Mrs. BLACK (Yukon):
I have heard some very clever men say that a woman's tongue is hung in the middle and loose at both ends, but it seems to me that this has been refuted in the last few days. I have listened very carefully, very attentively, and in vain for a solution of this unemployment question. No one in this house is more vitally interested than I am in helping the youth of this country. I know what it is to bring up sons. I know what it is to see boys and girls helpless and idle. In this session, from my own small means I have given over one hundred dollars to men who have asked me for a little help. I have given eleven directed envelopes with the word "free" in the upper right-hand corner to men to whom I have given help, and have asked those men to whom I have given those envelopes and small amounts of money, if when they got to their destination, they would kindly let me know; in the envelope was enclosed a sheet of paper, and I asked each man if he had a pencil, and each man answered me, yes. I have not received in reply a single envelope or a single letter.
It is my opinion, from my experience during the last nine years, since the depression first struck this country, that there are a number of men-and I do not exclude the women- who under no circumstances would work if they could get along without working. But I do not believe these form the large majority. I think we are safe in saying that if they had an opportunity of being properly fed and properly looked after in order to be fit to undertake hard work, ninety per cent of our unemployed would go to work. I am hopeful of the young people of this country. For the last forty-one years I have been associated with perhaps twenty men to one woman, so I feel that I understand the male mentality about as well as anyone can. We have heard quotations from the Bible. I do not believe that when our Lord said, "The poor ye have always with you," he meant only poverty of goods, of money. I believe He included as well poverty of body, of soul, of mentality, of morale. We shall always have men and women unfit, by reason of their physical disabilities, to cope with the hardships of life. Unfortunately we shall always have men and women unable, by reason of their mental disabilities, to cope with the hardships of life. It is not always poverty of money that makes a man undersirable or that makes a woman incapable of fighting; it is poverty of many attributes.
I was afforded an opportunity of visiting unemployment camps in the states of Washington, Oregon and California. I have said in
Unemployment and Agricultural Distress
this house previously that I believe in a semi-military training. I believe in disciplining children. My boys were just as disobedient, just as boyish, just as devilish as probably each of you men was in your youth, but I insisted that they show respect to their elders and that they obey. With that end in view I gave them a semi-military training, and I believe our youth should have that training to-day.
If we do not come to grips with this question, Mr. Chairman, we are sure to reap the whirlwind; there is no doubt about it.
I am afraid of a dictator; I am afraid of the brand of socialism, bolshevism, nazism, fascism, or whatever you may call it, that is preached in different camps, in different industrial plants, and taught from one end of this fair country to the other by men who want to make trouble. I shall be berated by many for saying this, but personally it is a matter of absolute indifference to me which party is in power. I want good government first, last and all the time. But whichever party you belong to, work day and night, honestly and conscientiously; try to do your best. I ask hon. members to my left, many of whom I admire, as well as others who, I think, become lost in the fury of their language, to consider the present and not to go back to 1930 or 1931 or 1936 or 1937. Instead of berating the present Minister of Labour (Mr. Rogers), who to many of us may be too academic or too dreamy, try to help that man do what you believe to be his duty, in the best interests of this country. That is what we are here for. I do not believe that by tearing words to tatters we are going to help the unemployed who are on our streets today; I cannot see it. Surely, as grown men, you are able to sit round the conference table and do what is best for this glorious dominion. I hear hon. members talk of our natural resources. The greatest national resource of any government in the world is the human resource; it is what each of us can do to help our fellow men. If anyone can tell me what I can do to help these boys who are walking our streets-some of them hopelessly gone, without a doubt, and others just waiting-I will crawl on my hands and knees to help them, because every time I see one of these boys I think, "There but for the grace of God goes one of mine."
Of course a woman of my age and with the experience I have had feels very deeply.- I am going to ask hon. members to discuss these questions as we would discuss such matters in the family. When your son comes to you in trouble you do not rant at him; jou do not pick up a book and say, "Here
is what so-and-so, a great statesman, had to say." You sit down and talk it over and say, "Son, be patient. I have gone through the same thing. Now see if you can't just wait, though it is hard to do." We must do something for the unemployed. The money will be found. With the state of the world at the present time, how can Canada, with only 11,000,000 people, buck the whole world? She cannot do it.
We talk about what the United States has done. Has any hon. member been to New York lately? In that city there are hundreds and thousands of men and women living in poverty, distress and filth. Yet think of the billions the United States has spent! Have any hon. members been in some of the other large United States cities? Well, the United States is an enormously rich country. She is our neighbour. I was born and brought up there myself. I love her. I love Canada. I love what Canada and the United States have both taught me. But I beg of you to forget, as much as you can, partisan politics, and to remember what this Canada of yours has come through, how well she has come through the tragedy of so many years, and to feel in your hearts that she is coming through even worse. You have it in your power. God knows that I hope we use that power to the best advantage.
Topic: UNEMPLOYMENT RELIEF
Subtopic: UNEMPLOYMENT AND AGRICULTURAL DISTRESS-UNDERTAKINGS IN GENERAL INTEREST AND FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE TO PROVINCES