c. / THE POLITICS OF WELFARE: CANADA'S ROAD TO INCOME SECURITY, 1914-1939 By JOSEPHINE M. SCHOFIELD M.A., The Univers i ty of B r i t i s h Columbia, 1971 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY in THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES (Department of P o l i t i c a l Science) We accept th is thesis as conforming to the required standard THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA August 1983 © Josephine M. Schof ie ld , 1983. In presenting t h i s thesis i n p a r t i a l f u l f i l m e n t of the requirements for an advanced degree at the University of B r i t i s h Columbia, I agree that the Library s h a l l make i t f r e e l y a v a i l a b l e f o r reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensive copying of t h i s thesis for s c h o l a r l y purposes may be granted by the head of my department or by h i s or her representatives. It i s understood that copying or pu b l i c a t i o n of t h i s thesis for f i n a n c i a l gain s h a l l not be allowed without my written permission. Department of P o l i t i c a l Science The University of B r i t i s h Columbia 2075 Wesbrook Place Vancouver, Canada V6T 1W5 Date October 23, 1983 / "7Q ^ ABSTRACT The watershed in th is century's p o l i t i c s of welfare i s the transformation in income secur i ty away from char i table towards governmental support. But in the Canadian case i t s or ig ins s t i l l remain obscure. Although the sh i f t i s often pinpointed as occurring during and af ter World War I I , the decis ive bat t les over the propriety of a more act ive state role were fought between 1914 and 1939. The aims of th is study are to demonstrate the i r s ign i f icance in pioneering acceptance of the p r inc ip le of socia l co l l ec t i v i sm, and to shed l i gh t on the range of forces shaping the complex process of socia l policymaking. The case-study method i s used to invest igate the legacy of interwar welfare p o l i t i c s , v i z . , the development of emergency and statutory aid for se lect groups among the very poor. This technique has the advantage of capturing the h i s to r i ca l dimension of the policymaking process, and f i l l i n g the much-needed gaps in Canadian welfare research. Moreover, i t provides an opportunity to test proposit ions concerning socia l po l icy innovations and developments. The ex is t ing l i t e ra tu re iden t i f i es several factors as important: the nature of the economy, the cul tura l context, the structure of p o l i t i c a l i n s t i t u t i o n s , and four sets of part ic ipants - m i l i tan t workers, interest groups, po l i t i c i ans and bureaucrats. The analysis focuses upon the in teract ion between these determinants in shaping a l l the major interwar pol icy decisions in means-tested income maintenance. The evidence reveals that a myriad of forces shaped the or ig ins of the Canadian welfare s ta te , but t he i r inf luence var ied. Socio-economic change played a mediating role by creating the social problems requir ing reso lu t ion, and generating the revenues to finance innovations. The general framework of ideas and the ins t i t u t i ona l structure also exerted a mainly ind i rec t impact, with the former def ining the values and the l a t t e r guiding the behaviour of the par t i c ipants . In contrast , a l l the act ive p o l i t i c a l forces played the pivotal role of interpret ing the problems and deciding the timing and content of the po l icy dec is ions. Interest group power overshadowed working-class mi l i tancy as the ef fect ive societal spur, with farmers rather than businessmen qual i fy ing as the arch opponents of the c o l l e c t i v i s t cause. Inside government, e lec ted, not appointed, o f f i c i a l s dominated the socia l policymaking process. i i TABLE OF CONTENTS ABSTRACT i i LIST OF TABLES v LIST OF FIGURES v i i ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS v i i i Chapter 1 INTRODUCTION 1 PART I THE ENVIRONMENT OF SOCIAL POLICY DEVELOPMENT 25 2 THE CANADIAN BACKGROUND FOR WELFARE INNOVATIONS 26 45 50 83 111 141 PART III STATUTORY BENEFITS FOR THE DEPENDENT POOR 170 7 MOTHERS' PENSIONS, 1916-1937 174 8 OLD AGE PENSIONS, 1927 228 9 WAR VETERANS' ALLOWANCES, 1930 267 10 PENSIONS FOR THE BLIND, 1937 301 PART II EMERGENCY STATE AID FOR DESTITUTE EMPLOYABLES 3 FEDERAL POLICY OF INTERVENTION, 1919-1921 4 FEDERAL POLICY OF WITHDRAWAL, 1922-1930 5 RELIEF CAMPS FOR SINGLE, HOMELESS MEN, 1932 6 RELIEF LAND SETTLEMENT FOR SELECTED FAMILIES, 1932 i ' i i PART IV CONCLUSIONS 351 11 WELFARE POLITICS: THE CANADIAN CASE 352 FOOTNOTES 371 BIBLIOGRAPHY 430 APPENDICES 445 LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS 450 i v LIST OF TABLES 1. Population of Canada, by province, census dates 1901-31 28 2. Urban population as a percentage of total population, Canada and provinces, census years 1901-41 30 3. Federal expenditure on unemployment rel ief under orders-in-council, by category aided, 1919-21 70 4. Provincial expenditure on unemployment re l ie f , 1921-30 98 5. Estimates of occupational and age distribution of the unemployed 114 6. Numbers of single, homeless men aided by various federal-provincial projects during the 1932 winter 128 7. Numbers of single, homeless men assisted by rel ief commissions in the western provinces in December 1932 133 8. Numbers of single, homeless men housed in DND camps and Parks Branch camps, by province, and authorized or total expenditures for f iscal years 1932/33 - 1935/36 137 9. Immigration to Canada, 1901-40 143 10. Supporters of re l ief land settlement inside Parliament,1930-34 155 11. Opponents of re l ie f land settlement inside the House of Commons, 1930-34 159 12. Actual and estimated proportions of e l ig ib le applicants (including dependents) and federal contributions under the 1932 rel ief land settlement plan 165 13. Numbers of private and public institutions for the dependent poor in selected c i t i e s , 1900 172 14. Number and percentage of widows in total female population for Canada and the provinces, 1911 and 1921 175 15. Employment of women in Canada, 1891-1931 177 16. Prime movers in provincial campaigns, by ci ty 182 17. Provincial def ic i ts in Ontario and the western provinces, 1914-20 f iscal years 200 18. Amounts expended on mothers' allowances (or their equivalent), 1916-17 to 1938-39 (to the nearest dollar) 218 19. Provincial defici ts in the maritime provinces and Quebec, 1914-37 f iscal years 219 20. Population 70 years and over as percentage of total population, Canada and provinces, 1901-41 census years 229 21. Number of homes for aged poor and institutions for adult poor with number of inmates in parentheses, Canada and Provinces, 1900 231 22. Supporters of pensions inside the Canadian Parliament, 1907-14 240 23. Opponents of pensions inside the Canadian Parliament, 1907-14 243 24. Distribution of Progressive votes on Irvine's motion, 1925 253 25. Organizations joining the Dominion Veterans' Al l iance, 1922-25 275 26. Legion spokesmen and sympathizers in the House of Commons, 1926-29 280 27. Actual and estimated federal expenditure on war veterans' allowances, 1930/31 - 1938/39 f iscal years 294 28. Total blind population and numbers in non-productive and unspecified occupations, 1901-21 census years 302 29. Local clubs of the c iv i l ian blind in Canada, 1921-29 315 v-30. Disabled classes by totals and per 10,000 of the population, 1921-31 census years 321 31. Organizations endorsing memorials, 1933 and 1936 328 32. Supporters of Cotnam's resolution on pensions for the bl ind, 1936 332 33. Number of pensioners and federal contributions towards pensions for blind persons, 1937/38 - 1938/39 f iscal years 346 34. Measures of unemployment used by governments during the 1921-29 period 445 35. DBS estimates of the total numbers of wage-earners, of wage-earners in employment, and of wage-earners unemployed, and the percentage of unemployed in the years 1930-38 446 36. Proportion of unemployed wage-earners on direct re l ie f , 1932-36 446 37. Classif ication of dominion disbursements under rel ief legis lat ion, September 1930 to 31 March 1939 447 v i LIST OF FIGURES 1. Possible determinants of socia l pol icy decisions 23 2. Estimated numbers of employed and unemployed wage-earners in re la t ion to the tota l working populat ion, 1921-38 47 vi>i x ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS I would l ike to record my sincere appreciation to a l l members of the thesis committee for their efforts. Keith Banting provided excellent supervision, combining inspirat ion, sustained interest and meticulous reading of the material; Alan Cairns offered encouragement as well as insights; and Dick Johnston made helpful comments on the draft. In addition, thanks are due to Ken Carty for fac i l i ta t ing the final stages of the project. In the course of doing archival research in Ontario, I was helped by numerous o f f i c ia l s , particularly John Smart of the Public Archives of Canada and Grace Worts of the Canadian National Institute for the Blind. I am also indebted to the SSHRC for providing the funds to conduct this study. Equally valuable moral support was offered over the years by several friends: Cynny Abrioux, Robbie Bagot, Helen and Rid Carver, Nora Hutchison, Laura Powers and Peter Robbins; and welcome secretarial assistance was ably provided by Maggie Paquet. The greatest debt, though, is owed to my husband John who bore the brunt of my preoccupation with welfare po l i t i cs , but tolerated i t with such equanimity. v i i i CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION As in other western democracies, Canada's watershed in the development of collective provision against loss of income was the replacement of the stigma of public charity with the principle that state aid is granted as a matter of right. This dramatic shift is often claimed as a pol i t ical achievement of the 1940-70 period when the cornerstones of the contemporary income security system were put into place. But, in fact, the interwar pol i t ics of welfare was more decisive in fac i l i ta t ing acceptance of the principle of social collectivism. Its legacy included various federal and provincial measures for the very poor that set significant precedents for granting state aid 'as of r ight, not chari ty. ' The purpose of this study is to elucidate the pol i t ical origins of these historic innovations in Canadian income security. The onset of the trend away from charitable support began effectively during World War I and gained momentum throughout the 1920s and 1930s. The emergence of welfare as a major pol i t ical issue during these years prompted the senior levels of government to take the i n i t i a l , hesitant steps on the road to income support, as of right. Although their intervention aided only a minority of the poor, i t represented the f i r s t , major assault upon the colonial poor re l ie f inheritance and i ts inherent stigma of public charity. While the ideological break with the past came in a series of small-scale innovations rather than in a single, legislat ive landmark l ike the American New Deal, in combination they established the principle of social collectivism. Once governments accepted that they had a duty to compensate the elderly, some 1 2 disabled groups, sole-support mothers and unemployed workers for the i r loss of income, the seed of extensive state intervention was sown and came to f r u i t i on during and af ter World War II when t ransfer benef i ts , as of r i gh t , were implemented for a l l c i t i z e n s . While representing a s ign i f i can t advance over the ex is t ing system of poor r e l i e f , the package of measures involved only a refinement, not a replacement, of the assistance technique of income support. Publ ic ass is tance , ! i r respect ive of whether i t i s granted to select or a l l categories of the des t i tu te , i s characterized by means-tested, non-contributory benefits financed ent i re ly by the s ta te . It i s given e i ther in cash or kind by a governmental authority only to ind iv iduals who are unable to provide fo r themselves the basic necessi t ies of l i f e . In contrast to publ ic ass is tance, other techniques of income support do not require lack of f inanc ia l resources as the c r i t e r i on of e l i g i b i l i t y . Instead, socia l insurance demands contr ibut ions as the main condit ion of cash benef i ts ; and non-contributory demogrants such as family allowances apply to everyone in a major group, regardless of need. Although the three techniques emerged during World War I to challenge the monopoly of the t rad i t iona l poor r e l i e f system, 2 categoric publ ic assistance soon gained the upper hand. During the 1920s and 1930s, a l l e f fec t ive federal and provincial intervention in the f i e l d of income maintenance depended on the means tes t . Despite i t s res t r i c ted coverage, t h i s development of publ ic aid represented a radical new departure. It approximated the establishment of a "soc ia l service s ta te , " characterized by the provision of services at minimum standards to the poor, that l a i d the foundations for the advent of the "welfare s ta te" in which services are provided at optimum standards for the whole populat ion.^ 3 In the t rans i t i on to the Canadian welfare state during the 1940s, socia l t insurance and demogrants replaced publ ic assistance as the dominant components of income support. Their ascendancy has tended to monopolize the attent ion of researchers because the i r methods and scope vary so widely from assistance as to suggest "dif ferences in k ind . " However: , . . [ t ]here i s no absolute di f ference between socia l welfare before the Second World War and af ter i t . No new pr inc ip les were i nvoked . . . , i f the state was wr i t ing with a wide pen i t was not on a blank page.4 A f a i l u re to appreciate t h i s element of cont inui ty among contemporary invest igators has resulted in the neglect of the role of publ ic assistance in pioneering acceptence of the p r inc ip le of socia l co l lec t i v i sm.5 Moreover, th i s technique s t i l l remains an important component of the ex is t ing income secur i ty system. Indeed, Canada seems to re ly more heavily on means-tested benefits than many other countr ies.6 The evolution of categoric publ ic assistance in Canada followed a s im i la r route to that of other western federat ions. It involved a t ransfer of the income-maintenance function from l o c a l , pr ivate and publ ic agencies to senior leve ls of government. But the Canadian case i s d i s t i nc t i ve because th is sh i f t was semi-involuntary. In contrast to Aus t ra l i a , the process of cen t ra l i za t ion was accompanied by "constant disavowals of respons ib i l i t y " at the highest leve ls and "continuous e f fo r ts " to force lower governments to undertake what was considered to be the i r duty to the people of t he i r area. 1 The sh i f t towards the centre was also only p a r t i a l , as provision of means-tested benefits has not become the exclusive prerogative of the federal government but remains shared with the provinces and, in cer ta in instances, with the mun ic ipa l i t i es . 4 The break-up of the poor r e l i e f system began during World War I. Up unt i l 1914 the r e l i e f of dest i tu t ion was handled in English Canada by munic ipa l i t ies and private c h a r i t i e s , and in Quebec by re l ig ious i ns t i t u t i ons . By the outbreak of the Second World War the i r ro le in re l iev ing the poor was no longer paramount. Dupre describes the transformation in the case of Ontario during the 1921-41 period as: . . . two decades of constant change in the welfare f i e l d , two decades at whose dawn local government shouldered the t r a d i -t iona l respons ib i l i t y of centuries of English pract ice and at whose close the scene was unrecognizable. What had begun as 'poor r e l i e f had become aid to unemployables and employables.8 A s im i la r process of d i f fe ren t ia t ion among the dest i tute occurred in the other provinces. Acting together, the senior leve ls of government provided emergency aid fo r unemployed workers in select winters of the 1920s and throughout the 1930s. Besides sponsoring jo in t schemes of d i rect r e l i e f and r e l i e f works in both decades, they par t ic ipated in a r e l i e f camps pol icy for s i ng le , homeless men and a land settlement scheme for selected fami l ies during the Great Depression. They also singled out some categories of the dependent poor for special treatment. Spurred by Manitoba's 1916 experiment, the provinces sponsored t he i r own statutory programs providing means-tested benefi ts for widows and other sole-support mothers. Ottawa took s im i l a r , independent action concerning prematurely sen i le veterans in 1930. J o i n t l y , the federal and provincial governments financed means-tested pensions for the aged in 1927 and the bl ind in 1937. Although these various i n i t i a t i v e s represented s ign i f i can t advances over t rad i t iona l methods of re l iev ing the poor, ex is t ing research i s sparse and 5 la rgely a p o l i t i c a l . Only the 1927 o ld age pensions i n i t i a t i v e and the development of unemployment r e l i e f provision have been subject to detai led ana lys i s , by Bryden (1974) and Struthers (1983) respect ive ly . Furthermore, despite the obvious p o l i t i c a l sal ience of the various i n i t i a t i v e s in determining who gets what, when and how outside the market p lace, l i t t l e attent ion has been paid to the range of forces shaping the i r o r i g ins . Instead, the t rad i t iona l focus of the l i t e ra tu re i s on the administrat ion of income maintenance measures re f lec t ing the authors' backgrounds in accountancy, law and socia l work.9 f r v e n i n contemporary welfare research p o l i t i c a l sc ien t i s t s are mainly conspicuous by the i r absence, leaving analysis of the semi-v i rg in t e r r i t o r y of pre-1939 i n i t i a t i v e s to the i r colleagues in h istory and socia l work. This study i s designed to remedy the neglect of Canadian welfare p o l i t i c s during the 1914-39 per iod. It involves the hi therto unexplored task of examining the circumstances under which the se lec t i ve , means-tested measures were developed and ident i fy ing the e f fec t ive p o l i t i c a l forces shaping the i r t iming and content. The case-study method i s selected as the appropriate technique of analysis because i t i l l u s t r a t e s the h i s to r i ca l character of the policy-making process and meets the pressing need for information on Canadian publ ic po l i cy , pinpointed by Bryden and Simeon. 1 0 Moreover, when case studies are f i rmly grounded in major theoret ical debates, they possess an explanatory potential lacking in descr ip t ive s tud ies. Although " theore t ica l " case studies s t i l l f a i l to meet the r i g id test of predict ive a b i l i t y , they are useful too ls fo r test ing and re f in ing proposi t ions, provided that cer ta in conditions are met. These prerequis i tes comprise a set of s im i la r cases, invest igat ion of policymaking through t ime, and a conceptual framework.^ The measures, 6 selected fo r ana lys i s , sa t i s f y the f i r s t c r i t e r i on because they are a l l dependent upon the means t e s t . Moreover, the bulk represent innovations that f a c i l i t a t e d acceptance of the pr inc ip le of socia l co l l ec t i v i sm. As these major po l icy decisions were taken on an ad hoc, unplanned basis between 1914 and 1939, the choice of subject involves invest igat ion of policymaking through t ime. The remaining prerequis i te requires more extended d iscuss ion , as a conceptual framework provides the means of st ructur ing the mass of data accumulated through use of the case study method. Conceptual Framework of the Study Social pol icy researchers have formulated a number of proposit ions that can be tested in the context of Canadian welfare p o l i t i c s during the 1914-39 per iod. As they are pr imar i ly interested in accounting for innovations, the bulk of t he i r hypotheses suggest possible spurs to governmental ac t ion ; but a few scholars recognize tha t , l i k e a l l other types of publ ic po l i cy , socia l pol icy also embraces governmental inac t ion , and they ident i fy constraints on i t s development. Their co l l ec t i ve research f indings suggest that socio-economic, cu l tu ra l and p o l i t i c a l determinants are important factors inf luencing how socia l po l i c ies are ra ised , debated and shaped. This t r i l ogy of fo rces , however, i s often not incorporated into individual analyses. Instead, the tendency in the l i t e ra tu re i s to concentrate upon establ ish ing the primacy of economics or cul ture or p o l i t i c s . In contrast , th i s study adopts a mu l t i -rather than a uni-dimensional approach, as a l l these factors ass is t us in understanding the complex process of socia l policymaking. Socio-economic determinants: The importance of socio-economic change i s stressed in two d i s t i nc t schools of l i t e r a t u r e : quant i tat ive analyses and h is to r i ca l s tudies. Systematic 7 research at the cross-nat ional level pinpoints economic growth as the key var iable related to the global development of social secur i ty . In l i ne with the f indings of s t a t i s t i c a l analyses by Cutright (1965) and Pryor (1968), a recent 64-nation study iden t i f i es economic growth and i t s demographic and bureaucratic outcomes as "the root cause of welfare state development."12 The sal ience of economic development, though, diminishes when the units of comparison sh i f t e i ther to nations at s imi la r leve ls of aff luence or , of more relevance for th is study, to regions within federat ions. American scholars , the pioneers of quant i tat ive analyses at the sub-national l e v e l , remain divided over the re la t i ve merits of economic development and p o l i t i c a l factors in accounting for d i f ferent leve ls of welfare expenditure between states.13 Although s l im , Canadian research of th i s type suggests that p o l i t i c a l var iables are more relevant. For example, Chandler i den t i f i es the threat of s o c i a l i s t opposition as the sa l ien t factor in explaining post-World War II var iat ions in welfare spending among p rov inces . ! 4 Regardless of the units of comparison, however, studies of th is type share a comnon major weakness, i . e . , an i n a b i l i t y to explain the soc ia l policy-making process. Posi t ing a re lat ionship of s t a t i s t i c a l s ign i f icance between, say, regional economic d i spa r i t i es and varying levels of welfare spending t e l l s us nothing about how socia l problems become p o l i t i c a l issues and are converted into programs. Less rigorous surveys of h i s to r i ca l evidence also provide a guide to the re lat ionship between socio-economic variables and social secur i ty development. After invest igat ing the cases of Germany, the U.S.A. and the U .S .S .R . , Rimlinger concluded tha t , i r respect ive of the nature of the socio-economic order, the need for a highly organized form of income protection increases as 8 society becomes industrialized and urbanized.15 His finding is corroborated by Heclo (1974) for the cases of Britain and Sweden, and in many single-nation studies of welfare-state development. Wallace claims that i t sparked a similar development in Canada by breaking down the self-sufficiency of the pioneer family and creating social problems requiring collective action.16 Moreover, one historical feature of the industrialization process, the Great Depression of the 1930s, is often singled out as playing a catalyst role in the development of North American income secur i ty .^ Although they attribute a primary role to the spur of socio-economic change, these researchers do not subscribe to a crude determinism. Instead, they suggest that i t plays only a faci l i tat ing and not a direct role in the development of income maintenance. Sustained economic growth provides governments with the means of financing state aid but does not guarantee action on their part. The other key variables of industrialization and urbanization have a similar, limited impact. The creation of a wage-earning class in c i t ies adds the new dimension of unemployment to the causes of poverty, yet does not, ipso facto, guarantee a collective response. The break-up of the extended family removes a mainstay of support for the aged and other groups among the dependent poor, but does not necessarily usher in public substitutes. However, by focusing their attention on the impact of industrial growth, and the emerging urban society, scholars have tended to conceive of the socio-economic context much too narrowly, neglecting the c r i t i ca l balance between old and new sectors of economies in transit ion. In particular, they tend to overlook the importance of the agricultural sector. Although they may note in passing that the structure and values of agrarian society mil i tate 9_'. against developments in income maintenance, they tend to t reat welfare p o l i t i c s as the exclusive battleground of capi ta l and labour, the key interest groups in the indust r ia l sector . But, in the Canadian case, rural-urban con f l i c t cannot be so eas i l y discounted, because the nation was in a process of t rans i t i on from an agrarian to an indust r ia l society when the issue of state aid for the dest i tu te came to the fo re . Indeed, the evidence of th is study indicates that organized farmers and the i r elected spokesmen were leading ac tors , rather than minor p layers, in the evolution of co l l ec t i v i sm. Furthermore, t he i r role as arch opponents was more consistent than that of businessmen. Cultural determinants: In addit ion to socio-economic fac to rs , cu l tura l var iables a lso shape the making of socia l po l i cy . A major theme in cross-national research i s that the l a t t e r are most sa l ient in explaining national dif ferences in income secur i ty coverage. For example, King (1973) i den t i f i es ideas concerning the role of the state as the key factors in explaining why the U.S. i s a wel fare-state '1 agger' compared with Canada and other European nat ions. While agreeing that national p o l i t i c a l goals and values account for var iat ions concerning the scope and level of benef i ts , Woodsworth suggests that the borrowing of ideas among nations also inf luences the way countries develop the i r socia l benefi t programs.^ Single-nat ion studies also stress the importance of cu l tura l determinants. Both Marshall (1965) and Romanyshyn (1971) ident i fy changes in concepts of c i t i zensh ip r ights as spurs to the development of co l lec t i v i sm in Br i ta in and the U.S . , respect ive ly . Herman pinpoints a s im i la r sh i f t of opinion in the Canadian case. Her content analysis of the debates of the federal Parliament between 1 8 7 5 and 1 9 6 0 i l l u s t r a t e s the l ink between the dr ive towards equal i ty in socia l r ights and developments in heal th, welfare and social secu r i t y ; and a less rigorous but broader review of secondary sources also traces the connection between changes in publ ic opinion and the advent of the Canadian welfare s t a t e . 1 9 A general consensus ex is ts that these broad s h i f t s , often tr iggered by national c r ises such as depressions or wars, made the idea of state intervention more acceptable. The precise impact of mass a t t i tudes , though, i s d i f f i c u l t to p inpoint , espec ia l l y in h i s to r i ca l analys is where evidence i s , of necessi ty , impressionist ic owing to the absence of publ ic opinion surveys. Compared with t he i r e lus ive qua l i ty in the society at la rge, cu l tura l factors in th i s type of research are more eas i l y i den t i f i ab le in the p o l i t i c a l process in the form of values and prejudices of decision-makers. Nonetheless, prevai l ing ideas about the causes of poverty and i t s treatment did inf luence the course of Canadian welfare p o l i t i c s during the 1 9 1 4 - 1 9 3 9 per iod. The general framework of ideas i s sketched in chapter 2 because i t provides an essent ial guide to what Canadians comprehended as socia l problems, considered as a l ternat ive approaches to resolving these problems, and accepted as the proper extent of governmental in te rven t ion .20 Like a l l major inf luences on publ ic po l i cy , cul tura l var iables act as constraints upon, as well as spurs t o , governmental ac t ion . Bryden suggests that the i n d i v i d u a l i s t i c "market ethos" of Canadian society not only delayed the introduction of mens-tested benefits for the aged unt i l 1 9 2 7 but also shaped the subsequent development of pensions po l i c y ; and Taylor indicates that i t had a s im i la r ef fect on the evolution of health insurance.21 But the 11 concept of "market ethos" i s an overly e l a s t i c one, embracing a l l values that m i l i t a te against co l l ec t i v i sm , and so i s imprecise about the spec i f i c be l ie fs that res is t developments in income maintenance. Brecher provides a firmer guide by s ing l ing out a conservative f i s c a l orthodoxy as a primary constraint during the interwar years.22 Besides confirming his f inding that i t m i l i ta ted against welfare spending at the federal l e v e l , the evidence from the case studies also establ ishes that i t was an equally powerful impediment to governmental action in the provinces. P o l i t i c a l determinants: Although socio-economic and cul tura l factors raise and define the problems to be resolved, on t he i r own they cannot account fo r t he i r conversion into socia l pol icy outcomes. Instead, p o l i t i c a l determinants provide the key to understanding the or ig ins and content of spec i f i c decisions concerning income maintenance. Bryden acknowledges the i r re la t i ve supremacy over the other types of var iab les . Even though he views Canadian pensions pol icy as a clash between underlying socio-economic and ideological fo rces, he points out that the con f l i c t between the two i s resolved in the p o l i t i c a l system and that p o l i t i c a l oo processes are themselves s ign i f i can t determinants of po l icy design. Inst i tu t ional factors and par t ic ipants are both cruc ia l because the i r in teract ion characterizes the decisionmaking process. Inst i tu t ional factors have a dual impact on the development of socia l po l i cy . According to Leman (1980), they set the rules of the game within which the d i f ferent players contend and also shape the terms of p o l i t i c a l debates. For example, in federal systems the re la t i ve d is t r ibu t ion of l e g i s l a t i v e powers plays the cruc ia l ro le in def ining the p o l i t i c a l context(s) wi th in which issues J . 2 are raised and resolved. However, i t does not d i rec t l y af fect the substance of soc ia l po l icy dec is ions. Leman suggests that another i ns t i t u t i ona l va r iab le , "the h i s to r i c conf igurat ion of programs," inf luences both the cause and outcomes of p o l i t i c a l debates on issues of income maintenance. 2 4 The po l icy inheri tance and other relevant fac to rs , such as the competitiveness of the party system and the s ize and nature of bureaucracy, are described in chapter 2, with attent ion focusing here on the federal structure of government, "the ins t i t u t i ona l factor that has had the greatest impact on income secur i ty in Canada."25 The ex is t ing evidence i s ambiguous as to whether a federal structure of government f a c i l i t a t e s or i nh ib i t s developments in income maintenance. On the one hand, there are cases to support the contention that i t creates more opportunity fo r experimentation than a unitary system. For example, the Austral ian image of a "socia l laboratory" stems from state experiments in statutory assistance programs fo r the aged and inval ids undertaken in the early years of t h i s cen tu r y . 2 6 S im i l a r l y , the American states qual i fy as the pioneers of means-tested pensions fo r widows, the aged and the b l i nd . On the other hand, the record of the Canadian provinces lends support to the c e n t r a l i s t s ' case that regional governments are impediments to developments in income support. Theirs i s a record characterized more by inact ion than innovat ion, despite the contention of Trudeau that the seed of socia l reform i s planted more eas i ly in cer ta in regions than at the national l e v e l . 2 7 Apart from mothers' pensions, a l l other se lec t i ve , means-tested measures were sponsored by Ottawa. Why? 13 Recent research by Banting i den t i f i es two important constraints upon income secur i ty developments at the sub-national level in the interwar per iod: the imbalance between the provinces' l eg i s l a t i ve powers and the i r f i s c a l capab i l i t y , and the i r governments' preoccupation with economic development, manifest in a desire to avoid imposing res t r i c t ions upon the mobi l i ty of capi ta l and labour . 2 ^ As the provinces were unable and/or unwi l l ing to sponsor cost ly i n i t i a t i v e s , a system of federal subsidies developed to finance welfare innovations, including the bulk of means-tested benefits introduced during the 1914-39 per iod. Birch contends that the con f l i c t s a r i s ing over th is method of f inancing precluded the "successful operation" of condit ional grants and obstructed a l l attempts at "comprehensive socia l reform."29 In addit ion to confirming both these scholars ' proposi t ions, the evidence of th is study suggests that the f i s c a l conservatism of provincial po l i t i c i ans was the underlying motive behind the i r reluctance to sponsor independent i n i t i a t i v e s . Besides ins t i tu t iona l fac to rs , p o l i t i c a l ac tors , i . e . , act ive par t ic ipants in the socia l policymaking process, also shape developments in income maintenance. They play the cruc ia l role of def in ing the socia l problems and deciding the t iming and content of l e g i s l a t i o n . 3 0 However, considerable controversy ex is ts among students of socia l pol icy over whether forces located outside or ins ide government play the dominant ro le . Further disagreement ar ises over which are the relevant societal or governmental par t ic ipants . A review of the l i t e ra tu re results in the cu l l i ng of four interpretat ions that are not mutually exclusive but d i f f e r in emphasis and comprehensiveness concerning the e f fec t i ve p o l i t i c a l forces. Each interpretat ion depicts a d i f ferent set of actors as playing the primary ro le in shaping decisions concerning income maintenance. The f i r s t interpretation is the social control model of welfare po l i t ics . While the model incorporates various meanings of social control,31 i ts major variant postulates that in situations of intense social unrest, working-class militancy is the effective spur because i t forces welfare concessions from the state. Proponents of the social control model, however, are divided over i ts precise prerequisites. On the one hand, various scholars, including non-Marxists, claim that in situations of intense class conf l ic t , radicals in the labour movement are the effective societal actors because their act iv i t ies arouse fears of revolution among the ruling class. For example, Rhys argues that Bismarck pioneered social insurance in Germany "out of fear that the prevailing social order might be overthrown by revolutionary agitation of the working class;"32 a n c | Gilbert and Fraser identify a similar motive behind Bri t ish pol i t ic ians' decisions to sponsor income maintenance measures in 1911 and 1920, respectively.33 on the other hand, investigators of the recent U.S. urban c r i s i s suggest a different set of preconditions for state provision of welfare concessions. Piven and Cloward, for example, identify unemployed workers rather than labour radicals as the key actors. They contend that in times of depression c iv ic turmoil in the form of protests and riots by the jobless results in in i t iat ion or expansion of rel ief caseloads, and that once disorder lessens contraction occurs to reinforce restrict ive work norms. But they dismiss fear of revolution as a redundant motive and suggest instead that the threat of popular discontent motivates national poli t icians to offer concessions in order to win the allegiance of disaffected voting b l ocs . 3 4 The disagreement over the effective actors (labour radicals/mobilized unemployed) and the pol i t ic ians' motives (fear of revolution/electoral 15 calculations) is not the only imprecise feature of the model that this study seeks to rect i fy. As a perceptive c r i t i c points out, most theorists also tend to rely too heavily on assertion rather than empirical data, with the result that "motives, intents and purposes are often assumed from the effects of action, rather than el ic i ted through careful research."35 | ^ o r e fundamentally, however, they tend to overlook the cr i t i ca l fact that public assistance measures are "always devised" to reflect distinctions between those able to work and those deemed incapable. 3 6 Given this dichotomy, their tendency to treat a l l innovations as examples of overt repression is suspect because the physically f i t obviously pose more of a threat to the established order than, say, the unemployable bl ind. In order to test whether the salience of the social control model varies according to the category of recipient, this study examines in i t iat ives for destitute employables separately from the benefits extended to select categories of the dependent poor in Parts II and III, respectively. The findings indicate that this distinction is an important one in the Canadian case, for the only two innovations satisfying the prerequisites of the social control model involved able-bodied wage-earners. The second general interpretation emphasizes interest group power as the decisive force. In this pressure group model of welfare po l i t i cs , associations in the private sector attempt to promote their interests and values within the decision-making process, and i t is the confl icts and accommodations among these groups that shape income maintenance policy. Some proponents attribute a central role to economic interest groups, particularly capital and labour, in the social policymaking process. For example, Lowi argues that leaders of the peak economic associations JL.6 representing the "haves" and the "have nots" in conjunction with forces inside government are "the makers of the pr inc ip les of r e d i s t r i b u t i o n . " 3 7 His general contention i s supported by indiv idual case studies. Brown (1971) invest igated the or ig ins of the f i r s t B r i t i s h i n i t i a t i v e to aid unemployed workmen and found that the 1905 l eg i s l a t i on was shaped by a c lash between interests espousing the t rad i t iona l conservative ideology and the r i s i ng forces of co l lec t i v i sm represented by the' labour movement. Bryden (1974) a lso discovered that the or ig ina l Canadian i n i t i a t i v e in publ ic pensions was molded by a s im i la r c o n f l i c t involv ing establ ished business associat ions and the emerging trade unions. However, other invest igators cast doubt on the consistency of the roles of capi ta l and labour over time. Finkel (1979), for example, found that during the interwar period Canadian businessmen acted not only as i n f l uen t ia l opponents but a l so , on occasion, as equally e f fec t ive advocates of socia l reforms, a f inding that i s confirmed in th is study. A comparative study by Heclo (1974) indicates that organized labour in B r i t a in and Sweden also adopted divergent posit ions on the issue of income support. Canadian trade unions, as we shal l see, were consistent advocates l i k e the i r Swedish counterparts, even though the i r claim to be the champions of the cause of co l lec t i v i sm was only incontestable in the case of the old age pensions movement. The group model does not designate the socia l policy-making process as the exclusive battleground fo r economic in te res ts . Some researchers suggest that spokesmen of pr ivate char i t i es a lso play an in f luen t ia l ro le . Hall and her colleagues contend that B r i t i s h soc ia l service agencies have often acted as pressure groups, and Gi lber t a t t r ibutes a s im i la r creat ive role to U.S. voluntary agencies, descr ibing the char i ty organization soc ie t ies and the 17 settlement house movements as "the socia l progenitors of modern welfare po l icy . "38 However, in the Canadian case, establ ished char i t i es have apparently obstructed developments in income maintenance. Alb inski suggests that the values of the major re l ig ious ins t i tu t ions delayed the introduct ion of s tate-d i rected welfare programs pr ior to 1914.39 i n f a c t , the evidence of th is study indicates that the be l ie fs of Cathol ics and Protestants acted as constraints well beyond th i s watershed, even though the monopoly of denominational char i t i es was increasingly challenged by new, non-sectarian welfare agencies during and af ter the war which, fa r from opposing state in tervent ion, i n i t i a l l y welcomed i t . The case study on the mothers pensions movement reveals th is con f l i c t wi thin the char i ty establishment most c l ea r l y . Besides organized c h a r i t i e s , c l i en t groups, composed of actual or potential benef ic iar ies of income maintenance measures, are also important par t ic ipants in the socia l policymaking process. But, with the important exception of m i l i tan t action by unemployed workers, ex is t ing evidence i s scant on the inf luence exerted by moderate segments of the job less . It i s also scarce concerning the behaviour of the dependent poor, with studies by Baker (1963) and Bryden (1974) documenting that the Canadian bl ind took up t he i r own cause, whereas the e lder ly did not become act ive unt i l a f ter the introduction of means-tested benef i ts . Concerning sole-support mothers and disabled veterans, the other categories aided, the f indings of the relevant case studies reveal that they were spectators and part ic ipants in the p o l i t i c s of wel fare. The th i rd interpretat ion places greater stress on forces inside government. This "representative model" postulates that independent choices of po l i t i c i ans are the cruc ia l determinants of socia l po l i cy . It a t t r ibutes an 18 autonomous role to elected of f ic ia ls in contrast to the two preceding interpretations that imply that these actors resemble "automatons" merely acting in response to forces outside government. Public choice theorists claim that pol i t ic ians' decisions to establish new social programs are motivated primarily by electoral calculations. For example, Downs, in his pioneering analysis, contends that the "major force shaping a party's policies is competition with other parties for votes"; and the authors of a recent study on the Canadian decision-making process also assume that vote maximization is the "proximate objective" of polit icians.40 Outside of this group, there exist supporters of the less extreme notion that electoral calculations play a part in pol i t ic ians ' decisions to redistribute income. Bird, for example, postulates that these perceptions were more significant in the past when non-taxpaying voters f i rs t entered the Canadian electorate.41 Although electoral calculations were important factors influencing Canadian pol i t ic ians ' decisions to finance statutory means-tested benefits, the evidence suggests that expansion of welfare expenditure was not the only route open to these actors to enhance their chances of re-election. Their decisions to delay legislat ive action were, on more than one occasion, based upon calculations of what the public would stand for. Other proponents of the representative model suggest that the ideology of power-holders is also an important spur to developments in social security. Beer argues that a dist inctive system of pol i t ical ideas influenced the social policy decisions of Br i t ish poli t icians and guided the behaviour of their parties from 1918 onwards.4 2 His finding is duplicated in the Australian case by Mendelsohn, who concedes "that Labour has been the pacemaker, and that in 19 periods of Labour r u l e , socia l welfare l eg i s l a t i on was more l i k e l y to be pushed a h e a d . " 4 3 in contrast , the impact of changes in Canadian party government i s often dismissed as neg l ig ib le . Redekop, for example, asserts that the socia l po l i c ies of both Liberals and Conservatives during the 1930s "were shaped more by the times than those po l i c ies shaped the t imes"; and Saltsman contends that during the interwar period western protest movements, not establ ished pa r t i es , were the vehic le fo r ideas concerning socia l pol icy i n i t i a t i v e s . 4 4 In pa r t i cu la r , the national leadership of the emergent Labour group i s credited with a pioneering r o l e . 4 5 without denigrating J . S . Woodsworth's role as "the conscience of Parl iament," the p o l i t i c a l leaders of the two major national part ies also espoused humanitarian values. Lloyd claims that i t was a "natural impulse" for Prime Min is ter King and Liberal po l i t i c i ans elsewhere in the English-speaking world to sponsor innovations in income maintenance because they "were sorry for the poor and wanted to do something to h e l p . " ^ T h e Liberal Prime Min is te r , however, did not monopolize the socia l policymaking process in the 1914-39 per iod. Conservative administrations pioneered the major i n i t i a t i v e s in state a id fo r dest i tu te employables, and the i r decisions contained shades of the Tory value of co l l ec t i v i sm, as the case studies in Part II reveal . Recent research by Heidenheimer and his colleagues suggests that po l i t i c i ans have greater inf luence on reforms involv ing cash t ransfers to c i t i zens rather than over the use of publ ic services because they have less impact on the "v i ta l in te res ts" of serv ice suppl iers . According to these scholars, the evidence in the cases of several European nations and the U.S. i s so overwhelming as to suggest "a general ru le" "that part ies can e f fec t i ve ly 20 sponsor social insurance programs, provided that their leaders do not accept implici t ly assumptions that favour the status quo. 4 7 They also imply that the method of financing programmes is a key factor influencing a party's reform capabil i ty. Their suggestion is elaborated upon by Bird who proposes that reformist pol i t icians encounter more resistance from taxpayers in sponsoring in i t iat ives financed entirely by general revenues than measures based upon the contributory principle.48 The fourth interpretation views c i v i l servants as the primary pol i t ical actors. This "bureaucratic model" postulates that administrative leadership is the spur to social policy decisions. It assumes that of f ic ia ls possess separate interests and resources separate from those of private pressure groups and pol i t ic ians. Proponents of this viewpoint suggest that bureaucrats generate and champion issues as well as design particular schemes. For example, Roberts identif ies the inspectorate in various government departments as the creative force behind the development of social legislation in nineteenth century Br i ta in; and another Bri t ish scholar, MacDonagh, also argues that the impetus for the extension of the role of government in the area of emigrant protection came from professional administrators, not polit icians.49 After comparing the development of income maintenance policies in Britain and Sweden, Heclo concludes that bureaucrats were "the most consistently important of a l l pol i t ical factors." "In both expansionary and restr ict ive directions, administrative actors have been crucial in giving concrete substance to new policy in i t iat ives and in elaborating established approaches."^ In the Canadian case, existing research supports the notion of an act ivist c i v i l service. At the provincial level the strong leadership of 21 Ontar io 's Inspector of Asylums and Prisons i s iden t i f i ed as "the key" to the vigorous pace of socia l welfare development during the ear ly post-Confederation e ra ; and another Ontario c i v i l servant i s also designated as the precip i tant of the mothers' pensions i n i t i a t i v e . 5 * However, as the resources for th is study precluded a review of archival material in a l l of the then nine provinces, the precise role played by administrators in shaping developments in categoric publ ic assistance remains an open question, even though the avai lab le evidence suggests that i t was re la t i ve l y minor. At the federal level bureaucrats were apparently inact ive during the interwar per iod, or at least played no part in the development of publ ic pension pol icy analyzed by Bryden (1974). But they are credited with playing a creat ive role af ter World War I I . Armitage contends that since 1945 an e l i t e corps of senior o f f i c i a l s , aided by some of t he i r provincia l counterparts, provided "an enduring and consistent force for socia l welfare reform"; and his argument i s supported by the reco l lec t ions of a sel f-confessed "reformist bureaucrat" employed by the Department of Health and Welfare during the 1952-72 p e r i o d . 5 2 The f indings of the case s tudies, though, suggest that the role of t he i r prewar counterparts was much less c rea t ive , with senior administrators blocking welfare innovations more often than promoting them. Each of the four interpretat ions depicts a d i f ferent set of p o l i t i c a l actors, as dominant wi th in the socia l policymaking process: m i l i t an t workers, interest groups, party po l i t i c i ans and c i v i l servants. These part ic ipants are l i k e l y to be partners, rather than r i v a l s , in shaping spec i f i c i n i t i a t i v e s because socia l pol icy decisions are "too complex to be explained simply as the predicate of some maker."53 consequently, the analysis involves an examination 22 of the way the various p o l i t i c a l actors interact over time and an evaluation of the i r re la t ive inf luence in shaping the timing and content of the se lec t i ve , means-tested measures introduced during the 1914-39 per iod. In order to f a c i l i t a t e the task of assessing the precise form of t he i r in teract ion and the i r respective in f luence, the assumption i s made that the e f fec t ive p o l i t i c a l forces are l i k e l y to vary according to the d i f ferent type of socia l pol icy under invest iga t ion . Two types relevant for th is study are innovations that represent en t i re l y new departures for the state and developments, i . e . , expansions of programs that contain novel features.54 jh-j s re lat ionship i s tested mainly in Part I I I , where mothers' pensions and old age pensions are treated as innovat ions, and statutory benefits for veterans and the bl ind as developments of the l a t t e r . Within the same type, the e f fec t ive actors are l i k e l y to d i f f e r between the phase when the issue develops and provokes controversy and the phase when the pol icy decision i s made. The material i s organized around th i s simple d i s t i nc t i on in each of the case studies in the form of attaching the labels of advocates, opponents and prec ip i tants to the relevant par t ic ipants . Advocates and opponents depict the p o l i t i c a l forces urging or res is t ing expansion of state a c t i v i t y . Precip i tants represent the forces which push the issue of publ ic welfare higher up the government's l i s t of p r i o r i t i e s as well as shape the f ina l form and structure of the po l i cy . They, therefore, can be e i ther advocates or opponents in the e a r l i e r phase: As the preceding review ind ica tes , the forces shaping soc ia l po l icy decisions are complex, comprising socio-economic, cul tura l and p o l i t i c a l determinants. Sustained economic growth provides governments with the means of 23. f inancing innovations, and i t s concomitants, i ndus t r i a l i za t i on and urbanizat ion, create the socia l problems requir ing resolut ion in the p o l i t i c a l process. The general framework of ideas determines how these problems are to be defined and acted upon. Inst i tu t ional fac to rs , espec ia l ly the re la t i ve d is t r i bu t ion of l e g i s l a t i v e powers in federal systems, shape the behaviour of the p o l i t i c a l actors. As socio-economic, cul tura l and ins t i t u t i ona l factors set the context within which the players in the p o l i t i c s of welfare par t ic ipate and exert a minimal d i rect impact upon the content of socia l p o l i c i e s , they are treated as environmental var iables in th is analysis (see f igure 1) . Four types of p o l i t i c a l ac tors , m i l i tan t workers and interest groups in the society at large plus party po l i t i c i ans and c i v i l servants ins ide government, are i den t i f i ed as the major shapers of dec is ions. The next task then, i s to determine the way in which they interacted with the broader environment to produce the f i r s t milestones along Canada's road to income secur i ty . Figure 1. Possible determinants of socia l pol icy decis ions: Environmental Factors P o l i t i c a l Actors Socio-economic set t ing M i l i t an t workers Cultural context Interest groups Inst i tu t ional framework Party po l i t i c i ans C i v i l servants The socia l pol icy environment out of which demands arose for special treatment of cer ta in types of paupers i s sketched in chapter 2. Detai led analyses of the i n i t i a t i v e s for dest i tute employables are then undertaken in chapters 3-6, and invest igat ion of benefits for the dependent poor follows in chapters 7-10. Chapter 11 presents a summary of the evidence on how the various determinants shaped the development of categoric publ ic assistance prov is ion. It also discusses broader questions raised by the analysis concerning their inter-relationship in the social policy-making process. The information for this study is collected from a wide range of sources, owing to the fact that Canadian welfare pol i t ics is a sorely neglected area of research. Among secondary works, biographies and memoirs of pol i t ic ians, social and pol i t ical histories of the period, as well as the recent, valuable crop of studies in feminist and labour history, are the major sources. Information in yearbooks of various sorts and newspaper cuttings is also used. The bulk of evidence, however, is drawn from published and unpublished government documents. The la t ter , housed in the Public Archives of Canada, Ottawa, comprise departmental f i les and private papers of pol i t ic ians, but not cabinet documents, as no formal records of Privy Council meetings were kept until 1940. PART I THE ENVIRONMENT OF SOCIAL POLICY DEVELOPMENT 25 CHAPTER 2 THE CANADIAN BACKGROUND FOR WELFARE INNOVATIONS Canada was a society in t rans i t ion between 1914 and 1939, the era when the innovations in publ ic assistance were introduced. The Canadian economy was being transformed from an agrarian to an indust r ia l one and the dominant, i n d i v i d u a l i s t i c ethic was increasingly challenged by a new welfare ethos. The establ ished framework of p o l i t i c a l ins t i tu t ions was also al tered by the advent of competitive mass p o l i t i c s and the expansion of the publ ic sector , developments that were precip i tated by World War I. As the changing environment moulded part ly the behaviour and motives of the part ic ipants in the p o l i t i c s of wel fare, the spec i f i c socio-economic se t t i ng , the cul tura l context and the ins t i tu t iona l framework are out l ined below. Socio-economic Sett ing In Canada the socio-economic preconditions for developments in income maintenance began to be l a i d in the la te nineteenth century. Although industr ia l -urban growth was not an unfamil iar feature of the post-Confederation economy, i t accelerated af ter the 1890-96 depression. In contrast to B r i t a i n , where an indust r ia l revolut ion ushered in developments in income maintenance, Canada's i n i t i a l steps were sparked by changes in the agr icu l tura l sector . The developing wheat economy of the p ra i r i e provinces was the "dynamic element" of the country's economic growth during the 1896-21 per iod. The potential of the plains attracted capi ta l and labour in unprecedented amounts and the resul ts f i l t e r e d through the ent i re economy.1 Paradoxical ly , though, the wheat boom also fostered developments in secondary industry that hastened the decl ine of agr icu l ture as the dominant mode of production in the national economy. The soaring production and export of Canada's new staple during the Laurier years (1896-1911) at tracted increasing amounts of foreign capi ta l that funded the development of minerals and energy in northern regions of B r i t i s h Columbia, Ontario and Quebec. The wheat boom also financed great expansion of manufacturing, pa r t i cu la r l y in central Canada. 2 This growth was further stimulated by the needs of a wartime economy, so that by 1920, the time of the f i r s t federal survey of overal l production, manufacturing was already s l i g h t l y ahead of agr icu l tu re , contr ibut ing 43.7 percent compared with 41.3 percent to to ta l output . 3 This unparal leled economic development was accompanied by s ign i f i can t demographic changes. In contrast to the disappoint ing, slow growth in population during the 1871-1900 p e r i o d , 4 a rapid increase characterized the f i r s t three decades of th i s century, with i t s s i ze almost doubling from 5,371,315 in 1901 to 10,376,786 in 1931. While th is expansion in part ref lected trends common to other developing nat ions, such as increases in b i r th rates and l i f e expectancy, i t s major source was the in f lux of immigrants attracted by the developing wheat economy of the p r a i r i e s . Population growth in th i s new region was the most dramatic pr ior to 1921 (see table 1) . The settlement of the p ra i r i e west by outsiders al tered the soc ia l structure in a dramatic manner by sh i f t i ng the ex is t ing population balance between the two founding ethnic groups. At least one-third of the more than two m i l l i on new se t t le rs came from countr ies outside the Engl ish- and French-speaking worlds. As they were too numerous to be absorbed rapidly into any melting pot, they forged a new society with i t s own d i s t i n c t i ve blend of ethnic i d e n t i t i e s . Following i t s c rea t ion , sectional con f l i c t was added to the 28 l i s t of ex is t ing l i n g u i s t i c and re l ig ious cleavages.5 j n i s n e w d i v i s ion was manifest i n i t i a l l y in prewar disputes over eastern control of churches and trade unions, and af ter 1918 in con f l i c t s over the issue of state aid fo r the des t i tu te . Table 1. Population of Canada, by province, census dates 1901-31. 1901 1911 1921 1931 Canada 5,371,315 7,206,643 8,787,949 10,376,786 P .E . I . 103,259 93,728 88,615 88,038 Nova Scotia 459,574 492,338 523,837 512,846 New Bruns. 331,120 351,889 387,876 408,219 Quebec 1,648,898 2,005,776 2,360,510 2,874,662 Ontario 2,182,947 2,527,292 2,933,662 3,431,683 Manitoba 255,211 461,394 610,118 700,139 Sask. 91,279 492,432 757,510 921,785 Alberta 73,022 374,295 588,454 731,605 B.C. 178,657 392,480 524,582 694,263 Yukon 27,219 8,512 4,157 4,230 N.W.T. 20,129 6,507 8,143 9,316 SOURCE: M.C. Urquhart and K.A.H. Buckley, eds . , H is tor ica l S ta t i s t i c s of Canada (Toronto: Macmillan, 1965), p. 14, ser ies A2-14. The rapid in f lux of newcomers also underlined the-need for a new approach towards poor r e l i e f by exacerbating socia l problems in urban centres. Although they were recruited as s e t t l e r s , substant ial numbers of immigrants remained in c i t i e s or d r i f ted in a f ter f a i l i n g on the land. In Winnipeg and Toronto they were often forced to l i v e in the most slum-ridden sect ions, where disease and crime were the predictable products of ignorance and poverty.6 Their presence in the ranks of the dest i tu te unemployed in Toronto prompted spokesmen of pr ivate char i t ies to complain publ ic ly in the 1890s about the "hordes of 'paupers and c r im ina ls ' from Great Br i ta in and Europe every year lured out to Canada by opt imis t ic and misleading representations of the prosperity of our 'lower c l a s s e s , ' only to swell t h i s already overwhelming t i de of misery from lack of winter work." 7 No provision for publ ic wel fare, however, was made in response to the pre-war deluge of s e t t l e r s . Instead, socia l work became largely the respons ib i l i t y of churches. While welcoming the new opportunit ies for socia l serv ice , Cathol ics and Protestants a l i ke were alarmed about the threat posed by immigration and urbanism to the rural values they had so painstakingly p cu l t i va ted . Besides western settlement, another demographic change occurring from the turn of the century onwards also l a i d the groundwork for innovations in income support. The a l te r ing balance between c i t y - and country-dweller was equally "s t r i k ing and more s ign i f i can t in i t s long-run e f fec ts . " - 3 The s tar t of the process of urbanization preceded the period of rapid economic growth. After the 1890-96 depression the sh i f t to c i t i e s and towns accelerated, because people's l i ve l ihoods depended increasingly on industry, natural resources and service occupations. The d iv id ing l i ne was reached in 1921, when the rural-urban balance was roughly equal , but B r i t i s h Columbia and Ontario reached th is threshold pr ior to the war (see table 2). The advancing indust r ia l and urban growth had a profound ef fect on the character of Canada, creat ing a new and unfamil iar kind of soc ie ty . The most s ign i f i can t organizational change in the pr ivate sector was the emergence of broadly based, h ierarchical organizations of business and labour. 30 Table 2. Urban population as percentage of total population, Canada and provinces, census years 1901-41 1901 1911 1921 1931 1941 Canada 34.9 41.8 47.4 52.5 55.7 Prince Edward Island 14.5 16.0 18.8 19.5 22.1 Nova Scotia 27.7 36.7 44.8 46.6 52.0 New Brunswick 23.1 26.7 35.2 35.4 38.7 Quebec 36.1 44.5 51.8 59.5 61.2 Ontario 40.3 49.5 58.8 63.1 67.5 Manitoba 24.9 39.3 41.5 45.2 45.7 Saskatchewan 6.1 16.1 16.8 20.3 21.3 Alberta 16.2 29.4 30.7 31.8 31.9 Br i t ish Columbia 46.4 50.9 50.9 62.3 64.0 SOURCE: Kenneth Bryden, Old Age Pensions and Pol icy-Making in Canada (Montreal: McGi11-Queen's University Press, 1974), p. 26, table 1. The Canadian Manufacturers' Association was reorganized in 1900, nearly thir ty years after i ts founding, to centralize i ts trade af f i l ia tes and to cope with the growing variety of problems confronting the corporate sector; new national organizations of bankers, retail merchants and other entrepreneurs were also formed between 1890 and 1918. Labour also organized for the protection and benefit of industrial wage-earners and the growth of unions paralleled the expansion in commerce during the f i r s t decades of this century. In 1886 the Ontario-based Trades and Labour Congress of Canada was formed, and by 1918 i t represented the bulk of l o c a l s . 1 0 Furthermore, the early phase of industrial ization also prompted collective action among farmers. Various organizations devoted to defending agrarian interests were established in 31 Ontario and the p ra i r i e provinces during the f i r s t decades of th is century, a development which culminated in a " fu l l -b lown revo l t " in the 1921 federal e lect ion.11 Conf l i c ts between agr icu l tu re , capi ta l and labour over the issue of publ ic welfare emerged soon a f ter the onset of rapid growth and in tens i f i ed af ter World War I. The i ndus t r i a l i za t i on process also hastened developments in income maintenance by creat ing a new category of employable indigents a r i s ing from wage dependency. Industrial employment was much more uncertain than subsistence farming because sel f -support was dependent upon cash earned outside the family environment.12 So long as economic growth provided jobs in fac to r ies , mines and pulp m i l l s , the vu lnerab i l i t y of wage-earners was masked. However, with downturns in the economy, t he i r economic and socia l insecur i ty became exposed. Although unemployment and poverty were not novel problems, t he i r scope broadened considerably as a resul t of ongoing i n d u s t r i a l i z a t i o n , and the i r e f fec ts prompted demands for state remedies. The growth of c i t i e s had equal ly important consequences because i t increased the dependency of the t rad i t iona l poor. As urban l i v i n g accommodation was less spacious than on the farm, the care of e lder ly or disabled re la t ives became more d i f f i c u l t for t he i r fami l i es , the t rad i t iona l mainstay of socia l secur i ty . As a resu l t , these groups became more susceptible to poverty, espec ia l ly when they lacked the resources to make even minimum savings and publ ic pensions were non-ex is ten t . 1 3 The ef fects of socio-economic change, therefore, were c lea r l y providing the stimulus for an era of innovative social po l i cy . 32 The Cultural Context Despite the changing nature of t he i r soc ie ty , the majority of Canadians took time to be persuaded that the challenge posed by the emergent indust r ia l society required new approaches to the causes of poverty and i t s treatment. Unt i l the 1930s, poverty was considered "by most people as the just reward of the improvident or l azy , as a re f lec t ion of a deplorable lack of character and of inherent defects which const i tuted a reproach to the owner."14 Besides these deeply held prejudices, a general at t i tude of complacency also mi l i ta ted against developments in income maintenance: It was part of the fo l k lo re of Canadian l i f e in the nineteenth and well in to the twentieth century that Canada was a land of opportunity for a l l who were w i l l i n g to work^ The social secur i ty measures which other indus t r ia l i zed nations were undertaking at th is time were, i t was claimed, not required in Canada. The amount of unavoidable poverty...was re la t i ve l y neg l ig ib le and could be handled by the ex is t ing phi lanthropic agencies.1^ These prevai l ing views ref lected in part t rad i t iona l re l ig ious b e l i e f s . The re l ig ious and socia l ideas shaping the Cathol ic Church's operation of char i tab le i ns t i t u t i ons and services in Quebec had the i r roots in the seventeenth century. Inspired by "a Chr is t ian s p i r i t of humanity and cha r i t y , " the French Canadian idea of socia l assistance also ref lected a popular preference for pr ivate enterpr ise based on the threefold foundation of the fami ly , mutual benefit society and church.16 This preference persisted well into the twentieth century and shaped reactions in the province to state i n i t i a t i v e s by ident i fy ing them as 'encroachments.' It was cu l t ivated by the Cathol ic hierarchy who were anxious to protect both t he i r theological p r inc ip les and ins t i t u t i ona l monopoly.I 7 The t rad i t iona l Protestant eth ic was equally host i le to developments in socia l secur i t y . It rooted poverty in improvidence and indiv idual moral 33-f a i l u r e , with the ' f a l l from God's grace' more marked in the cases of rogues and vagabonds than the aged, s ick and widows; and designated i t s r e l i e f as a proper sphere of the church not the state.18 Although i t was challenged by reform-minded c l e r i c s during the 1890-1921 per iod, a s izeable segment of the Protestant community continued to bel ieve that state a i d , even for the 'more deserving' poor, represented pauperism, v i z . , dependence on publ ic char i ty by people who should be independent. "It was not unt i l the indust r ia l revolution was in f u l l swing that they gradually came to rea l ize that the i r respons ib i l i t y fo r human welfare must lead them into a prophetic witness in the arenas of p o l i t i c s and economics. "^ The secular ideology of North American l ibera l i sm was also a powerful const ra in t , providing i n te l l ec tua l j u s t i f i c a t i o n for the lack of socia l secur i ty in the pre-1914 e ra , even though i t had not impeded the state playing an aggressive role in promoting economic development. Its i n d i v i d u a l i s t i c values and l a i s s e z - f a i r e philosophy stressed s e l f - r e l i a n c e , the duty incumbent upon fami l ies to care for t he i r own, and the threat to freedom inherent in the extension of government a c t i v i t i e s , espec ia l ly when these d i rec t l y affected the l i ves of indiv iduals and f a m i l i e s . 2 0 Like other ideologies, the strength of c l ass i ca l l ibera l i sm resided in the socio-economic background of i t s fo l lowers. Individualism had most appeal for upper- and middle-class Canadians who l i ved well above the poverty l i ne and were not affected by the re la t ive absence of publ ic welfare. These crusaders of indiv idual ism opposed the idea of state subsidies for the poor on the grounds that i t would s t i f l e the i r i n i t i a t i v e , rob them of t he i r sense of s e l f - r e s p o n s i b i l i t y , help to create paras i tes , destroy the moral f i b re of society and erode cherished values l i k e t h r i f t . 2 1 Their b e l i e f s , however, began to be challenged from the turn of the century onwards by other l i b e r a l s who "were slowly coming to rea l i ze that the s ta te , 34 whether i t helped the r i ch or not, could help the poor by schemes o f . . . s o c i a l i n su rance . " 2 2 From the 1880s onwards a small but in f luen t ia l minori ty of the urban middle c lass began to question the prevai l ing notion that poverty was due to indiv idual moral f a i l u r e and i t s amelioration essent ia l l y a matter for pr ivate philanthropy. Instead, these Canadians ident i f ied the source of deprivation in national economic and soc ie ta l shortcomings and argued that only s tate intervention could meet the growing socia l needs of the new, urban soc ie ty . Although they were hampered by a dearth of information on soc ia l i nd ica to rs , soc ia l l y conscious j ou rna l i s t s , individual reformers and groups of concerned c i t i zens advanced the cause of co l lec t i v i sm. Through the i r e f f o r t s , "the causes of poverty were redef ined, pre jud ic ia l at t i tudes towards the poor were chal lenged, and the groundwork was l a id for public act ion."23 The ensuing debate sparked by th is challenge was not pecul iar to Canada. In a l l indust r ia l soc ie t ies the ear ly years of the twentieth century were "years of ferment over the role of the state as promoter of socia l welfare and protector of indus t r ia l s t a b i l i t y under capi ta l ism."24 However, Wallace suggests that publ ic discussion was at i t s height in Canada in the 1870-1900 period and declined in in tens i ty thereaf ter , at least up unt i l the 1940s. Her analysis of Toronto-based newspapers and per iodicals indicates that as early as the 1880s there was a growing d i s inc l i na t i on to accept the l a i s s e z - f a i r e theory of government. Some commentators argued then that the state should intervene to prevent people from dying of hunger in the s t ree ts , whether or not t he i r dest i tu t ion was t he i r own f au l t . In the next decade doubts were increasingly expressed over the notion that the poor were the ch ief authors of t he i r own p l igh t . The author of an a r t i c l e in the Week (12 Apr i l 1895), wri t ten in the 35 midst of depression condi t ions, rejected the idea that the bulk of the able-bodied unemployed receiving aid from pr ivate char i t i es were lazy and work-shy on the grounds that hundreds of thousands of Canadians were u t te r ly unable to f ind employment even of the most menial k ind. Other jou rna l i s ts condemned the trend towards ins t i tu t iona l care for neglected chi ldren while no provision was being made to enable the aged and needy to l i v e without begging. Although the need for governmental act ion was not widely recognized, by the turn of the century there was, according to Wallace, "ample evidence that such a convict ion was f a i r l y widespread and was growing.. . . "25 The increasing strength of the challenge to the doctr ine of l a i s s e z - f a i r e indiv idual ism from 1900 onwards was manifest in the concerted ef for t made by concerned c i ty -dwel lers to remedy a wide range of social problems, including the incidence of poverty among indust r ia l workers and dependent groups. The d i v i s i ve issue of prohib i t ion was the spec i f i c t r i gger . It stimulated the development of "a generous reform impulse, which sought ways of ameliorating the i n j us t i ces , inequa l i t ies and suffer ings of a society undergoing rapid change."26 j n - j s "impulse" was mult i - faceted both in terms of issues and par t i c ipants . Concerning the p l ight of the des t i tu te , i t was expressed most keenly by indiv idual urban reformers and Protestant churchmen. The research work of S i r Herbert Ames, a wel l - to-do Montreal manufacturer, was a notable example of pioneering, indiv idual e f f o r t , ranking with the contr ibut ions made by the B r i t i sh invest iga tors , Booth and Rowntree. The resul ts of his house-to-house survey of a working-class d i s t r i c t , published in The Ci ty Below The H i l l in 1897, allowed him to challenge some of the 36 conventional at t i tudes towards poverty and i t s causes. Ames iden t i f i ed insu f f i c ien t employment as a chief cause and then demonstrated that saving for the proverbial rainy day was impossible, thus repudiating the standard argument that the ef fects of i r regu lar work could be met by the worker pract is ing t h r i f t while employed. His intensive invest igat ion of the circumstances of the poorest fami l ies a lso challenged the conventional wisdom by revealing that the 'undeserving' category formed a fa r smaller proportion than was generally imagined. Although Ames demonstrated that the problem of poverty was largely rooted in economic and socia l arrangements, his proposals for reform did not extend to extensive state in tervent ion. Other than advocating winter works programs for employables, the rest of his suggestions were dependent on private i n i t i a t i v e , including the care of the dependent poor unable to work . 2 7 Protestant churchmen also challenged prevai l ing ideas concerning the causes and treatment of poverty. From the 1890s onwards they were increasingly inf luenced by the socia l gospel that sought to apply the teachings of Christ to the economic and social problems of the day. While the new movement had both conservative and radical elements, the majority of social gospellers "took a middle road, favouring a broad programme of l i be ra l reform measures, leading ul t imately to the welfare state."28 y n e i r par t ic ipat ion in the crusade for prohib i t ion al tered i t s character by focusing attent ion on the socia l consequences of alcohol consumption. The 'demon rum' was not merely a matter of personal s i n . As a major cause of poverty and other social i l l s , i t could only be excised in a more general reform of soc ie ty . Although prohib i t ion was the i r major goa l , socia l gospellers also urged state intervention on other national 37 questions in order to give ef fect to Chr i s t ' s teachings.29 Their "broad program of social reform was unveiled at the f i r s t , national congress on socia l problems held in 1914; and i t recommended state pensions for widows with young chi ldren and comprehensive socia l insurance to protect Canadians against work i n ju ry , old age and unemployment. The proponents of these reforms displayed a knowledge of American and European developments and refuted conventional objections to providing an income to people in need.30 socia l reformers, however, faced a formidable task in persuading the majority of Canadians to endorse the new cause of co l l ec t i v i sm, as indiv idual ism remained the dominant socia l value well into the interwar years. Ins t i tu t iona l Framework The structure of Canadian p o l i t i c a l ins t i tu t ions also had a s ign i f i can t impact upon developments in income maintenance. Canada's or ig inal cons t i tu t ion , the B r i t i s h North America (BNA) Act of 1867, made only scant reference to the subject of publ ic aid and other welfare services fo r the poor, a neglect that has prompted considerable discussion.31 At the time of Confederation, Canada was pr imari ly a pioneer rural soc ie ty , and income secur i ty as we know i t , was regarded pr imar i ly as a matter for the extended fami ly , with re l ig ious char i t i es and local governments f i l l i n g in the gaps. "Not su rp r i s ing ly , such a minor function of government did not a t t ract much attent ion e i ther in the debates that preceded Confederation or the BNA Act i t s e l f . . . . " 3 2 The 1867 const i tut ion iden t i f i ed the provinces as the 'centres of grav i ty ' fo r i n i t i a t i v e s in income support, because i t al located them most of the powers concerning health and welfare. In sect ion 92 they were given exclusive authori ty to pass laws pertaining to the "establishment, 3 8 maintenance and management of hosp i ta ls , asylums, c h a r i t i e s , and eleemosynary i n s t i t u t i o n s . " 3 3 Their posi t ion of advantage was further strengthened by other exclusive powers concerning municipal i n s t i t u t i ons , the pr inc ipal agencies of publ ic r e l i e f at that t ime. Their j u r i sd i c t i on over matters pertaining to property and c i v i l r ights was also to have an important impact on the future development of the socia l insurance technique of income support. In contrast , the national government was assigned a very l imi ted r o l e , with i t s relevant enumerated powers confined to two types of i n s t i t u t i o n s , marine hospitals and pr isons, and select groups comprising a l i e n s , Indians and veterans. However, i t s possession of the residual power to make laws for the "peace, order and good government of Canada" and i t s power to raise money by "any mode or system of taxat ion" were potent levers for i n i t i a t i n g and funding developments in income support. But p r io r to 1914 j ud i c i a l in terpretat ion confirmed provincial dominance. Both the or ig ina l decisions of the Jud ic ia l Committee of the B r i t i s h Pr ivy Council and i t s subsequent interpretat ions in the ear ly decades of th i s century reaffirmed that advances in social secur i ty depended upon provincial not national ac t ion , and the federal government was quite content to accept provincial respons ib i l i t y for wel fare." Although they had free rein to i n i t i a t e and fund developments in income support, the provinces played a passive role pr ior to 1914. After delegating the function of re l iev ing the poor along with most of i t s costs to the munic ipa l i t ies and/or pr ivate c h a r i t i e s , they confined the i r own involvement to occasional a id in the form of small grants. Their i ne r t i a concerning public assistance contrasted sharply with t he i r aggressive role in developing health services and educational f a c i l i t i e s , and f u l f i l l e d in part the be l ie f of the framers of the BNA Act that development of income maintenance measures would 39_, occur at the local l e v e l , "where colonial t rad i t i on dictated they belonged."36 Moreover, the or ig ina l members of Confederation apparently had "no desire to challenge the dominant posi t ion of churches over welfare serv ices."37 Their reluctance to disturb the ex is t ing colonia l pattern of r e l i e f arrangements resulted in the development of a decentral ized and haphazard system that endured well into the twentieth century. The two maritime provinces of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia were the only ones to adopt a spec i f i c poor law based on Elizabethan pr inc ip les of local respons ib i l i t y and less e l i g i b i l i t y , which stated that the amount of assistance provided must be less than the earnings of the lowest-paid labourer. Under t he i r respective statutes of 1786 and 1763, munic ipa l i t ies were required to levy property taxes to re l ieve dest i tu t ion among the dependent poor. This system persisted intact af ter the i r entry into Confederation, with provincial involvement confined to the occasional grant to meet emergencies.38 In contrast , the English poor law model was not copied in Prince Edward Is land. In view of the i s l and ' s small s i ze and population and the re la t i ve absence of municipal government, the province administered poor r e l i e f both in the pre-and post-colonial per iod. y In Ontario the system of poor r e l i e f was s imi la r to that of New Brunswick and Nova Scot ia , even though the Legislature of Upper Canada had e x p l i c i t l y rejected the B r i t i s h Poor Law in 1792. By 1867 the province already had an establ ished system of municipal government experienced in administering ins t i t u t i ona l care and outdoor r e l i e f to the resident poor. These local author i t ies shared the function with pr ivate philanthropies run along denominational l i n e s , with Protestants dominant. A provincial inspectorate also existed at the time of Confederation, charged with the task of supervising 4 0. i ns t i t u t i ons such as asylums and pr isons, and i t s leadership played an important ro le in developing socia l welfare programs during the 1868-81 period.40 These i n i t i a t i v e s plus the province's passage of Canada's f i r s t soc ia l insurance scheme in 1914 made Ontario the 'pacemaker' among the provinc ia l governments pr ior to World War I. The Quebec system was d i s t i n c t i v e , with re l ig ious ins t i tu t ions organized along denominational l ines acting as the major r e l i e f agencies. However, i t was equally decentra l ized, with the parish or diocese comprising the local unit of administ rat ion. This structure was bequeathed from the seventeenth-century French pattern and remained unchanged af ter the province's entry into Confederation. As the dominant re l ig ious char i t y , the Cathol ic Church, stressed pr ivate i n i t i a t i v e in remedying socia l i l l s , the provincial government played a very marginal ro le unt i l the 1920s. Its intervention was confined for nearly three centuries to legal acknowledgement of pr ivate char i table ins t i tu t ions and soc ie t ies and to f inanc ia l encouragement by means of subsidies to organizations requesting them. Quebec munic ipa l i t ies were even more inac t ive . Although the i r charters gave them the power to aid indigents in t he i r own homes, th is ob l igat ion remained a moral one up un t i l 1921, when the prov inc ia l Publ ic Char i t ies Act required them to contr ibute towards the i r care.41 The entry of the western provinces in to Confederation did not a l t e r the establ ished pattern of r e l i e f arrangements. Instead, they followed colonia l t rad i t i on by delegating respons ib i l i t y for the poor to the i r m u n i c i p a l i t i e s . 4 2 In those areas where local government was rudimentary or non-existent, the provinces paid the costs of i ns t i t u t i ona l and emergency poor r e l i e f , but provincia l involvement was only voluntary pr io r to World War 1. For example, the operation of B .C . ' s Dest i tu te , Poor and Sick Fund, created in 1880 for residents of unorganized areas, had no statutory basis and provincial grants to munic ipa l i t ies were equally ad h o c . ^ Despite the di f ferences in administ rat ion, the des t i tu te , whether they l i ved in Charlottetown or V i c t o r i a , received a s im i la r form of publ ic a i d . Unt i l World War I i t was provided only on an emergency basis by munic ipa l i t ies or by pr ivate char i t ies acting as t he i r agents, and was generally referred to as 'outdoor r e l i e f . ' Re l ie f was usually given in kind in the form of grocer ies , fuel orders and second-hand c lo th ing . Both i t s amount - meagre, subsistence-level handouts - and form - workhouse or work tes ts - were "conditioned by the famous (or infamous) English poor law pr inc ip le of less e l i g i b i l i t y . " 4 4 T n - j S minimal, residual and rudimentary
UBC Theses and Dissertations
The politics of welfare : Canada’s road to income security, 1914--1939 Schofield, Josephine Muriel 1983
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