February 22, 1935

UFA

Henry Elvins Spencer

United Farmers of Alberta

Mr. SPENCER:

That is the annual loss

through inability to work because of illness, and untimely death.

I am going to credit the minister with enthusiasm in the discharge of his duties, and with having attempted to do something the department has never attempted before, namely, to conduct an energetic drive towards cooperating with the provinces in a health policy. I am quite sure, however, that we will not have that drive if when we look at the situation to-day we say that the health of the people is being well looked after. I feel the medical profession are doing what they can, but on account of lack of policy and lack of coordination there are many people who because of the high cost of sickness, fear sickness more than anything else. For that very reason they will not seek medical aid, until the very last moment, and by doing that they are not fair to themselves or to the doctors.

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CON

Donald Matheson Sutherland (Minister of Pensions and National Health)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SUTHERLAND:

The hon. member

must realize that we will always have a great deal of sickness and loss of time. The best that preventive medicine can do is to prolong life by five or ten years. Unfor-tuately we cannot prolong it indefinitely. We will never reach the point where we can stop sickness or death.

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UFA

Henry Elvins Spencer

United Farmers of Alberta

Mr. SPENCER:

I hope the minister

appreciates that through preventive measures the amount of sickness could be greatly reduced.

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LIB

John Knox Blair

Liberal

Mr. BLAIR:

I approve of the movement

now on foot, but I believe we must move

92582-7a

with considerable caution. I met with some organizations in Ontario who were asked whether they approved of the principle of the dominion parliament interfering in matters of health. I am inclined to agree with the minister when he states that the public are being fairly well looked after. To-day we protect them from diphtheria and use other methods of preventive medicine which we did not have a few years ago. Speaking for the province of Ontario-I would not care to speak for the rest of the dominion-I should say the people are fairly well cared for. There is one point, however, to which I should like to direct attention. While guardians are punished if children under their care are not sent to school, on many occasions the health of those children is neglected, but the guardians are not punished. I believe some provision should be made to correct that condition.

If we- are to introduce any measure for state medicine I believe the doctors as a profession must keep their prices at rates the public can pay. The figure of $360,000,000 per year for 10,000,000 people, or $36 per person, is far too high, and the public would be justified in resenting it. I believe the service could be given for a great deal less. The difficulty to-day is that the doctors are not being paid. I believe the municipalities and the provinces should shoulder the burden of caring for the people. So far as the federal government is concerned, I do not know where the money would come from, because after all this federal parliament is made up of members from the provinces. Further, the matter should not be considered too quickly. I was warned by medical men in Ontario that we must approach the subject very slowly because if rapid advances were made, public sentiment might condemn it. I believe the minister is acting properly in gathering information and permitting the public to feel its way. Eventually we may reach a point where there could be no reverses, and at a time when the public may demand further action we could go ahead and do our best. Although I am in favour of making inquiries, yet I feel caution should be exercised. Undoubtedly a reduction in fees such as has been suggested is required.

Mr. VEiNIOT: I notice under this item we have quarantines and leprosy. Gould the minister give me information about certain work .contemplated for the Tracadie lazaretto, and could he tell me what that work consists of? I believe a bowling green, a rink and the purchase of a certain number of radios has been considered.

Supply-National Health

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CON

Donald Matheson Sutherland (Minister of Pensions and National Health)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SUTHERLAND:

There was a plan whereby a large building would be erected for skating.

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?

Clarence Joseph Veniot

Mr. VEINIOT:

Skating for whom?

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CON

Donald Matheson Sutherland (Minister of Pensions and National Health)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SUTHERLAND:

I presume for the attendants, and I understand two or three of the lepers skate. That is my information received from the deputy.

Mr. VEiNIOT: What about the bowling green?

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CON

Donald Matheson Sutherland (Minister of Pensions and National Health)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SUTHERLAND:

The bon. member does not seem enthusiastic about it.

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LIB
CON

Donald Matheson Sutherland (Minister of Pensions and National Health)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SUTHERLAND:

I may relieve his mind by stating that we are not proceeding with the work at the present time. It has been stopped, pending further investigation.

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LIB

Peter John Veniot

Liberal

Mr. VENIOT:

I hope the minister will never go on with it. There are nine or ten lepers in the lazaretto, and of 'that number no more than two or three could avail themselves of a rink which would cost $5,000 or $10,000. So far as the bowling green is concerned I do not believe three of the total number of lepers could use a ball. Most of them are advanced cases. The intention was to place six or seven radios in the lazaretto.

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CON

Donald Matheson Sutherland (Minister of Pensions and National Health)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SUTHERLAND:

I never heard about that.

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LIB

Peter John Veniot

Liberal

Mr. VENIOT:

There was an idea to that effect. The former minister advertised it.

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CON

Donald Matheson Sutherland (Minister of Pensions and National Health)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SUTHERLAND:

I suppose he was going to donate them.

Mr. VEiNIOT: No, he was not; he is not as generous as all that.

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LIB

John Power Howden

Liberal

Mr. HOWDEN:

With regard to the narcotic drug act, are the offences as frequent as they formerly were? Is the matter now more under control than it was?

Mr. SUTHERLAiND: The number of

addicts within our knowledge is becoming smaller, and the prosecutions are fewer. The convictions in the last few years would indicate that. In 1929 there were, 567; in 1930, 458; in 1931, 338; in 1932, 340; in 1933, 240.

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LIB

John Power Howden

Liberal

Mr. HOWDEN:

Looking over this item there was something that has always occurred to me, and I mentioned it on the last occasion this item was up. The minister is familiar with what we call the infectious papilomata. There are three of them-leprosy, syphilis and tuberculosis. The scope of leprosy is fortunately very limited at the present time, but that is not so with these other two diseases,

which are very similar in their pathology, in their general infection, and their widespread dissemination. If the government (feel it incumbent upon them to assume control in the case of leprosy, I do not see why it is not equally incumbent upon them, if not more so, to do so in the case of these other two diseases. Their widespread occurrence is of intensely serious import, and it is hard to choose between them as to the damage they do to the human race. The suffering and tragedy they cause lead me to believe that the federal authority could very well take under its own charge the control of syphilis and tuberculosis and take the necessary steps and precautions to control their spread and fulmination. I think this is well worthy of the government's consideration.

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LIB

James Layton Ralston

Liberal

Mr. RALSTON:

I want to ask the minister to have a case looked into that has been brought to my attention. It is that of E. T. McKeen, inspector at Sydney, who was retired about two years ago and died a week ago. I have been asked to make an inquiry whether or not it was possible in view of his good service to make some allowance to his widow for pension. I do not know very much about the circumstances or how he was employed, whether he was a permanent officer or not, but I would ask the minister to look into it if he will.

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CON

Donald Matheson Sutherland (Minister of Pensions and National Health)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SUTHERLAND:

Yes. .

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LIB

John Power Howden

Liberal

Mr. HOWDEN:

What does the minister think about the propriety of the department taking control over the two diseases I mentioned a moment ago? It is a very serious national matter.

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CON

Donald Matheson Sutherland (Minister of Pensions and National Health)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SUTHERLAND:

My information is that tuberculosis is being exceedingly well looked after at the present time. We owe a great deal to the Canadian Tuberculosis Association, which for many years has been spreading among the people the doctrine of prevention and care and treatment. I do not think any one disease we are subject to has received as much attention and care as tuberculosis, and in an effective way too, because tuberculosis is declining in Canada and we can hope that it will gradually be eliminated. It is not, of course, a disease like leprosy, where the possibility of cure is remote, although the chances even there are better now with a certain treatment that has been discovered. But leprosy is a loathsome disease and the sufferer from it must be segregated, whereas the tubercular patient after a certain period of sanatorium treatment can go home and, having learned to care for himself at the sanatorium, can carry

Supply-Pensions-European War

on his treatment at home and have a certain amount of family life. I do not think it is necessary for the state to take charge of that disease as my hon. friend suggests. With regard to syphilis, that is on a different basis. If a case develops and is diagnosed it will get treatment and there is no doubt that there is treatment for it in the first or second stages. It will receive treatment under the prevailing methods and means that we have. I do not think it is necessary to go to the extreme of the dominion taking over the responsibility for institutional treatment of either of these two diseases which my hon. friend has mentioned.

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February 22, 1935