I listened very attentively to the address of the Minister of Munitions and Supply, and the cardinal statement I took out of it, which I propose to discuss to-day, along with several other items mentioned in his speech, is the statement he is reported to have made at page 746 of Hansard of yesterday:
The latest figures at hand show a total of 675,000 men and women employed on the manufacture of war equipment as of January 1, 1945. There has been a substantial decrease since January 1, 1944, but, despite this, there is every indication that our greatest labour shortage will occur in the next six months.
Further on he makes this explanatory statement:
As I stated recently, on the basis of the information now available we anticipate a cutback of not more than 35 per cent in our munitions programme with the cessation of hostilities in Europe.
Previous ministers were asked-I asked them myself-whether they had any programme to provide employment for the men in the services of their departments on their return. The reply was to the effect that the incoming Minister of Reconstruction-I believe that is the title-would be the one to take care of such a matter. What I have observed during this session so far is the lack of any programme or any statement from those addressing the house as to what is to be done in reference to employment. The minister of munitions did make a statement in that regard and he mentioned a number of subsidiary programmes in regard to employment, and therefore I feel it my duty to speak on the subject.
A few days ago I attended quite a large meeting in Toronto. There were a number of returned soldiers with their womenfolk and their families and the gathering was addressed by a distinguished soldier. Apparently a few days before addressing the meeting he had attended a large gathering of the Canadian Legion or the Canadian Corps, or perhaps a gathering of both. That speaker was alarmed because, he said, the returned members in these organizations had fervently discussed
the problem of employment facing their organizations after the war and they could see no big programme to provide employment. I am sorry to say that is my own observation; I cannot see any big programme for the provision of employment after the war.