February 12, 1934

UFA

Michael Luchkovich

United Farmers of Alberta

Mr. MICHAEL LUCHKOVICH (Yegre-ville):

It was with no intention of pressing this resolution to a vote that I proposed it this evening. The Prime Minister a moment ago said we would have ample opportunity to discuss this matter when the estimates for external affairs are brought down in the house. For the past eight years I have noticed that the estimates for external affairs usually are brought down three, or four days before prorogation, therefore little or no opportunity is afforded any member to discuss a matter of such great weight as the foreign policy of Canada. Now I have always been considered by my friends, and I believe by most hon. members in this house, as a pretty good sort of fellow. No one ever convicted me of being subtle until the Prime Minister of Canada registered that conviction to-night. I wish I did have the subtlety to get out of the position the Prime Minister has placed me in, but, being only a good fellow and having no subtlety, I am going to say no more on this subject. My only purpose in raising the question was to learn something about the foreign policy of Canada, and I thought this was one method of approaching that all-important matter.

We have had many delegates to various conferences concerning Europe and the far east, but none of them has ever reported to the House of Commons. The suggestion has been made that if we want to know something about the foreign policy of Canada we should read the periodicals and the proceedings of the League of Nations and other publications. Well, Mr. Speaker, as far as I am concerned I cannot find time to read all those periodicals; and if we were to try to arrive at some knowledge of the foreign policy of Canada by reading these numerous and very voluminous publications, hon. members will agree with me that the attempt to arrive at such knowledge would drive every one of us crazy. Therefore I thought that if we could get a short resume from the delegates

who have attended these various conferences, we would all be wiser as to the situation in which Canada now finds herself in relation to other countries. All I wanted was to have the government unscramble the very much scrambled situation in which Canadian foreign policy now finds itself. We have had it unscrambled to a certain extent this evening, but the process could be carried much further if the matter were considered in a committee and discussed at some length by the various delegates whom we send to these several conferences.

I do not intend to press the resolution, Mr. Speaker.

Topic:   PROPOSED REFERENCE TO INDUSTRIAL AND INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS COMMITTEE FOR STUDY AND REPORT
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CON

Pierre Édouard Blondin (Speaker of the Senate)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPEAKER:

With the consent of the house the resolution will be withdrawn.

Motion withdrawn.

Topic:   PROPOSED REFERENCE TO INDUSTRIAL AND INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS COMMITTEE FOR STUDY AND REPORT
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PENITENTIARIES

SPECIAL COMMITTEE TO STUDY CAUSES OF CRIME AND TREATMENT OF CRIMINALS


On the motion being called:


PRO

Agnes Campbell Macphail

Progressive

Miss MACPHAIL:

That, in the opinion of this house, a special committee should be set up to investigate the causes of crime and to determine whether the penitentiaries of Canada are doing all that could be done towards protecting society by the reforming of the criminal.

Topic:   PENITENTIARIES
Subtopic:   SPECIAL COMMITTEE TO STUDY CAUSES OF CRIME AND TREATMENT OF CRIMINALS
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CON

Pierre Édouard Blondin (Speaker of the Senate)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPEAKER:

Is it the intention of the hon. member to proceed with the resolution?

Topic:   PENITENTIARIES
Subtopic:   SPECIAL COMMITTEE TO STUDY CAUSES OF CRIME AND TREATMENT OF CRIMINALS
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?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Stand.

Topic:   PENITENTIARIES
Subtopic:   SPECIAL COMMITTEE TO STUDY CAUSES OF CRIME AND TREATMENT OF CRIMINALS
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CON

Pierre Édouard Blondin (Speaker of the Senate)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPEAKER:

If the resolution is called again and stands it will be dropped from the order paper.

Topic:   PENITENTIARIES
Subtopic:   SPECIAL COMMITTEE TO STUDY CAUSES OF CRIME AND TREATMENT OF CRIMINALS
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CON

Hugh Guthrie (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. GUTHRIE:

Mr. Speaker, a special

arrangement has been made at the request of the mover of this resolution, who on account of ill health is not prepared to proceed with it. Your Honour noted the arrangement at the time, I think.

Topic:   PENITENTIARIES
Subtopic:   SPECIAL COMMITTEE TO STUDY CAUSES OF CRIME AND TREATMENT OF CRIMINALS
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CON

Pierre Édouard Blondin (Speaker of the Senate)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPEAKER:

My understanding was

that in order to keep the resolution alive the debate would be commenced and adjourned; then the motion would hold a place on the order paper. If with the unanimous consent of the house the resolution is allowed to stand and not leave the order paper, there is no objection on the part of the Speaker. With that understanding the resolution stands.

Motion stands.

Federal Health-Mr. Spencer

Topic:   PENITENTIARIES
Subtopic:   SPECIAL COMMITTEE TO STUDY CAUSES OF CRIME AND TREATMENT OF CRIMINALS
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FEDERAL HEALTH POLICY

COOPERATION WITH PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENTS- PROPOSED REFERENCE TO INDUSTRIAL AND INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS COMMITTEE.


Mr. HENRY E. SPENCER (Battle River) moved: That, in the opinion of this house, the federal government should adopt a definite health policy which could be carried out in cooperation with the provincial governments, and with this end in view, the subject should be referred to the committee on industrial and international relations for consideration and report. He said: Mr. Speaker, I trust that the wording of this resolution, is such that the Prime' Minster (Mr. Bennett) will not think for a moment that it is put forward with the one idea of undermining the confidence of the country in the government. I put it forward with the strong hope that I shall get a great deal of help not only from this corner of the house but also from the official opposition and from government supporters themselves. I hope it is worth considering carefully and that ultimately it will be accepted. I think every hon. member in this house recognizes the great importance of public health. The house must also recognize that in these days of stress we are bound to have a great deal more sickness than in good times, because people are much poorer and have not the means with which to call in the necessary medical assistance, and many of them put off calling for aid until it is too late. In 1930 I had the opportunity of introducing a resolution along somewhat similar lines, dealing with full-time health units. The resolution read as follows: That, in the opinion of this house, the government should take into consideration advisability of making grants to the provinces equal to one-third the cost of establishing, and to cover permanently such full-time health units as may be organized. That resolution was accepted by the government of the day, but within twelve months the government changed and nothing was done. I introduced another resolution along these lines in 1931, after the new government came into power, and they were good enough to accept the resolution then proposed, but owing to the fact that the financial crisis was upon us nothing was done. Therefore I come forward to-day with another request in the hope that some definite policy may be formed in regard to public health in cooperation between the federal government and the provincial governments. Under the British North America Act I understand nothing is definitely said with regard to the care of health, and though it 74726-32J is necessary for the federal Department of Health to carry on certain work, most of the work is thrown on the shoulders of the provinces. So far as I know every province has some sort of policy and some sort of department looking after health, but much more can be and should be done in cooperation by the federal and provincial governments. I have five notations under my hand outlining subjects which I think are distinctly a federal responsibility, since each one has a national aspect. I appreciate the fact that the Minister of Pensions and National Health (Mr. Mac-laren) has come closer so that he can hear what I am about to say. The five points which have a national aspect are first, tuberculosis; second, cancer; third, the prevention and control of insanity; fourth, venereal disease and fifth, child and maternal welfare. Surely no province can be expected to deal with these matters, which should be handled by the federal government in cooperation with the provinces. We all recognize that the care of health is a serious matter not only for the individual but for the state as well. We have only to go back to the tame of the war to realize the enormous cost of ill health to the nation. The other day I looked up some figures with regard to the number of men who volunteered following the outbreak of war, and I found that of a total of 465,984 some 45,000 were medioally unfit. Of the remainder some 100,000 were sent overseas but, under the stress of training, were found to be physically unfit for service. All this cost the country a huge amount of money. I recall that the late Sir Arthur Currie, speaking in Montreal, laid emphasis upon the desirability of greater care being taken with regard to the health of our people. Later in the war, when conscription was brought in, I found that of 264,355 persons called only 83,355 were accepted; in other words 68 per cent were rejected, so that one can readily see the enormous expense to the country which resulted. If we had some definite policy of cooperation between the federal and provincial governments by means of which the health of our people could be kept at a much higher level than is the case to-day, such things would be impassible. The other day some figures were presented to me by the Canadian Council on Child Welfare. We must remember that up to a year or so agio a large amount of money was being spent every year to bring people into this country, but when all is said and done the children most worth rearing are the children Federal Health-Mr. Spencer



born in this country. Therefore I should like to present some figures in that regard. I find that of 235,666 children born in Canada in 1932 no lees than 7,284 were still-born; 17,263 died before their first birthday; 21,874 died before their fifth birthday and 1,181 mothers died in childbirth. It is said that most of these deaths were preventable. One cannot look at these figures without realizing the great loss which might be obviated. It is recognized that when sickness descends upon a household it affects the people in two ways. There is the expense of the medical, hospital and nursing attention, and there is also the fact that as soon as the bread winner is taken ill his wages usually stop. It is estimated by some health organizations in this country that in medical expenses and time lost Canada loses some $300,000,000 yearly, yet the total amount of money being spent in this country by government agencies in regard to the health of our people is only about $6,000,000. Now I should like to point out that there are three diseases from which death may be prevented with proper care. There are diphtheria, typhoid fever and tuberculosis. Yet every year we lose about 11,000 people as a result of each of the first two diseases and about 8,000 as a result of tuberculosis. We find on consulting statistics that some people pay fully for medical attention, some pay in part and many cannot pay at all. The figures I have before me show that 49 per cent of the people who are sick pay in full, 20 per cent pay in part and 31 per cent pay nothing. There may be an odd one or two in the 31 per cent who intentionally do not pay anything, but I do not believe the average man or woman would attempt to avoid paying their bills for sickness if they could possibly meet them. As good health is something which we should strive to have among our people and as sickness does not stop at one's door, or even at provincial boundaries, it is essential in the interest of communities that we should take care of those who are sick, and we should further see to it that to the greatest possible extent preventive measures against sickness are taken. We have an army of trained men and women with knowledge of health measures. It is unfortunately true that many of them are not fully engaged because the demand for their services, on account of expenses, is not made. There is the further fact, however, that many of them, although attending patients cannot obtain payment for their services and, for that reason, are working under a great handicap. I have but to draw attention to a situation ^Mr. Spencer.] which arose only a few weeks ago in Winnipeg. A few days ago in this House of Commons we u'ere told that a doctors' strike had occurred in that city. That stand was taken by the doctors, not because they wanted to, but as a measure of self-defence. Apparently a condition has arisen in Winnipeg whereby the doctors cannot be sure of obtaining for their services enough to give them a decent living, and they want to force the responsibility upon some one so that their bills may be paid. With that in mind they have signed the following pledge: I undertake to refuse free medical service in the office, hospital or home to any individual in receipt of relief, unless an emergency exists. An emergency is one in which life is in imminent danger and for which immediate action is required. This is to take effect on and after the fifteenth day of February, 1934, unless the civic and/or municipal authorities concerned have made satisfactory arrangements with our committee. I believe that is probably one of the most serious situations facing any city in Canada, and is a situation with which not only cities but country districts will be confronted if some plan is not forthcoming and some arrangement is not made between governing powers on one hand and the people on the other. Something is being done, but in too small a way. Mr. ArRTHURS: In what regard?


UFA

Henry Elvins Spencer

United Farmers of Alberta

Mr. SPENCER:

I will come to that. I know full well that the federal government does not undertake to take care of the full health program, and for that reason provision for only a limited amount of money for health purposes is placed in the estimates. Looking at the estimates for the year 1928 I found that while we were spending only 8900,000 for health we made provision for the expenditure of $1,800,000 on penitentiaries. In the estimates presented this session we are spending $2,833,000 on penitentiaries and, so far as I can ascertain we are spending only $830,000 on health.

Dealing with another aspect of the situation, may I remind hon. members that a few years ago in our twenty-three universities 9,525 students were enrolled, while at the same time in our fifty-two mental asylums we housed no less than 25,259 inmates. This, in itself is a serious situation and one which should be given very serious consideration. We recognize to-day that generally speaking city people are healthier than people in the country. That is exactly the reverse of the situation that obtained a few years ago, and it has been brought about because in the cities there

Federal Health-Mr. Spencer

has been a certain amount of definite health organization. For that reason the health of the city people has been kept in a better state. 'Country people, who are without that care, are suffering a higher death rate and a higher rate of sickness. Quite properly the federal government takes care to keep out of the country all people suffering from any serious illness. Surely, if they recognize their responsibility to keep sickness out of the country they must recognize a responsibility to keep in good health those people inside our borders.

Undoubtedly excellent work has been done in connection with full-time health units. Particularly is that so in the provinces of Quebec, British Columbia and Alberta. In order that the house may have some idea of the work done in these units I should like to give the figures showing the death rate in three units of the province of Quebec, and indicating how, owing to the organization for the care of health, deaths have been cut down:

Deaths per thousand 1926

Unit No. 1

46Unit No. 2

68Unit No. 3

26

Deaths per thousand 1928 19 46 14

These figures give one great hope as to what can be done and, of course, they indicate only a beginning. Furthermore, with the full-time health units taking advantage of endowments from the Rockfeller Foundation, which are given only for three years, it is essential, if they cannot afford to carry on without that help, that the federal government step in and give them aid. I am pleased to quote a statement of the present Prime Minister made in 1931, when I introduced my resolution favouring full-time health units in Canada and made the request for help from the federal government. On that occasion he said:

Touching the necessity for the establishment of health units nothing need be said. I think the case is complete and almost before it is stated.

I have always recognized that for many years the present Prime Minister has taken a great interest in the care of health. Therefore I hope that he will give this resolution his very very sympathetic support.

Topic:   FEDERAL HEALTH POLICY
Subtopic:   COOPERATION WITH PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENTS- PROPOSED REFERENCE TO INDUSTRIAL AND INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS COMMITTEE.
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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

Would the hon. member permit a question? Does he not realize that under present financial conditions nothing can come of referring a resolution of this sort to a committee?

Topic:   FEDERAL HEALTH POLICY
Subtopic:   COOPERATION WITH PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENTS- PROPOSED REFERENCE TO INDUSTRIAL AND INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS COMMITTEE.
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UFA

Henry Elvins Spencer

United Farmers of Alberta

Mr. SPENCER:

I appreciate that at the moment, with financial conditions as they are, nothing can be done, but we hope that trade is on the upward trend and that success is somewhere around the corner. If that is so- and we most sincerely hope it is-we might fairly give consideration to this matter now, even if we cannot do anything for twelve or eighteen months.

I should like to quote from the comments of a well known public woman who, speaking at a health meeting, said:

Curious, is it not, that we cull our flocks and herds, allowing only the finest and most physically perfect to breed and yet when it comes to the human race, we allow the mating of the most diseased and imperfect, both mentally and physically.

She goes on to say:

How long will sentiment outweigh good sense in dealing with this problem of the propagation of the race?

Some one asked me a moment ago what progress had been made in certain parts of Canada. A start has been made in Saskatchewan with municipal doctors, while Alberta has started with municipal hospitals. We have government clinics here and there which are giving some help, while examinations at schools are found to be very valuable. However, with all of this, we are merely scratching the surface. There should be some plan of cooperation between the federal and provincial governments in connection with preventive medicine. When all is said and done, too much work is done in simply making people well. If we exercised preventive medicine we would save the people a lot of sickness and bring about a higher standard of health. We would be a healthier, happier and richer nation.

Compulsory health insurance was started in Germany as far back as 1883, in Bismarck's time. Canada is supposed to be fairly well up to the front in social development, but in this respect we are far behind Germany which started this thing fifty-one years ago. Austria, Norway and other countries followed. Great Britain has a volunteer scheme, as have Italy, Sweden, Denmark, Belgium, France, Spain, Switzerland, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. All of these countries are ahead of Canada as far as the care of health is concerned.

A medical service should provide scientific diagnosis and treatment if needed; it should provide adequate pay for doctors and nurses; it should encourage health education, and it should correlate the work of all health agencies. If this were done the doctor would

Federal Health-Mr. Spencer

be assured an adequate income. His standard of living would be raised and he would have access to the proper equipment. It would provide regular examination for the patient, which he does not have at the present time. It would provide hospitalization, nursing and medical care irrespective of financial position. We must recognize that we cannot have anyone suffering sickness just because he has not the wherewithal. I admit that considerable free work is done, but there are many people who will not call in medical aid until the last moment, until very often it is too late, when they feel they cannot afford to pay. A provincial scheme is being put forward during the present session of the Alberta legislature to cover the whole province, and I have hopes that it will be accepted. However, no province, particularly a western one, can carry a scheme like this by itself.

In conclusion, I desire to make four suggestions. The first is that public health should be put on a business basis. The second is that the federal and provincial governments should increase expenditures for health as quickly as possible. The third is that the medical profession should be asked to cooperate, and I am sure that a great number of doctors, particularly those in the rural districts, will be only too willing to do so. The fourth is that the education of the public in health matters should be pressed. With these suggestions, I express the hope that the house will accept this resolution.

Topic:   FEDERAL HEALTH POLICY
Subtopic:   COOPERATION WITH PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENTS- PROPOSED REFERENCE TO INDUSTRIAL AND INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS COMMITTEE.
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CON

Murray MacLaren (Minister of Pensions and National Health)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Hon. MURRAY MacLAREN (Minister of Pensions and National Health):

Mr. Speaker, I have listened attentively to the hon. member who has just sat down (Mr. Spencer), and I should like to make a few observations with reference to what he has said.

Taking a broad view of public health, both in the care of the sick and in the matter of sanitation, it is true that a large part rests with the provincial governments, but at the same time this is an incomplete statement of the case. I should like to indicate to the house just w'here the federal government and its Department of National Health enters in an important way into the measures that lead to the improved health of the people of this country. I would direct the attention of the house to an organization known as the Dominion Council of Health. This organiza-Jon meets in Ottawa twice yearly under arrangements made by the federal government. It is composed of fifteen members which include a health officer from each province, representatives of agriculture and women's organizations, as well as a specialist in public health. I direct the attention of the hon.

member who moved this resolution to the existence of this organization. It represents an attempt on the part of the government to nationalize in a manner the care of the sick and to improve sanitation. It brings together representatives from all the provinces and I think provides an example of cooperation. The fundamental principle in the council is cooperation among the provinces and I believe it meets to a considerable extent one of the matters referred to by the hon. member. In addition to cooperation, it strives to bring about standardization of methods and the adoption of uniform systems of reporting vital statistics, and deals with other important matters. I place this before the house as one effort which has been made by the federal health department to bring about cooperation among the provinces and to add to the efficiency of sanitation.

In discussing public health and its importance I think it is well that we should not fail to recognize the great advances that are now taking place in Canada. Whether you approve of the system or not, the fact is that in recent years there has been a marked advance in sanitation and in the care of the sick. It is true that a large part of that is done under the provinces, but the fact remains that the advances are very marked and very striking. Health units, for instance, have been mentioned. This is an organization of not many years standing, and was especially adopted for the benefit of those living in the country, far from the ordinary medical and nursing facilities. It is an organization that can be highly commended. It is there and it is growing.

I have referred to the council of health as being one method of reaching out through the country and advancing the care of the sick. I should like to mention some others. What is the federal department of health doing to-day in reference to drugs, proprietary and patent medicines, and foods? The work that is going on is very important indeed. The department which I have the honour of administering guards against exaggerated and false claims in regard to drugs that are on sale to the public. That comes under the federal department of health, and I trust that my hon. friend will include it among the important federal activities which are carried on. Proprietary and patent medicines and other medicines of that character must fulfil certain requirements. They must state on their labels the constituent or potent drugs which enter into their composition. It ensures that they do not exceed the proper dosage. It also prevents undue claims being made

Federal Health-Mr. MacLaren

to the public. It protects the public who are so prone to depend on something that holds out to them great hope-cures for tuberculosis, cures for cancer, and so forth. All that work is being quietly but effectively done under the federal department of health to safeguard the people of Canada.

I venture to think that many hon. members may not be conversant with the fact of the connection between radio and the Department of National Health. It has been arranged, and is being carried out satisfactorily, that all radio broadcasting on the question of health and on cures and drugs must first be submitted to the department 6f health to be passed upon before it is broadcast. That has been found to be practical and successful. It is the means of preventing exaggerated advertisements being broadcast over the radio.

My hon. friend also referred to five diseases or five branches of disease in regard to which he thought the federal government should cooperate with the provinces to a greater extent than at present. Let me mention them.

Tuberculosis. Well, the government has for many years assisted in supporting the national organization for the prevention of tuberculosis -not spending an enormous sum, it is true, but still it has supported and is represented on that organization. Every endeavour has been made by the department to increase the influence of the organization in dealing with tuberculosis.

Then there is cancer. The federal government is not taking any special action in regard to cancer, but we know that during the last few years in almost every province extensive expenditures have been made for the purchase of radium. We are aware that the province of Ontario especially has developed cancer clinics, equipped with radium, where the work is going on in a very important way. It seems to me that the important thing is to have the matter dealt with properly and efficiently, even if it is not done under the federal department, and that work is being done efficiently.

As regards venereal disease, one must not forget that the federal government, because of its desire to help on that movement, made substantial grants for a number of years for dealing with venereal disease. A grant of over 8100,000 a year was made for a number of years to assist that movement and put it on its feet.

Topic:   FEDERAL HEALTH POLICY
Subtopic:   COOPERATION WITH PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENTS- PROPOSED REFERENCE TO INDUSTRIAL AND INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS COMMITTEE.
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UFA

Henry Elvins Spencer

United Farmers of Alberta

Mr. SPENCER:

Is the government still

making the grants?

Topic:   FEDERAL HEALTH POLICY
Subtopic:   COOPERATION WITH PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENTS- PROPOSED REFERENCE TO INDUSTRIAL AND INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS COMMITTEE.
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February 12, 1934