Gladys Grace Mae STRUM

STRUM, Gladys Grace Mae, B.A., B.Ed.

Personal Data

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)
Qu'Appelle (Saskatchewan)
Birth Date
February 4, 1906
Deceased Date
August 15, 2005
homemaker, teacher

Parliamentary Career

June 11, 1945 - April 30, 1949
  Qu'Appelle (Saskatchewan)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 87 of 87)

October 1, 1945


I do not think we need to have any more royal commissions to deal with what happened to the veterans of the last war. We have the evidence in every community, and anyone who has lived here since the last war, as I have, does not need any royal commission to find out what happened. I submit, Mr. Speaker, the thing that happened to the veterans is the very same thing that happened to everybody else in this country; they were the victims of a set of circumstances with which our governments failed to deal. There are a few things in the brief submitted to the Rowell commission by the Hon. T. C. Davis, who was the attorney general of Saskatchewan in 1937, that have not yet been mentioned, and I am going to bring them to the attention of the house for a few moments.

We have recently dealt with the problem of a floor price for agricultural products. I wish to draw the attention of hon. members to the fact that in the eighteen years between 1920 and 1937 wheat reached SI a bushel only six times. Only six times in eighteen years did those veterans get what we now say should be the floor price. I should like to draw the attention of the house to the fact that in those eighteen years cattle went as low as $18, $19, $20, $22 a head, and the highest price recorded was $59 a head. I wish to draw the attention of the house to the fact that those veterans who were selling eggs took, according to the report of the Saskatchewan government, as low as seven cents a dozen for the year's average, which meant that those eggs went as low as three cents a dozen when they hit the rock-bottom price in the summer months. I think, we must accept these figures; they are the figures submitted by a Liberal government to a royal commission, and I believe them. I lived through them, Mr. Speaker, and I know what they meant to the family income and to debt. These people have produced enormous quantities of wealth, huge surpluses and gluts,

Soldier Settlement

and the worst part of the whole picture was the price failure, not the crop failure. The result was huge burdens of unpaid interest that became principal and finally took the farms out from under the feet of those people who had saved us from the fate of the people of France and Belgium.

If I were a veteran coming into this country to-day and saw a parliament sitting here talking about what each speaker in all parts of the house has called simple justice; "simple justice" everybody says, and yet we sit here and do nothing. I have been warned that is what is called "talking it out." I have been warned that you can talk a measure out so that you do not have to deal with it, and then you do not have to account for your actions. I hope that is not what we are witnessing, although I have a horrible suspicion-if I were a veteran coming back to-day I would feel very jittery to think that the new government was that kind of a government, and that that sort of policy would affect my future in the next few years.

We hear references to family allowances, and that the family allowance is a means of farm security. I think the family allowance is a good thing; I never criticized it. The C.C.F. were the few people who talked about it in the last few years. I did not hear a popular demand in the country for family allowances aside from C.C.F. platforms, when we said that they had started them in New Zealand and that it would help the mother of a family-

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October 1, 1945


Perhaps in this house, but I first heard about them, not in Canada but in New Zealand when I visited there in 1939. But there is one thing that many people overlook, namely, that your children grow up; they do not stay under sixteen. And what are you going to do with the bachelors who are farming? What are you going to do with the married couples who have no children? The family allowance is not farm security. The family allowance will not buy underwear for the children, let alone take the place of a crop or decent prices. Therefore I hope that this house will not fail to deal with this thing which is just simple justice.

I am amazed at people talking about the weakness of sentiment. I want to ask the house, did we refuse to use sentiment in 1914, 1915 and 1916? Did we appeal to those boys on the basis of good business? Did we ask them to enlist because there was money in it, or did we appeal to them on the sentiments that were worthy of the occasion? The only

reason why I am in this house is that I care what happens to people. I am not interested in the dollars and cents angle of this business. I would not be here if I did not care about people, and the sentiments that move me are the sentiments that have to do with how people live and work, and how governments discharge their obligations. Therefore I move, Mr. Speaker, that the question be now put.

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September 20, 1945


Is the hon. member aware that New Zealand began as early as 1939 to pay old age pensions at the age of sixty?

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September 11, 1945

Mrs. GLADYS STRUM (Qu'Appelle):

At the outset, Mr. Speaker. I must express regret at your ruling this afternoon. I had prepared what has been referred to by the press as an essay, of which they said we had had several read yesterday. The result may be that I shall have three speeches, the one I had prepared, the one I am about to give and the one I shall wish to-morrow I had given.

In my first words I want to state that I appreciate more than I can say the responsibility that devolves upon me as the only representative of my sex in this house. Mine is a rural constituency which runs from the boundary of Manitoba to the city of Regina, including an urban section; and I shall keep in mind the electors of my constituency as well as the members of the aimed forces, who gave me a larger total vote than they gave my combined opponents. 1 shall remember, too, that I am the only spokesman for my sex, but more than all-this, I shall always keep in mind that I am a citizen of Canada.

Not only have we, the people of Canada, a common destiny; we have a common historical background. I refer now to chapter 2, page 66, of volume 1 of the Sirois report, which tells us clearly that following the birth of Canada as a ration, through the process of confederation-

For twenty-five years the new nation had languished. ... A vast and sudden transformation was wrought by the magic of wheat.

fMr. Church.]

The wheat boom brought a flood of settlers into the west and created two new and flourishing provinces. It precipitated a new era of railway development and spurred on the industrialization of central Canada. Immense capital expenditures were necessary to equip the west and the growing urban and metropolitan areas of the east. Wheat worked a new integration of economic life and linked together the fortunes of the different regions.

On page 68 of the report the growth of population is dealt with. In a period of seventeen years-

Between 1896 and 1913 one million people moved into the prairie provinces and the population increased from 7 to 20 per cent of the total population of the Dominion of Canada.

To quote the report, this resulted in Canada beginning to grow as a nation. As a result of the industry of her people and the ease with which the prairie soil could be brought under cultivation, vast quantities of wheat were produced and on this grain was built the great financial and industrial structure of central Canada. To quote the report briefly:

Tne construction of the railways, the deepening of the canals, and the improvement of the harbours necessary to transport the increasing volume of western grain over Canadian routes stimulated economic activity in the east and gave it a large share in the moving of western products to the markets of the world. The building of towns and cities on the prairies, the equipment of the farms and the consumption demands of the population required a large quantity of manufactured goods. The protective tariff enabled Canadian manufacturers to capture the greater share of the new market, thus giving a tremendous impetus to industrialization in Ontario and Quebec, to the coal and steel industries of Nova Scotia and to the lumber industry of British Columbia.

So you see in our background Canada has been united in its economic and financial development. Our war effort, of which we are all so proud, has proved again that through the utilization of human skill, raw materials, processing plants, financial machinery and transportation Canada has almost unlimited production potentials. We have demonstrated, too, that raw materials plus the application of power and human resources add up to actual wealth. We in this house have seen proved the proposition advanced by the first elected members of the Cooperative Commonwealth Federation, that Canada need not stagnate in a bog of unemployment, under-production and want when we have in our own country all these basic requirements for the production and distribution of goods and services in unlimited quantities. The factories of Canada need not close or slow down as long as there are in this country families still needing homes, electrical equipment, plumbing, house furnishings, food, clothing and transportation. In many areas Canada is still in the first primitive

The Address-Mr. Fleming

stages of development. Indeed, science and chemistry may very well remake our world if we shall but let them.

Before our farmers and workers can buy their share of goods and services, however, we must establish marketing boards, parity prices and crop insurance at reasonable levels for agriculture; and for workers, adequate labour and wage codes.

If our aged people are to establish their claim to our abundance they must have much more than S30 a month. Indeed, a floor under family income, below which no person would be allowed to fall, would be a just and reasonable national safeguard, because no modern industrial nation can afford the luxury of poverty.

It was fascinating, the day of the opening, for me as a new member to observe the pageantry and take part in the practices that have grown up around our tradition of government. I was interested to hear the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) remind us of the customs of Westminster. I submit that all of us in this house will watch with equal interest the actions of the new parliament recently elected there, as they write a new page of history, history in terms of social ownership and human advancement. We in the group I have the honour to represent look forward to the day, not far distant, when Canada will follow the example of the mother of parliaments and instal in office the Canadian counterpart of the British Labour party, the Cooperative Commonwealth Federation.

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September 11, 1945


It is a good thing to make of our capital city a beautiful memorial, fitting to honour the memory of those who died that we might live. Books will be written and in song and story we shall record their valour. Deeds, not words, will be the measure of our gratitude. People yet unborn will, in some far off day, scan our old age pension schedules, our slum clearance plans, our widowed mothers' allowances, our infant mortality rates, and we shall answer at the bar of history.

We must here take full responsibility not only for our utterances in this house, but for the conditions of our homes, the level of family income in town, city and country, and the health, education and well-being of our communities.

"It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here" to the building of a new day in Canada and a new era of peace, brotherhood and abundance for all mankind.

Mr. DONALD M. FLEMING (Eglinton): Mr. Speaker, in rising to speak in this chamber for the first time I join the company of former classmates. The class of 1928 at Osgoode Hall law school, Toronto, boasts two members in the government in the persons of the Minister of Transport (Mr. Chev-rier) and the Secretary of State (Mr. Martin). That class also boasts a colleague on this side of the house, the hon. member for Carleton (Mr. Boucher), and in the press gallery, Mr. Francis Flaherty. I make the fifth and express my pleasure upon joining them in this chamber.

I come from a city which I am assured by all is, without doubt, the most popular in Canada. I can assure hon. members that the point of view I bring to the chamber and the attitude I hope to exhibit in all discussions in which I may take part is no narrow or sectional one. I come here as a coast-to-coast Canadian. While I have had occasion to criticize what seemed to be a sectional point of view in other parts of Canada, it is my promise to the house that it will be my endeavour and determination not to indicate any degree of sectionalism in any points of view to which I may give expression.

We meet, Mr. Speaker, following a great victory, a great deliverance. I say it becomes all of us, and in this I speak only as a new member, to acknowledge the debt which hon. members in this chamber, yes, and all people in Canada, owe to those who have stood between us and our enemies on the field of battle.

Democracy has come through. The benefits we enjoy we owe to others, and it is in a sense of consecration that I, for one, intend to approach my duties as a member of this chamber.

I believe it is fair to say that the hopes of the people of Canada concerning this new parliament are high hopes. As the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) reminded us, in one of his earliest utterances this session, the problems which will face parliament during the years immediately before us will perhaps be the most difficult which have confronted any parliament in the history of our land.

I believe it is correct to say that the judgment which will be applied to the actions of parliament and the policy of the government will be an exacting judgment. We have a great opportunity to make good for Canada, a great opportunity to build here in Canada a land worthy of the sacrifice of those who have stood in our place on the fighting line.

That does not mean that we have come here in any submissive attitude, or that the attitude we propose to adopt in respect of

The Address-Mr. Fleming

government measures is one of mere acquiescence. On the contrary, I think the attitude of all hon. members in this part of the house will be the one enunciated so clearly yesterday by our leader, namely, one of constructive criticism.

I am sorry that in what I have to say tonight I find more of criticism in respect of government policy that I had hoped would be the case in my first utterance in the House of Commons.

I think the first duty to which parliament must address itself is the recovery of the prerogatives and powers which have been yielded up to the government by the last two parliaments.

It may be that legally a state of war continues with both Germany and Japan. Hostilities actually have ceased, and with them any need for exercising the extraordinary powers the government has enjoyed during war time. There must be an end and an end at once, to government by order in council. There must be an end to bureaucracy.

It is disconcerting therefore, to say the least, to find that even on the eve of the convening of parliament the government continued to exercise its extraordinary powers. The use which has been made of; the War Measures Act under these circumstances amounts, in my submission, to an abuse of those powers. In fact, what the government is doing to-day amounts to turning the War Measures Act of Canada into the political war measures act of Canada.

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