Personal Data

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)
Vancouver Kingsway (British Columbia)
Birth Date
September 2, 1884
Deceased Date
March 3, 1964
motorman, unionist

Parliamentary Career

July 28, 1930 - August 14, 1935
  Vancouver South (British Columbia)
October 14, 1935 - January 25, 1940
  Vancouver East (British Columbia)
March 26, 1940 - April 16, 1945
  Vancouver East (British Columbia)
June 11, 1945 - April 30, 1949
  Vancouver East (British Columbia)
June 27, 1949 - June 13, 1953
  Vancouver East (British Columbia)
August 10, 1953 - April 12, 1957
  Vancouver Kingsway (British Columbia)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 3 of 1083)

February 13, 1956

Mr. Angus Maclnnis (Vancouver-Kings-way):

Mr. Speaker, the time remaining for the debate on this motion is not very long and I hope I will not take up all of it. I am really surprised, probably astonished would be a better word, after being among so many university graduates, that the hon. member for Vancouver South (Mr. Philpott) should be in such a hurry to oppose this measure that he had to speak on it before it came before the house at all. It is simply amazing, and I am quite sure it is not what the people of British Columbia expect of the hon. gentleman.

He told us of his experiences during a trip to the Scandinavian countries, Finland, Norway, Sweden and Denmark, this year. Surely the ability of those countries to provide for their people should not be compared with that of a rich country like Canada. Finland has not yet finished paying heavy reparations to the country which conquered her a few years ago. It is not so much the size of family allowances paid in those countries as it is the relationship of family allowances to the standards of living of the various classes in the country.

The hon. member says that if something has to be done in connection with social security there is a greater need in connection with old age pensioners. I am not going to dispute that the condition of old age pensioners in Canada, those who have to live practically or altogether on old age security or old age assistance, is deplorable; but I insist that if there is to be a choice between doing something for a child who has not yet developed into a man and doing something for an old person whose days are over, if we cannot do something for both, we should do it first for the child who is a future citizen of Canada.

There is another point I wish to mention in that regard. I am quite sure that the hon. gentleman who preceded me would say

Family Allowances

and has said that this country should do more toward feeding the underprivileged people in other parts of the world. Many people say that if we are going to save the world from the dangers of communism that is something that should be done. But I suggest to you that if we want to feed hungry people we do not have to go outside of of Canada to find them. Our first duty as representatives of the people of Canada is to see that the national income is so distributed that all will have bread before some have bread and cake as well. That is what we are suggesting when we suggest that family allowances should be raised.

I have in my hand a bulletin prepared by the Vancouver housing association, which is a recognized organization in Vancouver coming under the red feather scheme. This bulletin contains a brief which was prepared for the Minister of Public Works in regard to housing. The association had a study made of housing conditions among social assistance families. Those were not old age pensioners; they were fathers and mothers, in most cases mothers, with growing children. The study was made by a man by the name of W. A. Wilson, and I should like to read some extracts from the study he made which appear in this brief. The first is as follows:

A family dependent on assistance has only about a 50-50 chance of finding shelter which will not jeopardize its physical and emotional well-being.

What does that mean? It means that in Vancouver, the city which the hon. gentleman and myself represent, families with children on social assistance are forced to give up proper food and clothing and other things that the ordinary child should expect in order to be able to obtain adequate shelter. Family allowances are one way of adding to the income of those children. The next extract is as follows:

It is a decidedly bleak outlook for the family attempting to find adequate shelter within the rental grant. A family without outside help is literally torn between two choices; paying an exorbitant proportion of their income in attempting to find satisfactory housing, or living in poor housing and having more of their income available for daily necessities.

We talk about juvenile delinquency, but what can be expected of children who are brought up hungry, who are brought up in homes that we would not want to live in? If we are going to combat juvenile delinquency successfully we must begin by improving the lives of young people in the community, not only with better food and clothing but with more of the social amenities and educational and recreational opportunities. Here again increased family allowances would help a great deal.

[Mr. Maclnnis.l

I have before me an article which appeared in the Montreal Gazette of February 6 which

was written for several papers by James S. Duncan, C.M.G., describing his experiences on a recent visit to Russia. Referring to the condition of the Russian people he says:

The small luxuries, the Important non-essentials, the minor niceties which lend grace and charm to life are conspicuous by their absence from the Russian scene; and yet the great masses of the people who have no points of comparison with the way other peoples live, apparently accept their drab lives without complaint or unhappiness.

I read all of it because there was no period. I could have read the first half and left it at that, pointing out that Russia is not the only country where the small luxuries, the important non-essentials and the minor niceties which lend grace and charm to life are conspicuous by their absence. I can take my hon. friend to hundreds of homes in the city of Vancouver where these minor niceties which lend grace and charm to life are lacking and where there is a continual daily struggle to provide the essentials of bare living.

Yet my hon. friend says in this house that we cannot afford this. How quickly people become satisfied. Let us first look after the many people in every city, in every town, in every hamlet in this land who are not getting enough food to eat, who are not getting proper clothes to wear, who are not getting the proper educational opportunities. Let us look after these people first, even before we extend our bounty to the more unfortunate people in other parts of the world.

My hon. friend, as I have said, is now one of the satisfied people. He is continually drawing attention to what this government is doing. I remember the day when he did not think this government was doing so much. I have here a quotation from a speech made by someone:

Both parties are absolutely in the grip of financial interests. The real government of Canada is not at Ottawa but in St. James street, and the old parties are as closely linked as the Siamese twins.

Full View Permalink

February 13, 1956

Mr. Maclnnis:

The speaker on that occasion was Captain Elmore Philpott at a meeting in Edmonton. I am just suggesting to this house that there is room for an increase in family allowances, and if some of the increase were to go to people who already have incomes you can take that away as it is taken away now. But we should make our family allowances such that every family in this country can be assured of a family income that will give it at least good physical health and good emotional health, and also allow the parents,

in their struggle for existence, to take advantage of the educational opportunities that this country provides.


Full View Permalink

February 7, 1956

Mr. Angus Maclnnis (Vancouver-Kingsway):

Mr. Speaker, I should like to say a few words on the subject raised by the hon. member for Regina City (Mr. Ellis). I have had occasion before to speak in regard to this matter for certain civil servants. I think the time is long past when any branch of the government of Canada should adhere to the old method of asking workers to work overtime for the privilege of taking time off a little later. As far as the post office employees are concerned they are glad to do this and are ready to work overtime at a time of the year when most people like to have time with their families. But when they do this they are asked to take time off at a period in the year when there is not much else they can do except to sit at home. Surely this government is advanced enough to get away from that old way of treating employees.

I am not going to say much more in this connection. I think all that needs to be done is to draw to the attention of the government how obsolete this sort of treatment is and to ask the government to treat the civil service on the same basis as the employees of private industry are treated. Times have changed in the last few years as far as the relations of workers and employers in industry are concerned. The workers are no longer standing in daily fear of what may happen to them in their employment. They have developed organizations and are thus able to demand consideration from their employers which they never would get without such organizations.

I have not the press clipping with me but since coming down here I read an article in a paper published in Quebec-I think the incident occurred in that province-dealing with the prosecution of some employers in the lumbering industry for cruelty to the horses used in their operations. The judge was quite scathing in his remarks and he said something like this: The workers in industry have organized and can demand proper working conditions, but the horses are not in a position where they can organize, and when cases of this kind are brought before them the courts should see that animals are treated properly. I intended to bring that clipping down with me and I probably should have it, but I left it on my desk.

That brought home to me the fact that only a few years ago the workers in this industry had just as little to say about the conditions under which they had to work as the horses had. But things have changed. I suggest

Post Office Department-Labour Relations to the Postmaster General (Mr. Lapointe) that he discuss this matter with his administrative staff and I think they will soon realize how old-fashioned it is to say to an employee, "The circumstances are such that we want you to work overtime for the next two or three weeks and then a few weeks later you can take time off as we will not need your services then".

A worker should be paid for his services. If he works overtime he should receive a higher income. When he receives that higher income he should be able to do with it what he likes and in his own time and not be at the beck and call of his employer, whether that employer be the government of Canada or private industry.

Full View Permalink

June 27, 1955

Mr. Maclnnis:

What Sir John A. Macdonald said was that its function was to protect minorities, and as the rich were always in the minority its function was to protect the rich. It has done that pretty well.

I appreciate that the Prime Minister has a problem. His predecessor had a problem, but I think for his predecessor the problem was easier than it is for the present Prime


Proposed Senate Reform Minister. I do not like to speak disrespectfully of one who has departed, but I think the former prime minister was more of a cynic than the present one. He felt he had reformed the Senate sufficiently when he had a majority of Liberals there. He never made any further attempt to reform it after that. As a matter of fact, I believe he gave up asking questions of those who were being appointed when he was getting to the position where, in the natural order of things, he could have a majority in the Senate without making any promises or accepting any.

I do not care for many of the proposals that have been made here regarding the Senate. If we are going to have a Senate in a democratic country I believe that Senate should be elected. As I said before I am not afraid to discuss any problem, and I think I can discuss any subject objectively. There is a feeling that we discuss problems and take action on problems because we are elected members, which we would not do if we did not have to seek election. Surely if there is anyone in that position in this house he should not be here. A person who cannot face the electorate and tell them, "I favour this because I think it is for the benefit of Canada", or "I do not favour that because I do not think it is for the benefit of Canada", has no right to be here. I am not going to advocate something because some few people think we ought to have it and I cannot find it in my heart to say no.

The hon. member for Moose Jaw-Lake Centre had a proposal for reforming the Senate by appointing a labour man to it. Well, the Senate will not be reformed by appointing one labour man to it: that is not what I would call labour representation in the Senate. In order to give labour the representation it ought to have in the Senate it should have members in the Senate approximately equal to labour's voting strength in the country. Labour will not be represented by the appointment of one old man who has retired from other fields of endeavour in the labour movement. We want young men in the Senate if the Senate is going to be useful.

I see the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration (Mr. Pickersgill) shakes his head. Perhaps he does not want young men in the Senate. Perhaps the government does not want young men in the Senate. But the people of this country want young men in the Senate if they want a Senate that is going to be of any use.

We fill the other place with old gentlemen who have retired or are about to retire from whatever useful work they were doing. As a matter of fact they were retired from the world. Then we expect these old gentlemen to

[Mr. Maclnnis.j

give a 1955 or 1956 expression of opinion on the problems that affect Canada. What utter nonsense! They cannot think in terms of 1955 or 1956; they think in terms of the years of their activity. That is not the kind of Senate I want.

Then again, I do not think it would be desirable to have the provinces appoint certain members to the other place. I believe it would make for all kinds of trouble. We come here to this parliament to represent Canada, not Quebec, British Columbia, Ontario, Prince Edward Island and so on. I said we would get into all kinds of trouble. We will vote for this amendment. Because the Senate is a problem child so far as Canada is concerned I suppose something has to be done with it. At the moment it is fairly harmless, and it is a good divorce court.

I think it would be desirable to discuss what we should do with the Senate, or what place it ought to hold in the government of Canada. For that reason we believe, as has already been stated by the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre, this amendment is in order and it would bring about that result. It is a question worthy of discussion, but let us think of it objectively. Sometime we may have to abolish it, but I think one of the great difficulties in the way of abolishing the Canadian Senate is that it cannot be abolished without its own consent.

I am not a constitutional expert or anything like that, but I find now that we have to go to the imperial parliament for certain amendments to the British North America Act. There are certain amendments with which we have power to deal ourselves, but I doubt very much if this chamber, on its own resolution, could get the imperial parliament to abolish the Senate. I think we would very likely have to have the consent of both houses of parliament.

After what has been said, I thought I had better say these few words in regard to the other place, whether or not you agree with them.

Full View Permalink

June 27, 1955

Mr. Maclnnis:

My informant is just as good as the one I am hearing now.

Full View Permalink