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"Until the twentieth century state-supported social welfare programs were virtually non-existent. In the largely rural Canada of the nineteenth century help for the poor, sick and aging member of the community was provided by the family and by local religious and charitable organizations. Increasing urbanization and industrialization did little to change the prevailing view among Canadians that those who needed financial assistance and health-care services were the responsibility of relatives and friends rather than the state . . . [however eventually] urban environment families and charitable institutions were unable to provide sufficient funds and services. The state was called in to fill the gap."
The poor man's friend (Death) Welcome, See page for author, CC BY 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0>, United Kingdom, 1850?, via Wikimedia Commons
Queen's Birthday Toronto Reference Library 185.Queen'sBirithday.vs
"At the time of Confederation . . . "social problems" were then viewed as the natural concern of the family, local community or church rather than the state. . . Frontier conditions placed a premium upon self-reliance, which was a tenable doctrine when a family or community produced and consumed most of the goods which it needed. . . .Those who for any reason were unable to make their own way were apt to be looked down upon as lazy or weaklings."
'FROZEN TO DEATH -- '. LAC C-058456, Canadian Illustrated News, Montreal, 27 January 1872
"The moment a Government is asked to take charge and feed the poor you strike a blow to their self-respect and independence that is fatal to our existence as a people."
MP during a debate in 1876
[80% of Canadians at the time were fishermen and farmers, quite able to look after themselves]
Blasts from The Rams Horn Chicago (1902) Internet Archive Book Images, No restrictions via Wikimedia Commons
Salvation Army on March Vancouver, Hannah Knudson, 1905, City of Vancouver Archives, AM1376-F14--CVA 312-36
Easter collection for East End Day Nursery, 1908, Digital Archives Ontario
Ward Savage, Fernie BC Ledger, 23 May 1908
Toronto Free Hospital Toronto Reference Library ca.1910. Hospital. TB. 1910
Elks Club Christmas Hampers, City of Vancouver Archives, 1920, AM1535--CVA 99 – 3267
Taxpayer, Windsor McCay, 1920s
"I claim that we have come to a period in the history of our county when we must decide once and for all which shall prevail – profits or human welfare."
James S. Woodsworth, March 1922
"[In 19th century Canada] charity was the responsibility of the churches, not the government. . . Non government enacted any social legislation in Ottawa until 1927. . . social programs were nobody's business except for the churches and individual do-gooders–– until the Great Depression."
Richard Gwyn, Nation Maker Sir John A. Macdonald
The first old-age pension cheque paid in the Dominion of Canada, Alberni, 23 September 1927, BC. BC Archives B-08022
[Canada's old age pension paid a paltry $20 each month to needy Canadians over 70 who had passed a humiliating means test. This lasted until 1951.]
Signing of the Dominion-Provincial Agreement on Old Age Pensions. Signature de l'entente fédérale-provinciale sur les pensions de vieillesse . (Seated, L-R): Hon. Peter Heenan, Thomas Donnelly, John Millar, Hon. W.R. Motherwell, Rt. Hon. W.L. Mackenzie King, Hon. C.A. Dunning. (Standing, L-R): Fred Johnson, John Vallance, Ed Young, C.R. McIntosh, Robert McKenzie, Gordon Ross, A.F. Totzke, George McPhee, Malcolm McLean, William Bock, 18 May 1928, LAC C-013233
A.G. Racey, Montreal Daily Star, 1930
"The difficulty about all these matters is that too much reliance is being placed upon the Government. The people are not bearing their share of the load. Half a century ago people would work their way out of their difficulties rather than look to government to take care of them. The fibre of some of our people has grown softer and they are not willing to turn in and save themselves."
R. B. Bennett, 1930
"The promises of yesterday are the taxes of today."
William Lyon Mackenzie, 1931
"'There is a rich man's tuberculosis and a poor man's tuberculosis.' The rich man recovers and the poor man dies."
Norman Bethune, July 1932
"They knew where to find the money for war. Why could it not be found for peace."
The Federationist, Vancouver, 30 January 1941
"We desire to bring about the fullest collaboration between all nations in the economic field with the object of securing, for all, improved labour standards, economic adjustment and social security."
Atlantic Charter, 14 August 1941 [set out American and British goals for the world after the end of World War II]
Welfare Federation Appeal billboard, City of Vancouver, 1943, AM1184-S3--CVA 1184-771
"[Health care] is something to which people are entitled by virtue of belonging to a civilized community."
Family Allowance: A Children's Charter, National Health and Welfare, Ottawa, 1945
"During the Depression and war years, 1930-1945, Canada became a welfare state."
Socual Security for All, CCF, 1948 [?]
194_ LAC e01080076
Love Me, Love my Doggie. LAC R4515-103, The Telegram, Toronto, Al Beaton
"When we're talking about medical care we're talking about our sense of values. Do we think human life if important? Do we think that the best medical care which is available is something to which people are entitled, by virtue of belonging to a civilized community?"
Tommy Douglas, 13 October 1961
Normand Hudon, Health insurance, where the parties stand, McCord Museum, M997.63.257, 1962
"Society cannot hope for a just and peaceful civilization unless each individual feels the need to be concerned about his fellows. All the great works of charity and humanitarian legislation have always been inspired by a flame of compassion which has burnt brightly in the hearts of men and women."
Queen Elizabeth II, 1966
"When you give money to people you call it welfare. When you give money to business you call it grants. Well, I'm changing that. From now on, when we give money to people it'll be grants, and when we give money to business, that's welfare."
Dave Barrett [Premier of BC], The Toronto Star, 8 November 1975
"It is the expectation of Canada's social system to look after the people who cannot take care of themselves. There is no such expectations in the United States."
John Irving, 1990
"[In Canada] our real national "monuments" are neither statues nor places. Our monuments are our social programs, our railways, our CBC."
Brian Mulroney, 1992
"We want American-style taxes and European-style services. The result has been Canadian style deficits, from which we are finally weaning ourselves."
Bob Rae, The Globe and Mail, 23 December 1998
"It is perfectly true that that government is best which governs least. It is equally true that that government is best which provides the most."