March 29, 1937

CON

Grote Stirling

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STIRLING:

I quite understand that.

Topic:   PROVISION FOR ALLEVIATION OF UNEMPLOYMENT AND AGRICULTURAL DISTRESS
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LIB

Norman McLeod Rogers (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. ROGERS:

The camps are no different in that respect from any other highway camps that have been operating during the period. Men are either receiving regular wages, as in some camps, or payment on a deferred pay basis, which applies in the forestry camps in British Columbia. When the bill is in committee or the estimates are before the house I shall be glad to furnish detailed information on that point.

Topic:   PROVISION FOR ALLEVIATION OF UNEMPLOYMENT AND AGRICULTURAL DISTRESS
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CON

Grote Stirling

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STIRLING:

I am not suggesting that the dominion has played its part in reopening any of the camps, but my information is that in British Columbia, on the highway camps that were the relief camps under the dominion government, relief projects have been reopened.

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LIB

Norman McLeod Rogers (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. ROGERS:

That is so.

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CON

Grote Stirling

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STIRLING:

What I want to know is, how is the cost of these camps defrayed by the provinces? Does the cost come entirely from provincial funds or does it come out of money paid by the dominion government to the provinces for certain purposes?

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LIB

Norman McLeod Rogers (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. ROGERS:

In the case of some of the provinces, application was made for the use of some of these camps, and where they were in remote places and could only be used for that purpose, arrangements were made to transfer these camps to the provinces. As to the precise financial arrangements, I shall be glad to take note of the question and give my hon. friend that information.

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CON

Grote Stirling

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STIRLING:

Perhaps the minister would.

I should like to have it.

Topic:   PROVISION FOR ALLEVIATION OF UNEMPLOYMENT AND AGRICULTURAL DISTRESS
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CON

Thomas Langton Church

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CHURCH:

I should like to say a

word or two about the way this relief policy has been carried out. There have been a great many complaints. Under the act the minister is empowered to make agreements with the provinces-not with municipalities. But a large part of the unemployment in this country is not in the provinces as such; it is to be found in the larger municipalities; they are the ones that are suffering and they have got nothing.

Last year there was a long debate when the relief act was going through committee. It provides that within fifteen days after the opening of parliament the minister shall lay on the table the agreements which are made with the provinces. What do these agreements show? The sum of $2,750,000 was handed to the government of Quebec and was distributed in various ways. For example, Three Rivers got a court house, public buildings and certain municipal institutions. The money was parcelled out in that province. I am not objecting to that; but when it comes to Ontario, where unemployment is acute, what do we find?

Last September following a meeting between the Ontario government and the ministry here, an agreement was drawn up. I got a return to an order of the house replying to certain questions I asked, and it shows that not one cent of the $2,700,000 that was given to the province went to the municipalities. Instead, roads were constructed, uneconomic roads which no one could by the widest stretch of imagination regard as coming properly under the act.

The city of Toronto sent a delegation to wait on the Minister of Justice, who was acting Prime Minister, and I must say he received them with great courtesy, but he said they would have to wait until his leader came back. That deputation had a program for playgrounds and other undertakings that would have provided employment. But what happened? They were told that they would have to go and see Mr. Purvis, and when they called on him he referred them to the provincial government, and by that time the unemployed had already been taken care of under the city's budget. As a past president of the association of Canadian municipalities I contended then, as I contend to-night, that there should be equality of treatment in these grants. The larger municipalities across Canada, from Halifax right through to Victoria and Vancouver, should receive grants from this parliament, because the municipality is the dumping ground for the unemployed.

Last week there was a meeting of the mayors and there was general complaint about the

Unemployment and Agricultural Distress

difficulties encountered under the act of last year. Talk about people taking the coppers off a dead man's eyes! The provinces will take all the revenue they can get and leave none for the municipalities, because there is too much politics in the distribution of funds. If there is one thing that should be avoided in the effort to relieve unemployment it is politics. Let us keep the whole thing clear of politics. In my opinion the money should be distributed among the municipalities according to population, instead of leaving the provinces to take it all. They even take income tax, though it is true that they give a large part of it back.

One thing I object to most vigorously is the use of the money handed to the province for the construction of roads which at the present time are altogether uneconomic. During the by-election men were working on roads in East Hastings and some in Norfolk and Elgin. The construction of these roads does not help city unemployment; it simply represents a direct cash subsidy to the oil and motor industries. Here we have railways building their own roadways and at the same time we are subsidizing, through the construction of .these uneconomic roads, the oil and motor industries to compete against the railways.

Under the former government the agreements worked satisfactorily, though the difficulties were ten times greater. A mayor in Toronto could telephone down to Ottawa and get some relief, a third or a half, at any rate something to go on. To-day we find $17,000 being spent for dredging in Toronto, and we have a lot of revolving doors in the post office. But what is being done in connection with the level crossings? The matter was discussed the other night by the hon. member for Dan-forth (Mr. Harris) and the hon. member for Greenwood (Mr. Massey). To-day in Toronto I saw many places that are simply a dumping ground, and last summer, from the train, I saw similar places in different parts of Canada.

I am not here to criticize the minister, but I am sorry that last session he did not incorporate in the act a clause giving him power, in making these agreements, to deal with the municipalities, leaving politics out of it. There should be a clause in the act providing for agreements with Montreal, Winnipeg, Regina, Vancouver and the larger municipalities, instead of compelling them to go to some bankrupt province which, if the money is given over to it, will make deductions for overhead and other expenses. I have looked over the legislation in the United States and I find that there the money is given to the municipalities on a definite standard plan. This old method of making agreements with the provinces has

been weighed in the balance and found wanting.

The present plan of building roads ought to be discontinued. Uneconomic roads should not be built at all in these days, because the money could be used to better advantage if it were given to the cities themselves for municipal institutions. That is what is being done in Italy; they are putting up municipal institutions to meet the requirements of the next forty years, schools, breakwaters, and other works that make employment. Ninety per cent of the money should be spent in wages, but that is not done when the money is handed to the provinces. The municipalities can run their business as well as the provinces, indeed a lot better; and if they had had the same help from the banks that the provinces have had they would not be in difficulties to-day, a-t any rate, not to be same extent.

If this money is handed over to the province of Ontario for relief work the larger cities will get nothing; it will be spent on roads. Hamilton, Brockville and other towns are badly in need of funds. The municipalities have been starved in the last six years, with the result that they can scarcely put a coat of paint on their buildings. The boards of works in the cities and towns of Ontario are starved for urgent public works as a result. The school board has no money for new schools. There is no money for normal expansion to take care of school children. The result is they are housed in portable buildings and that kind of thing. The same is true of municipal institutions generally. The minister has tried the provincial system; why not make it fifty-fifty and this year try to make some agreement with the larger cities and towns? He will get better value for the money, more will be spent in wages, and it will be better in every way than the haphazard system by which one province gets a large sum and others, which do not vote right, get none. If relief is going to be handled in that way we shall have unemployment forever.

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CON

Denton Massey

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MASSEY:

Some time ago in answer to the hon. member for Winnipeg North (Mr. Heaps) the minister referred to what he considered to be some reasons why those who are on relief fail to find reemployment. It seems to me there is a further point in that connection which must not be overlooked. These men who have gone on relief did so perhaps only after a protracted period of endeavouring to make both ends meet without suffering the humiliation of relief, and the result in many cases has been that not only they but their families have suffered stark want and deprivation.

2282 COMMONS

Unemployment and Agricultural Distress

The physical condition, of these men must be remembered. Many men who were capable of doing a hard day's work now find themselves completely out of condition. As one said to me the other day; "I am absolutely soft. I got a job, was tickled to death to get it, but after working three days I was absolutely done, could not hold it, could not keep the pace. It was something I could have handled easily a couple of years ago." The minister in his consideration of these problems should, I think, give some consideration to the question of physical reestablishment of those who have been on relief for long periods and have suffered what that entails.

While I am on my feet may I ask whether the reports of the youth committee are to be tabled, or is the house otherwise to be made acquainted with their contents? Perhaps I am premature in asking that question in view of the fact that we have not seen the bill, but I am extraordinarily interested, as I know other hon. members are, to learn of the findings of the youth committee.

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LIB

Norman McLeod Rogers (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. ROGERS:

It is not the intention to table the reports, inasmuch as the reports of the youth employment committee were made to the National Employment Commission. The government received recommendations from the National Employment Commission based upon the reports. I may say that the report of the youth employment committee was of such a character as to indicate a real need for some assistance along the lines that were discussed a few minutes ago; and it is upon the basis of that recommendation that the amount is provided in the special supplementary estimate.

Resolution reported, read the second time and concurred in. Mr. Rogers thereupon moved for leave to introduce Bill No. 80, to assist in the alleviation of unemployment and agricultural distress.

Motion agreed to and bill read the first time.

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CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILWAYS

PROVISION FOR EXPENDITURE, INDEBTEDNESS AND THE REFUNDING OF MATURING OBLIGATIONS


The house in committee on Bill No. 73, to authorize the provision of moneys to meet certain expenditures made and indebtedness incurred by the Canadian National Railways during the calendar year 1937, and to authorize the guarantee by His Majesty of certain securities to be issued by the Canadian National Railways Mr. Dunning-Mr. Sanderson in the chair.


LIB

Charles Avery Dunning (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. DUNNING:

This bill was referred by the house, following second reading, to the

special committee which deals with Canadian National Railway matters, and has been favourably reported on by that committee. It is similar in its terms to bills previously passed each year dealing with the financing for the year of the Canadian National Railways.

Section 1 agreed to.

On section 2-Power to issue securities for refunding and capital expenditures.

Topic:   CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILWAYS
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR EXPENDITURE, INDEBTEDNESS AND THE REFUNDING OF MATURING OBLIGATIONS
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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

It might be well if the minister could place upon Hansard, so that it will be there as a record, how these sums are made up, as the proceedings of the special committee are not permanently on record.

Topic:   CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILWAYS
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LIB

Charles Avery Dunning (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. DUNNING:

The sums in subsection 2 (b)?

Topic:   CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILWAYS
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR EXPENDITURE, INDEBTEDNESS AND THE REFUNDING OF MATURING OBLIGATIONS
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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

Yes. If that could be done there would be upon Hansard a short concise record for future reference.

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Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR EXPENDITURE, INDEBTEDNESS AND THE REFUNDING OF MATURING OBLIGATIONS
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LIB

Charles Avery Dunning (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. DUNNING:

Topic:   CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILWAYS
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR EXPENDITURE, INDEBTEDNESS AND THE REFUNDING OF MATURING OBLIGATIONS
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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

But it is not on record in Hansard, and anyone who wants to get it cannot do so. Can a short statement of that be put on Hansard?

Topic:   CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILWAYS
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR EXPENDITURE, INDEBTEDNESS AND THE REFUNDING OF MATURING OBLIGATIONS
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LIB

Charles Avery Dunning (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. DUNNING:

Of how the figures are made up?

Topic:   CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILWAYS
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR EXPENDITURE, INDEBTEDNESS AND THE REFUNDING OF MATURING OBLIGATIONS
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March 29, 1937