February 27, 1978

SUBJECT MATTER OF QUESTIONS TO BE DEBATED

LIB

John Napier Turner

Liberal

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Turner):

Order, please. It is my duty, pursuant to Standing Order 40, to inform the House that the questions to be raised tonight at the time of adjournment are as follows: the hon. member for Vancouver South (Mr. Fraser)-Trade-Textiles-Purchase and sale of import quotas; the hon. member for Winnipeg South Centre (Mr. McKenzie)-Tourism-Problems identified at industry conference-Government action to solve; the hon. member for Cape Breton-East Richmond (Mr. Hogan)- Housing- RRAP-Changes in regulations under program.

It being five o'clock the House will now proceed to the consideration of private members' business as listed on today's order paper, namely, notices of motions and public bills.

Topic:   PROCEEDINGS ON ADJOURNMENT MOTION
Subtopic:   SUBJECT MATTER OF QUESTIONS TO BE DEBATED
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PRIVATE MEMBERS' MOTIONS

LIB

John Napier Turner

Liberal

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Turner):

I understand there is unanimous agreement to standing motions Nos. 4, 5, 11, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23 and 24. Is that agreed?

Topic:   PROCEEDINGS ON ADJOURNMENT MOTION
Subtopic:   PRIVATE MEMBERS' MOTIONS
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?

Some hon. Members:

Agreed.

Topic:   PROCEEDINGS ON ADJOURNMENT MOTION
Subtopic:   PRIVATE MEMBERS' MOTIONS
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LIB

John Napier Turner

Liberal

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Turner):

We will now proceed to motion No. 25.

[ Translation]

Topic:   PROCEEDINGS ON ADJOURNMENT MOTION
Subtopic:   PRIVATE MEMBERS' MOTIONS
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SOCIAL SECURITY

SC

Joseph Adrien Henri Lambert

Social Credit

Mr. Adrien Lambert (Bellechasse) moved:

That, in the opinion of this House, the government should consider the advisability of having Parliament adopt a measure authorizing payment of an allowance to housewives who remain at home to take care of their family instead of joining the labour market, the purpose being to ensure a global income corresponding to the family's needs by providing an additional family income to that earned by the father.

He said: Mr. Speaker, the motion I am honoured to sponsor aims at inviting the House to consider the important and noble role played by housewives in Canadian society and at inviting the federal government to introduce before Parliament legislation which would authorize the payment of an allowance to housewives who remain at home to take care of their family instead of joining the labour market, the purpose being to ensure a global income corresponding to the family's needs by providing an additional family income to that earned by the father.

In our society, Mr. Speaker, the family institution is at the very basis of the two founding people of our country. In our opinion, the family consists of the father, the mother and the children. I have always believed and still do today that the family is a divine institution for if it were an invention of men, it would have disappeared I think a long time ago. In the past, and maybe not so long ago, the majority of our population was made up of farmers' families. Each family would produce all sorts of goods to provide for its own needs. In that manner, each member of the family be it large or small, accomplished some kind of job to ensure satisfaction of the needs of his close relatives. Craftsmanship played an important role instead of importing, things were handicrafted at home. Progress and industrialization have completely transformed our customs and we now have to pay the price of it.

Before the Second World War of 1939-45, the number of housewives on the job market was very small. One can actually say that women really started working outside their home

February 27, 1978

around 1940, when Canada needed manpower for its ammunition plants. I can remember then that hundreds of women would go to the Quebec City Palais Station to board special trains taking them to the ammunition plants located at Valcar-tier where people worked day and night shifts. During the war, and in the ensuing years, as male workers were not available in sufficient numbers of the jobs market, the woman was increasingly attracted to it first on a temporary basis and then on a permanent basis.

Many families have contracted financial obligations to acquire a family home, which is quite legitimate. Then the mother tells the father: I am going to work to help you pay our home, and then I will stop working to look after my family. Unfortunately, that was not always the way it turned out. New needs were created. She had to keep on working in order to earn the income required to meet those new needs. Very often we hear mothers say: Oh, if I had a small additional income, 1 would much prefer to stay home. And just as I was coming to Parliament in the minibus, there was a mother saying: If I could, I would stay home to look after my children, but I have to work to help my husband earn enough to meet our commitments.

We are living in an age of speed which led to a consumer society. Everything or nearly everything is mass produced at the plant and delivered in homes in small packages, which is likely to further strain the family budget, and then the father's income is no longer enough. So the mother has to look for a job to help make both ends meet. And now this situation does not only exist in large cities but also in the country. I represent a riding which is made up mostly of country people; they are rural families and the same problem now exists for country people. By nature the mother is a housewife, and on the whole, she would much prefer to perform that role.

Generally speaking, that is what we hear: mothers would like to have good meals ready for their husband and children, the house to be clean when the father and children come back from work and everbody sits around the table. That is really a family meal and a way of meeting one another to talk things over instead of everyone being always on the run the home being simply a place to sleep that everyone leaves in a hurry. Unfortunately, that is the situation in too many homes.

Mr. Speaker, I believe for my part that the mother greatly deserves our recognition. We all have a mother, and everyone of us believes that his is the best in the world. That is normal. We must absolutely take measures to recognize that also in fact.

All things considered, it is she who gives our country its greatest wealth, that is human investment, it is she who takes care of our children. She must ensure that our children get a good education and a good instruction to be able to carry on a trade or a profession later on in life. As a matter of fact, 1 must say, Mr. Speaker, it is disappointing to find that sometimes these efforts are not successful. I know all members

Housewives' Allowance

receive letters from young girls who, after graduating as nurses, secretaries, accounting clerk or anything else, are looking for jobs. Finding none, they stay at home and it is the mother, on top all her work at home, who has to go to work in a factory or an office to make ends meet.

It is topsy-turvydom. I think it is our duty to straighten things out. Nowadays, mothers are participating in meetings on children's education. They are more willing, at least in my province, to accept the school comissionner job. They sit in on parents' meetings while the father, busy elsewhere, has no more time to devote to his children's education. It is the mother's burden.

If she has an outside job, she is constantly rushed and cannot succeed either in playing her role as she would like and as her maternal feelings make her want to play it. The motion that I have suggested and that we are now discussing aims at recognizing that the mother who works at home is entitled to an income. I would not want this to be called a salary because a mother does not work for a salary; a mother with children does not think about that. On the other hand, she has needs which must be fulfilled. This is not done as in the past, as I explained at the beginning of my comments.

The married woman who has a job in a plant or an office is entitled to wages. Everyone recognizes this. At the end of the week, if she has worked 40 hours for example, society recognizes her right to a monetary reward. This is completely logical. This income is added to the salary of the husband. When there are five people in a family, they share the incomes of the father and the mother. This is a supplement. Everyone benefits from it. However, the mother who stays at home should also be entitled to a reward, whether she is married to a manual worker or a farmer, and God knows that farmers' wives work hard and have long days of work, not only in the house, but also in the barn, to help manage the dairy, to make sure everything is clean. I believe that those mothers are entitled to recognition and to an income.

I said earlier, and I want to repeat it, that it is essential and important for society to recognize in practice that we shall necessarily have to find a means to reward those who stay at home, through a sense of duty, necessity or choice. What happens in the case of a small wage earner, for instance? At the end of the week, the father comes home with his pay cheque, and if he has three children, this means that he must support five people including the mother. Unlike the family where the mother has an outside job, this family has only one income. Income has to be divided into five, and once more the mother will have to go without a number of small things she would like to have, such as short holidays she would like to take once in a while, because she cannot afford them. So she has to live on one income.

On the other hand, I approve the principle of equal pay for equal work. Obviously an employer should not be paid $100 more by his boss because he has three or five children. Equal

February 27, 1978

Housewives' Allowance

pay for equal work. But then, we should hasten to say in Canada, because we can afford it and the Lord gave us enough resources to do so, "To each according to his needs." We should find a way to add to income to meet that need. One way to reach that goal of family income would be to pay the mother as such a special allowance. That same allowance could also be paid to the widowed mother and the mother faced with some other hardship. We know, in this day and age, that there is no need to list such other hardships, because they are too numerous to be listed. They are covered by the words "other hardships".

Hon. members opposite may say the government is already paying mothers family allowances. Concerning this, I would point out that in the case of families with incomes below $13,000, family allowances should not be taxable, as we have said a number of times, and I am convinced government members themselves feel as I do. Of course some may say that the government needs revenues to meet the cost of social programs.

I think that capital should be taxed more. Let us consider the balance sheets of chartered banks which are making more and more profits as well as multinationals which manage to build up colossal reserves on which they are not taxed. We should consider this and we should surely find the revenues needed to compensate tax exemption at least on family allowances. I suggest to the government that families pay fewer taxes so that they have a chance to make a decent living and that our mothers have a little more opportunity to enjoy life and take some rest. They get tired and wear themselves out with work. We must give them a chance to stay beautiful. Women are beautiful. Mothers are beautiful. As legislators we must make all possible efforts to keep them even more beautiful. And to do this, we must alleviate some of their difficulties.

I invite the Minister of National Health and Welfare (Miss Begin) to present a legislation recognizing that Canadian mothers deserve our gratitude and that this Parliament is dedicated to save the family structure which is crucial for our society. I think that if that legislation is passed, it could be considered as the first step towards an annual guaranteed income system.

Last night, during the CBC news report, I watched the summary of resolutions presented to the Liberal party convention during the weekend. I noticed that some were for it and some against. The former finance minister was not absolutely convinced that the annual guaranteed income was a possibility in Canada. The present Minister of National Health and Welfare has advocated the view that she already expressed in this House, that it was time to initiate an annual guaranteed income system. This is why I said earlier that I am convinced that even on the government side there is no consensus on all those points. It does not mean that we should relinguish this system. It means that we must work further and that all studies made at the federal-provincial conference level about

the necessity to establish an annual guaranteed income system should be continued.

Today, in reply to a question from an opposition member the Prime Minister said that Canadians had to be more productive to become competitive on the international market. I entirely agree with him. There is one solution to encourage a greater input in the gross national product. It is to give youth the opportunity to contribute all their energy, their efficacity and their knowledge. At the same time, Canadian mothers would be given a chance to fulfill their responsibilities as mothers and wives, if we give them the security to which they are entitled.

[DOT] (1712)

Topic:   PROCEEDINGS ON ADJOURNMENT MOTION
Subtopic:   SOCIAL SECURITY
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO PROVIDE ALLOWANCES TO HOUSEWIVES
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LIB

William Kenneth Robinson (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Health and Welfare)

Liberal

Mr. W. Kenneth Robinson (Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of National Health and Welfare):

Mr. Speaker, at the outset I should like to congratulate the hon. member for Bellechasse (Mr. Lambert) for bringing forth a motion filled with the things we are all concerned about, that is, having sufficient income on which to live. He mentioned that the family is the basic unit. I certainly agree with that and I hope we will continue to feel that the basic unit is the family unit. I understand the hon. member has a large family. Maybe that is why he is so concerned about this kind of motion-he could use two salaries instead of one! I think he is pointing to the same kind of situation for many people in this country who find that one paycheck at the end of the week is not enough and that you actually need two in order to have a decent standard of living.

The motion put forward by the hon. member for Bellechasse regarding the payment of an allowance for housewives who remain at home to take care of the family instead of joining the labour market, touches the issue of income distribution and the status of women, matters which are of great concern to this government as I believe they have been of long standing concern to many others.

The motion essentially asks the government to consider in its over-all, ongoing study of income distribution and income maintenance, the specific role which allowances to housewives who remain at home to take care of their families, could play in the package of income distribution measures which constitutes the government's income policy at present and in the future.

[DOT] (1722)

I would like to respond to the hon. member's motion by reviewing some of the issues that are implied. Current studies by the Department of National Health and Welfare already have given considerable attention to many of these points; they are not new to me. I can do justice to the issues at hand by sharing some of my thinking on the subject with hon. members.

At the outset I would like to make particular mention of the fact that to focus on the needs of low income earners and single parent families as two specific target populations for the

February 27, 1978

continuing evolution of our income maintenance policy is an idea I wholeheartedly support. In my opinion, the motion before us is related to this idea, and I hope to be able to show that to you today. The needs of children, the needs of parents and the responsibilities of parents in meeting children's needs will be receiving considerable attention by the minister and by the Department of National Health and Welfare within the next few months.

First, I would like to point out that the use of the term "housewife" in the motion raises an important issue of definition. It seems to me necessary to take into account that there are the single parent families which in most cases, whether they remain at home or enter the labour market, receive a level of income below their needs. The majority of this population are women who remain at home and receive transfer payments. If they enter the labour market they are unable to earn sufficient income to live, to meet employment expenses, and to cover the necessary child care costs. These women do a considerable amount of work in the home. They make do without many conveniences; they nurture dependent children, but they cannot or do not want to be classified as "housewives"-maybe nurturers of children would be the appropriate term.

Many needy families are one parent families. The term "housewife" is not always relevant to them. To target a program to "housewives" would surely invite considerable and justified criticism from those who are charged with the responsibility of taking care of a family but are not "wives"-be they single women, single men or married men. I would imagine that a motion which replaced the word "housewives" by the words "parents with dependent children" would be better received by this House.

Second, I would like to clarify to this House that the main concern of what may loosely be called "family support" is, in my mind, the care and well-being of children. This is not to say that childless families never merit support; but rather that incremental redistribution of income which this government is considering is targeted to groups with identified special needs. The responsibility to ensure adequate care for children creates one of those special needs we have identified. Conversely, other special needs of certain childless families are addressed by other policies and programs.

The case can be made that the responsibility for children creates particular needs in families. It is much harder to build a case to the effect that housework in and by itself creates special needs. After all everyone is in one way or another engaged in housework. Therefore housework does not have a proper place in the discussion regarding income distribution between families. Admittedly, housework has a role in the discussion of the distribution of income within the boundaries of the family. This is another subject and I do not believe the motion we are addressing today touches upon that subject.

At present there is a virtually infinite range of alternatives for people to organize the distribution of tasks within the home from total specialization to total sharing including alteration of roles and so forth. It would be senseless and very unwelcome

Housewives' Allowance

from the point of view of the population to interfere with those choices.

Third, and assuming that we are in fact discussing the special needs of parents during their child rearing years, it seems useful to distinguish between material support for the child rearing function and recognition of the social importance of that function. Both subjects are of great concern to me. Unfortunately the first is a more straightforward problem than the second. Let me begin by saying a few words on the issue of recognition, and I will return later to the issue of material support.

Many proponents of payment for parents at home have advanced the argument that the role of child rearing does not meet with proper recognition in our society, and that it is one of the responsibilities of the state to ensure that proper recognition is awarded. I say that this is one of the more problematic of the two concerns because it is neither clear that government intervention can prescribe the gain or loss of prestige of any individual or profession, nor is it clear that a monetary compensation would achieve any such desired goals. These two things are also interrelated. Prestige has traditionally been the result of a combination of qualities, among which money always had a role. The role of money, in recent years, has become more and more central in our society to the definition of prestige or recognition, to the point that some argue that only payment for services rendered is adequate recognition. Although this position has some merit in a society so heavily market oriented as is ours it remains unconvincing to many who argue that certain roles in society, among which child rearing is prominent, are privileged in that they contain intrinsic and otherwise non-monetary rewards.

Topic:   PROCEEDINGS ON ADJOURNMENT MOTION
Subtopic:   SOCIAL SECURITY
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO PROVIDE ALLOWANCES TO HOUSEWIVES
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NDP

Stanley Howard Knowles (N.D.P. House Leader)

New Democratic Party

Mr. Knowles (Winnipeg North Centre):

Like being a member of parliament.

Topic:   PROCEEDINGS ON ADJOURNMENT MOTION
Subtopic:   SOCIAL SECURITY
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO PROVIDE ALLOWANCES TO HOUSEWIVES
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LIB

William Kenneth Robinson (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Health and Welfare)

Liberal

Mr. Robinson:

That may be so.

In this regard our society seems to have come to some collective decisions without careful examination of alternatives. It is not clear to many observers that engulfing every person in the monetary and market scheme of things is a worth-while social objective. There are many different opinions and nuances voiced on this issue at this point in time, and to pretend to be able to find a solution to the problem of recognition through a monetary compensation scheme is premature. Nevertheless, let me repeat with emphasis that the issue of proper recognition of the child rearing function in our society is at the centre of this government's concern with the status of women. That is a subject on which I welcome further discussion.

The increasing sense of financial insecurity of parents who choose to remain outside the labour market due to marital breakdown, discontinuity of employment, loss of labour force skills and other related phenomena, is a mounting concern of this government. Recent and proposed changes in divorce laws and pension regulations address some of these issues. But then again this subject, as vitally important as it is, is not the issue raised by the motion under discussion.

February 27, 1978

Housewives' Allowance

Regarding the target population and the principal objective of the proposed policy study, namely, material support for parents with dependent children, I will address a fourth issue. This is the issue, as stated in the motion before us, of ensuring the adequacy of global income of families in relation to needs.

As you are all well aware, early in 1973 the government initiated a review aimed toward this objective: ensuring the adequacy of family income to meeting needs. At that time the Minister of National Health and Welfare tabled in this House the working paper on social security in Canada and launched the joint federal-provincial social security review. Since that review began there have been several major initiatives which have contributed very substantially to the attainment of the type of income security system envisaged by the hon. member for Bellechasse.

It will not be necessary to remind the House in detail of the many provisions that have come into being during the last few years through the sponsorship in the Ministry of National Health and Welfare and through the actions of this House. Among them I will cite only the tripling of family allowances, the tying of their purchasing power to the cost of living; the increases in old age security and in the guaranteed income supplement payments as well as their tying in to the consumer price index; the increase in Canada Pension Plan benefits and their protection against inflation as well as the increases which we have seen across the country in social assistance scheduled. Last but not least is the steep rise in income tax exemptions that has taken place.

Beyond these provisions, as I have already suggested, further income distribution proposals should be addressed to specific target populations in need. It is not sufficient to demonstrate that a segment of those affected are still in need in order to argue for augmenting universal income provisions. The taxpayer will not easily agree to give up more money for such unspecific purposes.

Therefore, the purpose of the motion must be understood to refer to the investigation and consideration of the needs of parents with dependent children which are not presently met by the broader income support systems. Clearly, only a portion of those with children will be found with valid claims for greater financial assistance; and that portion is by definition to be found largely among low income families. The motion, therefore, suggests that an investigation is necessary to determine in which income groups we still find parents with dependent children whose financial needs are not fully met for whatever reasons.

This is the type of issue which my department investigates on a continuing basis, and in so far as the issue raised by the motion is understood in these terms, I find myself in full agreement with it. Creating an atmosphere of Financial security for every Canadian does not mean that we can be complacent and pretend that all problems are being solved. There are

emerging needs and heightened perceptions of needs in a rapidly changing society which force us to be watchful and responsive at all times. In fact, as I have already stated in this House, the Department of National Health and Welfare is currently studying the means for instituting tax credits to benefit low-income earners and one-parent families, which are examples of how we seek to respond to changing needs in society. These studies, I might add, are also targeted in large measure to provide support to parents with dependent children.

Having said all that, I can now address a fifth issue, namely that this proposal does indeed refer to the provision of family allowances and income tax exemptions for dependent spouses and children. These are the two basic mechanisms available for the support of the child-rearing responsibilities of parents. With regard to family allowances, the first substantial step towards ensuring that family income matches family responsibilities was taken in 1974 by increasing the allowances to an average of $20 per month, by tying their purchasing power to the cost of living, and by maximizing the benefits to lower and middle income groups through the taxation of the allowance. In addition, provision was made for provincial legislatures to vary the level of federal family allowances, subject to national norms, in order to better integrate them with provincial social security systems. Two provinces, Quebec and Alberta, have taken advantage of these provisions.

With regard to personal income tax exemptions, I need only say that the basic deductions for the tax-filer, spouse, and two children under 16 today is $5,120 as opposed to $2,600 for the same family six years ago.

I would contend, Mr. Speaker, that the motion put forth by the hon. member for Bellechasse, although commendable in its intent, when examined closely comes down to a request for consideration of measures for the support of parents with dependent children in low-income situations, and that it is therefore misdirected in failing to take into account the existence of two very important provisions designed to accomplish precisely the objective which he advances. On the basis of these thoughts, Mr. Speaker, I cannot support this motion.

Topic:   PROCEEDINGS ON ADJOURNMENT MOTION
Subtopic:   SOCIAL SECURITY
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO PROVIDE ALLOWANCES TO HOUSEWIVES
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PC

David Samuel Horne MacDonald

Progressive Conservative

Mr. David MacDonald (Egmont):

Mr. Speaker, I am extremely grateful to the hon. member for Bellechasse (Mr. Lambert) for bringing forward this motion; it is an important contribution to the list of subjects considered by this House during the private members' hour. As the previous speaker recognized, this is a matter which has been causing increasing concern not only to people in government but to many in the private sector as well. I do not think we should lose sight of the fact that one important if not crucial aspect of this subject involves recognition of the value of labour, of work done by those who work in the home.

We should not assume, simply because of the appearance of this motion before us, that there has been widespread acceptance of the idea that a definite value should be attached to the contribution made by homeworkers. While traditionally the major part of home-making activities has been carried out by women, increasing numbers of men are choosing to spend a

February 27, 1978

certain amount of their time in the home carrying on homemaking activities as part of a changing lifestyle. It is important, I believe, to recognize this trend.

I am sure most hon. members can confirm this either from personal experience or from the experience of friends. I can think of friends of my own who from time to time have varied the sequence of participation in domestic tasks. It happens from time to time that one or other partner decides to leave the public labour force and work in the private labour sector of the home. Thus it is not totally the case that work in the home is reserved for women. There should be a flexibility attached to modern arrangements in societies such as ours.

Of course, changes of this kind do not come quickly or easily. Indeed, presentation of this motion does, of itself, create a danger-that in responding to the motion as it is phrased we might be moving toward a solution which would create more difficulties than the present problem. By this, we might be in real danger of reinforcing the whole notion of a female ghetto as represented by work in the home.

I say this because implicit in the motion before us is the idea that, basically, women should remain in the home. To concur with the proposition put forward in this motion would, I suggest, simply strengthen that particular conception. The thrust of the proposal is that women would be in a position to remain at home without suffering economic loss, a consideration of particular importance today when, unfortunately, a second income is necessary if many families are to survive. Such families find themselves in a situation where one wage-earner simply cannot supply the household needs. So especially at the lower end of the income scale we find women being forced out of the home not by choice but through economic necessity.

I can well imagine that the hon. member who proposed this motion has done so with the needs of such families in mind. However, adoption of the motion might lead to substantial difficulty. I would refer to a recent report of the Canadian Council on Social Development entitled "Women's Pensions", specifically to pages 124 to 126, which analyze the whole question of pay for housework. The report outlines the various arrangements which could be made to improve the economic position of those who work in the home but recognizes that specific solutions would almost ensure further dependency, locking women particularly into a housework role from which it would be very difficult to escape. Summing up the options available, the report states:

Finally, the pay for housework proposal does nothing to solve the sexual division of labour inside and outside the home. Indeed, it may simply serve to legitimize it.

That one sentence contains the nub of the difficulty presented by the hon. member's motion. Further, summing up the report on page 235, there are one or two further comments which go to the heart of the housework for pay question. I quote from paragraph two of page 235:

The recognition of so-called housework must be enhanced through fundamental reforms such as family law reform as well as through largely symbolic but important changes such as the inclusion of such work in the measurement of gross national product.

Housewives' Allowance

The author of this report, Mr. Kevin Collins, has done outstanding work with the Canadian Council on Social Development and has now gone on to work with the Canadian

Labour Congress. Here he has stressed the need to recognize the importance of the work which is done in the home. For far too long, those who have worked in the home, for the most part women, have been regarded as providing a service of a kind which in other fields was provided by slave labour. If this motion does nothing else this afternoon, it emphasizes once and for all that those who work in the home are adding every bit as much to the total welfare of society and the totality of the gross national product as those who are employed in the well-known and strong professions of society.

I say again that we owe great credit to the hon. member for Bellechasse for bringing forward this motion. However, as I said, the danger is that we will reinforce the notion of a ghetto. It would lock women in particular into a no-choice situation. They would be forced to remain in the home, even though that may not be their basic desire.

As some members will recall, only a few days ago in this House I raised some questions with the minister responsible for the status of women. Knowing his great interest in this question, I am sorry he is not here to participate this afternoon. I raised with him the report that had been distributed through my office by a group of concerned female public servants. They indicated there were considerable problems within employment in the public service of this country. I want to quote a couple of sentences from the report to show how difficult it is to break down the notion of these ghettos, whether they exist in the home or in the public service of this country. In the opening part of this report they state:

The attached is from a group of concerned women who are witnessing every day signs of increasing discrimination against women workers. Press reports have indicated that there is growing opposition to women workers. Few have reported on the fallacy of the argument that women are a cause of the high unemployment rate.

If women are the cause of increasing unemployment in our society, by all means let there be a regular allowance so that they can get out of the work force outside the home and stay in the home. However, if we were to take that very retrograde step, it would be a terrible disservice to the women of this country. The report goes on to note that we have already established in public service employment in this country a very great ghetto. I want to read a brief section from the report under the heading "Job Ghettos". I quote:

One million women work in the clerical group and half of them are stenographers, typists or receptionists.

This is in Canada generally.

In services, almost two thirds of the women work as cooks, waitresses or hairdressers. Of the half million professional women, more than 60 per cent are school teachers or nurses. In the federal public service, the percentage of administrative support jobs filled by women has increased steadily over the past five years (from 68.2 per cent in 1972 to 78.8 per cent in 1976), thus creating the biggest job ghetto in the public service.

February 27, 1978

Housewives' Allowance

When hon. members relate that to the figures of those women who are employed at the very senior levels of administration in the public service, they will realize what women in public service employment are up against.

According to a listing of departments from the Public Service Commission 1976 annual report, there were only 38 females in the senior executive capacity, known as SX, compared to 1,221 males. National Revenue with a total of 23,736 employees, of which 39.4 per cent were women. There were 55 employees in the SX category, but not a single woman. The Department of Supply and Services had 10,217 employees, 46.8 per cent of whom were women. Of 62 in the SX category, there was not a single woman.

In the Public Service Commission, which is charged with the redressing of the balance in terms of employment of women at senior levels, there were 4,042 employees; 55 per cent were women, there were 27 in the SX category, of which only one was a woman. Obviously she must have been regarded as a token woman in the SX category.

In the Department of Secretary of State where almost two thirds of the employees are women, there was not one in the SX category. CIDA, which deals with the development of countries around the world, with a thousand employees, roughly half of them women, with 31 people at the SX level, does not have one single woman at that level. That is the kind of situation women face today in the public service.

What concerns me about the motion today is that we might restrict the opportunity for women to have their rightful role at every level of employment, not just in certain ghettos outside the home as is presently the case at a clerical administrative level, but throughout the public service and employment in this country.

I will not carry on this debate any longer, Mr. Speaker. It has been a useful contribution to a particularly important question, and I hope other members will have an opportunity to contribute to it as well.

Topic:   PROCEEDINGS ON ADJOURNMENT MOTION
Subtopic:   SOCIAL SECURITY
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO PROVIDE ALLOWANCES TO HOUSEWIVES
Permalink
NDP

Stanley Howard Knowles (N.D.P. House Leader)

New Democratic Party

Mr. Stanley Knowles (Winnipeg North Centre):

Mr. Speaker, as the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Health and Welfare (Mr. Robinson) and the hon. member for Egmont (Mr. MacDonald) have indicated, it is possible, on the one hand, to praise the hon. member for Bellechasse (Mr. Lambert) for bringing in this motion and then to turn around and find all sorts of flaws in it. I suppose I could find a flaw in it myself. However, I am more concerned, to give my support to the intent of the motion, which is a good one for us to be considering this afternoon.

Time is going on and I shall not be part of the talking out process. I have learned in private members' hour how to say what is on my mind very quickly.

I feel that the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Health and Welfare missed one of the main points in this whole proposal. I recognize that in the motion there is a reference to the ensuring of a global income. However, it seems to me that the main reason for making payments of some sort to housewives and mothers is not just as an addition

to income, but as a means of recognizing the contribution these people make.

During the first part of his speech the parliamentary secretary showed no indication of that. When he got along into his speech, he talked about recognition. What did he say? Wives and mothers should enjoy the prestige that they have, that that should be sufficient recognition. That is where I threw in my reference about being members of parliament. There is a lot of prestige attached to our position as members of parliament, but we are not a group of people who are prepared to do it for no pay, just recognition. I submit that the time has come when we should recognize the work being done by housewives and mothers in the same way as we recognize all others.

I recognize the argument that the hon. member for Egmont made about job ghettos. However, I think he carried it a little bit far. I would like to see an equal chance for women whether they go out into the labour market or stay at home. As the hon. member pointed out, there are plenty of ghettos. However, I believe he is overplaying that word as far as life in the home is concerned. I contend that, there should be equal opportunity.

I promised myself to keep this contribution brief. However, I want to say a word about my concern with regard to equality for women which also extends to the time when they should be on pension. It is a shame we have not found some way of providing women in the home with the equivalent of the Canada Pension Plan. This might be one way of doing it. If we can put them on some sort of allowance or salary for the work they do in the home and count that as a contribution to the Canada Pension Plan, we might be able to do something about it. We shall have more to say about this matter on another occasion.

My main concern this afternoon is not to point out the flaws in the hon. member's motion but to commend him for bringing it forward and to encourage him to keep at it.

Topic:   PROCEEDINGS ON ADJOURNMENT MOTION
Subtopic:   SOCIAL SECURITY
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO PROVIDE ALLOWANCES TO HOUSEWIVES
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LIB

Simma Holt

Liberal

Mrs. Simma Holt (Vancouver-Kingsway):

Mr. Speaker, I did not intend to enter this debate this afternoon, but I cannot sit here and listen to this kind of tokenism, perpetuation of role locking a woman into the role of homemaker-a place in life she may not choose. If you want to pay your wife, pay her yourself; the country should not have to pay the cost. I do not think there are many women in Canada who would welcome this, as opposed to having essential help to what I would call the "displaced homemaker". These are women who have carried out this job as wife and mother for 10 or 15 years and raised their children with little imaginative support in the home. Their husbands were out enjoying themselves. I have worked all my life in that world and I know the men have had a much better and easier time of it. They have their coffee breaks and other privileges. They had freedoms, often, to act in a way I did not admire such as being disloyal to the women at home working.

February 27, 1978

We must give some consideration to those women who have been homemakers. There should also be equality in the home. We now have a number of househusbands, as they call them, who stay at home and look after the children. They must have equality with their wives who are out working. They are entitled to equal respect and equal opportunity.

This debate reminds me of what might have happened even before there were women in this House. This whole matter dates back to even before the 1920's. I have been in the work force now for about 35 years. I remember when men tried to prevent me from being in the outside work world. They told me, and are still trying to tell me, that my place is in the home. They suggest I have no right to be in the work force because, God forbid, I may be taking a job away from some man. There is nothing in our society that says men are superior, more competent and more able than that other 50 per cent of the population. It may very well be that our society, our governments, our institutions, our working force and, perhaps, the entire world would be better off if we recognized the fact that there is another 50 per cent of the population, the women- those members of society who not only make good mothers and homemakers, but also good lawyers, good accountants, good engineers-

Topic:   PROCEEDINGS ON ADJOURNMENT MOTION
Subtopic:   SOCIAL SECURITY
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO PROVIDE ALLOWANCES TO HOUSEWIVES
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?

An hon. Member:

Good members of parliament.

Topic:   PROCEEDINGS ON ADJOURNMENT MOTION
Subtopic:   SOCIAL SECURITY
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO PROVIDE ALLOWANCES TO HOUSEWIVES
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LIB

Simma Holt

Liberal

Mrs. Holt:

I thank the hon. member for Toronto-Lakeshore (Mr. Robinson) who says "good members of parliament". I would like to see 50 per cent equity in this House. We are always talking about giving proportional representation by race. Perhaps it is time we also said we should have proportional representation by sex-in the House of Commons and in the work force.

I know there are many women who will not accept this motion by the hon. member for Bellechasse and I do not blame them. Many of the young women today are studying law, medicine, etc., even while they are raising their children. This is much more difficult for them because there are still some men who do not think they have to ease the workload for women, even those at school or working. If there is work to be done in the home it should be paid for by whoever is earning the living, be it the man or the woman.

There must never again be another Murdock case in Canada. In that case a woman who had worked her whole life to help in the building of an estate lost it all because she happened to be a member of the female sex. In courtrooms women are strangers in a foreign land and are taken to the cleaners.

If a woman wants to stay at home she should have that right and be paid for the work she does there by the one who uses her services-if this partnership requires pay. 1 think the greatest occupation ever for a woman or a man is the raising of a family successfully. There are none I respect more than those who have done so. There are none in this world we can respect more than those who have brought children into the world and

Housewives' Allowance

fashioned them into good human beings. The children of today will be the leaders of tomorrow. There is nothing that says the woman alone must raise the family.

The greatest failures among children are the results of the very thing the hon. member is suggesting in his motion, that the men can abdicate their responsibilities and let the government take over in the raising of their children while the women stay at home alone. As the hon. member for Egmont (Mr. MacDonald) says, this would legitimize the servant status for women.

I had a cartoon slipped to me early this afternoon and it is amazing how appropriate it is to this debate. It comes from Grainews, published by the farm information services of the United Grain Growers Limited, P.O. Box 6600, Winnipeg. Hon. members can send for this cartoon if it pleases them to adopt a chauvinist line. It is a picture of two farmers beside an old cow. Beside them is an elderly woman walking away with a milk pail. Underneath it states: "I don't care how good she used to be! Look at those teats! She's a broken down old bag and I'd get rid of her!". That attitude is what it is all about. I say we must all strive here to get women equal rights and equal respect.

Do you know, Mr. Speaker, what happened to the homemakers of the generation just before mine? They finished their job of raising the children but were not prepared to go out and earn a living outside the home. Some ended up in mental hospitals; some managed to rebuild their lives; and some managed to learn to use their leisure properly. Many turned to alcohol. Those were the tragedies of once good wives and homemakers-rejected and lonely.

In my generation a few women have broken out and are free. Many of my friends have gone back to school in their middle years and are trying to find a way to catch up. During the 20 years they were destined to be in the home alone, without much help, they were left behind in the work world by men. In many cases the man and woman would enter law, for example, at the same time, but the woman would have to stop because it was her duty to stay at home with the children and keep house. While the woman stayed home, locked into this thing called "woman's duty," the man moved on to become a judge, the head of a bank, the head of a business, a head plumber, or a head horticulturalist. As a result, when the women were free to enter the work force they could only go into jobs such as waitresses and secretaries.

Let me stop here to say that the most important and strongest group of women in our society is that group made up of our secretaries. I have discovered-and perhaps this is why women have been kept out of the board rooms for so long- that the male executives do not want women to find out the truth of how they do their jobs. The jobs really are done by the secretaries. In the law profession for example, it is very interesting to note that the secretary does most of the work- the factumes, the reports and the statements of claim. She does all that work and may make $8,000 a year.

I thank the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre (Mr. Knowles) when he argues-

February 27, 1978

Bank Act

Topic:   PROCEEDINGS ON ADJOURNMENT MOTION
Subtopic:   SOCIAL SECURITY
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO PROVIDE ALLOWANCES TO HOUSEWIVES
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LIB

William Kenneth Robinson (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Health and Welfare)

Liberal

Mr. Robinson:

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I must take exception to some of the remarks of the hon. member. Being a lawyer myself I cannot agree that all of the things she has said are in fact accurate.

Topic:   PROCEEDINGS ON ADJOURNMENT MOTION
Subtopic:   SOCIAL SECURITY
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO PROVIDE ALLOWANCES TO HOUSEWIVES
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LIB

John Napier Turner

Liberal

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Turner):

Order, please. Let me suggest to the hon. parliamentary secretary that that is not a point of order but rather a point of debate.

Topic:   PROCEEDINGS ON ADJOURNMENT MOTION
Subtopic:   SOCIAL SECURITY
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO PROVIDE ALLOWANCES TO HOUSEWIVES
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LIB

Simma Holt

Liberal

Mrs. Holt:

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. They must defend their own injustices to women. I am not saying the parliamentary secretary is in this position, but many lawyers pay $8,000 a year to these women and charge $20,000 to $50,000 for the cases those women have prepared for them.

I say that young women now know they must prepare for their lives in their middle years. They will have to attain their degrees and nurture their talents in order to prepare their lives for the future. If both men and women share in the lives of their children, I am sure we will have happier children.

Topic:   PROCEEDINGS ON ADJOURNMENT MOTION
Subtopic:   SOCIAL SECURITY
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO PROVIDE ALLOWANCES TO HOUSEWIVES
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LIB

John Napier Turner

Liberal

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Turner):

Order, please. The hour for consideration of private members' business has now expired. It being six o'clock, I do now leave the chair until 8 p.m.

At six o'clock the House took recess.

Topic:   PROCEEDINGS ON ADJOURNMENT MOTION
Subtopic:   SOCIAL SECURITY
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO PROVIDE ALLOWANCES TO HOUSEWIVES
Permalink

February 27, 1978