The Address-Mr. Casgrain
reconcile them. It is a well-known fact that in an influenza epidemic, for instance, those who suffer most are those who are tired out, worn down, and unable to put up any resistance. Yet we are told in the speech from the throne that Canada of all nations in the world will perhaps get on its feet the quickest. If that is so, the policies of the late administration could not have been so nefarious and injurious as the government has pretended that they were.
I need not repeat here to-day the figures that were placed on Hansard by my hon. leader in his speech last Monday. They show the wonderful progress of Canada under Liberal administration during the nine years my hon. leader was at the head of the government. Everybody knows that up to the middle of July last year, Canada stood fifth in world trade, but to-day it has receded from that position, and since the 28th of July last Canada has had to take a back seat.
When the speech from the throne also comments on the Unemployment Relief A'ct passed last session, we. cannot all agree with what it says, nor can we agree when the speech talks about the marked improvement in the domestic situation that has come about as a result of the changes made in the tariff last September. The government promised that factories would spring up here and there to keep our people employed. We were promised that work would be procurable in abundance throughout the country. During the last electoral campaign in every parish of my constituency my opponent promised that following July 28 the pulp and paper factories would be working six days per week instead of three days. To-day the same pulp and paper factories with few exemptions are closed. To-day I received letters from my people at Beaupre saying that the main industry there, the paper mills of the Ste. Anne Paper Company, Limited, are closed for a period of over a year and a half. The government now in office promised it would give employment to everybody and that the factories would be working full time. To-day we read in the newspapers that even in the good city of Toronto things are not as satisfactory as they should be. In the paper of March 22 we read:
Unemployed angered. Arson attempted when work was not forthcoming.
In this instance certain people went to obtain work and conditions were so bad that apparently they had to take the law in their own hands in order to get it. Mr. Speaker, the conditions I have outlined should not exist in this country especially in view of the bill passed by the government last September.
A hundred workers are going to Russia.
This is proclaimed in a headline of the Gazette of March 18.
Toronto Star says party of mechanics will leave in May.
Then the Gazette despatch continues:
Toronto, March 18.-"Soviet Russia's worldwide plea for skilled mechanics and expert craftsmen has been answered by 100 Toronto bricklayers, carpenters, technicians and contractors, who have been guaranteed employment in the Soviet Union and will leave Canada early in May. Arrangements for sailing have been made," the Toronto Star says to-day.
The party will be composed of Russians, Canadians, Frenchmen, Finlanders and other nationalities. Wives and children will travel with the heads of the households and many will carry with them their personal belongings.
We were promised that we would have more work after the present government took office but in a great city like Toronto where work is supposed to be procurable in abundance and where factories are working full time the people are forced to leave their own land in order to secure work in Soviet Russia. Will this government countenance such actions when it has placed a ban on Russian goods and has said "We will have nothing more to do with Russia"? I would be pleased if the government would take such action in the matter as would obviate the necessity of our own people leaving Canada to go to Russia. We know that the unemployment situation in Canada is as bad as, if not worse than, it was last July. I think previous speakers have placed figures on Hansard to show that the number of unemployed in Canada has now reached over 300,000. As one who has been looking around in the city of Montreal I say the Unemployment Relief Act of 1930 has not brought the results hon. members opposite expected it would. To my own knowledge Mr. Speaker, in the city of Montreal there are many unemployed and too many asking for help and assistance. Out of the moneys which were voted last September a certain amount was allocated to the city of Montreal, but up to the present time the best help and assistance which the unemployed have been able to secure has been derived from money received as the result of the few snow storms which we have had in that city. Certainly the leader of the government is not able to take credit for those storms. The works in the city have barely begun and employ but a few hundred people. The Canadian National terminal in Montreal is the only public work being proceeded with and God knows the work has been systematically hindered and delayed by the executive council of the cityMARCH 23, 1931
The Address-Mr. Casgrain
of Montreal which was more anxious to promote its own interests than those of the community. I learn from to-day's issue of the Montreal Gazette that the same city council has visited this city of Ottawa during the week end and has succeeded in obtaining from this government another extension of time and delay. They are trying to have their own views prevail in the matter which means, Mr. Speaker great delay in the relief of the unemployed in the city of Montreal. The operations of the Canadian National Railways have reached a standstill and an attempt has been made to spoil the policy adopted by the late government in the year 1929. If we have read the Montreal newspapers we will have seen that the situation is not satisfactory. For instance on March 13 Le Canada contained the following heading, over an article prepared by one of the reporters who had been around the city of Montreal and had visited the various works being carried on by the city:
The relief of unemployment Such are the facts ascertained hy a reporter of the "Canada" in the course of a visit to each yard
We notice that some of the men who were working were not our own good French Canadians but were foreigners. In the Montreal Gazette of March 6, 1931, under the heading Unemployed Relief System Described as Totally Wrong we have a statement made by Dr. Pedley who is at the head of the Hygiene Faculty of McGill university. In the article Dr. Pedley tells of the conditions in the city of Montreal. I think I shall read his statement as contained in the newspaper to which I have referred; so that you may have his opinion concerning the working of the relief act of 1930. I quote as follows:
Money voted might as well have been thrown into sewer. Director of Montreal Council of Social Agencies charges demoralization follows haphazard policy.
Criticism of Montreal's unemployment relief methods coupled with the declaration that the moneys voted for direct relief by the government might just as well have been thrown in a sewer, marked an address by Dr. F. G. Pedley, director of the Montreal Council of Social Agencies and assistant professor of industrial hygiene at McGill university, on "Unemployment relief in Montreal in 1930-31," before members of the Lions club yesterday at a luncheon meeting in the Mount Royal hotel. Unemployed men in Montreal had been given much food but no constructive help, he maintained. Their stomachs were filled, but neither the city nor the relief agencies had an intelligent plan to "put the men on their feet."
"Our whole system is wrong," Dr. Pedley maintained. "Giving something for nothing is a faulty system, one which undermines the morals of the unemployed, makes them
dependent upon others. We should demand some services of those to whom we administer unemployment relief." _
He stressed that in some cities-particularly in the west, those to whom relief is given are made to pay for it by working. Winnipeg had its unemployed earning relief by labour in the municipal wood yards. Until Montreal was in a position to make the men work for relief, the system of relief as practised at present in the city was dangerous and devoid of constructive help. .
The Dominion government, at a special session, had voted $20,000,000 to the direct and indirect relief of the unemployed, the speaker recalled. Of this sum $4,000,000 was scheduled for direct relief. Montreal's share of that sum was $150,000, granting that both the Quebec government and the city council would give similar amounts. The total in the city for direct relief, therefore, was $450,000, and this sum was already nearly exhausted with the worst part of the winter still to come.
Public Works Fail
"The public works undertaken by the city to relieve the unemployed have given little relief," Dr. Pedley declared. "Our records show that unemployment in the city has hardly been reduced through these works. The number of destitute men, helpless because they are unemployed, has not changed."
"We have been giving relief," he continued, "but we have tried to do the job too well though we are criticized for our parsimonius attitude. We have given Montreal a name as a good place for the hard-up to spend the winter in; next winter we will probably be stormed by destitute people who have heard this despite our great reluctance to give publicity on what relief work we are doing, of what is being done here for the hard-up and unemployed. Our system is entirely wrong."
He added that Montreal's relief system was productive of demoralization in the ranks of the unemployed. Their morale went with the definite assurance that they could keep on benig unemployed for they would always have a bed and three meals a day, and this without work or effort.
"The money being spent by the government on this kind of relief might just as well be thrown in the sewer," Dr. Pedley stated, adding: "The situation is this: No man goes
hungry in Montreal. There is an abundance of food, but no intelligent plan to put the men on their feet. There is great laxity in the system.
The system of relief work in the city of Montreal has been in the hands of the executive committee of the city of Montreal, which is friendly to the present government, and this is the result. The money voted by parliament at the special session last September has been spent without bringing about any substantial relief of the unemployment situation in that city. In the rural districts the situation is not much better. As was said by the Hon. Mr. Francoeur, Minister of Public Works in the provincial government, the Dominion government should have consulted the various provincial governments with respect to the distribution of the unemploy-