June 14, 1946

PC

William Gourlay Blair

Progressive Conservative

Mr. BLAIR:

I notice that we have the same situation here as existed in connection with the other matter. When I was discussing the matter of research in tuberculosis two or three weeks ago I got into an argument with the hon. member for Mackenzie. I have here a copy of my local paper, the Perth Courier, and the editor has plastered the whole front page with the statement that free tuberculosis clinics are being provided. That is what is being done in Ontario, and they are doing the same thing in Saskatchewan. I cannot see why $32,000 is necessary when the provinces have control of their own tuberculosis campaigns and their own sanitaria.

Supply-Health and Welfare

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LIB

Brooke Claxton (Minister of National Health and Welfare)

Liberal

Mr. CLAXTON:

The answer I would give to the hon. member for Lanark is exactly the same answer that I made with regard to mental health. The relation of the medical officer to be appointed with respect to tuberculosis is the same as the relation of the medical officer appointed with regard to mental hygiene. The positions are exactly the same; the divisions set up are similar, and the provisions for salaries are the same.

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PC

William Gourlay Blair

Progressive Conservative

Mr. BLAIR:

Would the medical officer consult with the Ontario department of health? Would he go out to the Lady Grey or up to the Muskoka sanitarium in order to give advice?

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LIB

Brooke Claxton (Minister of National Health and Welfare)

Liberal

Mr. CLAXTON:

He would if he were called in, and he would also be available in connection with work in other provinces. It is easy for any persons coming from Ontario to feel that they are able to look after their own health matters. That is so to a marked degree, but the same situation does not apply in some of the other provinces wThere the need with respect to certain diseases is much greater than that of Ontario. None of these officers would do work on patients in a province, but they would be available to work with the province in a consultative capacity.

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Item agreed to. National health branch- 223. Advertising and labels division, $70,463.


PC

Donald Methuen Fleming

Progressive Conservative

Mr. FLEMING:

In this item we have an increase from $13,000 to $70,000. Would the minister indicate just what the programme is that *would justify this increase in expenditure?

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CCF

Angus MacInnis

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. MacINNIS:

Perhaps the hon. member would allow the minister to tell us just what this item covers, just what this branch of his department does? Perhaps the hon. member for Eglinton knows, but I must plead ignorance and I should like to have the minister explain.

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LIB

Brooke Claxton (Minister of National Health and Welfare)

Liberal

Mr. CLAXTON:

The Food and Drugs Act is one of the oldest acts dealing with any matter affecting health which the department has to administer. It antedates confederation. There are extensive provisions in the act to protect the public against fraud and against injury to health, and not only for maintaining a service to ensure the purity of food and drugs but also to review the labelling and advertising of food and drugs. There are provisions in the act and in the regulations made in consequence of the act requiring that all packaged food and drugs be labelled and their contents be shown. These provisions are

enforced by the enforcement officers of the division. There is also a considerable amount of work involved in ensuring that the advertising matter does not make unjust or unfair claims. That requires close cooperation with those engaged in the production of food and drugs, and with advertising agencies and others who have to deal with advertising.

This division also reviews all radio scripts advertising food or drugs. It makes the cases on which prosecutions under the Food and Drugs Act for contraventions in respect to labelling and advertising are instituted. During the last year it has been working at a code which it is proposed to discuss with those engaged in the trade, in the hope that they will largely enforce this. It is also assembling a series of administrative decisions on the use that may be made of various words and so as to establish uniform practices by those who want to advertise.

The division has hitherto operated under two or three different branches of the department. Those have been assembled this year in one division, known as the advertising and labels division. That is the reason for the increase. There is also an increase in salaries-

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PC

James MacKerras Macdonnell

Progressive Conservative

Mr. MACDONNELL (Muskoka-Ontario):

You mean that the $13,000 shown for last year is not strictly comparable with the range of work covered by the $70,000 for this year?

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LIB

Brooke Claxton (Minister of National Health and Welfare)

Liberal

Mr. CLAXTON:

That is right, but I should add that there is a considerable increase in the provision for salaries, with additional staff.

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PC

James MacKerras Macdonnell

Progressive Conservative

Mr. MACDONNELL (Muskoka-Ontario):

The minister has already pointed out that this thing has been going on for many years now, and we like to think that the work has been conducted reasonably efficiently up to the present time. I was going to ask, therefore, why the item has gone up six times, but that question is not applicable after what the minister has just said. It would, however, be well to know just why it has gone up, and to have figures which are comparable.

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LIB

Brooke Claxton (Minister of National Health and Welfare)

Liberal

Mr. CLAXTON:

I will repeat that this division is brought into existence through the assembly in one division of work that has hitherto been carried in various divisions. The first vote that was ever made to this division was $13,000. That was in the supple-mentaries for last year, but it represents only a portion of the year's work.

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PC

James MacKerras Macdonnell

Progressive Conservative

Mr. MACDONNELL (Muskoka-Ontario):

I do not quite understand. Why are we not given the whole picture? Let me make this comment. I do not want to appear to be quibbling, but we should all face the fact

Supply-Health and Welfare

that when you set up a new department you set up a new kingdom, and a lot of people are continually wanting to extend that kingdom. While these are small amounts, nevertheless we should have a look at them and make sure that we are getting value for these items, and the only way in which we can make sure is to have the figures presented in such a way that we can make a strict comparison and know exactly what is going on. As the hon. member for Vancouver East said the other evening-and I considered it wise- these discussions either mean something or they do not.

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LIB

Brooke Claxton (Minister of National Health and Welfare)

Liberal

Mr. CLAXTON:

I shall be glad to get the information for the hon. member.

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PC

John Bracken (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. BRACKEN:

The columns of figures showing the expenditures for last year and this ought to be as strictly comparable as they can be made. From what the minister has just said, these are not strictly comparable so far as this particular item is concerned, and wherever that occurs I think a detailed explanation ought to be made by the minister. Otherwise the comparison set out in the two columns is of no value to us. Where the two columns are not strictly comparable, the first explanation the minister should make is that they are not comparable and are not intended to be. If the different ministers have submitted their estimates in this way I think they ought to look over the figures that have been given to us for, as one hon. member said, either they mean something or they do not. This particular comparison is valueless.

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LIB

Brooke Claxton (Minister of National Health and Welfare)

Liberal

Mr. CLAXTON:

Hon. members must recognize that when a new department is formed and takes over the functions of an old department and fits them into the work of the new department, necessary adjustments must be made as it is established. When we planned the work of the department in October, 1944, it was without any administrative staff, and it was not until March 31, 1945, that we were able to establish separate books and begin our own operations. Then the estimates came on in November, 1945, before there was a fully developed administrative staff and before we had had even one full year's operating experience. In view of that, some adjustments were necessary, and these adjustments I am ready to explain. I have answered every question that has been put and I shall be glad to answer any other questions. The item before us is due to the fact that the work which it is proposed to carry on under the advertising and labels division was hitherto carried on by the dominion analyst as part of his functions and with his office and by the director of

public health service as part of his functions and with his staff. It was found that the work had developed, and there were complaints from the trade with regard to the efficiency and fairness of administration and the speed with which answers were given. It was felt that it was necessary to establish a new division and this vote is put in for the first time to do that. The explanation that I gave before, that the only time the vote appeared was in the supplementary estimates, being $13,000, is quite correct. If there are any items which appear in this vote of $70,463, which were taken out of the votes for other divisions and appeared under other columns in previous estimates, I shall be glad to let the leader of the opposition know, or on the other hand I shall let him know if this represents an entirely new expenditure over and above the $13,000 put into the supplementaries last year.

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PC

Donald Methuen Fleming

Progressive Conservative

Mr. FLEMING:

Will the minister bring in the actual expenditures in the last fiscal year on comparable items?

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LIB

Brooke Claxton (Minister of National Health and Welfare)

Liberal

Mr. CLAXTON:

Yes, if there are any.

Item stands.

Progress reported.

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At eleven o'clock the house adjourned, without question put, pursuant to standing order. Monday, June 17, 1946.


June 14, 1946