"Derision", says the hon. member for Port Arthur; but yesterday the hon. member for Assiniboia did exactly what I have mentioned. As reported on page 5268 of Hansard he said:
The Canadian government should come forward now with a federal prepaid medical care act by which the federal government would co-operate with any provincial government prepared to embark on such a prepaid medical care program.
That of course is a clear call for federal aid for the Saskatchewan medical care plan.
The point I wish to draw to the attention of the minister, and my principal reason for rising at this time, is the serious situation in my view which has arisen because household chemicals are not properly labelled as to whether they are dangerous or poisonous. Many of them do not have described on the label antidotes which would provide for emergency treatment where children or even adults might take these kitchen chemicals by mistake. It is my opinion that something should be done about this problem.
In the Saskatoon Star-Phoenix of June 13 appeared the headline "Coroner warns householders against household poisons", and the article under that headline sets forth the sad case of a two and one half year old boy who died of poisoning as the result of getting to a can of household chemical labelled "RX.15",
containing plant food. Apparently there was not an antidote on the can or any suggested course of emergency action. I am not suggesting, of course, that this child would be able to read the label, but certainly the parents might have been in a position to take action which could have saved the boy's life. In certain cases, I am advised by medical people, when children take substances like this that may be poisonous, if a finger is stuck down the throat or if they are given some mustard emulsion the poison may be regurgitated and the child saved. But in this particular instance the child unfortunately lost his life.
Mr. Chairman, I would urge that some action be taken to deal with this particular problem. I think it is necessary action for the protection of children and people in general in the home. It is not always possible to have a doctor immediately available, and often emergency action is required. Even when a doctor is available the doctor cannot be expected to have at his fingertips the antidote for every type of household chemical. The case I have described is by no means an isolated one but one which has occurred time after time in this country, and surely we should call for action to bring about a remedy to this problem.
I do not know whether this responsibility lies solely upon the Minister of National Health and Welfare or whether the Minister of Justice should be called upon to assist in providing a remedy under one of the acts for which he is responsible. But I would suggest that the Minister of National Health and Welfare might very well take this problem unto himself and discuss it with such members of the cabinet as may be necessary in order to bring about action whereby packages of household chemicals are labelled and indicate whether or not they are poisonous. Also they should have on the label the antidote and the required emergency remedial action in case the substance is taken by human beings.
Subtopic: DEPARTMENT OF NATIONAL HEALTH AND WELFARE