March 15, 1939

CON

Karl Kenneth Homuth

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. HOMUTH:

Give them a chance.

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT RELIEF
Subtopic:   UNEMPLOYMENT AND AGRICULTURAL DISTRESS- UNDERTAKINGS IN GENERAL INTEREST AND FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE TO PROVINCES
Permalink
LIB

Norman McLeod Rogers (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. ROGERS:

- for us to make a substantial reduction in the number of unemployed this year. My hon. friend objects to my referring at all to the leaders of industry.

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT RELIEF
Subtopic:   UNEMPLOYMENT AND AGRICULTURAL DISTRESS- UNDERTAKINGS IN GENERAL INTEREST AND FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE TO PROVINCES
Permalink
CON

Karl Kenneth Homuth

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. HOMUTH:

I do not. I say, give them a chance.

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT RELIEF
Subtopic:   UNEMPLOYMENT AND AGRICULTURAL DISTRESS- UNDERTAKINGS IN GENERAL INTEREST AND FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE TO PROVINCES
Permalink
LIB

Norman McLeod Rogers (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. ROGERS:

I do not refer to leaders of industry in any other way than to point out to them, as I have done before and shall do again, that the challenge of unemployment is not a challenge directed only to governments. And those who speak for the leaders of industry, particularly through such newspapers as the Financial Post, that, as I have said, in one breath cry for government retrenchment and in the next condemn this government because it has not provided work for those on relief-

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT RELIEF
Subtopic:   UNEMPLOYMENT AND AGRICULTURAL DISTRESS- UNDERTAKINGS IN GENERAL INTEREST AND FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE TO PROVINCES
Permalink
CON

John Ritchie MacNicol

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MacNICOL:

That is because of the tariff policy.

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT RELIEF
Subtopic:   UNEMPLOYMENT AND AGRICULTURAL DISTRESS- UNDERTAKINGS IN GENERAL INTEREST AND FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE TO PROVINCES
Permalink
LIB

Norman McLeod Rogers (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. ROGERS:

-are simply bedeviling

the entire situation. I say that advisedly and deliberately, and I will not hesitate to say it again.

What of the future?

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT RELIEF
Subtopic:   UNEMPLOYMENT AND AGRICULTURAL DISTRESS- UNDERTAKINGS IN GENERAL INTEREST AND FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE TO PROVINCES
Permalink
CON

John Ritchie MacNicol

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MacNICOL:

Pretty sad-looking.

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT RELIEF
Subtopic:   UNEMPLOYMENT AND AGRICULTURAL DISTRESS- UNDERTAKINGS IN GENERAL INTEREST AND FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE TO PROVINCES
Permalink
LIB

Norman McLeod Rogers (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. ROGERS:

I think we can look forward with reasonable confidence to an extension of employment during the year 1939. A little more than a month ago there was in the British House of Commons a debate upon unemployment. In that debate the government of the United Kingdom was chastised, criticized and condemned for its failure to do the very things that we or any other group of men as a government would be condemned for having failed to do in recent years. I think it was the president of the board of trade, who pointed out that the basic cause of unemployment throughout the world to-day was an abnormal contraction in international trade, an abnormal contraction in private investment, and a persistence of fear through international tension which, if continued, would place an even greater burden upon governments. Surely we can understand that international tension, which has continued almost without any interval of peace in the last two years, has deterred many a business man from making forward commitments, from investing his money in industry. If tension continues, governments must accept their responsibility in meeting the situation. As a result of that, this government had to assume greater burdens than otherwise it would have assumed.

Fortunately there is some ground for believing that this fear which has haunted the world in the last two years may be receding, and with its recession there may be a return of that confidence which will permit business men once more to expand their activities on the basis of the expected consumption of their products. If, with that relief of international tension, there comes also a return to more sensible policies of trade in countries which have turned away from international trade to economic nationalism, then this great exporting country will have once more an opportunity to build up in western Canada that market, that store of purchasing power not based on paper certificates, but based on the sale of goods, which will provide a means for the development and expansion of the industries of central Canada.

As one charged with responsibility in connection with unemployment and relief, I have tried to see the picture as it really is.

Unemployment and Agricultural Distress

In these days one lives continually in an atmosphere of distress; but never at any time has this government, or its Minister of Labour as a member of this government, adopted an attitude of defeat and despair. If this parliament in its discussions of unemployment and relief will try to face the facts as they are, there will be no criticism on my part in so far as exception is taken to any feature of our policies. But if we can see what is good in the situation as well as what is disturbing; and provided there is a change in international factors which from the beginning have been beyond our control, and a willingness also on the part of citizens as well as governments to accept their obligations in relation to this problem, it is not too great for this nation to solve.

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT RELIEF
Subtopic:   UNEMPLOYMENT AND AGRICULTURAL DISTRESS- UNDERTAKINGS IN GENERAL INTEREST AND FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE TO PROVINCES
Permalink
CON

Denton Massey

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. DENTON MASSEY (Greenwood):

Mr. Speaker, again we have listened to a speech by the Minister of Labour (Mr. Rogers), purporting to review the condition of employment and unemployment in Canada for another year. I have listened with intense interest to what the minister has had to say, but I am forced to this one conclusion, that there has never been in this house a more frank and complete confession of failure than that to which we have just listened.

The minister commenced his speech admirably, as he always does, and he used a phrase which we should do well to remember. I took it down verbatim lest I forget: "The part of wisdom is to search out the truth and to present the truth." There is not an hon. member who will not subscribe to that. The minister sought out the truth, according to his own statement. Then, at the end of his speech, in his peroration, he gave the excuse which the government now employs for its failure to deal with this problem of unemployment and agricultural distress. That excuse was world conditions, and I could not help thinking, at the conclusion of his speech, of that celebrated night in his own city, during the course of the election campaign of 1935, when the right hon. the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King), as he is now, and others, spoke in a meeting maligning and vilifying the then administration, without a single reference to a world depression. From the point of view of what one says, what a difference it makes, apparently, where one sits in this house. Alibis and excuses! I say to you, Mr. Speaker-

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT RELIEF
Subtopic:   UNEMPLOYMENT AND AGRICULTURAL DISTRESS- UNDERTAKINGS IN GENERAL INTEREST AND FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE TO PROVINCES
Permalink
?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Oh, oh.

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT RELIEF
Subtopic:   UNEMPLOYMENT AND AGRICULTURAL DISTRESS- UNDERTAKINGS IN GENERAL INTEREST AND FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE TO PROVINCES
Permalink
CON

Denton Massey

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MASSEY:

Hon. members may laugh, but I am wondering what will happen in the next election when all they can present to the unemployed in their ridings is the bitter bread

that the minister fed them to-day, the bitter bread of failure-the admission of complete failure to deal with this problem. Perhaps the laughter was slightly premature.

Then we listened as the minister progressed in his speech to his complaint in regard to the use of figures by some apparently, as he described them, irresponsible journalists, who are ignorant, who should know better. He complained that the figure of one million was given as representing those who were dependent upon relief in this country. Well, here is his own release dated Ottawa, March 15.

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT RELIEF
Subtopic:   UNEMPLOYMENT AND AGRICULTURAL DISTRESS- UNDERTAKINGS IN GENERAL INTEREST AND FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE TO PROVINCES
Permalink
LIB

Norman McLeod Rogers (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. ROGERS:

Surely my hon. friend will permit me to ask him a question. I said that at the time when the number on relief, according to registration, was some 544,000, it was being stated in newspaper editorials that there were a million unemployed on relief. My hon. friend is aware that there is a fluctuation in relief figures from month to month.

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT RELIEF
Subtopic:   UNEMPLOYMENT AND AGRICULTURAL DISTRESS- UNDERTAKINGS IN GENERAL INTEREST AND FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE TO PROVINCES
Permalink
CON

Denton Massey

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MASSEY:

The insidious danger in the use of figures, as I shall demonstrate with reference to some figures which the minister himself has used, is that the point behind the figures is not made clear. Here is a figure that cannot be dodged-the minister used it himself this afternoon: 978,000 on relief, dependent upon relief, in the month of January, 1939, an increase of eight per cent over the same period last year. That is the figure. It will go out from this house this afternoon.

' Is it to be wondered sometimes that, in the midst of the distress which this country has experienced, such a figure as that is used perhaps incorrectly?

Then the minister went on to object to the use of the figures of 80,000 or 90,000 or 150,000 as the number of transients unemployed in this country. He said that the best estimate he could make, from sources which he regarded as reliable, was, I believe, less than 10,000.

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT RELIEF
Subtopic:   UNEMPLOYMENT AND AGRICULTURAL DISTRESS- UNDERTAKINGS IN GENERAL INTEREST AND FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE TO PROVINCES
Permalink
LIB

Norman McLeod Rogers (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. ROGERS:

According to the definition,

yes.

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT RELIEF
Subtopic:   UNEMPLOYMENT AND AGRICULTURAL DISTRESS- UNDERTAKINGS IN GENERAL INTEREST AND FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE TO PROVINCES
Permalink
CON

Denton Massey

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MASSEY:

Again we have the academic approach to the question-according to definition. Those housed in provincial and other institutions, hostels of one sort and another- what about them? As I stand in my place now, I tell you, Mr. Speaker, I know of scores upon scores of transients unemployed who are in receipt of charity, if you want to call it that, from private individuals. I know of hostels that are maintained by private capital, of which this government has no knowledge. I know of tens of thousands of transient unemployed receiving the benefit of private charity in this country, whom this government does not list at all and knows nothing about.

1932 [DOT] COMMONS

Unemployment and Agricultural Distress

Then the minister went on further to complain of the number which had been given as representing the unemployed youth in Canada, the number which had been suggested by the Canadian Youth Congress- 450,000, he said. He challenged that figure. [DOT]Well, I wonder what it means to be a youth unemployed. I wonder what the academic definition of a youth unemployed is, which will reduce that figure to act as a salve to the conscience of the government. What difference does it make whether it is 150,000 or 500,000? In either case it represents a ghastly state of affairs in this country. And what is being done in connection with it? I shall deal with that question later.

The minister admitted that the youth congress, in arriving at a figure of 465,000, had included those who were on farms. Has the minister any idea of the number of young farmers who left their farms, went into the city, got some sort of work, lost it, then went back to the farms and are now waiting for a better day, being in the meantime looked after by the father and mother who are struggling to keep the farm going as best they can, with the added difficulty of having to keep a son?

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT RELIEF
Subtopic:   UNEMPLOYMENT AND AGRICULTURAL DISTRESS- UNDERTAKINGS IN GENERAL INTEREST AND FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE TO PROVINCES
Permalink
LIB

George Ernest Wood

Liberal

Mr. WOOD:

Could not that son-

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT RELIEF
Subtopic:   UNEMPLOYMENT AND AGRICULTURAL DISTRESS- UNDERTAKINGS IN GENERAL INTEREST AND FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE TO PROVINCES
Permalink
CON

Denton Massey

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MASSEY:

The hon. member will have plenty of time to speak.

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT RELIEF
Subtopic:   UNEMPLOYMENT AND AGRICULTURAL DISTRESS- UNDERTAKINGS IN GENERAL INTEREST AND FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE TO PROVINCES
Permalink
LIB

Malcolm McLean

Liberal

Mr. McLEAN (Melfort):

He doesn't want to answer.

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT RELIEF
Subtopic:   UNEMPLOYMENT AND AGRICULTURAL DISTRESS- UNDERTAKINGS IN GENERAL INTEREST AND FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE TO PROVINCES
Permalink
?

An hon. MEMBER:

He is afraid of the question.

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT RELIEF
Subtopic:   UNEMPLOYMENT AND AGRICULTURAL DISTRESS- UNDERTAKINGS IN GENERAL INTEREST AND FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE TO PROVINCES
Permalink
CON

Denton Massey

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MASSEY:

Who said that? Let him get up and say it. I want to make my argument consecutive, and there will be plenty of opportunity for the hon. member opposite to speak.

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT RELIEF
Subtopic:   UNEMPLOYMENT AND AGRICULTURAL DISTRESS- UNDERTAKINGS IN GENERAL INTEREST AND FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE TO PROVINCES
Permalink

March 15, 1939