Mr. Chairman, representing as I do an industrial constituency, it will come as no surprise to you to hear me speak on a matter concerning the working people.
I am certainly quite happy to express to the Minister of Labour (Mr. Starr) as well as to the Conservative government the approval of the working people with regard to this measure which proposes to increase from 16 to 18 weeks the period during which benefits will be paid during the winter.
Over the past few weeks, we have heard hon. members from the other side of the house, Liberal members, speak of the situation of the workers in very lugubrious tones indeed. However, they have forgotten to say that a situation such as this does not spring overnight. If in certain parts of this country at this time there are a few areas where unemployment is prevalent, it can be attributed to the lack of foresight of the former government. It is from the former administration that we have inherited the situation facing us at this time.
However, it is of good omen that the Conservative party be called upon to deal with the situation. Every time this nation
has found itself in more or less difficult situations, it has turned to the Conservative party. I am happy to be a member of this party and to have the opportunity of helping my colleagues solve this problem which we inherited from our predecessors because of their lack of vision.
Workers in various centres will certainly be happy to learn that the benefits have been extended from 16 to 24 weeks under a Conservative government. In my own constituency of St. Hyacinthe-Bagot, official figures show that unemployment, far from increasing, has been decreasing.
Official figures which I obtained from the St. Hyacinthe unemployment insurance office show that last June there were about 1,500 unemployed registered at the local employment office. On October 31st last, always according to the figures from the unemployment insurance office in my district, this number was down to 1,100, which means a decrease of about 400 since we came to power in June last.
I would therefore like to draw the attention of this house and also of this country to the fact that the Conservative party is not the party of hunger, the party with a short memory or the party which spreads hardship everywhere but rather the party which can sympathize with human need, the party whose members all join here together trying to bring a solution to the problems left to us by our predecessors. In this, I choose to see evidence of the great satisfaction and also the great confidence we have in our Minister of Labour and in the Prime Minister of Canada (Mr. Diefenbaker).
I thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Subtopic: AMENDMENTS RESPECTING SEASONAL BENEFIT PERIODS, PAYMENTS, ETC.