May 22, 1950

CCF

Clarence Gillis

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

Mr. Gillis:

Don't you worry about that.

Topic:   EDUCATION
Subtopic:   EXPANDING AND EQUALIZING OF OPPORTUNITY
Sub-subtopic:   ASSISTANCE TO PROVINCES
Permalink
LIB

Paul Joseph James Martin (Minister of National Health and Welfare)

Liberal

Mr. Martin:

I am not.

Topic:   EDUCATION
Subtopic:   EXPANDING AND EQUALIZING OF OPPORTUNITY
Sub-subtopic:   ASSISTANCE TO PROVINCES
Permalink
CCF

Clarence Gillis

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

Mr. Gillis:

You will be accused anyway. Anyone who is not getting kicked around is not doing anything.

Topic:   EDUCATION
Subtopic:   EXPANDING AND EQUALIZING OF OPPORTUNITY
Sub-subtopic:   ASSISTANCE TO PROVINCES
Permalink
LIB

Paul Joseph James Martin (Minister of National Health and Welfare)

Liberal

Mr. Martin:

That is all I get.

Topic:   EDUCATION
Subtopic:   EXPANDING AND EQUALIZING OF OPPORTUNITY
Sub-subtopic:   ASSISTANCE TO PROVINCES
Permalink
CCF

Clarence Gillis

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

Mr. Gillis:

Just you go ahead and do the job, and 99 per cent of the people will back you up anyway. There are just a few who will kick you, and you will be able to take that. Am I to understand that the minister will take under consideration that matter of amending the Family Allowances Act to provide relief where children are continuing education?

Topic:   EDUCATION
Subtopic:   EXPANDING AND EQUALIZING OF OPPORTUNITY
Sub-subtopic:   ASSISTANCE TO PROVINCES
Permalink
LIB

Paul Joseph James Martin (Minister of National Health and Welfare)

Liberal

Mr. Marlin:

We will all be studying these matters with great attention.

Topic:   EDUCATION
Subtopic:   EXPANDING AND EQUALIZING OF OPPORTUNITY
Sub-subtopic:   ASSISTANCE TO PROVINCES
Permalink
CCF

Clarence Gillis

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

Mr. Gillis:

I am glad to hear that the minister is paying special attention to that particular matter. In closing, I should just like to say this. I still cannot understand the Minister of Agriculture's interpretation of that resolution this afternoon, because I know he is a man-

Topic:   EDUCATION
Subtopic:   EXPANDING AND EQUALIZING OF OPPORTUNITY
Sub-subtopic:   ASSISTANCE TO PROVINCES
Permalink
LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. Gardiner:

You will talk the resolution out, if you keep on.

Topic:   EDUCATION
Subtopic:   EXPANDING AND EQUALIZING OF OPPORTUNITY
Sub-subtopic:   ASSISTANCE TO PROVINCES
Permalink
CCF

Clarence Gillis

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

Mr. Gillis:

No. There is plenty of time. The minister is a man who has a keen insight into these matters and he generally gets to the root of things. But on this particular resolution this afternoon I just could not make him out. The hon. member for Burnaby-Richmond (Mr. Goode), a teacher himself, interpreted the resolution and advanced some excellent reasons as to why it should be adopted.

Topic:   EDUCATION
Subtopic:   EXPANDING AND EQUALIZING OF OPPORTUNITY
Sub-subtopic:   ASSISTANCE TO PROVINCES
Permalink
PC

James Arthur Ross

Progressive Conservative

Mr. J. A. Ross (Souris):

I desire to offer a few remarks in support of the following proposed resolution:

That, in the opinion of this house, the government should take into consideration means of expanding and equalizing educational opportunity across Canada, by the granting of financial assistance to the various provinces for that purpose.

I think the resolution is clear, despite the arguments that have been advanced against it as interfering with provincial rights. I do

Education

not think there is anything of that nature in it. Despite the fact that the Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Gardiner) and the Minister of National Health and Welfare (Mr. Martin) spoke against the resolution, I wish to endorse it wholeheartedly and also the remarks of the speakers in support of it.

This motion was discussed for an entire day last fall, namely on October 19, 1949, and arguments were set forth by my leader, which may be found on page 942, and following, of Hansard. Dealing with the splendid work of schoolteachers he, as minister of education in an Ontario government, rendered splendid service to education in that province which has been referred to by government speakers today. In that respect I might quote one paragraph of his speech last fall which is to be found at page 944 of Hansard. He said:

There is, however, this important consideration; which cannot be emphasized too often. Even if we built in Canada the finest schools that have ever been constructed anywhere, we would have done nothing to advance our educational standards unless those who are teaching in those schools are highly qualified to teach the children that come under their direction. For that reason, wherever the school may be and whatever type of school may be under consideration, the effort of all those concerned with the advancement of education in Canada should be to raise to a level that is in keeping with their responsibility the salaries of those to whom we are entrusting to a considerable extent the whole future of Canada.

There is a lot of meaning in that paragraph. I am sure there is no hon. member in the house who will not admit that at the present time there is great inequality in educational opportunities throughout this nation. In fact in a bulletin issued in 1945 it was shown that the average salary of teachers in one province was $633 while in another province in another part of the country the average was $1,552. Surely that is a tremendous difference in two provinces of this dominion. In 1941, the last year in which the census was taken, there were only 85,000 citizens in Canada with university degrees. At the same time there were in this country 360,000 people between the ages of 6 and 16, that is school age, who were not attending school at all. In my opinion, these figures are alarming.

I spoke on this matter on October 27, when we were discussing the amendment of the constitution, namely, the British North America Act. I think that is in keeping with the suggestion made by the Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Gardiner) this afternoon; but in view of some of the statements made today I ' want to refer to the Manitoba teachers federation. Their brief has been endorsed by what is to me the greatest and most influential

organization in Canada, namely, the Cana dian Legion. I do not think anybody will dispute that statement either. They said:

A new definition of education which involves the all-round development of the child, and an emphasis on citizenship, make the educational perspective of 1867 and a narrow interpretation of the provisions laid down in respect to education in the British North America Act untenable today.

At another point in their brief they said:

In any plan of federal assistance it would be understood and1 agreed that the expenditure of funds by the government of Canada would in no way be deemed to confer upon any minister or official of the government of Canada any right of supervision or control over any school or educational institution with respect to which any federal government funds are expended.

That should clear up many of the arguments advanced by government speakers today. They have a very fine and lengthy article, but the point that I am most concerned about is the situation in the province of Manitoba from which I come. Cost of education has been a vital issue in the past two years at our annual Manitoba municipal convention, because the municipal officials must find the greater part of the money by a levy on real estate. In fact our municipal corporations in Manitoba find, by a levy on real estate, $3 for every $1 supplied by the provincial government. I am sure that is an antiquated system of financing education in the province. Notwithstanding that situation, the school trustees association of the province of Manitoba made it a vital issue at their last annual meeting. At their last convention, as reported in the Winnipeg Free Press of January 25, 1950, in an article headed, "Education minister says he feels Ottawa cannot give much more aid," the following appeared. First of all, what are we to expect from our provincial minister of education if he attends a conference next fall, when he publicly states that the province cannot expect any more aid from the federal government? According to the article he added:

Doubt that the provincial government could go much further in the matter of financial aid to education was expressed Tuesday by Hon. C. Rhodes Smith, minister of education, in an address to 600 delegates attending the 41st annual convention of the Manitoba school trustees association.

I agree with all the remarks made by my colleague the hon. member for York West (Mr. Adamson) on the great burden on real estate brought about by the cost of education. You cannot continue to have a levy on real estate, as we have in Manitoba, for over 75 per cent of the cost of education, and under that system have equality of education. It just cannot be done. I know that in my own municipality -I have referred to this on occasions, and there are many other examples throughout the entire province-a number of farmers along

Education

the Souris river have lost three crops in the last three years and they are now in the process of losing the fourth.

When this land does produce it is the most productive soil anywhere in that part of the country. Therefore it is the highest assessed property in the country. The majority of the taxes levied there are for the cost of education.

Some twenty miles down the river from me in another municipality there are a group of farmers who have lost the last seven crops in that river valley. They are in process of losing their eighth consecutive crop now. On another occasion I pointed out that they are attempting to get permission to sue this government for the faulty and improper construction of dams on the river, because prior to the construction of the dams those people had not lost a crop owing to flooding since the year 1916. Surely under a modern system today we must face up to the situation.

When I spoke last fall I suggested that municipal authorities should be invited to the dominion-provincial conference next fall. In view of what the Minister of Agriculture said this afternoon, I repeat that if this matter is to be discussed at that conference then the heads of the municipal unions should sit in, at least in an advisory capacity.

I have quoted the statement of the minister of education for the province of Manitoba, who does not think that we should even ask for federal aid. In the statement he said he does not think the province can go any further. What can we people in Manitoba expect when he attends this convention and speaks for the department of education in Manitoba? We do not have any municipal authority here. I am serious about the suggestion that they should be here.

There are further observations I should like to make at this time, but I dealt fully with the subject on October 27, and my remarks are to be found in detail at pages 1200 and following. The wish has been expressed by many hon. members that there should be an opportunity for a vote on this resolution tonight. In view of that, in view of the very full statement I made on the same resolution last fall, in view of the fact that my leader has spoken most effectively- and I have pointed out his record as minister of education in Ontario-and in view of the fact that I wish to endorse the resolution wholeheartedly, and will have more to say at another time, not wishing to be accused of standing in the way of the taking of a vote on this very important matter this evening, I will resume my seat at this time.

(Translation):

Topic:   EDUCATION
Subtopic:   EXPANDING AND EQUALIZING OF OPPORTUNITY
Sub-subtopic:   ASSISTANCE TO PROVINCES
Permalink
LIB

Robert Cauchon

Liberal

Mr. Robert Cauchon (Beauharnois):

Mr. Speaker, members on both sides of the house realize the importance of education. I need not draw the attention of the government to this matter, since it has already appointed a commission to inquire into the educational standards of the Canadian people, and the ways and means of improving them. This commission is known as the Massey commission. So far, the manner in which this commission has performed its duties has brought nothing but commendation.

In the meantime, the government has not remained inactive and after having heard the Minister of National Health and Welfare (Mr. Martin) read a list of the grants made to various universities in this country, all will agree that they are endeavouring to promote education in Canada. The government has done everything that could possibly be done without encroaching upon the rights of the provinces.

Allow me to congratulate the Minister of National Health and Welfare for the assistance afforded to our veterans with regard to education.

After the commission has submitted its report and has made known the shortcomings, if any, of our educational system, the government will undoubtedly carry out these recommendations, and thus be in a position to solve the problem of education after having agreed to increase its grants to the provinces, while, at the same time, safeguarding provincial autonomy.

I do not wish to speak at any length on this subject. I am opposed to this resolution in its present form because, first of all, it is premature and, second, because it infringes on the rights of the various provinces.

(Text):

Topic:   EDUCATION
Subtopic:   EXPANDING AND EQUALIZING OF OPPORTUNITY
Sub-subtopic:   ASSISTANCE TO PROVINCES
Permalink
LIB

Thomas Andrew Murray Kirk

Liberal

Mr. T. A. M. Kirk (Digby-Yarmouth):

Mr. Speaker,-

Topic:   EDUCATION
Subtopic:   EXPANDING AND EQUALIZING OF OPPORTUNITY
Sub-subtopic:   ASSISTANCE TO PROVINCES
Permalink
?

Some hon. Members:

Question.

Topic:   EDUCATION
Subtopic:   EXPANDING AND EQUALIZING OF OPPORTUNITY
Sub-subtopic:   ASSISTANCE TO PROVINCES
Permalink
LIB

James Ralph Kirk

Liberal

Mr. Kirk (Digby-Yarmoulh):

May I assure hon. members that I did not call "question" when they spoke. I shall take only a few moments to speak on a subject concerning which I had prepared copious notes. However, it is not my intention tonight to repeat the arguments made earlier. I believe, as did those who spoke earlier, that this is a matter of great national importance.

In speaking tonight I do so without attempting either to support or to oppose the resolution, but rather to bring out certain points which have not been mentioned before. I do this without in any way trying to twist the words of any previous speakers or to paint any black pictures.

It has been mentioned by several speakers that education is within the jurisdiction of the provinces. There is no point in my discussing that matter further. It is only fair to say however that the national government has been most active in promoting certain phases of education. Our federal government has been most scrupulous in trying to meet its constitutional obligations in respect of the protection of the rights of the provinces and the rights of minorities.

In discussing this matter there are certain points which must be taken into consideration. It has been my hope not only to ask but to answer some of those questions. First, have those who are supporting or who have been opposing the resolution as worded taken into consideration our educational history, particularly with regard to finances, both in the past and at the present time? Have they considered the method by which technical and vocational education were introduced in Canada? Have they considered to any great extent the federal government's present participation in education? Have they thought of the difficulties that occurred in the United States when under W.P.A. they began issuing grants very freely for the building of school plants? Have they thought of the system of scholarships in effect in other countries? Most important, have they thought just what the expression "equal educational opportunity", which has become almost a cliche, really means? Have they thought at what level they would like to have federal educational aid? Is it to be at the primary level, the secondary level or the university level?

Several speakers have made the suggestion that if we were to spend twice or three times as much on education we would have a system twice or three times as good. However, not one of them carried his argument further; each was content to make only the bald statement. I do not see how we can assume that by spending twice or three times as much we shall of necessity have a much better system of education.

I feel I must reply to two or three statements made by members on both sides of the house regarding education in the maritime provinces. I believe I can speak with some little authority-certainly I can so far as education in Nova Scotia is concerned-

Education

because as I said a few days ago I spent practically all my adult life working in the field of education in that province.

When the suggestion is made, as it was by at least one speaker, that Nova Scotia does not have a good educational system, or a system not as good as that in some other provinces, I should like to know by what method we are going to measure the system? Earlier speakers suggested that whether or not a teacher was paid $1,150 in one area and $1,152.40 in another, it did not necessarily follow that the teacher would be any better or that the type of service given would be any better.

It has been said that certain provinces have spent a great deal more for their physical plant and equipment. This is true. But it does not necessarily follow that the education will be better in proportion to the additional amount of money spent. I do not believe it is generally realized-certainly it is not by some who spoke earlier today-that in Nova Scotia we have embarked within the last decade upon a system of improving considerably our physical plant and equipment, in securing better training for our teachers, and planning new types of school buildings we propose to build within the next few years. We plan for approximately seventy-five rural high schools and consolidated high schools, which will mean that practically every boy and girl in Nova Scotia will have rural high school and consolidated school facilities available to them.

We have under construction at the present time two regional vocational high schools. They are being financed partially by grants under the Vocational Training Co-ordination Act of 1942. We propose during the next few years, if the municipalities in the areas concerned are as interested in the plan as the counties of Yarmouth and Halifax have been, to build at least three more regional vocational high schools. At the same time we are doing this we are spending much more money on education than we did before. I do not think that any hon. member should stand up in this house and suggest that, because we are not spending as much per capita, as much per pupil or as much in total as some of the other provinces, we have not as good an educational system.

There are several ways in which the dominion government takes part in education. Some have been mentioned and I should like to mention one or two. You may wonder why I go from a discussion of rural and vocational high schools to a discussion of the research council and other such matters, but as I mentioned earlier I do not want to repeat what previous speakers have said. I think the establishment of the research council

Education

represents one of the most constructive and forward steps ever taken in this country. I think we should look on it more as an institution for the promotion of the development of our natural and national resources than as an educational agency.

I wonder how many people realize that in the penitentiaries of Canada, which are under the jurisdiction of the national government, the federal government, in some cases with the assistance of the provincial government, is providing vocational and correspondence courses for the inmates so that when they come out they will be better fitted to earn their living and to lead a better life.

In Great Britain where the national government is responsible for education, as it has been for centuries, national scholarships have been set up. The same is true of the Union of South Africa where the national government is responsible for higher education. But in Canada, where the provinces have jurisdiction over education, as far as I know not one province has instituted a system of scholarships.

The words "equal educational opportunity" have been bandied about today and I venture to say that every single member in the house has a different interpretation of them. I sometimes think that we get a false impression. It is so easy to misinterpret the principle of equality as applied to education. There is a great diversity in the potentialities of children and I feel that the concept of equality is slightly improper. I would much prefer to use a term like equitable distribution of educational opportunity.

It must be remembered that in applying this principle the governments themselves have nothing with which to meet the obligation. Regardless of their geographical location or the areas under their jurisdiction they do not have any funds. The funds must come from the people themselves. Whether it be at the municipal, the provincial or the federal level, the funds must come from the individual taxpayer. There are those who feel that the national government could help both the municipal and the provincial governments to provide education by relieving them of certain other services. There are those who believe that education should be paid for by a threefold association at the municipal, the provincial and federal levels. There are those who think that the government should give assistance in the form of grants in aid. There are others who feel that there should be no federal assistance whatsoever.

Provincial autonomy is greatly cherished in all parts of Canada, and particularly so with reference to education. Those who feel that there should be federal aid say that that aid can be provided without there being

federal control. Those who are opposed to federal aid say that if we do have such aid there will be federal control. In other words, he who pays the piper calls the tune.

I think it was the hon. member for York West (Mr. Adamson) who said that this was more than an academic discussion, and I quite agree. This is a discussion in which one must consider .carefully the effect upon the country's economy and at the same time consider the variety of educational facilities provided in the different parts of Canada. I feel that a discussion such as this has been worth while. It has given us and the people of the country an opportunity to consider the problem and to decide whether there should be federal aid for education.

Topic:   EDUCATION
Subtopic:   EXPANDING AND EQUALIZING OF OPPORTUNITY
Sub-subtopic:   ASSISTANCE TO PROVINCES
Permalink
LIB

James Allen (Jim) Byrne

Liberal

Mr. J. A. Byrne (Kootenay East):

Mr. Speaker, like the speaker who has just taken his seat, I submit that the cost of education, regardless of how it is raised or how it is administered, must come from the individual taxpayer. To say that the cost will be provided by a central organization does not indicate that that cost is going to be decreased. I firmly believe that it would tend toward increasing the cost of education.

Those who are responsible for the expenditure of money, whether it be for education or for any other purpose, will I think in great measure be more discriminating and more careful as to the ways in which they expend our money, if they also be responsible for the raising of money. There is no argument against that fact. By keeping the administration of education and schools in the smaller areas it will tend toward making available a greater measure of voluntary work and therefore to a great degree reduce the actual cost of administration and so on.

I think it was the hon. member for York West (Mr. Adamson) who argued that because ten thousand new homes were being built in Toronto there would have to be large expenditures for school purposes in that particular area. That is quite true, but it must be remembered that new families will be moving into such areas and it does not follow that the people in some other area should take over the responsibility of educating those children. In an endeavour to bring the federal government into the picture the hon. member argued that this was a federal housing project. That is quite true, but it must be remembered that in most cases the federal government is paying 75 per cent of the cost, with the provincial government paying 25 per cent. New sources of taxation are brought into being by the federal government which will go into the general fund of the provincial government, who are thus responsible for any

further assistance needed in connection with education. These areas will also bring in additional taxes to the municipality which is responsible for the basic administration of the schools. I certainly agree wholeheartedly with everyone who has spoken previously in this debate that the question of education is of the utmost importance. We must go just as far as we can in every respect, but I do not think it follows that by centralization and bringing the federal government into the matter we shall improve the picture a very great deal.

Topic:   EDUCATION
Subtopic:   EXPANDING AND EQUALIZING OF OPPORTUNITY
Sub-subtopic:   ASSISTANCE TO PROVINCES
Permalink
CCF

Stanley Howard Knowles (Whip of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation)

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

Mr. Knowles:

Are you opposed to federal aid to education?

Topic:   EDUCATION
Subtopic:   EXPANDING AND EQUALIZING OF OPPORTUNITY
Sub-subtopic:   ASSISTANCE TO PROVINCES
Permalink
PC

James Arthur Ross

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Ross (Souris):

He is just talking it out.

Topic:   EDUCATION
Subtopic:   EXPANDING AND EQUALIZING OF OPPORTUNITY
Sub-subtopic:   ASSISTANCE TO PROVINCES
Permalink
LIB

George James McIlraith (Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Liberal

Mr. Mcllraith:

You have had a chance to speak. Let others have a chance.

Topic:   EDUCATION
Subtopic:   EXPANDING AND EQUALIZING OF OPPORTUNITY
Sub-subtopic:   ASSISTANCE TO PROVINCES
Permalink
LIB

James Allen (Jim) Byrne

Liberal

Mr. Byrne:

The province of British Columbia set up a commission to investigate the cost of education. The result, the Cameron report which left the city of Kimberley in which I live in a most unfortunate position. The report really discriminated against that area, and I should like to explain in what way that came about. In the Cameron report there was a great deal of sympathy for the poorer or rural areas. This is merely an illustration to show that just because we have the larger authority giving instructions it does not always work out for the best of all concerned. I want to prove that is not the case. The recommendation in the Cameron report was that rural areas would not be charged in excess of 8 mills on their property, houses and so on. The Cameron report also recommended large municipal school areas where it would be necessary to bring school children in from rural areas by bus. The recommendation of 8 mills for rural areas overlooked the fact that a large number of people living in what might be called the suburbs of Kimberley were people who were working and enjoying the same privileges in every way as those living within the city. They were all working for the one large mining company. The people outside the municipality of Kimberley enjoyed a very low mill rate of 8 mills on the dollar for school purposes whereas in many instances people in poorer circumstances than those on the outskirts are paying in the neighbourhood of 40 mills on their assessments. Therefore it is easy to see that the people in the city are paying for the transportation to school of those in the outlying districts and providing them with the same facilities obtainable by those within the municipality. That is a question that has to be worked out, and I am sure that with further consideration it will be.

Education

Topic:   EDUCATION
Subtopic:   EXPANDING AND EQUALIZING OF OPPORTUNITY
Sub-subtopic:   ASSISTANCE TO PROVINCES
Permalink
CCF

Joseph William Noseworthy

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

Mr. Noseworthy:

Question.

Topic:   EDUCATION
Subtopic:   EXPANDING AND EQUALIZING OF OPPORTUNITY
Sub-subtopic:   ASSISTANCE TO PROVINCES
Permalink

May 22, 1950