The following was "A letter to the Editor" in The Daily Nugget" (North Bay, Ont.), some time ago:
We Canadians should have faith in our members of Parliament, as we can all see they seem to have a reasonable amount of intelligence. Why? Not too long ago, they realized the cost of living was getting too high; so they got their heads together and voted for themselves a five thousand dollars a year raise! I call that having brains, don't you? We don't want to see the men running our country going around with ragged clothes and undernourished bodies, as then they would be unable to run our dominion right. So let's say: More power to them!
When the Second World War was going full blast, people earned wages that were considered good, everybody had loads of money. But what happened then? First of all, they started rationing things. I don't know for sure if this was necessary but I do know that if you wanted to buy a decent car, you had to slip the salesman a couple of hundred bucks. It was hard to buy many necessary things. We all had to help this war effort. But it holds down to this: when we had money, we couldn't buy things, they were scarce; and now that the stores are bulging with these things, the reason we are denied them is a shortage of money because of unemployment.
The poor man goes down town. He sees a lovely refrigerator. He knows his poor wife deserves one to keep her food from going bad. He goes into the store; and the ambitious salesman, trying desperately to earn a decent living for his own family, says: If you give me five dollars now, you can take whole year to pay the rest.
He's all excited, his wife is too, as he hands over his last five dollars. At least the children's milk can be kept fresh... So they make a few payments, and then, all of a sudden, he's out of work... I have read many of the letters that come from finance companies: "Pay up quick or we'll take it away from you."... The poor man hasn't a chance.
What kind of life is this anyway? You don know from one day to the next whether you're going to eat or not. It's certainly ridiculous the way our country is now. Thousands of young men ore loafing around and wandering the streets; they don't know how to put in the time.
People say: "Look at that gang of lazy louts!"...
The poor fellows can't help it: they can't find work because there is none. Actually, what they are doing is hanging around the streets, waiting for another war to come to give them something to do, because the only time there's lots of work is when there is war. That's the way I've always seen it.
Here's something to make veterans sit up and take notice. I have in my possession a letter sent to an ex-serviceman of five years service who was recently honorably discharged from the armed forces.
He applied for unemployment insurance benefits when he left the service because he could not find work. This is what the Unemployment Insurance of Ottawa on May 10 wrote to him:
The Veterans Benefit Act does not provide for the payment of contributions to the unemployment insurance fund on behalf of ex-servicemen whose period of service exceeds three years. Without contributions there can be no payment of benefits, and I regret that there appears to be no action which we can take on your request.
Now if this man has a wife and children to feed, how can he do it? Is he supposed to get down on his hands and knees, and beg like a dog for a crust of bread, as many did in the thirties? Or is he supposed to steel and wind up in jail? To me, it smells of something rotten. When will we Canadians learn the facts of life? Things like this must be stopped. In Friday's Nugget, I read how the Ford Motor Company will lay off 6,650 more men because they can't sell their cars. Is it because we poor people don't want a new car, or is it because we have no money? I for one would like a new car. Why can't we have a decent life in peacetime?
I don't belong to any particular political party. But I do believe in good leadership; and I have just finished reading a very good book by E. S. Holter, "The ABC of Social Credit", and personally challenge any man who credits himself with having at least an ounce of brains to read it and then try to tell me that we Canadians are getting a fair break.