March 9, 1932

CON

Isaac Duncan MacDougall

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MACDOUGALL:

When the Hon. Mr. Murdock was Minister of Labour in a Liberal government, had he a seat in 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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LIB

Frederick George Sanderson

Liberal

Mr. SANDERSON:

Yes, he had.

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

Isaac Duncan MacDougall

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MACDOUGALL:

He was defeated

and was appointed to the Senate.

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

Frederick George Sanderson

Liberal

Mr. SANDERSON:

He was not appointed to the Senate until years after he was minister of labour.

Unemployment Continuance Act

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

Isaac Duncan MacDougall

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MACDOUGALL:

Not at all.

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

Frederick George Sanderson

Liberal

Mr. SANDERSON:

I do not mind interruptions if they are relevant. I shall answer any question I can, but as regards the question of my friend, he is wrong in his facts, because the Hon. Mr. Murdock was never minister of labour while he sat in the Senate.

Another mistake that I think the government made was that they linked themselves up with the provinces and municipalities. If I may revert to some remarks I made a few moments ago, they made the issue that primarily the question of unemployment was a matter fo.r the federal parliament. Then they attempted to make some arrangement first with the provinces and through the provinces with the municipalities. The result is that the whole matter has been confused; there has not been either head or tail to it. There are two principals: the federal government and the provinces, with the municipalities as a side partner. The result is that if a member rises and asks a courteous, intelligent question in regard to the expenditure of federal money on unemployment relief, it is very difficult to secure an intelligent answer. I say that in no spirit of criticism. It would have been -far better if the federal government had assumed the whole responsibility for the payment of money in connection with unemployment relief and had in some degree worked in conjunction, if they wished to do so, with the provinces and the provinces with the municipalities, but there should have been some scheme worked out so that the responsibility in regard to the payment of these amounts could at least be put on someone's shoulders.

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

Peter McGibbon

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. McGIBBON:

What does the hon.

member suggest the federal government could have done instead of what they did do?

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

Frederick George Sanderson

Liberal

Mr. SANDERSON:

That is a fair question, and I am prepared to answer it. As a matter of fact, I was coming to it. I would say: follow the advice that the

leader of the opposition (Mr. Mackenzie King) gave to the government the other day, namely, that it would have been far better if this relief work had been carried out by a commission rather than through any government. Such a course would have done away with a great deal of the difficulty, unrest and dissatisfaction that prevail to-day in this country in regard to the expenditure of the money.

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

Peter McGibbon

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. McGIBBON:

Would the hon. member eliminate the provinces and the municipalities in connection with this expenditure?

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

Frederick George Sanderson

Liberal

Mr. SANDERSON:

I do not say that I

would do so, but I would suggest a responsible commission composed of responsible men, not politicians, either members of the government or members of the opposition.

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

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Oh, oh!

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

Frederick George Sanderson

Liberal

Mr. SANDERSON:

Hon. members can

take that as a joke, but I mean it just the same. I would suggest a commission where no politics could creep in. If the hon. member for Muskoka-Ontario (Mr. McGibbon) will wait a moment or two, I shall endeavour to give my reasons for saying why I think the appointment of a commission would have been much better than the way in which the matter has been handled by the government since 1930.

These questions sometimes get me off the beaten path. I want to go back to the

820,000,000 voted at the special session of 1930. We find, according to the statements made from the government side, that out of the fund of $20,000,000 the sum of $17,372,000 was expended. The whole amount apparently was not required, or at least, if it was required, it was not spent. The $17,372,000 formed part of a total expenditure by the provinces and municipalities of approximately $70,000,-

000. That proves, to my mind at least, that $3,000,000 was not used, so that there was lack of business ability, lack of coordination and lack of cooperation between the federal government, the provincial governments and the municipalities. But I do not blame the municipalities in that regard. I am endeavouring to establish merely that the whole scheme has been worked out in a very unbusinesslike way. I repeat, that the federal government should have been in control of the situation from the first, perhaps having a commission working for or under it to some degree. I do not think any member of this house will get up and say that the efforts put forth by this government in the special session of 1930 did very much to alleviate unemployment. Unfortunately-one does not like to say this, but we must face the facts as we see them-the unemployment situation has gradually been getting worse ever since this government came into power, despite the fact that it has had practically a free hand to grapple with the situation. My hon. friend from Muskoka-Ontario, as a medical man, knows that if he is prescribing for a patient who gradually gets worse under his treatment instead of better, and concludes that his treatment is not the right one for the case, he may consult with some other member of the profession or perhaps call in another doctor to prescribe for the patient.

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Unemployment Continuance Act

I am not insinuating at all that the opposition should be called in to deal with the present state of affairs, because they will be called in by the people of this country just as soon as they have an opportunity to speak their minds.

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

Alexander Thomas Embury

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. EMBURY:

We shall have to be a

whole lot sicker than we are now for that to happen.

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

Frederick George Sanderson

Liberal

Mr. SANDERSON:

The whole management or mismanagement of the situation does not stand very much to the credit of the federal government or of some of the provincial governments, as I shall endeavour to explain in a moment or two.

I come to the session of 1931. At that session there was a long discussion of the unemployment question, and very late in the session, two or three days before the close, a measure was brought down by the government asking for what is commonly known now as a blank cheque in dealing with the unemployment situation. That blank cheque was given to them, although hon. members on this side opposed it, pointing out at the same time that if the government in their wisdom wished to ask for fifty or one hundred or one hundred and fifty million dollars, or any other stated amount, it would be voted without question. But no, the government must have a blank cheque and unlimited powers, and they got both. We do not know how much of the blank cheque has been handed over to the provinces, although figures have been given as to the amounts for 6ome of the provinces. I do not think, however, that any hon. member on the other side of the house will say that since the government was granted a blank cheque and unlimited powers in the session of 1931, unemployment has lessened. On the contrary, from 1931 down to the present day, just as from 1930 to 1931, the unemployment situation has been gradually getting worse; there are thousands more unemployed men and women in this country to-day than there were a year ago.

Now I come to at least a partial answer to the question asked by my hon. friend from Muskoka-Ontario about the commission and about the spending of this money. I do not charge the right hon. the Prime Minister, any member of his government, or the government as a whole, with having played politics in the expenditure of money voted for unemployment and farm relief. But I do say this, that either with or without knowledge, consciously or unconsciously, the federal authorities placed in the hands of the provincial governments something that most

of the provinces at all events have used for political purposes. I want to speak particularly of the province of Ontario.

Members from Nova Scotia and from Saskatchewan have pointed out in this house that politics did enter into the spending of the money voted for purposes of unemployment and farm relief. Speaking as a citizen of Ontario, and knowing something at least of politics in this province, I say that the fund has been used in Ontario for political purposes. I want to say a word or two about the political machine in the province of Ontario, and when I say the political machine I mean the provincial political machine. Of course, in a federal election the provincial political machine comes out to do duty for the federal party, but primarily it is a provincial political machine. Its chief architect and designer is a gentleman who now occupies a high position in London, England, but that machine is still in existence, and its ramifications are numerous indeed. It is surprising how this political machine is manned. It is manned by officials of the highways department of the province of Ontario; it is manned by the officials of the liquor control board of the province of Ontario, and when I say '[DOT]officials" I am not referring at all to the commissioners; it is manned by officials who have to do with old age pensions in the province of Ontario; it is manned by officials who have to do with mothers' allowances in the province of Ontario; it is manned by officials of that great public institution, the Ontario Hydro Electric Commission.

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

Robert James Manion (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MANION:

Might I offer a suggestion to my hon. friend? Does he not think that in fairness, having made a general statement of that kind, he should give more details, rather than leave it in the form of a general statement? Those are pretty serious charges, and it seems to me that my hon. friend has said either too much or too little.

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

Frederick George Sanderson

Liberal

Mr. SANDERSON:

In reply to my hon. friend the Minister of Railways and Canals (Mr. Manion), I do not think I have said too much or too little, and if I have the time I may say a good deal more before I sit down.

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

Robert James Manion (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MANION:

There is plenty of time.

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

Frederick George Sanderson

Liberal

Mr. SANDERSON:

In regard to the manning of the political machine by officials of the Ontario Hydro Electric Commission, let me say that part of the machine is not working true to form; for there has been to some extent a backfire from the gun they have been firing in that part of the political

Unemployment Continuance Act

machine. But I repeat, Mr. Speaker, in the province of Ontario the political machine is manned by officials of these different departments and commissions as I have stated here on my responsibility as a member of this house. They have built up that great political machine in the province of Ontario. I will not say that they have taken the money out of the treasury, but the fact that they have the spending of the money through their officials has resulted in their using it, if not directly at least indirectly for political purposes.

My friend the Minister of Railways thought I had said too much or too little. Well, I am going to tell him something more. During the last year and a half there have been several by-elections for the legislature of Ontario, and to rnv knowledge hundreds and hundreds of unemployed men were stopped outside the polling booths by Conservatives and warned that they had better be careful how they marked their ballots, because if it was found they had voted against the Queens Park candidate they could take it for granted that they would not get any work or relief from the unemployment fund. If that is not playing politics I do not know what is. So I repeat that in Ontario, unfortunately, the money received by the province under the Unemployment and Farm Relief Act has been used to further the purposes of the political machine.

I regret that the Minister of Labour (Mr. Gordon) is not in his seat. He holds a very important portfolio. There is no doubt of his ability, nor of his integrity so far as I know; but I am a little doubtful of him in some other respects. I am told that his sponsor was the distinguished gentleman who now occupies such a prominent position in London, England, and that it was he who tutored the minister in the craft of politics. So we had an excellent combination-an apt pupil and a very clever teacher. On February 23 last the minister took part in the debate on unemployment, arising out of the amendment moved by the member for Kenora-Rainy River (Mr. Heenan) on the motion to go into supply. One would naturally expect that in what was his maiden speech as Minister of Labour he would have at least said something in regard to the policy of the government or what he himself thought should be done to help dispel the dark clouds of unemployment and distress that hang over the country. I have read his speech carefully in Hansard of that date. He was not subject to the forty-minute rule and consequently spoke at length. In all kindness to him I would point out that he took up almost three-quarters of an hour in criticizing

the immigration policy of the former administration, and tried to argue that the policy was largely the cause of the present unemployment and distress. Well, the hon. gentleman came into this house after the elections of 1930, and I would refer him to a speech delivered on March 9, 1928, by the then hon. member for Vancouver North, Mr. McRae, who sat on this side as a member of the Conservative party and of the opposition. His fellow Conservatives applauded the scheme that he outlined for colonizing fifty million acres of land in the far west at a cost involving not millions but billions of dollars. If the then government had taken his advice and carried out that policy the country would now be bankrupt.

After attacking the immigration policy of the late administration, the minister launched an attack on the hon. member for Kenora-Rainy River, who held the portfolio of labour in the late Liberal government. I hold no brief for the hon. member for Kenora-Rainy River; he is well able to take care of himself and usually does, but I would say to the minister that if he puts as much energy into his work and gets as close to the labouring people of Canada as did his predecessor, he will have a record to be proud of when he retires from the Department of Labour. On that occasion he regaled the house with a vast amount of correspondence from people up in northern Ontario, from mayors, presidents of boards of trade and others, all throwing boquets at the administration. One would expect an hon. gentleman holding the very high and responsible position of Minister of Labour to maintain debate, especially during this trying period, on the high plane of national politics rather than descend to the low level of ward politics. But a perusal of the correspondence is sufficient to convince one that it could have no place even in the discussion of a village council.

Now, to come to the resolution itself:

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.

The Prime Minister is a very eminent lawyer, and I do not pretend to follow him in the citations he read to the house yesterday from a judgment delivered by the late Lord Chancellor Haldane, but it appears to me as a layman using ordinary common sense that he is attempting to resurrect something that is dead. He is trying to amend an act that became null and void on March 1 last. This resolution requires an undertaker to bury it, and when that is done the government should bring in some live act in its place.

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Unemployment Continuance Act

I should like to say a word or two with regard to farm relief as it pertains to the province of Ontario. Aft e have heard a great deal in regard to the money spent in Saskatchewan and the other provinces of the west for direct farm relief, but if this government does not take some steps to relieve the situation in this great province of Ontario, before long they will be confronted with a situation that will tax all the resources of the country. During the course of a debate the other day the Prime Minister stated, in reply to a question as to farm products and their prices, that the fanners of this country had better read the book written by the Duchess of Atholl. If that is all the relief the government is prepared to give the farmers of Ontario and of the other provinces, then it is a sorry day for the farmers and for the whole Dominion of Canada.

I want to repeat what has been often said in this house that if the basic industry of this country cannot prosper; if the farmers cannot find markets for what they produce, at prices which will at least give them some profit, that industry is doomed. This is the situation facing the farmers of Ontario to-day, as well as those of every province in this great dominion. I hope the house will not permit the Prime Minister to force through this blank cheque again. The right hon. gentleman likes to cite precedents from the mother of parliaments, as he calls it.

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

Pierre Édouard Blondin (Speaker of the Senate)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPEAKER:

The hon. gentleman has spoken for forty minutes.

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

Peter McGibbon

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. PETER McGIBBON (Muskoka-On-tario):

Mr. Speaker, as one who has had

considerable relief work done in his constituency I can hardly let the statements just made by my hon. friend (Mr. Sanderson) go unchallenged. The hon. gentleman said this money was used for political purposes. I agree with the Minister of Railways (Mr. Manion) that if a man stands up in this house and makes a charge as serious as this, at least he should be prepared to give some proof.- The only proof suggested by the hon. member who just took his seat was that somewhere, at some time, some persons had been told by somebody that if they did not vote for a certain candidate in a certain by-election-which the hon. gentleman did not name-they would be deprived of relief work. The one outstanding thing that has struck me during this debate has been the lack of real criticism by the opposition. Perhaps they are performing what they think is a party act, but it does not take very much intelligence to understand that really there

is no enthusiasm behind what they are doing; their efforts are not well directed, and above all no alternative plan has been suggested. I defy any member of this house to go into the ridings where this money has been spent and successfully criticize the way it has been handled. I do not say there have been no mistakes; there have, but what undertaking of such magnitude ever was carried through without mistakes being made? The opposition have suggested no alternative. What would they have done with these tens of thousands of people, men, women and children, literally starving in this country? When I remember that notable speech of the right hon. leader of the opposition (Mr. Mackenzie King), with the background it had-that speech that acted as one of the most powerful weapons in sweeping hon. gentleman opposite from the government benches to the opposite side of the house-I should think they would have left this subject alone.

We had unemployment then, Mr. Speaker; we still have it and everyone regrets it, but what would hon. gentlemen opposite have done? I asked the hon. member who just took his seat what he would have done, and what was his answer? He said he would have appointed a commission. Was that an alternative policy? I ask him now, as I ask any member opposite, what he would have done that the government did not do. Would they have started a dole?

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