The house resumed from Wednesday, July 29, consideration of the motion of the Right Hon. R. B. Bennett (Prime Minister) that Mr. Speaker do now leave the chair for the house to resolve itself into committee of the whole on the following resolution:
That it is expedient to bring in a measure to confer certain powers upon the governor in council in respect to unemployment and farm relief; and for the maintenance of peace, order and good government in all parts of Canada; and to authorize the governor in council to expend for the said purposes out of the consolidated revenue fund such sums as may from time to time be necessary.
Mr. JOSEPH A. BRADETTE (North Timiskaming): In the few remarks I made
before the adjournment last night I brought to the attention of the house some of the anomalies that existed with respect to the wages paid in certain sections of northern Ontario in connection with unemployment relief. I cited that whereas the wages paid in certain districts for road work under the unemployment relief fund were $2.80 per day, in my section the men were paid only $2.40 per day, or a difference of 40 cents less. I would ask the government to make up that deficiency to the people involved in my section.
I 'also made an appeal on behalf of single men for work under the Northern Development Branch, and I hope that in any new work undertaken in the northern sections of the province such anomalies as I mentioned will not exist. I proved that single men in large numbers in that section of the country have been penalized. I am now going to bring to the attention of the house a local or regional matter, and I hope that my genial friend from Parkdale (Mr. Spence)
Farm and Unemployment Relief
will not say, as he said the other day, that I should stand behind a wailing wall. This is a very important matter to northern Ontario, and more particularly to the town with which I am more familiar, that of Cochrane. We have in that section of the country a situation which I believe is not experienced in any other part of Canada. This applies to Kapuskasing, Porcupine district, Kirkland Lake district and most particularly to the town of Cochrane. That is the reason I believe it is my duty as a representative of that section of the country to bring to the attention of this house, as I brought it to the attention of the Prime Minister, the very acute and serious situation with which we have to contend in the town of Cochrane.
I hope the house will be indulgent for a few moments so that I may tell of this very important matter. Already the Prime Minister is familiar with the present situation, and after listening to me very carefully he has promised that in conjunction with the authorities of the province of Ontario he will provide a remedy. I want the house to realize that that statement was made nearly a month ago by the Prime Minister. So far, no relief has been given to the unemployed in Cochrane district. Hon. members will appreciate the gravity of the situation when they know that the population of that town is only 3,000, and that at present we have to take care of about 1.500 transient unemployed. For the last six months we have had to do that. The town of Cochrane and municipality is practically keeping and feeding that additional population, and has been doing so for the past six months. That is one of the reasons why we in that section of the country think w'e have done our duty and that the responsibility now rests wholly, if not with the provincial authorities, at least with the federal government.
I believe some hon. members will be interested to listen to a statement of conditions among the unemployed in that section of the country. They do not look to the municipal authorities, but blame, simply and solely, the federal authorities. That is why it is important for this government to listen to my outline of the situation so that as soon as possible remedies may be effected. Perhaps some hon. members will ask, "How is it you have such a great number of transients in your section of the country?" The answer is that geographically speaking we are in the centre of Canada. Owing to the fact that at the present time developments are 'being carried on at Coral rapids, necessitating the employment of hundreds of men, and that the railway is being extended to Moose
Factory, that section of the country has been advertised in the newspapers for two years, with the result that Cochrane and district has been a drawing card for unemployed. That explains why we have so many people coming from all parts of Canada. True, many of them are there only for a short time, but a great many remain permanently.
That is my justification for appealing to the federal authorities to help remedy a situation for which the town of Cochrane is not, in a way, responsible. The situation is becoming worse, from day to day. We very much regret that the Minister of Labour did not find it possible, on his way back from the west, to go through our section of the country. We are at a loss to understand why he travelled through the southern section of northern Ontario; we do not know the reason. We were hoping that he would find it possible to come to Cochrane, speak to the unemployed and learn the facts of the situation with which we are faced.
Only last week the premier of the province of Ontario visited northern Ontario, but for some reason unknown to us in the northern section of the province he did not find it possible to come to Cochrane district, or to the northern section.
Now, so that the house may fully realize the situation in Cochrane I shall read to hon. members some articles appearing in local newspapers. The Cochrane Northland Post in its columns gives the northern viewpoint of the situation. I am no sob-sister artist, but I believe it my duty to make known the conditions we are facing and to point out to the authorities that unless attention is given to the matter immediately trouble will result. Last week, during one of the unemployed parades, one of the provincial constables was hurt. I shall quote from the Northland Post of May 14, 1931:
There seems to be no limit to the number of unemployed that the town of Cochrane can harbour, from the appearance of the streets these days. Last Monday evening when the National pulled out of town, Railway street and Sixth avenue looked as though they were out to put Yonge street in the shade. It seems a pity that the citizens of the town are forced to either step off the sidewalk or else be jostled till their teeth rattle in order to get to and from work.
Several storekeepers have complained that the entrance to their places of business have become the stamping ground of the hundreds of unemployed that wre nave in town. Many of these unfortunate men seem to monopolize the sidewalk with a bovine like indifference, making it almost impossible for women with baby carriages, to say nothing of the decidedly coarse type of talk that is all too frequently heard.
It is hoped that work will be resumed up north soon, before a series of robberies breaks