Manifesto of the Action libérale nationale

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Manifesto of the Action libérale nationale
1934




Translated by Mathieu Gauthier-Pilote from: Manifeste de l'Action libérale nationale. This program, far from being a secessionist program, is significant in that it shows where Quebec was at in the 1930s. A great percentage of people, 29.48% of the electorate to be precise, voted for this party at the Quebec general election of 1935. In 1936, the new Union Nationale party caught the votes of those same electors who found themselves favouring Maurice Duplessis's conservative party instead. The implementation of the Action libérale nationale's program occurred a whole generation after, in 1960, with the election of the Liberal Party of Quebec. [1] [2].



Paul Gouin, leader of the ALN
The current crisis is mainly due to the bad distribution in the economic field, to the greed of high finance and the abuses of all kinds which slipped into the application of the democratic regime. It is useless to hope that balance will be restored by itself and without the assistance of a well-defined method of action. The need for a political evolution accompanied by an economic evolution is obvious. In the United States, the regenerated democratic party, currently tends toward this double transformation. In Canada, and in the province of Quebec, we are still at the level of theories. Our rulers did not yet respond to the reforms of a political, economic and social nature recommended by our most informed minds.

The conflict of jurisdiction between the municipal, provincial and federal powers (a reason which easily becomes a simple pretext), the blind confidence that some of our leaders still place in formulae whose resulting crisis has shown the danger, the harmful influence of the electoral fund, the absence of collaboration between our politicians and our economists, and the inorganization of public opinion, indefinitely delay the carrying out of the most important measures and deprive us of the overall plan which can enable us to remedy the situation intelligently.

We believe that a political evolution is necessary in our country and our province in order to ensure the implementation of the doctrines worked out by our economists.

The Action libérale nationale was born from the need for this evolution. The Action libérale nationale was born from the need for a living and constructive political action which, all the while knowing how to recognize the value of certain past accomplishments and the merit of their authors, is concerned above all with the present and the future. The Action libérale nationale was born from the need for adapting provincial politics to the urgent needs of today, a goal which currently could not simply be reached by the "reliberalization" of the provincial liberal party.

The Action libérale nationale thus offers the following overall plan which, even if it is not perfect, tends toward this double political and economic evolution, the only means of ensuring a better distribution of wealth, and therefore, to stop unemployment and to put an end to the crisis.

Agrarian reforms

We firmly believe, as many others do, that the effort of economic restoration can be summed up mainly in an effort of rural restoration, based on family agriculture and cooperation. This is why we place land reforms at the root of our plan of action.

[...]

  • The preparation and execution of a vast colonization plan;
  • The redress of our agriculture by the conquest of local markets as well as the electrification of rural areas;
  • The organization of complementary industry, small to medium;
  • The professional organization of farmers.
  • The establishment of a provincial agricultural credit, in order to correct the gaps of the current credit;

[...]

The rural restoration, of which we give the broad outline above, comprises a preliminary and thorough study followed by the conception of an overall plan and the coordination of the various ministries and departments concerned: Lands and Forests, Agriculture, Colonization, Transportation, Treasury and Provincial Secretariat. This study, this overall plan, this coordination, it suffices to just study the question even superficially to be convinced of it, cannot be completed by a single man. One needs the disinterested contributions of all competences. This is why we recommend the setting up of a Commission of Agriculture and Colonization made up of independent specialists and civil servant.

Labour reforms

  • Law on employment contract and codification in a single volume of all our labour laws; (Code du Travail).
  • The application of the Social Security Commission report (Commission des Assurances sociales);
  • In as much as it favour the protection of children and the extension of industrial hygiene by the creation of a sickness-invalidity insurance likely to distribute hospitalization expenses on the greater number so as to free the provincial budget;
  • The setup of allocations for mothers in need and old age pensions in collaboration with the federal state;
  • The revision of the Work Injury Act (Loi des Accidents du travail);
  • The regulation of the vente à tempérament;
  • The elimination of slums by encouraging the construction of workers housing;
  • The extension of the working hours regulation;
  • The equitable remuneration of the workers, for the purpose of facilitating the access to property;
  • The revision and extension of the Minimum Salary Act (Loi du salaire minimum);
  • The primacy of wages over dividends;
  • The rigorous application of the Sunday Observance Act (Loi de l'Observance du dimanche).

[...]

Economic reforms

  • To break, by all possible means, the power exerted by the big financial institutions, the electricity trust and the paper industry trust on the province and municipalities;
  • In order to obtain the reduction of electricity rates: the management by the province, progressively and according to the needs, of the not yet conceded water powers as well as those conceded but not yet exploited; moreover, the immediate investigation, by an independent commission appointed to this end and having all the necessary powers, in order to determine if it is in the interest of the province to gradually acquire, at a cost allowing to substantially lower the current rates while deadening the purchase price, companies producing or distributing electricity in the province;
  • To know the trusts of coal, gasoline and bread, by giving them a competition from the State if necessary;
  • To fight the milk trust by bringing together in a closed association all the milk producers of the province of Quebec;
  • A full enquiry into the financial structure and methods of the public utility companies and cleansing of their capitalization;
  • Hardening and severe application of the Combine Act (Loi des Combines);
  • Policy of progressive rural electrification according to a given plan inspired of the Ontarian system (this forming a part of the plan for rural restoration).

Financial reforms

  • Revision of the Loi des Compagnies à fonds social, in order to prevent the exploitation of small savers and insure the protection of share holders and debenture bond holders;
  • Standardization of the said law in all of Canada;
  • Creation, by the Province, of a special organization to ensure the competent and rigorous application of the said law.

Political and administrative politics

  • Inexpensive and honest public administration;
  • Forbid ministers from being shareholders or interested in any manner in a company contracted by the government;
  • Forbid ministers from presiding a bank, a trust, a public utility, an insurance company or a railroad company;
  • Fight the milk trust by uniting all producers in a closed association;

[...]

  • Coordination of federal and provincial ministers to avoid double employment; the said coordination needing to be applied particularly in the case of maritime fishing, in order to insure the elaboration of an efficient system and have our fishermen benefit from federal subsidies.

Electoral reforms

  • ballot with talon, as it was before;
  • obligatory voting (measure to be subject to a plebiscite);
  • Partial Election within three months after the vacancy date;
  • Identity card in towns of over 10,000 souls;
  • Reduction of the electoral expenditures;
  • Regulation of the subscriptions to electoral funds made by companies with limited responsibilities;
  • Limitation of individual electoral subscriptions;

[...]

Tax reforms

  • Temporary laws giving the right to repurchase to the one who is dispossessed of his properties by the sale of the sheriff on mortgage loan, the said right to repurchase needing to be exercised within two years of the sale on capital reimbursement, of interests and fees, the interest rate after the sale needing to be the same as that mentioned in the mortgage;
  • Readjustment of the interest rate on mortgage loans;
  • Reduction of the interest charged in banks and that in order to help industry and commerce;
  • Conversion of the provincial debt to the best possible rated;
  • Readjustment of federal subsidies so as to increase the share of provinces;
  • Redistribution of taxes, federal as well as provincial and municipal, so that commercial corporations and certain classes of individuals which often enjoy exemptions or unjust devaluation, contribute to public revenues in a equitable manner.

Legal reforms

  • Complete reorganization of the provincial police under the direction of a single chief whose powers would extend to the whole province and to the application of all laws;
  • Reorganization of courts attached to the provincial government, so as to ensure the equitable distribution of labour and reduce expenses;
  • Revision of the tariffs on judicial fees, so as to ensure a cheaper recourse to all the justiciables.

Notes

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