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:

I do not know if I understood my hon. friend rightly; but the intention is that throughout the dominion all will be paid, and the matter of adjustments will come afterwards.

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

Major James William Coldwell

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

Mr. COLDWELL:

That is what I was not particularly clear about. But what I was going to say is that it strikes me although I have not been able to give the bill quite the study I might have given it under other circumstances, that the bill is very complicated. The matter of reductions on account of the size of the family and the variation which may occur in families by births and deaths and so on will involve a terrific administrative job, and I personally think it could have been made much simpler had another method been devised.

The proposed legislation for children's allowances calls, as I understand it, for a rising scale of payments-$5 a month for children less than six years of age to $8 a month to children of thirteen to fifteen years, together with deductions ranging from SI a month for the fifth children to S3 a month for the eighth child and over. That is where, I think, the administrative difficulties of the

measure are going to be very great, and I think a simpler plan should have been adopted.

Here I wish to interject my opinion that the financial commitment which the government is making-and this bill definitely commits the government to certain payments- ought to have been part of the budget. I agree that, instead of coming into effect on July 1, 1945, it should have come into effect, if brought in earlier this session, on July 1, 1944, or now at the latest, January 1, 1945, and the government ought to have carried out its constitutional obligation-I think there is one-when it provides for an expenditure, to make at least some provision therefor in the budget. If we were passing merely a resolution calling upon the government or parliament to consider the appropriation of a certain sum of money, as a target for an expenditure for social security measures, the position would be somewhat different, but we are definitely committing another to these expenditures. May I say that in one respect we are very glad that we are, but I just want to point that out.

I said a few moments ago that the plan to provide for a scale of deductions for each child above four, which I assume is considered to be the average, although from the figures given by the Prime Minister it is not the average, is bound to discriminate against the larger families. That is the first constructive criticism I would make against this measure, that there is no doubt a discrimination against the larger families. In my opinion this will not save the government a very large amount of money. I had an economist look into that phase of it for me; I happen to have a few notes which he made while I was away, and he estimates that the saving because of these deductions will amount to not more than S15 million a year; that we could have paid the family allowances without taking into account these deductions and that the cost would not have been more than $15 million greater than the $200 million net estimated by the Prime Minister this afternoon. If that is so, the administrative difficulties are so great that for the saving of $15 million, or even $50 million it is not worth while. My figures may not be wholly correct, but I place that before the government because I see the difficulties of administration and the complications that are likely to arise. I would like to see the measure as successful as it can possibly be because upon it hangs other social security legislation which I hope will be introduced at least by a subsequent government.

Family Allowances

The rising scale of payments goes, up to the age of sixteen. I believe that we should endeavour, as was suggested by the leader of the opposition-and that is the only thing in which I agree with him-to raise it to the age of eighteen in order to encourage parents to keep their children at school or to have them take some technical training or other education. I believe it will be quite important when this war is over to keep as many of our younger people off the labour market as we can. We have a very heavy task ahead of us to provide jobs for the hundreds of thousands of people now engaged in war industry and in the armed forces of the country, and anything that will tend to reduce the pressure on the labour market, particularly of lorver paid labour, which is often youthful labour, should be done. I would like to have seen the government extend this up to the age of eighteen.

These are the principal criticisms I want to make at this time. Some of my colleagues, speaking from different points of view, will deal with other details of the measure, but I do not like the idea of there being too much supervision. I notice that the bill empowers the minister, in section 9 (a) to:

establish committees or boards and arrange with departments of government and other public and private agencies and organizations to assist him in carrying out the purposes of this act.

I think our people rather dislike the setting up of such committees. While many good people are associated with social welfare committees, there are often people who are overofficious, and it seems to me we should be very careful lest, under a clause of this description, the minister gives too many powers and appoints too many committees of investigation. That in itself 'will tend to defeat the success of this measure. We are also told in the bill that the allowances shall be applied by the person receiving 'them exclusively to the maintenance, care, training, education and advancement of the children. To whom is this going to be paid? In most countries where there are family allowances it is paid to the mother because she ;s the one who buys the food and clothing. She may not provide the shelter but she is the proper person to whom the payment should be made. Under the civil law of one of our provinces the woman is placed in a different position in relation to the husband from that which prevails in some of the other provinces but I think even if that difficulty arises in that province the act should be sufficiently wide that in the various provinces where we have not the same type of civil law the allowance should be paid to the mother, if, of course, she is a fit and proper person. It is difficult for a wife, if the husband

is not just doing the right thing by the children, to make any complaint, and undue interference in the home and in the family life would be in my opinion, resented and would be indeed dangerous in effect. I would, therefore, like to see the mother given the money.

I do not intend to have it inferred in any way that I think these people who receive this money, the humble poor, as has been said this afternoon by the Prime Minister, are not capable of spending these family allowances. I think they are. I think it is an insult to the poor to say continually, "Oh, well, they will spend it in riotous living or in the beer parlour or in the picture show or somewhere else." I remember that argument very well in my young days, when I often heard it said that if hours of labour were reduced and wages increased the working class of Great Britain, where I was born, would spend their time idly or dissipate their wages. We know perfectly well that has not happened. As a matter of fact, the general level of culture and education has increased with the improved standards of living and reduction in hours of labour. The time when the working class, if I may use that term, were at their lowest ebb, most depressed, when perhaps liquor was most misused, at least in the country where I was born, was the time when it provided

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):

And no social insurance.

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

Thomas Miller Bell

Mr. COLD WELL:

No social insurance.' That was the time when, to a person after a hard day of grinding work, going back to slum conditions, liquor provided some relief.

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):

Before 1906, when the Liberal party came into power.

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

Major James William Coldwell

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

Mr. COLDWELL:

I will give the Liberal party in 1906 all the credit I can give it for social security legislation, but let us not forget that it was very largely because of the activities of the people who subsequently formed the Labour party; and if the Liberal party had been truly progressive, no Labour party would have arisen in Great Britain. Nor should I forget that after all, prior to 1906, if I may be perfectly fair about it, there were British Tories too who thought much of the evil conditions around the mines. Do not forget the Earl of Shaftesbury and some of those people-

Topic:   FAMILY ALLOWANCES
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LIB

Ian Alistair Mackenzie (Minister of Pensions and National Health)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE (Vancouver Centre):

Were you one?

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CCF

Major James William Coldwell

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

Mr. COLDWELL:

No. I was not even born when the Earl of Shaftesbury lived, so

Family Allmoances

that I cannot be counted among those who supported the splendid measures they introduced.

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

Paul Joseph James Martin (Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. MARTIN:

But surely the hon. member was never a Tory?

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

Major James William Coldwell

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

Mr. COLDWELL:

I could not help where I was born. I did not choose the home into which I was born; but when I grew up my eyes were opened, and may I say to the hon. gentlemen that they were so widely opened that I am not a member of the Liberal party. We may as well be clear about it. These are my main thoughts regarding the measure, but as I sit down I should like to summarize.

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:

You would be farther away from the Tory party if you were a Liberal than you are as a socialist.

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CCF

Major James William Coldwell

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

Mr. COLDWELL:

Is that the hon. gentleman's opinion? Well, I have just come from the province of Alberta where Liberals and Tories alike are combining with their natural enemies-they were natural enemies a few years ago-the Social Credit party, in order to fight the movement which I have the honour to represent in this house. May I say also to the hon. gentleman that there are no Liberals and no Tories in the province of Alberta and have not been for a long time. They call themselves Independents, whatever that may mean. They were able to get together because there was no fundamental difference between them, at least in Alberta.

I wish to close my remarks by saying that we welcome this measure and we trust that it will not be used either to depress the prices of agricultural products, the floor under commodities, or to depress wages. I should like to see comprehensive social security measures brought into this house placing a floor under wages high enough to provide an adequate living; a floor under farm prices that would give a proper return to the producer, and then measures of this description would be much more worth while than they are likely to be.

Hon. L. S. ST. LAURENT (Minister of Justice) : I trust that on reconsideration the country at large will take the view of this measure that this house has taken of your decision, Mr. Speaker. It is an epochal proposal. It is not one which I submit to you, Mr. Speaker, can be met with gibes of its being introduced in the dying hours of a dying parliament and so forth, and that it comes from a dying government. Nor can it be met elsewhere by treating it as a type of diaper dole or baby bonus. It is really an epochal proposal for the betterment of conditions in this country. I do not think it can be disposed of either on the ground that there

is no power in this Canadian parliament to enact the legislation the bill provides for. The matter of the constitutional jurisdiction of parliament and the provinces has fortunately for some, fortunately for a great many of my profession, given rise to many references before the courts and many interesting trips to Ottawa and to other places; but there has been some degree of finality reached in the extent to which courts have declared restrictions resulting from the terms of the British North America Act on the powers of the Canadian parliament. The decision which deals with matters of this kind is that which was rendered by the supreme court and confirmed by His Majesty on the advice of his privy council on the Employment and Social Insurance Act in 1936-37. It is quite true that the enactment in question in that case was declared to be beyond the powers of parliament, but the principles which were discussed and which were affirmed both by the supreme court and by the privy council are express recognition of the power in parliament to do the kind of thing that is proposed in this bill.

Hon. members will recollect that there was a division of opinion in the supreme court. The Chief Justice of Canada and the late lamented Mr. Justice Davis held that the legislation was within the powers of parliament and that it was in its true character taxation and disposal of property acquired by His Majesty in the right of the dominion through taxation. The majority in the supreme court held that that was not the true character of the legislation; that in pith and substance the legislation did not have to do with the raising of a fund by means of taxation and the disposal of that fund bht that it did have to do with contractual rights between employers and employees. Mr. Justice Rinfret, as he was then, one of the puisne judges of the supreme court who wrote the leading judgment said:

_ One of the effects of the act under submission is, in the language of Lord Haldane, in workmen's compensation board v. C.P.R. (1) "to attach statutory terms to contracts of employment," and to impose contractual duties as between employers and employees. In its immediate result,- the act creates civil rights as between the former and the latter.

Because it was an act to affect civil rights as between employers and employees in its true effect and purport it was declared to be beyond the rights of parliament and an infringement of the exclusive legislative jurisdiction of the provinces under subsection 13 of section 92 of the act to deal with property and civil rights. But as would naturally be supposed in discussing the question their lord-

Family Allowances

ships, both in the supreme court and in the privy council, had to consider what parliament could do and could validly do in legislation having not the same direct purpose but somewhat the same large social objective, and both in the supreme court and in the privy council there was unanimity of opinion that parliament could dispose of the property under its control by way of gifts, and even attach conditions to such gifts, provided that it was not a device for indirectly entering upon a field exclusively reserved to the provinces.

The judgment of the Chief Justice of Canada and of Mr. Justice Davis, of course, went very far in that direction; and the language used by the Chief Justice of Canada, and with that part, that provided it had been legislation of that character, no complaint could have been found by anyone, seems very appropriate. It is found in the reports of the supreme court of 1936 at page 431 and is as follows:

The exclusive legislative authority of parliament extends inter alia to the subject "The public . . . property." It cannot be doubted, we it'hink, that "property" here is used in its broadest sense, and includes every kind of asset. This legislative authority is exercisable "notwithstanding anything in this act."

Because the words "notwithstanding anything in this act" govern the whole enumeration of the federal powers.

There is always, of course, the qualification, and everything hereinafter said is subject to that qualification, that parliament is incapable of acquiring jurisdiction over matters within the exclusive competence of the provinces by legislating upon those matters under the pretence of exercising a power which does not embrace within its ambit the real subject matter of the legislation. Subject to that qualification, we know of no authority by which His Majesty's courts have jurisdiction to examine, with a view to pronouncing upon its validity, legislation by parliament in relation to the disposition of the assets committed to its control by section 91, British North America Act.

Parliament has authority to make grants out of the public moneys to individual inhabitants of any of the provinces, for example, for relief of distress, for reward of merit, or for any other object which parliament in its wisdom may deem to be a desirable one. The propriety of such grants, the wisdom of such grants, the convenience or inconvenience of the practice of making such grants, are considerations for parliament alone, and have no relevancy in any discussion before any court concerning the competence of parliament to authorize them.

With that Mr. Justice Rinfret, writing the leading judgment, of course concurred. He accepted that principle, but in distinguishing between the statute before him and what he would have considered a proper application of the same, he said:

Be that as it may under all circumstances, the benefits conferred on the employees by the act are not gifts with conditions attached, which the employers are free to accept or not.

And for that reason, because they were not gifts made under the authority of parliament with conditions attached but were something else, he held that the Employment and Social Insurance Act was invalid, concluding his judgment with these words:

For these reasons, and also for the reasons given by my brother Kerwin, with whom I entirely concur, I have come to the conclusion that the Employment and Social Insurance Act . . . is wholly ultra vires of the parliament of Canada.

Mr. Justice Kerwin, with whom Mr. Justice Rinfret and the other members of the court conferred, had this to say at page 457: *

As to the latter point, it is evident that the dominion may grant sums of money to individuals or organizations and that the gift may be accompanied by such restrictions and conditions as parliament may see fit to enact. It would then be open to the proposed recipient to decline the gift or to accept it subject to such conditions.

This case was appealed to His Majesty in his privy council and came before a very learned committee composed of Lord Atkin, Lord Thankerton, Lord Macmillan, Lord Wright and Sir Sidney Rowlatt. The conclusion of the judgment rendered by the privy council was:

lit follows that the whole act must be pronounced ultra vires, and in accordance with the view of the majority of the supreme court their lordships will humbly advise His Majesty that this appeal be dismissed.

Speaking expressly of the right to impose taxes and to dispose of the fund so raised, Lord Atkin said:

That the dominion may impose taxation for the purpose of creating a fund for special purposes and may apply that fund for making contributions in the public interest to individuals, corporations or public authorities could not as a general proposition be denied.

But he went on to say:

But assuming that the dominion has collected by means of taxation a fund, it by no means follows that any legislation which disposes of it is necessarily within dominion competence.

If the legislation which disposes of the fund is in reality legislation regulating matters which are within provincial control, then the object of the legislation is not to raise a fund and dispose of it but to impinge upon the exclusive legislative jurisdiction of the province. That is the last word we have had from the courts as to the proper construction of this distribution of powers as between the federal parliament and the provincial legislatures.

Family Allowances

I am not for the moment discussing all the details of this bill, but in principle G' is a bill to allocate to every child maintained by a parent, up to the age of sixteen years, a certain monthly benefit, the only condition attached being that the person to whom the money is paid shall apply it for the maintenance and better upbringing of that child. There is nothing else whatever; no obligation of any kind is imposed. The bill is not drawn in such a way that if it were shown that a person had received the allocation and misapplied it, he would commit an offence. Offences are set out in the act, but that is not one of them. No obligation is imposed upon anyone; no contractual right is interfered with; no family right is affected. This is merely'a declaration by the Canadian government, authorized by the Canadian parliament, that the Canadian people wish to contribute so much a month for the upkeep of each child, provided that the money be used for that purpose. That is all there is in the legislation, and nothing can be found in any of the decisions to support the charge so lightly or so vigorously, according to the individual point of view, made this afternoon that this legislation is unconstitutional.^

At six o'clock the house took recess.

After Recess

The house resumed at eight o'clock.

Mr. ST. LAURENT: Mr. Speaker, when the house took recess at six o'clock I was endeavouring to construe certain passages from the decisions of the courts with respect to social legislation and had, I believe, shown that under those decisions there was nothing to prevent the dominion parliament from authorizing gifts, and even attaching conditions to them, unless they were a device to invade provincial jurisdiction, and that this did not invade provincial jurisdiction in respect of property and civil rights. There are, of course, other subsections of section 92. One is subsection 16, which reads:

Generally all matters of a merely local or private nature in the province.

The granting by federal authority of an allowance in respect of children under sixteen years of age is certainly not something which is within provincial jurisdiction as being a matter of local or private nature within the province. Subsection 7 of section 92 reads:

The establishment, maintenance, and management of hospitals, asylums, charities, and eleemosynary institutions in and for the province, other than marine hospitals.

Those are institutions within provincial jurisdiction. Is there anythng within this bill which can be classed as the establishment, maintenance and management of hospitals, asylums, charities and eleemosynary institutions in and for the province? I respectfully submit that there is not and that, there can be no doubt about that.

It is well known to all lawyers who have had anything to do with the interpretation of the constitutional act that one of the cardinal rules for the interpretation of that act is to attach to the words used in it the meaning which those words had at the time it was enacted. That rule was first asserted in connection with the distinction between direct and indirect taxes. It is well known to all lawyers that for the purpose of determining what was meant by the legislators as direct or indirect taxation one should not refer to the theories of present-day economists; one should take the meaning that was attached to that language in what was then the classical book on political economy, the one by Adam Smith. It is his definition of what was regarded as the distinction between direct and indirect taxation at the time the confederation act was enacted that has prevailed and has been declared to be the governing rule for that distinction in all cases that have come before the courts.

Therefore, for the purpose of construing subsection 7 of section 92 we have to refer to what were known then as hospitals, asylums, charities, and eleemosynary institutions. Will any one contend that in 1867 there was anywhere in the world a provision known as a charity which involved the payment by the state of an allowance for the maintenance of children or for the better maintenance of the children of the nation? It is a new concept that because the state controls the general economy of the nation it may have some moral obligation to relieve particular hardships which the system it maintains may impose upon some individuals. That was something that was not and could not be contemplated at the time the British North America Act was enacted.

I submit that not only is there a constitutional right to do the thing proposed by this legislation, there is some moral obligation to do so on the authority that maintains the system of the national economy. The economic system which this parliament maintains for the Canadian nation depends upon the exercise by it of many controls which are within its jurisdiction. It is this parliament that determines what shall be the monetary policy of the country. It is this parliament that determines what shall be the tariff policy

Family Allowances

of the country. It is this parliament that institutes and fosters and maintains a system of economy which to a very large measure depends upon wide participation in foreign trade. Those are the major factors which have to do with the productivity and the distribution of the wealth of the Canadian people. This parliament in doing so constantly endeavours to foster and maintain that which will be in the interests of the majority of the Canadian people.

It so happens that under that system, because of the manner in which it has developed, because of the manner in which it exists, the ordinary labourer cannot receive wages sufficient to provide himself and a family of several children with what is required for their well-being. There has been a suggestion that this will have some effect on the scale of wages. I submit that it cannot have any effect on the scale of wages. Our system, which is one of competition with the world at large, puts some limits upon the scale of wages that can be paid in the production of the things we want to sell on the markets of the world. There are greater burdens and greater responsibilities placed upon the workman who has a family of several children to provide for than upon a single man, or upon a man who has only himself and a wife to provide for, or perhaps even upon a man who has only himself, a wife and one child to provide for.

It is not practicable to have a scale of wages measured by the needs or responsibilities of those who receive the wages. The wage received by those who perform the same amount of labour and who contribute the same amount of production must necessarily be the same. In order to have a wage which would be sufficient for the man with a family of eight or ten children to provide for, that wage would have to be uniform throughout the nation. The figures given this afternoon by the Prime Minister show that a very large majority of the workers have not the family obligations of the persons with large families.

In order to take care of the exceptional cases it would mean that there would have to be a general rise in the wage level for all those for whom the need may not really exist. That would very soon put the employer in a situation where he could not continue to be an employer. It would not be possible to market in the world at large our Canadian products if the wages that had to be paid to every Canadian worker were sufficient to enable a man with a family of eight or nine children to provide for all of them.

If this is an economic necessity which is conducive to the well-being of the nation at large we must recognize the situation of those

upon whom it bears so harshly as to put them in a position where they are unable to secure the share of the recurrent wealth that is necessary for their proper maintenance and upbringing. I submit, therefore, that there is a moral obligation, when a measure is devised in the interests of the majority, not to allow it to. bear too harshly on individuals without giving some consideration to alleviating the harshness with which it bears upon those individuals. I submit that that constitutes an answer to those whom we have heard say that they do not mind in a general way to have to pay taxes but that they do object to being taxed to help raise the children of their neighbours. That is not the correct view to take of the situation, because their ability to pay taxation is dependent upon the system which creates the necessity for some alleviation to those who are most harshly hit by it.

Leaving aside for the moment the constitutional aspect, may I refer to one or two other suggestions that have been made. One was that the amounts provided by parliament might be turned over to the province for distribution by the province. I submit that that is absolutely contrary to the principle of ministerial resonsibility.

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

Richard Burpee Hanson

National Government

Mr. HANSON (York-Sunbury):

We are doing it now.

Mr. ST. LAURENT: We are doing it now, and I do not think it is a good policy to follow. I think every hon. member representing a constituency in this parliament i.s entitled to ask me when I come before the committee of the whole, asking for an appropriation: What did you do with the amount that was placed at your disposal last year? And I do not think it is a sufficient answer for me to say: I turned it over to Mr. Drew or to Mr. Godbout or to whoever may succeed Mr. Godbout, if he does not succeed himself, and you will have to ask him. That, I submit, is not a proper fulfilling of the obligation of responsibility to the representatives of the people who authorize the taxation and who in turn have the responsibility of seeing how the proceeds of that taxation are expended.

There has also been the suggestion: Why in establishing allowances for childern do you not follow the proposal contained in the Beveridge report, for instance, and ignore the first child, perhaps ignore the first and the second child in giving the allowance? But if hon. members will look at the report from the dominion bureau of statistics on the eighth Canadian census, that of 1941, document No. 5 entitled, "Households, Occupations and Earnings," they will find there that the total number of Canadian families at the date of the census was

Family Allowances

2,486,920, of which 782,000 were without children, leaving 1,704,920 families with children, and of those, 1,015,990 were families of one or two children. That is to say, almost sixty per cent of all the families were families of one or two children. The purpose of this bill is to bring about some nearer approach to equality of opportunity for the children of the nation. The children of those families comprised in the 1.015,990 families where the income is sufficient to be subject to taxation do get and have always had a concession in the matter of taxation although there be only one or two in each family. Would it be fair in enacting this legislation to say: Oh, that is a very good rule for those whose income is sufficient to subject them to taxation, but for those whose income is not sufficient to bring them into the taxable class one or two children must be ignored. I suggest that the answer to that is self-evident.

In my own province of Quebec, of 443,000 families with children, 215.050 were families of one or two children. That does not mean that there are 215050 families in Quebec who are going to be content with one or two children; but this measure will operate from year to year, and every family starts out, unless it is in Callander, Ontario, with one or two children. That fact, and the permanent feature of this legislation constitute an answer, perhaps not a complete answer, to the unfairness of the scale whereby the allowance for more than the fourth child is reduced for the fifth, or sixth or seventh or eighth child, or any number after eight. That would be a very serious objection if this measure were providing for a one-time bonus to be paid once only and not to be repeated. But this measure will deal with the situation as it exists from year to year, even from month to month; every family will, during a certain period, no matter how many there are ultimately in the family, be for a certain period a family of not more than four children, and it will end by being a family of not more than four children under sixteen years of age. The difference between that kind of family and the family of eight or ten children or even more is that the period during which the allowance will be paid will be a very much longer period in the case of the latter. For all those families there will be a certain period during which the full allowances will 'be paid, at the beginning of (the family's growth, and at the end of the family's growth. In the meantime, while there are more than eight or more than four under sixteen years of age, is it or is it not a fact that we must recognize, at least those of us who come from modest homes, that there is not an increase in expenditure mathemat-

ically proportionate to the number of children? For instance, a man who has four children does not get a new house because a fifth child comes along, or because a sixth child comes along.

There does come a time when there has to be more room in the house; but in our economy housing is one of the most important elements in the cost of living, and one of the best economic reasons for the enactment of this measure is the fact that it will make it possible for persons to have, even if they are in the same earning class, a total revenue proportionate to the number of persons they have to house. The man with a family of five or six children will have an increase in the total monthly amount he receives and can devote to the upkeep of his family which will be larger than the total amount that the man with no children will get.

I do not believe that it is possible under the prevailing scales of wages in this country for a man in a city like the one I know best, the city of Quebec, to provide himself with a home and pay a rent which will cover the taxes on that home, interest and amortization on its cost, insurance and whatever maintenance there has to be. All that added together would run up to, at the very least, eleven or twelve per cent, and the cost of a fit housing unit in the city of Quebec fit for a family of man and wife and five or six children would not be less than $5,000. Now you cannot have a scale of wages which will enable a man getting the so-called labourer's wage to pay an economic rent on a property of $5,000. Plans have been suggested for federal housing schemes which would provide homes for those unable to pay an economic rent for them. That would involve the choosing of those who are going to occupy them, and under our system I would deplore the setting up of any bureau that could pick and choose and say to you, "You will get this kind of house for $15 or $18," and to you, "You will not get it for less than $22 or $24." If there is to be any general scheme whereby the condition of those in the low income brackets is alleviated, it must be a scheme whereby the rule cannot be disputed or made subject to anybody's favouritism; it must be a rule which anyone can recognize, which is not subject to any variation according to the more or less sympathetic appeal that this or that person may have to the administration or to those in charge of dispensing benefits from the public treasury.

It has been suggested that provision should have been made in the budget for this scheme. I am under the impression that everything which will not have been expended by March 31, 1945, although included in this budget will

Family Allowances

lapse, that the sums voted by this parliament and unexpended by that time will lapse. This bill provides that it shall come into force on July 1, 1945, so that there was no occasion for anything to appear in the budget to defray the cost of carrying out the provisions of the measure.

The Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) gave at the resolution stage the reasons why the date of July 1, 1945, had been selected in- , stead of an earlier date. One of them was the time required to set up a system which will be workable and will provide for a fair and complete distribution of the allowances covered by the bill; the other was that between now and July 1, 1945, there will be a general election and it might not be considered proper to be distributing cheques on the eve of a general election.

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

Richard Burpee Hanson

National Government

Mr. HANSON (York-Sunbury):

Well, you are distributing promises now. I do not see much difference in the ethics of the matter.

Mr. ST. LAURENT: This is not a promise. As my colleague suggests, it is sought by this side of the house to make it a permanent law in the statutes of Canada.

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

Richard Burpee Hanson

National Government

Mr. HANSON (York-Sunbury):

You are

just on the eve of an election.

_- Mr. ST. LAURENT: There is another

reason. At the present time the whole Canadian people are operating under a system of ceilings which requires it to be said to each and everyone of us that during the war period, although it may be tough going, we have to put up with it and there cannot be any relief. That is another reason and, I think, a valid one. We have justification for the hope that this situation will not continue indefinitely, and that by July 1, 1945, it will be possible to alleviate to a certain degree the hardships under which we all have! been suffering, and which we have gladly accepted because of the purpose for which we have had to endure them. But when we begin to alleviate, that alleviation should be in the low income brackets; they are the ones which should get the first relief, and I am confident that that relief will prove substantial.

Have hon. members stopped to think what difference it will make in a household with seven or eight children to receive a monthly additional cheque of $40 or $50? Everything must be viewed in its proper proportion. For the man with an income of a thousand or twelve hundred dollars, an addition of four or five hundred dollars, or of five or six hundred dollars is substantial and enables that family to provide itself with many things which would be unavailable otherwise.

The last point to which I wish to refer is the suggestion that this should not be limited by the maximum age of sixteeen. These are matters of detail. What we are considering at the present time is the broad principle of whether or not the Canadian nation through the Canadian parliament should recognize a moral responsibility to come to the aid' of those who are in a situation which is not of their own making-a provision which is neces-' sary for the continuance of the Canadian economy as it exists and as this parliament wishes to maintain and foster it. On that principle, Mr. Speaker, I submit we should all be agreed.

Mrs. CORA T. CASSELMAN (Edmonton East): Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) gave us this afternoon a comprehensive statement of the principles underlying this bill to provide for family allowances. I am thoroughly in favour of these principles as he has stated them and absolutely in favour of this measure as it has come*before the house. I hope that the house will, see fit to give it their favourable reception and make it one of the pillars of income security in this country.

Speakers this afternoon stated that there had not been much discussion of this matter.

I want to put before you this evening an indication of some of the discussion which there has been during the last number of years. True it was not until the depression that a great deal of thought was given to the matter. Those depression years shocked us by showing how large a proportion of our population was under a good level of subsistence for the individual. That was true not only in Canada but in Great Britain and the United1 States.

Following that depression, various surveys were made-by Beveridge, by Marsh, by the national planning board. Practically every democratic country has been turning its mind still more to the question of income security of right for individuals, and that is one reason why this measure is coming in now, and not twenty-five years ago.

It must be remembered that our income level of 1926 to 1929 was about the highest we ever had. It was not until later that we saw how much need there was for some such measure as this. But the thought goes back a good many years. The Prime Minister has ' referred to his book, "Industry and Humanity."

I will refer later to a book by Miss Eleanor Rathbone, published years ago. The thought among many people who have been considering this matter is not of recent date; it goes back twenty-five years. But if there is opposi-

Family Allowances

tion now, what would the opposition have been twenty-five years ago to the introduction of a measure like this? We have found out that, no matter how industrious and hardworking a man may be, there are occasions when his income does not cover all his expenses. He needs assistance by right. One of those occasions is the time when his family is large and when he receives a wage that is measured by "his skill in producing goods and not by the number of his family. It was not Cooperative Commonwealth Federation pressure that brought about that change in thinking. It is thinking that has been going on throughout different countries with regard to social security everywhere, through all parties.

The leader of the C.C.F. party (Mr. Cold-well)i,mentioned the boys who came to our doors for meals in the days of the depression. He might have mentioned us who prepared those meals and brought the boys into our houses,? gave them meals and were glad to do so, even though sometimes we were afraid for our lives of the men we brought in to feed. But wff brought them in and fed them, and many of us went into our savings, life insurance built up through the years for our children's education, to give help to them in those depression years. When we think of the men fighting now and remember the boys who came to our doors, we can think of sons who were deprived perhaps of some advantage because people saw the need of helping those boys and gave that help. I believe that we all participated in the help that was given them, and I do not think there is any party or class that is justified in saying that it alone suffered during the depression years. But that has turned our minds to social measures such as this. I differ from those who always find fault with the Canadian standard of living. It has increased in the last number of years, and in this connection I would quote the authority of people who have thought through these matters. I wish to quote a sentence or two from page 166 of Sir William Beveridge's report:

The real wages of labour, what the wage-earner could buy with his earnings, just before the present war, were in genera] about one-third higher than in 1900 for an hour less of work each day. What the wage-earner could buy, when earning had been interrupted by sickness, accident or unemployment or had been ended by old age. had increased in even larger proportion, though still inadequately by development of social insurance and allied services.

He goes on to deal with this question of how, when the wage-earner's income has been lessened, help can be given through state measures-help by right and not by charity, although charity has its place and still stands

as one of the greatest virtues. I He^,supports everything that he says with facts and figures and I am giving the references. I will not quote at any length because hon. members can find these passages for themselves, but at page 154 he says:

Social surveys of Britain between the two wars show that in the first thirty years of this century real wages rose by about one-third without reducing want to insignificance, and that the want which remained was almost wholly due to two causes, interruption or loss of. earning power, and large families. Jt

That is the point with which we are now dealing. That is the main disability which we are trying to remove to a certain degree through these family allowances. There is no reason why the measure may not be changed later. There is no reason why the level that is given now may not be increased later on if that is found necessary. There is no reason why any province may not add to this if that province finds its standard of living such that it needs to add more to it. One cannot get away from the fact that the same wages cannot be made to cover the needs of a small family and a large one. Industry has never claimed that. Before such measures as these were introduced, back about 1926, if I remember correctly, Australia made a study of what they called the average family and the wages necessary to support that average family of five; but they found that not very many people came within that category, that assistance would be given where it was not needed, that money would not be spent to good advantage, so that that idea was not put into force.

The need is there, of course, and I could talk for hours on what ought to be done for children. I could discuss the obvious fact that children are our most precious possessions both individually and collectively, taking the nation as a whole. If I wanted to speak along that tenor there would be no end to what I could say, but I think the great majority of hon. members, in fact I am sure that all hon. members in this house, quite agree with all that. We are all in favour of doing the best we can for our children. Let us extend that beyond the children of our own families, beyond, if necessary, the children of our own province, to where the need is greatest and to where those children with their undernourishment, with their needs for education and for help, should have assistance by right from the state. It seems to me that it is fundamental to keep the welfare of the family always before us. It is in our tradition that the family welfare lies at the root of our civilization, and this is a measure for the

Family Allowances

preservation of that idea. I should like to refer now to a passage from Doctor Marsh's book at page 87: [DOT]

Children's allowances are a clear part of a policy of a national minimum of the direct attack on poverty, where it is bound up with the strain imposed by a large family on a small income.

And this is from Beveridge's report at page 120, where he discusses thiee assumptions:

No satisfactory scheme of social security can be devised except on the following assumptions: (a) children's allowances for children up to the age of 15 or, if in full-time education, up to the age of 16.

He puts that first. I will not go on with the others because hon. members can find the reference for themselves. Again, I quote from Miss Elizabeth Wallace, executive secretary of the Canadian Association of Social Workers. This was written on July 8 of this year:

The Canadian Association of Social Workers, a professional organization representing some 800 social workers across Canada, in a recent submission to the dominion advisory committee on social security warmly commended the proposed introduction of family allowances.

You will find a section also in the report made by the women's committee, the subcommittee that sat under Doctor James' committee last year, a committee composed of women who were in business and professional life, comprising married women in their homes, women with and without children. They gave their sanction to a measure of children's allowances. I will not read that reference; later on I shall refer to something they said. This measure does not proclaim a cure-all for all our economic maladies and maladjustments. It is only one more piece in the picture which we are gradually putting together: old age pensions, unemployment insurance, soldier reestablishment, housing, floor under farm prices, floor under fish prices; physical fitness and other health measures we have discussed. There is your picture being built up bit by bit and you cannot do it altogether. It is often a question of which should come first, and the old argument is used about not starting in until you have the whole thing ready. I do not know anyone who progresses in that way in his own individual economy. He does a bit here and a bit there in order to cover his whole way of life.

This measure gives help at exactly the right point to those who are below the present income tax level or just above it. It is supplementary and complementary to wages. It should not raise the price of goods. Time after time the workers have found that, when their wages have gone up, the increase does not cover the goods they wanted to buy

because the price of goods has gone up with the increase in the wage-earners' salary. The real wages of labour have not risen as high as the apparent rise. This measure, being divorced from the wage rate, will give the spending power for goods that an increase in the wage rate itself might not give; and I wish to point out right here that minimum wage rates come under provincial administration. They are not under federal administration. We cannot touch that except indirectly. The provinces have that under their control and most of them are dealing with it. I think it will be found in the future that still more attention will be given to the minimum wage rates in the provinces throughout Canada.

We found in the depression years that there were many who needed help, that some who needed help most were too proud, had too much self-respect, were too sensitive to go to the authorities to ask for it. I regret that because among those people were some of our very best citizens, some of the most industrious and hard-working, the very salt of the earth. But they did not go for help because they were not prepared to take what they considered charity. I think their attitude was wrong, but still it was there.

The national resources planning board mentions that in its report, and from that we would draw the conclusion that people should have this as a right. When they are doing all they can to help themselves they should not have to plead for help. I should like to read a portion from the national resources planning board report where it mentions those who needed help and would not come for it. It will be found at page 155. The paragraph preceding the one which I am reading is interesting too, but time is limited:

These facts can be expressed in another way: In urban communities twenty-one per cent of all persons, and over twenty-five per cent of all children under sixteen years of age were in "non-relief" families (of two or more) that had incomes too low to provide an emergency level of living.

Those non-relief families were families that would not come for help and should have had it.

This was true even though nineteen per cent of all persons and almost twenty-seven per cent of all children were in families that received some relief in 1935. It should be noted, moreover, that these measures may well overstate the extent to which public aid is available to families whose incomes are insufficient to purchase the emergency budget. For a family was counted as being in receipt of relief if at any time during the year it had received public aid regardless of the duration of the receipt of relief.

Family Allowances

I should like the house to note that sometimes these figures have to be explained. A person in receipt of relief even for a short time was put in that category for that year. When you hear talk about the poor conditions remember that sometimes there is an explanation for high figures.. The quotation I have just given bears out my contention that there are many who should have had assistance but who did' not claim it for fear they might forfeit their own self-respect. Therefore, I like this aspect of the present measure. The allowance is to be given for all children, rich or poor. There is no means test. No school child with the cruelty of the young will have any good reason for sneering at another child whose father is in receipt of this allowance. It is his by right, being the father of a family. He has a status which the state recognizes by the contribution he makes to that state in the raising of his family. That feature deserves widespread commendation because it eliminates the cost of administering any means test. The loss of exemption on income tax will work almost automatically in some cases. I think that is a very good feature of it.

The rates are somewhat more than in Australia and New Zealand. Australia does not give an allowance for the first child and New Zealand has a means test. This is not a full subsistence. That has been pointed out. We have never thought that it should be a full subsistence, rather the contrary. There are privileges of a home, privileges of having children that the individual is quite willing to pay for. He will have extra here, but the basic responsibility will rest on the individual and I think they are privileges that he will be very glad to shoulder. I know the women will.

The allowances are free of income tax. That means that employers do not have to figure out new rates of deduction from wages, and that is good. Will this be an inflationary measure? We are accused of that. We do not want to increase spending during the war period. Both Australia and New Zealand have extended their family allowances. The Irish Free State adopted it only in February of this year, not the measure we have here but a somewhat similar measure. Why should not a low income group family have a chance to lay up some savings for the post-war period, especially when there are children whose future has to be planned? I deplore the suspicion that has been cast on the poor that they will not save it for the proper purpose. Increased income should go into savings now for the duration of the war. Many a mother has said to me, "I would like to buy more victory bonds.

My oldest boy is over there, but I cannot afford any more for them now." Mothers know where to put the money that is earmarked for the children. If the war is still in progress and civilian goods are not on the market, many and many a parent will put a good bit of this money into savings accounts against the day when money may be spent without the danger of causing inflation. Perhaps it will build up a fund for education. But when it can be spent the great bulk of it will go into the things that must be bought over and over again in a large family-food, clothing, fuel and things of that kind that disappear rapidly because people need them.

It has been pointed out that it means a market within the country for farmers and for industry, and that means employment. We want to forestall any recurrence of any depression. We want to ward it off before it occurs, and this is a factor toward that. We must never allow the ball to get rolling toward a depression again. I think this is the best means of its kind. Far better than building additional public works, for example, which are non-productive, is to build citizens. To build citizens may even be better than to build rural electrification systems. We need them too, of course. We need them for full employment which is the chief factor; but we are looking for that in other ways, full employment through a floor on farm prices and things that have been brought in and discussed here. But those things of themselves do not solve the problem of the large family.

The bill, as was pointed out by the Minister of Justice (Mr. St. Laurent) is within the competence and jurisdiction of the federal parliament. It is not necessary when making non-contributory grants, to carry on long discussions with representatives of provincial authorities. I beieve that has been the trouble in connection with our comprehensive health bill, which has been before the social security committee for two years. It requires discussions between federal and provincial authorities. Already we have laid the foundation for a far-reaching measure in that connection, which I hope to see carried further along in the near future.

The provinces have, of course, helped in matters of social security within their sphere of administration, and several of them are making a good job of it. Especially has that been so in recent years, since the realization of the importance of these measures has been brought home to the people through the events that have occurred. This family allowance is to go directly from the federal treasury to the individual. It need not wait until all or substantially all of the provinces have

-JULY 25, 1944

Family Allowances

given their assent, as the Minister of Finance (Mr. Ilsley) said had to be the case in connection with increases in old age pensions. The health bill will come, but this measure will be of more immediate assistance, even though it is not to come into force until July 1, 1945. I do not think we have the trained personnel to put it into force sooner. Hon. members should have heard Doctor Davidson speak of the woeful lack of trained personnel for the administration of services at the present time. We have seven schools training social service workers; I should like to see the government give larger grants to those schools. I should not be at all surprised if such action should follow the step we are taking here. We need trained personnel to administer these services. We need the men back from the front also, to help carry a measure of this kind. We may have them here by July 1, 1945; I pray to God we do.

Some people say that we should provide these services rather than the cash allowances, but many of them have to do with matters entirely within provincial jurisdiction. Health and education, for instance, and even low cost housing may be dealt with by the provincial or municipal authorities. Some of the provinces are looking after the matter of housing at the present time, and the federal government is ready to extend the operations of the National Housing Act. Hon. members may read the speech of the Minister of Finance on May 11 for details in this connection. We need greatly increased educational facilities. Last year Ontario provided a large number of scholarships, which was all to the good. They will help to provide for children over sixteen who show ability and the desire to go ahead with their education. Alberta also has done excellent work in extending and equipping her schools. That is the present trend. It has not been forced upon us by opposition parties; the need has been brought to our attention by the events of the last few years and by thinking people who have been looking forward, as has our Prime Minister. Voluntary associations are increasing in efficiency, but they need more and more money. Perhaps they will get a little of this money to help carry on their excellent work. They give & real service to the community, and fill a very great need.

Some people say that cash benefits will not meet the needs. They will, to some extent at least, even if we do not have the services organized for people to buy with that money. Take the dietary surveys made by the Canadian council on nutrition. Doctor Pett, who heads the nutrition branch of the Department of Pensions and National Health, in association with Doctor George Hunter made one of these surveys in my own city of Edmonton back in the fall of 1939, and his conclusions will be found at page 34 of "Canadian Studies in Nutrition". They made similar studies in Toronto, Halifax and Quebec, and found that Toronto children needed better nutrition, just as much as the children of Quebec needed it. Here is a summary of his conclusions following the Edmonton survey:

' ^An analysis of our data by Professor Andrew Stewart, of the department of economics, shows the effect of income in the following way. Two groups were chosen: firstly, a group with

incomes per person up to $250 a year, and secondly, a group with incomes of $251-$500 a year. These we shall refer to as the "low" and "high" income groups.

Calories: The low income group showed 60

per cent deficient; the high income group 48 per cent deficient.

Protein: The low income group showed 64 per cent deficient; the high income group 48 per cent deficient.

Fat: The low income group showed 57 per cent deficient; the high income group 30 per cent deficient.

Calcium: The low income group showed 70

per cent deficient; the high income group 50 per cent deficient.

Iron: The low income group showed 71 per cent deficient; the high income group 60 per cent deficient.

It has been shown that an increase in income will mean an increase in nutrition and in all those things the children need. In this report it is also stated that forty per cent of the people studied were adequately fed; forty per cent got about three-quarter of what they needed, while nearly twenty per cent got little more than half what they needed. Food is not fairly distributed in the family. The worst fed member is the mother; the best fed is the father, the wage-earner. Of the children, except for vitamin C, the worst fed is the teen age youngster who, few people realize, needs more food than the average adult. The report goes on.

Our results indicate that diet tends to improve automatically with increase of income.

And it is increase of income that we are talking about here. They also state that the three chief reasons for deficiency are, first, lack of money; second, lack of knowledge of what to buy, third, indifference as to whether or not the diet is sufficient. Running all through the findings of our social security committee was the thread of the disaster, the malnutrition or whatever you like to call it, caused by lack of income. More than once Doctor Heagerty mentioned that fact. He spoke of blindness, for instance, in New Brunswick and Quebec, saying that for a long time blindness was not connected with malnutrition but

Family Allowances

that surveys indicated that it had a direct ratio to the low income group, a direct ratio to poverty. We were told also that the rate of infant mortality is higher in the low income groups than in the higher income groups. So that it comes back to the lack of money, which we are now trying to remedy.

We should extend these services, of course, but I believe that providing this money will give more immediate relief along this line. I would call this direct evidence that income does make a difference in health and nutrition standards. There should be a tremendous improvement even during the time that would be required to organize the services upon which some people are putting so much emphasis. If we intend to raise the standard of living throughout the country, as we say we do, by the introduction of this measure, we must begin with something that will bring immediate results. I contend that in these quotations from recognized authorities in their fields I have brought proof that the family income does make a difference in connection with general deficiency. It means not only physical improvement, for mental improvement follows physical betterment. I taught school, and I know, as many hon. members know, how difficult it is to teach children who are undernourished. There is also a great difference in morals. An improvement in the physical wellbeing of children brings an improvement mentally and morally as well, as every mother knows.

In the first formative years of a child's life foundations are laid for a great many things. The size of the child, his health, his instinctive reactions, his enterprise, his ambitions- all have their beginning during the first few years of his life, and those are years that cannot be repeated.

It is in the pre-school life of a child that he frequently needs help of this kind. Free school lunches would not touch the pre-school child; he would not come under those benefits. I think these other services will follow because the public conscience has been awakened. The provincial and municipal authorities have their responsibilities as long as they are taking the taxpayers' money, but they are progressing to meet their responsibilities. They will be ready to organize services more rapidly when the federal government has instituted a measure such as this. Income tax exemptions do not reach down far enough; they do not get to those who would benefit the most because they are below the tax level. If the consolidated revenue fund is to be used to provide these moneys, into that fund will go the tax on luxuries-as it should.

Opponents of this measure say that the money will not be spent wisely. I believe that a great proportion of it will go for things that are necessary and will be used for child development. This committee of women, under the chairmanship of Mrs. McWilliams, which was a subcommittee of Doctor James' committee on reconstruction, drew up a report, part of which I should like to read. Before I leave Doctor Pett, he had this to say about health:

Let me be quite clear on one point. Canada is actually healthier now than twenty-five years ago.

Then I should like to quote from page 30 of the report of the committee under the chairmanship of Mrs. McWilliams, as follows:

(a) The subcommittee strongly supports introduction of a system of children's allowances and hopes that the establishment of this system will follow health insurance as soon as possible. It is the only system yet devised which will remove the poverty arising from the fact that a man's wage must be based on the product of a man's labour and not on the size of his family. The subcommittee believes that these allowances should apply to all families with children.

With regard to what is more closely to the point I was speaking about, that supervision is necessary over the spending of the money, this report states:

(d) It is suggested that the administration of these allowances will have to include some supervision in cases where it may be necessary because of the incompetence or unwillingness of the mother to use the allowances for the purposes for which they are given. Experience has already shown in relation to cash relief and to dependents' allowances that these cases will be few. This supervision could remain in the provincial departments of welfare where these departments are in widespread operation. The cooperation of the schoolteacher and public health, school or rural nurse should be sought in checking up on this matter.

I think we shall have the cooperation of the provinces. I have no doubt we shall have the cooperation of all these different agencies in the dominion. They will be ready to cooperate in seeing that the people know a little more about spending money. But I believe that the real reason for its being spent wisely will be the love of the parents for their children. Doctor Pett has mentioned that the poorest fed person in the family is the mother. He had splendid cooperation from those people whom he saw in Edmonton. It did not depend upon their income whether they cooperated; they were glad to tell him details in order that he might make this survey.

Some say that the misuse will be limited to about one per cent of those who receive the allowances. That figure is based on surveys made in connection with other allowances that have been paid. We asked Doctor James

Family Allowances

about it when he was before the social security committee. It has been suggested that this bill should be sent to that committee, and this matter has come up to a very limited extent in our surveys. He said:

If these matters are administered through a local organization composed of local ci tizens who are familiar with the habits, the aptitudes and the abilities of the people with whom they are dealing, the possibility of diverting funds from the purpose tor which they are provided would decrease very sharply from an initially low level.

He also made this remark:

I am perfectly willing to admit that the two are interchangeable to a very large extent-

That is, services and cash income.

-as I suggested a little while ago, but I am not sure that you can entirely replace the cash allowances by such things as low-cost housing, rural electrification, free meals at school and free hostels in thinly populated areas. By means of such provisions as these you can reduce the cash bonus to a very low level; hut I am not convinced at the moment that you can completely eliminate it in the case of large families. I hat would be my tentative judgment, but I am open to conviction when a detailed scheme has been worked out for the provision of such material assistance.

The August, 1943, Monthly Labour Review issued by the department of labor of the United States contains this statement:

In March, 1942, after years of opposition to iamily allowances, the British trade union congress, through its general council, reversed its attitude and agreed with the labour party on the need for a national scheme of child endowment, which should be a charge on the state.

In 1925 the independent labour party in Great Britain adopted a children's allowance plan. The trades unions opposed it, but in 1942 they reversed their stand and I think that is their position to-day. I should also like to quote Doctor Davidson, executive director of the Canadian welfare council. Speaking about family allowances, he says:

This then is the keystone of our arch, the foundation stone of the edifice of social security which we must start to build to-day for the Canada of to-morrow-full employment, including the development of socially useful pro-gi amines such as housing and other projects, supported by an adequate wage structure guaranteed by law, and a system of family-allowances to supplement the worker's wages by an amount necessary to fill the gap between his earning power and his family responsibilities.

I should like also to refer to Eleanor F. Rathbone's book, "The Case for Family Allowances". She has served a long apprenticeship in public affairs as a social investigator, as a case worker, as a school manager, as a worker for women's suffrage and other feminist reforms, before becoming a member of the House of Commons in the United Kingdom.

Many of the reforms she sponsored eventually became law during the reconstruction period which followed the great war. Back in 1924 she wrote her first book on family allowances which was entitled, "The Disinherited Family", and this was followed in 1940 by "The Case for Family Allowances". I quote from page 63 as follows:

The best schemes-best on its merits and most fitted to meet the special needs of war time- would be a wholly state paid, national scheme covering the entire child population up to at least the age of fifteen at a rate of at least five shillings per child. It is significant -that so great an economist with so wide a vision as Mr. Maynard Keynes thinks such a scheme desirable and practicable. Nor does it necessarily follow from his argument that it should be combined with his own scheme of deferred earnings, provided that it is accompanied by other methods of effectively limiting all but really necessary consumption during war time.

She makes an interesting review of the case for family allowances. I could go on to quote many other authorities and experts who have had this matter under consideration to show that it has met with approval in a great many circles. I grant that it has also met with disapproval in some circles, but those who have given it approval have had just as wide experience and knowledge as those on the contrary side.

My chief concern about family allowances is its effect, upon our Canadian homes, on the opportunity to preserve and strengthen our family life, on the building of our citizens throughout Canada. There is something beyond that. I do not think we can afford not to pay these allowances because the costs of not paying them are not money costs; they are costs in ill health, costs in the upkeep of hospitals and asylums, costs in juvenile delinquency and costs in many other forms.

Perhaps our hope of peace in the postwar world lies in the crusade against disease, poverty, undernourishment, want and ignorance. This is one column advancing toward our goal of better human relationships within our country, yes and beyond our country; it is a part of the freedom from want and freedom from fear.

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

Herbert Alexander Bruce

National Government

Hon. H. A. BRUCE (Parkdale):

Mr. Speaker, I should like first to refer to the remarks made by the Minister of Justice (Mr. St. Laurent) when he spoke this evening on the cost of housing in the province of Quebec.

I would- remind the house that I spoke on the subject of housing on the 26th of June last when I described what was taking place in the United States. I do not deny that the cost of housing is beyond the reach of those in the low income group; and it was because of that fact that I suggested a plan of giving

Family Allowances

them relief, the plan which is in operation in the United States, and also in Great Britain. Under the United States housing act, the local housing authority is lent ninety per cent of the cost of building houses at a low rate of interest. I do not intend to repeat what I said then except to refer to the fact that in the city of Montreal some few months ago a project of low-cost housing was undertaken by Mr. George Spinney, and the government at that time agreed to lend the housing authority a sum of money up to ninety per cent of the cost at a rate of three per cent interest which I think too high. The rate in the United States is two per cent, and I suggest that might very well be the rate established by this government for work done by housing authorities in any part of Canada. I am quite sure that if that were done it would greatly relieve slum conditions, which are a menace to any city or any rural district. I shall not refer further to this because it will be found at page 4146 of Hansard.

The Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) spoke to-day on the question of slums. I did not quite follow his reasoning when he said that this measure would help to relieve slums. If a man received an addition of S40 a month, or $480 a year, it would not provide him with enough money to pay an economic rent. It is recognized everywhere that not more than twenty per cent or one-fifth of a man's income can be devoted to the payment of rent. This amount mentioned by the Minister of Justice (Mr. St. Laurent) would provide only $8 a month. It is impossible to get a house of modern type under $20 a month, and the difference would have to be made up in the form of a subsidy. This subsidy would be greatly assisted if the government would lend the housing authorities money at a low rate of interest, to be amortized over a period of, say thirty years.

The Prime Minister gave statistics this afternoon of the percentage of recruits turned down from a lack of nutrition. I should like to give the statistics that were published a little while ago by Great Britain, comparing the numbers in category A in the last war with the numbers in the same category in this war. In the first world war Britain found that only thirty-six per cent of the men drafted for military service were up to the full normal standard of health. Immediately after the first world war Great Britain started a large programme of housing. The full effect of that was felt when recruiting for the second world war began. In the present war eighty-three per cent of the men called up by Great Britain were classified as possessing the full normal

standard of health. In commenting on this improvement the London Times said on July 20, 1939:

The minister of health was fully justified in declaring that the results of these medical examinations of the militia men are a striking tribute to the housing and other public health services.

Great Britain did not then have nor has it now family allowances.

As I said before, the moral and physical effects due to vile living conditions pass none of us by. We all pay far more for slums and bad housing than we would ever be called upon to pay for the erection of clean decent houses for every member of our community.

The Prime Minister spoke to-day about our taking better care of animals, and of the research that was being undertaken in connection with the health of animals. I do not think that is quite a parallel case with man, because when an animal is suffering from tuberculosis or Bang's disease we kill the animal, whereas we put men or women or children suffering from tuberculosis in a hospital and try to cure them.

May I remind the Prime Minister that when he quoted from Saint Paul's teaching that we should bear one another's burdens, he failed to quote another passage in the same chapter to the Galatians when Saint Paul said that every man should bear his own burden. That is to say, let us give a man the opportunity to work and he will be happier bearing his own burden. In his all-embracing attitude of international sympathy and assistance in a contracting world it would be just as logical for the Prime Minister to make this bill extend its benefits to the large families of India and China's underpaid workers.

The Prime Minister implied that this money would perhaps stop another depression. I would ask him, what about the dole?

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:

This is not a dole.

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

Herbert Alexander Bruce

National Government

Mr. BRUCE:

A great deal of money was handed out during the last depression, but it did not stop it.

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

John Ritchie MacNicol

National Government

Mr. MacNICOL:

The dole cost this country over $900,000,000 altogether.

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

Herbert Alexander Bruce

National Government

Mr. BRUCE:

My hon. friend says that it cost this country over $900,000,000.

The Prime Minister also spoke of children being a liability.

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

July 25, 1944