Martha Louise BLACK

BLACK, Martha Louise

Personal Data

Independent Conservative
Yukon (Yukon)
Birth Date
February 24, 1866
Deceased Date
October 31, 1957
author, homemaker

Parliamentary Career

October 14, 1935 - January 25, 1940
  Yukon (Yukon)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 1 of 6)

September 12, 1939


Mr. Speaker, it is nearly six o'clock, and I am sure you will allow me to take just two or three minutes to express a few thoughts that occur to me at this time. I only wish to say to the government of the day that, when I left the Yukon, the message given me by Liberals and Conservatives alike, was this: "Go down to Ottawa and tell the government that to the utmost of our ability we will support them, as we did during the last war, irrespective of any political feelings." There are men and women in that section of the country who are willing to give their all, I do not care whether it be their worldly goods or their lives if needs be, and they are at the disposal of the government to use as the government will.

The government must take the blame in all that it does as well as the credit. We must have faith that this government as well as every other government will honestly and conscientiously try to do the best it possibly can. The government will make mistakes, because it is only human, as we all are; but if the government makes mistakes we will strive with our lives, with our help, and with the little treasure we have, to see that those mistakes are rectified and that eventually we shall once again have a peaceful and happy country. .

At the present time there are no boundary lines either in the air or on land or at sea, and we must stand together to protect this land of ours from the raid that may possibly come.

At six o'clock the house took recess.

After Recess

The house resumed at eight o'clock.

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May 24, 1939


I think in 1927. It was thoroughly dishonest and corrupt. That practice was continued by the Conservative government. WThen I made a similar statement in the house before, the former leader of the Conservative government corrected me. I did not catch his remark at the time, but I told him afterwards that two wrongs never make a right. Because one government did this to the civil servants was no reason why another government, even a Conservative government, should carry on the practice. I have tried to be entirely independent and impartial. These men who paid in on both


Civil Service Superannuation Act

salary and living allowance looked forward to receiving superannuation on the same basis, just as anyone would who had paid into an insurance company.

I know of one very sad case, that of a civil servant who has been retired. This man has

an invalid wife, and an invalid daughter, and instead of receiving about $72 per month, as he should, he receives less than $50. The doctors ordered him to take his family out of the country because of the cold weather. It was very difficult for him to do this. I have hoped against hope that at some time the government would see fit to remedy this injustice. There are only a few civil servants in the north and they have rendered good service. Anyone who has lived in the north knows the prices that must be paid for everything. When I consider the prices asked by the fruit stands in Ottawa. I cannot help but think of what we in Yukon must pay for the few luxuries we have. How would hon. members like to pay $3.50 to $5 for a watermelon? How would they like to pay from $1 to $1.50 for a pound of cherries? We should have some luxuries, and our civil servants find it very hard to get along. I beseech the government again, as I have before by letter and by word of mouth, to remedy this injustice. I believe the recommendations in this report will help to a large extent, but there is still much more that can be done.

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May 24, 1939


Mr. Speaker, I want to congratulate the chairman of this committee upon this voluminous and carefully considered report. As hon. members on the government front benches know, for many years we in the Yukon have felt that a grave injustice has been done to the civil servants there. These civil servants are required to contribute on their salary and living allowance. For a time those who retired received superannuation on the basis of their salaries and living allowances, but due to the caprice or whim of an official in the department this was changed without any warning or excuse.

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May 24, 1939


I wish particularly to thank the department for the change in name they made in a very small postal division in the Yukon. The name was mentioned as the pronunciation called for, but it was not spelled correctly; and upon representations, the department very kindly spelled the name correctly.

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April 18, 1939

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.

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