Under the Act, tlie manager of the work or the contractor or his representative is obliged to have a physician on the work or within reach. The duty of the inspector is to see that these provisions are carried out. He is not required to act as a physician himself. It was thought that we could get a layman to carry out the provisions of the Act as efficiently and at less expense than by employing a physician. The Act calls for proper accommodation in the way of hospitals, proper medical attendance for employees and so on. The inspector sees to it that these provisions are carried out.
If the inspector found something in an unsanitary condition and referred it to the company's physician, lie would refer it to one whose interest is with the contractors. The contractor will not wish to undertake the expense necessary to change the conditions. How are they to agree upon what is a proper sanitary condition V
There is a sanitary board for each public work under the regulations. This board consists of the physician, the manager, or contractor, or his representative, and the inspector. If there were a serious dispute, the director general of public healtli would be called in. This work is done under his supervision and control, and he would be the professional referee.
I fear that these reports will not be as valuable as if coming from the inspector, because of the fact that they are from the representative of the contractor, and it would be their object to defend themselves as far as possible.
Of course, there is a penalty upon the contractor if lie does not carry out the regulations, and it is the inspector's duty to see that the law in this respect is lived up to. Of course we cannot have an inspector on
these works all the time, but we can have him go whenever possible. Mr. Fisher went through to the Pacific Coast last year and visited every work.
It seems to me that if the work is to be effective it will be necessary for the inspector to visit each public work from time to time. Premises might be in a sanitary condition to-day then, a month hence, be in the very opposite condition. The object is a good one if properly carried out, it would no doubt have beneficial results for the labouring men who have but little influence in controlling the situation in these matters. But, to carry out the Act effectively it seems to me, an intelligent medical man should be appointed, and he should visit the works every two or three months.
I think it a great pity that the government, when inaugurating the work of this Act, did not choose as inspector a physician. From what I know, of Mr. Fisher, I believe that he is an old man. I have known him as a real estate agent, I believe, and, I think he is one of the principle organizers of the Liberal party.
I think the department made a great mistake in not choosing a young physician. One could have been employed at far less expense than this. The government could have chosen a young physician, one at the beginning of his career, and thus have given him encouragement, which is always welcome at such a time. I cannot understand why we have an expenditure last year of $606 and, with a salary of $1,800 which is far too great for the nominee, we have now an expenditure of $4,000. Is there mention in Mr. Fisher's report of travelling expenses ? There must have been considerable to bring the item up to such a figure.
When this question came up on the first item for this purpose, it was distinctly stated in the House that the appointment should not be given to a physician. The work is being done largely in the interests of the workingmen employed on these public works, and it was thought that there would be far more confidence in the operation of the Act if a professional man were not appointed. So far as the expenditure is concerned, Mr. Fisher's term of office did not commence until quite late in the year, the expenditure for travelling will be considerable, as he has to travel nearly all the time.
Last year when this item came before the House, I asked that it be increased, but I find that it still remains at the same figure. I think it is well to draw the attention of the Minister of Agriculture and of the committee to the fact
that these two hospitals are practically doing Dominion work. Most of the members of this committee are aware that we have coming into that province now pretty nearly 50,000 people per year, coming from Europe, from Great Britain and from the United States. We have two hospitals there, the St. Boniface hospital, under the supervision of the Roman Catholic Church, but which is by no means confined to members of that church, it is a general hospital in every particular; then we have the general hospital at Winnipeg. But I want to say that nearly one-tliird of all the patients treated in these, hospitals are immigrants who have arrived either at once or within a year. Now, is it fair to the people of the west that they should be asked to support these hospitals when the balance of Canada gets the benefit ? I think this item should be increased to at least $10,000, and should be distributed equally between the two hospitals. It should be charged, if that can be done, to the Department of Agriculture, if not, then to the Interior Department. I know when the Minister of the Interior comes to lay his estimates before this House, and when the Minister of Finance comes to make his budget speech, they will both boast of the great progress the west is making, of the large number of immigrants coming in; they will both talk in loud tones of the large quantity of wheat being exported from that country, and undoubtedly will talk loudly of the great progress of the west. If that is so, why should they not contribute at least something to help the sick of those people who come to the west to create that wealth ? I think my hon. friend from Provenclier (Mr. LaRiviere) will back me up in saying that the amount voted for these two hospitals is too small, that the Dominion govern-men should pay at least $10,000, to be divided equally between them.
Mr. LaRIVIERB. We had in the estimates in former years the sum of $10,000 for these two institutions. I am sorry it has been decreased, not so much by the present government as by the former one. At any rate, tlie amount is quite inadequate, as my hon. friend from Selkirk (Mr. McCreary) said; because these two institutions are performing the duty of taking care of sick people not only for Manitoba but for the Northwest. When immigrants arriving at Winnipeg take sick, as they frequently do after the long sea voyage, they are sent to either one of these two institutions regardless of creed or nationality. They are both general hospitals. In fact, I may say that the St. Boniface hospital, though known to be a Roman Catholic institution, cares for more Protestants than Roman Catholics. I agree with my hon. friend who has just spoken, and join him in begging the government to reconsider their recommendation and to increase the amount which is offered to these two institutions.
Some resolutions reported.
On motion of the Minister of Finance, House adjourned at 11.30 p.m.