February 27, 1923

PRO

Thomas Wakem Caldwell

Progressive

Mr. CALDWELL:

Might I call the minister's attention to the fact that the committee last year recommended that the Department of Soldiers' Civil Re-establishment endeavour to hand over as far as possible the care of the patients to other hospitals and discontinue that branch of the work of this department. I would like to ask the minister what has been done along that line.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF SOLDIERS' CIVIL REESTABLISHMENT
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LIB

Henri Sévérin Béland (Minister of Soldiers' Civil Re-establishment; Minister presiding over the Department of Health)

Liberal

Mr. BELAND:

I shall be glad to give the

information. When I was in the committee last year, for the same purpose we had seventeen hospitals administered by the department. During the course of the last twelve months it has been possible to close three of of them in accordance with the wish then expressed by members of the House, and the patients in these hospitals have been concentrated in some other of our institutions. So far we have not been able to close any more hospitals, but I may state frankly that it is intended to close one or two others within a few months when we find that we have sufficient accommodation in the remaining institutions. What we are adopting is really a process of concentration.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF SOLDIERS' CIVIL REESTABLISHMENT
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CON

John Arthur Clark

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CLARK:

Which hospitals will be closed?

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LIB

Henri Sévérin Béland (Minister of Soldiers' Civil Re-establishment; Minister presiding over the Department of Health)

Liberal

Mr. BELAND:

I am not in a position at present to say definitely. The matter is now being considered by the Director of Medieal Services and myself, and I would be somewhat reluctant, to mention the hospitals that are likely to be closed until a definite decision has been reached.

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CON

John Armstrong MacKelvie

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MacKELVIE:

What hospitals have been closed?

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF SOLDIERS' CIVIL REESTABLISHMENT
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LIB

Henri Sévérin Béland (Minister of Soldiers' Civil Re-establishment; Minister presiding over the Department of Health)

Liberal

Mr. BELAND:

The Strathco'na hospital in Edmonton, the Sunnyside hospital in Calgary, and the Sydenham hospital in Kingston.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF SOLDIERS' CIVIL REESTABLISHMENT
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PRO

Oliver Robert Gould

Progressive

Mr. GOULD:

It seems to me that the committee have a right to expect that the officers who advise the minister as to what moneys are required, should place in his hands definite and exact information as to every item for which a vote is asked.

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LIB

Henri Sévérin Béland (Minister of Soldiers' Civil Re-establishment; Minister presiding over the Department of Health)

Liberal

Mr. BELAND:

My hon. friend is quite right in his contention but I would point out that this department is somewhat different to the others. It is one which has been created out of nothing, and which grew info an institution, expending, at one time, as much as $30,000,000. It is very difficult indeed, even for the most competent officials, under the circumstances in which we are situated, to say exactly what amount will be required for the following year. Nevertheless I fully realize what my hon. friend has said, that they should be, as near as possible, conversant with the whole situation. If any portion of the required vote is unexpended the balance, of course, will remain in the treasury.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF SOLDIERS' CIVIL REESTABLISHMENT
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CON

Arthur Edward Ross

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. ROSS (Kingston):

The minister referred to tables. I do not know whether he means operating tables or ordinary tables, but it seems to me that there should be enough supplies on hand in the hospitals which are closed to enable the department to carry on.

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LIB

Henri Sévérin Béland (Minister of Soldiers' Civil Re-establishment; Minister presiding over the Department of Health)

Liberal

Mr. BELAND:

It is intended, of course, to use whatever supplies are on hand. The amount which is called for is much smaller than it was last year, and, as I have already said, is an estimate only. The fact that we ask for such a vote does not mean that the whole amount will be spent or even the half of it, but we think that we may require that amount. I can assure hon. gentlemen that I am doing my best to impress upon the officials the necessity of practising economy to the very limit.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF SOLDIERS' CIVIL REESTABLISHMENT
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CON

John Arthur Clark

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CLARK:

Would the minister give us figures showing the numbers treated in the military hospitals for a period of say three years?

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LIB

Henri Sévérin Béland (Minister of Soldiers' Civil Re-establishment; Minister presiding over the Department of Health)

Liberal

Mr. BELAND:

I have no objection at all to answer the question of my hon. friend, but it seems to me that when we come to the next item dealing with the care of patients and the medical examination of pensioners I might more appropriately give to my hon. friend the information for which he asks.

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CON

William Alves Boys (Whip of the Conservative Party (1867-1942))

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BOYS:

I noticed in last year's estimates of this department an item of $75,000 of which, apparently,, only $9,000 was spent.

Supply-Re-establishment

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF SOLDIERS' CIVIL REESTABLISHMENT
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LIB

Henri Sévérin Béland (Minister of Soldiers' Civil Re-establishment; Minister presiding over the Department of Health)

Liberal

Mr. BELAND:

Oh, no.

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CON

William Alves Boys (Whip of the Conservative Party (1867-1942))

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BOYS:

If that be the case why was there such a discrepancy between the two items? Will the minister give us some idea of the items which were asked for and not required, and will he state whether they form part of the $30,000 now called for? "

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF SOLDIERS' CIVIL REESTABLISHMENT
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LIB

Henri Sévérin Béland (Minister of Soldiers' Civil Re-establishment; Minister presiding over the Department of Health)

Liberal

Mr. BELAND:

In my previous answers I must have unintentionally misled the committee, if that is my hon. friend's impression, because the amount that was expended up to 31st December last was $36,000.

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LIB

Samuel William Jacobs

Liberal

Mr. JACOBS:

I do not know whether I am in order in bringing to the attention of the committee a speech made by the leader of the Opposition in the county of Essex in which he stated that these estimates were to be cut down by $3,000,000 to the direct detriment of the widows and orphans of those who fought in France and Flanders. Perhaps the minister could give us some information on that point.

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CON

Henry Lumley Drayton

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir HENRY DRAYTON:

I was expecting to hear you, Mr. Chairman, declare the hon. gentleman out of order. I do not know that a speech made by the leader of the Opposition in the county of Essex is subject to review in connection with this particular item. If the chairman rules that it is, we are perfectly prepared to. discuss the matter and to do so at some length.

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LIB

Samuel William Jacobs

Liberal

Mr. JACOBS:

Perhaps my hon. friend

would find it rather awkward if the facts in connection with this matter were to be aired now and given to the country.

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CON

Henry Lumley Drayton

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir HENRY DRAYTON:

Not at all. We have not the slightest objection. If the Chair should rule that this matter is in order we are quite willing to go on. I would point out, however, that what my hon. friend stated was not said by the leader of the Opposition.

'W hat he did say was, that there had been that amount of reduction made in the expenditure during last year.

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February 27, 1923