July 26, 1944

NAT

Karl Kenneth Homuth

National Government

Mr. HOMUTH:

But she may not get this.

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CCF

Clarence Gillis

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

Mr. GILLIS:

Yes, she will, according to my reading of the bill.

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NAT
CCF

Clarence Gillis

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

Mr. GILLIS:

This measure will afford relief in a case of that kind.

Then fears are expressed by some that family allowances may be used to depress wages, and that they may militate against workers, in certain circumstances. May I repeat and also support what was said this afternoon by the hon. member for Essex East and by my colleague, the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre (Mr. Knowles). I speak as one who on many occasions has paced the picket lines in labour disputes, and I say that this measure is taking the wife and family out of the firing line in cases where workers are forced to strike because of an unreasonable attitude by employers.

I can remember back in 1925 when we had a strike which lasted five months, and involved 12,000 miners in Nova Scotia. During that five months we lived on relief, practically, at eighty cents a week per family. It was pretty hard to get by, but we did it. Had we had this measure at that time it would have been a great asset to the workers of Nova Scotia who were endeavouring to establish what was a reasonable, just and fair wage.

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NAT

Karl Kenneth Homuth

National Government

Mr. HOMUTH:

Does the hon. member realize that if those men had been earning wages subject to income tax, so that they would not have come under relief, the wives and children would not have got anything when the strike occurred.

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CCF

Clarence Gillis

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

Mr. GILLIS:

I appreciate that, fully. But when one stops for a moment he must realize that sixty-two per cent of the workers receiving wages and salaries in Canada are getting less than $1,000 a year.

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NAT

Karl Kenneth Homuth

National Government

Mr. HOMUTH:

I am talking about your particular case.

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CCF

Clarence Gillis

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

Mr. GILLIS:

Yes; in our particular case we would have come under this measure at that time, because we were not in the brackets where we would have been paying income tax.

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NAT
CCF

Clarence Gillis

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

Mr. GILLIS:

I am safe in saying that now sixty per cent of the workers in the coal mines would not be affected because of the income tax restriction in this particular measure.

In my view this measure cannot be used to depress wages, if the organized workers of Canada keep their trade unions strong, and police this kind of legislation. They will have to do that. No government body, and no one in Ottawa is, in my opinion, going to stop employers in Canada from taking advantage of this kind of legislation. To keep control of that situation organized workers in Canada must strengthen their trade unions, insist upon agreements, police legislation, and keep those

Family Allowances

who are administering the measure informed as to where other people may be trying to take advantage of it.

Are there employers in Canada who will use it to their own advantage if they can? Yes; there are many of them. But there are also many of them who will not, because many employers in Canada are fair. The kind of employer who would use this measure to his own advantage would be the kind we have in the shipyards in Halifax at the present time. Down there 3,000 workers are being forced to strike to-morrow morning. And that is a strike in an essential war set-up, and one which may spread to the whole of Halifax harbour.

The employer who so far forgets himself as to take that kind of action and to jeopardize the entire natioh's war effort, through that very important port, will take advantage of this kind of legislation, if the workers are not organized and policing it. We do not expect paternalism from the government. We expect only a fair deal. The workers of this country intend to organize democratically, to see that this kind of legislation is not abused. I am not a bit afraid, in my section of the country at least, of employers being able to use this measure for their own benefits. If they do, the government in power will certainly hear about it, and we will insist upon certain things being done.

Unions in Canada are not strongly organized in certain sections, I believe, and I hope that, in the future, legislation, both national and provincial, will be made available, because the trend to-day in the world is toward the democratic set-up, and the extension of the machinery we have had in the past.

I shall reserve my criticisms of the bill itself until a later time. I believe it requires some clarification, but I shall not discuss the sections in detail until we reach the committee stage. For example, section 6 stipulates that a board of referees is to be set up to determine if and when a person has a legitimate grievance because of his not being brought under the operations of the bill. Unless there is equal representation on the boards 'which are to administer the legislation, I have fear as to whether it will carry out the functions for which it is intended. That section merely states that the board is to be set up, but I think there will have to be equal representation across the country on these boards, both provincially and nationally, and that will have to be given if the measure is to work out satisfactorily.

Section 8 of the bill is, in my opinion, rather tricky, in that it gives to the governor in council unlimited powers to determine respecting whom these moneys shall be paid, and as to whether there is any duplication either

[Mr. Gillis.l

nationally or provincially. Then, as I see it, those in receipt of mothers' allowances in a province which, in reality, are a grant to the children, can be removed from the scope of the bill, because it could be considered that there would be a duplication of payment. That, in my view, requires clarification, because certainly this measure should not in any way replace mothers' allowances paid in the provinces. Id my opinion it should not be considered as a duplication of compensation for pensions. The bill itself states that pensions paid to army, navy or air force personnel will not be considered as duplications. There is no mention, however, of compensation or mothers' allowances paid in the provinces. Neither is there any mention of the merchant marine, although personnel of that body are to-day in receipt of war pensions *because of disabilities received in this war.

Before the bill is finally adopted these matters should be clarified beyond shadow of any doubt. As I see the matter, this is the first measure of social security, in the real sense of the term, that has been set up in Canada. This is the first step toward a general over-all social security plan for Canada. It will have to be organized slowly. I realize that there is a great deal of difficulty from a jurisdictional standpoint, and for that reason I was particularly pleased to hear the Minister of Justice (Mr. St. Laurent) in his speech clarify the limitations in the British North America Act. I believe his opinion was good, and after hearing him I would conclude that we have more latitude than I had at first thought. But before we finally accept the bill it should be clearly drawn, so that there may be no doubt as to who would be entitled to the allowances and who would not.

In closing my remarks, I shall speak briefly with respect to the implementing of the legislation. We do not want to be unmindful of the fact that all the social security measures, or social insurance-because this is the first social security measure-will require the spending of considerable sums of money. We do not want to feel that we shall have to go on in the same old-fashioned ways that we followed prior to the war. I believe that to make this measure function as we wish to see it function we shall require fundamental changes in our economic set-up, and considerable changes in our method of financing. If we are not prepared to make those changes we shall not be able to implement fully this step that we are now taking. There are going to be difficulties which will require the sensible cooperation of. everyone in Canada who is trying to push this country forward.

I am quite pleased to be able to stand here and say that for the first time since I have come

Family Allowances

into this house I can wholeheartedly support the principle of a measure without any reservations whatever, if we all mean the things that we said when this bill was presented to the house. I am going to do my best to see that the provisions of this bill as set out here are implemented, and I shall work to the end that our unemployment insurance, our measures with respect to health and other social services that we have been discussing will be combined eventually in one general social security act applicable right across the country, w'hereby both the aged and the youth of this country may be guaranteed a full measure of social security. I am not concerned about the people in between. They can rustle for themselves; but I believe, as the Prime Minister rightly said, that we in this parliament have a supreme obligation to those who helped to build up this nation and are no longer able to take care of themselves, and also to those who are going to carry this nation forward into what wTe all hope will be a brighter future. It is our obligation to see that these young people are fitted for that duty.

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LIB

Roy Theodore Graham

Liberal

Mr. R. T. GRAHAM (Swift Current):

Mr. Speaker, I think we can all appreciate the very real satisfaction that the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) felt in introducing this particular measure to the house. I think the pride that he exhibited in the provisions of this bill and in the purposes it would achieve springs from the fact that it is the fruition of almost his life's work and is something in which we can all join and which we can all thoroughly appreciate.

I agree with others who have said that this is one of the most important measures ever presented to any parliament in any country. So important do I consider it, that one of the reasons why I rise to speak is to put on the records of this house my own spoken support of the measure, and also to give me an opportunity of congratulating the government on formulating such a policy and bringing it down in the shape of the bill that is now under consideration.

When I noted the proper satisfaction and pride exhibited by the Prime Minister on this occasion, I could not help comparing it with another statement that was placed on the record quite recently by another member of this house, indicating the political successes that this particular party had achieved in the last few years. The period with which he was dealing was from 1940 down to the present. We all recall that that period coincides with the life of this parliament and with the four and a half years of this war in which we are all so much concerned. It struck me that that statement made by the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre (Mr. Knowles)

was unfortunate. It was a matter in which I could not have joined with him in taking pride had he been speaking on behalf of my leader or on behalf of the party which I have the honour to support because, as I listened to him recite the political successes that had been achieved by his party during that period of terrible warfare, it seemed to me that he was giving to the house the war record of the party to which he belongs. And so I suggest to you, Mr. Speaker, that it is. to me at least, a matter of great pride, as I am sure it is to every member on this side of the house, that we have sat behind the Prime Minister with his record of achievement in the war effort and with his record of achievement in putting through social legislation which has finally reached its culmination in J,he introduction of this wide and comprehensive measure that we are now considering.

I do not know that there is much that I can add-to the many excellent speeches which have already been made in support of this excellent bill, but there are one or two points that I should like to draw to the attention of the house. The underlying principle of the bill, the keynote of the measure, is equality of opportunity. To me that is essentially a principle of true Liberalism. Personally I have almost a horror of paternalism because I believe it destroys the fibre of the people to whom it is applied. But under this measure we in no way disturb the parental authority, the parental control or the parental direction of the.lives and well-being of the children. In other words, the basic principle of this bill is to help parents to perform a very important task. It is to help them to help themselves.

These family allowances, as has been pointed out, go to those in the income classes who need it most, to those who are not in receipt of sufficient income to pay any income tax, and to those whose income is on the margin where the income tax payable is very small.

I happen to come from an agricultural constituency, and naturally I considered this bill in the light of its effects upon those engaged in farming. The results will, I believe, be wholly beneficial to those engaged in agriculture. One-half of the children of Canada live upon farms, and it seems to me, therefore, to follow that the farmers will benefit largely as a class from the provisions of this measure for the well-being of the children of the nation. I think it will be of particular advantage in the area from which I come in southwestern Saskatchewan, a district that all too frequently is visited by drought or other natural disasters which bring almost untold hardships to the farmers in that area. My memory easily recalls the period of the great drought centring in 1937. One of the things that I remember

Family Allowances

vividly were the cases that came to me seeking advice and counsel as to how the wives and mothers on the farm could take care of the needs of the children during that period. They suffered these hardships despite the efforts of the municipalities and of the provincial and dominion governments, because I think that neither any of these governments nor most of us who took an interest in these matters during that period realized the intensity1 of the problem, nor did we understand the measures of relief that we now know should have been adopted at that time.

I recollect, as I say, the real hardship which faced the fathers and mothers on the farms of southern Saskatchewan when they found themselves incapable of supplying their children with the necessary food and clothing and opportunities of continuing their school education. Nothing excited my sympathy and desire to help so much as that experience during the drought period; and while in these last few years that particular area, with some exceptions, has been visited with good crops, we know that drought will come again, and once more the mothers and fathers will be presented with a like problem where the income from the farm fails for some cause over which they have no control. When I think of the benefits which will flow from this measure into those homes in the shape of a monthly cash income, I say to those hon. members who have not experience of the conditions to which I have referred, that they can hardly credit the new hope, the new courage, the upbuilding of the spirit which will come as a result of those benefits received in times of dire distress.

While someone has pointed out that this bill is aimed at assisting the children of the nation, in my opinion it will assist the parents, because no parent can be a good parent, or create that atmosphere which should surround a home, if dire necessity is knocking at the door. So that I believe this measure will accomplish something for parents as well as for children. I believe, too, that there is a psychological problem which will be met, in part at least, by the provisions of the bill. Any parent would agree with me that a child cannot grow up and develop into the wholesome type of -Canadian citizen that we like to have if the home is an unhappy one, owing to economic necessity and the inability of parents to provide those things which are needed for the proper upbringing of children. As I read letters in the press, or hear it stated that there are parents who will not discharge the duty expected of them, I reflect that that type will be a small, almost infinitesimal minority. But even that minority,

fMr. Graham.]

let me suggest, may be the consequence of no such provision in a bygone generation as is contained in this bill, because in all likelihood those people are the products of homes which were visited with some of the troubles which this measure is attempting to cure. So that in that way, remembering that the children of to-day are the parents of to-morrow, I believe that this legislation will do a great deal for family life, for the father, the mother and the children in the home.

There is one other result which will flow from this measure that, to my mind, has great importance. It is connected with a problem which all hon. members would like to assist in finding a solution for. Roughly speaking, the population of Canada is divided equally between males and females; and when we remember that the establishment of a home and a family is preceded by the institution of marriage, we cannot but feel that Canada in its national policies should encourage in every possible way the marriage of our young women to our young Canadian men. I believe that the overwhelming majority of young women find in the career of a wife and a mother the career which most satisfies the desires of the heart. I know that, if they are denied marriage, a home and a family, they claim the right not to be excluded from any other vocation; but I believe that our national policies will satisfy that great and proper desire, that normal and natural desire on the part of the vast majority of our young women, if those policies are directed to encouraging marriage, the establishment of a home and the raising of a family.

When I hear members of the official opposition state that this particular measure will unfairly assist the large families of certain racial groups, I submit that that is a wholly unwarranted as well as too narrow a viewpoint regarding the results which will flow from this bill. Let us consider it for a minute, and in dealing with this I am not referring merely to the high birth rate which has long been a tradition of the province of Quebec. Many other racial groups in my own and other provinces have the same tradition-and it is a healthy and wholesome one,

that of having large families; and as someone said to-night, we would all be proud of the parents who faced the responsibilities of raising a large family if we were assured that those children would be raised to be happy, healthy and productive Canadians. I suggest that this bill will have exactly the opposite effect to that suggested by the leader of the official opposition. In all likelihood it will not increase the number of children in the groups who now have the traditionally large families, but on the other hand it will encourage other groups

Family Allowances

among whom the birthrate is low to increase the number of their children, simply because it will assist in removing the fear of accepting the financial responsibility that goes with marriage, the establishment of home and the raising of a family. Therefore I believe that this legislation will have a most wholesome and beneficial effect upon the family life of the whole dominion. Health and education are two great correctives of political and economic ills.

Let me suggest, too, that what we all seek is a common ideal on the part of the younger generation as it grows up; and if we apply the means available through this bill we can broaden the viewpoint, increase the health and the education of those in the large families which this measure is intended to help. If, too, we can encourage those groups who do not go in for large families to accept with this assistance the responsibility of having them, giving them the same assistance in the matter of attainment of health and education, I believe that we shall be doing a great deal to accomplish unity among the Canadians who are growing up to-day. When they reach manhood and womanhood they will have ideals in common, and be able to give to this country greater unity of effort and assure to the nation as a whole greater happiness than it has known in the past. I recommend to the government constant consideration of what I believe to be a very real problem facing this nation, namely, the encouragement of marriage between our young men and young women.

I believe it was the Minister of Justice (Mr. St. Laurent) who pointed out that, roughly speaking, it requires an investment of $5,000 to build a home which would be suitable for the average Canadian family. Most of us can remember when a like home could have been built for a great deal less. One can readily understand therefore that the average young man of to-day would hesitate, in view of the financial responsibility he would assume, to get married, because he feels he might not be able to give the girl of his choice a home, or to shoulder the responsibility of raising a family. I think we will all agree that marriage without children is not as conducive to happiness as marriage with children.

The whole programme of the government, in [DOT] its national housing plan, in the Unemployment Insurance Act, in its placing of floors under certain farm product prices, in its social security legislation, in its national health legislation, and finally in this family allowance measure, is one that receives my wholehearted support. It is my profound belief that it will result in the establishment of homes and in the raising of young Canadians who will

contribute, when they grow up, substantial dividends on the amount that we are investing in the welfare of our young people.

I do not intend to keep the house any longer. I have fulfilled the purpose I had in view in my remarks, in expressing my warm support of the measure and1 in again congratulating the Prime Minister on the fact that in 1944 he sees the fruition of a thought that had its birth many years ago. I thoroughly agree with him that his life has been largely devoted to the endeavour to have that thought translated into legislation in this house, and I share in the pride he must feel at the comparatively united support which this particular measure is receiving in the house.

In conclusion, I would recall a statement made by the Prime Minister in connection with this bill, with which I heartily agree:

Human personality, its recognition and development, are of more importance than the protection of property, privilege or position, and the increase of human well-being of infinitely more importance than .the increase of material wealth.

I think these are words which every member who supports the bill can quote with approval in recommending it to his constituency.

Mr. J. EMMANUEL d'ANJOU (Rimouski) (Translation): Mr. Speaker, the Bloc Populate Canadien,

to which I am proud to belong-and I myself have asked the government on several occasions to help, in every way possible, families and especially large ones.

Until the present session, the government turned a deaf ear to our pressing and oft-reiterated appeals in favour of this country's most valuable asset, our manpower.

On February 3, 1944, during the debate on the speech from the throne, I stated the following, which I quote from Hansard:

The speech from the throne contains the announcement concerning the adoption of family allowances by the government. I hope that this is not simply an election campaign promise but that, on the contrary, a bill will be brought down in this connection, in the course of this session. Allowances should not be granted exclusively to families of five or six children, but should apply to all families irrespective of their size.

Families of ten or twelve children are not a scarcity in the province of Quebec. Some are even larger. Personally, I am one of fifteen children, twelve boys and three girls, and I am convinced other families just as large can still be found in the constituency of Rimouski. The government, who had always refused to help large families has now a unique occasion to do so through family allowances. This is not the first time I take the opportunity of pleading this cause in the House and I shall continue to do so until the government decides to be fair to large families.

For us French Canadians, large families are our means of survival, and, as long as, in the province of Quebec, large numbers of children are brought into the world, we shall not need refugees or immigrants from whatever country

Family Allowances

they might come; that is the way to bring happiness and prosperity to the province of Quebec and to Canada.

Of course, on the eve of elections and for campaign purposes only, our leaders changed their minds and at long last decided to give in to the pressing appeal of those who tirelessly urged that the Canadian family be encouraged and treated fairly.

Indeed, we rejoice in the fact that the government has deemed fit to recognize the principle of helping the family, but we cannot help noticing that the proposal fails in two most important respects. Lin the first place, it disregards the autonomy of the provinces; in this field, however, their rights cannot be ignored. As far as the province of Quebec is concerned, it has always claimed them. For that reason, each particular province should be entrusted with the administration of the aet^

The proposal provides, moreover, that the allowances be paid on a "decreasing" scale from the fifth child on. This is a most unjust procedure. No other country has put into effect a similar method. Some have chosen a uniform rate, others have preferred an "increasing" scale. If the government really wants to help large families, it should put the latter into effect. French-Canadian families will be particularly hard hit by this "decreasing" rate and if approved, it would cause unforgivable injustice. I hope the government will reconsider the matter and remedy that injustice by adopting the progressive rather than the decreasing rate provided for in the bill now before us.

The true originator of family allowances in Canada was the great patriot Honore Mercier, former prime minister of the province of Quebec. He was the first to take a sympathetic stand toward large families in the province of which he was unquestionably the greatest prime minister. He granted to families of twelve or more children a certain acreage of land. He was an ardent believer in the "revenge of the cradle". Consequently, his memory is ever cherished by the people of the province of Quebec whose motto will always be "I remember".

I listened the other day to the speeches of some members who are horrified by the fact that the government have decided to spend $200,000,000 in order to help large families. Yet, those members are the same ones who had no hesitation in voting $2,800,000,000 as a tribute to England. They are the ones who demand total war, who do not hesitate to state that Canada should fight to the last man and spend its last penny in this war. But when it comes to protecting this country's most valuable asset, the large families, they are horrified and condemn the government.

[Mr. d'Anjou.J

As far as I am concerned, I join those who have congratulated the government on having at last brought down this measure of family allowances. It is a step in the right direction.

The hon. member for Parkdale (Mr. Bruce) said last might, as reported on page 5365 of Hansard:

Is it not amusing to observe a Liberal government, which laughed at Aberhart's $25 a month to all families, suddenly bringing down a baby bonus proposition which will cost the country $200 million or more? This bonus will be given to children up to fifteen years of age, whereas even in Russia it is proposed to bonus children only up to five years of age. It should be remembered that the government will get the money for their largesse out of the people by taxes. This means that everyone who pays taxes will have less money to educate and bring up his own family. I believe that it is a fact that sixty-three per cent of tile families with ten or more children live in the province of Quebec. Contrast this with British Columbia where families are small and where forty per cent have no children living at home. When eight provinces realize that they are being taxed for the benefit of one province, will it not accentuate the disunity which has shaken Canada from coast to coast, because the government chose to listen to the powerful voice of this same province which refused to share equally with others in fighting the common enemy ?

If there are people who can sow disunion in the country, they are like the hon. member for Parkdale, who forgets that recently a French Canadian, Major Triquet, won the Victoria Cross.

He also forgets the losses sustained in this war by the French Canadians. If he were to peruse the daily casualty lists, he would notice that the losses among the French Canadians have been especially heavy, in Sicily, in Normandy and elsewhere. He would see that the Royal 22nd has fought nobly and the Regiment de Quebec has been practically annihilated. This same gentleman states in this house and before the whole country that the province of Quebec should not benefit from the family allowance proposed by the government, because the French Canadians of Quebec have not discharged their duty. As long as this country harbours such fanatics and imperialists, it will be very hard to attain Canadian unity.

I shall not labour this point any further, but I shall repeat that these very same gentlemen are the ones who do not hesitate to claim that the tribute we pay to England is not large enough; who maintain that we are not sending enough men to the slaughter in foreign lands; who. to-day, oppose a vote of $200,000,000 to safeguard the most precious asset of our country. Family allowances will be a great encouragement to large families and. after the war, we should be in a position to do without immigrants. It is better to take

Family Allowances

care of our human resources in Canada than to spend fabulous sums to attract immigrants from overseas.

For my part, Mr. Speaker, I favour this measure and hope that the administration in power when the bill we are now considering has become the law of the land will administer it with Justice and fairness to all.

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LIB

Thomas Reid

Liberal

Mr. THOMAS REID (New Westminster):

I rise at this time to join with others in my support of the measure that has been introduced by the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King), namely, family allowances. In the few minutes at my disposal I wish to say that it seems strange to me that most of the opposition to this bill has emanated from those who, so far as I know, have never felt the hand of poverty. To me it is most remarkable that those whose lot in life lay along the easy path, shall I say, are the ones in this country who are now raising their voices loudly against this measure. I noticed also that in the address given by the leader of the Conservative party (Mr. Graydon) against the measure, although he claims to be a farmer, no mention wa? made by him of the fact that this measure would benefit one class above all others, namely, the farming class. The man who claims to be a farmer made speeches and diatribes against this measure but did not mention that it would benefit the very class to which he claims to belong.

Statements have been made by some that it would benefit certain provinces more than others. I took the time the other night to go into the child population of the various provinces. I obtained a statement from the bureau of statistics, a brief analysis of which is as follows: There are some 3,409,911

children in Canada between the ages of birth and sixteen.

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CCF

Percy Ellis Wright

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

Mr. WRIGHT:

The census of 1941?

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LIB

Thomas Reid

Liberal

Mr. REID:

Yes. They are spread out throughout Canada in this proportion. In Prince Edward Island the population is 30,484. The percentage of the children under sixteen to the total population within the province is roughly thirty-two per cent. In Nova Scotia the population is 577,962. The percentage of children under sixteen is thirty per cent. The population of New Brunswick is 457,401. The percentage of children under sixteen is thirty per cent. Quebec has a total child population under sixteen of 1,133,137; the percentage of the children in that province under sixteen is thirty-five per cent. Ontario has 988,933 children under sixteen. Their proportion works out to about twenty-eight per cent. Manitoba has 204,684 children. Their percentage is twenty-eight per cent. Saskatchewan has 286,821 children under sixteen. Their percentage is thirty-two per cent.

Alberta has 243,547 children under sixteen. Their percentage is thirty-one per cent. British Columbia, I am sorry to say, has the smallest percentage of children of all the nine provinces. That province has a total population of 817,861. The children under sixteen number 187,427, w'hich works out to about twenty-three per cent of the population within the province.

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NAT

Douglas King Hazen

National Government

Mr. HAZEN:

Would you mind repeating the number of children in New Brunswick under sixteen?

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LIB
NAT

Douglas King Hazen

National Government

Mr. HAZEN:

In other provinces you are giving the number of children.

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LIB
NAT

Douglas King Hazen

National Government

Mr. HAZEN:

How many children in Nova Scotia?

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LIB

Thomas Reid

Liberal

Mr. REID:

179,559. It works out roughly to thirty per cent. These figures do not reveal a preponderance of children in the province of Quebec as compared with other provinces. In Quebec there is only a total of thirty-five per cent of the population under the age of sixteen years, whereas in New Brunswick there is thirty-four per cent, and in Prince Edward Island, thirty-two per cent. I think these figures are most interesting; at least they were to me.

The figure for British Columbia is only twenty-three per cent, but I noted that there is a greater percentage of older people in that province when compared with her population than in some of the others. As is well known, nearly all the provinces are represented in British Columbia by former residents. People in ill health or up in years are told to go there to enjoy the splendid climate we have, and usually they stay there to end their days at a time when the rearing of a family is not to be thought of.

It has been said also that some labour leaders have opposed this measure, and they have. Speaking to-night as a labour man, I want to say that I was astonished that any man who had fought his way up through the labour ranks would protest against a social measure of this kind. The contention that it would reduce wages is, to my mind, all wrong. Throughout the years when a man is applying for a position the employer does not consider whether he is married or not. He is employed for the work he is able to perform. When a man is hired because of ability, the employer generally does not look around to see whether a man is married or single when it comes to laying men off.

Not all labour has been against this measure, because I noticed an article in the last issue

Family Allowances

of the Labour Review, where the Canadian Federation of Labour has this to say:

Nobody has yet objected out loud to the payment of cash allowances to the members of the armed forces for the support of their Children. That fact is worth nothing now that many persons are inveighing earnestly against Mr. Mackenzie King's proposal to continue the allowances when the troops return to civil life and to extend them to all Canadian families.

Millions of men now wearing the uniforms of many countries rely upon the state to provide for their children's upkeep. When the war ends, a large proportion of them will continue to enjoy the same provision. In quite a few countries, children's allowances were paid before the war. After the war, still more countries will have them. Canada has to decide whether or not to keep abreast of Great Britain, Australia, and New Zealand in social progress and population policy.

In so far as social legislation is concerned, Canada is not only keeping abreast of some countries; she is well ahead of a great many with the introduction of this piece of social legislation. The article goes on to refer to the objection by some churches, and states:

The objection of some religious sectarians answers itself. If they took as much interest in the size of the population as they do in its habits they would not need to fear the spread of any church. Their sensible course would be, instead of opposing children's allow. ances, to urge the members of their communions to let marriage bear fruit and enlarge the congregation.

I say that the churches should take note of that, but so far they have not raised their voices. To my mind it is time they raised their voices about this very thing.

There is one warning I should like to give to those who will be responsible for the administration of this legislation. An effort should be made, to see to it that the money paid out goes entirely for the benefit of the children. To-day the members of the special committee inquiring into the problems affecting the dominion government and the city of Ottawa were taken on a tour through the city. One man in the party who knew the different districts pointed out certain houses where the children were not attending school for one reason or another. The thought came to me that when this measure is in effect those children and any others should be made to go to school or the money should be kept back from the parents, and not paid until they do.

I have another suggestion to make. There may be a few fathers who will take advantage of the legislation and, so to speak, become vagrants, and who will not be inclined to work. If that is the case, steps should be taken by the municipalities to institute pro-

[Mr. Reid.l

ceedings against such parents who are ready to lie back and not earn money other than that provided by the state for the upkeep of their children. When in the past it was left to the woman of the family to lay a charge against the husband, in many cases the home was broken up. Some other authority should lay these charges. It should be made known to these men that if they are not ready to carry out their responsibilities, a charge will be laid by the municipalities, and they will be made to contribute to the upkeep of their families rather than simply lie back and allow the state to send a cheque along each month, which cheque is intended entirely for the children.

I think this is about all I have to say at this moment. But I do want to say that it is a proud moment in my life that I am a member of this House of Commons at a time when this measure is being placed on the statute books. I come from a humble home, and I realize, perhaps better than some of those who are opposing this bill, just what it means. Those of us who come from fairly large families know that quite often the children who come first are not as well provided for as those who come later on. The children who come first quite often have to go out to work quite early and contribute toward the support of the other members of the family. The children who come later on receive the benefit of this help, and likewise the parents themselves may be in better circumstances as the children grow older.

Coming from a humble family, I know what this would have meant to our family had we had it. I realize what it will mean to hundreds of families throughout the length and breadth of this country. I ask those who are opposing it to take stock of why they are opposing it. If they oppose it simply from a political point of view they should be ashamed. This is the finest piece of legislation this House of Commons has brought down and I am proud that I am a member of the Liberal party. While in the past few years the Conservative party and the Liberal party have got to the point where it has been at times difficult to distinguish between them, especially since tariffs have been done away with, this piece of legislation, Mr. Speaker, makes us truly Liberals, and I am giving it my unqualified support.

On motion of Mr. Fraser (Peterborough West) the debate was adjourned.

On motion of Mr. Mackenzie King the house adjourned at 10.55 p.m.

Topic:   CALCULATION OF COST OF FAMILY ALLOWANCE RESOLUTION
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July 26, 1944