July 2, 1935 (17th Parliament, 6th Session)


Angus MacInnis

Independent Labour


That is a communist tactic, hang those whom you do not like. Hon. members cannot do that just yet; although their leader is acting like a dictator; his dictatorship is nearly over. Perhaps they will keep quiet until I finish.
Last Wednesday I read from the report of the royal commission which investigated the relief camps in British Columbia. I shall not quote to-day from that report, but as hon. members opposite have shouted, "communist," I should like to quote some of the statements made by a man who lived in the camps before they were investigated by the royal commission. Although this man has been branded as an agitator the report is that he gave his evidence in a very intelligent manner. The report states:
Obviously intelligent and capable of taking a broad view of the situation, he drew praise from the commissioners for his testimony- and the manner in which he presented it.
The man is reported as saying:
They call me an agitator because I am trying to get better conditions for the men. It is not I or other men who are agitators, but the camps themselves.
That is what hon. gentlemen do not seem to want to understand. When this man was asked for suggestions as to what should be done he was again very reasonable. The report continues:
When asked for suggestions for improving camp conditions, Cumber stated bluntly that the men would not return to the camps "under the present setup" but admitted that he did "not see how it will be possible to eliminate the camps." "We will have to have camps of some sort, but they should be construction camps or lumber camps-where men work and are paid for it-not relief camps based on charity."
I maintain that that man who has been branded as an agitator was only voicing the sentiments which have been stated on the public platform by the Prime Minister of this country. The Prime Minister stated in 1930, that the unemployed wanted, not charity but work; not doles, but wages. The men are only asking what they asked for in 1930. W'hen these men came to put their just demands before constituted authority the first thing they were asked was, "where were you born?" That question was asked as though

B.C. Relief Camp Strikers
any man was responsible for where he was bom. I understand that our good friend Sir Herbert Holt is an Irishman but do hon. members suppose that when he comes to Ottawa he is asked where he was born? Are the members of other delegations which come to Ottawa asked where they were born? As a matter of fact we spent the good money of this country to bring those who are now in the camps into the country and when they come here to state their Claims we ask them where they were born.

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