June 26, 1925

CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

What rule is the government following in giving some $8,000 and some $6,000?

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LIB

Charles A. Stewart (Minister of Mines; Minister of the Interior; Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. STEWART (Argenteuil):

I think all who have any extended service are getting $S,000.

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CON
LIB

Charles A. Stewart (Minister of Mines; Minister of the Interior; Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. STEWART (Argenteuil):

For a certain number of years as deputy minister, but prior to that, service in the department for some length of time. That does not apply all around, but that is very largely the basis upon which the increases are given.

Immigration-medical inspection, $80,000.

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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. BELAND:

There is an increase in

this vote, but it will be noted there is a decrease of $25,000 in the preceding vote. We have made some changes in the regulations regarding the examination of ships and immigrants.

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CON

Henry Lumley Drayton

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir HENRY DRAYTON:

I suppose we

are to understand that the former decrease was a switch?

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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. BELAND:

Yes.

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Item agreed to. Venereal diseases, $100,000.


CON

Henry Lumley Drayton

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir HENRY DRAYTON:

There is a supplementary for that of $25,000.

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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. BELAND:

Yes.

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PRO

John Livingstone Brown

Progressive

Mr. BROWN:

Mr. Chairman, it is a matter of regret to many members who wish to speak on this subject that it has come before the House at such a late date. Undoubtedly the medical profession have been familiar with the situation for a long time, but it seems only now that the people as a whole are being aroused to a sense of its gravity. It is generally contended that the question of health comes within the provincial jurisdiction, but it seems to me that in a matter of this importance there ought to be no conflict between the provinces and the Dominion. I understand that a few years ago organized work was begun by a grant from the Dominion to the provinces and to the Social Hygiene Council of some $200,000, and that, working in co-ordination with the Dominion, the provinces also contributed sums of money. The work thus begun has, during the last two or three years, been well co-ordinated, so that now there is a thoroughly organized movement being carried on for the control of these diseases. A year ago that grant was reduced by $50,000, andl now there is a further redaction of $501,000, bringing the item in the main estimates down to $100,000. We are well/ assured by those who have given special consideration to this work that this reduction will Very greatly handicap operations, and that the co-ordinated efforts that have been carried on for some years cannot possibly be continued. It would seem

Supply-Health

to me very unfortunate if that should be the result. Representations have been made to the minister already, as he is well aware, and we feel sure that the sentiment of the country will be entirely behind us in our request that this amount should be increased to the $150,000 that was in the main estimates last year. I am speaking on this vote with the idea of encouraging the minister to go forward in his good work, and not in any way to handicap those who are giving it special consideration. I am well aware that a further item of $25,000 is placed in the supplementaries, but I wish to urge upon the minister that the original amount be restored, that it be distributed among the provinces and the Social Hygiene Council as has been done during the past, and that we, as a parliament, set ourselves definitely towards co-operation with the provinces in the elimination of these diseases. Not only from the moral standpoint is it desirable that we should do so, but it was brought very forcibly to the notice of the military authorities during the war that these diseases had taken a terrible hold upon the young manhood of the nations. I do not know the facts in regard to Canada, but I did see estimates made that when the United States authorities began enlistment they found that these diseases had made such terrible inroads that many young men could not be enlisted. I know there are a number of hon. members who would wish to support me in this proposition.

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PRO

Milton Neil Campbell

Progressive

Mr. CAMPBELL:

Mr. Chairman, I wish

to associate myself with the hon. member fcr Lisgar (Mr. Brown) in suggesting to the minister that the amount spent for this purpose be substantially increased. I think as a nation we have perhaps not fully realized what this work means to us, and I believe we could very well spend considerably more money on it than \re do at present. I hope that in future the minister will see his way clear to increase this vote.

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LAB

James Shaver Woodsworth

Labour

Mr. WOODSWORTH:

Mr. Chairman, I

do not know that it is necessary to endorse the position put forward by the member for Lisgar. Anyone who has come in contact with social service activities in any way must realize the necessity of the work that is now being carried on. Until recently the provinces have not done a great deal along this line, and even though they are doing a certain amount of work, there is no doubt great need for the co-ordination of their efforts and for that general stimulus which can come only through a centralized organization. I should like to read a few striking statements that are contained in a memorandum which I have

no doubt was furnished to many hon. members.

Venereal diseases constitute the most serious of all public health problems. They are more prevalent than any other diseases. They cause more disabilities than any other diseases, and syphilis, one of the venereal diseases, causes more deaths than any other diseases. Therefore it outranks as a cause of death pneumonia, tuberculosis and cancer, the next three causes of mortality.

This statement needs no commentary. The Minister of Agriculture constantly comes before the House to press the necessity of spending large sums to protect the health of our animals, and it would seem to me that the least we could do is to spend a feiw hundred thousand dollars in protecting the health of our people. Let me quote one or two other statements from this memorandum just as they catch my eye:

Patients admitted into the Toronto General Hospital are as a matter of regular routine examined; these tests in 1917 showed 12 per cent of the ward patients admitted for ordinary complaints to be suffering from syphilis.

In 1918 the like routine examinations in the Montreal General Hospital showed that 26 per cent of all the patients were suffering from syphilis.

And again:

In one year as many as 24 per cent of the annual male admissions to Toronto Hospital for the Insane have consisted of general paresis, a fatal form of insanity always caused by syphilis.

The following statistics are, I think, sufficient in themselves to warrant the extension of care of this character:

Venereal Diseases Dealt with in the Dominion in the years 1921, 1922, 1923 and 1924

To

Total number of cases re- 10,267 12,252 12,336ported by physicians.. .. Total number of new cases 15,189 16.220 15.477for year

Total number of new cases admitted to clinics and institutions- 25,456 28.472 28,003Syphilis 4.953 5,171 5.421Gonorrhoea 5.070 6,680 6.865Chancroid 244 401 240

When social diseases of this character have become so prevalent as this it would seem as if no expenditure is too great to be made in the effort to eradicate a disease which will poison the future generation of Canadians. One thing that appeals to me in the work that has been carried on is the stress that has been laid on the educational side of the work. A good many of the hon. members must have come in contact with the various exhibitions that have been put on, through which the public are being educated as to the seriousness of the ravages of these diseases.

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Moreover, a .large number of the younger people in the community are being taught something of the dangers on every side, and I hope are being warned in such a way that before very long expenditures for cures will not be quite so necessary. I hope the minister will see to it that in some form or other this grant may be materially increased.

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CON

Simon Fraser Tolmie

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. TOLMIE:

I have much pleasure in endorsing what has been said in support of this vote. It is rather regrettable that it has been found necessary to make this cut. In view of the splendid organization that has this work in hand, with proper financial support a great deal of very valuable work could be accomplished. I would point out in this connection what has already been done in the handling of diseases in the lower animals. By the expenditure of money, by proper organization and the efficient carrying out of this work we have been able in Canada, in past years entirely to wipe out some of the diseases affecting the lower animals. By means of a thorough study of the difficulties surrounding that work I think there is every possibility of making great progress in handling other diseases affecting the human race. I wish to endorse the excellent work that has been done in this connection and also to call for all the support possible in carrying it on in the future.

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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. BELAND:

Nothing that the hon. gentlemen have said on this subject is out of place. I realize as they do the importance of the work that has been carried on in the provinces to prevent the spread of venereal diseases. The original vote in the main estimates was $100,000, and as a result of many representations which were made to the government by different bodies throughout Canada, especially by the Canadian Social Hygiene Council, we found it advisable to increase the amount by $25,000 in the supplementary estimates. Besides that, we have added to the ordinary grant to the Canadian Social Hygiene Council the sum of $5,000 in the supplementary estimates, so that we come very near appropriating the amount which was provided last year. I confess that if the financial condition of the country warranted the amount would be much larger. At all events I accept with pleasure the remarks that have been made in this connection.

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Item agreed to. Soldiers' Civil Re-establishment-unemployment reflief, $200,000.


CON

Henry Lumley Drayton

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir HENRY DRAYTON:

Does my hon. friend think that amount is sufficient?

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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. BELAND:

No, I do not think it is.

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CON
LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. BELAND:

In this -connection we have entered into an agreement with the rehabilitation committee in Toronto which has -created wide interest. A certain number of gentlemen in Toronto have got together, and have decided to make a serious attempt to provide employment for disabled ex-service men. The head of this committee is Mr. Melville White. He is supported by a number of prominent men, -mainly manufacturers, who have lent their good will, as it were, in -order to provide employment for these disabled ex-service men. They desired, of course, the co-operation of the government, and they formed a board of trustees -composed of Mr. Melville White, Mr. Staples, and Mr. Qunn, who carry on the administrative work. They have already placed quite a number of returned men. On the 30th of April they had placed permanently 285 men, which I think is quite an -achievement. The expenditure is about $30,000. Unless you have the goodwill and -co-operation of the employers, it is almost impossible to succeed. We have -a similar committee in Montreal, though -not on so lar-ge a scale, Sir Arthur Currie being on that committee, and another committee in Edmonton which has done very good work. In Montreal they are just starting. In time these committees may be extended to Hamilton -and other cities. At first the experiment was more expensive, but now we -have reached the point where we pay only one man, whom we plac-e at the disposal of the Industrial committee.

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June 26, 1925