April 7, 1930

CON

William Gordon Ernst

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. ERNST:

The hon. minister says he

did, and the result is that we reach a very unfortunate position for the Minister of Labour in view of the fact that the Prime Minister took a diametrically different stand. Later on in the speech of the Minister of Labour we find the word "assist." The Prime Minister has distinctly said in this house that he would not give a five cent piece to any Tory government. I interpret the remarks of the Prime Minister-and I hope I am not misinterpreting them-that he will not give one penny to any of the provinces, unless it is to one of the western provinces. In view of that fact, Mr. Speaker, we have one pronouncement from the Minister of Labour in London, Ontario, and another from the Prime Minister in this house. But worse than that, the Minister of Labour says he has the support of the Prime Minister.

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LIB

Peter Heenan (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. HEENAN:

May I ask a question.

Are there not more ways of giving assistance than by making donations?

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CON

William Gordon Ernst

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. ERNST:

The only other way I know of is that the Prime Minister might give a copy of his book. I take the word "assist" to mean what it is commonly understood to

Unemployment-Mr. Ernst

mean, and as any audience of labouring men would interpret it, financial assistance. In the speech as reported here the Minister of Labour tells an audience of labouring men in effect that there would be financial assistance. What becomes of cabinet solidarity? We find the Minister of Labour making in the city of London a statement diametrically opposed to that made by the Prime Minister in this house. I will not use the word "misrepresent"; it is a nasty word and I believe it is unparliamentary but, sir, I will say the Minister of Labour deliberately misinterpreted the views of the government on the question for the purpose of getting a few votes in the city of London and elsewhere. Thus we have another illustration of this government forgetting one of the cardinal principles of responsible government, the principle of cabinet solidarity.

This is not the only illustration we have had; if it were the first perhaps it might not cause so much comment. We had the same thing happen with regard to the liquor export bill, with respect to the Minister of National Revenue (Mr. Euler). The same cardinal principle was forgotten, and we have the same situation all over Canada with regard to tariffs, as was pointed out by the hon. member for Fort William (Mr. Manion) when he made his address on this subject. For instance, we have our friend the Minister of Railways and Canals (Mr. Crerar) who, I believe, purports to be an out and out free trader, and we have the Minister of National Revenue who campaigns Ontario as a protectionist. Down in my part of the country some gentlemen belonging to the party opposite are free traders, while some say they stand for "a tariff for revenue." I have not been able to understand what that means, unless it means to import as much as we can in order to get an increased revenue from the tariff. I have never heard a reasonable explanation of that term.

So we have the spectacle of one minister saying one thing in one place and another minister saying another thing in another place, with cardinal principles forgotten and vote-catching on every hand. How long can this country tolerate a spectacle of that kind under our Canadian institutions of government? How long can we have the Minister of Railways preaching free trade in the west while the Minister of National Revenue is a protectionist in Ontario? The result is exactly what you might expect, a species of tariff paralysis. The government cannot move in any direction, no matter how hard it tries; some one is always hanging on to its coat

tails and pulling in the opposite direction. The government keeps moving simply in a circle, while the needs of industry are forgotten in the needs of political exigency. You get exactly the result you might expect to get. To-day industries here and there-I am not speaking of the farmers but of manufacturing plants-are idle; the Minister of the Interior can find plenty of cases in this province where men are out of employment because goods are being imported from foreign countries. Men are walking the streets and getting their bread from the municipalities, and the Prime Minister says the municipalities should feed them.

I submit, Mr. Speaker, that in the government of this country two things are essential; first, the principle of cabinet solidarity, and second, that a government which talks about its policies shall have some definite policy rather than the policy of helpless drifting.

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LIB

Willis Keith Baldwin

Liberal

Mr. W. K. BALDWIN (Stanstead):

Mr. Speaker, there has been unemployment since time immemorial. The worst I remember was directly after the American civil war, when Ontario and Quebec were invaded by armies of men who were willing to do any kind of manual labour for their bed and board.

I was amused the other evening by the remarks of the hon. member for Inverness (Mr. Macdougall). He flayed the Minister of Labour to the best of his ability, even accusing him of using bad grammar. While he spoke I thought that if his teachers and professors could have heard him they would have wept for his own inaccuracies and mistakes. The hon. member went on to claim that the Prime Minister was not what he should be, and so on. I want to tell my hon. friend that I happened to be in the United States during the last presidential election, and while I was there I heard some prominent people arguing about magazine interviews with the two candidates. While they were speaking I said, " How would your candidates compare with the Prime Minister of Canada?" For a few moments they stopped their argument, and both said, "We have no such men over here. We had to appeal to the gentleman who is now the Prime Minister of Canada to come to this country at a very strenuous period of its history." They referred to a time when capital and labour were at swords' points throughout the land, and the American government wanted a man who could cope with the situation. Princeton, Harvard and Yale universities were questioned, and each institution gave the name of Right Hon. W. L. Mackenzie King. He went to that country and

Unemployment-Mr. Baldwin

saved hundreds of millions of dollars by starting industry working again; strikes were stopped almost entirely and capital and labour declared peace. That was a work worth while.

Then the hon. member for South Wellington (Mr. Guthrie) said there was an immediate need for this government to vote $500,000, $1,000,000, $2,000,000 and finally

$3,000,000 for the relief of unemployment. Ever since I came into this house I have been in favour of making all criminals work for their living; I have opposed keeping people in prison in idleness. I would not give any money to ablebodied men who are able to eat their three meals a day. Surely we can find work for them to do somewhere. In the state of Vermont they are providing work in the beautifying of the sides of the highways, the removal of eyesores and obstacles and all that sort of thing. There is plenty of work in this country. I should like to ask the hon. member for South Wellington if he does not agree with me that to give money promiscuously throughout the country would be equal to the dole system in England, which has practically destroyed that country. I would not be guilty of doing such a thing as that. I am sure the hon. member for Halifax (Mr. Black) and the hon. member for Lincoln (Mr. Chaplin) would agree with me, if they were in their seats. The thrifty man Who has managed to accumulate some means does not desire to give his money to loafers.

Of course, I would not see a mother or a child suffer for food, but I say that ablebodied men in this country should not be fed at the expense of any government, unless they work. Certainly we can find work somewhere; we could build a trans-Canada highway across Canada, if necessary, but I never would vote for any measure which would grant money to idle able-bodied men. I believe, with the hon. member for Comox-Alberni (Mr. Neill), that men loafing six weeks become hoboes, and men loafing six months in many cases become criminals. I believe that is altogether too true. I think laziness is a habit; after a time an idle person begins to hate work and will not support his family. Even criminals in prisons would work, if I had my way about it. They could do something; they could be taken on the land in the summer and help till the soil. It is a terrible thing to keep these criminals there in idleness, the young and old together, the criminal who has committed a minor offence herded in with the hardened criminal. That is a terrible state of affairs, and I would not allow it nor would I vote any money to be spent in supporting that class of people. There is enough

labour to be performed in this country. If the people who are without labour would work in conjunction with the municipalities and with the provinces, perhaps this thing could be worked out if the promise was given only to assist those rvho woidd work.

Who is to say that the Canadian Pacific Railway and the Canadian National Railways and other great corporations are not to get people from foreign countries? The presidents of those great railways have said for years that our railway and canal systems and the other great institutions of this country require at least a population of 15,000,000. When the United States was getting together its great population no immigration barriers were raised. People came to the United States from the utmost parts of the world. They came from many countries wh'ere the return with a thousand dollars would enable them to live in comfort for the remainder of their lives. The Canadian Pacific Railway Company has great tracts of land which were granted to them before they built that railway, and they cannot sell it to Canadian people. Canadians do not want to work upon the land because their sons and daughters have been educated to enjoy the amusements and frivolities of the cities. They must have those amusements even although they have no money; they figure that they can commit some crime to put something into their own pockets, or get into somebody else's pockets. This country cannot be developed without that vigorous class of people from Scandinavia, Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Germany. We have some wonderful examples of what those people can do, and settlements can be found in the province of Ontario which demonstrates the thriftiness of that class of people.

Our people seem to have gone money crazy. Most of the girls in the country say openly that they will not marry anyone but a millionaire. If that state of mind continues, the birth rate will be controlled because that class of people do not want to be bothered with children.

The United States allowed people to enter that country without the least restriction. For many years on an average of 1,000,000 people annually arrived at Ellis island. Many of those people arrived in the early part of the year and returned home in the fall to remain ihere during the winter months. But that was possible because transportation by both land and sea was very cheap. People went on the land fifty, sixty and seventy years ago to obtain a living, but to-day their only thoughts seem to be as to how they can

Unemployment-Mr. Baldwin

enrich themselves. They become unhappy and troublesome and do not possess that love of country which would give them the desire to stay on the land and reap the return of an enhanced value. I have met people from the United States who settled on the land forty or fifty years ago and who are now able to rent their farms at such a price per acre as to provide them with world tours, from which they return once a year to collect their rents. They were a fine class of old country gentlemen, who lived quietly and biologically; they kept themselves free from disease and foolishness by sane life on the land. I am told that there are settlements in Ontario and in the northwest of people who have gone to those localities and who have stayed there. I do not know whether or not they built the so-called dug-outs, or whether or not they built pole houses with thatched roofs, but they became thrifty, they own their land and have money with which to buy additional acres. That is the class of people we must get to populate this wonderful and magnificent country. Our boys and girls will not consider a life which requires so much labour and which deprives them of the amusements and frivolities of city life. They want to have automobiles and spend their time running and gadding about the country.

This may not be the time to mention this subject, but I was told by an aviator in Montreal-by the way, I believe in aviation, although I do not care to go up myself at the present time-that out of twenty-eight accidents which occurred last year in Canada, twenty-seven were caused by the man at the controls. I will not mention this terrible accident here in Ottawa, outside of saying that my friend knew that aviator very well. It will be necessary to enact more stringent laws than we have to-day, governing the licensing of air pilots. If we had enough Lindberghs in this country there would be very few accidents, and if I remember rightly, Lindbergh was a Scandinavian. I think his mother came over from Norway or Sweden, and she is now teaching in the state of Michigan. They said Lindbergh was crazy, but he did not prove to be so crazy when he left America to cross that boundless and ice-covered territory for Europe. If Lindbergh were in this city to-day, and had the time I would not hesitate one moment to go up in the air with him. Tests should be made of those men who are to guide these ships of the air. They should live according to all biological rules, and not be excessive in anything. They should not partake of any stimulants, and should be clean livers. But, Mr. Speaker, I

do not suppose that these remarks would apply to the relief of unemployment.

Unemployment is caused largely by the great increase in inventions. Many newly invented machines are doing the work of several people, but there is one class of people who come from the old country, for which there is a great need-domestic servants. In the eastern townships there is a continual waiting list for this class of immigrant, and it is almost impossible to obtain a domestic who will remain a domestic for any great time.

Men cannot be found who do not insist on employment for the full year. Generally Speaking, the farmer can employ only one man and woman for the entire year, although he may need additional help during the summer season. In olden times there were plenty of unmarried men who would remain with the farmer or the lumber man during the slack season for a nominal amount plus his board. But there is no more of that; they say: "If I cannot get the big pay I got when you needed me, I will not work for the small pay when you have not much for me to do." Domestic service is one of the best employments in this country for an uneducated girl, because she gets her board and generally she has as good a room as any member of the family; in fact, she is usually regarded as one of the family. If she is getting $5 or S6 a week, she does, not realize that her room may be worth 85 or $6 a week and surely her board is worth as much. If she were to go to a city for employment and secured a job at S15 a week, she would hardly be getting as much as she does as a domestic. But she thinks she does not have as much liberty as the girl in the city. Perhaps not, but by staying on as a domestic and learning what a wife's duties should be she has a much better chance to become a healthy girl and a good wife and mother.

To come back to the unemployment question, it seems to me so silly-because, as I said at the beginning, unemployment has been with us from time immemorial-to raise all this hue and cry and berate the Minister of Labour (Mr. Heenan). The hon. member for Inverness (Mr. Macdougall) made against our esteemed minister bitter charges which were very different from what the hon. member for St. Boniface (Mr. Howden) had to say about the minister. I do not believe any hon. member in his heart of hearts would defame the Minister of Labour; nor do I think in their right minds they would make against the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) accusation not befitting at least a young member

Unemployment-Mr. Baldwin

As regards this contention over matters that cannot be controlled there is but one remedy, and that is for the government to carry on public works and to give a fair remuneration to the people employed on them. These works are diversified in character; there are wharves, rip-rapping to keep the rivers in their proper channels, public buildings and highways. I cannot believe it would be a good policy for the government to construct national highways, although the United States are giving vast sums to the different states, and they call the roads so assisted government or state roads. We have in this country many places that can be beautified and made productive by the expenditure of money, let it come whence it may. In this way we could give work to our people who wish to work, and if we have in Canada foreigners who do not want to work, I would have them deported. The period within which they can be deported is five years and we have in this country some vicious men who should have been deported before that period elapsed. About every week when I am in Montreal I see quite a number of people who have just come to Canada, and I am glad to see them come if they will help to develop our wealth; because we heard it said during and after the war that we needed people to develop our naitural resources and to help to pay our national debt. Surely if we can get people who will cost the country nothing to bring them here, it is a good idea. Everyone is pretty well agreed that assisted immigration should stop, and I believe no more money should be spent in that effort. Everyone knows that Australia is not very alluring at the present time. There were a few years when Australia was attracting more people, but she is at present in a bad financial position; England does not seem to be getting much better, while Germany and some other countries are getting worse. I do not say that we want a Mussolini to rule in this country, but in Italy the chief ruler makes the people stay on the land.

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?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Oh, oh!

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LIB

Willis Keith Baldwin

Liberal

Mr. BALDWIN:

That is a fact. Mussolini does not allow people Who are living on a farm to leave it.

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PRO

Milton Neil Campbell

Progressive

Mr. CAMPBELL:

In this country many

people want to remain on the land and they are not allowed to remain there.

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LIB

Willis Keith Baldwin

Liberal

Mr. BALDWIN:

Has the mortgage been

foreclosed?

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PRO
LIB

Willis Keith Baldwin

Liberal

Mr. BALDWIN:

A man who would do

that is hardhearted. I have many mortgages,

but I have never yet intimated to a man that he should get off the land. I would rather give a man a farm than foreclose him, because the courts are all in sympathy with the man you are foreclosing and you would not foreclose many men before you would get sick of your job.

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PRO

Milton Neil Campbell

Progressive

Mr. CAMPBELL:

Probably in the hon.

member's province the farmers are not obliged to pay 8 per cent interest on farm mortgages.

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LIB

Willis Keith Baldwin

Liberal

Mr. BALDWIN:

A good many years ago,

in all the border states as you went across the Mississippi right out to the Pacific coast, the ruling rate of interest was from 10 to 12 per cent. It is not many years since you could lend money in Oregon at 8 per cent.

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PRO

Milton Neil Campbell

Progressive

Mr. CAMPBELL:

That is what has driven thousands off the land in the United States.

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LIB

Willis Keith Baldwin

Liberal

Mr. BALDWIN:

That is characteristic in

newer sections that are not so well established. The west is a long way off, thousands of miles. The wealthy people in New England lent their money in the middle western states, for instance, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Minnesota, and the Dakotas, and many banks were ruined. When a bank was ruined there was no hope of getting the money back; but if a person lent money out there and saw it was no use to dispossess the farmer but that it was better to hold the land, pay the taxes and wait for better times, he was all right, because the value of land doubled, trebled and quadrupled and the eastern investor who was not avaricious got his money back years later. It is characteristic of America at least that interest has been high to the people on the western frontier, right to the Pacific coast. But I am sorry to learn that in this age of community spirit, with only ten banks now throughout Canada, our people in the west have to pay more than 7 per cent. Seven per cent is the ruling rate of interest throughout the east except to people who can command large sums of money, and of course such people can hypothecate gilt-edged securities and secure money for 6 per cent. Thirteen years ago, when I came to the house, I remember statements being made that the rate of interest was 10 and sometimes 12 per cent, so that conditions have been alleviated to some extent if the rate has been reduced to 8 per cent. I believe, however, that rate will be reduced before very long. The grafters, gamblers and brokers in the United States the year before the collapse of the stock market were getting practically all the money in that country and paying 7 and 8 per cent for it, while legitimate business went begging or even went into

Unemployment-Mr. Baldwin

bankruptcy on account of not being able to secure money. Now, with money at 3 or 4 per cent in New York, the situation is different and I suppose interest rates will become easier.

As regards immigration-

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PRO

Milton Neil Campbell

Progressive

Mr. CAMPBELL:

Tell us about unemployment.

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LIB

Willis Keith Baldwin

Liberal

Mr. BALDWIN:

For sixty years the situation has been just the same as it is in 1930. And here we are with a beautiful April shower this morning to release the frost from old mother earth and start her blossoming in all her glory. Is there any reason why people should hang around the cities unemployed? I would vote for a law to make an able-bodied man work.

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PRO

Milton Neil Campbell

Progressive

Mr. CAMPBELL:

What if he wants to

work and cannot get it?

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LIB

Willis Keith Baldwin

Liberal

Mr. BALDWIN:

Those are world conditions, my dear man, and you and I cannot do anything about them. I have trouble in getting help to work for me. I have been here two months and my son has written me several letters in that time saying that he cannot get help to start the mill. As a matter of fact, there are more people looking for work and praying that they won't find it than my hon. friend imagines. There are people who want to live and die in laziness. The farmers of this country are working fifteen and sixteen hours a day. Those are my hours, but I would work only nine or ten hours a day if I could get help to relieve me in my store and in my mill and in the woods. Conditions are such that people will not stay in the rural sections of the country. Some woman wants to get out and show her finery, and she does not care how she gets it, by hook or crook.

I am glad the chain stores are developing in this country. The old-time merchants who sell goods on credit now have to compete with the Atlantic and Pacific, the Stop and Shop, the Dominion Stores, and all the other chain stores. It is going to be a good thing for the country. We merchants have lost hundreds of thousands of dollars trusting goods to everybody that wanted them. Some would claim to be sick for six months and would be getting goods on credit, and then when you finally refused any more credit, I have had one say, "I have not been sick a day this winter." He did not tell me that; he was afraid to, but he would send some member of his family. Finally when spring came I would tell such people: It is time for you to get out and shift for yourself.

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PRO

Milton Neil Campbell

Progressive

Mr. CAMPBELL:

Tell us about unemployment.

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LIB

Willis Keith Baldwin

Liberal

Mr. BALDWIN:

I am telling you some of the conditions I meet with. I have already spoken about servant girls. I have had two or three from England, and- I assisted them over. The last one had high ambitions. She wanted to be a nurse. She thought Canada was the size of England, and that the little Baldwin mills must be right close to Montreal, Toronto, and Vancouver, that she could jump in a trolley car and reach them in no time. Naturally she was disappointed. My wife told me that she was a lady of attainments. I lent her sixty dollars to go to Vancouver, and she repaid me every cent. Another one, without attainments, wrote me from Windsor saying that she could not get into the United States and would be deported. She wrote me for twenty-five dollars, and I replied; "If you had stayed at my place, you would have had $150 in the savings bank and would not need to borrow."

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April 7, 1930