June 6, 1940

LIB

Norman Alexander McLarty (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. McLARTY:

My hon. friend will agree that is not the fault of this government.

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT RELIEF
Subtopic:   ALLEVIATION OF UNEMPLOYMENT AND AGRICULTURAL DISTRESS-UNDERTAKINGS IN GENERAL INTEREST AND FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE TO PROVINCES
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NAT

Richard Burpee Hanson (Leader of the Official Opposition)

National Government

Mr. HANSON (York-Sunbury):

I agree, but I am not suggesting that.

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Subtopic:   ALLEVIATION OF UNEMPLOYMENT AND AGRICULTURAL DISTRESS-UNDERTAKINGS IN GENERAL INTEREST AND FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE TO PROVINCES
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LIB

Alan Chambers

Liberal

Mr. CHAMBERS:

In the province of Quebec the situation is very different. The outstanding feature of business in the province of Quebec has been the rapid expansion in manufacturing since last fall. In March of this year there were more workers employed , in the province of Quebec than at any time previously in the history of the province, although this month is not usually a busy month. Textiles, pulp, paper and mining are all showing an increase in the number of workers engaged.

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT RELIEF
Subtopic:   ALLEVIATION OF UNEMPLOYMENT AND AGRICULTURAL DISTRESS-UNDERTAKINGS IN GENERAL INTEREST AND FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE TO PROVINCES
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CCF

Thomas Clement (Tommy) Douglas

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. DOUGLAS (Weyburn):

If that statement is correct, would the hon. member explain why the number of people receiving relief in the province of Quebec has increased?

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT RELIEF
Subtopic:   ALLEVIATION OF UNEMPLOYMENT AND AGRICULTURAL DISTRESS-UNDERTAKINGS IN GENERAL INTEREST AND FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE TO PROVINCES
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LIB

Alan Chambers

Liberal

Mr. CHAMBERS:

I do not mind being interrupted by the leader of the opposition (Mr. Hanson). I think hon. members will agree that I have rounded out every statement I have made so far. If the hon. member will let me complete a statement once I have started to make it, he will get his answer before he asks his question.

Textiles, pulp and paper and mining are considerably busier, but since the beginning of the war construction has fallen off quite badly. The province of Quebec relief totals are about fifty per cent higher than they were last year. This is due chiefly to the fact that large numbers who were employed on relief works became unemployed and were added to the direct relief rolls. This will probably answer the question asked by the hon. member. May I say also that more than half of the employable persons on relief in Quebec are general labourers and construction workers who would not be affected by improved employment conditions in the manufacturing industries. The situation in the city of Montreal has remained static. The fifty per cent rise in the province is not repeated in the case of Montreal, but there has been a transfer of relief workers.

In Ontario manufacturing during the first quarter of 1940 has improved considerably, averaging thirteen per cent higher than the same period last year. The sharpest increase in employment has been shown by the heavy industries, textiles and so on. There has been a reduction of about thirty per cent in relief costs as compared with a year ago. Business generally in the prairie provinces has been somewhat better, although employment has not been stimulated to the same extent by war time activity as it has been in the industrial provinces. There has been a six

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Unemployment Relief-Mr. Johnston (Bow River)

per cent improvement in industrial employment in the prairie provinces and a seventeen and a half per cent reduction in the number of those receiving public assistance.

In Saskatchewan there was a large reduction in agricultural relief following the distribution of the 1939 crop. I do not want the hon. member for North Battleford (Mrs. Nielsen) to feel that I do not appreciate her point of view in this connection. I know exactly what this means. However, conditions are easier with regard to public assistance, the official improvement being in the neighbourhood of fifty per -cent. Alberta relief totals have shown an improvement, the betterment being between thirty and forty per cent. The amount of relief which will be necessary in the prairie provinces during the coming fall and winter will depend largely upon the prices received for the 1940 crop.

In British Columbia, the province from which I have the honour to come, economic conditions improved considerably last fall and this improvement has been maintained to some extent. Mining and shipbuilding have been quite active and employment generally in many industries during the first quarter of this year has been more active than at any time in their history. However, we fear that a lack of shipping facilities on the Pacific coast may affect employment conditions. Fishing and agriculture are not particularly active in British Columbia during March, and there is no reasonable basis for comparison. Taking the province as a whole, there has been a twelve per cent decrease in relief during March as compared with the previous period.

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT RELIEF
Subtopic:   ALLEVIATION OF UNEMPLOYMENT AND AGRICULTURAL DISTRESS-UNDERTAKINGS IN GENERAL INTEREST AND FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE TO PROVINCES
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SC

Charles Edward Johnston

Social Credit

Mr. C. E. JOHNSTON (Bow River):

Mr. Chairman, I do not intend to deal with this resolution at great length, but I feel I must say a few words before it is put through. The resolution reads in part:

That it is expedient to bring in a measure to provide assistance in the alleviation of unemployment and agricultural distress out of moneys appropriated by parliament, and for such purpose to supplement the measures taken by the provinces towards providing assistance to those in need.

In this critical time in the history not only of Canada but of the British empire, it is almost an insult to our intelligence that there should be a resolution on the order paper to provide assistance to one of the greatest industries in Canada, an industry which is most essential to the proper prosecution of the war. The resolution proves that the people of this country are in need of financial assistance and are in dire distress. We must do everything possible to carry this war through to a successful conclusion. Everything must be done with that one object in view.

When w'e consider the agricultural question we should keep in mind the fact that it is necessary to assist this industry in a way that will help to win this war all the sooner. In my opinion we cannot win a war when the greatest industry in the country is in distress. You must have a united people to win a war.

At the beginning of the war it was said by some members that we were not fighting the German people, that we were fighting a dictator. I said that I did not agree with that statement; I said that we were fighting the German people. It has been my conviction from the first that we were fighting the German people. The German people are fighting for an ideal. In our estimation that ideal is entirely wrong. We contend that it is a heathen nation which is fighting a Christian nation. But they have organization; they do not have discontent in their ranks. In order to meet them we must face this fact squarely, that we cannot have a proper military organization with a dissatisfied agricultural industry. Why have we a discontented agricultural industry? The people in this industry are dissatisfied because they are faced with economic insecurity.

You cannot have people fighting for a country who have dissatisfaction in their minds. You cannot expect an army to be successful when it is made up of volunteers who have been forced into it because of economic conditions. You cannot force people to fight; they just wrill not do it. But if you can set an ideal before them and show them that they are fighting for something worth while, then you will have men who cannot be beaten. Our army is made up possibly to the extent of seventy-five per cent of men who have been forced into it because of economic conditions. As was pointed out not so long ago by a speaker in this house, with the exception of the war industries, industry generally in Canada is shutting down. This forces men into the army. They are not volunteers in any sense of the word; they have been forced in because of economic conditions. We cannot hope to wage a successful war under the conditions that prevail. We must see to it that there is neither unemployment nor agricultural distress and that it is not necessary for us to supplement measures taken by the provinces towards providing assistance to those in need. That is what this resolution proposes, and the very resolution tells us that the whole economic system is wrong.

I am surprised to hear Conservative members telling the government that they should do something about unemployment and agricultural distress. What did they do in the five years they were in power? Not a bit more

Unemployment Relief-Mr. Johnston (Bow River)

than the Liberal government has done in the same length of time, and possibly not as much-and I am not saying that the Liberal government has done much either. I know that it has not tackled the problem in the way in which it should be tackled; otherwise there would be no need of this resolution on the order paper. The only thing I can remember the Conservatives doing was advising the people to tighten their belts, and the Liberal government is doing the same thing when it extends a little bit of measly relief to the needy. That sort of thing creates dissatisfaction. It creates unrest in the minds of the people, the very people we want to fight for us to-day. It creates a want of confidence in the government. These people might well ask themselves, as I have too often heard: "Why should I fight for Canada when the country does not even give me a decentstandard of living, when my wife and children are not properly fed?" You cannot expect it. I say definitely that you cannot build up an army on that kind of material. There must be satisfaction among the people, among those men who are willing to volunteer to fight for the country; they must feel that the country will properly and adequately provide for their wives and children not only now but afterwards. You must create that spirit of

patriotism, because you cannot force it.

I was impressed by the remarks of the hon. member for Mackenzie (Mr. Nicholson) the other day. In my opinion he produced evidence that could not be disputed. He had actual photographs-and the camera does not lie. The hon. member for North Battleford (Mrs. Nielsen) also gave a perfect picture ofthe conditions that exist in her province. I

know that the conditions are exactly as they have been described, because I had an opportunity to visit the country around Swift Current in the last election in that province and I saw what things were like then. I saw the distress and poverty that existed in that province; and despite the remarks of the hon. member for Assiniboia (Mr. Tripp), as reported at page 554 of Hansard, I declare that the conditions that have been reported are not at all exaggerated. The hon. member said:

I was a member of the legislature in Saskatchewan for eight years, four of them being from 1934 to 1938, and I can say all the statements he has made to-day are not true.

I hope the people of Saskatchewan will read those words in Hansard. I challenge any man from Alberta to make any such statement, because we know that the conditions are there.

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT RELIEF
Subtopic:   ALLEVIATION OF UNEMPLOYMENT AND AGRICULTURAL DISTRESS-UNDERTAKINGS IN GENERAL INTEREST AND FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE TO PROVINCES
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CON

James J. Donnelly

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. DONNELLY:

In Alberta or Saskatchewan?

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT RELIEF
Subtopic:   ALLEVIATION OF UNEMPLOYMENT AND AGRICULTURAL DISTRESS-UNDERTAKINGS IN GENERAL INTEREST AND FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE TO PROVINCES
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SC

Charles Edward Johnston

Social Credit

Mr. JOHNSTON (Bow River):

In Saskatchewan too.

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT RELIEF
Subtopic:   ALLEVIATION OF UNEMPLOYMENT AND AGRICULTURAL DISTRESS-UNDERTAKINGS IN GENERAL INTEREST AND FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE TO PROVINCES
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CON

James J. Donnelly

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. DONNELLY:

You are wrong.

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT RELIEF
Subtopic:   ALLEVIATION OF UNEMPLOYMENT AND AGRICULTURAL DISTRESS-UNDERTAKINGS IN GENERAL INTEREST AND FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE TO PROVINCES
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SC

Charles Edward Johnston

Social Credit

Mr. JOHNSTON (Bow River):

I hope you will go back and explain it to them.

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT RELIEF
Subtopic:   ALLEVIATION OF UNEMPLOYMENT AND AGRICULTURAL DISTRESS-UNDERTAKINGS IN GENERAL INTEREST AND FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE TO PROVINCES
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CON

James J. Donnelly

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. DONNELLY:

I will.

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT RELIEF
Subtopic:   ALLEVIATION OF UNEMPLOYMENT AND AGRICULTURAL DISTRESS-UNDERTAKINGS IN GENERAL INTEREST AND FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE TO PROVINCES
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LIB

Thomas Vien (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Liberal

The CHAIRMAN:

Order. Challenges are out of order.

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT RELIEF
Subtopic:   ALLEVIATION OF UNEMPLOYMENT AND AGRICULTURAL DISTRESS-UNDERTAKINGS IN GENERAL INTEREST AND FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE TO PROVINCES
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SC

Charles Edward Johnston

Social Credit

Mr. JOHNSTON (Bow River):

I was not challenging any hon. member.

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT RELIEF
Subtopic:   ALLEVIATION OF UNEMPLOYMENT AND AGRICULTURAL DISTRESS-UNDERTAKINGS IN GENERAL INTEREST AND FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE TO PROVINCES
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LIB

Thomas Vien (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Liberal

The CHAIRMAN:

The hon. member

should address himself to the chair.

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT RELIEF
Subtopic:   ALLEVIATION OF UNEMPLOYMENT AND AGRICULTURAL DISTRESS-UNDERTAKINGS IN GENERAL INTEREST AND FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE TO PROVINCES
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SC

Charles Edward Johnston

Social Credit

Mr. JOHNSTON (Bow River):

I have no wish to offend the chair; I wish to abide by (he rules of the house. I say in all sincerity, however, that if we are to win this war the government must rectify those conditions. When any hon. member stands in his place here and says that there is no poverty or distress, the resolution itself contradicts him. Either the government is wTrong or the member who says that there is no distress or poverty is wrong. But one has only to visit these places to see with one's own eyes the very conditions that have been described in this house.

I have been considering the condition of those people who are in great need, as this resolution indicates, those who have been living on our farms, the unemployed who are walking the streets-and you need not go to the west to find such people, because you can find them in plenty on the streets of Ottawa. You will find the unemployed at the offices here seeking employment which they cannot get, while their wives and families are in dire distress, and yet we in this house vote $100,000 for the beautification of this city. I am not complaining about having a few flowers in the parks and perhaps decorating a little the memorial down here, though we had better pray that there are not more dates upon it soon. But does that type of legislation lead to satisfaction and unity among the people? There are people who are starving to death though we can spend $100,000 in war time for a few flowers in a few parks. I have no objection to your spending money on these flowers and these parks, but when we cannot find money for the very essential assistance to relieve agricultural distress, then I say it is a shame that we should ever be spending $100,000 for the beautification of any place, memorial or anything else until this problem is settled.

Why is it that the people of Canada engaged in that great industry, the backbone of this country, are in distress? Possibly our Conservative friends can tell us. They were in

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Unemployment Relief-Mr. Johnston (Bow River)

power for five years and the distress continued throughout that time, and because that distress continued the Conservatives were cleaned out in the election. But I do not think the Liberals should pat themselves on the back simply because they were returfied to power. They were returned to power under different conditions, which we need not go into in detail now. Why is this industry dissatisfied? Because farmers have not a sufficient return from the things they produce to enable them to maintain a decent standard of living. When a man gets up at five o'clock in the morning and works until ten or twelve at night, three hundred and sixty-five days a year, and cannot make enough to buy decent clothing and food for his wife and his children, has he any incentive to fight for the country? Can you build up an army with such people? And seventy-five per cent of those in the army are men of this description. You simply cannot maintain the morale.

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT RELIEF
Subtopic:   ALLEVIATION OF UNEMPLOYMENT AND AGRICULTURAL DISTRESS-UNDERTAKINGS IN GENERAL INTEREST AND FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE TO PROVINCES
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LIB

Charles Robert Evans

Liberal

Mr. EVANS:

Does the hon. member say

they are not loyal?

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT RELIEF
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LIB

Joseph Allan Johnston

Liberal

Mr. JOHNSTON (Bow Ri-er):

No, but

I say, let us give them something to be loyal for. You cannot force patriotism. You must show a man that he has something worth fighting for. Would any hon. member say that when these people have been in such dire distress and poverty and want they have anything to fight for? They do not get sufficient return for the things they produce, yet the things they must have in order to be able to produce are ever increasing in price-[DOT] machinery, oil, gasoline; everything they have to buy is increasing in price. This year we even put a little further tax on them; if they want decent seed they have to pay cash to have it tested. Everything we do tends to increase rather than decrease their costs, and nothing is being done to help them.

It must be a source of satisfaction to the people referred to in the resolution, suffering as they are from unemployment and agricultural distress, and they must swell with patriotism, when they see in the papers that this year the profits of Canadian Wineries are higher, and that the net more than covers the dividend paid of forty cents a share. Let me quote from the Financial Post of May 11, 1940:

Sales of Canadian Wineries were higher in the year ended April 30, 1940, than in the 1938-39 year, A. G. Sampson, president, informs the Financial Post. As a result the company expects to report net profits higher than the forty cents a share earned a year ago.

Then there is another industrial company such as an hon. member was speaking of a moment ago, and in which he has such pride

-and compare them with the greatest industry of all, the agricultural industry. This is from the Financial Post of the same date:

International Paper profit soars. Net earnings for first quarter rise to nearly $3,000,000. Preliminary figures indicate that operations of International Paper and Power Company for the first quarter of 1940-

And we are right in the middle of a war.

-resulted in net earnings of about $2-9 millions against $12,428 for the corresponding period of 1939, according to a statement made by R. J. Cullen, president, at the annual meeting of stockholders.

In the Financial Post of June 1, 1940, I see that Agnew Surpass has made better profits in the fiscal year ended May 31, and the factory is working at a higher rate. Harding Carpets' profits for the six months' period are up from the same period of 1939. Why is it that the profits of these industrialists continue to rise to such heights in time of war while agriculture is down in the mire? It just doesn't make sense. Yet there were to be no profits or blood money in this war! I agree there is going to be no profit-

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT RELIEF
Subtopic:   ALLEVIATION OF UNEMPLOYMENT AND AGRICULTURAL DISTRESS-UNDERTAKINGS IN GENERAL INTEREST AND FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE TO PROVINCES
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NAT

Karl Kenneth Homuth

National Government

Mr. HOMUTH:

That may not be on war work.

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SC

Charles Edward Johnston

Social Credit

Mr. JOHNSTON (Bow River):

Oh, I can speak of the war industries, and I intend to do so before the session closes. How do they make their profits? I hope to have the pleasure of going into that more in detail on the estimates. Hon. members say it is not war work. I happened to visit not long ago some of the industries that produce war materials and I learned that the government, when they agree with the manufacturers on a price, have an understanding that if the company can cut the cost of the article they get a bonus on it as high as fifty per cent. Why should they be given an extra profit of fifty per cent? The fanner is not given any bonus. Why not? Why are these other industries which are not producing war materials shut down and the people thrown out of work? Where are they to seek employment? Yet we bonus the war industries fifty per cent if they can chisel the cost down a little. We shall have more to say about that when the proper time comes. These are the things that create a clear class distinction between industrial organizations and the agricultural industry. We should be giving a great deal of attention in an endeavour to correct this wrong. I read in the Ottawa Journal of June 3:

Big programme to supply Britain food.

Government will force farm workers to stay on land.

England wants food and wants more food; yet our people here in Canada have not even

Unemployment Relief-Mr. Bruce

enough money to put in the seed to raise wheat. Is that a maximum war effort? We have been in this war nine months; the very existence of the British empire is at stake, yet we have a resolution here to dole out relief instead of putting that industry on a solid working foundation. We in this country should be producing everything that we can. Why don't we? No doubt some hon. members are saying: "Where are you going to get the money?" I do not care where you get the money from, but get it.

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT RELIEF
Subtopic:   ALLEVIATION OF UNEMPLOYMENT AND AGRICULTURAL DISTRESS-UNDERTAKINGS IN GENERAL INTEREST AND FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE TO PROVINCES
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?

An hon. MEMBER:

How?

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT RELIEF
Subtopic:   ALLEVIATION OF UNEMPLOYMENT AND AGRICULTURAL DISTRESS-UNDERTAKINGS IN GENERAL INTEREST AND FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE TO PROVINCES
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June 6, 1940