February 17, 1954 (22nd Parliament, 1st Session)


Alexander Bell Patterson

Social Credit

Mr. Patterson:

I realize, Mr. Speaker, that we should not become hysterical over the situation that faces us. But when we have reference made to soup kitchens being established-and some members have made that reference-in order to meet emergencies, it reminds us of those years not so very long ago. I do not believe any one of us wants to see a repetition of those years, even members on the government side. We do not want to see a repetition of those past days.
Proposed Committee on Unemployment During some of those years at least I was in the grocery business. I remember mothers and fathers bringing in and placing on the counter a slip of paper authorizing us to give them $2 or $3 worth of groceries for the week. I well remember how often the clerks, when we were discussing the matter among ourselves, mentioned the fact that it was a serious situation when such conditions prevailed. Instead of asking for butter, or even for margarine, they would put down one or two pounds of beef dripping, which was to be spread on the bread for the children's lunches.
The problem exists right at the present time, and I was glad to hear the parliamentary assistant to the Minister of Defence Production (Mr. Dickey) at least acknowledge that fact. We have been discussing it from the viewpoint of its effect on the economic structure of our country, but I suggest that there is an even greater effect upon the life, character and morale of the people of Canada when they are subjected to such conditions. The problem exists, and we may as well face it; we may as well acknowledge it.
I believe we must look at it from two aspects. First of all there must be some immediate alleviation of the condition. A few days ago I received a letter from a section of my riding with respect to a young man who is unemployed at the present time. He had been working, but because of his domestic situation and marital problems-I guess he is not the only one with those, though I am not saying that I have any-

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