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“Immediate Aid Is Demanded By Workless,” The Globe and Mail. October 25, 1938. Page 03.

Port Arthur, Oct. 24 (Special) – Unemployed crowded the Port Arthur city council chamber tonight to present a petition, signed by 804 men, urging immediate relief until work could be provided for them.

The petition urged a wide-scale work program by Dominion and provincial governments, mentioning particularly resumption of work on the trans-Canada highway, clearing a right of way on the projected road from Geraldton to Hearst, a housing program in Port Arthur, the St. Lawrence waterway, and reforestation, as needed works that would benefit this district and provide employment.

‘The situation this year in the bush camps, with probably only one-quarter the men working that there were last year, is inevitable in view of the unprecedented amount of wood which the Ontario government permitted to be cut for export last year,’ said Mayor C. W. Cox, M.L.A. 

‘The market has been flooded and now bushmen are idle. There is too much dictation in the east about problems in the north, by people who know too little about this part of Canada. Not enough consideration is given to the views of the elected representatives who know conditions,’ said his Worship.

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“Camps Urged For Jobless,” The Globe and Mail. October 22, 1938. Page 04.

Public Work in Centres Similar to C.C.C. Project in U.S. Suggested to Ottawa by Rev C. E. Silcox

‘PEACE EMERGENCY’

To appeals on behalf of unemployed transients made to the Federal government by the Community Welfare Council of Ontario and the Welfare Council of Toronto, there was added yesterday a further appeal from the general secretary of the Social Service Council of Canada.

He suggested camps similar to the C.C.C. camps in the United States for younger men, and separate similar camps for the older.

The position of unemployed transients, of whom 110 are being temporarily housed in Holy Trinity Parish Hall, Toronto, was described by Rev. C. E. Silcox, General Secretary of the Council, in a letter to Hon. Norman Rogers, Minister of Labor, yesterday as ‘a peace emergency,’ and a responsibility of the Federal Government.

‘If we confronted a war emergency – and we came very close to it – the barriers would soon be removed,’ said Mr. Silcox in his message. ‘This is a peace emergency which confronts us and here, too, some solid thinking and co-operation will help mightily.’

‘There would be no necessity for us to make the mistakes which were made in the previous experiment in such camps in this country,’ he wrote. ‘In camps for both the younger and the middle-aged, a certain amount of military training and discipline, together with suitable educational facilities would be wholesome. If these camps could be located where some useful public work is being put through, it would be all to the good. The men might even be employed in the laying out of new and important air fields.

‘In view of the international situation, I strongly believe Canada should not allow any of her human resources to rot and that economic sense, a decent respect for the principles of humanity and even prudential considerations involving a potential military situation, combine to make government action imperative.’

Mr. Silcox pointed to the work camps in Germany and remarked: ‘Much as I dislike most of the things for which Mr. Hitler stands, I cannot fail to recognize that there are certain obvious responsibilities of government that seem to be understood better by dictatorships than by democracies.’

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“Year’s Term Given In Relief Frauds,” Montreal Star. July 21, 1938. Page 04.

Judge Tells Prisoner His Case Is Worst He Ever Head Of

Charles Renaud, who obtained $1,771.99 from the Relief Commission under another man’s name, was sentenced to 12 months’ imprisonment by Judge Langlois today.

‘Your case is the worst I have ever heard of,’ Judge Langlois remarked when Renaud appeared before him for sentence. His Honor pointed out that Renaid, using the name of Cyril Picard, had obtained over $1,700 from the Relief Commission in the past four years. ‘You were also guilty of impersonation and could be sentenced to a penitentiary term for that alone,’ the judge remarked, sentencing him to 12 months in jail.

Renaud gave his address as 3960 Rivard street.

Raymond Tessier, 43, who have his address as 1181 Union Avenue, apt. 8, pleaded not guilty to four fraud charges when arraigned before Judge Langlois. Trial was fixed for July 28. According to the complaint, Tessier obtained amounts ranging from $6 to $22 by cashing four allegedly worthless cheques made out to the order of ‘Prof. Raymond Tessier’ and bearing the signature, ‘Louis Mondon, Superior College, St. Jean.’ At the request of police His Honor remanded the accused to detective headquarters for three days.

Sentence was reserved by the court until Friday in the case of three boys giving the names and addresses of Marcel Laveillee, 17, 2190 Frontenac, Maurice Rainville, 18, 1854 Iberville, and Leopold Christin, 19, 2023 Frontenax street, who pleaded guilty to receiving stolen goods valued at $50.

Albert Robertson, who have his address as 359b Murray street, admitted before Judge Langlois today that he stole $249 from Mrs. Blanche Chevrier, 2585 Delisle street, on July 17 to buy a car. Sentence was reserved until September 16 by the court to give Robertson a chance to reimburse Mrs. Chevrier.

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“Seize Food for Poor, Butler Urges – Avoid Riots, Decide Later How to Pay,” Toronto Star. April 2, 1932. Page 01.

“Philadelphia, April 2. – Hunger faces 250,000 Philadelphians with the city’s relief fund of $5,000,000 virtually exhausted and food riots imminent.

And 59,629 families entirely dependent upon the Lloyd unemployment committee for an average of $4.50 a week, their bare existence, will be doomed to untold suffering unless the state or other sources lend a hand.

‘The impending catastrophe is too shocking to contemplate,’ the Llyod committee reported in a recent statement.

City and state officials, realizing that 250,000 persons won’t sit down quietly and starve to death, believe food riots are imminent. Major General Smedley D. Butler, campaigning for the Republic nomination for U.S. Senator, has called upon ‘courageous governors’ to declare martial law to prevent such riots.’

‘Commandeer the supplies necessary to save our people,’ he said, ‘and let the debating societies decide later or at their political leisure how to pay for it.’

The committee pointed out that in a great bulk of cases there is not only an absence of current earnings, but also an exhaustion of accumulated savings and credit.

‘It may well be considered the greatest calamity in the history of the commonwealth.’

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“Provision Sought For Poor Debtors,” Montreal Star. January 21, 1937. Page 15.

Society for Protection of Women and Children Has Meeting

Reform off the Quebec Civil Code to improve the position of poor debtors earning low wages was urged in a report adopted at the 56th annual meeting of the Society for the Protection of Women and Children yesterday afternoon.

The report emphasized the plight of poor persons who are unable to overcome the problem of accumulated debts in face of the present law in the province governing garnishment of wages. The Society, it was reported, is pressing the Quebec Government for legislation dealing with the problem.

The majority of debtors are anxious to meet their obligations and a law that places obstacles in their way can only be detrimental to the interests of both creditors and debtors, it was pointed out.

At the present time, a debtor, even if he has a large family, is allowed to exempt from wage seizure only $6 a week. The result is that many persons prefer to remain on relief rather than accept work and be exposed to garnishment proceedings, it was pointed out. 

The report was read by Edward G. Potter, acting executive secretary of the Society.

Officers Elected
Officers elected for the coming year were: President, Ernest Latter; first vice-president C. H. Colson; second vice-president, Mrs. J. N. Warminton; honorary treasurer, William H. Campbell; honorary secretary Mrs. Oliver Smith. Chairman of the meeting yesterday was J. Arthur Lapres.

According to the report, the total number of cases handled during the year by the Society was 1,171, and the number closed out during the year was 803. Of the 702 new cases accepted during the year 264 were concerned with direct legal aid, 127 with abusive conduct, 55 with desertion, 67 with non-support, 50 with neglect, 23 with destitution, as well as other classifications.

During 1936 the number of new desertion and non-support cases increased by 37 over the previous year, although it had been dropping since 1931. In the desertion cases the absentee was located in 25 instances. One was as far as Ypsilanti, Mich. Satisfactory adjustment was made in 126 desertion and non-support cases.

Legal Advice Given
Among the other services provided during the year legal advice was given to 665 persons. Actions taken in the criminal courts numbered 30 and in the civil courts 81. Legal aid was given to 28 accused persons in the criminal courts and to 44 defendants in the civil courts. The society had 46 persons brought before the Juvenile Court. Sworn affidavits were made out for 376 persons.

Total collections on behalf of clients in the form of alimentary payments, damages and other claims amounted to $27,515.

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Ben Shahn, “Dwellers in Circleville’s “Hooverville,” central Ohio.” 

Gelatin silver print photograph, 1938. Harvard Art Museums/Fogg Museum, Transfer from the Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts, 2011. #2.2002.3010.

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“Cadi Scores System of Relief Vouchers,” Toronto Star. April 21, 1933. Page 02.

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