We would like our readers to examine closely the three photographs reproduced on this page.
The one at the upper left is one room of the two-room shanty which Mr. and Mrs. John Daigle, of Robertville, N. B., call home. The Daigles have ten children. Father, mother and children, all sleep in this one room, their beds being composed of ancient cots and beds, and even of boxes placed side by side and end to end. In the day time the boxes are piled in one corner so that the room may be used as a livingroom. The other smaller room is the kitchen. Cords strung across the room are used to hang clothing from. There are no cupboards or closets.
The photograph in the upper right hand comer is the attic in the house (and we blush to apply the word "house" to this structure) of Mr. Chiasson of St. Sauveur in the county of Gloucester in New Brunswick. The Chiassons have ten children living with them. Again, evervone sleeps in this part of the house. The cold, in winter, comes in freely. Some windows have no glass panes. The father cannot pay to have glass inserted so he is forced to cover the openings with ordinary plastic material. There is no running water in the house.
Mr. Chiasson is a cardiac case, incapable of working. He entered the army on the eighteenth of June, 1940. On June 11, 1941, he was discharged as being physically unfit for military duty. He applied for the disabled veterans' pension but was refused because he had not served for a year. He was six days short! The picture below on the lower right hand side is of the attic in the home of Mrs. Helen Daigle, also of Robertville, N.B. Mrs. Daigle is a widow. She and her nine children sleep in this barren, dreary dormitory. It is reached by climbing a ladder made of boards nailed to two vertical beams of the wall downstairs.
Mrs. Daigle, incidentally, is one of the most effective and valiant workers for the French branch of the Union of Electors, as is, also, Mrs. John Daigle, her sister-in-law. In working for the Social Credit movement these women are using the most effective means of combatting the needless squalor, and poverty which are afflicting tens of thousands of Canadians like themselves.
As Christmas time comes around each year there is very considerable publicity given to the various campaigns and movements which are set on foot to provide comfort and cheer to the poor. These are very laudable enterprises and they are a step in the right direction towards fulfilling the precept that the hungry are to be fed and the naked clothed.
Certainly at no other time of the year is the stark tragedy of dire poverty brought home so strikingly to all of those who do not know want. And certainly at no other time of the year are men quite so prepared to give and give generously. Again, we say, "Amen" to this.
However, let it be pointed out that charity, which is exemplified and held up to man in what we have come to call the spirit of Christmas, comprehends more than giving from our surplus possessions once a year.
Charity involves justice. In strictest justice, we are obliged to give to those who are in want if we are so able to do. For every individual, as a creature of God — no! as a child of God, has by this very fact a right to what is necessary in order to live as a child of God and not as an animal.
Consequently, can we in truth be said to be exercising true charity when once, or perhaps twice, a year we give from what we can spare in order to help the poor? Do we in fact do that which in justice we should do in order to conform to the strict law of love, of charity?
No charity can be complete which does not strive to root out the cause of that which afflicts human beings. Christmas, is Christ's Day. And our Lord had great compassion on the poor. His greatest reward was reserved for those who fed the hungry, clothed the naked and gave drink to the thirsty.
But surely the All-wise and the All-just did not mean for men to live in the squalor and poverty, which even animals are not obliged to undergo? How could He, when He made the earth and the rain and the sun bring forth such miracles of abundance that man is embarrassed by the immense surpluses of food and does not know how to dispose of them?
No, the Babe of Bethlehem who above all other men exercised the true spirit of charity in making it possible for all men to attain eternal salvation, surely did not intend that the spirit of Christmas should be exemplified by the giving of a few morsels to the poor on the occasion of His birthday to be followed by complete forgetfulness of their plight almost immediately afterwards.
Giving from what we can spare when we meet needy cases is true generosity. But working to realize those conditions which will make it possible for all men to live in decent comfort is true charity, true love of ones neighbor. For it is the spirit of charity which moves men to strive that justice should be rendered to all.
The Social Credit movement works for the permanent abolishment of want and insecurity through the institution of a society in which the abundant fruits of our marvelous production system can be distributed to all men unhampered by the restrictions of the unjust financial system under which men today live.
Finance, Social Credit teaches, should be a means whereby goods are promptly, efficiently and speedily delivered to where they are needed. Employment is nothing more than a means whereby goods can be produced. When it is not necessary in order to produce goods then men should not be obliged to belong to the "employed" in order to partake of those goods which are necessary if he is to live.
Men should not be denied the right to the goods things of production simply because an unjust financial system has been instituted, not to provide men with goods but to make it possible for a relatively small group to profit and to domineer at the expense of their fellow men.
This is the story of the charity which the people who are striving to realize the principles of Social Credit are exercising. It is true charity because it seeks to eradicate once and for all the real causes of misery and hardship and to set up a society in which all men will share in the abundance which actually exists.
At this time of the year we feel that it is meant to call upon all our fellow citizens to join with us in this great work. The individual can exercise, no greater charity than this, to strive that his fellow human being should never know want or hunger or cold or insecurity when there is so much at hand with which to banish these evils.