Willis Keith BALDWIN

BALDWIN, Willis Keith

Personal Data

Party
Liberal
Constituency
Stanstead (Quebec)
Birth Date
March 17, 1857
Deceased Date
April 19, 1935
Website
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Willis_Keith_Baldwin
PARLINFO
http://www.parl.gc.ca/parlinfo/Files/Parliamentarian.aspx?Item=11c1de4a-fa81-4eed-a5ee-c2cb0f060d6c&Language=E&Section=ALL
Profession
lumber merchant, merchant

Parliamentary Career

December 17, 1917 - October 4, 1921
L LIB
  Stanstead (Quebec)
December 6, 1921 - September 5, 1925
LIB
  Stanstead (Quebec)
October 29, 1925 - July 2, 1926
LIB
  Stanstead (Quebec)
September 14, 1926 - May 30, 1930
LIB
  Stanstead (Quebec)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 1 of 42)


April 7, 1930

Mr. W. K. BALDWIN (Stanstead):

Mr. Speaker, there has been unemployment since time immemorial. The worst I remember was directly after the American civil war, when Ontario and Quebec were invaded by armies of men who were willing to do any kind of manual labour for their bed and board.

I was amused the other evening by the remarks of the hon. member for Inverness (Mr. Macdougall). He flayed the Minister of Labour to the best of his ability, even accusing him of using bad grammar. While he spoke I thought that if his teachers and professors could have heard him they would have wept for his own inaccuracies and mistakes. The hon. member went on to claim that the Prime Minister was not what he should be, and so on. I want to tell my hon. friend that I happened to be in the United States during the last presidential election, and while I was there I heard some prominent people arguing about magazine interviews with the two candidates. While they were speaking I said, " How would your candidates compare with the Prime Minister of Canada?" For a few moments they stopped their argument, and both said, "We have no such men over here. We had to appeal to the gentleman who is now the Prime Minister of Canada to come to this country at a very strenuous period of its history." They referred to a time when capital and labour were at swords' points throughout the land, and the American government wanted a man who could cope with the situation. Princeton, Harvard and Yale universities were questioned, and each institution gave the name of Right Hon. W. L. Mackenzie King. He went to that country and

Unemployment-Mr. Baldwin

saved hundreds of millions of dollars by starting industry working again; strikes were stopped almost entirely and capital and labour declared peace. That was a work worth while.

Then the hon. member for South Wellington (Mr. Guthrie) said there was an immediate need for this government to vote $500,000, $1,000,000, $2,000,000 and finally

$3,000,000 for the relief of unemployment. Ever since I came into this house I have been in favour of making all criminals work for their living; I have opposed keeping people in prison in idleness. I would not give any money to ablebodied men who are able to eat their three meals a day. Surely we can find work for them to do somewhere. In the state of Vermont they are providing work in the beautifying of the sides of the highways, the removal of eyesores and obstacles and all that sort of thing. There is plenty of work in this country. I should like to ask the hon. member for South Wellington if he does not agree with me that to give money promiscuously throughout the country would be equal to the dole system in England, which has practically destroyed that country. I would not be guilty of doing such a thing as that. I am sure the hon. member for Halifax (Mr. Black) and the hon. member for Lincoln (Mr. Chaplin) would agree with me, if they were in their seats. The thrifty man Who has managed to accumulate some means does not desire to give his money to loafers.

Of course, I would not see a mother or a child suffer for food, but I say that ablebodied men in this country should not be fed at the expense of any government, unless they work. Certainly we can find work somewhere; we could build a trans-Canada highway across Canada, if necessary, but I never would vote for any measure which would grant money to idle able-bodied men. I believe, with the hon. member for Comox-Alberni (Mr. Neill), that men loafing six weeks become hoboes, and men loafing six months in many cases become criminals. I believe that is altogether too true. I think laziness is a habit; after a time an idle person begins to hate work and will not support his family. Even criminals in prisons would work, if I had my way about it. They could do something; they could be taken on the land in the summer and help till the soil. It is a terrible thing to keep these criminals there in idleness, the young and old together, the criminal who has committed a minor offence herded in with the hardened criminal. That is a terrible state of affairs, and I would not allow it nor would I vote any money to be spent in supporting that class of people. There is enough

labour to be performed in this country. If the people who are without labour would work in conjunction with the municipalities and with the provinces, perhaps this thing could be worked out if the promise was given only to assist those rvho woidd work.

Who is to say that the Canadian Pacific Railway and the Canadian National Railways and other great corporations are not to get people from foreign countries? The presidents of those great railways have said for years that our railway and canal systems and the other great institutions of this country require at least a population of 15,000,000. When the United States was getting together its great population no immigration barriers were raised. People came to the United States from the utmost parts of the world. They came from many countries wh'ere the return with a thousand dollars would enable them to live in comfort for the remainder of their lives. The Canadian Pacific Railway Company has great tracts of land which were granted to them before they built that railway, and they cannot sell it to Canadian people. Canadians do not want to work upon the land because their sons and daughters have been educated to enjoy the amusements and frivolities of the cities. They must have those amusements even although they have no money; they figure that they can commit some crime to put something into their own pockets, or get into somebody else's pockets. This country cannot be developed without that vigorous class of people from Scandinavia, Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Germany. We have some wonderful examples of what those people can do, and settlements can be found in the province of Ontario which demonstrates the thriftiness of that class of people.

Our people seem to have gone money crazy. Most of the girls in the country say openly that they will not marry anyone but a millionaire. If that state of mind continues, the birth rate will be controlled because that class of people do not want to be bothered with children.

The United States allowed people to enter that country without the least restriction. For many years on an average of 1,000,000 people annually arrived at Ellis island. Many of those people arrived in the early part of the year and returned home in the fall to remain ihere during the winter months. But that was possible because transportation by both land and sea was very cheap. People went on the land fifty, sixty and seventy years ago to obtain a living, but to-day their only thoughts seem to be as to how they can

Unemployment-Mr. Baldwin

enrich themselves. They become unhappy and troublesome and do not possess that love of country which would give them the desire to stay on the land and reap the return of an enhanced value. I have met people from the United States who settled on the land forty or fifty years ago and who are now able to rent their farms at such a price per acre as to provide them with world tours, from which they return once a year to collect their rents. They were a fine class of old country gentlemen, who lived quietly and biologically; they kept themselves free from disease and foolishness by sane life on the land. I am told that there are settlements in Ontario and in the northwest of people who have gone to those localities and who have stayed there. I do not know whether or not they built the so-called dug-outs, or whether or not they built pole houses with thatched roofs, but they became thrifty, they own their land and have money with which to buy additional acres. That is the class of people we must get to populate this wonderful and magnificent country. Our boys and girls will not consider a life which requires so much labour and which deprives them of the amusements and frivolities of city life. They want to have automobiles and spend their time running and gadding about the country.

This may not be the time to mention this subject, but I was told by an aviator in Montreal-by the way, I believe in aviation, although I do not care to go up myself at the present time-that out of twenty-eight accidents which occurred last year in Canada, twenty-seven were caused by the man at the controls. I will not mention this terrible accident here in Ottawa, outside of saying that my friend knew that aviator very well. It will be necessary to enact more stringent laws than we have to-day, governing the licensing of air pilots. If we had enough Lindberghs in this country there would be very few accidents, and if I remember rightly, Lindbergh was a Scandinavian. I think his mother came over from Norway or Sweden, and she is now teaching in the state of Michigan. They said Lindbergh was crazy, but he did not prove to be so crazy when he left America to cross that boundless and ice-covered territory for Europe. If Lindbergh were in this city to-day, and had the time I would not hesitate one moment to go up in the air with him. Tests should be made of those men who are to guide these ships of the air. They should live according to all biological rules, and not be excessive in anything. They should not partake of any stimulants, and should be clean livers. But, Mr. Speaker, I

do not suppose that these remarks would apply to the relief of unemployment.

Unemployment is caused largely by the great increase in inventions. Many newly invented machines are doing the work of several people, but there is one class of people who come from the old country, for which there is a great need-domestic servants. In the eastern townships there is a continual waiting list for this class of immigrant, and it is almost impossible to obtain a domestic who will remain a domestic for any great time.

Men cannot be found who do not insist on employment for the full year. Generally Speaking, the farmer can employ only one man and woman for the entire year, although he may need additional help during the summer season. In olden times there were plenty of unmarried men who would remain with the farmer or the lumber man during the slack season for a nominal amount plus his board. But there is no more of that; they say: "If I cannot get the big pay I got when you needed me, I will not work for the small pay when you have not much for me to do." Domestic service is one of the best employments in this country for an uneducated girl, because she gets her board and generally she has as good a room as any member of the family; in fact, she is usually regarded as one of the family. If she is getting $5 or S6 a week, she does, not realize that her room may be worth 85 or $6 a week and surely her board is worth as much. If she were to go to a city for employment and secured a job at S15 a week, she would hardly be getting as much as she does as a domestic. But she thinks she does not have as much liberty as the girl in the city. Perhaps not, but by staying on as a domestic and learning what a wife's duties should be she has a much better chance to become a healthy girl and a good wife and mother.

To come back to the unemployment question, it seems to me so silly-because, as I said at the beginning, unemployment has been with us from time immemorial-to raise all this hue and cry and berate the Minister of Labour (Mr. Heenan). The hon. member for Inverness (Mr. Macdougall) made against our esteemed minister bitter charges which were very different from what the hon. member for St. Boniface (Mr. Howden) had to say about the minister. I do not believe any hon. member in his heart of hearts would defame the Minister of Labour; nor do I think in their right minds they would make against the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) accusation not befitting at least a young member

Unemployment-Mr. Baldwin

As regards this contention over matters that cannot be controlled there is but one remedy, and that is for the government to carry on public works and to give a fair remuneration to the people employed on them. These works are diversified in character; there are wharves, rip-rapping to keep the rivers in their proper channels, public buildings and highways. I cannot believe it would be a good policy for the government to construct national highways, although the United States are giving vast sums to the different states, and they call the roads so assisted government or state roads. We have in this country many places that can be beautified and made productive by the expenditure of money, let it come whence it may. In this way we could give work to our people who wish to work, and if we have in Canada foreigners who do not want to work, I would have them deported. The period within which they can be deported is five years and we have in this country some vicious men who should have been deported before that period elapsed. About every week when I am in Montreal I see quite a number of people who have just come to Canada, and I am glad to see them come if they will help to develop our wealth; because we heard it said during and after the war that we needed people to develop our naitural resources and to help to pay our national debt. Surely if we can get people who will cost the country nothing to bring them here, it is a good idea. Everyone is pretty well agreed that assisted immigration should stop, and I believe no more money should be spent in that effort. Everyone knows that Australia is not very alluring at the present time. There were a few years when Australia was attracting more people, but she is at present in a bad financial position; England does not seem to be getting much better, while Germany and some other countries are getting worse. I do not say that we want a Mussolini to rule in this country, but in Italy the chief ruler makes the people stay on the land.

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April 7, 1930

Mr. BALDWIN:

Most emphatically she

did not. The Lord helps those who help themselves. I do not put myself on a par with the Almighty, but I like to see people do something for themselves. My hon. friend from Mackenzie (Mr. Campbell) asks me how I would deal with unemployment. I will tell him: Get to work. You cannot put

any energy into sissified, pussyfooting and spineless people. If you knock them down, they might get up and come at you. There is no other way under the sun. You can lead a horse to water but you cannot make him drink, and so long as men can stay around the city and town and sponge their living, many of them will not work. There are several ways of begging. There is the polite way of living on your friends, borrowing money from them. That is simply giving your money away because they do not intend to pay you back. The sum of $337,000 has gone out of my office here in the last six years and I never expect to see a red cent back, but my philanthropy is a little less now than it was then. I have learned a considerable amount about human nature, and the man you help most is the one who will evade you, who will not speak well of you, and at election day probably will be the last man to vote for you.

There is no way in which we can sit here and legislate to make people work. Legislation will not stop unemployment. The hon. member for South Wellington (Mr. Guthrie) wants $2,000,000 or $3,000,000 taken out of

Unemployment-Mr. Esling

the treasury to relieve unemployment. I would not let a woman or child go hungry in this country, and there are hundreds of thousands of other people who feel just the same way, but I would not vote to help an ablebodied loafer. I would make him work if there was any law in this country to make him do it. I know from my own experience that it is easier to do your own work than to get any of that class to do it for you. I think our Minister of Labour is doing all that any minister of labour could do. I notice that my thrifty friend from Halifax (Mr. Black) and my hon. friend from Lincoln, who I understand have accumulated a good deal of this world's goods, are not jumping to their feet and saying: Grab the money out of the treasury to relieve this awful unemployment situation. I have not heard a word from them, not one, and I do not think we shall hear from them in this debate. Are we never going to think of the people in this country who toil and labour and delve, working overtime? If they have accumulated money by their own hard work, are we going to tax it out of them to the last cent? There were too many in the last war who stayed at home and said: We will spend the last dollar. They had a flippant tongue, but no capital, and were mighty glad not to go to the front. I know that class, even ministers of the gospel. It is not laughable.

AVhen we talk about alleviating unemployment, there are old rookeries in Montreal and other cities that we could get rid of and put up public buildings there. I do not want to repeat what has been said about not giving a five cent piece to a Tory government, but I will say this, that if the Tories were in power they would not give a five cent piece to a Liberal government. I was never a very bigoted politician, and I believe there are good people and bad in every party. It may be suggested that one way of relieving unemployment would be to tear down our old, unwholesome buildings and embellish the sites with new and beautiful structures. But then the government would have to go into the rental business, and people who moved in woidd say: This is government property and we should live here free. There are a lot of people too lazy to work who think they are quite capable of running the country. I do not suppose there is a member here who is not asked by some of his constituents now and again: What are you doing up there in Ottawa? And then they proceed to tell him how parliament should be conducted. Whole multitudes think they should get into the civil service and have soft jobs because a few

Toms, Dicks and Harrys under the old patronage system got into the service, although they were as illiterate as jack rabbits.

It takes money to alleviate unemployment.

I believe a trans-Canada road would be a good investment, if it could be undertaken. It should be built as far north as possible, say, up by the Hudson Bay railway, so you would hold tourists from across the line the maximum time. Up there they would find it cool and breezy. But I would not allow them to bring in more than a thousand cigars and ten thousand cigarettes. I have known some pretty smart customs officers who thought tourists should not bring in a carload of cigarettes and cigars, but these officers were found fault with because-

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April 7, 1930

Mr. BALDWIN:

A man who would do

that is hardhearted. I have many mortgages,

but I have never yet intimated to a man that he should get off the land. I would rather give a man a farm than foreclose him, because the courts are all in sympathy with the man you are foreclosing and you would not foreclose many men before you would get sick of your job.

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April 7, 1930

Mr. BALDWIN:

Has the mortgage been

foreclosed?

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April 7, 1930

Mr. BALDWIN:

That is a fact. Mussolini does not allow people Who are living on a farm to leave it.

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