July 25, 1944

LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

That is a very

bright interruption. I have already answered that question but my hon. friend was asleep. He has only just wakened up. It was only when I began to say a word about the humble poor and their circumstances that hon. gentlemen opposite began to hoot and to laugh. That roused him. I tell them, and I tell them quite frankly-I understand this measure is going to be challenged-that if the basis of challenge is going to be on the question of how money is used by people in humble circumstances, as against how money is used by those who are. fortunate enough to have exemptions on their income tax as allowances for children we shall have it out to a finish on that very subject.

^There is no instinct of man or beast stronger than the parental instinct. All nature tells us that animal life seeks to cherish and protect its own. Nothing is truer of human v>

beings than that mothers and fathers think first of their children and how they can give their children opportunities in life better than they themselves have had.//Yn support of what I have just said may I point to the motive that has brought to this country a large proportion of those who have come from other lands. They have nearly all come not so much because they wished merely to better their own conditions but in order that their children might have a better chance in life than they have had. They have been, most of them, in very humble circumstances, but they have been pleased to come to a land where there was opportunity to give their children chances they themselves never had. Many of them came from the countries of Europe to get away from the perpetual fear of war. Many of them have come from the British isles to get away from class distinctions,

100-335i

and the bar to improved conditions that so often goes with them. A great many have had in their breasts something of the sentiment cherished so strongly by Robert Burns when he wrote "a man's a man for a' that." It ill becomes anyone in this day to question how people, simply because they are in humble circumstances, are likely to discharge the greatest responsibility of their lives, namely that of looking after their own children. We are told, "Oh, we want to look after the children, but we would like to do it some other way." In other words, they would like to continue the old-fashioned method of seeing that something is done for others rather than permitting others to do things for themselves. That ia a paternalistic attitude which is also contrary to the spirit of the present time. It savour of charity, and charity has become a nause-'ating thing to many who have had to submit to it in order to eke out an existence. The new order is not going to have things done as charity. What is to be done will be done as a matter of right. There will always be a place for charity; there will always be an opportunity and the necessity to help one's neighbour, but when it comes to these great social questions under a condition of society which dooms large numbers of people to a lifetime of penury, at the same time enabling others vastly to increase their incomes, then a searching analysis of the causes of differences becomes necessary.

Everyone knows that conditions of society to-day are such as to permit those who already have great possessions to become possessors of much more, while they serve to take away from those who have very little even that which they have. I have heard men boast about the positions they have achieved in industry and affairs. They may be justified in so doing in so far as what they have obtained has been the result of their own exceptional abilities, but I would ask all such how any man to-day could achieve anything in the way of great increase of wealth were it not for what the state itself does to make that possible. The state, by maintaining law and order, by its assistance to invention, by the facilities it provides in the way of transportation, communication, markets; by the community values it creates, the unearned increments it makes possible, all these and much more tend to help those1 who already possess much to acquire more, and at the same time take away something of what is possessed in very small measure by other members of society. More and more it is being recognized that present conditions; enable some persons to make great fortunes and prevent others from gaining even a fair

Family Allowances

Topic:   FAMILY ALLOWANCES
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR PAYMENTS IN RESPECT OF CHILDREN UNDER SIXTEEN
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NAT

Karl Kenneth Homuth

National Government

Mr. HOMUTH:

What countries?

Topic:   FAMILY ALLOWANCES
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR PAYMENTS IN RESPECT OF CHILDREN UNDER SIXTEEN
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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:

Australia, New Zealand; I could name a dozen in Europe.

Topic:   FAMILY ALLOWANCES
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR PAYMENTS IN RESPECT OF CHILDREN UNDER SIXTEEN
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NAT

Karl Kenneth Homuth

National Government

Mr. HOMUTH:

Most of them have

abandoned it.

Topic:   FAMILY ALLOWANCES
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR PAYMENTS IN RESPECT OF CHILDREN UNDER SIXTEEN
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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:

My hon. friend is quite wrong, they have not. I can give ' fuller particulars a little later on. At any rate I challenge my hon. friend to deny what I have just said as to the effect of the expenditure of money by families, as to whether that of itself will not create a demand for commodities.

Topic:   FAMILY ALLOWANCES
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR PAYMENTS IN RESPECT OF CHILDREN UNDER SIXTEEN
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NAT

Karl Kenneth Homuth

National Government

Mr. HOMUTH:

I certainly will deny that it will give higher wages.

Topic:   FAMILY ALLOWANCES
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR PAYMENTS IN RESPECT OF CHILDREN UNDER SIXTEEN
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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:

We in this country depend very largely on foreign markets. We are doing all we possibly can to help to secure foreign markets when the war is over. But we cannot tell how successful we may be. There are many in this country who put strong emphasis on the domestic market. For my part, I put emphasis on both.

I think we should have as large a foreign market and as large a domestic market as it is possible to have. To the advocates of a domestic market I would point out that practically all the money that will be spent on family allowances will be spent to purchase commodities that are produced or manufactured in our country.

A We must also consider the effect of this measure upon life in the rural communities. Family allowances will provide equal benefit to farm families and help to make possible a closer approach to equal opportunities for farm children. For the most part our social services have come to be centred in the urban communities, in our towns and cities. So far as social services generally are concerned the rural parts have been left very much to shift for themselves. We know that the position in many rural homes is very difficult. Children used to be considered an asset by their parents through being able to help with work in different ways, but to-day a large number of children may come to be more or less of a financial liability because of changed conditions. This is particularly so in cities. But certain it is that the balance has been against the rural communities with respect to social services, welfare, education and the

like. Expenditures under family allowances will be used by the people in the rural areas to help to improve the health and the education of their children, help to gain for them more comfortable and sanitary homes and many opportunities that they otherwise would not have. Especially will this be so in poorer agricultural districts, and in years of poor crop and crop failure. Combined with the floor under farm prices, family allowances will give real social security to rural Canada for the first time in our history.^

Mutual aid is a principle that this parliament has accepted, and accepted in a large and splendid way. We have voted something like two billion dollars for purposes of mutual aid as between nations. As soon as the war is over I think we should apply more and more the principle of mutual aid to meeting the needs that arise within our own country. The doctrine of mutual aid is the antithesis of the doctrine of force. Mutual aid is a way of bringing about results by considering other persons perhaps a little more than one considers one's self. This measure is based on the mutual aid principle. Family allowances are a form of mutual aid. We are recognizing that the weak may be weaker unless they are assisted by the strong, that instead of having our social and industrial organization such that the weak are serving the interests of the strong to the exclusion very often of their own interests, we will have the strong assisting to bear the burdens of the weak. I should perhaps point out that the moneys used for purposes of mutual aid to help win the war, have enabled Canada to maintain total employment, fulfil her obligations of a total war effort, and thereby give employment to large numbers of persons who in turn on receipt of wages have created still further demands.

This brings me to the question of the cost. Some hon. members will say that this measure is going to cost a lot of money. I might ask the house how much this war is costing, how much we are actually spending each day for the war. I doubt very much if the cost of this measure will bear comparison with expenditure on the war as it is being incurred, and so largely met, by this country to-day. It is about'two week's expenditure, in fact. If it is going to help to carry the country safely through the period of readjustment and for years to come serve to avoid a large measure of unrest that otherwise will be inevitable, if in its place it is going to bring contentment and at the same time help to develop a strong and vigorous nation, I think we will be able to count the cost as not being in any way excessive.

Family Allowances

Topic:   FAMILY ALLOWANCES
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR PAYMENTS IN RESPECT OF CHILDREN UNDER SIXTEEN
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NAT

Karl Kenneth Homuth

National Government

Mr. HOMUTH:

There are others who will answer for him.

Topic:   FAMILY ALLOWANCES
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR PAYMENTS IN RESPECT OF CHILDREN UNDER SIXTEEN
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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:

My hon. friend says that he will answer for him?

Topic:   FAMILY ALLOWANCES
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR PAYMENTS IN RESPECT OF CHILDREN UNDER SIXTEEN
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NAT

Karl Kenneth Homuth

National Government

Mr. HOMUTH:

I said that there are others who will answer for him.

Topic:   FAMILY ALLOWANCES
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR PAYMENTS IN RESPECT OF CHILDREN UNDER SIXTEEN
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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:

If any one who answers for him repeats the statement he has made, that this is a measure of bribery, I shall immediately ask Mr. Speaker to ask frim to withdraw the statement and he will be obliged to withdraw it. As my hon. friend well knows, a statement of the kind cannot be made on the floor of this house or if made would have to be withdrawn. Anyone who purports to be taking a responsible part in the political affairs of this country should not rnake a statement outside the house that he would not dare to make in the house.

Anyone who claims that the motive behind this measure is bribery in any form whatever, especially after mention of the measure in the speech from the throne, first of all reflects upon every hon. member of this house- that I wish to have clearly understood. Such

an accusation is an insult to the intelligence of the electorate. It reflects more upon the integrity of Canadian citizens. When it is suggested that the people of Canada will be governed in their appreciation of the laws of this country by bribes offered to them, a pretty serious charge is being made and one I believe that will be deeply resented by the people of Canada.

I resent that charge very strongly, and in a personal way. I have given my life, the greater part of it, to seeking to improve the conditions of the people of this country. When I left the university of Toronto, fifty years ago, instead of following the profession of law, which my father was anxious I should, I took up post-graduate studies of social problems because I was especially interested in the conditions of the people and hoped to be able to serve them in my day by an understanding of their problems. I shall not detail the steps I took to further my studies, but I would point out that they were all in the direction of seeing what could be done to improve conditions that were injurious to the well-being of the great masses of the people.

When I gave up the idea of an academic career and came to Ottawa in 1900 to start a Department of Labour in Canada, I was not seeking to bribe the Canadian people. I was seeking to establish an agency of government which through the years would tell more and more for the betterment of the conditions of the people of Canada. When after eight years spent in building up a Department of Labour and seeking to further social legislation through that department, I resigned as its permanent head to contest a Conservative riding and to enter into parliament, I was not taking up social questions with a view to finding a way into parliament. I was seeking to get into parliament in order that my voice might be heard in parliament in regard to social problems and conditions which I wished to see improved. My voice in this parliament, as hon. members know who were here from 1908 to 1911, was raised as opportunity presented itself on behalf of improving the conditions of the people. I need only mention anti-sweating legislation to indicate the very first step I had taken to better conditions of the working people and prevent men from having to work for wages inadequate to enable them to bring up and care for their families.

When I was defeated in 1911 and out of parliament for a time, did I give up my interest in social questions and in the well-being of the people? I have in my hand a book of which I am proud, Industry and Humanity. The book is a study in the principles under-

Family Allowances

lying industrial reconstruction. The book was written at intervals in that period when I was not in parliament but was engaged on industrial research and in furthering maximum production in war industries. It was written in the hope that there might be found within its pages a statement of principles which, if applied after the war, might help to remove the causes of wars and be a means of improving the conditions of the people. The principles which parliament has been applying in this very session, and in preceding sessions in the social legislation that has been brought down are all in accord with what is set out in that volume. If hon. members would read a chapter entitled "Principles Underlying Health" they will find the advocacy of a national minimum standard of life, the advocacy of social security, the advocacy of the very measure we are introducing in parliament at this time.

I have been in parliament now for twenty-eight years. Shortly after I came back into parliament nearly twenty-five years ago, almost the first measure, if I recollect aright, in which I interested myself was one to see that the pension rights of which men working on the railways of this country had been deprived were restored to them, though it took a period of from ten to twelve years to bring that about. From that time I have sought where-ever opportunity offered to further one social measure after another. I call to witness the measures of the old age pension, unemployment insurance, and a great number of other social measures now upon our statutes.

I mention these things in order to make clear that my interest in these matters has not been in the way of seeking to bribe the people of this country. The same statements however I heard made in regard to the very measures I have just mentioned, the measures related to old age pensions and unemployment, insurance. I think the sooner that that term bribery as applied to social legislation is dropped, the better it will be for all concerned.

Having given the greater part of my life to an honest endeavour to improve the lot of my fellow men in Canada, I do not propose now that I am in my seventieth year to begin a career of bribery to further this end. I have gained the confidence I have from the people of this country, not from any thought in their minds that I was seeking to bribe them in measures for which I have always stood. I have gained the support of the people of this country in larger measure than any other man in the public life of Canada in this past quarter of a century. I have remained in public life and gained the confidence of the people of

Canada because they knew that I was standing for principles and polices in which I believed, and that I would stand and fight for them at every opportunity that presented itself. I have fought for measures of social security and national well-being in season and out of season, in parliament and out of parliament, in this country and in other countries. I have fought for them wherever the opportunity presented itself, and win or lose in the future, I intend to fight for them to the end of my days. When that moment comes there will not be any thought of bribery associated with my name in this country, if I can leave nothing else to my fellow men, I will at least leave to my party and to my country an honourable name.

Topic:   FAMILY ALLOWANCES
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR PAYMENTS IN RESPECT OF CHILDREN UNDER SIXTEEN
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NAT

Gordon Graydon (Leader of the Official Opposition)

National Government

Mr. GORDON GRAYDON (Leader of the Opposition):

Mr. Speaker, in rising to take part in the debate on the second reading of this measure I desire to make an observation or two based upon some of the remarks which the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) made in the latter part of his speech this afternoon. I would like to say to him and to the house that neither he nor any other man in this house can properly lay claim to a monopoly of the finer feelings which the Prime Minister expressed, or the social philosophy which I fancy is developed very highly in the minds of the membership of this house about which he generalized so freely this afternoon. These are not held by the Prime Minister alone; neither is honesty of purpose a monopoly of the Prime Minister. There is not one hon. member but who desires to leave this house with a name as honored and honourable as that of the Prime Minister.

I purposely let the Prime Minister conclude his remarks without a single interruption; in this connection he has always shown great courtesy to me, and I ask his party to follow his example in this, as I know that in other things they slavishly follow it.

The Prime Minister made some remarks with reference to the national leader of our party, though he did not mention him by name. This is not the first occasion upon which he has attempted to pick a quarrel with the leader of the Progressive Conservative party.

Topic:   FAMILY ALLOWANCES
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR PAYMENTS IN RESPECT OF CHILDREN UNDER SIXTEEN
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?

An hon. MEMBER:

It is hard to get at him.

Topic:   FAMILY ALLOWANCES
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR PAYMENTS IN RESPECT OF CHILDREN UNDER SIXTEEN
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LIB

Thomas Vien (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER:

Order.

Topic:   FAMILY ALLOWANCES
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR PAYMENTS IN RESPECT OF CHILDREN UNDER SIXTEEN
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NAT

Gordon Graydon (Leader of the Official Opposition)

National Government

Mr. GRAYDON:

If hon. members across the way want a rough-and-tumble fight, I have no objection, but I thought we were trying this afternoon to discuss a matter of grave national importance, and it is my desire

Family Allowances

to deal with the subject in the appropriate way. But every time the Prime Minister hears or thinks of John Bracken his blood pressure immediately rises. Perhaps it is good for his health that John Bracken is not in this house, because I am afraid that if our leader were closer to him the Prime Minister would suffer a collapse. Time after time he has talked about John Bracken taking a seat in the House of Commons; but from the information I get, which comes direct from the Province of Saskatchewan and from no less a person than the premier of that province, yesterday, the problem is not now how John Bracken is to get a seat in this chamber, but how the Prime Minister of the Dominion of Canada who sits right here is to retain the seat he has.

Topic:   FAMILY ALLOWANCES
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR PAYMENTS IN RESPECT OF CHILDREN UNDER SIXTEEN
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LIB

Ian Alistair Mackenzie (Minister of Pensions and National Health)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE (Vancouver Centre):

He has a seat here now; Bracken has not.

Topic:   FAMILY ALLOWANCES
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR PAYMENTS IN RESPECT OF CHILDREN UNDER SIXTEEN
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LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. GARDINER:

We do not agree with the premier of Saskatchewan.

Topic:   FAMILY ALLOWANCES
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR PAYMENTS IN RESPECT OF CHILDREN UNDER SIXTEEN
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NAT

Gordon Graydon (Leader of the Official Opposition)

National Government

Mr. GRAYDON:

The Prime Minister has done a great deal of very favourable advertising for the leader of our party, and for that we are extremely grateful. I hope that he will not desist from these tactics in the days that lie ahead. It is only another evidence, of course, of the growing strength of the leader of our party that the Prime Minister of Canada is paying so much attention to him.

Topic:   FAMILY ALLOWANCES
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR PAYMENTS IN RESPECT OF CHILDREN UNDER SIXTEEN
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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:

My hon. friend is afraid-

Topic:   FAMILY ALLOWANCES
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR PAYMENTS IN RESPECT OF CHILDREN UNDER SIXTEEN
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NAT

Gordon Graydon (Leader of the Official Opposition)

National Government

Mr. GRAYDON:

Now I know I have struck a tender spot, but I think the Prime Minister may as well sit down. Of course if he is making a point of order I am prepared to give place to him.

Topic:   FAMILY ALLOWANCES
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR PAYMENTS IN RESPECT OF CHILDREN UNDER SIXTEEN
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July 25, 1944