May 2, 1917

LIB

John Howard Sinclair

Liberal

Mr. SINCLAIR:

For a copy of the report of the Commission appointed to investigate the condition of the Military Hospital at Halifax, with a copy of the evidence taken by said Commission at Halifax and all other documents in the possession of the Department of Militia and Defence in connection with such investigation.

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS.
Subtopic:   UNOPPOSED MOTIONS FOR PAPERS.
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LIB

James Joseph Hughes

Liberal

Mr. J. J. HUGHES:

For a copy of the report of the Royal Commission appointed by Order in Council, 20th September, 1916, to inquire into and report upon the conditions in regard to the delivery of cargoes of coal to coasting vessels in the Maritime Provinces.

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS.
Subtopic:   UNOPPOSED MOTIONS FOR PAPERS.
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LIB

Edward Mortimer Macdonald

Liberal

Mr. MACDONALD:

For a copy of all letters, copies of letters, telegrams, reports and all other documents relative to the purchase of the two vessels, A. J. McKee and T. J. Drummonds, by the Railway Department under the Order in Council dated April, 17, 1917.

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS.
Subtopic:   UNOPPOSED MOTIONS FOR PAPERS.
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CORRESPONDENCE BETWEEN PRIME

LIB

James Joseph Hughes

Liberal

Mr. J. J. HUGHES (Kings, P.E.I.) moved :

For a copy of the correspondence between the Prime Minister and the ex-Minister of Militia and Defence which led to the latter's resignation or dismissal from the Government.

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS.
Subtopic:   CORRESPONDENCE BETWEEN PRIME
Sub-subtopic:   MINISTER AND EX-MINISTER OF MILITIA.
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CON

William Thomas White (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir THOMAS WHITE:

I would suggest to my hon. friend (Mr. Hughes) that as a matter of courtesy to the Prime Minister he might allow this motion to stand until his return. The correspondence asked for is that which has passed between the Prime Minister and the ex-Minister of Militia and Defence. I submit that there might be considerable of the correspondence of a confi-

dential character, and it is only proper that the Prime Minister should himself have an opportunity of pronouncing upon this motion, as he is the only member of the Government who could authorize the bringing down of the correspondence in question.

I submit to the House that it is due to the Prime Minister that my hon. friend should allow his motion to stand until the Prime Minister returns.

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS.
Subtopic:   CORRESPONDENCE BETWEEN PRIME
Sub-subtopic:   MINISTER AND EX-MINISTER OF MILITIA.
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LIB

James Joseph Hughes

Liberal

Mr. J. J. HUGHES:

I have no objection to that suggestion, but I might remark that on the 7th of February, the day of the adjournment, the Prime Minister stated that it would be brought down.

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS.
Subtopic:   CORRESPONDENCE BETWEEN PRIME
Sub-subtopic:   MINISTER AND EX-MINISTER OF MILITIA.
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CON

William Thomas White (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir THOMAS WHITE:

I do not at all question what my hon. friend has said, but, as a matter of fact, this information could not be brought down until the Prime Minister returns. I would not like to see that order passed without giving him an opportunity to speak upon the motion if he should so desire.

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS.
Subtopic:   CORRESPONDENCE BETWEEN PRIME
Sub-subtopic:   MINISTER AND EX-MINISTER OF MILITIA.
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LIB

James Joseph Hughes

Liberal

Mr. J. J. HUGHES:

The matter can stand until the Prime Minister comes back.

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS.
Subtopic:   CORRESPONDENCE BETWEEN PRIME
Sub-subtopic:   MINISTER AND EX-MINISTER OF MILITIA.
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CON

Edgar Nelson Rhodes (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPEAKER:

Motion stands.

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS.
Subtopic:   CORRESPONDENCE BETWEEN PRIME
Sub-subtopic:   MINISTER AND EX-MINISTER OF MILITIA.
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PHYSICAL WELFARE OF THE CANADIAN PEOPLE.

CON

Michael Steele

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MICHAEL STEELE (South Perth) moved:

That, in the opinion of this House, the efficiency of the nation depends largely on the physical condition of the people, and in order that the latter may he conserved in the largest possible measure, there should be organized a separate department of the Government having supervision over all matters relating to the physical welfare of the Dominion.

He said: Mr. Speaker, in commencing

my remarks I desire to offer an explanation which will make clear the intention of the resolution now before the House. It is well known that under the British North America Act the provinces have jurisdiction over:

The establishment, maintenance and management of hospitals, asylums and charities and eleemosynary institutions in and for the province, other than marine hospitals.

'The House is also aware that since Confederation the provinces have undertaken many lines of public health work which they continue to carry on with much benefit to their people. The intention of the resolution is in no way to interfere with the rights and functions of the provinces, and

for this reason it would have been better had the last clause of the resolution read:

There should be organized a separate department of the Government having supervision over all matters relating to the physical welfare of the people of the Dominion so far as they come within t!he Federal jurisdiction.

It is perhaps no exaggeration to say that at no period of our history has the prevention of disease and the physical welfare of our people occupied so large a place in the thoughts of every intelligent community as obtains at the present day. This has been accentuated by the present war in Europe. Prior to the .outbreak of war there was much evidence of the progress of sanitary science and of the satisfactory results therefrom. We had seen typhus fever, cholera, and other less acute diseases practically exterminated in civilized nations. We had seen the rate of mortality from typhoid, smallpox, scarlet fever and others vastly decreased. We had seen the rate of mortality in England and Wales reduced from 21.4 per 1,000 to 14.6 per 1,000 in the last fifty years, thus saving the lives of 345,000 people each year.

But the war has furnished some remarkable examples of the value of sanitation and medical science. Instead of thousands .of our brave soldiers dying from typhoid, as occurred in all previous wars, and tens of thousands being afflicted and rendered useless by the same disease, we find that by the efforts of medical science typhoid in the army has been practically exterminated so much so that in the year 1915 in the great British army, including the forces from the overseas dominions, only some 46 cases of typhoid occurred. Let this House imagine, if they can, the increased efficiency of the Army on this account. Dr. W. Osier's opinion is that if inoculation against typhoid in the armies were universal it would increase the efficiency of the forces by one-third. Not only typhoid but cholera and tetanus, the greatest enemies of the British soldier in all previous wars, are beaten for all time to come. Not only this, but the death rate from sickness in the millions fighting under the Union Jack, has been less than the rate of mortality among men of military age remaining at home. When a man joins the aTmy he is taught how to live. His food and general life is regulated to produce vigorous manhood and these described conditions are the result. The war has taught us this lesson, that a nation fights upon its health. The fit man has not only to protect himself and his family but also to protect the unfit man and

his family who are unable to protect themselves. War has shown what can be done when qualified men are given poweT and resources with which to cope with disease. We all deplore the immense loss pi life in war but if we are willing to utilize the lessons taught by the war we can in future save many more lives each year than are now being lost in the European conflict.

Now, Mr. Speaker, if we can conquer disease in war, surely we can overcome it in time of peace. We have seen something pi what science has wrought in the war spheres but lest Parliament may conclude that it is only in war time that problems arise affecting the health of our people, let me assure this House that the health problems of times of peace while possibly not so acute are of still greater importance to the future welfare of the nation. Canada is on the threshold of nationhood. We have the experience and the errors of the European nations and the United States to guide us and we should profit therefrom.

There are two great avenues through which our population increases, viz., immigration and natural increase.

How can our Government help the efficiency of the nation through immigration? First, by encouraging physically and mentally fit people to settle in our land, and secondly by refusing admission to our country of thpse who are physically and mentally unfit to become productive citizens. The need of attention to the latter problem is evidenced by the following facts: The

number of feeble minded in Canada is constantly increasing. There are to-day in Ontario 7,700 feeble minded and probably at least 20,000 in the whole Dominion. This does not include the insane, idiots, epileptics, etc. From a population of 20,000 the number of this class will rapidly increase, for these people multiply rapidly, and 80 per cent of the offspring of such parents will he feeble minded. The only effective way to check the increase from this source is to segregate them, and it is estimated that if this plan were put into operation now by the year 1950 this country would be free from this menace.

The Government may constitutionally be relieved from responsibility for the care of our feeble minded population, but they cannot refuse to accept responsibility dor the admission through our immigration ports of such people. It is beyond dispute that onr system of examination of immigrants is too lax. During the year 1914-15 there were deported from Canada, on account of imbecility, insanity, and mental defect, 154 persons. All of these must have been admitted within three years previous, and under a strict supervision of cases nearly all of these could have been excluded. Six hundred and six were deported during the three years 1913-14-15, and even this figure does not indicate, with any accuracy, the number of such cases admitted to the country.

Since the Public Health Service of the United States has taken over the work of examining immigrants at the New York port of entry the methods have been greatly improved, and in consequence there are 75 per cent more rejections than formerly. Officials who have charge of the medical examination of these immigrants estimate, from their experience, that four out of every one thousand who apply for admission to that country are mentally defective.

If the examinations at the Canadian ports of entry were equally thorough, and they ought to he, many feeble minded who are now admitted and later deported or become a charge and menace in the country, would be rejected. As evidence of this let me quote the results of a test made in 1914 by Dr. Page, our very excellent and efficient superintendent of immigration at the port of Quebec. In July and August of that year he secured the services of Miss Mateer, a specialist from the School of Feeble Minded at Vineland, New Jersey, to assist in examining immigrants for mental defect at the port of Quebec. In those two months 14,700 were examined/ and of these 2 in

1,000 on an average were found to he mental defects. If that proportion held good throughout all our immigrants there were, during 1914-15 and the two preceding years, nearly 2,000 mental defectives who sought admission into Canada, while at least two-thirds of them were admitted. If the proportion found at New York held good at our ports there must have been admitted to Canada in these three years at least 3,000 mental defectives-an appalling number.

We are to-day paying the cost of this lax system. A few statistics will illustrate this. In 1914 there were admitted to the Ontario hospitals for the insane 1,451 patients, and of these 545, or 371 per cent were horn outside of Canada. Undoubtedly a large percentage of these could have been excluded by a rigid inspection by trained experts, and by investigation of their family history in the lands whence they came. Out of 2,438 patients admitted to the. Orillia asylum for feeble minded since it was opened 424 were bom outside of Canada. There were admitted to the hospital for

horse, the cow, the hog has received, Canada would to-day have been able to put in the field an army of 600,000 men as easily as she has raised her present 400,000.

* I have endeavoured to show the House some of the problems-national problems which Canada must sooner or later face with all seriousness. We have the problem of the physically and mentally defective immigrant becoming a menace and a burden to the nation. We have the prevalence of communicable diseases with all their evils, bringing death to thousands, lessening the efficiency of other thousands, and impoverishing tens of thousands of our citizens, most of which diseases aie preventable. And then we have the problem of infant mortality. Surely these problems are worthy the attention of this Parliament.

With all the changes and advances and improvements in departmental administration during the past quarter century, the administration of health matters remains unchanged, and this notwithstanding the fact that probably nothing has so much required improved and modern methods of administration. To quote again the great Disraeli, "The care of the public health is the first duty of a statesman." Disraeli knew nothing of the conditions in Canada but I wish to quote the opinions of men who do know the conditions. At the meeting of the Civic Improvement League of Canada, held on January 20, 1916, the following resolution was passed:

That the league petition the Dominion Government to establish a Federal Department ot Public Health, In order that all matters of health and disease under Federal, provincial and municipal jurisdiction, the compilation of health literature, the direction of research work, and- the preparation of statistical records may be systematized, co-ordinated and unified for the sake of greater economy, progress and efficiency.

At every congress of the Canadian Public Health Association since its organization in 1911 the following resolution was passed:

That in the opinion of this association it is a matter of great importance that the Dominion Government do take steps to create a Department ot Public Health, in order that all Federal branches dealing with health work may be co-ordinated under one administration.

The Canadian Public Health Association embraces in its membership representatives from all the provinces. In it are found most of the men who have given public health close and continuous study for many years-the men who are actively interested in public health-and this resolution is the

result of their opinions. At the inaugural meeting of the Canadian Public Health Association, held in Montreal on the 13th of December, 1911, His Royal Highness, the Duke of Connaught spoke as follows:

Of the many subjects which, are awaiting solution in Canada, none is so important to my mind as that of the health of its inhabitants, both adult and Infant. It is a subject which affects every one of us individually, and we owe it to ourselves and to the rising generation to see that conditions are improved, so far as lies within our power. Public health is a question which arises above all politics and it is the duty of the whole nation to join in promoting the objects of the association which is now gathered here.

The present unbusinesslike, necessarily inefficient and expensive, system, when we estimate it by results achieved, is indefensible, and is, in my opinion, a reproach to the administrative methods of this and previous Governments. A Department of Public Health, as proposed, would coordinate the various Federal activities that we have already and put them together under one intelligent management. This is the businesslike plan; it is the economical method, and of greater importance than either, it is the only plan which can give efficiency.

Practically every continental European country has a National Health Service. The United States in 1912, notwithstanding the previous existence of State Health Boards, established a Federal Public Health Service, and already it has proven its value, and lastly, at the present moment, we have the example of Great Britain where the question is now under consideration. The recent report of the Local Government Board, of which Lord Rhondda is the president, recommends the establishment of a Ministry of Health in the British Government, and there is every reason to believe the recommendation will be adopted. A Ministry of Health is urged as a war measure, first and foremost, the central fact of the situation being that if the nation is to survive it must look to its health and the health of its children. The press of Great Britain generally commends the proposition. The London Daily News in an editorial of April 2 last said:

It is an interesting and in its way a hopeful fact, that both Lord- Rhondda and the very strong Unionist Social Reform Committee,.

which includes such men as Lord Henry Ben-tinck, Mr. Leslie Scott, and Major Waldorf Astor-should have apparently arrived at the same conclusion in studying from different angles the important subject of national health.

On certain points there is a general agreement. No one will deny, for instance, that the present state of things cannot he suffered to continue. The most elementary consideration of economy and efficiency make it essential that the hopeless administrative ohaos which the committee hold up to just ridicule in their report should be brought to an end as speedily as possible. But apart from this, no one now questions that the problems of national health are in every sense matters of life and death for the nation. We cannot afford to suffer conditions to continue under which the President of the Local Government Board can express his considered conviction that a thousand infant lives 'are needlessly lost' every week; and that this is only one side of a very many sided problem.

And on the same day The Times editorially said:

It is scarcely disputed' that during recent years our health services have tended to outgrow their strictly departmental character. They have progressed in efficiency and in importance, but their growing importance has only served to reveal the isolation in which each of them stood. Powerful instruments of good in themselves, they often failed in the larger sense because they lacked1 a common purpose and a common direction. Machinery was multiplied without a corresponding gain in achievement; there was waste of men and material; there was overlapping. To careful students of these circumstances it appeared inevitable that sooner or later the streams must unite, and now events have lifted the question above the level of more intelligent anticipation. A national need has arisen which makes it imperative that union should take place forthwith. Our losses in the field can only be made good by preventing needless losses at home.

For these reasons we welcome the proposals which have been made by the President of the Local Government Board. Lord Rhondda signalized his entry to office by declaring that 1,000 infant lives could be saved every week. He has now indicated in what manner he believes this vital economy can be secured. He proposes the formation of a Ministry of Health, in which various departments supervising medical matters shall be concentrated.

We recognize the fact that our ministers are burdened with work at the present time, but under the crushing load of duties daily imposed upon them they have a thought for the future of our land and of the problems which the future-the near future- must grapple with. The care of health of the nation may not be urged upon them so insistently as some other matters; but I am sure their expressed appreciation of the needs, and their sympathy with any efforts to correct the conditions calling for remedy will lead them to give the matter sympathetic and, I hope, favourable consideration. The minister who gives Canada an efficient Health Department confers upon the future citizens of our country and upon the nation

as a whole a boon that will loom large in the minds of future generations. But it may be asked what can a Federal Department of Public Health do? Let me summarize: '

1. It could have supervision of the examination of immigrants as to their mental and physical condition, with a view to excluding large numbers of mental and physical defectives now admitted.

2. It could have supervision of quarantine at our ports and the prevention of the importation of communicable disease.

3. It could have the care of marine hospitals.

4. It could collect vital statistics-we have in Canada no complete statistics of births, marriages and deaths for the whole Dominion.

5. It could have supervision of foods and drugs, as they' affect the health of the people.

6. It could collect information of the prevalence and geographic distribution of disease and other pertinent sanitary information.

7. It could investigate causes of disease.

8. It could co-operate with and render assistance to provincial health authorities.

9. It could distribute information and literature regarding the prevalence, distribution, causation and prevention of disease.

10. It could establish a great national hygienic laboratory. This could be operated in connection with the work of the Research Commission for the appointment of which the Government deserves much credit.

I trust that this matter which I have endeavoured to bring before the House at this time will receive the consideration, not only of the Government, but of all the members.

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS.
Subtopic:   PHYSICAL WELFARE OF THE CANADIAN PEOPLE.
Sub-subtopic:   DOMINION DEPARTMENT OP PUBLIC HEALTH SUGGESTED.
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LIB

Charles Marcil

Liberal

Hon. CHARLES MARCIL:

Does the hon. member intend to ask that any of the powers now held by the provinces in this matter should remain with the provinces or that they should be brought under the control of the Dominion by an amendment to the British North America Act?

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS.
Subtopic:   PHYSICAL WELFARE OF THE CANADIAN PEOPLE.
Sub-subtopic:   DOMINION DEPARTMENT OP PUBLIC HEALTH SUGGESTED.
Permalink
CON

Michael Steele

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEELE:

There should be no interference whatever with the work now being carried on by the provinces; but there are other lines in which, with a federal health service, the health work of the nation could be co-ordinated in such a way that there would be no interferences with the pro-

vinces; there would be no overlapping; there would be much greater economy of service and much greater efficiency. There are, of course, many matters which the provinces have not power to deal

4. p.m. with, as the British North America Act places the great bulk of health work under the jurisdiction of the Federal Government.

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS.
Subtopic:   PHYSICAL WELFARE OF THE CANADIAN PEOPLE.
Sub-subtopic:   DOMINION DEPARTMENT OP PUBLIC HEALTH SUGGESTED.
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CON

Eugène Paquet

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. EUGENE PAQUET (L'Islet) (translation) :

Mr. Speaker, with the leave of the House, I shall speak a few words to the resolution proposed by the hon. member for South Perth (Mr. Steele). What is the aim of the resolution?

That, in the opinion of this House, the efficiency ' of the nation depends largely on the physical condition of the people, and in order that the latter may he conserved in the largest possible measure, there should he organized a separate department of the Government having supervision over all matters^ relating to the physical welfare of the Dominion.

In this morning's issue of the Ottawa Citizen, the hon. member for South Perth is reported as seeking to secure the organization of a department of public health, in order to promote the teachings of one particular school. The hon. member has already made it clear to the House that the resolution is no way concerned with the teaching of medical science or the doctrines of any particular school.

The hon. member for South Perth is entitled to the congratulations and thanks of the House. His disquisition is admirable, bearing as it does on a subject which is of interest to the whole Canadian people. It is universally acknowledged that a nation's strength and vigour depends to a great extent on the physical condition of its constituent elements. The great strides made in medical science since the wonderful discoveries of Pasteur, Koch and Lister have saved countless human lives. The results attained in scientific research and modern sanitation account for the preservation of hundreds of thousands of soldiers' lives. The health and strength of the Canadian nation largely depend on the moral, physical and mental qualities of the people and of the foreign element which is bound to come to our shores. Our first care should be to eliminate from among the British and American immigrants, who seek admission, the mentally defective. In Great Britain and the United States it is claimed that

600,000 persons suffer from mental diseases in one form or another. Immigrants should be subjected to a rigid inspection as to their mental condition by experts in disease of

the brain. At a special clinic in a Toronto hospital, it was found, as stated by the hon. member, that a large number of the weak-minded were foreigners. It behooves us then to require a more rigid examination of immigrants, so that any who later might become a menace to the vigour of the race may be refused admittance.

There is nothing in the constitution to prevent the establishment by the Federal Government of a department of public health. Since Confederation, the Federal Governments have dealt with many matters concerning public health, but the enactments of provincial legislatures in that sphere must be kept in mind. In Canada the importance of sanitation is being recognized more and more. In the province of Quebec, to speak only of my province, there is a Board of Public Health which has to deal with the problems of hygiene and to cope with epidemics. Its sphere of utility is being extended every day. In the same province there are health officers who look after hygienic conditions. Last winter, Laval University at Quebec gave lectures on public sanitation, the graduates at the end of the course being awarded a degree in hygienic science. Some of the graduates secure positions as sanitary inspectors.

I feel that the best means of developing the physical welfare of our people is by the establishment of a federal department of public health. But before working out the details of the scheme, representatives of the Provincial and Federal Governments should hold a conference to decide on a [DOT]course of action that would avoid all possible encroachment on provincial jurisdiction. Once a mutual understanding is reached, the proposed department could easily be set in operation. Public health work is extending its usefulness every day, and I have no doubt that such a department in the Federal Administration would soon prove its necessity. At the present time matters concerning the public health are divided among various departments, with no attempt at co-ordinate action, such as could be secured if they were all united under one responsible head.

I wish to call the especial attention of the Government and of the Minister of Inland Revenue to the Act concerning patent medicines. That subject is one for a public health department to consider. I have closely examined the Act and read important articles dealing with the enactment. As a result of a careful study, I should ask the Government and the House

to repeal or amend the law so as to afford a greater measure of protection to the public. It has (been said by a physician: Public health is indeed endangered, because everything, in so far as it is concerned, is done in the dark. It offers a fertile field for the operation of quackery. No doubt as to that.

I wish to congratulate heartily Dr. L. F. Dube, of Notre-Dame-du-Lac, county of Temiscouata, province of Quebec, on the lecture he delivered in the month of September, 1916, before the Commission of Sanitary Services. Whoever reads this dissertation cannot but urge ' an immediate revision of the law concerning patent medicines. With the leave of the House, I shall read the following extract from his lecture:

''When a department or a federal board of public health is established at Ottawa, it-is to be expected that it will be entrusted with the supervision, inspection and control of ail matters coming under the Act, as well as with the enforcement of the law, and control over the sale and manufacture of patent medicines. The work should be carried on under medical officers or health specialists duly authorized."

Medical associations have insisted on the repeal of the present Act, and I cannot urge too strongly the necessity for new legislation. In every department of the service there are at present to be found branches having to do with matters connected with public health, and which should properly be entrusted to one department. The result would be unity of purpose and action, which are indispensable if it is desired to reap all the fruits of modern scientific achievements.

Before resuming my seat, I wish to say a last word of commendation of the hon. member for South Perth (Mr. Steele), for having called the attention of the House and of the Government to such an important subject as that of public health.

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS.
Subtopic:   PHYSICAL WELFARE OF THE CANADIAN PEOPLE.
Sub-subtopic:   DOMINION DEPARTMENT OP PUBLIC HEALTH SUGGESTED.
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CON

Martin Burrell (Minister of Agriculture)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Hon. MARTIN BURRELL (Minister of Agriculture):

My hon. friend from South Perth (Mr. Steele) had a resolution of somewhat similar character last year, and, in presenting it, he brought forward a great deal of valuable data on the subject of control of the health of the nation and of the jurisdiction in these matters of the provinces and of the Dominion. The hon. gentlemen ithen made a number of valuable suggestions, which entitled him to the thanks of the House. He has brought the question forward in a somewhat different form this year, though covering very much

the same ground. I do not wish to say much upon the subject, because, though I am partially responsible for the administration of certain legislation regarding public health, I have not the advantage possessed by my hon. friend of being a physician, and so I would rather touch on one or two points raised by the resolution itself than attempt to deal with the address in which he presented it. The question has been raised by the hon. member for Bonaventure (Mr. Marcil) as to whether there was in this resolution any intention to interfere with the control of health matters by the provinces. As is well known, the question of jurisdiction is a little involved in this, as in some other matters. Take education, for instance. It is clearly laid down by the British North America Act that the Federal Government has absolutely nothing to do with education, which is left entirely to the jurisdiction of the province. In other subjects, such as agriculture, the provinces and the Dominion have concurrent jurisdiction, the only stipulation being that where provincial legislation is repugnant to that passed by the Dominion Parliament the Dominion legislation governs. But when we come to legislation on health, as I understand the Constitution, it is specifically provided that the provinces have a limited jurisdiction, they being confined wholly to control of hospitals and eleemosynary institutions. It is left to be inferred that the Federal power can deal with all other health matters. At the same time, we know that by custom there has grown up in Canada a practice by which the provincial governments carry on the major part of the work in connection with public health, while at the same time the Dominion Government has taken some things in connection with health under its entire jurisdiction. Let me refer, first, to my own department. To that department has been assigned the duty of guarding the health of the people from all contagious diseases of a grave character brought here by immigrants from other lands. We 'have quarantine stations, as is well known, in Quebec, Halifax, British Columbia, and elsewhere. Again, the Dominion Government has always had entire control over everything concerning leprosy, and we are carrying on this work at a station in New Brunswick and at another and smaller one in British Columbia. These matters the provinces have not touched at all. The hon. member for South Perth (Mr. Steele) has referred to the work of the Immigration Branch of the Department of the Interior,

and he has suggested that in many respects it might be made stronger and more efficient than at present. Of course, the hon. gentleman will admit that a great deal of excellent work has been done, though, of course, it is true that the efficiency of the department might be strengthened. The Immigration Branch of the Department of the Interior looks after minor diseases, such as some of those to which the hon. member referred, and' its officers are supposed to prevent the entry into Canada of those whose mental or physical health makes them undesirable immigrants. The Department of the Interior 'also has entire charge of the health of Indians, and it appoints doctors to carry out its obligations in that respect. The Marine and Fisheries Department exercises more or less control in connection with the health of sailors and, I think, one or two other matters.

But I would point out that no specific authority has been assigned to the provinces with regard to health matters. By long custom a practice has grown up, and it has been embodied in legislation, under which the provinces exercise control over public health and under which they have empowered municipalities to deal with those matters to a considerable extent. So, legislative and administrative work in connection with health is very wide and is largely out of the control of the Dominion Government. In the United States also, the division of jurisdiction has been somewhat vague. My hon. friend (Mr. Steele) is better informed on the subject than I, but as I understand it the question of quarantine in the United States was for many years little dealt with, if at all, by the Federal Government. In Boston, and I think also in New York, quarantine has been carried on by the municipal authorities, and in other cases by state authorities, and it is only within the last two or three years. that the Federal Government has taken the whole control. In the United States they have not a department of Public Health, but they have what is called a Public Health Service which is under the jurisdiction of or is practically a bureau of the Department of the Treasury.

I quite agree with my hon. friend in saying that if the change he proposes were brought about it would not necessarily involve direct interference with the work of the provinces so as to invite any hostile or critical attitude on their part. Necessarily there would be a very thorough in-

vestigation and conference with the provincial authorities in order to co-ordinate the work and avoid duplication as far as possible. The effort would be more in the way of co-operation and co-ordination than in the way of an attempt to take from any other body that which it might think it ought to control. I do not anticipate any great difficulty in arranging these matters when they come to be dealt with. I think my hon. friend is on sound ground when he emphasizes, among other things, the tremendous necessity in this country, as in other countries, of dealing more with prevention rather than neglecting it, and then spending great energy and large sums of money in efforts to cure disease after it has declared itself. We should go to the root of the matter and try to establish such conditions that diseases of the lamentable kind that exist here and elsewhere may not get a footing through lack of energy in improving conditions. I was particularly impressed with what the hon. member said with regard to the feeble-minded and the regrettable state of things in this country, as well as in most countries, in this respect. I am quite sure that united and energetic action in dealing with the situation would result in incalculable good to the people. I am also thoroughly in accoTd with him when he states that the proper direction of the energies of governmental authorities and individuals to this health question is a matter of enormous importance not only from the point of view of the abolition of poverty and crime, which necessarily must follow widespread conditions of disease, but also from the consideration of its direct effect on the economic efficiency of our nation. I aim perfectly convinced that a viast amount of waste and inefficiency which are to be found in our own country, as in other countries, is due to the neglect *by the state of some of the matters that have been referred to toy my hon. friend. If I understood my hon. friend aright, he seemed to take the ground-perhaps I misunderstood him-that we hiad not made any progress, that we were at a standstill, which was a matter of regret. I presume he meant that in so far as federal control of health matters goes we had not advanced our position very much. He would not, I am sure, mean to convey to this House the idea that in Canada there has been no progress made with regard to general health matters, because there has been a lot of earnest attention paid to the subject by municipalities, by provincial authorities, and, to some ex-

tent, by the Dominion aufttooiritie-s. I think it will not be disputed that some real progress has been. made.

The resolution which my hon. friend has brought before the House is of a little more comprehensive character than was the resolution introduced last year, because in its concluding sentence it calls for the supervision toy this department of public health of all matters relating to the physical welfare of the community. I think I understood him in his opening remarks to say that he did not intend it in that way, because I do not imagine for a moment that the resolution was intended to imply an absolute control by the federal department over all health matters. At the same time, taking the resolution as it is worded-, it would be questionable whether this Government could even under any conditions attempt the absolute supervision over all questions of that kind because it might somewhat interfere with the rights of the provinces.

It has been suggested that there is a danger in creating a department of public health because it would tend towards the establishment of a close medical organization, of one particular system , of medical education, and of certain schools of thought in medical matters- which would interfere with the freedom of those who do not perhaps hold the same views. I do not think, as far as I was able to gather, that my hon. friend had anything of that sort in his mind; nor if a department of public health were established do I imagine that any such tyranny-that is the word that has been used -by the

hypercritics-^would follow. I gather that what my hon. friend aims at is the co-ordinating of the activities in the country in regard to health matters in such a way that there would be greater unity of action and purpose and that the Dominion might give more energy and devote more attention to such matters as medical research and all questions affecting not only natural health but health as it relates to international matters, and also that it would prosecute somewhat more vigorously that very important phase of the question regarding sanitation as applied to health matters. In these objects, the House, I am sure, and certainly the Government, cannot hut sympathize. Last year when my hon. friend brought this resolution to the attention of the House, the Minister of Marine and Fisheries (Mr. Hazen), in my absence through illness, spoke on the resolution and pointed out that it had already

had the consideration of the Government, but that there were so many problems and so much pressing work engaging the time and attention of the ministers, that a matter of this sort, which although it might seem simple, required the most careful consideration and which must be the subject of conferences with the provincial authorities before it was put into effect, would have to be left for a later time. Reasons of that kind which were advanced last year, I am sure my non. friend will appreciate, are equally strong now when the war is in a more acute and terrible phase than it was before, and when the pressure on ministers and departments is certainly not less but, if anything, a great deal more. I am not prepared to dispute the soundness of the position which my hon. friend has taken up. I personally sympathise with what he is aiming at. While I do not think it is desirable or possible to go into a matter of this kind satisfactorily at the present time, I am frank enough to say that I have such sympathy with it that I believe the time is not far distant when it will have to be taken up and dealt with and when -it is it will be a step in the right direction. Further than that I do not wish to detain the House except to say that my hon. friend deserves the thanks of the House for bringing this subject to its attention, and after all it is of a great deal more importance than many of the subjects which we consume time in debating.

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS.
Subtopic:   PHYSICAL WELFARE OF THE CANADIAN PEOPLE.
Sub-subtopic:   DOMINION DEPARTMENT OP PUBLIC HEALTH SUGGESTED.
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CON

Frederick Laurence Schaffner

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. F. L. SCHAFFNER (Souris):

I

think this House is indebted to the hon. member for South Perth (Mr. Steele) for presenting to it a question of Such great importance. I doubt very much if any hon. gentleman could present this resolution more ably than has my hon. friend. It is a question that needs a great deal more consideration, and with your permission, Sir, I wish to move the adjournment of the debate.

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS.
Subtopic:   PHYSICAL WELFARE OF THE CANADIAN PEOPLE.
Sub-subtopic:   DOMINION DEPARTMENT OP PUBLIC HEALTH SUGGESTED.
Permalink

Motion agreed to.


UNCLAIMED BANK BALANCES.

?

Mr. D. C. ROSB@West Middlesex

That, in the opinion of this House, it is advisable that unclaimed balances at present in the Chartered Banks of Canada should be transferred to the Treasurer of the Patriotic Fund to be used for the usual patriotic purposes.

He said: Mr. Speaker, in presenting this resolution to the consideration of the House

it is not my intention to go into any long argument in regard to the matter. I think the facts are pretty clear and I would just make a few observations in regard to what I am asking for in this resolution. In the first place I wish to be entirely frank with the House and to say that after considerable research I have been unable tto find 'any precedent for what I am asking in the resolution. In going through the law of the United States I find no enactment on unclaimed balances. I find that in the states of Connecticut, Idaho, Lonisi'ainia, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Mexico, and New York there are enactments on the statute books which provide for unclaimed balances inasmuch as advertisement is required of the names of those who are entitled to the money where money is concerned hut there is no final disposition of the money.

The law in all these states simply provides that the Government shall, in a public way, make these deposits known by advertisements published in the papers in metropolitan centres, or in Government blue-books, or in reports submitted to the Legislature after deposits have been in the banks for a certain length of time and no transaction has taken place in regard to them. I find that under the law of France no final disposition is made of unclaimed balances. In Great Britain, no ultimate disposition is made of these balances, although the matter has been brought up several times. The only precedent I am able to cite in regard to these balances is the law of the Commonwealth of Australia. According to the law of Australia of 1911 there is this statutory provision.

(1) All moneys to the credit of a depositor's savings bank account (not being a deposit on behalf of a minor) which has 'not been operated upon, either by addition or withdrawal, for a period1 of seven years and upwards, shall be carried to an account to be called the depositors' unclaimed fund, and1 shall cease to bear interest.

(2) The Governor may, on proof to his satisfaction that any person is entitled to any money which has been carried to the credit of the depositors' unclaimed fund, direct payment thereof to him, and his receipt shall be a good discharge to the bank.

(3) A list of the amounts carried to the depositors' unclaimed fund and not claimed/ shall he published annually in the Gazette.

(4) All moneys in respect of which a claim is not established within ten years after having been Included in any published list shall cease to be claimable, and shall become the absolute property of the bank, but the Governor may, with the consent of the treasurer, allow any claim after that period has expired, if he is satisfied that special reasons' exist for the allowance of the claim.

[Mr. Ross 1

This is the only provision I have been able to find which ultimately disposes of unclaimed balances, and according to the law of Australia as I have read it here an unclaimed balance at a certain stage becomes the absolute property of the bank.

For my own part I could not go that far. My resolution do is not go that far. I would not wish in any case to go to that length because I think the bank has no title to this money, particularly in this country where the chartered banks enjoy greater privileges and pay less for them than in any other country. However, I am not making this motion out of anything in the way of ill feeling to the banks, because I have none; I am making it from purely patriotic motives. At this time in the history of this Empire we are not following precedents. I cannot say that we are really making precedents, because the times are too exceptional. But, I think that on both sides of the House we are trying to legislate according to the special circumstances that we find surrounding us, in the best interests of the country and of the Empire; and I think this resolution, if adopted by the Government, will help in that great purpose for which we are all striving at the present time; will aid in the alleviation of the sufferings of our soldiers, and will help ultimately to win the war.

Most hon. gentlemen, I think, are acquainted with the existing law in Canada. It is contained in sections 114 and 115 of the Banking Act of 1913. I shall not read the sections, but, 'briefly, they provide that after, a period of five years has elapsed and no transaction has taken place or no interest has been paid on a balance in the bank, a report is made of that balance to the Government and that balance is published in the official reports of this Government. That balance is not taken by the Government except in one case: If a bank goes into liquidation ot becomes insolvent and there is money in the hands of the liquidator which is unclaimed, either dividends or deposits, that is paid to the Finance Minister and remains the property of the Government until some claim is made for it, and if a claim is established the amount is paid to the person establishing such claim. Apart from that, there is no payment of unclaimed balances in the way of dividends or drafts that have not been cashed, or certified cheques unpaid. By the law of 1913 a further amendment was made which renders it impossible for me to say exactly that the returns which we have furnished to us at the

present time exactly show the amounts of unclaimed balances, because by that amendment it is stated that any sum under five dollars that has been unclaimed for five years will not now be printed in the Government return. So that I cannot say that the figures I give and that I find in the reports of the Government are absolutely correct. I am not going into the old law in regard to unclaimed balances. As far as the Parliament of Canada is concerned, the law as it at present stands is practically the same as when it was first introduced in 1890. But I am going to deal with it just as it stands at the present time.

. There has been one precedent in this House which would jusify this resolution. When the Banking Act was being considered in 1913 by a special committee appointed far thait purpose, the hon. member for South Ontario introduced an amendment providing that all unclaimed balances would be turned over to the Finance Minister. That motion was put in the committee and it was defeated by a vote of fifteen to ten; so that I have this justification in the records of this House, that on that committee of twenty-five members, ten men at that time were in favour of turning the unclaimed balances in the banks over to the Government of this country. That is practically my motion to-day, except that I wish to have the money used fox a specific purpose. - *

There are only three factors in the resolution : In the first place, there is the question of the banks. Probably before I deal with that I should consider the amounts of these balances. According to the latest returns available to me, I find in the statement furnished to this House, of unclaimed balances in chartered banks in 1915, that there were in the banks of this country unclaimed balances of deposits amounting to $916,535.74 and of unpaid certified cheques, drafts or bills of exchange, $171,224, making a total of $1,087,759. I find also, on going back to the records of 1903 and taking the same items, that there were in the chartered banks of this country $517,272, so that in those twelve years these unclaimed balances had increased by $580,000. This question may be considered from three sides, and in the first place, from the standpoint of the banks. Are the banks going to be hurt by the Government implementing this resolution? The money is not theirs. According to these returns they have had the use of $500,000, half a million dollars of the people

of Canada, for twelve years, for which they have not paid a cent. They should be very thankful, I think, for that privilege, and -they should be willing at this time to give this money for a patriotic purpose. In the second place, the withdrawal of this money will not, because the amount is so infinitesimal, be detrimental to the banks concerned. I find on looking at this return that in 1915 the unclaimed balances-I am considering only deposits now, because the same argument applies to these as applies to other unclaimed balances-in the various banks were, in round figures, as follows: Bank of Montreal, $111,000; Quebec Bank, $15,000; Bank of Nova Scotia, $37,000; Bank of British North America, $73,000; Bank of Toronto, $4,000; Molsons Bank, $17,000; Banque Nationale, $19,000; Merchants Bank of Canada, $37,000; Banque Provmciale du Canada, $7,000; Union Bank of Canada, $89,000; Canadian Bank of Commerce, $103,000; Montreal City and District Savings Bank, $128,000. I shall not read the whole list, hut it will be observed that the three largest amounts are $111,000, Bank of Montreal; $103,000, Canadian Bank of Commerce, and $128,000, Montreal City and District Savings Bank. My argument is this: having regard to the large capitalization of these banks and the immense amount of their deposits, the payment by them to the secretary of the Patriotic Fund through the Finance Minister of the small amount of money suggested would not prejudice their business in any way. The deposits in the banks to-day amount to the enormous sum of $1,500,000,000, in round figures, having increased during the last three or four years to the extent of nearly half a billion dollars. At the present time, therefore, through the thrift and industry of the people, the Canadian banks are in a stronger position, so far as deposits are concerned, than they ever have been. Moreover. I do not (think they need this money- and this has been shown by recent financial operations. The Minister of Finance, with great foresight and great success, put on the market a patriotic loan only a short time ago. To this loan the banks subscribed an amount in the neighbourhood of $50,-000,000-I have not the exact figures, but they are familiar to the minister. This shows that the banks were not very hard up. If they could

for patriotic reasons give to the Minister of Finance $50,000,000 on account of that war loan, surely they can allow $1,000,000 to go out of their coffers for the purposes men-

tioned in this resolution. I say, then, that the banks cannot complain if they be asked to do this. The money is not their own; they do not need it and the amount is so infinitesimal that it cannot possibly injure their financial operations.

If this resolution is accepted, the bill to be founded upon it will contain many details which could not possibly be set forth in the resolution. But if I had stated it to be my object to confiscate these unclaimed balances, what would that mean to the depositors? The amount of unclaimed deposits in the Bank of Montreal is $111,000, and in that amount 1,900 people are interested. Only three people are interested in deposits exceeding $3,000 and only fifteen other than the three are interested in amounts exceeding $1,000. The average deposit of the 1,900 people is $59, but if you subtract the larger deposits of the eighteen people mentioned, the average amount is only $40. The same conditions obtain in the Bank of Commerce; there are only eighteen depositors of unclaimed balances amounting to more than $1,000. So that even if it were my intention to confiscate this money, the amount taken from each depositor would be very small indeed.

In the third place, what are going to be the needs' of the Patriotic Fund? No one will take exception to the great work that has been done in connection with the Patriotic Fund; no greater work has been done in any country. If I have the figures correctly, there has been collected through the voluntary offerings of the people of Canada about $21,000,000, for the purpose of assisting the widows and dependents of the soldiers who have gone across the seas to fight the battles of Canada and of the world. I do not think that the people of any country have responded more liberally to these appeals than have the Canadian people. The people of Britain salute them for the generosity with which they have responded to every patriotic appeal that has been made. But there has been this criticism^and 1 think it is a fair criticism-that the Patriotic Fund has been raised by voluntary subscription and that at each successive appeal the same men have almost invariably subscribed. It has been suggested that when we send our soldiers across the water to fight our battles, the country should take care of their dependents by general taxation-and there seems to be some weight and some justice in that criticism. But there will come a time in the history of this war when we shall have

350,000 or 400,000 men on the other side of the water. When the war is won, the patriotic fervor which moved the people to subscribe to the Patriotic Fund will not be as warm as it formerly was, and the people will not give so freely. There will be a certain amount of stagnation in trade; there will be a period of hard times and the need for some increase in the Patriotic Fund will be greater than it ever was. I submit that this $1,000,000 will be the splendid nucleus of a fund to provide for that day, which will surely come, when the people will not he as able or as willing to respond to appeals made on behalf of the Patriotic Fund as they have been in the past. On that account, if on no other, I think this resolution is justified.

There is just one more consideration, and that is the depositor. I am not asking the Government to take this money from the depositor. I am not asking them to do what has been done in Australia; I do not think that would be just and right. Since my entrance into this House I have been a constant champion of the depositor, and am to-day. I think that the depositor in the Canadian banks does not get his rights and does not get ample protection. He does not get his rights in the matter of security; he does not get a sufficiently high Tate of interest. There are many things that could be done for the depositor in the Canadian banks, and which will be done some day, I hope, in the near future. If this resolution is accepted by the Government and this money paid through the Finance Minister to the secretary of the Patriotic Fund, it will be my suggestion to the Minister of Finance that in case valid claims are made in the future upon the Government of Canada and those claims are established by proper evidence, these depositors do not have their money taken from them, but that this rich Dominion is generous and just enough to see that these depositors are paid the money that they have deposited in the banks of this-country. That is all I will say in regard to the resolution, and I hope I shall receive a sympathetic and generous response from the Minister of Finance.

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS.
Subtopic:   UNCLAIMED BANK BALANCES.
Sub-subtopic:   PROPOSAL TO DEVOTE THEM TO PATRIOTIC FUND.
Permalink

May 2, 1917