April 13, 1928

?

John Warwick King

Mr. KING (Kootenay):

There should

not be much doubt in the minds of the members, because I find on going back over Hansard that this question of amalgamation has been suggested not only from this side of the house but from the other. In Hansard of June 12, 1925, the hon. member for Yale (Mr. Stirling), who apparently had given very considerable study to the affairs of the department, had this to say, as reported on page 4219:

i\ [y criticism is that this department has outlived its usefulness, and that considerable economies could be effected were it abolished.

And so on. His opinion was to some extent confirmed by another hon. member opposite. I refer to the hon. member for Fort William (Mr. Manion). I cannot just place my hands on his reference, but he commended the hon member for Yale for

having given to much study to this department, and for his speech in reference to it. In 1923 the hon. member for South Wellington (Mr. Guthrie) had this to say, as reported on page 3893 of Hansard:

As we are drawing into the fifth or sixth year since the conclusion of actual hostilities, the time is coming for a consolidation of some of the departments of government, and the one which is due first for consolidation is, I think, the Department of Soldiers' Civil Re-establishment.

And he goes on. So the subject is not a new one to the members of the house nor to the members of the government.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF PENSIONS AND NATIONAL HEALTH
Permalink
CON

William Kemble Esling

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. ESLING:

Did the Prime Minister himself not suggest in 1926 that the two departments under discussion should be consolidated with some other department He thought they were running so smoothly there was no necessity for further expenditures in that connection.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF PENSIONS AND NATIONAL HEALTH
Permalink
?

John Warwick King

Mr. KING (Kootenay):

I have not the

reference to the Prime Minister's speech in 1926 or 1927, but there is no doubt that the matter has been considered for some time and I believe a consolidation such as we have undertaken will be advantageous to the service that is being rendered by those departments.

The name of the department seemed to be the chief contention the other night. The government are not wedded to any particular name. What we are desirous of having is a name that will indicate the activities of the two departments. Since the resolution was last in committee several suggestions have been made as to names, and I might cite them:

Department of Pensions and Health.

Department of National Health and Pensions.

Department of National-Health and Veterans.

Department of National Health and Veterans' Services.

Department of National Health and Veterans' Affairs.

The hon. member for Vancouver South (Mr. Ladner) suggested the other night the name "veterans' affairs". I am not wedded to any one name and I am open for suggestions when the bill comes up for second reading. I want merely to have a name that will properly designate the activities of the combined departments.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF PENSIONS AND NATIONAL HEALTH
Permalink
CON

John Arthur Clark

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CLARK:

I do not think the chief

concern on this side is with the question of the name. We are, however, concerned with the name if the amalgamation is to take place. I think the hon. member for Fort William (Mr. Manion) suggested a name which the minister did not mention to-day. He suggested the department of soldie'

Pensions and National Health

re-establishment and health. Another name that has just occurred to me is the department of soldiers' problems and health. The question is not so much one of re-establish-jnent details as one of problems. There are a number of suggestions that might be considered, for instance, "soldier problems and health".

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF PENSIONS AND NATIONAL HEALTH
Permalink
?

John Warwick King

Mr. KING (Kootenay):

May I ask if my

hon. friend prefers the word "soldiers" to "veterans"?

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF PENSIONS AND NATIONAL HEALTH
Permalink
CON

John Arthur Clark

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CLARK:

I do, yes, decidedly. I am

not wedded to the word "veteran." These are returned soldier problems, and the phrase that we are most familiar with and which is most commonly used among those who served overseas is returned soldiers. Therefore, I think "soldier problems" would be best adapted to the situation to-day. But the chief concern at the moment is that some concrete evidence be presented as to the increased efficiency that is going to result from this amalgamation. What increased efficiency will there be? If there is to be any, I think the minister will find support from this side of the house. And if there is to be increased efficiency, the next concern is economy. We would like to know what those economies, if any, will be.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF PENSIONS AND NATIONAL HEALTH
Permalink
?

John Warwick King

Mr. KING (Kootenay):

In regard to the

economies to be effected, they will come about in administration, largely through centralising the auditing, registration and accounting sys-st.ems. We know that there will be a very considerable saving there. The units themselves have not been reorganized, but the question is being carefully considered with a view to making economies, and improving the organization of these units where possible. That is a matter that cannot be done hurriedly. It requires the very careful consideration of each individual unit with a view to bringing about an organization that will coordinate in the various functions. I think we can bring about a better condition than has existed.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF PENSIONS AND NATIONAL HEALTH
Permalink
CON

Peter McGibbon

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. McGIBBON:

Like the hon. member

for Yancouver-Burrard, I am not very particular about the name, but I am particular about having an organization with some life in it. There can be only one effect of this amalgamation, and that is the uniting of the soldiers' department to. a department that is a corpse, nothing more or less. If the Department of Health during its seven or eight years of existence had in any respect led us to believe that it ever could do anything I would not object so much, but I have been studying the working of that department now 56103-128J

for some years and I cannot find anything it has done that was not equally well done before.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF PENSIONS AND NATIONAL HEALTH
Permalink
?

John Warwick King

Mr. KING (Kootenay):

That is not fair.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF PENSIONS AND NATIONAL HEALTH
Permalink
CON

Peter McGibbon

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. McGIBBON:

I have read the minister's reports and I have waited patiently year after year when his estimates came down for an explanation from him of what his department had done, but he has always very diligently sought not to tell us. I repeat that the effect of this amalgamation is the wiping out of the soldiers' department by tying it up^ to another department which is no more than a political corpse. What is the reason for doing that? Is it because the Department, of Health has nothing to do? Or is it because there is nothing to be done for the returned soldiers? It must be the one or the other. If there is anything to justify the existence of the Department of Health, it must surely have something to do, and if it has enough to do it should not have a large and important department like the soldiers' department tacked on to it under the same deputy minister, and the same staff I presume, all the way through-a staff, the qualification of which is qualified to deal with soldier problems I doubt very much. The minister himself after presiding over this department for some years admits that he has to go outside of the department and get a chartered accountant to tell him something about it.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF PENSIONS AND NATIONAL HEALTH
Permalink
?

John Warwick King

Mr. KING (Kootenay):

Very wise, too.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF PENSIONS AND NATIONAL HEALTH
Permalink
CON

Peter McGibbon

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. McGIBBON:

The minister ought to

know his department by this time, having been in it for several years.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF PENSIONS AND NATIONAL HEALTH
Permalink
LIB
CON

Peter McGibbon

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. McGIBBON:

If hon. members on that side have not anyone who can master it in a few months, I can pick out a dozen over here who could do so.

In the first place, Mr. Chairman, I object to the soldiers' department being wiped out. I am not averse to creating a department that will be wholly concerned with the returned soldiers. You have your land settlement scheme, which the government have very conveniently dropped so far as the soldiers are concerned, but which I think ought to be revived in the interest of this country. Then again, those of us who have been sitting on the pension committee know that there are innumerable problems coming up all the time. Our advice from the officials appearing before that committee is that these problems are going to increase, and at the very moment when they are on the verge of increasing and giving us a lot of difficulty, the whole soldiers' department is to be wiped out.

Pensions and National Health

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF PENSIONS AND NATIONAL HEALTH
Permalink
?

John Warwick King

Mr. KING (Kootenay):

No.

Mr. MeGIBBON: I say it is wiped out.

It is fundamentally changed and absorbed into another department. That is obvious from the very fact that you are putting the soldiers' department under another deputy minister who will be the executive head. The minister is making a mistake, and so far as I am concerned I am going to oppose the change.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF PENSIONS AND NATIONAL HEALTH
Permalink
CON

Arthur Edward Ross

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. ROSS (Kingston):

This bill might well be called the narcotic bill, because it is intended to put to sleep, if not put out of business, the soldiers' department. Personally I object to an amalgamation which makes the soldiers' department subordinate to any other department. I do not care how many departments you tack on to the soldiers' department, but I object to making it secondary to any other. I have no objection to the deputy minister of health being made the deputy minister of the soldiers' department, because he is a good man with considerable experience, and perhaps there is no one better qualified. Secondly, I object to the name, "national health and soldiers' welfare". That smacks too much of the child welfare movement, and suggests that it is just about of the same importance. The minister has failed to give us any reasons for this amalgamation. Would he tell us, to begin with, of any one section of the Soldiers' Civil Re-establishment Department that is being wiped out? Perhaps the one nearest to it would be the workshops, but if the minister had been in the committee this morning he would have come to the conclusion that there is more necessity for the workshops movement to-day than ever before.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF PENSIONS AND NATIONAL HEALTH
Permalink
?

John Warwick King

Mr. KING (Kootenay):

I am familiar

with that.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF PENSIONS AND NATIONAL HEALTH
Permalink
CON

Arthur Edward Ross

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. ROSS (Kingston):

The minister also

says that there may be changes in the financing and accounting systems. Has the Department of Health any branch that can do that work? Then in connection with the work of re-establishment-

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF PENSIONS AND NATIONAL HEALTH
Permalink
?

John Warwick King

Mr. KING (Kootenay):

My hon. friend

is under a misapprehension. I stated very definitely the other night that this section would remain distinct, and operate on the lines along which has hitherto proceeded.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF PENSIONS AND NATIONAL HEALTH
Permalink
CON

Arthur Edward Ross

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. ROSS (Kingston):

Then why not leave it alone? I do not care how many departments you amalgamate with the Soldiers' Civil Re-establishment, but what we do object to is that this important department should be tacked on to the Department of Health. The Soldiers' Civil Re-establishment Depart-

TMr. McGibbon.]

ment is more important than the Department of Health, and if the minister would consider it in that light perhaps there would not be as much objection. What does the minister expect to accomplish in the way of economy and efficiency by wiping out the Department of Soldiers' Civil Re-estaiblishment? I do not care for the report of Mr. Scott or anyone else; we all recognize the fact that changes could be made. Put Mr. Scott in any other department of government and he might well make a similar report. What benefits or economies will be effected by this change?

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF PENSIONS AND NATIONAL HEALTH
Permalink

April 13, 1928