I think it would be a good thing if the government would lay down a policy such as has been done in the United States and Great Britain; and in Australia, of giving financial aid to those Canadians who through their skill, industry and professional ability help medical science-a policy whereby young doctors and students of research who make an important discovery such as Dr. F. G. Banting and Mr. C. H. Best made in discovering the insulin treatment for diabetes, should receive some recognition. I have been a member of the Toronto General Hospital Board for seventeen years, and I know that up to a short time ago nothing could be done for a man suffering from diabetes. He simply wasted away and died, but now owing to Dr. Banting's discovery most of these cases will be eventually saved.
I think something should be provided in the Supplementary Estimates or some substantial financial aid be given to men like Dr. Banting and Mr. Best, and Professor McLennan who made important helium discoveries, and to other distinguished Canadian scientists. That is the British and the American research policy, to substantially and voluntarily assist
those who give of their best for the relief of humanity and devote themselves to scientific discovery and the development of the resources of Canada.
The German government long before the war made the universities a department of the state, fully realizing the importance of scientific university research, and they commandeered the labour of the best students at their universities during the summer months for scientific purposes. Many of our students in the universities are self-made men, especially in medicine, where the fees are so high. In fact, I know two important professors in an American university with whom I went to college, who had to sell newspapers in their younger student days and do other small work to make up their fees.
I would therefore urge upon the minister that he consider providing something in the Supplementary Estimates of a substantial nature for these two young men, in the best interests of research in Canada, and as an incentive to scientific men.
Dr. Banting, after all, was a soldier, and he has not made a cent out of this discovery which will bring relief to a great many people in this country. A professor of Johns Hopkins University says that 750,000 on this continent are suffering frotn diabetes, so you can see what this discovery will mean.
I would also suggest that the government commandeer the summer services of the brighter students at the different medical colleges for laboratory work, so that they will not have to work as cooks and waiters on boats or do manual labour in mines, or sell newspapers, and that their services be used for the development of medical science, as in Germany. I think such a policy would commend itself to the wisdom and judgment of the people of this country and greatly help scientific research. We should be a progressive people. Recently I addressed the Canadian Club at Detroit, at which Mayor Cousens and others were present, and I may say that fifty of the most prominent doctors in Detroit were Canadians. When you think of the numbers of our brightest professional men who are leaving Canada for the United States and England, I think you will agree that it is time the government of Canada did something to encourage scientific discovery and work of this nature, and announce its policy on the subject. Let us take a leaf out of the book of Germany in making the universities a department of the state.
Just a word in commendation of what my hon. friend has said regarding Dr. Banting. We all hope that the experiments which have been for a number of years carried on by Dr. Banting will prove in the end to be a fruitful and a most useful scientific discovery. However desirous I might be to say that it is an accomplished fact, I must, however, state that it is still somewhat in the experimental stage.
So far as the Department of Soldiers' Civil Re-establishment is concerned, we have afforded to Dr. Banting the opportunity of applying, with the consent of the patients, his method of treatment to some of our soldiers suffering from diabetes in Christie Street hospital. It is not for me to say definitely that it is a discovery, but certainly something has been achieved which we hope in the end will redound to Canada's credit.
As far as putting an amount in the Supplementary Estimates is concerned as a recompense for Dr. Banting's labours, however favourable I would be to the idea, I would first of all like my hon. friend to bring together the hon. member for West York (Sir Henry Drayton) the hon. member for Brandon (Mr. Forke) and the hon. Minister of Finance (Mr. Fielding), and if the three of them will consent, I shall have no objection whatever, but I am afraid my hon. friend will probably find some resistance in some quarters. If we did this for Dr. Banting, we would have to do it for a good many students and scholars who have achieved valuable results in scientific affairs. However, we are all proud of the results which have so far been achieved by Dr. Banting in the treatment of diabetes, and hope that it may prove a world discovery of the greatest benefit to humanity.
Is the Department of Soldiers' Civil Re-establishment able to get sufficient quantities of insulin for the treatment of returned men in hospitals? I know that at Camp Hill hospital, Halifax, during the latter months of the past year it was impossible to secure sufficient insulin to afford relief to those who were suffering from that disease. I think the government, perhaps, might assist therefore in the production of a sufficient quantity of insulin to, at least, ensure treatment for returned men in hospitals. I think that would be a fair matter for government expenditure if money is the only impediment in the way of production. Perhaps it is not.
I submitted to the minister some time ago a resolution with reference to this matter, and I have his answer in my hand. It had to do with requests for the establishment of an institution for the treatment of contagious diseases, coming under this item, I presume. The minister's letter says that the matter will receive- consideration. Can he now say what consideration he has given to it?
This refers to the establishment of an institution in British Columbia for the treatment of contagious diseases. I would doubt, therefore, whether it would apply to venereal diseases. Generally speaking hospitals or establishments for the care and treatment of contagious diseases do not receive cases of venereal disease. The latter of course is contagious but in a much different manner from diseases such as smallpox, for example, or diphtheria. I do not think that I have taken any steps so far in order to meet the object of the resolution referred to in this letter. Dealing with the item under consideration, however, I must say that we have again decided to appropriate this rather large amount of $200,000 for the treatment, and prevention of the spreading, of venereal disease throughout Canada. This money is not spent directly by the Department of Health. It is distributed to the provinces in . proportion to population, and under certain conditions set out in an order in council.
One of the conditions is that a province shall spend at least as large an amount as it receives as a grant from the federal government. During the last fiscal year the distribution of the grant was as follows:
New Brunswick $ 7,517
Nova Scotia 10,573
British Columbia 14,628
Prince Edward Island did not enter into this campaign. Each of the provinces mentioned has expended an amount at least equal to the federal grant, and has provided clinics for the free treatment of venereal disease, hospital beds for patients requiring indoor treatment, free treatment in other institutions such as reformatories and gaols, free laboratories for all necessary examination, and has also made provision for propaganda work. I may state further, that out of the vote a sum of $10,000 is being given to the National Council for the Prevention of Venereal Diseases.
I am able to give that information mainly so far as the province of Quebec is concerned. In that province eight different clinics have been established, and the report of the provincial officer in charge of the work is to the effect that the results are really important and gratifying. We believe that we are achieving a good deal in checking the spread of venereal disease throughout Canada.
Possibly I may be out of order, but before the item carries I would like to ask the minister if he is making provision in any way for carrying out this work through the D.S.C.R. My reason for asking the question is that I know of returned soldiers suffering from venereal disease who were not pensionable and were therefore held to be not entitled to treatment from the D.S.C.R. I have one case in mind at present for whom I have been endeavouring to get treatment for nearly a year from that department. However, they disclaim any responsibility in the matter. They say there is no provision in the Pension Act to treat a patient unless he gets pay and allowances and these are not granted to a man who is not pensionable. In view of the fact that the government is giving aid, through the civil authorities, for the treatment of venereal disease, I think provision of the same nature ought to be made for returned soldiers.
Has the minister considered the advisability of having one of the Supreme Court Judges of British Columbia perform this work, and in that way save much of the expenditure which is involved in this item?