Mr. SAMUEL FACTOR (Toronto West Centre):
Mr. Speaker, as the lone and sometimes lonely voice of Liberalism in this house from the great city of Toronto, may I at this time be permitted to participate in this interesting and very informative debate. At the outset however I would like to congratulate you, Mr. Speaker, on your elevation to the high and honourable position you now occupy. I feel certain that I voice the sentiments of every hon. member of the house when I say that you have discharged and are discharging the duties and responsibilities of your office with diligence, dignity and distinction.
At this time may I also be privileged to extend my personal, sincere and hearty congratulations to my leader the right hon. the leader of the opposition (Mr. Mackenzie King) upon the inspiring and masterly address he delivered at the beginning of this debate. I believe, I express the unanimous opinion of all those hon. members who surround and support him and also the opinions of a great many hon. members who sit opposite-although they would not admit it-when I say that the speech of my right hon. leader will go down in history as one of the finest and most powerful presentations of a current political situation ever made in this house. I am sure it will prove a source of information and inspiration to all of his followers in time to come.
Now, Mr. Speaker, may I also as a new member of this house and a young man express my amazement at and profound admiration for the capacity and energy of the right hon. gentleman who now leads the government. W ho said this was a young
man's age? The activity and capacity displayed by the right hon. gentleman clearly refutes that theory; or it may indicate that although not young in years he is still youthful in spirit. I believe it is the wish of every member of this house-certainly it is the wish of those of us on this side, although we do not entirely agree with the right hon. gentleman's policy nor with some of his activities-that he may long continue to enjoy good health and to possess as much vigour and vitality as he has already displayed in his conduct of public affairs.
But, Mr. Speaker, allow me with all respect to suggest to the right hon. gentleman that action without thought is useless; that political action without political thought is often very harmful. He and his colleagues seem to be imbued with the idea-seem to labour under the impression-that action is progress, and progress success, and in their eagerness to act they fail to pause and ponder the significance of their action and the effect of their legislation. A striking illustration of this has been furnished to us by the now famous fiasco of the duty on glass, dr as one newspaper termed it, the "tragedy of effort." Another illustration has been furnished within the last two or three weeks. The government placed an embargo on furs from Russia, ostensibly to protect the Canadian fur industry. But lo and behold we find the same fur industry, every branch of it, sending a delegation to Ottawa to protest against the embargo. That is another example of political action without political thought.
Now, Mr. Speaker, I had intended to present to the house some choice morsels in the way of promises and pledges made by the right hon. gentleman who by virtue of those promises and because of those pledges now occupies the position of Prime Minister, but time will not permit me to go into details. May I summarize his pledges and promises by saying that the right hon. gentleman promised to end unemployment-to provide *work for all those who want work-to build highways, waterways, railways, canals and bridges-to bring prosperity to this country as a whole, to enable Canadian workmen to keep themselves and their families in comfort. And these promises were to be carried into effect to the last syllable or the right hon. gentleman would perish in the attempt. Well, I do not think he himself or any of his followers will contend that he has ended unemployment or redeemed any of those promises even to the first syllable. But what does the right hon. gentleman claim that he
[Mr. J. C. Moore.}
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and his government have succeeded in accomplishing since assuming office? Their claims are contained in the remarks made by him on the 17th March, as reported in Hansard of that date at page 59. He said:
Let me ask my right hon. friend and this house this question: Where would this country have been had it not been for the session last fall which gave employment to upwards of two hundred thousand people? Study if you will for a moment the figures of industry. In eight months new factories cannot be equipped and built, but they can be commenced, and the numbers that have been commenced in this country during those eight months are more than those during any other similar period in recent years. New factories? How many men in the counties represented by hon. gentlemen opposite are now finding full time employment against the short days and poor rations preceding the 28th of July? How many of them? What about cotton mills? What about woollen mills?
Later on I find these remarks:
There had to be a session of parliament, as there was, and it gave employment to upwards of two hundred thousand people. So that, with the industrial life of this country stimulated, with improved conditions with respect to employment, with the added employment of hundreds of thousands in the way of unemployment relief, I say that conditions in Canada, bad as they are, are not comparable to what they would have been had we not taken the action that we did.
These are fine words and imposing figures, but may I be permitted for a moment to analyze the statement and scrutinize the figures. In the latest official information furnished the press on March 11 we find that 228,351 individuals have been given employment and 3,975,355 man-days have been afforded to them from the commencement of operations under the Unemployment Relief Act up to February 28, 1931. The figures for Quebec are incomplete. Even these figures appear imposing, but let me analyze them a little closer. I find the government has been in office over seven months, it is over six months since the special session, and I believe fully four months since the unemployment relief branch of the Department of Labour began to function. During that time about
230.000 individuals were given employment, according to the statistics I have quoted,
230.000 individuals obtained 4,000,000 man-days' work. I have added 25,000 man-days' work to complete figures from Quebec. In other words, each man during four months worked seventeen days or at the rate of four days work a month. Analyzing these figures in another way, I find that in the four months that the legislation has been in actual operation we had 100 working days, or 4,000,000
man-days' work. The result is that 40,000 men were given full time work during the four months. At what cost? I want to refer the house to the Senate debates of March 18. But before I quote from those debates may I say this, Mr. Speaker. The answer of the right hon. Prime Minister to a question put to him a few days ago by the hon. member for North Winnipeg (Mr. Heaps) that as regards the appointment of a member of this house as Minister of Labour the intention of the government would be manifested by its action, I think may be regarded as a diplomatic answer or the answer of a statesman.
I submit, however, that the country is entitled to have a Minister of Labour in this house. At a time wffien many of our problems are concerned with unemplojunent, and revolve around labour and industry, this house is entitled to receive information direct, instead of through an acting minister. For instance, the questions in regard to the garment workers' strike in Toronto were answered by the Minister of Immigration (Mr. Gordon). The Minister of Labour said that $69,000,000 worth of employment opportunities had been placed within reach of the people of Canada, and that does not take into account the employment opportunities furnished by the two transportation systems, which bring this amount to about 880,000,000. To summarize the situation, sir, under the initiative of this government, with the aid that all the provincial and municipal governments had provided some $80,000,000, furnished about 40,000 men with four months' work, or 230,000 men with work at the rate of four days per month during that period. Surely the right hon. gentleman and his government will not claim that they have ended unemployment. They have not even reduced it. Unemployment is just as acute now as it ever has been, and in fact it is worse. In the city of Toronto two weeks ago last Sunday we had 5,500 men shovelling snow, and those men were obtained within an hour or two. This will show that the unemployment situation in Toronto has not been ended. Unemployment never will be cured until we properly diagnose some of our social and economic ills and apply proper remedies, even though the application of those remedies may require the readjustment of the relationship between capital and labour, between employer and employee and between the production and distribution of wealth.
Let us further examine the statements made by the right hon. Prime Minister. How many men in the counties represented by hon. gentlemen opposite are now finding full time employment as compared with short
The Address-Mr. Factor
time employment preceding July 28th? What about the cotton and woollen mills? I want to refer the house to an official document containing the facts and figures, and in answer to the hon. member who preceded me I might say that this is not a mass of unrelated figures and theories. This document contains actual figures which will be admitted by every hon. member of the house; it is published by the Department of Trade and Commerce, under the authority of Hon. H. H. Stevens, M.P., Minister of Trade and Commerce, and it has to do with the February employment situation.
I should like to refer the house to page 5 of this document, which contains a table showing the index numbers of employment by economic areas, the average being based on the calendar year 1926, as 100. We find that on August 1, 1930, the index number of employment throughout Canada was 118.8, while on February 1, 1931, it was 100.7, showing a decrease of 18.1. I should have informed the house that these figures are prepared from data and information secured by the Dominion Bureau of Statistics from 7,431 firms whose payrolls aggregate 904,315 persons, so if the index number for February 1, 1931, which was 100.7, represented a payroll of 904,315 persons it is a matter of mathematical calculation to ascertain that the index figure of 118.8 for August 1, 1930, represented a payroll of 999,570. According to those figures there were 95,255 less men employed in the various industries of Canada on February 1, 1931, than were employed on August 1, 1930.
Hon. members opposite may say that this represents the seasonal drop. I would refer them to the chart on page 1 of this document, which shows seasonal drops for a number of years. This proves conclusively that the seasonal drop for 1931 was the greatest and most pronounced since 1924. This table No. 1 gives the index number of employment so far as Ontario is concerned. We find the same situation in the province of Ontario if we examine it separately. On August 1, 1930, the index number of employment was 115.7, while on February 1, 1931, it was 101.7, showing a decrease of 14. On February 1, 1930, the index number of employment was 117.1, while on February 1, 1931, it was 101.7 showing a decrease of 15.4.
Now I should like to refer the house to another very interesting table contained on page 8 of this document, showing the index numbers of employment by industries, and I intend to refer particularly to two industries contained in that table, textile products and iron and steel industries. Before going into
these figures I might make the general observation that hon. members opposite and their followers in their usual reckless manner, have blamed the Liberal administration and Liberal tariff policy for the ruin of the textile industries.
Topic: SPEECH FROM THE THRONE
Subtopic: CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON THE ADDRESS IN REPLY