Yes. Now, that supplementary payment in Ontario does not exclude them from this act for the reasons I have given, but it does exclude the supplementary payments in the other three provinces I mentioned. In those three provinces, in addition to the supplementary payments, the province might pay assistance over and above that, and that would bring the persons affected under this act.
We in Newfoundland are very happy to have this legislation, even if the people do not want it in Ontario. Earlier this afternoon the hon. member for Oxford asked a question which was intended to point out that the percentage of the total cost under this legislation that would be borne by the federal government would be, in many cases, less than 50 per cent. Well, Mr. Chairman, that is obvious.
Under the formula set forth in the legislation the percentage cost must vary from zero up to 49-9 per cent. If one approaches this legislation from the viewpoint of sharing the percentage cost, in my opinion one is tending to obscure its true value. When the percentage cost borne by the federal government is zero that means we are having prosperity and there is no burden to carry above the [DOT]45 per cent. For my part, I hope the federal share under this legislation will always be zero, because that means we will always be having the same high level of prosperity we are enjoying at the present time. The present government is doing what it can to maintain this prosperity. It is trying to steer a course between recession on the one hand and inflation on the other. But hon. members must remember that there are certain things outside of the control of even this government.
There are conditions in the outside world which can adversely affect the economy of this country over which we have no control whatever. We do hot pretend to be able to control the weather. Hon. members can turn their minds back 18 months and they will recall that we were faced with a paradoxical situation in which unemployment figures soared to a record level at the very time the country in general was enjoying unpredecented prosperity. At that time in my own province of Newfoundland the number of people receiving relief rose from [DOT]6 per cent of the population in September,
1954, to 4-4 per cent in March, 1955. During that same period in my own riding of Burin-Burgeo the number of people receiving relief rose from 1 [DOT] 8 per cent of the population in September, 1954, to 9-63 per cent in March, 1955. It is at a time like that when the true benefit of this legislation can be appreciated. It provides assistance at a time when assistance is needed most.
Some hon. members have indicated that the federal government should make itself responsible for 100 per cent of the cost of the unemployed employables. I believe that stand was taken by Ontario when these things were considered at the provincial conference. I do not share that view. In the first place, to do this you must separate the unemployed employables from the people who cannot be employed because of their physical condition. One of the things about this legislation which appeals to me very much is the fact that it wipes out that distinction completely and for all time; I think that is as it should be.
Another reason that I do not agree with the government taking 100 per cent responsibility is that I do not think it is in the national interest. Since I came to this parliament in 1949 we have passed numerous laws in which we have removed responsibility from individuals, organizations or some levels of government and placed it on the federal government.
In Canada we are building a nation. We are developing a Canadian way of life. I think we are developing patterns of government that are distinctly Canadian. If we are to do a good job and make Canada a good nation the way to do it is not to remove responsibility from the places where it belongs. The proper way to do it, I submit, Mr. Chairman, is to acknowledge a joint responsibility and a joint sharing of the burden, and that is what this legislation does.
When the great province of Ontario puts the same tax on its gasoline as the province of Newfoundland has to, then the province of Ontario will have plenty of money to pay the -45 per cent and the rest of the formula required in this legislation.
On a question of privilege, the hon. member who has just taken his seat kept referring in his remarks, I believe on two or three occasions, to the member for Oxford. Perhaps he should get his members sorted out, because I have made no comment on this bill so far.
I explained that a moment ago, but I suppose my explanation was not as clear as I hoped it would be. Under subclause (2) (b) or under all the subclauses (a) (b) (c) (d) and so on there are provisions which are taken outside the legislation. My hon. friend directs my attention specifically to (2)(b). The governing part is:
Except as provided in subsection (3), an agreement shall, for the purposes of this act, exclude from unemployment assistance costs
(b) payments made to or on behalf of persons who are in receipt of financial assistance under any act of the legislature of a province the cost of which is shared by Canada under an act of the parliament of Canada other than this act, and payments made by way of supplemental allowance or cost of living bonus to those persons or to persons who are in receipt of financial assistance under any act of the parliament of Canada.
Then subclause 3 (b) is the exception:
An agreement may include as unemployment assistance costs
relief payments made to or on behalf of the persons referred to in paragraph (b) of subsection (2) in addition to the payments herein specified.
These are relief payments, as I said a moment ago. I took the case of the three western provinces where supplementary payments are made to old age assistance. As far as the moneys paid by way of old age assistance or supplementary benefits are concerned, they do not qualify under this legislation. Simply by way of parenthesis may I say that these supplementary payments are made to a special group of people, the recipients of old age assistance; but if on top of that a province pays public assistance to a wide group of citizens, including this particular group, to the extent of that additional assistance over
Unemployment Assistance and above the supplementary payments and the old age assistance itself the federal government, under this legislation, is prepared to share in the cost of that extra assistance provision.