February 13, 1928 (16th Parliament, 2nd Session)


Thomas Langton Church

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. T. L. CHURCH (Toronto Northwest):

The resolution before the housei Mr. Speaker, asks for a national research institute. Nero never fiddled while Rome burned like this government has done on this question, and the first thing Canada should do in the way of research is to dig up an all-Canadian tariff policy that will keep Canadians in Canada and give them a job in their own country. That is the first great comer stone in a scientific and industrial research policy.
We have one useless commission now dealing with industrial and scientific research known as the tariff board, to which the main economic questions of this country have been referred. We are spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on that board, which fiddles with the tariff on behalf of the government while thousands of young Canadians go to the States in search of a job.
You can find out more about research in this country or the lack of it in the death and marriage notices in the papers than you could learn from the statements of the two ministers here to-night. Just the other day I read of a railway man 48 years of age having been killed in Toronto. One of his sons came home from Detroit just recently to get married, and now his other two sons, twenty and eighteen years of age respectively, have also come home from Detroit, where they had gone to get a job, for the funeral. These men along with thousands of other young Canadians have been driven across the border because of the lack of knowledge and study and research on the part of the government in the matter of a proper economic policy for this country. The Minister of Trade and Commerce (Mr. Malcolm) is not going the right way about solving this problem. He was in England not long ago. I wonder why he did not bring before the house the recommendations of the empire marketing board in regard to agriculture and industry of all kinds. It would have been better for him to do that than to create another large spending government department to spend money like the tariff board is doing. The government should do something practical. Let them lay down a policy of giving grants to the different universities that are carrying on research work in different lines-medicine at McGill, for instance, and science and medicine at Toronto university.
I should just like to quote one paragraph of the report of the empire marketing board of London, England, and suggest to the two ministers who have spoken to-night that if they want to do something practical along the line of scientific and industrial research they should provide the members of this house with a copy of that report, and act on its recommendations. Here is that board's recommendation on research:-
The board has made no attempt itself to engage directly in scientific research. Its proper part was seen clearly from the outset to be that of fortifying existing scientific institutions in such measure as would enable them to intensify or develop their work, and of making possible the establishment of new institutions to meet new and proven needs. Moreover, in deciding upon the allocation of grants for research, the board has consistently been guided by the different government organizations, whether at home or overseas, that tvere best qualified to advise it.
I suggest to the minister that instead of providing another large institute he should utilize the organizations that are already in existence carrying on scientific research, namely, the universities. There is in Toronto one scientific organization that has been in

National Research-Mr. Church
existence for from forty to fifty years-the Canadian institute on College street.
As I said when speaking in the house on this question two or three years ago, everybody agrees with the necessity for scientific research. As Premier Baldwin of Great Britain says, "shock absorbers" are necessary in industry. Take the radio, for instance. As I said in a speech on the budget in 1926, from which I now quote, "it almost ousted the phonograph, but the makers of the latter instrument were forced to make a better product, and it kept its place. Gas illumination was almost ruined by electric light, and the gas mantle saved it. Nickel companies were satisfied to produce for warfare purposes only, but now they are turning to many useful domestic lines. Coal fuel is in a bad way; this industry had no shock absorbers because it was of the opinion that it had a perpetual monopoly, when along came petroleum and gasoline. Great Britain, United States, Germany and Canada are countries where the coal business is in a bad way. The by-products of coal can and should be utilized, and will give larger profits than the raw product itself; I predict that in twenty years every coal mine in the country will make liquid fuel at the mine. According to the Montreal papers the Canadian Pacific Railway have placed orders for more coal burning locomotives, but the oil burning car has come to stay. A new type of gasoline which is now being put on the market will revolutionize the type of motors used in automobiles. The vast future of nitrogen will cause a great upheaval in agriculture. Every industry is being revolutionized by new scientific discoveries. If business is not associated with scientific men, business will go to the wall. The national research council is doing good work, and can keep industry informed of what is going on. It can show the time to draw in on one business and expand on another, and any banker should know how that information will affect industry."
If the minister wants to do something practical in scientific research, let him give grants on a standard basis and let him help the universities that are carrying on this work. Two years ago practically the entire class in electrical engineering at one of our large universities had to go to the United States to look for jobs, notwithstanding the magnificent development of our water powers. The government should lay down the basis and specifications on this question on which universities could get grants. Many of our most brilliant students who have won the highest honours in medicine, scientific chem-

istry, and other branches of scientific work, have to take menial jobs as cooks and waiters on the boats on the great lakes and the St. Lawrence in the summertime; they should be engaged on research work by a government policy. So I appeal to the minister to do something practical and give more money to the universities and hospitals and science schools, which have been pioneers in research work.
We have listened to a good' many speeches on scientific research to-night. There are too many of these Neros fiddling on their violins to the tune of scientific research, about which they know nothing. A proper tariff policy would do more for this country in one week than any other agency I know of for scientific and industrial research.
Scientific industrial research can do nothing to aid the manufacturers of Canada without at the same time helping the manufacturers of the United States, and any money that we spend on scientific research work in this country will benefit also the people of the United States. As I said before, the main research we want is a research which will keep our raw materials in our own country, and a research for a tariff policy which will stop the spending in the United States of 8600,000,000 of Canadian money for high priced American goods from that country, many of which are made out of our raw materials. We pay for these goods in the raw materials of our country. These raw materials will soon, be gone, unless we find a scientific research and industrial tariff policy that will provide employment for the. men of Canada, 88,000 of whom are driven out of Canada and sent to the United States every year. These 600,000 Canadians-or 88,000 per year, as I have figured it out

have had an overdose of research work and have gone to the States to look for a job. What do these 600,000 noble Romans care for the violin playing of the Neros on the government side who fiddle with this question here? How will this scientific research proposal now benefit them?
I think the government should co-ordinate its work in this direction with the scientific research work of the universities, in reference not only to medicine and manufactures, but to electricity, chemistry, and by-producte as well, and instead of imposing on the taxpayers of the country another large government department with a lot of officials, it would be far better if the government adopted the policy of the empire marketing board in England, where the government lays down u

National Research-Mr. Cantley
specification for the universities, where those engaged in industrial and scientific research can qualify for grants.
It seems the government policy of the country so far is search and research to discover capital on the seven seas where we have not an ambassador. That is the limit of our research. I commend the wisdom of the member who brought this matter before the house, but I believe you would get far better results from a policy that would hand the money to universities and other departments I have named, to spend on a standard government plan and specification. I believe the main -research which the country wants is a research policy that will frame a Canadian tariff that will provide work in Canada for the Canadians, so that we can keep our young men at home. A large number of Canadian graduates of universities go to the States annually to make a living, not only in chemistry, but in other trades and professions. We would get far better results if we could formulate a Canadian tariff and economic policy that would keep them at home.

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