December 3, 1952


The house resumed, from Tuesday, December 2, consideration of the motion of Mr. J. L. Deslieres for an address to His Excellency the Governor General in reply to his speech at the opening of the session, and the amendment thereto of Mr. Drew, and the amendment to the amendment of Mr. Coldwell.


PC

Alfred Johnson Brooks

Progressive Conservative

Mr. A. J. Brooks (Royal):

Mr. Speaker, for a short time this afternoon I wish to discuss some matters which I know are of general interest to the people of Canada, and also some particular matters which are of interest to my own province of New Brunswick and the other maritime provinces.

Before discussing those matters I want to join with those who have already paid tribute to the mover and seconder of the address. I did not have the pleasure of listening to their speeches but I have read them and I

The Address-Mr. Brooks agree that they were good, from the government's standpoint at least. I also extend congratulations, Mr. Speaker, to the new cabinet ministers-the member for Vancouver Centre (Mr. Campney) and the member for Coast-Capilano (Mr. Sinclair). The member for Coast-Capilano has been appointed Minister of Fisheries and we in the maritime provinces are always interested, of course, in the appointee to this cabinet position; because, as everyone knows, fisheries is one of the great industries of our province.

I was somewhat surprised, Mr. Speaker, at all these appointments-surprised that three of them should come from the province of British Columbia. When I say "three of them" I refer to the appointment of the Hon. Mr. Mayhew as ambassador to Japan as well. I think it is a very good appointment but, as I say, I was surprised that British Columbians should be picked for all these very important positions.

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LIB

George Alexander Cruickshank

Liberal

Mr. Cruickshank:

A real province.

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PC

Alfred Johnson Brooks

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Brooks:

When, parliamentary assistants were appointed, we understood that they were appointed so that they might become conversant with some particular cabinet position in order that later on they might be appointed to that position. I thought that this was a sound policy. Just why the hon. member for Coast-Capilano (Mr. Sinclair), who had been parliamentary assistant to the Minister of Finance, was appointed to the Department of Fisheries I do not understand. I doubt if he had very many qualifications for the position, and we were greatly surprised.

We have had a parliamentary assistant to the Minister of Fisheries who came from the maritime provinces. When there were three appointments to be made, Mr. Speaker, we did feel that one of those appointments could very well have come to the maritime provinces, to Prince Edward Island. If these appointments were made as a reward for services to the government, the province of Prince Edward Island has certainly shown more indication, in recent years at least, of supporting the Liberal party than has the province of British Columbia.

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LIB

George Alexander Cruickshank

Liberal

Mr. Cruickshank:

Oh, nonsense.

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Alfred Johnson Brooks

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Brooks:

We only have to go back to the recent provincial elections-

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LIB

George Alexander Cruickshank

Liberal

Mr. Cruickshank:

Where did the Tories

get?

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PC

Alfred Johnson Brooks

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Brooks:

The Tories were pulled down by the Grits. They associated with them for too long, and it was very unfortunate.

The Address-Mr. Brooks

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LIB

George Alexander Cruickshank

Liberal

Mr. Cruickshank:

You had better change your leader again.

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Alfred Johnson Brooks

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Brooks:

As I say, I was surprised that Prince Edward Island, which is the home of the parliamentary assistant to the Minister of Fisheries, was not honoured. In the past when members of the Liberal government or the prime ministers have been defeated in other parts of Canada, they came down to Prince county in Prince Edward Island seeking a seat. I believe it was rather discourteous to overlook Prince Edward Island in this connection, and to overlook the parliamentary assistant from Prince.

Now, Mr. Speaker, the speech from the throne contains many interesting items. It is not my intention to discuss all of them this afternoon; in fact it would be impossible to do so. We are interested, of course, in the international wheat agreement. Wheat is of great concern, not only to the people of the west but to the people of the world. With the great crop of wheat in western Canada this year, the matter of markets is now of great concern to Canada.

We are interested also in the note regarding the St. Lawrence seaway. This matter was discussed last year, and it does not require much discussion at the present time. I believe that the people of Canada were very proud indeed when they learned that the development of the St. Lawrence seaway was to be carried out by Canada alone. It was a great source of pride for our people.

We are interested also in the item referring to national health grants. This subject will be discussed at greater length later on, but this matter of health is one of the most important with which we have to deal. I should like to read an item which refers to the health of the people of our dominion. This item appeared in the press a short time ago and the heading is "Says More than half Unfit for Service". It is dated, Kitchener, Ontario, November 12, and reads as follows:

Lt. Col. H. V. Matthews of Toronto said last night that more than 50 per cent of youths trying to enlist in Canada are unlit for military service.

He told a Remembrance Day gathering that of those accepted, many break down under training and have to be discharged.

"We reject more people than we accept."

He said he deplored lack of cleanliness among troops, apathy towards sport, absenteeism and illiteracy, and lack of ability of the men to look after themselves.

Colonel Matthews is commanding officer of a rifle battalion at camp Ipperwash.

I feel that this is a very sad commentary upon the condition of the young men of this dominion. It is a great reflection also on the propaganda which has been sent out by the

health department, because they have been trying to make the people believe that the health of our people is good.

In that article there is a particular reference to the apathy of the men towards sports. Sports is a very interesting subject in itself, Mr. Speaker, and I hope that at some time it may come in for a general discussion in this house. When I say "sports" I mean sports that are part of the national life of this country. I do not mean sports such as we read about recently where 27,000 people got together and cheered for athletes who were paid, and who came from a foreign country. I mean sports in which our young people take part, and where their prowess is reflected in what they do in international sports such as the Olympic games, the empire games or other international sports as well as sports at home.

The most important item in the speech from the throne was the reference to the visit of the Prime Minister (Mr. St. Laurent) to London. The paragraph reads:

My Prime Minister and my Minister of Finance will attend the meeting of the prime ministers of the commonwealth to open In London later this month to consider important economic and monetary problems.

Our Prime Minister and Minister of Finance (Mr. Abbott) are there already. I am sure I express the wish of every member in this house when I say that we hope that they have every success. This matter of commonwealth trade is something which concerns not only the people of the commonwealth but the people of western Europe, the people of the United States, and in fact the whole free world. I listened to the hon. member for Charlotte (Mr. Stuart) a few days ago, and despite what the hon. member said I do not agree with his reference to trade with the United States. We are greatly interested, of course, in trade with the United States, but we should be more interested in the development of trade with Great Britain and the commonwealth countries.

In the past Great Britain and the commonwealth were the countries to which we exported most of our products. I hope the time will come again when these channels of export will be opened up and the commonwealth will again become the recipient of most of the exports from this country. A few days ago I read an article entitled "The Buying Picture". It reads as follows:

The official Canadian statistics reveal the following picture; Britain purchased from Canada during the first eight months of this year products valued at $537 million, but Canada purchased from Britain during this same period British goods and commodities valued at only $228 million.

We are buying just 50 per cent of the amount of goods from Britain that she is purchasing from us.

During this same eight months, however, Canada purchased from the United States goods and commodities valued at no less than $1,917 million, or Canada purchased approximately eight times as much from the United States as she purchased from Britain.

The article goes on to say:

The problem is, then, for Britain to sell more goods in Canada so that Canada can buy more goods from Britain.

Trade with Great Britain and with the commonwealth countries, while it is of the utmost importance to the people of Canada in general, is particularly important to the people of the maritime provinces. It is not so long ago that we considered Great Britain, for instance, to be our best market for our long lumber and for our apples. If you go to Nova Scotia today, down in the Annapolis valley, you will find that where, not many years ago, they were exporting many millions of bushels of apples to Great Britain, today this trade has all dried up, much to the detriment of that beautiful part of Canada in Nova Scotia. We in New Brunswick, in years past, found a great market in Great Britain for pit props. I listened to the hon. member for Gloucester (Mr. Robichaud) the other evening; I am not going to repeat what he so eloquently presented to the house. Great Britain was a great market for Canadian pit props and she would be today, just as she would be a great market for much of our pulpwood, if she was only in a position to purchase from us.

In days gone by the British West Indies were also a great market for the people of the maritime provinces and could be again a great market for the people of Canada in general. In connection with the British West Indies I might say that we have noted in the press in recent years articles which seem to imply that the West Indies are today at loose ends, that they are looking around for some country or some place in which they can find more security. My opinion is that the British West Indies could well become, both politically and economically, a part of this great country of ours and I should like to see the day come when she is, because I believe it would be to the great advantage of the people in the maritimes especially if the British West Indies were the eleventh province of this dominion.

We in Canada want millions of dollars' worth of the products of the West Indies. They need our fish, our lumber, our manufactured products and our farm products. The West Indies being a tropical country, we need their fruits like bananas, grapefruit and

The Address-Mr. Brooks other products such as cane sugar. At the present time we are buying great quantities of sugar from Cuba. We could buy sugar from the West Indies. We could also buy- and I suppose we do-much of our rum from the West Indies. It is a tropical country; we are a northern country. As I say, it would be a great advantage to a great northern country like this if we had a tropical province such as the West Indies would be, in order to round out our country, as it were.

I believe the United States has her eyes on the West Indies at the present time. She is ever increasing her influence there. From the press we learn that Great Britain has been withdrawing, from necessity more or less, her influence in this part of the world. The United States is moving into airfields. Great Britain is taking out her troops. There is every reason to believe that the West Indies today are looking for some other country with which they might join. The logical country, to my mind, is our own country of Canada.

In speaking last year, I think it was, on the subject of our trade with Great Britain, I asked at that time whether we were buying as much as we could from Great Britain. At that time I pointed out that there were certain products such as television, certain military equipment, and so on, which we had been buying from the United States and which could have been bought more cheaply from Great Britain. At that time I also pointed out that the United States, which in its papers had been advising its people to "buy British", was not carrying out the instructions which it was giving to its people but rather was making large purchases elsewhere or at least was turning down purchases from Great Britain in the matter of hydro engines and generators. I quoted particularly the instance of Seattle, which could have bought from Britain generators for its great hydro plants at almost half the price which was paid in the United States. Still she turned Great Britain down. In commenting on that situation at that time the ambassador of Great Britain said: "Do they really want to trade with us or do they not?"

Just a short time ago I read an article in the Monetary Times. I think the leader of the Social Credit party mentioned this matter the other day. It had to do with the question of advertising British cars here in Canada at certain motor car exhibits. This is an article which was published in the Monetary Times of November of this year. The heading is "British Cars in Canada" and it reads as follows:

Action of Canadian motor car manufacturers in excluding British cars from two Canadian winter

The Address-Mr. Brooks

auto shows has been received with mixed feelings. Some United Kingdom motor manufacturers look upon it as a form of flattery and an admission that British-made cars constitute a serious threat to Canadian models. While they protest the ban on principle, they feel "quality will out" and Canadians will buy the car that gives them the most for the price.

In some circles the move is seen as being at odds with the "buy-British" drives of the past few years, and certainly spiking campaigns to sell more to Britain. Sir William Welsh, North American representative of the British Society of Motor Manufacturers, described it as "a rather strange interpretation of free enterprise," while others questioned Canadian chances of improving exports.

I think that article speaks for itself. There is another article in the Searle Grain bulletin which gives us an indication of how the western people feel with regard to our British markets. This article is headed "Buy British or Sell Canadian", and it reads as follows:

Great Britain is the largest single market for Canadian wheat and flour. Last year Britain purchased Canadian wheat and flour equivalent to 108 million bushels of wheat, which represented 30 per cent of all Canada's export sales of these commodities. Prairie farmers and all of us in Canada must then be greatly interested in doing everything we can to assist Britain to maintain these annual purchases and if possible to enlarge them. Britain can only continue to purchase large quantities of our wheat, flour and other Canadian products as long as Canadians in turn purchase large quantities of British goods, for that is the only way by which Britain can secure the necessary Canadian dollars with which to buy our Canadian products.

That is the reason I say, Mr. Speaker, that I am sure that members of this house hope that some arrangement will be made at this conference which is being held in London at the present time so that there may be more trade between our country and Great Britain and the British commonwealth.

There is a matter to which I wish to refer particularly this afternoon. It has to do with the military training area which is being established in the province of New Brunswick. I am sorry that the Minister of National Defence (Mr. Claxton) is not in his seat, because this is a matter which concerns his department, and it is one in which I know he is very much interested. It was recently necessary for us in Canada to establish a training area. This became very evident to our department and the government and to the people here a few years ago when we found, very much to the surprise of us all, that there was not sufficient accommodation in Canada for the training of our troops to send either to Korea or to Germany. The result was that the Canadian troops had to be trained in the United States. This, as I say, amazed the people of Canada. They were amazed to find that in this great, broad country of ours we could not find a suitable training area for our men, and had to send them into a foreign country to be trained.

We were not surprised, therefore, when the government and the department began looking around for a suitable training area in Canada. We received very little information from the Department of National Defence with reference to the selection of this training area. In December, 1951, I asked the minister what was being done in connection with the development of a military training area in Canada, and he said that it was under consideration. Again, in April, 1952-that is last session-I asked the minister a question regarding the selection of a training area. At that time he had no definite information, but simply stated that the matter was still being considered, and that certain areas were being inspected. There was no information when the house closed on July 4 of this year; but when I went down to my own province of New Brunswick I heard rumours around that a part of my constituency of Royal was to be selected as a training area. I wrote to the minister on July 16, and had a reply from him. Again he said that the matter was under consideration and that he could give no definite information regarding it.

On August 1 the announcement was made that a training area had been selected in New Brunswick, and the area selected was, as I say, part of the constituency of Royal, an area not far from the Saint John river. That was the first intimation that the people of New Brunswick, or the people of that area, had that this big training area was being selected. I think I am putting it mildly when I say that it came as a great shock to the people living in this area to read in the newspapers that their homes were to be taken from them and that this was to be a military area.

It was a notice that they had to leave their homes, that they had to leave their farms, and that they had to leave all their communities and all their associations. This will be done, Mr. Speaker, at great sacrifice. It is not easy for people to pick up and leave home; it is not easy for them to leave their churches, their schools, their friends and societies. There are over 1,100 families in this area in Queens and Sunbury counties of New Brunswick. There are over 1,100 homes, and the people in those homes have to be displaced. They are splendid people; they are people whose ancestors lived in that section of the country for four and five generations. It is one of the oldest settled parts of the county of Queens in the province of New Brunswick.

As I have said, all these people wanted was to be sure that the site was required, and all they read was what they saw in the newspapers in a short article. I have it here. It

simply says: "Huge New Brunswick army campsite is confirmed. Land purchases for big project will begin soon." The people wanted to be sure first that it was necessary for them to leave their homes, to leave their churches, to leave their societies, to leave all that they had had in the past; that it was necessary for the defence of this country.

I repeat, Mr. Speaker, that the Minister of National Defence, in connection with a matter such as this, should have gone down and told these people why it was necessary for them to leave their homes. As I said, there are 1,100 families, some 2,500 people, to be moved out. This matter should not have been first announced in the newspapers. This was a great shock to them.' The minister owed a duty to these people, a duty which should have been carried out. If the minister himself could not have made the visit, then the Minister of Labour (Mr. Gregg), who is our representative in the cabinet, and the deputy minister of national defence, might have done it; but it was not done. Instead of that, Mr. Speaker, a false impression was given. The impression was given that this area was being selected by politicians. In the article of August 2, after the announcement of the campsite was made we have under the caption "Worked to get campsite" the pictures of the three members of parliament, the hon. member for Saint John-Albert (Mr. Riley), the hon. member for Charlotte (Mr. Stuart) and myself. The article goes on to say:

Three New Brunswick members of parliament who took leading roles in the campaign to have Canada's biggest military training base established in New Brunswick are seen above.

Well, I was in this house all during the time that I have mentioned. No mention of this campsite in New Brunswick was ever made. These people, who as I say should have been advised by the Department of National Defence, read in the paper that this campsite was more or less selected by members of parliament. They asked me, as they h&d a right to ask, what qualifications, for instance, has the hon. member for Saint John-Albert to pick out a campsite for the training of a brigade or a division in this country? They asked of the hon. member for Charlotte, what are his qualifications?

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PC

Gordon Knapman Fraser

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Fraser:

None.

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PC

Alfred Johnson Brooks

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Brooks:

They could ask of me, what are my qualifications? I think I have a little more perhaps than either of the other two because I have some little experience; but none of us had any qualifications. These people who are losing their homes wanted to know why it was that three politicians should be mentioned as having been responsible for 6S108-20

The Address-Mr. Brooks getting a campsite down in the province of New Brunswick. They were satisfied that there was only one way in which a campsite should be chosen, namely, by the best military experts that there are in this country visiting that site and visiting other sites and selecting a site which they considered the best; and after having visited the site and made their selection then they should have reported to the government. The government made the decision, as I said a moment ago. Then the Minister of National Defence or some other outstanding person from his department should have gone to these people, who are being asked to make so great a sacrifice, and explained to them why it was that they would have to leave their homes, and leave everything which they have cherished over a great many years.

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LIB

Andrew Wesley Stuart

Liberal

Mr. Stuart (Charlotte):

I wonder whether I could ask the hon. gentleman a question.

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PC

Alfred Johnson Brooks

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Brooks:

Yes.

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LIB

Andrew Wesley Stuart

Liberal

Mr. Stuart (Charlotte):

Is the hon. member prepared to state that he is in favour of having a campsite in New Brunswick or not?

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Alfred Johnson Brooks

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Brooks:

I am the only one of all the members of the province of New Brunswick who ever advocated a campsite in that province. I also say to my hon. friend that I am not opposed to the campsite where it is today if, as these people wish to be assured, it is in the interests of the defence of this country, and if no other comparable campsite could have been obtained without the displacement of 1,100 families.

I know what my hon. friend means. This campsite is partly in my constituency. I have said, and I repeat today, that more care should have been taken in making the selection. Some of my opponents have tried to make it appear that I have been opposed to a campsite in New Brunswick. I am asking the minister to give us a report not only on the campsite to which I am referring, but on the other five campsites, or prospective sites, which were inspected.

I would ask for a report on the campsite near Utopia, in my hon. friend's constituency. I advocated in the house that it should have been chosen as the campsite for New Brunswick. Why? Because the department already has a large military camp in the area, and some millions of dollars have been spent at Utopia. We have an airfield there, we have headquarters, we have sewage and water facilities. In addition there is an extensive area at the rear in which no one is living- there are no 1,100 families to be displaced. True, one might find a few families, but there would be no great displacement of people.

298 HOUSE OF

The Address-Mr. Brooks

Then, near Utopia is the bay of Fundy; and in these days, when we read of military manoeuvres, what better site could we have for combined operations than one near the bay of Fundy, where ships could be used? An airfield is already established at camp Utopia, and there is also a great back area that could be used for the manoeuvring of army personnel.

Utopia I tho^feht would have made an excellent campsite. I still think so; and until the Minister of National Defence gives the House of Commons and the people of Canada the reason why it was not selected, and the area on the Saint John river was, I will continue to have that opinion.

I have this further to say. If it is necessary for these people to make this sacrifice in the defence of Canada, I am sure they are willing to do so. A few moments ago I made reference to the people in that area, and I can say there are no finer in New Brunswick. One has only to go back to the records of the last two wars to learn the calibre and the patriotism of these people. They have their war memorials on which the names of their dead are carved. They have their honour rolls, which compare more than favourably with those of most other sections of equal size. They have good farm land and good dairy herds; some of the finest in the province are found in this area. Adjacent to it is a large dairy. Seventy-five per cent of the milk and cream comes from this area.

If these people are to be displaced, then let me impress upon the government the fact that they must be well paid. They must receive more than mere payment for their lands. They must be paid not only for their lands alone but also for the sacrifice they are making. It is not easy for people to leave their friends, their communities, their society, their schools-yes, and their cemeteries. I am told it is the intention of the department to take up the bodies of those who have been buried there for years and to move them to other cemeteries in the province.

This whole area, which for five generations or more has been the home of some of our best New Brunswick citizens, is to be practically obliterated, and they are to be scattered to wherever they can find other homes. Not only is the cost of the farms involved, but the further fact that these farmers have been spending much of their time looking at other places in the province, and in other provinces, to which they may move.

This year they are selling off their stock, so that they will not have the income from cattle that they had last year. They have

made no provision for next year's crops, because they are to be moved out. The result is that they will have no income. I would hope that when the department is considering the purchase of the farms from these people it will take into careful consideration the matters I have mentioned and others.

I shall discuss only briefly the question of employment. I believe the minister's department has given the guarantee that citizens of this area will be given preference in filling the 2,000 or 3,000 jobs that will be available. That is only right. However, only a week ago I received a wire from people down there saying that employees were being brought in from other provinces to work in this area. Upon making inquiry I was told by the department that it would investigate the matter.

We do not want that sort of thing. There is much unemployment in New Brunswick today. Let me impress upon the department and the government that it is not necessary to bring in workers from other provinces to this area, except to do some technical work which the people in the area might not be capable of performing.

In the matter of purchases of produce and the like, I should hope that the farmers of the surrounding area and New Brunswick in general would be given preference.

Then, large quantities of coal will be required. Arrangements will have to be made so that New Brunswick coal can be used. Suitable heating equipment will have to be set up for this purpose. I know that the coal miners association of New Brunswick located at Minto has been in touch with the government, and has given all the particulars in the matter. I would simply renew these representations. The Minto coal area is only a few miles away from the area in question, and I suggest it would be both convenient and economic for the department to obtain its coal supplies from the Minto area. This certainly should be done.

I do not intend to discuss this subject at greater length this afternoon, except to say to the government that I ask-yes, I demand -that the people in this area who are making the sacrifice not only for the people of their own province but, as they have been told, for the whole of Canada, shall be treated justly and fairly.

My time has almost expired. It had been my intention to deal with another item in the speech from the throne connected with veterans affairs. There will be an opportunity to do that later. However, I notice that the benefits provided under the Veterans Benefit Act are to be continued. This is

something which is of course a routine matter and will be continued as long as the Korean war is in progress. The second item is education for children whose fathers died during war service. This is something which has been recommended by the Canadian Legion and the veterans affairs committee on different occasions, and I am very pleased to note that the government is now taking the matter under consideration.

The Prime Minister, when discussing in his speech the other day the increases for veterans asked for by different members, said that the hon. member for Royal had asked for many such increases. That is a fact and I make no apology for having done so. When the government came before the veterans affairs committee in 1948, for instance, and offered the veterans of this country an increase of 10 per cent in their pensions, I moved an amendment that the increase be 33J per cent. At that time they were raised by 25 per cent and today the increase is greater than 33J per cent. I feel I was quite justified, as were other members, in asking for that increase.

When the pensions were increased in 1951 we asked for an increase in war veterans allowances. It was justified then and if it had been given at that time many of our old soldiers who suffered during the winter of 1951 would have had a much easier and more comfortable time. I and other members asked for an increase at that time. The increase for which I had asked was given in 1952, and in the eyes of the government it was then justified. I have asked time and again for increases. If there is a veterans affairs committee this session, as I feel there should be, I shall again ask for what I believe to be reasonable consideration for war veterans.

We have had the different veterans organizations before us in the veterans affairs committee many times. They have presented their briefs on these occasions but I have never felt that the veterans and pensioners of this country were trying to exploit the government and the taxpayers of Canada. I have always felt that what they asked for was reasonable, just and right and that their only object in making such requests was to improve the situation of their comrades and other veterans.

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LIB

Emmett Andrew McCusker (Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of National Health and Welfare)

Liberal

Mr. E. A. McCusker (Regina City):

Mr. Speaker, I was gratified to hear the assurance given to the house by the Prime Minister (Mr. St. Laurent) two weeks ago when he said that he had impressed upon the royal commission inquiring into the South Saskatchewan river project the urgency of submitting a report with the greatest possible dispatch.

6S108-20J

The Address-Mr. McCusker The Prime Minister said at that time that he would be disappointed if the commission's report was not available before Christmas. As a member from Saskatchewan, I have naturally followed the deliberations and the progress of the commission with very close interest, and I shall have more to say on the matter when the report is made public.

I have risen to speak in the throne speech debate because of a subject that is of particular interest to me as a physician and because of my association with the Department of National Health and Welfare as parliamentary assistant to the minister. I welcome the reference in the throne speech debate to the extension, with certain changes, of the federal national health program. I might say here that it has given me particular pleasure to note the great interest displayed in this subject by various speakers who have preceded me. However, there seems to be a certain amount of misunderstanding because a number of members referred to a "proposed" national health plan. Surely hon. members are not unaware that there is a very ambitious national health plan under which the federal government has, during the past four and a half years, spent approximately $100 million. I believe they made available for this plan approximately $167 million but the provincial services had not advanced sufficiently to be able to absorb the grants as rapidly as they were offered.

Because of this program greater health progress has been made during these four and a half years than during any other similar period in Canada's history. I am sure every member of the house would give his full support to any measure that would help to strengthen the health services available to the people of this country. For this reason the house will await with interest a statement in due course that will amplify the government's intention as expressed in the speech from the throne. I am sure it will readily agree that any statement of government policy in this regard should be made by the Minister of National Health and Welfare (Mr. Martin). As hon. members know, the minister is now attending the general assembly of the United Nations where he is acting as chairman of the Canadian delegation. I think I can assure hon. members that on his return he will give the house more information as to the next steps that are proposed in our national health plan.

My purpose in speaking today then is not to outline future plans but rather to clear up certain misunderstandings that now seem to exist as to the purpose, the scope and the progress of Canada's national health plan. The house now has before it an

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The Address-Mr. McCusker amendment to the amendment moved by the hon. member for Rosetown-Biggar (Mr. Coldwell) on behalf of the socialist party of which he is the leader. This amendment expresses regret that the government has failed to recommend legislation establishing a nation-wide health insurance program, with provision for provincial administration. In order to see the problem in its proper perspective, it seems to me that we must examine two key questions suggested by the amendment itself. The first is: What is health insurance? Second, since the amendment to the amendment suggests provincial administration, we must take a look at the constitutional alignment of responsibilities in Canada in the health field.

Since we are considering a subamendment dealing with health insurance, it is important that every member of the house should have a clear appreciation of just what is meant by this term. Health insurance in the best sense is a good deal more than providing some method of prepaying costs of illness. I am afraid that when people think of health insurance too many of them think of it in the much more limited sense of sickness insurance, as I fear the hon. member for Rosetown-Biggar does.

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CCF

Major James William Coldwell

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

Mr. Coldwell:

Oh, no.

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LIB

Emmett Andrew McCusker (Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of National Health and Welfare)

Liberal

Mr. McCusker:

As a physician I recognize the importance of this aspect of health insurance. I realize the difficulty experienced by many families in meeting costs of hospitalization and medical care when sudden illness strikes. But as a physician I also recognize that any health insurance program worthy of the name should have a much broader objective. It should be a comprehensive plan organized and directed towards promoting good health. A comprehensive national health plan should include the establishment of adequate preventive, diagnostic and early treatment services and should encourage the full use of these services in order to see that every citizen will not only be assured of adequate care in the event of illness but will be encouraged to take positive steps toward the goal of good health. When a national health plan is considered in terms of these broader objectives it becomes clear what was meant by the late prime minister, the Right Hon. W. L. Mackenzie King, when, in announcing a national health program in 1948, he emphasized that the federal grants thus provided represented foundation measures and, indeed, the first steps in the overall development of a comprehensive national health plan. When we consider the program within this broader framework it must be evident to every member that much solid progress has already been made in Canada towards achieving our goal of the best health insurance system in the world.

In a few moments I wish to outline a few highlights of the national health plan, but before doing so let me say a word about the constitutional division of responsibility for health and welfare in this country. Governmental responsibility for health and welfare action in Canada provides an interesting study. In Canada at confederation there was no such thing as social welfare in the modern sense and, for this reason, there is no clear statement in the British North America Act placing social welfare under the jurisdiction of either provincial or federal governments. However, in the health field, apart from certain statutory responsibilities delegated to the federal government-such as control of food and drugs, sick mariners and others- the responsibility for health services is clearly placed in the hands of the provincial authorities.

Over the years the need for social action has increased and, gradually, public opinion has changed to favour a measure of national responsibility for welfare services. The pressure was no doubt increased by our experience during the depression years, when the municipal and provincial governments found it exceedingly difficult to bear the increasing costs of various social measures; and so the federal government has been asked to share more and more responsibility in this field.

The upward thrust of responsibility from municipal to provincial and from provincial to federal governments has been particularly marked during the post-war years, and we have seen the federal government progressively drawn into the health as well as the welfare field. To illustrate the vast increase in the extent of health and welfare measures, and to indicate the changing responsibilities, it might be useful to examine the changed pattern of social expenditures over the past twenty-five years. Let us compare health and welfare expenditures in 1926 to similar governmental expenditures in 1950. In this twenty-five-year period municipal expenditures on health and welfare increased from $21 million to $72 million. Provincial expenditures increased from $17 million to $238 million. Federal expenditures increased from $50 million to $723 million.

These figures clearly illustrate the increased cost of health and welfare measures and the vastly increased participation of the federal government in those fields. This year all governments in Canada will spend $1-25 billion on various health and welfare measures. Here I might remind hon. members that a clear distinction cannot be drawn between what is spent on health and what is spent on welfare. In the final analysis health and welfare are indivisible. For

example, family allowances, which provide greater economic security to the whole family, have their effect on the health of the people by making possible better standards of nutrition and more adequate medical and dental care. Other welfare grants such as old age pensions, veterans allowances, blind pensions, unemployment insurance, and I could name many others, all have their beneficial effects on health.

Today, however, I would like to deal only with those federal expenditures directly bearing on health. When the health grants came into effect in 1948 the federal government recognized that there were certain weaknesses and deficiencies in Canada's health services that could not be corrected within the limits of provincial budgets. The federal government decided, therefore, to make federal grants available to all provinces to assist them in improving their health facilities and thus to pave the way for the introduction of a comprehensive health plan.

There were three main areas in which the federal government felt that accelerated progress was needed and grants were accordingly directed towards those needs. The first was in health information. Basic information on the nation's health facilities and services and on our future needs was wholly inadequate. To offset this situation the government offered grants to each province for the purpose of conducting comprehensive surveys of the provinces' health resources. I shall have more to say about those surveys in a moment.

To supplement the information contained in the provincial surveys, the government undertook a national sickness survey to ascertain the incidence of ill health in this country, as well as the adequacy of health care available to the average Canadian family. We were short of facilities and equipment. To help overcome deficiencies in our health facilities, the government offered grants for hospital construction as well as for the establishment of clinics and other health services.

Grants were also made available for the training and employment of badly needed health workers and for the purchase of specialized equipment and supplies for local and provincial health services.

It was recognized that a great deal more could be done to combat such serious health problems as cancer, tuberculosis, mental illness, crippling conditions in children, arthritis and rheumatism.

Special grants were earmarked to help the provinces develop improved services and facilities in these fields.

The Address-Mr. McCusker Now let me say a word about provincial health surveys to which I have already referred. Let me emphasize that the preliminary work of building the necessary facilities and equipment with the aid of federal grants has, from the first, been recognized as an essential prelude to the inauguration of the insurance aspects of our national health plan. The purpose of the provincial surveys are twofold. Through the surveys accurate information would be made available on the future needs of the provinces and would provide for the intelligent utilization of the grants. The surveys would give each province an opportunity of indicating whether they felt they could now move on to some further stage of health insurance. Nine of the ten surveys have now been received and it is interesting to note the views they expressed.

In general, they commend the government on its grant program and reaffirm the fact that facilities and services will have to be brought to better levels before the next step can be taken with any assurance of success. In view of the wide publicity that has been given to the provincial surveys it seems rather astonishing that so much misinformation or lack of information seems to exist on the subject.

Let us consider statements in the past ten days by members of the three opposition parties in this house-first of all, the official opposition-the Progressive Conservative party. On November 24 the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Drew) said in this house, and I quote from page 29 of Hansard:

. . . there should be general agreement that the first and necessary step in dealing with this subject is to institute an inquiry which would be conducted by representatives of the medical profession, the hospital boards, the dominion, provincial and municipal governments.

Note that the Leader of the Opposition suggests that "the first step" in the institution of a national health plan is to conduct such an inquiry. He said that it would be improper for the dominion government to proceed further with its plan in this field without the most extensive inquiry to ascertain the basic facts upon which any sound approach to this problem must depend. Surely the Leader of the Opposition, for all his extensive travels in recent months, could not have gotten so completely out of touch with things in his own country that he was not aware that ten provincial surveys had already been conducted, nine completed, on the very kind of inquiry that he had suggested. Surely, the Conservative party is not so conservative that it still wants us to call conferences that have been called already, make studies that have already been made or draw plans that have

The Address-Mr. McCusker been drawn up. How could a party and its leader be so far out of touch with reality as to be unaware of what has taken place in the country for the past four and a half years.

The only parallel I can find for this state of amnesia is in the fabled sleep of Rip van Winkle. May I point out also that the artillery "used by the Conservatives in attacking the -government health program is just as rusty .and ineffective as was the old fowling piece =of Rip van Winkle after it had lain beside him during his twenty years of slumber.

The C.C.F. party do not want studies. They want action, headlong action, regardless of the consequences. Last session the C.C.F. party was embarrassed by the conservative views of the hon. member for Moose Jaw (Mr. Thatcher), whom I see sitting over there today. He would like to see the means test reimposed on old age pensions and extended to family allowances. What are his views on the demands of his party today? He has not heen allowed to express them. This time they are not taking any chances. Their leader has laid down the party line right at the start. The socialists who want the cooperation of the provinces should re-read the provincial health surveys. If they did, they would find that only two of these reports have suggested that the time is opportune.

The member for York South (Mr. Noseworthy) suggests that we take the health insurance plans of other countries, Sweden, France, Belgium, Holland, New Zealand or England, and superimpose them upon our own excellent health services. I submit that would be just as sensible as superimposing a Volkswagen body on a Cadillac chassis.

Then, last Wednesday, the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre (Mr. Knowles) again assured us that a national health plan is not something to be approached gradually. No; the C.C.F. would have us go ahead regardless of whether we are ready or not and regardless of the views of the provinces.

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CCF

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

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

Mr. Knowles:

Did you not just say that plans were already drawn?

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December 3, 1952