May 22, 1950

FLOOD CONDITIONS

MANITOBA

SC

Mr. Blackmore:

Social Credit

1. What sections of Manitoba were flooded by the

Red river in 1948? .

2. What was the estimated dollar cost of the flood damage of 1948?

3. Did the federal government aid in rehabilitating flooded areas of the Red river valley after the 1948 flood?

4. If so, how much did the federal government contribute in tendering such aid?

Topic:   FLOOD CONDITIONS
Subtopic:   MANITOBA
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GASPE COUNTY, QUEBEC, RETURNING OFFICER

PC

Mr. Balcer:

Progressive Conservative

1. In what year was C. E. Thibault appointed returning officer for the county of Gaspe?

2. On what date was he removed from office, and for what reasons?

Topic:   GASPE COUNTY, QUEBEC, RETURNING OFFICER
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LIB

Frederick Gordon Bradley (Secretary of State of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. Bradley:

Return tabled.

Topic:   GASPE COUNTY, QUEBEC, RETURNING OFFICER
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MOTIONS FOR PAPERS

PRAIRIE FARM ASSISTANCE, SASKATCHEWAN RONALD REYNOLDSON

PC

John George Diefenbaker

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Diefenbaker:

For a copy of all letters, telegrams and other documents in connection with the payment, under the Prairie Farm Assistance Act, to Ronald Reynold-son of section 36, township 21, range 26, west of the second meridian, district of Chamberlain, Saskatchewan.

Topic:   MOTIONS FOR PAPERS
Subtopic:   PRAIRIE FARM ASSISTANCE, SASKATCHEWAN RONALD REYNOLDSON
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FRASER RIVER BASIN BOARD

PC

Edmund Davie Fulton

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Fulton:

For a copy of the terms of reference or instructions on the basis of which the dominion-provincial Fraser river basin board was constituted, and also a copy of any further instructions issued to the board since its constitution, by the dominion government.

Topic:   FRASER RIVER BASIN BOARD
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EDUCATION

EQUALIZING OF OPPORTUNITY

CCF

Robert Ross (Roy) Knight

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

Mr. R. R. Knight (Saskatoon) moved:

That, in the opinion of this house, the government should take into consideration means of expanding and1 equalizing educational opportunity across Canada, by the granting of financial assistance to the various provinces for that purpose.

He said: May I say at the outset, Mr. Speaker, that there is nothing political about this proposal-and when I say "political", I mean in any partisan sense-because on both sides of this house there are members who are in favour of this resolution. It is the same resolution that I introduced at the last session of the house, on Wednesday, October 19, 1949. What I had to say then may be found at page 932 of Hansard and following pages. Today I do not wish to repeat the arguments I advanced at that time, but I want to supplement them and add something to them.

The resolution I moved last session received in the house a good response, which was reechoed in the country. At that time the resolution was spoken to, although the time was short, by the hon. members for Eglinton (Mr. Fleming), Portneuf (Mr. Gauthier), Carle-ton (Mr. Drew), and one or two others. The Prime Minister (Mr. St. Laurent) himself had a word or two to say about it. I hope he was enthusiastic about it, but, as in so many other cases, I presume that his enthusiasm was tempered, as it often is, by the consciousness of the responsibilities of power. I make this motion most sincerely, chiefly with the aim of winning over that small section of public opinion which remains opposed to it, and which I think is opposed largely on account of lack of information or wrong information.

The public opinion has changed greatly in this matter over the years.

At first, education was considered merely to be the responsibility of the parents. Later the parents were assisted by the churches; then we had compulsory education-and may I say in passing that that loss of freedom was followed by the opening of a good many wider freedoms. Then we had the imposition of general taxation for the purposes of education, and that has become as generally accepted as compulsory school attendance. Then we had

Education

the coming of the so-called free secondary education-a great step forward. I said "so-called free"; it is not really free. If it were, it would be participated in by everybody equally; but it is not so participated in. It is still true-and this is proven by statistics- that the economic status of the parents decides whether the children shall or shall not attend high school.

It might be of interest to consider for a moment who the children are who attend high school at the present time. I find that almost 100 per cent of the children of the professional classes attend high school; of business people, 85 per cent; of civil servants, about 65 per cent; of skilled labour, 59 per cent; of unskilled labour, 15 per cent. So that the statement that secondary education is in all cases free will hardly hold water.

I suggest that the support of education needs to be put on a sounder basis than exists at the present time. In times of great crisis, as in a war or in an economic depression, we find that education is one of the first casualties. We find too that the remedies that are prescribed are always short-time remedies. We find ourselves prepared to accept inferior teachers, or people who are not teachers at all, and that sort of thing.

Perhaps I shall say no more about that matter for the moment, and go on to the treatment that this resolution received at the last session when I gave my opinion in regard to federal aid.

I may say that I was supported in that resolution by many well-known educators in this country. I wrote a few of their names down. There was Dr. Althouse; Dr. Wallace, of Queens; Dr. Trueman, Mr. Lazerte, and in Ottawa Mr. P. J. Kennedy, from whom I quoted-he was speaking to the Knights of Columbus organization. I can cite many organizations which have endorsed the proposition; they include the Canadian Legion, the Canadian School Trustees Association, the Canadian Teachers Federation, and so on.

Following the debate last year, my desk was flooded with expressions of support from hundreds of individuals and organizations throughout this country, including professional organizations, labour organizations, farm organizations, co-operatives, and business organizations. I have no doubt that others received such expressions of opinion -in fact I know, because many members telephoned to me with regard to the matter, saying that they too had received letters asking for their support of the resolution.

What ideas must we put before the public in regard to this matter? First of all, I would

Education

say the necessity for and the importance of education. To this enlightened house I need not go into details about that. Then there are certain fears that we must get rid of. We must get rid of the fear in their minds that federal aid would involve federal control. I should like to quote from my own speech of last session in that regard; the sentence which I think covers it is to be found at page 935 of Hansard, as follows:

There is only one control that would be necessary by the federal government, as far as I can see, in granting-and note the words that follow-assistance to the provinces to get on with their own type of education. That control would be to see that money voted1 for the purpose of education was spent for that purpose.

And for that purpose alone. I had intended, sir, to put on the record a long paragraph from the Canadian Bar Review, volume 37, No. 5, by F. R. Scott, McGill law faculty, who is an authority on constitutional law. I do not know whether I might be allowed by the house to put the paragraph on in full. I can read it.

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

An hon. Member:

Read it. -

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

Robert Ross (Roy) Knight

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

Mr. Knighi:

I shall read the relevant part, and leave out the longer part. It reads as follows:

Certainly no constitutional principle prevents the federal government from evolving and initiating educational plans of this type. For such plans do not mean federal legislation on the subject of education itself, but rather the formulation of methods of financial assistance to existing forms of provincial education. The control over the organization of schools and the choice of curricula remains provincial.

That, sir, is the meat of the matter. To those who are interested I recommend that they read the whole paragraph, which appears on page 526 of a reprint from the Canadian Bar Review, and is entitled: "The federal government and education." The article itself is entitled: "Dominion jurisdiction over human rights and fundamental freedoms."

The third thing that public opinion seems more prepared to accept now than it used to be is equality of educational opportunities. The birthright of every child is a minimum standard of education, based not upon the wealth of the parent, of the local school district, or even of the province, but on the wealth and the resources of the whole country. In short, the principle of equality of educational opportunity is an intrinsic part of democracy as we understand it and as we like to practise it.

There are of course many precedents for federal aid to education. I listed them last year in my speech. I can mention one or two of them from memory. There were the D.V.A. grants, which I think everybody admits were

successful. There is the family allowance, which, 1 think it is fair to say, is a measure of aid to general education. There is vocational training, apprenticeship training, and so forth. Therefore we have precedents in the matter. I do not think anyone will say that our acceptance of these things involved federal control that had any general effect upon our freedom with respect to what we shall teach our children.

I said that there was a need for equality. Let me point out that at the present time there is great inequality in matters of education. There is first of all the difference in the extent to which people in different parts of the country are seized of the importance of education. I claim, of course, sir, that that is a sign at least of a lack of education on the part of those people. Some of the other implications are a difference in the professional standards of teachers, a difference in the standards required of those who go out and teach children who everywhere show no difference in the mass to begin with. I find, for example, that in one province the training of a teacher takes twenty times longer than it does in another. The degree of difference in the qualifications of teachers is greater than the degree of difference in the qualifications of the members of any other profession in this country. It is true to say that there is a difference in the economic wealth of the school districts themselves, and also of the provinces. The expression "the have and the have-not" which we have heard applied to provinces can be applied also to different types of communities on agricultural land, depending on whether the soil is productive or non-productive. Then there are differences among the provinces in the per capita expenditure on education. The last time I spoke on this matter I listed one province as.spending $31 per head on the education of its children, while another province, in the same year, was spending $83 per head.

There is a considerable difference in teachers' salaries. While I think teachers are as faithful in their duty as those of any other group, I still think that the salary that a teacher is paid is a fair standard of his ability to teach. I shall get into a controversy in some quarters over that remark, but I believe it to be generally, though not always true. This difference in salaries occurs between province and province, and it occurs particularly as between rural and urban districts.

There are also differences in the economic position of the parents. This has a decided bearing upon the attendance, not in our public schools perhaps, but certainly in the

high schools. As I pointed out earlier, there are tremendous differences in the amounts brought in by taxation on real estate. It is unfortunate that up to the present our educational funds have depended largely upon the value of the real estate in the district concerned. The granting of some basic federal aid to education would help to do away with this inequality of opportunity.

The other day the hon. member for York South (Mr. Noseworthy) -showed me the Forest Hill high school in the city of Toronto. I stood amazed at its efficiency, its magnificence, its equipment for every type of educational purpose. I thought of some little schools that I have seen where there were no books to read, and no equipment, and I said to myself: Surely there is a lack of educational equality in this country.

I have instanced these things at random. The figures are on record. I quoted some last year. The point is this. Some Canadian children are the innocent victims of a set of circumstances over which they have no control. Are we adults concerned about them? I know that education is a provincial matter. But members of this parliament are trustees charged with the well-being of the public and of the children of this country. Many of us are looking forward to the report of the Massey commission. Many briefs on this subject were presented to that body in various parts of the country. I have no doubt that when the report is received the government will have a comprehensive view of public opinion in this matter.

This brings me to a point which I think should be mentioned. There are certain preliminaries that are necessary to federal aid to education. The first one is investigation and research on the part of this dominion government to find out what the true condition of education is in this country. That work has already been initiated by various educational organizations. Some hold that this important matter should be a subject of conversation between the dominion and the provinces at the coming, dominion-provincial conference. One of the great difficulties is that our right hand does not know what our left hand is doing in the matter of education. The provinces have so zealously considered education to be a matter totally and solely within their jurisdiction that the general public in one province have only a vague idea as to what their neighbours in the next province are doing. In education they have no knowledge of its status, its scope or its method so far as it relates to other provinces.

In passing may I ask this question of hon. members: Shall we ever have national unity

Education

as we should like to have it in this country as long as that remains true? Since we have little knowledge of the subject as between provinces, then I suggest that the first expenditure of federal public money should be made on a survey of conditions of education in each of our provinces, so that their needs may be determined. This would be only a small expenditure in relation to the general aid I recommend. It is my opinion that federal aid should not be a grant across the board, but rather a grant according to proven need.

There is preliminary work to be done. Surely there is machinery in the federal department to initiate that work. The education branch of the bureau of statistics is doing a good job now, and it could be broadened and expanded, or a similar branch could be set up under the auspices of the Minister of National Health and Welfare.

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

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

Liberal

Mr. Martin:

We are doing quite a bit of that work now.

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

Robert Ross (Roy) Knight

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

Mr. Knight:

I know the minister is a busy man.

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

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

Liberal

Mr. Martin:

I said we are doing quite a bit of it already.

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

Robert Ross (Roy) Knight

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

Mr. Knight:

I am glad to hear that.

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

May 22, 1950