July 25, 1944 (19th Parliament, 5th Session)


Herbert Alexander Bruce

National Government


If we are to encourage large families, then I think care should be taken that they are eugenically of the kind that will be most likely to improve our race. This bill will result in many cases in bonusing families who have been unwilling to defend their country. May I venture to suggest that our object should be quality rather than quantity. It is surely time for parents to give some consideration to the question of how many children they can afford to bring up. It is not fair to bring children into the world just to satisfy an uncontrollable impulse without thought of whether sufficient food and other necessities will be available for them. Surely there must be some alternative to baby bonuses which will preserve the sanctity of the family, maintain a normal birthrate, and place the major economic burden of raising children where it belongs, upon the parents. Why should a hard working man who has planned a normal sized family have to curtail his wishes because he is heavily taxed in order to help to support a large family of shiftless people, and perhaps in some cases the lazy man who counts on the
state keeping him and whatever he likes to bring into the world? Hitler used this method as part of his campaign to raise the birthrate when the nazis set out to equalize the economic burden of raising big families through the family equalization fund. The nazis paid such big subsidies for children that it was actually possible in Germany for a man to earn more by begetting babies than he did by working for a living. I am not opposed to aid for children, but I am opposed to this particular form of aid, family allowances, because it gives no guarantee that the children will benefit, because it will be costly and cumbersome in operation, full of inequalities, and finally because it is the essence of the dole. Another major objection to cash family allowances is that they place upwards of two million families, more than two-thirds of the families in this country, on the public payroll. Every month they will look to their fairy godmother, Ottawa, for a hand-out.
Another reason why I oppose this bill is that it is unconstitutional and an invasion of provincial rights, as my leader pointed out this afternoon. It should not have been introduced before having a dominion-provincial conference and getting their consent to an amendment to the British North America Act, which amendment, would then have to be adopted by the British parliament. Is it not amusing to observe a Liberal government, which laughed at Aberhart's $25 a month to all families, suddenly bringing down a baby bonus proposition which will cost the country $200 million or more? This bonus will be given to children up to fifteen years of age, whereas even in Russia it is proposed to bonus children only up to five years of age. It should be remembered that the government will get the money for their largesse out of the people by taxes. This means that everyone who pays taxes will have less money to educate and bring up his own family. I believe that it is a fact that sixty-three per cent of the families with ten or more children live in the province of Quebec. Contrast this with British Columbia where families are small and where forty per cent have no children living at home. When eight provinces realize that they are being taxed for the benefit of one province, will it not accentuate the disunity which has shaken Canada from coast to coast, because the government chose to listen to the powerful voice of this same province which refused to share equally with others in fighting the common enemy? Will these eight provinces not be justified in concluding that this is a subsidy for votes as well as for babies, and that this

Family Allowances

undigested bill has been rushed in before a provincial election and a pending federal election with the object of influencing votes in the government's favour?

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