April 4, 1938 (18th Parliament, 3rd Session)

LIB

Norman McLeod Rogers (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. ROGERS:

No; in this country. Not only that, but when we examine the improvement in employment conditions in Canada during the past year and a half we find that it has taken place mainly in those industries which received a new stimulus from the trade agreement with the United States. But the government has not by any means been content to let the matter rest there. We have gone from one country to another expressing our willingness to trade with them and we have entered into agreements that have laid a basis, we believe, for continuing expansion of our export trade. I am not suggesting that this trade will not be subject to fluctuations which may follow changes in international conditions; far from it. But I do say that with respect to its trade policies the government has made and is making a definite and practical contribution to the relief of unemployment in Canada and in the only way in the long run which is likely to mean the absorption of unemployed in independent and useful occupations.
I turn to another direction in which the government has stimulated industrial activity in Canada. I referred this afternoon to what had been done during the past two years
under agreements with the provinces looking to the encouragement of the tourist trade. In cooperation with the provinces we have built sections of the trans-Canada highway and have built new and accessible roads to national parks, and now I propose to refer to the stimulus that has been given to the great mining industry by the policies adopted by this administration.
It may be remembered that two years ago it was felt desirable that in order to bring new mines into operation, particularly those mines which were far removed or considerably removed from railway communication, special assistance should be given through the building of roads. That policy was initiated by this government under the direction of the Minister of Mines and Resources (Mr. Crerar). In 1936-37 the dominion made a contribution of 81,272,000 for this purpose and the province contributed $610,000, making a total of something under two million dollars for the improvement and building of mining roads. In 1937-38 the dominion contributed $1,300,000 and the provinces $600,000, again making a contribution of just under two million dollars. The employment created by the expenditure of these sums represents, for 1936-37, man days of work, 353.000, and at least fifty per cent of those working on these projects were taken from relief rolls; and in 1937-38, 332,000 man days, at least fifty per cent being again taken from relief rolls.
It is not possible of course to indicate precisely the effect that these roads have had on increasing mining production. But this at least is true. The roads were carefully selected and built into proved mining areas, and this made it possible for prospectors and mining companies to bring in machinery and, in certain instances, to establish mills which otherwise would not have been set up. In the last three years there has been a remarkable increase in the gold production or mineral production of the country. These are the figures:
1935 $312,000,000
1936 362,000,000
1937 456,000,000
That surely represents again a marked contribution to the relief of the unemployment situation. In that connection I should like to make it clear to the committee that the government assisted the mining industry in more ways than through the construction of roads. It may be recalled that in what I think was the first budget of this administration, additional encouragement was given to

Relief and Agricultural Distress
new mines coming into production. An amendment to the Income War Tax Act provided that all new metalliferous mines coming into production between the first day of May, 1936, and the first day of January, 1940, would be exempt from income tax for a period of three years. Here, too, there can be no question at all that this policy has been of substantial assistance in enabling many small mines to get properly on their feet and go into production. These mines have swelled the total production to which I referred a moment ago.
May I also refer to what has been done, partly for the relief of those in need and partly for the stimulation of a great industry, by another department of the government. I refer to the Department of Fisheries. The fishing population in certain provinces has passed through very difficult times; yet despite conditions of poverty with which many members of this committee must be familiar these fishing families in Quebec and the maritime provinces were most reluctant to go on direct relief. They have, in many instances, a very low standard of living. Anyone who is familiar with the work they carry on cannot but feel that no class of people in this country is more deserving of our consideration than these fishermen. This government took special measures to deal with the needs of our fishing, population. Out of the appropriation of the Department of Fisheries for the fiscal year 1936-37, some 8200,000 was spent, in cooperation with the provinces concerned, in order to aid in the reestablishment of needy fishermen in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Quebec. From the joint fund provided by the dominion and .the respective provinces 6,649 loans to fishermen and 22 loans to fishermen's associations were made in the maritime provinces, while in Quebec some 8,930 fishermen received grants. During the last fiscal year, under another appropriation, the sum of 8400,000 was used for the same purposes.

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT RELIEF
Subtopic:   MEASURE FOR ALLEVIATION OF UNEMPLOYMENT AND AGRICULTURAL DISTRESS
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