March 17, 1933 (17th Parliament, 4th Session)


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

Conservative (1867-1942)

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

The answer to the interrogation is obvious. While I have not had any communication direct, the position of this government was stated by me on February 16. If hon. members will refer to page 2151 of Hansard, they will see that my answer to a similar question was as follows:
The only conditions which this government has at any time laid down with respect to direct relief have been to define direct relief as consisting of food, fuel, clothing and shelter or the equivalent thereof, and that there shall be no discrimination in the granting of relief to any applicant by reason of political, racial, religious or other considerations. No limit has ever been set by this government to the amount of relief which shall be granted to any applicant, this being constitutionally a matter wholly within the determination and judgment of the local authorities. It will also be obvious to members of the house that, even aside from the constitutional aspect, such matters are properly for the local authorities to determine.
Answering my hon. friend's third question, "On whose authority rates for direct relief are fixed?" I would say that municipalities must determine, first, whether relief shall be granted and, second, to whom and in what amount it shall be granted. I also presume that such decisions on the part of municipalities receive provincial approval.
From time to time the department does receive communications direct from individuals and provinces, but I do not think it would be even enlightening to hon. members for me to reiterate what I have said so often before. There is a proper method to bring this matter before the government, namely, through the provincial governments. If representations are made to a provincial government and if in turn that government, the municipality and the individual respectively find themselves unable to take care of the things outlined with respect to his main-

tenance, then the matter will promptly be considered by the government and such appropriation made as to take up the difference between what those primarily responsible are able to do and the total amount.

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