Twelve People Lodged In a Stable

Written by Gilberte Côté-Mercier on Monday, 01 December 1958. Posted in Social Credit

Mr. and Mrs. John Daigle of Robertville, N.B., have 10 children aged 15 and under. Father, mother and 10 children sleep all together in one single room measuring 14 by 16 feet. For beds they use wooden boxes which they pile in a corner during the day and at night set up in this room. Everyone's clothing is hung from cords which stretch across the room. The one other apartment is a room of 16 by 20 feet. It serves as a kitchen. (See photo at right.).

And we hasten to add that, in spite of such conditions, the whole is kept immaculately clean.

This shanty is part of a farm of 41 acres of which about half is arable. There is no wood for heating and there are no animals. And on such a farm the municipality of Beresford levies a tax of $47.00 a year.

The father is obliged to work off the farm — whenever he can find such work. But he is sick and, furthermore, unemployment is far more serious in this part of the country than elsewhere. The family receives $70.00 a month in family allowances, which is practically all it has to live on. Less than $2.50 a day for 12. During the days preceding the arrival of the cheque they have little or nothing to eat.

Meanwhile the Prime Minister of Canada is voyaging about the world with a suite of 17 attendants, looking for markets for Canadian products!

Well, Mr. Diefenbaker, come down to Robertville and visit the "home" of John Daigle. And then make a quick tour of all the houses along the same road. Every family is living in misery. Then go on to visit the rest of Gloucester County, house by house. You'll soon lose all desire to go looking for markets outside of Canada.

* * *

Your problem, Mr. Diefenbaker, is not to find markets but to distribute Canadian products to Canadians first of all. And such a distribution cannot be accomplished unless money is first put into the hands of all Canadians. For it is the financial system, Mr. Dieferbaker, which is at fault. And you don't have to take a trip around the world to set that right. Just pay a call to J.-E. Coyne, governor of the Bank of Canada. Give him the necessary instructions to make Canadian money in the same ratio as Canadian products. Let him change the country's debt into a national dividend to be shared with every Canadian. This would only be justice since this debt is nothing more than reflection in reverse of the tremendous developments effected by the same Canadian people.

If you do this, Mr. Diefenbaker, you'll have no more worries about finding outlets for Canadian products. The Canadian people themselves will take care of the problem of marketing Canadian goods. But that which the Prime Minister must do, first and above everything else, is to settle the money problem. The financial system is your business, Mr. Diefenbaker, and it is in Ottawa that you will regulate it, not in Bonn or Paris or Delhi.

But Mr. Diefenbaker is not interested in visiting the poor of Canada — not, at any rate, outside of election time. Who, in Canada, does visit the poor?

Helping the poor today has become primarily the work of organized charity. The average individual believes that he has fulfilled his obligations to charity when he has contributed to the "Red Feather" or the Federated Charities. Charity has become a collective work, something depersonalized, something socialist.

We pay specialists to handle charitable works for us. We even go so far as to place certain charitable works under the management of finance companies which receive their commissions.

But, you will say, so many are in need of money that it is necessary to establish a system of charitable organizations. Which only goes to prove that the finance system which has created so many poor and has failed to provide for the needs of Canadians should be changed. Organized charity becomes so impersonal, so inhuman, that it loses most of its efficacity.

Christianity, the religion that Christ taught, was something essentially personal. Christ always spoke to, and related the principles of his religion to, the individual.

The God of Three Divine Persons founded a personal religion. The object of religion is to bind each person individually to this God in Three Persons. This end is attained in part by the exercise of charity by the individual toward his neighbour. It must be a relationship also between a Christian person and the person of someone poor. It must be personal. And how can it be personal if the rich does not visit the poor?

The rich believe that they have fulfilled their obligations by donating ten dollars to the hired workers of a charitable organization. But this is a far cry from the charity which consists of the rich man leaving his mansion to go for a few hours and dwell in the hovels of the poor and administer to them and commiserate with them. They would give much more than $10.00 if they had first-hand knowledge of the conditions of the poor. And such visits made frequently would change their lives completely.

Were the rich to visit the poor, the dividend of Social Credit would meet with much less ofposition and indifference. They would quickly, realize that the plight of the poor could not be changed by charity; a change in the financial regime would be demanded.

* * *

Mrs. John Daigle, who with her family lives in a barn, in Robertville, works for Social Credit going from door to door. "I know the depths of my poverty", she says, "but I have been enriched by Social Credit which makes me forget my poverty. I visit those who are poor like myself and share with them the same consolation which I derive from Vers Demain: (the French-language publication of the Union of Electors)".

In spite of the multitude of petty persecutions they endure from the privileged ones of the district, the Daigle children are all proud and happy to wear the white beret of Social Credit — as can be seen in the photograph. One would even try to take from them their great joy in being Crediters. But they have too much character much more than the ministers of our government. For they will fight to death for the principles of Social Credit.

(Translated by EARL MASSECAR)

About the Author

Gilberte Côté-Mercier

Gilberte Côté-Mercier

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