed; some of them find work for a short time; but as for any real improvement, I fail to see it, and many listed as employed are so only for a few weeks and are yet employable unemployed. In the Couzens report and the Washington senate committee's report I find several clauses which make some attempt to deal with conditions as they found them; but as for this blue report, we find it of little value. I hope this is the last we shall hear of it, because all this Purvis commission has been is just a humpty-dumpty commission, leaving the unemployed out in the cold. The lady member of the commission seems to be the only member who has a sense of humour. She refers in her minority report to the commission suggesting a method of partition requiring the wisdom and the law of Solomon-with apologies to King Solomon. With such a report as this we have seen, I hope, the end of that vainglorious humpty-dumpty commission. I opposed its appointment two years ago. I believe that my honoured leader has hit the nail right on the head as regards the way to deal with unemployment; a committee of this

house could have met a committee of the provinces around a table and settled the whole question instead of the government appointing a string of royal commissions to act in the way they have done.

I also believe that the kind of agreement about which there was some discussion yesterday, a sort of quasi free trade with twenty to twenty-four countries, tends to the ruin of the home market and the industrial worker. The industrialist cannot figure where his business is going to wind up, because of the taxes imposed upon him and the conditions he has to meet. The way the tariff is being administered now, the tariff has a great deal to do with the matter.

There was a long discussion yesterday with regard to fisheries. I sympathize with the poor people engaged in the fish trade in the maritimes. We know something of what the trawlers have had to meet; yet there is not one word in this report about the fish industry, large and small; not one word about a national coal supply, or anything else that will help the country out; nothing about protection for all these workmen, that would create work for thousands. They could well afford to have had a survey made of the fish industry. I remember in 1924 when hon. members opposite laughed at the idea of a national coal inquiry; Sir Henry Thornton said I was proposing a lunch-counter system of freight rates with subventions and subsidies and bonuses for coal; but to-day three million tons of coal move economically from the maritimes to the head of the lakes as a result of that sound policy with work for thousands. I would apply the same policy of bonuses and subventions and subsidies to industry and agriculture, to protect these primary industries. In England the government has taken over the coal mines. I am not prepared to say that we in this country should go so far as that, but I believe a survey Should be made to see what could be done to arrange for a national coal supply, in relation to national employment, so that all the coal we use in this country will create employment for our people; that is, it will be mined under the British flag either in Alberta and the maritime provinces or in Wales. The same policy could be adopted on behalf of the fisheries, the small man and the trawlers.

We are told in the report of the Purvis commission-and the bill admits it-that nothing can be done to give effect to these recommendations of the commission until this larger and vaster commission than has been has presented its report. I saw some of them

Relief and Agricultural Distress

in Toronto on Monday morning, these gentlemen with all the secretaries, counsel, advisers and others. Talk about King Solomon in all his glory; he was not arrayed like unto these. They paraded up to the parliament buildings there, where Attorney General Conant in the legislative chamber was ready and delivered an address of welcome, after his leader in the house had said only a month ago that a lot of this government's policy for relief and employment was a "headline and a headache." Now this commission arrived at the parliament buildings to be welcomed by the Ontario administration with applause, this commission which is just doing work that this house could have done; they could find the same information in the library in books and stacks of volumes of reports. If all these commissions were lined up here in front of the parliament buildings on one of these fine days, parading two deep, with all the employees, secretaries, counsel, advisers and others, and the private members associated with them, and with all their briefs stretched out, they would reach one-third of the way to Lansdowne park.

What is this new, vaster than has been, commission doing? My resolution which was discussed in t'he house at the time when this Purvis commission was appointed, proposed an investigation in connection with the British North America Act and of constitutional and parliamentary law and cabinet reforms which are wrapped up in this particular question. At that time I was told by the responsible minister that it was intended to appoint this vaster commission. The commission was appointed a year after. Instead of dealing with the British North America Act they are going all over creation. They have had as a witness a former chancellor of Germany over here. Dear knows how long they will go on with all the witnesses they are calling, from all over the world; yet all they can do is to give this parliament advice and collect data, with no power to act or go places. You should see the parade of them into the legislative chamber; there were more there than the whole of the legislative assembly to hear these wonderful commission people, including Doctor Dafoe, who was criticizing a while ago the waste of natural resources. Doctor Dafoe seemed to be the gloomy dean of the commission. It was only ten years ago, when I sat in the house, that the said doctor- I do not know what he is doctor of-was in the gallery on a visit to Ottawa about the time when the Siftons by the Ottawa canal bill were trying to get the whole Georgian bay and all the natural resources and water

powers of the Ottawa river given over to them by a Liberal government, in the spring of 1927. I say that is the answer to the reference by one of the commissioners to the waste of natural resources, which has no doubt caused considerable unemployment.

This new commission is dealing with the very thing which is covered by the Purvis report. In fact, the Purvis commission seems to be the lower house and the Rowell commission the upper house in connection with this whole question. After a review of the Rowell commission I would call them the doomsday commission; -when all the reports they are collecting have been assembled they will be known as the collector of the modem doomsday book. The doomsday book of 1086 was a real report. It is the first economic report we have. It counted up every man, woman and child in England; it enumerated every town, house, lot, farm, horse, pig, cow, sheep, it was a real report and it gave some information. It was not like some of our modern commission reports for which the minister is responsible. In the minister's department the unemployment situation is dealt with by means of an index system; a few letters are written to industries inquiring as to the number on the payroll, and so on. That is not the sort of report that will get us anywhere. I know of one industry in Canada presided over by the chairman of this commission. What did he do in the very week during which this report was signed and presented? What did this representative of the duPont dynasty do?-this gentleman who is supposed to have the interests of the Canadian working class at heart? I will tell you what he did in one industry. He and bis fellow directors and managers introduced into the industry of which he is the head a machine that put out of employment seven or eight men who in all their lives had never been off the payroll. That is one thing he did in one of the industries of which he is a director and it indicates how he solves the unemployment problem.

I can tell the minister that there will come a day of reckoning for the government on account of these royal commissions they have appointed. Yes; there will be a day of reckoning for the way in which they have mishandled this whole problem. Compare what these roving commissions in Canada have done; compare the way in which this government has handled the unemployment situation, with the work that has been done in the United States, by one man, Mr. Hopkins, in a country with a population of

Relief and Agricultural Distress

127,000,000. He had the power to do something and he went ahead and did something practical. The other day he was congratulated by the United States senate upon the manner in which he had dealt with the question not only in connection with housing and slum clearance, but in other respects as well. I do not approve everything that has been done in the United States in this regard; far from it, I know that they have made mistakes, naturally; but they have done a good deal nevertheless for those on relief and for the municipalities. They have done good work in many ways in dealing with the unemployment problem.

In Canada a good deal of unemployment has been caused by the failure of the government to put on dumping duties and tariff protection and thereby give industry a chance. We have been here now for three years, this is the third session. The first year we went away without having accomplished anything; the second year a commission was appointed to make an investigation; and now the matter is still being investigated. We have had one report, and by the time the whole thing is disposed of, it will be found that nothing has been done. The very object of appointing the Purvis and Rowell commissions has been to prevent the House of Commons from doing anything practical; they have simply hindered the House of Commons in its functions. That is the purpose for which these commissions were appointed, as the government do not want to solve things, and the result is that the unemployed are still idle. The government's present policy will get us nowhere. It seems for the unemployed to be based on the principle that a commission a day will keep the bailiff away. The government's policy has been simply this: it has mistaken the babble of the Purvis and Rowell commissions for the voice of the people of Canada on these social and industrial questions.

I asked certain questions in regard to slum clearance, and housing, and the hon. member for Greenwood (Mr. Massey) also made certain inquiries along that line, but we have not received any very definite information. The leader of our party when in power appointed a committee of the house to look into the question of some slum clearance, and housing, and that committee sat for weeks and got somewhere on the motion I introduced in 1935.

In reply to questions asked by the hon. member for Greenwood in 1935 as to what had been done in regard to housing, we found

that nothing had been done. They did not have a place even to house Duncan Marshall's famous bull and it died.

On April 6, I asked the following question with regard to the recommendations of the housing commission:

1. Have any steps been taken by the government to carry out the recommendations of the special committee on housing in 1935 in their final report?

2. Will any federal slum clearance program as set out in this report be considered or brought down this session not only for the cities, but for the country?

In answer to the first question the Minister of Finance (Mr. Dunning) replied in the affirmative. He seemed to be the only minister doing anything in connection with the Dominion Housing Act. Under the housing act a lot of money has been spent, and I admit it has helped some people and given them a good bargain; but the unfortunate part of it is that though the act is dominionwide it has been of little benefit to those who have no money. It is only for those possessed of some assets and employable. As for any general scheme to help the industrial worker, nothing whatever has been done to give him work from industry by the bonus and subsidy policy. The industrial worker does not want any favours; he simply asks for equality of treatment with others as in Saskatchewan. He wants to get equal treatment with the agriculturist. If the government had set up a committee of the house three years ago we would have got somewhere. To return to the work done by Mr. Hopkins, what did he do? He himself ascertained the extent of unemployment among a population of 127,000,000; then he asked for the necessary money that would enable him to act, and he did act. Before he took charge-just one man in that vast country-people stood in the bread line for hours, and many were foreclosed. Now conditions there are not what they used to be. But what is being done in Canada?

The minister referred to the tourist trade and he gave an estimate of what it would amount to. He talked about three hundred millions, but that seems to me to be altogether too extravagant. At any rate, how that is going to help the unemployment situation I do not know, and where does the estimate come from? No doubt it creates some work.

In England the government, through its responsible ministers, addressed the unemployed and the youth of the country, saying to them: "You young people are on the dole. Would it not be far better for you to work for the government and for your country

Relief and Agricultural Distress

on land and sea and in the air and be independent, serving for five years and on a voluntary apprenticeship? You will learn a trade and will receive from $1 to 81.50 a day and you will get your food and clothing, and splendid recreation, not in crowded camps but in good housing accommodation. You will live the life of an ordinary civilian in this volunteer service.'' That was what the government did in England, and the result is that a large number of the youthful unemployed have been taken off the relief rolls. The movement has been twice blessed; it has helped to rearm England and it has been a great boon to industry and to employment. We were told that this government, if elected, would end unemployment, but after three years they have done nothing. All they have done has been to submit to the law courts the wise, social legislation passed by the former government; yet they are ready to criticize the one government that did do something for the industrial workers of Canada. The former Prime Minister, now leader of the opposition (Mr. Bennett), got a raw deal because he was the first Prime Minister since confederation to explore all the paths of trade and commerce and to adopt practical measures to cope with the unemployment situation. But we find now that these roving commissions appointed by the present government simply move around the country like an opera company and minstrel show, crowding all the hotels and trains, and reaping the benefit of the work done by the mass buying committee and commission appointed by the late government to investigate these very problems that these commissions are now looking into. When their report is presented you will see that it will be merely a paraphrase of the Couzens report, after the fashion of the report of commission No. 1. The Purvis commission was the retail end of it and the Rowell commission is the wholesale end of the commission trade.

Now I wish to refer to the situation of the city from which I come in regard to unemployment. The government say they are sick and tired of hearing about life-saving stations. Well, they had to call upon the United States life-saving crews frequently in order to save Canadian lives on the upper great lakes; I can give you the pictures if you want to see them. If we created our own national life-saving service and training for the navy and merchant marine, it would help create employment and would be of benefit to shipping and empire defence. This government sent representatives to the last imperial conference. There New Zealand and Australia 51952-Hr

learned something about how to relieve unemployment through shipping, but what did we do? Our representatives sat there and did nothing but veto every proposal for a shipping solution. New Zealand and Australia got something out of it. I have here a return from the city treasurer of Toronto showing that over $51,000,000 has been spent in that city in direct relief, hospitalization, social services and things of that kind. In the last seven years this government have taken from the province of Ontario over $250,000,000 by way of income tax. The figures for each year are as follows:

1931 $34,713,000

1932 30,268,000

1933 30,681,000

1934 28,613,000

1935 32,104,000

1936 40,156,000

1937 58,162,000

This is from the last monthly statement of the Bank of Canada, the white book which is published monthly. In other words, during these seven years this government took from the industrial province of Ontario the sum of $254,697,000 in income tax, and for 1938 it will probably amount to $72,000,000. What did they spend on relief during that time? For the whole of Canada they spent only $203,000,000 on direct relief. In other words they collected $51,000,000 more in income tax from Ontario then the total cost to them of relief in Canada. That shows the extent to which Toronto and the other large industrial cities of Ontario are soaked, and they can get no relief. One of the results of these employment commissions is that they create more unemployment. Unemployment is caused by the government appointing commissions to meddle in domestic and economic problems. In all this I see the decay of parliament and the decline of the House of Commons. The report proposes no new remedy for Canada's problem of distribution or for restoring private property, as it was held by the people in the days of Macdonald and Laurier. I contend that if the Purvis commission had made a survey along the lines of the survey made by Hon. Mr. Brown, Minister of Labour in England, a great many of these young people who were taking the dole would have welcomed the opportunity of learning a trade under the apprenticeship system that I suggested some time ago. Two years ago, when discussing the appointment of the Purvis commission, I told the house something of what had been done by the British board of education along this line, and Miss Perkins,

Relief and Agricultural Distress

secretary of labour in the United States, has adopted some features of that English educational system of apprenticeship.

The other evening a special grant of some $2,000,000 was made to Saskatchewan, most of it for education. That is one of the difficulties under the present state of affairs. Does the house know that the city from which I come spends about $12,000,000 on education, and receives from the province only from nine to eleven per cent of that amount? In other words about ninety per cent of that amount has to be paid by the taxpayers of Toronto. There should be concurrent jurisdiction in regard to education; the dominion should contribute something also for education for each municipality. That would create employment, and the same would apply to public health. We hear talk about the road problem; the government are going to do something about these uneconomic, wasteful roads, which are nothing but subsidies to the oil and motor car industries. The roads should be -built somewhat around the industrial cities and counties where the unemployment problem centres most.

The decision to give work instead of a dole to the unemployed is a bold experiment which has national sympathy. All recognize the demoralizing effects of idleness, and the improved morale that comes with work. There is agreement that the unemployed and destitute must be cared for in a humane manner, and that this had much better be done by providing work at fair remuneration than by any system- of gratuitous public support. The real question is whether so vast an undertaking to provide employment under government auspices will realize the hopes that inspire it. From the standpoint of -the rest of the community it must be regarded as an additional problem and burden at a time when each and every household is beset with new problems and difficulties of its own. Granted that there is a social obligation to care for the helpless, there is a primary obligation for every person to provide for himself and his family dependents in so far as he can do so, that he and -they may not -be a burden upon others. It is the individual's own sense of this obligation and of his failure to meet it that causes the humiliation and moral deterioration resulting from the continued receipt of public relief. All social obligations are reciprocal; no one owes more to another than the other owes to him, and self-respect requires of all of us that we impose no unnecessary burdens on each other.

The right to work is real in a proper sense. It is right that everyone should have an

'Mr. Church.]

opportunity to work, but as one person's claim on his fellows it is subject to limitations. It cannot be said that he has a right to any particular kind of work, or work at any particular rate of pay, or at any particular place, fior obviously it might not be possible for every person -to be supplied with work on his own terms. The rights of an individual are limited by the equal rights of all other persons, and regard for the general welfare must be the guiding principle.

These considerations require that the policy of aid to the unemployed shall have regard for industrial recovery. First in importance to the common welfare is the maintenance of the economic system in at least its present efficiency, and its restoration- to normal capacity as quickly as possible. The monetary system is the very heart of the economic system, and the solvency of -the nation is dependent upon both. A breakdown of the monetary system would paralyze industry and plunge the nation into chaos. I have referred to the standing menace of currency agitation and the relation of -an unbalanced budget to -this peril is the very crux of the problem. Unless favourable results from the policy are evident, the treasury deficit will naturally become -a matter of increasing concern among investors and business men considering long term commitments, the very class of business in which revival is most needed in order to revive industry.

In conclusion, Mr. Speaker, may I say that coming from -the industrial city of Toronto I am very much disappointed in this bill now before the house. However, there is one provision in it of which I think advantage should be taken. It is the provision concerning agreements granting financial assistance to industry. I believe if we applied bonuses, subventions and subsidies not only to agriculture but also -to industry, some result might be achieved. I believe also there Should be large grants to the larger municipalities in order to help them solve their real estate problems. The province is taking $11,000,000 from Toronto by way of income tax, and only about two and a half million is given back. As a result the city is out about $9,000,000. The receipts from that income tax would go to take care of -municipal services of all kinds, which have been starved for the past six years. In Italy they have solved the problem. They are advancing money to the municipalities for the relief of unemployment, to be used in the construction of schools, courthouses, hospitals and public works of every kind, taking care of their needs for the next forty-five years. I am suggesting that these

Relief and Agricultural Distress

loans -be made in a lesser degree to the municipalities. We will' remember that in 1919 a loan of $21,000,000 was made to municipalities for housing purposes. Almost every dollar of that money was paid back. In fact the municipalities seem to be the only organizations which pay back to parliament. Does the Quebec harbour board pay back, or do other harbour boards pay back money advanced? No, they do not.

For these reasons I believe the bill is not adequate and does not provide an adequate remedy. It does not provide enough and will be only a small source of comfort to the unemployed next May day. We have sat here and failed to do anything. We appoint commissions which do nothing. The onus for the solution of the problem is on the government, and so long as they form the government hon. members opposite must accept this great responsibility, a responsibility with respect to which they have fallen down all along the line. They have attempted to transfer the responsibility to a roving commission which appears in Vancouver to-day, Calgary tomorrow, Toronto the day after, and dear knows where they may be before they wind up.

This is not the responsibility of a commission; it is that of the House of Commons and the government. One point further: I believe the right hon. the leader of the opposition will be remembered by the people of Canada for many years to come. He was the first man who ever tackled social problems and trade and commerce, and who ever attempted to dissect sections 91 and 92 of the British North America Act. He would have had this matter discussed around a table by the dominion and the provinces and got a quicker solution. He did the spadework, and got nothing but abuse for it. Although my right hon. leader may not be the head of the government, certainly he is de facto the leader of the House of Commons in matters of legislation this and last session. Certainly the government would have been better off if it had accepted his constructive policy of meeting around a table here in Ottawa, of hearing the views of the provincial governments and attempting to bring about the solution of the problem when all information was available.

I see no hope at all for the municipalities. They are outcasts. The federal government will not deal with them. One might think that they had some sort of legislative disease. This government will not deal with the mayors and boards of control of Hamilton, Toronto, Montreal and other cities. It says, "You may go to the provincial governments. We will 51952-147J

have no contact with you." That is a wrong policy, and one which has been found wanting in many respects. The matter is being handled in England, New Zealand and Australia, but we sit here day after day and do nothing but act as a lot of slaves for these useless commissions.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   UNEMPLOYMENT RELIEF
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE FOR ALLEVIATION OF UNEMPLOYMENT AND AGRICULTURAL DISTRESS
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CON

John Allmond Marsh

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. J. A. MARSH (Hamilton West):

Mr. Speaker, I shall try to be brief in the observations I have to make on this measure which has for its purpose the alleviation of unemployment and agricultural distress. After studying the contents of the bill one must conclude that in scope it seems to be broad enough; it seems specific enough in its clauses to meet that problem which, I believe we must all admit, is one of the greatest problems confronting our people.

But I am mindful of the fact that we have on our statute books measures which, while considered wise when they were passed, have failed to remedy conditions, because of poor administration. For that reason, and because the present measure is not dissimilar from the bill of last year, I am much concerned as to the possibility of proper administration.

Much of the discussion in the house thus far respecting unemployment-and I must plead guilty to contributing my share-has dealt chiefly with the extent of the problem. We have failed in our consideration of what we must do to cure the ills of unemployment. I wonder if we can look forward, not back. I wonder if we can forget the things that have been done in the last few years in an effort to solve the problem? I wonder if we will devote our attention to the problems of today, and if we will deal with them. We must, too, be mindful of the problems of to-morrow. I do submit, however, that so much of our discussion concerns yesterday and yesterday's problems that, for the most part it is futile and useless.

When the resolution upon which this bill is founded was in committee stage some weeks ago, the minister said that we should avoid excessive pessimism. I heartily agree, because I dislike the pessimist and avoid him as heartily as I do those little black and white animals we meet occasionally on the back roads. I believe the biological name is mephitis mephitica-and that is not the name for a cat. I do not like the attitude of the pessimist, but I suggest we cannot be blamed for being conscious of, alive to and aware of the tremendous distress throughout the country to-day. That consciousness is not pessimism; pessimism is the refuge of the craven. Rather than being pessimistic I suggest we are simply being aware of the hardships being

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   UNEMPLOYMENT RELIEF
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE FOR ALLEVIATION OF UNEMPLOYMENT AND AGRICULTURAL DISTRESS
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LIB

Norman McLeod Rogers (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. ROGERS:

I do not think my hon. friend intends to misrepresent me. I did see the mayors' association, not once but on several occasions.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   UNEMPLOYMENT RELIEF
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE FOR ALLEVIATION OF UNEMPLOYMENT AND AGRICULTURAL DISTRESS
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April 28, 1938