That is very valuable. The hour is late; I shall speak only a moment; I should like to commend very much the statement made to-night by the hon. member for Rosetown-Biggar (Mr. Coldwell). There is no question about the fact that a great many young people who have no work to do suffer from ill health; and if they are on relief they may suffer from undernourishment. Perhaps it is not the business of the department of health, but I suggest that possibly a report from this department to the proper authorities might assist in the establishment of camps or some places where these young men could be kept at work and regain their physical fitness, not only improving their physical health but their moral health a3 well.
It is all for the same disease, anyway. We could well afford to have that particular appropriation increased. I would say, too, that voluntary agencies in Canada doing public health work should get increased rather than decreased grants.
For instance, let us consider the Health League of Canada. I see in the appropriation this year that there is a cut from $10,000 to $5,000. I can hardly see the justification for that, but perhaps I am not sufficiently well informed at the moment to pass judgment upon it. I do know, however, that the Health League of Canada is carrying on a campaign of publicity and education that is worth to Canada many times the appropriation made by the federal government. At present they are putting on a campaign in Toronto, and are depending upon the voluntary subscriptions of public-spirited people in that city in order that their work of education may be carried on. The results they have obtained
over the years stand out as a beacon light in the public health services of Canada. What they have done in connection with venereal diseases, what they have done in educating the people with respect to the administration of toxoid for diphtheria cannot be measured in dollars and cents. When you have public-spirited men of the type of Doctor Bates and other prominent men in Toronto who wish to continue the great work they are doing, then I say they should have an increased appropriation from this government and should receive continued-
Another matter brought up to-night had to do with whether this government has been doing anything in connection with the investigation of cancer. Of itself, I do not think that it is; but probably hon. members will not forget that the King George cancer fund is still in operation, and that money from that fund is given to the Banting Institute in Ontario, and to clinics from one end of the country to the other, so that research may be carried on and treatment continued in clinics in different cities. I do not remember at the moment just how that fund originated, but I believe it was a jubilee fund, and has grown from public subscription.
Let us for a moment consider the publicity branch of the federal health department. That branch is not costing very much money, but it is doing an enormous amount of work. I doubt very much if persons outside the members of the medical profession and men particularly interested in public health work in Canada ever read the articles or information given out by the publicity branch of the federal health department. So I say to you, Mr. Chairman, that as a medical man and one who has been interested in public health for a quarter of a century, I am satisfied with the progress of the federal health branch, and I wish them continued success, and that they may have an ever-broadening sphere of influence.
Mr. Chairman, my good friend the hon. member for Renfrew South (Mr. McCann) should be thankful to the hon. member for Temiscouata for having accorded him an opportunity to make such a nice little speech. I fully agree with what he has said about Doctor Bates, but Doctor Bates does not receive a cent from this vote, with the exception of what he receives for
travelling expenses. On the other hand, as a layman-and my hon. friend speaks as a medical man-I would ask him if the school children, the parents of the school children and the farmers around Renfrew will not agree with the suggestion previously made by the hon. member for Temiscouata respecting the free distribution of milk in schools. If they agree with that suggestion made by a layman, I ask the hon. member for Renfrew South why as a medical man he has not made that suggestion before.
member for Temiscouata let me say that I agree one hundred per cent with the suggestion he has made, but I would point out to him that this is a matter which rests entirely with the provincial department of health and the health branches in the various municipalities. So far as Renfrew is concerned, I would tell the hon. member that throughout the county of Renfrew and in the town of Renfrew we have as fine a health service as exists anywhere in the whole of this dominion. The children there are under the supervision of a public health nurse, and those children, along with the hon. member for Temiscouata, any time at eleven o'clock in the morning can get a pint of milk, free, from the municipality of Renfrew.
Following up the remarks of the hon. member for Parkdale (Mr. Bruce), may I strongly urge upon the government that steps be taken at once to set up works battalions in Canada in which those young men who have tried to enlist for overseas service but who have been rejected may enlist to do work at home.
There are many kinds of work which can be done in connection with the preparation of the defence forces of this country, and that work could be done by battalions of this type. The present situation is that many of these young men are unfit because in depression years they had to ride back and forth across the country on freight trains. They have gone to the recruiting offices, have been turned down and have received blue slips. In fact, I understand they are now known as the blue-slip brigade. I think nothing would do more to build up the bodies of those young men, nothing would do more to improve their morale than to give them an opportunity to enlist in works battalions or in some such units which could do work of the kind I have mentioned. I am asking the minister to let us know to-night what he thinks about a pronosal for a scheme of that type.