October 11, 1932 (17th Parliament, 4th Session)


James Shaver Woodsworth



May I suggest, Mr. Speaker, that any man who wants to ridicule that kind of thing is hardly fitted for a place in this house. When we get away from our figures and our great international policies and get down to cases like that, then I ask, what application have a great many of the phrases in the speech from the throne to the lives of the ordinary people of this country? In Toronto Saturday Night I see a writer, basing his calculations on government statistics, declaring that there are 100,000 young men coming forward every year, our own Canadian-born, looking for jobs, while there is no place in which they can be absorbed. A great many of these young men are college graduates, and others are high school boys. Many of these young men are riding the freight trains. I made an appeal yesterday that if possible these transients might be returned to their destination after the harvest was over, and one newspaper states that I was appealing to have them allowed to ride the freight trains to go home. That was not my thought at all. Our coaches are almost empty these days, both on the Canadian National and on the Canadian Pacific, and I say that the least the government could do would be to afford these young men transportation on decent trains. The trouble with many of these transients is that no one can say where their domicile really is. They have not been located in any particular place for any length of time; they have been transient labourers drifting back and forth, helping with the harvest in the west in one season, and in another season working in the timber forests of the north. It is not fair to insist that they be regarded as domiciled in any one place; that is not the way in which this country has been developed. But they should be cared for, and it is simply adding insult to injury when we talk as if these people were criminals and begin to lecture them about avoiding anything that will sap their powers of initiative.
The speech from the throne refers to the "enviable financial position of this country," and I admit that a few financial and industrial concerns may be prosperous. I noticed some 53719-5
weeks ago, in the New York Times of June 12, a statement with regard to the Standard Oil Company of New Jersey:
As Imperial earned the equivalent of 68 cents a share last year, the New Jersey company included in its consolidated report $12,784,000 from this source.
So that our Canadian oil company is assisting to the extent of $12,000,000 to keep up the tottering structure of the New Jersey company. Banks and some other institutions are prospering; but what about Canada's 500,000 unemployed, to put it at the minimum? What does the speech suggest for them?
The problem of unemployment continues to receive the anxious attention of my ministers.
After three years the problem of unemployment "continues to receive the anxious attention of my ministers."

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