March 2, 1911

CON

George Eulas Foster

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. FOSTER.

But will you bring down the statement?

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   THE RECIPROCITY AGREEMENT.
Permalink
LIB

William Stevens Fielding (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. FIELDING.

The Minister of Agriculture, now that it has beeni desired, will give that valuable information which he tried to give the other night but was prevented.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   THE RECIPROCITY AGREEMENT.
Permalink
CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BORDEN (Halifax).

Does the Prime Minister propose to go on with the debate on the reciprocity proposal to-morrow or to go into Supply?

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   THE RECIPROCITY AGREEMENT.
Permalink
LIB

Wilfrid Laurier (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER.

We will take Supply to-morrow.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   THE RECIPROCITY AGREEMENT.
Permalink

WAYS AND MEANS-VENTILATION OF GOVERNMENT BUILDINGS.


Mr. FIELDING moved that the House go into Committee of Ways and Means.


LIB

Judson Burpee Black

Liberal

Mr. J. B. BLACK (Hants).

Before going into committee, I wish to speak on a subject of great importance, the sanitary condition of this chamber, of the rooms provided for the members of this House and the rooms that are provided for the different departmental offices. This is an old

subject I know, it has been brought up in this House every session since I have been here and very little has been done in the way of improvement. I notice that there is more air coming into this House-I do not mean hot air, but there is more cold air coming into this House than there was four or five years ago, but we are far from proper conditions, and from the conditions to which we are entitled. We are obliged to sit in this room from 3 o'clock till 6 and again from 8 o'clock to anywhere towards morning. Before sitting in this room most of us go into committee rooms which are worse than this room. We sit for ten or twelve hours a day in rooms in which there is not sufficient fresh air to keep a man in good health. This room has never had a ray of sunlight cast into it since it was built in 1867, I presume for the stained glass was there then and is there now. Any one who has studied the necessity of sunlight to human health must know that we are suffering from this room not being purified by sunlight. Sunlight is the great microbe killer, microbes have been gathering in this room ever since confederation and no sunlight has ever come in to purify it. I am not joking, this is far too serious a matter for any of us to joke about. Younger men may stand this, but the older members will agree with me in saying that they never go home in as good health as they come up here in the autumn. I hate to allude to a personal matter but for myself I break down before the term is over every session. I do not know that the sunlight can be properly let into this room but if it cannot let us get a room somewhere else where it can. A man may have to sacrifice his business, sacrifice his financial affairs for the service to his country, but the day of human sacrifice has gone long ago and I do not think we should sacrifice our lives or our health for the benefit of our country. For one I am not prepared to do it if it can be avoided.

The committee rooms in which we are obliged to work are in a far worse condition than this room. It any one will go say 25 minutes late into the committee rooms, No. 30, No. 32, and No. 34 and pause a moment at the door, he will find that the condition of the air can only be expressed by one word-and I do not wish to use slang-that is the word rotten. In 20 minutes those rooms are foul, too foul for men to remain in and yet we have to remain there a couple of hours. There is no system of proper ventilation. In the addition built to this building and occupied in the autumn of 1908, we had some hope that some modern sanitary engineer would have had some supervision in the matter of providing fresh air for the members there, but the provision in those rooms is worse than in the older rooms, there is no pro-

vision at all. There is more attention paid to fresh air in the wigwam of a wild Indian than there is in any of these rooms. I do my work in No. 76, which is a fair sample of other rooms. When I arrived in it in autumn of 1908 it had a double window, and the fanlight over the door was closed up, closed forever, I suppose. The room was hermetically sealed, and four men were expected to breath that air over and over again for hours in the day, and in the night. Any member who has gone to the different departments, as most of us on this side of the House are forced to do that disagreable work, must have noticed that there is no improvement there either. Now these are very serious matters affecting our health, and though we talk of them year after year, nothing is done. I would respectfully suggest to the government that these buildings be put under the supervision and care of a sanitary engineer, who shall make the necessary changes, and put the buildings in a first-class condition, such as is required by the up to date knowledge of the laws of health. It may cost a little money, but there is no reason why it should not be done.

Another fault I have to find is that this House in all parts of it is overheated, fuel is wasted1 to the detriment of our health. There is no thermometer in any room I know of occupied by a member of the House; if other hon. gentlemen have one in their room, they have the advantage over me and those who occupy the same room with me. There should be a thermometer in every room, and proper ventilation should be established. In asking for these things I do not think we are asking for more than we are entitled to. -

Now, while I am on my feet, I wish to say a few words about the typhoid epidemic in Ottawa, and about what I consider is the duty of the government in respect thereto. The government, I think, is the largest purchaser of drinking "water in the city of Ottawa. I have been given to understand that there axe between 3,000 and 4,000 people living in Ottawa who are employed by the government in its- various services; no doubt, including the members of parliament and the civil service, there must be a.s many as 4,000; but I speak subject to correction. I say that these people should have a supply of wholesome water. We are now drinking boiled water in some of the departments. There is no reason why this government, interested as it is in the water supply of Ottawa, should not demand that a supply of pure drinking water be furnished to all connected with the government. There i.s another reason why the government should interfere in connection with this typhoid epidemic, and that is because the city council of Ottawa Mr. BLACK.

has established beyond doubt its incapacity to cope with this matter. For two years and more, and I lay stress on the ' more,' the water of Ottawa has been con-'taminaited. Sample after sample has been histedi land1 has Ibsen, found to contain typhoid baccilli. If there were any doubt where the contamination originated, if there were any doubt that there is poison in the water, it would be another question. But we know two things fox certain: First, that the people of Ottawa are being poisoned, secondly, we know where the poison comes from. Now what has been done to stop the source of supply of this poison? A scientific man comes along any says: If you will take water from some other place where the water is still, the poison will settle down at the bottom and you won't get much of it. Another s-ays: If you put hypochloride of lime in the water it will kill many of these poisonous germs. That is what I call tinkering with a very serious matteT. If it were a matter that merely affected our convenience or our comfort, it would be far less serious, but this is a matter that affects our health and our lives. I maintain that the city council of Ottawa have failed for two years ot more to take any steps to prevent the poisoning of the people. As I have said, the government is one of the largest purchasers of drinking water, and contributes a large amount of money to pay for it, therefore I contend that the government are justified in taking a hand in this matter iand seeing that we are supplied with pure water.

There is another thing I want to mention besides the water, and that is the ice that is supplied us. I have been assured in our dining-room upstairs that the water has been boiled while the waiter puts ice in the water, which of course has not been boiled. But the health officer comforts us with the assurance which I have seen in a paper, and I was astonished to read it, that this ice is perfectly pure, and that we may safely put it in our drinking water. Now I would be loath to set up my opinion against that of the medical health officer of Ottawa, or the health officer for the province of Ontario, or any other gentleman who is a specialist in that matter, though I have given some years of time and some study to the question of public health and sanitation. On this subject of the pollution of ice, I have in my hand one of the best authors on sanitation in the world, Sedgwick, from whom I ask permission to quote a few words:

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS-VENTILATION OF GOVERNMENT BUILDINGS.
Permalink

THE POLLUTION OF ICE.


The processes of harvesting natural ice, and of delivering it to the consumer, still leave much to be desired. The use of horses whose droppings fall on the ice during the ' ploughing ' or cutting of the ice-fields; the un- cleanly habits of the workmen employed; the floating of the blocks through less pure, or actually polluted water, on their way to the ice-houses; their storage, often in a packing of old and dirty hay or sawdust; and their final deliverey into family, club or hotel refrigerators by common workmen after only hasty brushing with some ancient cloth or broom,-these conditions illustrate the need of improvement. There are a great many reasons why ice taken from Nepean bay is not fit for use. In the first place, Nepean bay is the spot where it is estimated most of the poison lies. Water, in freezing, of course, precipitates a large percentage of the bacilli. The ice is purer than the water but un.der certain conditions the bacilli cannot all be removed by the freezing process. For instance, we will take Nepean bay-


?

Some hon. MEMBERS

Carried.

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS-VENTILATION OF GOVERNMENT BUILDINGS.
Subtopic:   THE POLLUTION OF ICE.
Permalink
?

An hon. MEMBER.

Do not mind them.

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS-VENTILATION OF GOVERNMENT BUILDINGS.
Subtopic:   THE POLLUTION OF ICE.
Permalink
LIB

Judson Burpee Black

Liberal

Mr. BLACK.

I am not minding them; I notice that some of them know more about whisky than they do about water. In the process of freezing a large percentage of the bacilli is precipitated. It was at Cave creek at Mechanicsville that some of the water flowed over the ice from Mechanicsville, and in that way the ice was contaminated. As a result of raising the water by stop logs the water overflowed the ice, then it froze on the ice and there was no possible way that there could be any bacilli precipitated at all, but it froze in and on the ice. Over this ice horses are travelling hauling logs,' and men are working. I believe the government is storing some of this ice down at government house and next winter when we go down there to dine with the Duke of Connaught, we will be asked to drink water chilled with Nepean bay impure ice.

There seems to he one short piece of cure-all advice given to the people-boil the water. I have read these three words in every town in which there has been typhoid. Many people have taken typhoid by following that rule-boil the water. Boil the water you drink! I say boil the water you drink, boil the water you clean your teeth wtith, be sure to have the water boiled that the dishes are washed in, and boil the milk pitcher every time. I suppose there are many people in Ottawa who have been following that short direction to boil the water that they are drinking and neglecting to boil it for anything else. The consequence is that some of them have taken typhoid out of their porridge plate which has never been washed in boiled water.

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS-VENTILATION OF GOVERNMENT BUILDINGS.
Subtopic:   THE POLLUTION OF ICE.
Permalink
?

Some hon. MEMBERS

Carried.

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS-VENTILATION OF GOVERNMENT BUILDINGS.
Subtopic:   THE POLLUTION OF ICE.
Permalink
LIB

Judson Burpee Black

Liberal

Mr. BLACK.

Yes, it will be carried in time. Now, Mr. Speaker, we are not only

guilty of standing idly by and not preventing our own water from being poisoned, but we are sending the poison down to our neighbours. Ottawa is polluting the drinking water of Rockland, while Aylmer and Mechanicsville are polluting the water that we drink. It is time that some intelligent process was adopted to stop the drinking of poisoned water. Science shows where it has been done and is being done, but the process of dumping sewage into our drinking water is too barbarous for intelligent people to put up with. Ottawa is one of the most beautiful cities in Canada, and you will pardon me if I say one of the most unhealthy cities.

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS-VENTILATION OF GOVERNMENT BUILDINGS.
Subtopic:   THE POLLUTION OF ICE.
Permalink
?

An hon. MEMBER.

Carried.

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS-VENTILATION OF GOVERNMENT BUILDINGS.
Subtopic:   THE POLLUTION OF ICE.
Permalink
LIB

Judson Burpee Black

Liberal

Mr. BLACK.

That gentleman that drinks whisky still wants it carried. The government is contributing a large amount of money every year to beautify the city, and is beautifying it. Now, I think that in the ordinary way of common sense the government should contribute to the health of the city. I have some figures here which will probably astonish some of us. In the city of Ottawa there were born last year, to the 31st October, 1910, 2,100 children. Ninety per cent of those should have lived. Of those born 626 died, or nearly 32 per cent of all the children born in Ottawa up to that date died. This is the highest rate of mortality among infants in any city in the world where statistics are kept. So much for the conditions.

Now, I would beg leave respectfully to make another suggestion; that is that the government which contributes so much to the city of Ottawa, should appoint either a properly qualified officer of public health, or .a commission, to assist the city of Ottawa in providing proper water for its citizens. If the city refuses such assistance withdraw the amount which is being paid to it for the beautifying of Ottawa. That is conservation, I think, of a most important type -the conservation of the lives and health of our people.

Before I sit down I want to say one thing more. I want to say that if the government had done what I think they should have done they would have formed a bureau of public health some years ago whose duty it would have been to have enlightened the people in such a way that * they would avoid all these useless and needless epidemics. It is either ignorance or carelessness-usually both-that allows such epidemics to begin. If our people were properly educated, if the council of Ottawa, or the council of Montreal had had sufficient education with regard to the laws of health and in the proper way of preventing epidemics in their cities we would not have 1,400 cases of typhoid in the city of Ottawa to-day. I am told by a citizen who

knows that there are at least that many in the town although there are only 800 or 900 cases reported. Of course we may be told, as I have been told, that public health belongs to the provinces, that we should not interfere, and that there are grave difficulties in the way. I know there are difficulties in the way of every reform, and I know there are lions in the way in every path we do not wish to follow, and the sons of Anak live in every country we do not want to go into. But if we consider it the duty of the government to conserve the health of the people as well as to conserve the resources of our forests and our water-powers these difficulties will be swept aside and there will be spread among the pe'opie knowledge of how to live and how to do away with the useless and sad amount of sickness there is in Canada. We have medical officials enough under the government; you run across them in nearly every department. There is one in the Department of Agriculture, one in the Immigration Department, one in the Marine Department, one in the Bailway Department and probably others.

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS-VENTILATION OF GOVERNMENT BUILDINGS.
Subtopic:   THE POLLUTION OF ICE.
Permalink
LIB

Onésiphore Ernest Talbot

Liberal

Mr. TALBOT.

One in the Militia Department.

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS-VENTILATION OF GOVERNMENT BUILDINGS.
Subtopic:   THE POLLUTION OF ICE.
Permalink
LIB

Judson Burpee Black

Liberal

Mr. BLACK.

There are several in the Militia Department ; they are as thick as bees there. I believe that all these scattered forces should be brought together, and a central bureau of public health established, which, if it distributed literature bearing on the subject would result in great benefit to the people at large. I repeat that there should be a sanitary engineer to take charge of the sanitary condition of these buildings, and, I believe that the government should assist in measures to put down this epidemic of typhoid and to prevent its ever recurring in Ottawa.

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS-VENTILATION OF GOVERNMENT BUILDINGS.
Subtopic:   THE POLLUTION OF ICE.
Permalink
CON

Thomas Simpson Sproule

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPBOULE.

The hon. gentleman (Mr. Black) has pointed out that the committee rooms are in a very unsanitary condition, and that has been known to us for years past. But, something might be done by the members themselves to improve the conditions. I have often experienced a good deal of discomfort as others have, I have no doubt, because of the unfortunate habit which many members have of smoking in the room. To begin with the ventilation is not good, and before you are long in the room it is much like a place where they smoke meat. This habit is not businesslike, it is not courteous to others, and it does not contribute to health. It seems to me that some one who is responsible for it should have an understanding that smoking would be stopped m the committee rooms in future. As to the water supply, it seems to me that in view of the large sum of money the government is paying for water supplied to the government build-Mr. BLACK.

ings we should at least have some better method of determining what kind of water we are drinking. The government have their own chemists, analysts and bacteriologists, and why do they not from time to time have the water tested? The government might even go further, and, adopting the suggestion of the hon. member (Mr. Black) join with the health authorities of the city in ascertaining the source of pollution and adopting means to secure pure water. I do not think the government will be doing its full duty unless it does that.

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS-VENTILATION OF GOVERNMENT BUILDINGS.
Subtopic:   THE POLLUTION OF ICE.
Permalink

March 2, 1911