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


Jean-François Pouliot


Mr. POULIOT (Translation):

He is offering suggestions for the improvement of the bill.
Mr. DORil'ON (Translation): The reason why I raised those two points is that the honourable the Minister of Justice, if I am not mistaken, told us this afternoon, when he discussed the constitutionality of the act, that its going into effect was dependent on two conditions: first, that application should be made in accordance with the provisions of the act, and second, that the money should be spent for the welfare of the child. Now, in answer to the Minister of Justice, I have the right to show that this bill contains, as I said at the outset, sections which, in my opinion, are unconstitutional. I am discussing the principle of the bill by referring to the unconstitutional character of a few sections of this bill. From a practical standpoint, I wish to submit to this house the observations I have to make because, and I do say this with the utmost sincerity, the application of the bill in its present form will be impossible or it will entail so many difficulties that the measures which we now are considering for the benefit of children will not be operative. I think it is proper to discuss, on the matter of principle, the constitutionality of some provisions and the practicability of some others. I believe I am quite in order.
Mr. Speaker, as I was saying, section 6 provides for the setting up of a tribunal. I suggest that under section 92 of the British North America Act, subsection 14, this is a matter which is,within the exclusive jurisdiction of the provinces:
The administration of justice in the province, including the constitution, maintenance and organization of [DOT]provincial courts, both of civil and of criminal jurisdiction, and including procedure in civil matters in those courts.
And to exemplify, I would say that at one time some legislation had to be passed by this parliament in connection with the Bankruptcy Court, and it was desired to submit the dispute to a special court. Under the Bankruptcy Act that dispute had to be referred to provincial courts.
Section (d) of chapter 213 states:
"Court" means, in the province of Quebec, the Superior Court.
And section 104 of chapter 213 states:
Such an appeal shall lie to the highest court of final resort for the province or territory in which the proceeding originated.
Therefore, this parliament has no authority to set up this tribunal and clause 6 should be deleted or be amended, otherwise it might give rise to disputes which would prevent the operation of the Act. And further, as the bill now stands, I suggest that the tribunal

Family Allowances

in question would merely be a board to ratify the decisions of the minister as provided by section 5. We have at present in Canada courts capable of administering this act and in my opinion no other courts should be set up for this purpose.
There is another anomaly which I would point out and it is found in section 3. I am absolutely opposed to the decreasing scale of allowances because, as I said a moment ago, family allowances are intended primarily for large families. I suggest that under the scale provided in section 3 this principle is disregarded. As the family increases the allowance decreases. Therefore, I contend that this is contrary to the principle under which family allowances should be given to large families.
There is another and more serious anomaly. Here is the last paragraph of section 3:
Provided that the allowance payable shall, in respect of a fifth child maintained by the parent, be reduced by one dollar and in respect of a sixth child and a seventh child respectively so maintained, by two dollars and in respect of an eighth child and each additional child respectively so maintained, by three dollars.
What is meant by the word "maintain"? Referring back to section 2, I do not think the definition is what we might expect. Here it is:
"maintains" means maintains wholly or substantially.
Then, the word should be taken in its
etymological sense.
A man may have children over 16 whom he maintains and for whom he draws no family allowance, although they contribute to reduce the grant provided for his younger brothers and sisters. .
The following illustration is a perfect example of such a situation. Let us take a family with six children aged 20, 18, 16, 14, 12 and 10. The first three, as frequently happens, are still at school and therefore maintained by their parents; however, they do not entitle them to family allowances because they are over sixteen. The fourteen-year-old, the twelve-year-old and the ten-year-old are respectively the fourth, fifth and sixth children.
Under section 3, these last three children, the only members of the family entitled to the allowances, would see their grants reduced because they have older brothers maintained by their parents.
I consider this a flaw in this measure and, to my mind, it is in direct opposition to the principle of the bill.
I felt it important to point out these flaws and I deemed it my duty to call attention to them immediately so they may be remedied. A practical and properly applied family allowance legislation would answer an obvious need

throughout the country and would benefit the large families.
In concluding, Mr. Speaker, I shall quote, with your permission, an extract from a poem by Richmond Builder, which, I believe, summarizes this whole situation.
So Long As There Are Homes
So long as there are homes to which men turn At the close of clay,
So long as there are homes where children are-[DOT] Where women stay,
If love and loyalty and faith be found Across these sills,
A stricken nation can recover from Its gravest ills.
So long as there are homes where fires burn And there is bread,
So long as there are homes where lamps are lit And prayers are said:
Although a people falter through the dark And nations grope,
With God himself back of these little homes We still can hope.
On motion of Mr. Claxton the debate was adjourned.

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