June 26, 1925 (14th Parliament, 4th Session)


James Shaver Woodsworth



Mr. Chairman, I
do not know that it is necessary to endorse the position put forward by the member for Lisgar. Anyone who has come in contact with social service activities in any way must realize the necessity of the work that is now being carried on. Until recently the provinces have not done a great deal along this line, and even though they are doing a certain amount of work, there is no doubt great need for the co-ordination of their efforts and for that general stimulus which can come only through a centralized organization. I should like to read a few striking statements that are contained in a memorandum which I have

no doubt was furnished to many hon. members.
Venereal diseases constitute the most serious of all public health problems. They are more prevalent than any other diseases. They cause more disabilities than any other diseases, and syphilis, one of the venereal diseases, causes more deaths than any other diseases. Therefore it outranks as a cause of death pneumonia, tuberculosis and cancer, the next three causes of mortality.
This statement needs no commentary. The Minister of Agriculture constantly comes before the House to press the necessity of spending large sums to protect the health of our animals, and it would seem to me that the least we could do is to spend a feiw hundred thousand dollars in protecting the health of our people. Let me quote one or two other statements from this memorandum just as they catch my eye:
Patients admitted into the Toronto General Hospital are as a matter of regular routine examined; these tests in 1917 showed 12 per cent of the ward patients admitted for ordinary complaints to be suffering from syphilis.
In 1918 the like routine examinations in the Montreal General Hospital showed that 26 per cent of all the patients were suffering from syphilis.
And again:
In one year as many as 24 per cent of the annual male admissions to Toronto Hospital for the Insane have consisted of general paresis, a fatal form of insanity always caused by syphilis.
The following statistics are, I think, sufficient in themselves to warrant the extension of care of this character:
Venereal Diseases Dealt with in the Dominion in the years 1921, 1922, 1923 and 1924
To<tal number of new cases admitted to clinics and in- 1921 1922 1923stitutions
Total number of cases re- 10,267 12,252 12,336ported by physicians.. .. Total number of new cases 15,189 16.220 15.477for year
Total number of new cases admitted to clinics and institutions- 25,456 28.472 28,003Syphilis 4.953 5,171 5.421Gonorrhoea 5.070 6,680 6.865Chancroid 244 401 240
When social diseases of this character have become so prevalent as this it would seem as if no expenditure is too great to be made in the effort to eradicate a disease which will poison the future generation of Canadians. One thing that appeals to me in the work that has been carried on is the stress that has been laid on the educational side of the work. A good many of the hon. members must have come in contact with the various exhibitions that have been put on, through which the public are being educated as to the seriousness of the ravages of these diseases.

Moreover, a .large number of the younger people in the community are being taught something of the dangers on every side, and I hope are being warned in such a way that before very long expenditures for cures will not be quite so necessary. I hope the minister will see to it that in some form or other this grant may be materially increased.

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