April 10, 1934 (17th Parliament, 5th Session)


William Lyon Mackenzie King (Leader of the Official Opposition)



I desire to
make a slight explanation in view of what was said last night. In discussing the expenditures made for relief purposes during the years 1920-1930 I stated that the total expenditure had amounted to $10,000,000. I should have said that the total expenditure in that period amounted to some $2,000,000, and I should like to give to the house the exact expenditures, because it is an all-important point with respect to the auditing of the accounts for that period as contrasted with the significance of the auditing of the larger amounts which have been paid out since.

Relief Act, 1934
The following amounts were paid out in the years mentioned for relief purposes:
Year- Amount
1920- 21 $343,036 551921- 22
500,000 001922- 23
924,025 291923- 24
4,273 831924- 25
199 <1-96
1926- 27! 77,684 66
1927- 28
1928- 29
1929- 30
The total contributions by the federal government to unemployment relief during the years 1920-1930 inclusive was Sl,849,020.33. May I say to the committee that after speaking last night I noticed that I had made that error, and in going over the Hansard notes, I made the correction, so that it would read that the total expenditure had not exceeded $2,000,000, which was the figure I ought to have used.
To touch upon another matter I would point out that the Minister of Labour yesterday cited from an order in council, the whole of which, he said, I had not given. He said he thought that I had omitted-quite unintentionally, he added-indicating that there had been audits prior to the passing of the item I was quoting from, namely, the order of March 12 of this year, being P.C. 222. I do not think the minister could have remembered or seen what I said during the previous discussion. Two or three times I referred to this order in council but I did not on each occasion go through the whole of it. I made clear the fact that there had been other audits on the occasion of my first reference. I have before me the discussion of March 22, 1934, from which I may read what I then quoted. I said on that occasion:
Let me read two clauses from the order in council:
"And whereas the audits and investigations which have been made and reported upon by the auditor general, in pursuance of the directions hereinbefore recited, have disclosed the necessity for a more extended audit of the accounts relating to relief expenditures if the interests of the dominion treasury are to be adequately safeguarded; . . . Now therefore His Excellency the Governor General in Council, on the recommendation of the Minister of Labour, is pleased in the exercise of the powers so conferred by the Relief Act, 1933, to order and doth hereby order and direct the auditor general to conduct such audit of provincial and municipal accounts in connection with unemployment relief expenditures as he deems essential to safeguard the interests of the dominion treasury."
In other words, I had that very circumstance in mind when I referred to the order in council, 74726-126
namely, not in any way to mislead the committee as to previous audits. But subsequently in the discussion, when dealing more hurriedly with other points, I did not refer again to the first part of the order in council. I thank the minister for saying that he felt at the time, in reference to what I had quoted, that he did not think I had intentionally sought to mislead the house.

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