March 9, 1932

CON

Alfred Duranleau (Minister of Fisheries; Minister of Marine)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. DURANLEAU:

I understand that the chief object of the amendments will be with respect to our coastal laws for the purpose of putting Canadian bottom owners on the same footing as the American. There may be other amendments, but I cannot say offhand whether the amendment suggested by my hon. friend will be embodied in the bill.

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS
Subtopic:   EASTER ADJOURNMENT
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TRADE TREATIES


On the orders of the day:


LIB

Samuel Factor

Liberal

Mr. SAMUEL FACTOR (Toronto West Centre):

May I call the attention of the"

Minister of Trade and Commerce (Mr. Stevens) to the following despatch, diated March 8, and ask a question based upon it:

New Zealand Treaty Waits on Canada

Wellington, New Zealand, March 8.-"Unforeseen delay at the Canadian end" has temporarily held up progress on the trade treaty between Canada and New Zealand, Downie Stewart, finance minister, said to-night. The proposals negotiated between Mr. Stewart and H. H. Stevens, Canadian Minister of Trade and Commerce, at Honolulu, are ready, however, for submission to the New Zealand parliament. Mr. Stewart added he had been informed by Mr. Stevens that pressing political problems had precluded immediate submission of the proposals to the Canadian cabinet.

Unemployment Continuance Act

Will the minister say whether this despatch is correct, and what these political problems are.

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS
Subtopic:   TRADE TREATIES
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CON

Henry Herbert Stevens (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Hon. H. H STEVENS (Minister of Trade and Commerce):

The answer to the question is that in the course of a few days a statement will be made to the house regarding the Dominion government's position in connection with the New Zealand treaty.

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS
Subtopic:   TRADE TREATIES
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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Right Hon W. L. MACKENZIE KING (Leader of the Opposition):

May I ask the

Minister of Trade and Commerce or the Prime Minister whether negotiations are proceeding with the government of France with respect to a treaty between Canada and France on trade matters. I ask this question because I believe despatches have come from France which would indicate that the French government is contemplating banning fresh fruits from Canada and putting a prohibitive duty of $1 a bushel on imports of grain as a consequence of the abrogation of the treaty we had.

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS
Subtopic:   TRADE TREATIES
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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Right Hon. R. B. BENNETT (Prime Minister) :

No such information has reached

the government, nor have we received any communications since the last despatch was sent, indicating a willingness to resume discussions looking towards an amended treaty

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS
Subtopic:   TRADE TREATIES
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MONTREAL POSTAL TERMINAL


On the orders of the day:


LIB

Louis Édouard Fernand Rinfret

Liberal

Hon. Mr. RINFRET (Translation):

May I inquire from the Postmaster General whether his department has completed or will soon complete the purchase of the necessary land for the erection of a postal terminal, near the Bonaventure station, in Montreal, and when we may expect to see the work started.

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS
Subtopic:   MONTREAL POSTAL TERMINAL
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CON

Arthur Sauvé (Postmaster General)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Hon. Mr. SAUVE (Translation):

I think

that this question comes under the jurisdiction of the Minister of Public Works (Mr. Stewart).

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS
Subtopic:   MONTREAL POSTAL TERMINAL
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UNEMPLOYMENT AND FARM RELIEF


On the orders of the day:


LIB

Ernest Lapointe

Liberal

Hon. ERNEST LAPOINTE (Quebec East):

Mr. Speaker, will the Prime Minister (Mr. Bennett) advise the house what members of the council are replacing, in their absence, the minister without portfolio (Sir George Perley) and the Solicitor General (Mr. Dupre) on the subcommittee for the administration of the unemployment relief act.

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS
Subtopic:   UNEMPLOYMENT AND FARM RELIEF
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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Right Hon. R. B. BENNETT (Prime Minister) :

In view of the fact that no further new matters are being considered, no appointments

have been made. As occasion necessitates these appointments will be made, but at the moment there is no necessity. The members of council as a whole have considered such matters as require attention since the departure of the ministers referred to.

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS
Subtopic:   UNEMPLOYMENT AND FARM RELIEF
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LIB

Ernest Lapointe

Liberal

Mr. LAPOINTE:

No Quebec men?

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS
Subtopic:   UNEMPLOYMENT AND FARM RELIEF
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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

There are Quebec men on the council as a whole.

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS
Subtopic:   UNEMPLOYMENT AND FARM RELIEF
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UNEMPLOYMENT AND FARM RELIEF


The house resumed from Tuesday, March 8, consideration of the motion of the Prime Minister that Mr. Speaker do now leave the chair for the house to resolve itself into com-mitte of the whole on the following resolution: Resolved, that it is expedient to introduce a bill to amend chapter 58 of the statutes of Canada, 1931, striking out the word "March" in section 8, and substituting the word "May" therefor.


LIB

Frederick George Sanderson

Liberal

Mr. F. G. SANDERSON (South Perth):

Mr. Speaker, to my mind the resolution which has been introduced by the Prime Minister (Mr. Bennett) is one of the most important pieces of legislation brought before the house this session. It deals with unemployment and farm relief and affects not only tens of thousands of people; when the husbands and wives and children are taken into account it means that probably a million and a half or two million people are affected. The discussion thereon should receive the serious thought of every hon. member.

We have had in this country from time to time what have been known as hard times or depressions, and it must be said of the Canadian people as a whole that they face a crisis or anything which seems to be in the nature of a disaster with courage second to none. W'e have had depressions before, and in all probability as time goes on we will have others. They will occur when this government has passed on and perhaps when most, if not all, of the hon. members have left the scene. We had a depression which started in 1921 and extended into 1922 and 1923. I do not intend to deal in detail with the period of the great war, but for a moment I should like to go back to those days.

During the years from 1914 to 1918 the people of this country were under terrific stress and strain. They were keyed up from time to time with the news from the front; some of them were waiting anxiously for the cables announcing the causualty lists, and so

Unemployment Continuance Act

on, but their morale was sustained not only by their loyalty but because they were kept busy. There was no unemployment and, after all, the great tonic for idleness or for worry is activity and work. I might say that not only was every man and woman active in connection with the war, but there was also some profiteering, with which I do not intend to deal.

I desire to contrast that trying period from 1914 to 1918 with this depression, which in its magnitude and its ramifications is perhaps the greatest we have experienced. I am not unmindful of the efforts put forth by this government to grapple with the situation which confronted them when they took power in 1930 and which has continued down to the present day. I do not intend to hark back to the election campaign of 1930 other than to say that in the campaign the present Prime Minister, then the leader of the Conservative party, and all his candidates, made of unemployment a federal issue. Nothing was said in regard to the provinces taking part in this work, and very little in connection with the participation of municipalities. The then leader of the opposition made it a federal issue. He told the people of this country, not once but a dozen times, in so many words: If you elect me as Prime Minister and I form a government, with my bow and arrow I will kill and end unemployment in this country. That was the effect of the words he uttered. It is only fair to make a few observations in connection with the methods adopted by this government in regard to unemployment. As I said before, I am not unmindful of the efforts put forth, nor do I think the people of this country are unmindful of them; but I do think the majority of the people are of the opinion that 'whatever the efforts may have been, the results have fallen far short of expectations.

First of all, I should like to go back to the special session held in September, 1930. That session was called largely for the purpose of devising ways and means and passing legislation to end unemployment. The first method adopted by the government at that special session was the raising of the tariff to a point higher than any other government has ever attempted to raise it, and higher, I hope, than any government in the future will attempt to raise it. But this did not have the effect of curing unemployment; on the contrary, it made the unemployment greater, because people of moderate means had to pay more for the necessities of life. Therefore the increase of the tariff had no effect at all in the way of alleviating unemployment.

Then there was the measure under which an amount of $20,000,000 was voted to relieve or put an end to unemployment. I am not criticizing that in any way, nor did the opposition criticize it at the time it was brought in. They did have something to say as to the way- in which the money should be spent, and made certain suggestions which were not taken seriously or acted upon by the government; but the principle of asking for a vote of $20,000,000 was not opposed by hon. members on this side. As a matter of fact, the opposition would not at that time have criticized the granting of a larger sum, but the government thought $20,000,000 was the amount they should have to spend.

I want to speak of the mistakes the government, in my judgment, made at the time they had that amount voted. First of all, the government made a mistake even before the calling of the special session-and in the remarks I make I want it to be clearly understood that I am not in any way critical of the hon. gentleman who held the portfolio of Minister of Labour from the inception of this government until his resignation a few weeks ago. He is a capable man, a man of integrity, and one who, I think, has for many years kept in close touch with labour conditions in Canada. I am sorry, that the gentleman, as the Prime Minister pointed out not long ago, has become a casualty through being overworked and broken in health. But in that appointment to the portfolio of labour the mistake made by the government was this: if there is any place where a minister of labour should not have a seat, it is in the other chamber of this parliament. He was not close to the common people. He could not occupy a seat in this house in the special session of 1930 or in the session of 1931. Many questions were asked of the Department of Labour; sometimes they were answered and sometimes they were not. But in my opinion the results would have been far better for this country and for the people who are out of employment had the office of minister of labour been occupied by a member of the House of Commons.

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS
Subtopic:   UNEMPLOYMENT AND FARM RELIEF
Sub-subtopic:   CONTINUANCE ACT, 1932-CONSIDERATION OF RESOLUTION
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March 9, 1932