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

LAB

James Shaver Woodsworth

Labour

Mr. WOODSWORTH:

-without hope, and with a sense of great injustice. Someone says Urey went there voluntarily. Technically that is true, but what was the alternative? As we have pointed out again and again, if they would not go into the camp they were on the streets, either to starve or become criminals. Those were the alternatives for the majority of those young men. Now conditions were bad. I am not going to repeat what I said here as late as Thursday evening last in connection with the supplementary estimate for an additional amount to be granted for national defence. I quoted from the report of the commissioners who were appointed to investigate these camps; briefly they pointed out that while on the whole conditions were not so bad, there were some very specific evils that had been rankling in the minds of the men, and they said, although it did not really come within the terms of their commission, that one of the greatest evils was that these men were required to work without wages and without hope, and they could not see how the men could maintain their morale under those circumstances. So in desperation the men started to go to Vancouver to call the attention of the public to their plight. Remember that these men have no hopes of remedying their condition even by the coming election, because if they return to their camps in practice they are prohibited from voting because no voting facilities are provided. A bill to give them such privileges, introduced from this comer, was refused by the house. That is the situation.
They came into Vancouver some months ago. At that time we tried to secure the opportunity of discussing the matter as one of urgent public importance. It was declared not urgent at that time. Later on, when they reached Regina, again we tried to discuss the matter. Again it was said that the matter was not urgent, and we ventured to say there
was danger of a clash if the government persisted in its policy. Unfortunately that clash has come, and I want to warn this govern^ ment that if it maintains the attitude it has maintained during the last few weeks there is very great danger that future clashes may come. There is no doubt of that.

Topic:   B.C. RELIEF CAMP STRIKERS
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