Section 3 of the bill with which we are now dealing reads:
The governor in council may enter into agreements: (a) with any of the provinces respecting the alleviation of unemployment conditions and of agricultural distress therein and to assist those in need-
And so on. About an hour and a half ago I endeavoured to secure from the minister an answer respecting the amount to be allocated to Saskatchewan in the coming year. I am asking him again whether he will let the committee know what the anticipated amount will be, so that the argument now being used in that province may be met, namely that the cut in relief is on account of the fact that the dominion government is cutting the allowance given to the province this year.
When I spoke some time ago I mentioned that the people in Saskatchewan were appreciative of what was being done and what had been done since 1930 in the matter of assistance for the alleviation of conditions there prevailing. The hon. member for Wood Mountain (Mr. Donnelly) has admitted today something which I think he would not have admitted between 1930 and 1935, namely, that during those years, too-and often in the face of strong opposition from hon. mem-oers of the opposition-assistance was given to Saskatchewan in particular, by reason of the conditions there prevailing.
As the hon. member for Wood Mountain has pointed out, the difficulty in Saskatchewan, so far as relief is concerned, has been accentuated by drought. That condition made it necessary to make expenditures of large amounts of money in that province, moneys over and above amounts which had to be spent to meet conditions prevailing as a result of unemployment elsewhere throughout the dominion.
The hon. member has said there is no control by the dominion government in respect of expenditures made by the provinces. I would suggest, therefore, to the minister that some system should be adopted whereby the multiplicity of inspectors and officials administering relief would be substantially reduced. The hon. member said that the responsibility for the cutting of relief has been on the municipality and that the responsiblity for relief measures is that of the municipal council. He very well knows that on each occasion relief is granted, it can be granted by the council only with the consent of the relief inspector, who is the representative of the provincial government.
When the hon. member says there has been no political influence in connection with the administration of relief, all I can say is that in the provincial election of 1938 there was political influence. Men and women in Saskatchewan were placed in a position where, while direct threats were not made, they were made to realize that it would be diplomatic to be known outspokenly as a supporter of the government. To be fair I must add that during the last federal election I saw no political influence.
Topic: UNEMPLOYMENT RELIEF
Subtopic: ALLEVIATION OF UNEMPLOYMENT AND AGRICULTURAL DISTRESS-UNDERTAKINGS IN GENERAL INTEREST AND FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE TO PROVINCES