Personal Data

St. James (Quebec)
Birth Date
August 27, 1881
Deceased Date
May 10, 1944
insurance broker

Parliamentary Career

December 18, 1939 - January 25, 1940
  St. James (Quebec)
March 26, 1940 - April 16, 1945
  St. James (Quebec)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 1 of 3)

February 15, 1944


Is the increase in item 1 due solely to additional personnel, or is it due to increases in salaries and wages of men already in the service? I notice that item 2 covers officers and men, but this item 1, apparently covers civil salaries and wages.

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February 3, 1944


Mr. Speaker, it is not my intention to make a lengthy speech, but merely to pass a few remarks. At the very outset I should like to join with the other hon. members in offering congratulations to the hon. member for Dorchester (Mr. Tremblay) and the hon. member for Rosthem (Mr. Tucker) upon the magnificent way in which they moved and seconded the address in reply to the speech from the throne, the contents of which I am sure must have been acceptable to the great majority in this house. Never in the history of this parliament has such an elaborate programme been presented to the House of Commons for its appreciation and acceptance.

In addition to the assurance of a continued war effort, the government presents a series of social reforms which should satisfy even the most exacting, under present conditions. .First, we find a plan for social security and human welfare; second, a plan for the housing and the health of the whole population; third, social insurance against unemployment, accident, death of the breadwinner from ill health or from old age; fourth, a measure to amend and supplement housing legislation; fifth, family allowances, and sixth, a revision of the Bank Act.

These are the main points which are being brought to our attention. It is gratifying for us to note that such reforms are the work of a Liberal administration. It would be premature to try to discuss these various items at length at the present time, because the details are not known to any of us, and they will not be known until such time as the bills are placed before the house.

For that reason I shall touch upon only one point now, namely that of family allowances.

The Address-Mr. Durocher

This measure is surely worthy of our highest praise, and comes at a time when it is most needed by the Canadian people. It will help families balance their budgets, and bring up their children in a more satisfactory and appropriate manner, and at the same time it will to a certain extent relieve the wage problem in Canada. In spite of the criticism which has already appeared in some newspapers, and the remarks of hon. members, among whom were the hon. member for Cartier (Mr. Rose), the hon. member for Rimouski (Mr. d'Anjou) and the newly elected member for Stanstead (Mr. Choquette), I feel certain the government will see to it that this measure for family allowances covers not only so many children in a family, but all the children under a specified age. Our critics, who do not know all the facts, should wait and see what the government has to offer in this direction. We all want an increased population in this vast dominion of ours. Before we allow foreign immigration we should attempt to encourage large families and help them the best we can.

This government, I feel certain, does not wish to tell parents that if they have so many children the state will help only so many, for this would mean the establishment of a new policy of birth control in Canada, but I suggest that that has never entered the mind of any minister of the crown in the present cabinet. Birth control would be the worst thing that could happen to our society at the moment. We need more and more good Canadians. It is better to encourage large Canadian families and provide assistance from the state than to bring in foreign immigration. The latter does not always prove profitable either from the standpoint of the nation or from the assimilation with true Canadians. I have before me a clipping from La Patrie of Montreal concerning a family of seventeen children. That is the kind of family we want in Quebec. Ten of these children are below the age of fourteen. If we had more families like that our immigration problem would be solved and we would not have to touch it.

It is sometimes hard to get reforms, but a reform is needed in connection with old age pensions. Last year the hon. member for Edmonton East (Mrs. Casselman) took up this matter and drew the attention of the government to the need of raising the allowance. We were all pleased when during the last days of the session the government announced that the allowance would be raised from $20 to $25 a month. We feel that at this session the government should make an effort to increase this allowance to $30 a month and reduce the

age limit from seventy to sixty-five years. When a man or woman has reached the age of sixty-five-this applies to men more than to women-it is hard to find a new position should he or she be out of a job. No employer wants to take on anyone that old because he considers they cannot turn out the production. We should be more generous to these people. I feel certain that the government is going to look into this matter and that before the end of the session we shall have the assurance that the old age pension will be raised to $30 and the age limit lowered to sixty-five years.

I should like to refer now to the housing problem. I know there is a housing problem in every large centre in Canada, but I am better acquainted with the problem in my own city which I suppose is the same as that facing Toronto. Along with some of my colleagues this matter was taken up with the Minister of Finance (Mr. Ilsley) last May, and we received the assurance that a survey would be made in Montreal and some other Canadian cities and a report submitted at the earliest possible date. Mr. Fripp of the housing administration was delegated to Montreal. I met him and went over the whole question. He spent some time in the city and then went somewhere else, and in the late fall he presented a report to the Minister of Finance. Nothing definite has come out of that, but just a few days ago I received a letter from the minister stating that the matter was receiving his earnest attention and that he hoped something definite would come out of it within the next few days. I appreciate that he has taken such an interest in this matter.

But the first of May will soon be here and, if something is not done, many people in Montreal, and I suppose also in Toronto, will be out on the street. We are looking after the older people, and we should be ready to do something for those tenants who will be without homes on the first of May. I am told that this is more a municipal problem. That may have been true before the war, but since the government can do anything under the War Measures Act I think it has now become a federal problem. Huge plants have been established in some of our cities and, while much of the population that has come in might be considered as floating population, large numbers of these people will remain. We are now faced with a position that will not improve after the war. If this is a federal problem, let us get after it without further delay. I suggested to the minister that loans bearing an interest rate of one and a half to two per cent should be made to the muni-

The Address-Mr. Durocher

cipalities. Whoever builds a home to-day must spend more money than it is really worth and, if it is built for the benefit of the state, the state should see that the man who invests his capital in a building should not be the loser in the end. There are other matters I should like to take up, but I shall wait until the appropriations are before the house. I reserve the right to discuss them at that time.

Before I close I should like to say a word about our soldiers overseas. Like many others, I have been receiving letters not only from my own but from friends and from boys of my friends. I am glad to say that each and every letter I have received seems to show that our boys are being well treated in England. They are satisfied and hope to see action at the earliest possible moment. That is the spirit we want to see in our boys. But when they come back they will expect something of us and we must have the goods to deliver. We have many social problems in hand and I realize that they represent a lot of hard work. We may not be able to do everything at once, but let us not forget that bricks and mortar are not enough to build new homes in the world of to-morrow.

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July 5, 1943


I was paired with the hon. member for Fraser Valley (Mr. Cruick-shank). Had I voted I would have voted against the resolution.

War Appropriation-Agriculture

Topic:   EDITION
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March 22, 1943


What was the value of woollen goods imported into Canada under tariff items 554, 554A, 554B, 554C, 554F, and 555, during the years 1939 to 1942, both inclusive?

Subtopic:   IMPORTS OF WOOLLEN GOODS, 1939-42
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July 23, 1942


I am authorized to say that the hon. member for Victoria, British

Mobilization Act-Mr. Hansell

changed since the beginning of the war I do not understand that language. When he talks in that language he can mean only one thing, that you might just as well win the war ten years from now as win it now.

That is an entirely wrong attitude to take. I therefore do not rise in defence of the stand that this group has taken ever since the war began. We will contend for that stand, for it is the only stand that can be taken in time of war.

As I listened to the speeches to-day I could not help thinking that in this chamber, which has sometimes been called the highest court in the land, the game of politics is now being played. I declare that this issue of conscription has been the political football of this country ever since the war commenced, notwithstanding anything that anyone can say to the contrary. It was so in the election of 1940; it was so in the plebiscite, and it is so in this debate. Politics, politics, politics! When somebody talks politics the house applauds; when anyone talks regular basic common sense no notice is taken of it, or else we are incapable of knowing what it means. As I listened to the leader of the opposition (Mr. Hanson), I did not hear all his speech, and as I listened to the Prime Minister, it took me back to my school days and I felt like saying, "Now boys, boys, boys, do not fight like that."

What is the issue? To my mind the issue is to put into practice now what the people said should ibe put into practice when they put a little X mark opposite that word "yes". That was the vote of the people. That was the voice of democracy. When the people speak with a voice as loud as they did that day that should end all debate. When the people speak that should be the last word. But what have we seen displayed in this house? I think there have been nearly one hundred speeches made in an attempt to explain what the little X mark meant after the word "yes". The voice of the people expresses the will of the people, and the will of the people is supreme. When they voted "yes" that was the "go" sign for the government to put all they had into this war. That needs no explanation; it needs no debate. Then what have we been talking about? We have simply been vying with one another in making it a political issue. We of this group refuse and have refused to play politics. If it had not been for the vote about to be taken, and all other groups having spoken, we would have remained silent. We refuse to play politics in time of war.

There is one thing that bothers me. I have not been able to understand what the

Prime Minister means when he talks of coming back to parliament for this vote of confidence. I am sorry I have to take this attitude, but almost every time the Prime Minister speaks I have to regard it as having some sort of political significance. Perhaps I am not right in that; I hope I am not too suspicious. I am not an old hand in parliament; I have been here only since 1935, but somehow or another-I cannot explain why-when some proposal is made by the Prime Minister I wonder what political dodge he is up to. He now proposes to come to parliament to ask for a vote of confidence. What does that mean? Almost everything we vote on here is a vote of confidence or no confidence, depending upon the way the vote goesj

There is something else which I do not understand, which I cannot think my way through, for I like to be as logical as I can. The Prime Minister says, "We will come for a vote of confidence in this administration." Well, you know, if I were certain that this was a parliament of the people I could believe in the veracity of his action in that regard; but this parliament, I maintain, is no longer a parliament of the people, whatever we may say about it. This is a parliament of parties; we may as well make up our minds to that at ouce. When the Prime Minister comes to this parliament for a vote of confidence, I think I know what is going to happen. The whips are going to begin to crack, to whip members into line, and when the vote is taken we know how it will go. I fail to see where that is a vote of confidence. To make my illustration clear, let us suppose that the three opposition groups in this house refuse to vote confidence, but that the large Liberal majority votes confidence. Will the Prime Minister say that is a vote of confidence by parliament?

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