January 27, 1939 (18th Parliament, 4th Session)

CON

Karl Kenneth Homuth

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. HOMUTH:

I referred a moment ago to the distress of our people and some of the promises that were made in 1935. Who can forget the tirade carried on by the Prime Minister, particularly in 1935, against the camps that were established throughout this country, or the promises he made that he would take the boys out of those semimilitary institutions and give them jobs throughout the country at decent wages? Yes, they closed the camps, but what did they do with the boys? Scattered them over the highways and byway's of Canada. Motoring through the country I have picked up many of them, forgotten men, uncared for by anyone. Who are these young men? If the crisis which threatened last September had broken, as many of us feared it would, they are the young men that this government would have expected to take their part in the military service of this country. They are the young men they would have expected to line up for whatever service the Department of National Defence wanted. They are the young men they would have gone to and said: Here is your opportunity to do something for your country. "Fight for the country-why?" they would ask. "Fight for the privilege of wandering up and down the highways and byways of this country, not wanted by anyone?" What answer could this government have given to them? If that crisis had broken, this government would have found ways to raise millions, yes hundreds of millions of dollars for the purpose of equipping these men, feeding and clothing them-for what? To defend Canada, yes; to be killed or to kill. If we can find money for that, why can we not find money to give them a chance to live and work out their destiny here? If we had been in power when the riots occurred in British Columbia about which we all read, I can easily imagine the Prime Minister and his supporters hurling taunts and accusations across the floor of the house about it. The riots that occurred out there were directly due to the policy of this government.
I have referred to the destitute people of this country. By destitute I mean people who are hungry, ill clad, ill housed, without decent

The Address-Mr. Homuth
living conditions. This government is working on a long range policy, so hon. members tell us in their speeches. As a result of it we have had three disastrous years. They are so busy looking at that long range policy, looking at the horizon hoping against hope that the sun of prosperity will break through, that they fail to see the poverty and destitution at their feet. We hear of communism in this country. Certainly -we have communism. The surprise to me, after the failure of this government to do something for the people of this country, is that we have not something worse. We all read the stories that appeared in the Globe and Mail relative to the condition of the fisherfolk of the mari-times. You do not have to go down there to find poverty-stricken people. You can find them in Ontario; you can find them in Ottawa; you can find them in every township, village, town and city throughout the Dominion of Canada.
I wonder what the poor, hungry people of this country think when they read in the press all the talk coming from the Liberal benches, and learn that the government are hunting for markets for the milk and cream produced on the farms of Canada, when we have thousands of children who are not getting enough milk to build strong, healthy bodies; that they are hunting for markets for our pork and our beef, when we have families in Canada that do not see meat twice a week. The same thing applies to many other commodities the hon. gentlemen are talking about exporting. Give our people jobs; give them adequate, steady wages; give the farmers decent prices for their produce. Then a great deal of this surplus produce will be used up. Our people do not want government pap; they do not need it. We have the right kind of people, who can work out their own destiny if they are only given the opportunity by those who are in power in the provinces and the dominion.
I said I wanted to deal at some length with the trade treaty, and because of my knowledge of the condition of industry in this dominion to-day I say that industry has the jitters and is afraid. There is no security for industry.

Topic:   GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY
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