I would like to follow up the statements made by the hon. member for Quebec South (Mr. Power) by reading the statement issued to the press by the minister and asking him whether or not it correctly interprets what he intended to say. The following appeared in the Mail and Empire of February 18, 1931, under the name of a very reputable member of the press gallery, Mr. Blacklock:
To-day Dr. MacLaren said the reduction "is regarded as a somewhat temporary measure and it is hoped an improvement in the rates will be effected before long." The text of his statement reads:
"The issue of relief by the department of Pensions and National Health was always regarded as an emergency measure. It was never intended that it should constitute a permanent addition to pensions. The relief issue through this department is restricted entirely to pensioners."
"This year the demands have greatly exceeded the appropriation passed by parliament and much more. The number of applications for relief have more than doubled as compared with previous years. At January 31 last, the amount expended was something more than double the amount expended during a similar period last year."
"Complaints have been made as regards the distribution of this relief, and the relief has been placed on the minimum scale pending investigation. Consequently, the administrative officers of the department were informed that, pending further instructions, a reduction would be made in the amounts issued. This reduction is regarded as a somewhat temporary measure, and it is hoped that an improvement in these rates will be effecter before long."
"In no case will hardship result, for there will be such readjustment as will meet the circumstances."
I now ask the minister whether or not that correctly interprets the statement given to the press, and I plead with the Prime Minister to permit the minister to answer for himself.
Subtopic: DEPARTMENT OF LABOUR