April 28, 1932

LIB

Charles Gavan Power

Liberal

Mr. POWER:

Consisting of more than thirty-five persons.

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT RELIEF
Subtopic:   AGREEMENTS WITH PROVINCES RESPECTING MEASURES TO RELIEVE DISTRESS
Permalink
CON

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

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

Quite so.

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT RELIEF
Subtopic:   AGREEMENTS WITH PROVINCES RESPECTING MEASURES TO RELIEVE DISTRESS
Permalink
LAB

James Shaver Woodsworth

Labour

Mr. J. S. WOODSWORTH (Winnipeg North Centre):

I am sure the procedure which

2448 COMMONS

Unemployment-Agreements with Provinces

the Prime Minister has outlined to be followed in connection with this measure is very satisfactory to many of us in this house. However, there are one or two matters of general importance which I think might be considered at this stage. We have not been informed whether or not this is the only measure dealing with relief that is to be brought down this session, but I presume it is. If that is so it seems to me right that at this stage we should consider the whole question of the method of relief.

We have been given no report as to what took place at the conference between the Dominion and -provincial governments, but some of the representatives of provincial governments have given indications, as they have gone back home, that there is to be a radical change in the whole method of relief and that public works are to be given up, with direct relief to be adopted as a principle. If that is so it seems a very serious matter indeed, and one that should be dealt with by this house. I can understand very well that when it comes to details the administration will have to arrange matters with the various provinces;

I -can understand that there is something to be said for leaving the amount to be expended rather indefinite, so there will not be rivalry on the part of the provinces. But as to method I do think it would be disastrous if we were to give up the idea of anything in the nature of unemployment insurance or anything in the nature of extensive public works and settle upon what is after all the very worst type of dole, the mere giving of relief. The Prime Minister will agree that the dole is bad; he has so expressed himself, yet I think that is what is involved.

I can quite understand that the provinces and the municipalities themselves are not in a position to carry on extensive public works.

I know that is true of the western provinces, but that does not altogether settle the matter' because if necessary the Dominion itself still has the resources with which to carry on public works, even though these are located within the bounds of the different provinces. When we consider the welfare of the men, women and children involved in this problem of unemployment it does seem that we should not let our relief scheme degenerate into mere assistance in the form of doles.

Now let me give one or two examples. The other day in the west we had the suggestion that some assistance should be given the municipalities and provinces that were attempting to establish people on the land. Personally I do not think that such a scheme is a solution of the economic problem in-

volved, but I do think it might be considered a better relief scheme than simply the handing out of doles. It ought to be made clear to us whether or not the policy of this government contemplates entering into arrangements with the provincial governments with regard to a relief scheme of that kind. The Prime Minister has indicated that possibly some special arrangement might be entered into with regard to unemployed single men who might be sent out into our parks or highways. I was very glad indeed to hear him make that statement, but it seems to me that kind of policy might be very considerably extended. For example, recently in the city of Ottawa a plan has been proposed by the Canadian Red Cross to place a number of these men on a farm, where they might at least earn their own subsistence and thus be saved from the demoralizing tendencies that we all know exist in connection with our relief agencies. I should hope that it might be possible to extend this principle of providing work for men, other than the large groups of single men who are now congregated in a few of the large western cities.

Just one other matter. The resolution gives authority to loan money to any province on such terms as may be agreed upon. One province at least has expressed one way in which it would like to arrange this matter of loans, and I think this is particularly significant as following the episode in connection with the provincial savings office of Manitoba.

I quote from the votes and proceedings of the legislative assembly of Manitoba of Thursday, April 14, 1932, the following resolution:

That whereas, under the existing federal legislation, the provinces have not the right to establish banks;

Whereas, the payment of interest on money borrowed from the banks, and elsewhere, has reached such proportions as to absorb a heavy percentage of provincial revenue;

Whereas financial policy is closely related with the wellbeing of the people as a whole; and.

Whereas the creation of a bank under provincial control would, to some extent, facilitate the financial transactions of the government of the province;

Therefore be it resolved, that this legislature urge the federal government, at the present session of parliament, to amend The Finance Act and The Bank Act so as to enable any province so desiring, the right to establish a provincial bank, and to enable the Minister of Finance of the federal government to make advances of currency to the provinces of Canada upon, pledges of security, in a manner similar to existing power to make advances to existing banks.

Unemployment-Agreements with Provinces

I would ask the Prime Minister whether he has received this resolution passed by the legislature of Manitoba, and whether or not his government has in contemplation any revision of the Bank Act or of the Finance Act along the lines requested.

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT RELIEF
Subtopic:   AGREEMENTS WITH PROVINCES RESPECTING MEASURES TO RELIEVE DISTRESS
Permalink
CON

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

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

With your permission, Mr. Speaker, I will answer the hon. gentleman's question at once. First, banks and banking under our constitution, section 91, are solely within the jurisdiction of this parliament, to the exclusion of provincial power; secondly, if the province of Manitoba desires to establish a bank it can, under the provisions of the Bank Act, incorporate a bank in this parliament, or direct that to be done, and establish such bank in the manner prescribed by the Bank Act; and, thirdly, this parliament could not confer the power sought except by an amendment to the constitution itself, if by the resolution in question it is intended that we should confer upon a province power which the British North America Act declares belongs exclusively to the dominion and which the dominion cannot by mere legislation pass on to a province. I had received a copy of the resolution, transmitted through official sources, and the answer which I have roughly drafted and will forward is the answer which I have now given. But it does seem idle that a legislature should waste its time passing resolutions that this parliament should exercise an unconstitutional power for the purpose of endeavouring to confer an unconstitutional authority upon a body which, under our constitution, cannot exercise it.

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT RELIEF
Subtopic:   AGREEMENTS WITH PROVINCES RESPECTING MEASURES TO RELIEVE DISTRESS
Permalink
LAB

James Shaver Woodsworth

Labour

Mr. WOODSWORTH:

May I ask whether it would not be possible, without any violation of the constitution, that the provinces should be given the same right under the Finance Act that is now possessed by the banks?

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT RELIEF
Subtopic:   AGREEMENTS WITH PROVINCES RESPECTING MEASURES TO RELIEVE DISTRESS
Permalink
CON

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

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

No, because they are not capable of supplying the security under which that power is exercised. I will give the hon. gentleman a concrete case. The banks are now overloaded with the securities of the province to which he refers, and under the provisions of the Finance Act they could only grant the banks a limited amount on the deposit of these securities; and the treasury board has to fix the extent to which the advances could be made from time to time, having regard to the solvency and credit conditions that obtain in the province in question. I think the hon. gentleman will realize that if the power he mentions were exercised, the whole financial structure would be destroyed over night. I may add that the question of the appointment of commissions was discussed

with the representatives of the provinces, and the minister will give to the committee the information in that regard which he mentioned the other day.

Motion agreed to and the house went into committee, Mr. Arthurs in the chair.

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT RELIEF
Subtopic:   AGREEMENTS WITH PROVINCES RESPECTING MEASURES TO RELIEVE DISTRESS
Permalink
LIB

Charles Gavan Power

Liberal

Mr. POWER:

I do not see anywhere, in the authority which it is proposed to confer upon the governor in council, the right taken by the government to carry on with purely federal public works.

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT RELIEF
Subtopic:   AGREEMENTS WITH PROVINCES RESPECTING MEASURES TO RELIEVE DISTRESS
Permalink
CON

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

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

It is not there.

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT RELIEF
Subtopic:   AGREEMENTS WITH PROVINCES RESPECTING MEASURES TO RELIEVE DISTRESS
Permalink
LIB

Charles Gavan Power

Liberal

Mr. POWER:

Am I to understand that that is done because it is not the policy of the government to carry on with purely federal public works other than those which have been voted in the estimates?

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT RELIEF
Subtopic:   AGREEMENTS WITH PROVINCES RESPECTING MEASURES TO RELIEVE DISTRESS
Permalink
CON

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

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

That is right.

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT RELIEF
Subtopic:   AGREEMENTS WITH PROVINCES RESPECTING MEASURES TO RELIEVE DISTRESS
Permalink
LAB

Abraham Albert Heaps

Labour

Mr. HEAPS:

Will the Minister of Labour inform the committee whether there are likely to be any changes in the attitude of the government towards the cost of relief as between the federal and the provincial governments?

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT RELIEF
Subtopic:   AGREEMENTS WITH PROVINCES RESPECTING MEASURES TO RELIEVE DISTRESS
Permalink
CON

Wesley Ashton Gordon (Minister of Immigration and Colonization; Minister of Labour; Minister of Mines)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Hon. W. A. GORDON (Minister of Labour):

Perhaps at this stage I might make some general observations with respect to this resolution, in order to convey to the committee shortly what the present situation is, as I believe it to be with the information I have at hand. I trust the committee will bear with me while I briefly review the work with respect to unemployment and farm relief since the first legislation of 1930. The first legislation became effective in 1930, and the total amount that has been spent up to date through the agency of the federal government, the provincial governments and the municipalities, is approximately S150,000,000. This, of course, is the combined expenditure of the dominion, the provinces and the municipalities.

' The total amount contributed by the Dominion government in respect to this sum is a little over $48,000,000. The separation of the figures pertaining to the provinces and the municipalities is not at the moment complete. In some cases the division between the provinces and the municipalities is based on the cost of labour only, and until accounts are received it is not possible to arrive at the exact figure. However, the total contribution of the municipalities and the provinces to the total expenditure of approximately $150,000,000, is slightly over $100,000,000.

In connection with the work carried out up to March 31, I may say that in a measure this is reflected in the report of the director of unemployment relief tabled some weeks

2450 COMMONS

Unemployment-Agreements with Provinces

ago. In bringing this report up to date, it is shown that employment has been given to 741,465 different individuals. Of course, this is for varying periods of time. Of that number, 404,S23 have been given employment since September, 1931, and 336,642 were given employment under the legislation of 1930. Under the 1930 act 7,500,000 man-days of work were provided, and to March 31, under the 1931-32 act, approximately 10,000,000 man-days, a total of about 17,500,000. The average wage paid would not be very informative as the rates vary from those paid to labourers in remote rural districts to those paid to skilled mechanics in the industrial centres.

In addition to the expenditures made for public works, as previously referred to, the Dominion government has contributed to direct relief under the 1930 and 1931-32 legislation. The basis of contribution has been that the Dominion government pays one-third of the municipal expenditures, the provinces also paying one-third. In connection with unorganized districts where the provinces had to bear the full load, the Dominion government pays 50 per cent and the provinces the balance. This statement may be qualified with respect to those areas commonly known as the dried out or drought areas in southern Saskatchewan, which were dealt with on a different basis. The contribution of the federal government for direct relief under the 1930 act was $3,475,972; the total expenditure by the municipalities and provinces was in the neighbourhood-this figure is only approximate, but I believe it is fairly correct-of $10,000,000. Under the 1931-32 act the dominion has paid out in direct relief a total of $3,146,738. This is the dominion's contribution to date in respect of direct relief to a total expenditure which probably amounts to- again this figure is approximate, but I believe it is fairly accurate-$12,000,000. This does not include the amounts advanced to the Saskatchewan relief commission.

The accounts do not reach the federal government immediately after the expenditures have been incurred, and the total expenditure for direct relief made by the provinces and the municipalities can only be estimated at the moment. Accounts are being received daily and it can be readily understood that each succeeding day shows a change in the total. The setup of the relief commission in Saskatchewan is purely a provincial one and to enable the commission to carry on funds have been supplied to the province by way of loans from the Dominion government. In those areas that have suffered a three year successive crop failure and representing over 76 municipalities, the Dominion government

lMr. Gordon.]

has disbursed 100 per cent of the relief. In those areas where the conditions were not so acute and the situation not so difficult, the Dominion government has contributed 50 per cent. The accounts of the Saskatchewan relief commission are being audited, but the report for the month ending March 31 indicates that the total expenditures by the relief commission to that date totalled approximately $8,745,822.80. Relief has been given to 55,374 heads of families who had 249,183 dependents. Glancing at these figures hon. members can readily understand the magnitude of the work and the task which confronted those charged with the administration of relief in those areas. In addition there were individual cases numbering 278, so that the total number given relief through the Saskatchewan relief commission was 304,835. Up to March 31, the expenditures of the commission include approximately $500,000 for seed grain, but the April accounts will presumably indicate a further and larger expenditure in this connection. I believe the advances for seed grain

I can readily confirm this through the Department of Finance-have been $4,000,000.

The matter has been fairly well discussed in this chamber and I feel sure that hon. members are aware of the difficulties which confronted the provinces with respect to discharging their external obligations. Without assistance from the federal government, the provinces were unable to take care of loans falling due. In addition to loans made to the provinces in respect of their external obligations, further loans were made to enable them to pay their share of the relief contributions, above referred to, and in addition the Dominion government also advanced its agreed-upon contribution, crediting to these loans and advances the accounts as they were received and audited.

When a province-this refers to the western provinces-found itself unable, under the terms of the agreement entered into, to contribute its share of the moneys for relief and employment, the Dominion government advanced to such province not only the percentage which we had contracted with the province to pay, but also the province's portion of the contribution, taking as security provincial treasury bills which bore a rate of interest which equated the interest the dominion had to pay. I believe the rate was 4J per cent. Loans and advances were thus made to five provinces-British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario. The Ontario advance was really not an advance for any considerable duration, covering only a few days while accounts were being adjusted. The standing of the loans

Unemployment-Agreements with Provinces

and advances at the present time is as follows:

The total loans and advances made to the provinces aggregate $43,418,499.87. To Ontario there was advanced $2,500,000. This total sum has been retired by accounts credited to the advance. The advance stood for only a few days, and was made pending federal payments which were then under way and pending the auditing of the accounts.

To Manitoba there was advanced $5,594,314.67, against which there has been credited $1,198,064.48, leaving the present outstanding balance of Manitoba's loan $4,396,250.19.

The total advance for Saskatchewan was $12,534,934.12, against which accounts credited amount to $1,100,592.66, leaving a balance of $11,434,341.46. In addition to this 812,534,934.12 there has been advanced to the Saskatchewan Relief Commission, including the $4,000,000 which was advanced recently for seed grain, $9,250,000.

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT RELIEF
Subtopic:   AGREEMENTS WITH PROVINCES RESPECTING MEASURES TO RELIEVE DISTRESS
Permalink
LIB

Eugène Fiset

Liberal

Sir EUGENE FISET:

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT RELIEF
Subtopic:   AGREEMENTS WITH PROVINCES RESPECTING MEASURES TO RELIEVE DISTRESS
Permalink
CON

Wesley Ashton Gordon (Minister of Immigration and Colonization; Minister of Labour; Minister of Mines)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. GORDON:

Approximately so. That

includes the amount which the Dominion government is committed to advance to the province under the agreement.

The total advances to Alberta were $6,142,586.39, against which accounts have been credited amounting to $1,044,845.95, leaving a balance of $5,097,740.44.

The total advances to British Columbia were $7,396,664.69, against which accounts have been credited to date amounting to $1,971,040.81, leaving a balance of $5,425,623.88.

From day to day, as hon. members know, as the accounts come in for payment and are approved in the office of the director of unemployment relief, the appropriate recommendation to council is made and I have endeavoured to lay on the table of the house daily the orders in council subsequently passed.

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT RELIEF
Subtopic:   AGREEMENTS WITH PROVINCES RESPECTING MEASURES TO RELIEVE DISTRESS
Permalink
LAB

Abraham Albert Heaps

Labour

Mr. HEAPS:

As of what date are the

figures which have just been given by the minister to the committee?

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT RELIEF
Subtopic:   AGREEMENTS WITH PROVINCES RESPECTING MEASURES TO RELIEVE DISTRESS
Permalink
CON

Wesley Ashton Gordon (Minister of Immigration and Colonization; Minister of Labour; Minister of Mines)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. GORDON:

They are as nearly as

possible up to date.

I am not going to burden the members of the committee with any discussion following the remarks made by the right hon. leader of the opposition with respect to whether or not by following the course which this government is presently adopting we are torturing the constitution or straining the sections of the British North America Act. I listened

with a great deal of interest to the discussions which took place on this question when a similar resolution was before the house some time ago. I listened with interest because, as hon. members know, I have been for many years engaged in the practice of the legal profession, and I will not say by any means that the observations made by many members of this chamber on that question were not helpful and interesting; but I think we are beyond and past that at the moment. Whether or not the government was right then or whether or not the government is right now in connection with the constitutional aspect of the case, we have committed ourselves to this course, and by the success or failure of the efforts that we make we shall have to be judged.

I am not going into any laboured argument with respect to the method that should or should or should not be employed in order that on the one hand the greatest opportunity to work may be afforded to those who hove an earnest desire to go to work, or on the other hand as to what this government in conjunction with the provinces and municipalities should do in order to afford relief to those who by reason of misadventure caused through present conditions find themselves in want and lacking the necessities of life. Under the agreements which were entered into with the provinces last year we approved the suggestions of the provinces with respect to supplying work throughout Canada through the medium of building necessary public buildings, to the extent sometimes of probably anticipating future needs, and in some cases, I will have to admit, future needs for some years to come. That was a huge undertaking, as hon. members will readily understand. Many of the municipalities, hundreds and thousands of them, although I have not the exact number at the moment, availed themselves of the opportunity to participate under those dominion-provincial agreements, and very large undertakings were started, jointly financed by the municipalities, the provinces and the dominion, pursuant to the terms of the agreements which are set out in the report as tabled. As time went on it became apparent that many municipalities and provinces in their programs of works were very likely to imperil their financial stability by reason of the works outlined. Some months ago I was quite anxious about that situation, and from time to time I had occasion to have interviews with the representatives of the various provinces in respect to it. Then this spring, as the minister in charge, I communicated with the premiers of the various provinces ask-

2452 COMMONS

Unemployment-Agreements with Provinces

ing them to come to Ottawa to exchange views-they to give advice to this government and we to give advice to them-as to what methods should be employed in order that the greatest good could be accomplished with the least possible expenditure of money and casting the least possible burden upon the municipalities, the provinces and the dominion.

On April 8 the provincial premiers came to Ottawa, and on what remained of that day and throughout the following day the whole situation was considered with a view to checking up on the work accomplished and to formulate a course for the future. 1 think I am stating it fairly when I say the premiers and those representing the provinces were unanimous in the decision that the provinces and the municipalities within those provinces were financially unable for any length of time to carry on the program of public works projected, or to carry out the scheme formulated since the last session of parliament. Further, it was the opinion of provincial representatives and myself that there had been started public works, a portion of the cost of which would become a charge upon the municipalities and provinces, which probably should be discontinued, because the municipalities and provinces, and probably the dominion, would not be able to continue them.

Then we considered what could be done for those who would be destitute. Using the term "destitute" I refer to those who would become so if some opportunity for employment was not afforded, or if they did not find work themselves during a time when works might be discontinued. That situation was discussed at great length. At this point I should like to make an observation for the benefit of those who have the interest of labour at heart-and I believe that applies to all hon. members. Speaking to those hon. members who have given particular care and study to labour matters, I suggest that they do not harbour any feeling of anxiety with respect to the course which, with the exception of a few details, was agreed upon; I do not want them to think that the standards of living and of wage scales in this country are liable to be imperilled or endangered by reason of wages, or so-called wages-subsistence I call it-* which may be paid to those who are out of employment and must be kept from destitution. In my view there is a vast difference between standards of living and wage scales, and relief to those who are suffering. I do not think there is any man in the Labour group who will not agree with me in that distinction.

The provinces proposed that wherever possible they should set up camps where work could be done, where men would not be left idle, places where requirements of food and other necessities would be given, and some amount of cash subsistence advanced by the dominion and the provinces. The number of men who would have to take advantage of such an arrangement is not .capable of any accurate or nearly accurate determination. The provinces believe, however,-and I am not in disagreement with them,-that that is a course which might well now be followed. There are camps in the northern and near northern parts of Ontario where work is being carried on, where single men need have no fear that they will starve through lack of employment. Care can be taken of such men in those camps. Relief in the cities will be a subject of agreements to be made with the various provinces, if the legislation founded upon this resolution receives the favourable consideration of the house.

The hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre (Mr. Woodsworth) has spoken about the possibility of placing people upon the land. After listening to the conflicting viewpoints expressed in this chamber by those hon. members who know something about farming I am at a loss to know whether to-day a man should be on a farm or in a city. The majority of views as expressed would seem to indicate that no matter where a man may be, whether he be on a farm or in a city, in Canada or anywhere else in the world, he is in a very bad way.

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT RELIEF
Subtopic:   AGREEMENTS WITH PROVINCES RESPECTING MEASURES TO RELIEVE DISTRESS
Permalink
LIB

Charles Marcil

Liberal

Mr. MARCIL:

On a farm he could grow something.

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT RELIEF
Subtopic:   AGREEMENTS WITH PROVINCES RESPECTING MEASURES TO RELIEVE DISTRESS
Permalink
CON

Wesley Ashton Gordon (Minister of Immigration and Colonization; Minister of Labour; Minister of Mines)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. GORDON:

Yes. I am not persuaded that there is no opportunity on the farms of Canada for those who are experienced in farm work, probably they would not make a fortune, but they would make something. In that connection, I noticed an editorial in the Toronto Globe which dealt with fortunes-a report of a meeting in the city of Hamilton addressed by the hon. member for Vancouver Centre (Mr. Mackenzie) in which he said that members of this government were all millionaires. That is a great compliment to myself. I know that in the years gone by probably it could be truthfully said that I was not a man without some wealth; at the present time I am afraid I would have to be described otherwise. But I have comfort in the thought that the only fortune worth anything to anybody is the fortune that you have spent.

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT RELIEF
Subtopic:   AGREEMENTS WITH PROVINCES RESPECTING MEASURES TO RELIEVE DISTRESS
Permalink
?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Hear, hear.

Unemployment-Agreements with Provinces

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT RELIEF
Subtopic:   AGREEMENTS WITH PROVINCES RESPECTING MEASURES TO RELIEVE DISTRESS
Permalink
CON

Wesley Ashton Gordon (Minister of Immigration and Colonization; Minister of Labour; Minister of Mines)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. GORDON:

A question was asked by

the hon, member for Winnipeg North Centre with respect to giving persons with agricultural experience and a desire to go back upon the land an opportunity through the medium of legislation, which I trust will be favourably received by this chamber, and which has been under consideration, I think, by members of all stripes of political opinion. I can only repeat what I said a few days ago when the immigration estimates were before the house, that having reviewed the efforts of the past with respect to state-aided colonization, I am not at all persuaded that any such scheme should be entered into by the federal government. There are various reasons I could advance why I think that sort of scheme is unsound. I may be pardoned if I refer to the constitution again. Placing people upon the land within a province is peculiarly something for the province itself to attend to. I think there need be no argument about that. The reason why the Dominion government embarked upon the scheme of soldier settlement is well known to all members. I will not condemn that scheme in its entirety; no one could; but there were many cases, I am afraid, where those who went upon the land had not the agricultural experience nor any real desire to do so-if they could identify the desire by reason of their past. That in a measure spelled their ultimate misfortune, and perhaps resulted in their agreements being rescinded. Then again, as I have said before in this chamber, I believe that if a person starts in on any piece of land where the element of speculation is in large measure reduced to a minimum, and does so for the primary purpose of being able to make a livelihood, if he is saddled with any considerable debt that very debt will spell his ultimate disaster. Because I do not think, taking year in and year out, there is any very considerable number of farmers who combine the capacity to operate a farm successfully with that knowledge of finance which will enable them to discharge any considerable debt from the products of their farms. But I do think there are many people in Canada who have been brought up on the farm-and I am sure everyone recognizes this -who went to the industrial centres attracted by the high wages prevailing in recent years; and there is another class, the sons and daughters of farmers who as they grew up finding there was not room for them on one homestead drifted into the cities. I have concluded from the great number of communications I have received from all parts of Canada that there is such a class of people

to-day who would gladly go back to a farm. They have no money and are depending upon direct relief, either through the agency of the city in which they live, through provincial governments, through this government, or through all three combined, or through their church or some benevolent society. When I say "go back to a farm" that is probably a misnomer. If we think it over carefully we may conclude that the better expression would be "go forward to a farm," because I think that probably when the last analysis is made if Canada is to survive-and I am just as confident as I am standing here that Canada will survive-in large measure it will be by reason, as was said in this house some years ago, of the products of the first six inches of her soil.

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT RELIEF
Subtopic:   AGREEMENTS WITH PROVINCES RESPECTING MEASURES TO RELIEVE DISTRESS
Permalink

April 28, 1932