services in Saskatchewan, services that I know something about, such as taking care of the sick, for instance, and looking after women and children. Our doctors have had a very hard struggle. I do not know of any group of men who have been more unselfish and untiring in their efforts than the medical profession in my province. I know medical men there who have been going almost without their meals, running their cars to go and see people. I know of medical men who have mortgaged all they had to serve the people of the province. But I know something else, too. I know that during the years 1930-35 the medical profession not only in Saskatchewan but throughout western Canada were so concerned at the inadequacy of medical services being given in that part of Canada that there was a strong agitation among the doctors of those provinces to get together and find out what could be done. They did this. They visited the premiers of the four western provinces and put the situation up to them, and they received from those four western premiers, on behalf of their respective governments, letters suggesting that the federal government should come to the assistance of the provinces in order to help to carry on essential medical services. They came to
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Ottawa when the leader of the opposition was Prime Minister, and what was the result? They almost received the cold shoulder. At any rate, they Aid not receive one dollar to help along those essential medical services. And now that the right hon. gentleman is in opposition he says that we should come to the assistance of the teachers and pay their salaries.
If it is a good principle now to come to the assistance of the teachers-and I am not saying that it is not-surely the right hon. gentleman is not the one to press it after turning down very definitely and positively the request made by the medical profession of western Canada to carry on essential services at the time to which I have referred..
I venture at this time to say a word on behalf of those men in Saskatchewan, the clergymen, who assisted in the distribution of vegetables and all the other good things that came from the east.
I would not stand by and allow anyone to say -there was a crooked thing done by any of these men or those associated with them in the distribution of the goods that were sent out. These men carried out that distribution efficiently, and often there was nothing left for them.
I wish to correct just one observation made by the hon. member for Saskatoon. It is not correct to say that any effort was made by the west. The representative of the doctors, Doctor Routley, attended here and asked that certain provision be made in relief measures for medical services. We said that was a matter that should be dealt with by the provinces, with respect to the moneys they received by grants in aid to enable them to carry on relief; that it was not our function so to do. We said the provinces could do as they pleased with respect to these matters, and that was the cold shoulder they received. Let there be no misunderstanding with respect to that.
With respect to teachers the same thing applied, only now this money is for the maintenance of essential services, in the terms of this grant or appropriation, and we have a perfect right to impose a condition that the money be utilized to liquidate any balance that may have accumulated. But the money having been spent there is not much use in locking the door after the horse has walked out or -been taken out. Perhaps it has been taken for a ride; that may be the net result. That was the position with respect to medical services, about which I know a very great deal; and the hon. gentleman himself was not present.
The right hon. gentleman knows very well that nothing was included in the grants in aid for medical services, and I am not saying -that it occurred only when he was Prime Minister. I just said that inasmuch as he was so solicitous for the payment of teachers I thought the record should be kept straight.
Even at the risk of correcting the record and putting it right I must say that I have never found the hon. member for Saskatoon to make a complete statement during the time I have been in the house. Part of the statement is always made and the rest is left in abeyance. One is imagination; the other is fact. On the question. of supplanting imagination with fact the truth is that those were grants with respect to relief. This is a grant made to enable the province to carry on its business, and its business is to look after the teachers. The minister says the rate has now been increased from SI to $1.50 a day, in regard to the assistance given the schools.
Yes, $1.50 per day per room. Presumably that is for the purpose of maintaining the efficiency of the schools. I was talking only about the question of the teachers' salaries. With respect to grants in aid for relief, the province may make the distribution it thinks best, but this is not a grant for relief; this is a grant for essential services. It is not of the nature of the grants that were made by the late administration, unless the hon. gentleman refers to grants with respect to roads. That is the only point I -have in mind.
I did not anticipate this sort of discussion arising at this stage of the bill; I thought it had been fairly thoroughly discussed the other evening, when this item was before the committee of supply. I quite understand that the right hon. leader of the opposition was not present on that occasion, and has a perfect right to take advantage of this opportunity. I should point out, however, as I pointed out the other evening, that the wording of this vote is very similar to the wording of the vote by which this house at its last session, following the investigation by the Bank of Canada into the affairs of Saskatchewan, appropriated $1,500,000. As I pointed out the other night, the examination by the Bank of Canada was based upon the
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conditions existing at that time, that is, a year ago. Along in the summer it became quite apparent that any estimate which had been made by the bank as to the prospective revenues receivable by the province of Saskatchewan during 1937 could not possibly be realized, because everyone could see that the worst drought in the history of the province was upon those people. Therefore the problem of carrying on the essential services of the province became much more acute.
Parliament provided a million and a half. This additional amount represents a careful further examination of what was imposed upon the people and the government of that province by the additional drought conditions of 1937. The Minister of Agriculture is quite correct in saying that, when the government of the province made representations to us last September as to the conditions, it was quite apparent that no authority existed for enlarging the amount which had been granted by parliament. The government had no such authority. The only thing the government could do, after examining all the facts and the provincial income-meaning by that the income of all the people, the figures of which I gave the other night, as between 1936 and 1937 in Saskatchewan, which represent the greatest reduction, I think, of the income of the whole people of a province that has ever occurred in the history of Canada-was to say, "We are willing to place before parliament at its next session a proposal to increase the amount of a million and a half which has already been provided, by a further sum of $2,000,000." Certain conditions were imposed, which I need not go into in detail now, conditions having to do with cutting of certain expenditures in which the dominion believed economies could be effected. In addition a very thorough examination was made of the purposes for which this money was required, which are the ordinary services of the province.
On the basis of the assurance given by myself on behalf of the government that such an item would be placed before parliament, undoubtedly the province in the interim has been able to carry on those essential services, and only because of that.
of Finance received a telegram from the general secretary of the Alberta Teachers' Association on March 8, a copy of which was sent to me, dealing with the request of Alberta to be assisted in the same way with respect to this educational matter.
general secretary of the Alberta Teachers' Association. At that time the minister's correspondent referred to the unanimous plea of the Canadian Teachers' Federation to the dominion government for assistance to be given in connection with the drought area of Saskatchewan; and the general secretary of the Alberta Teachers' Association points out that these conditions apply equally in that province in the case of some six thousand teachers.
It began some considerable time before we came into office; in fact in 1934, I think, the arrears in Saskatchewan were in the neighbourhood of three-quarters of a million dollars. It has been a growing condition. No government of Canada has yet taken the ground that in assisting the provinces, either by way of relief or by way of assistance in financing their essential services, the government of Canada or the parliament of Canada should earmark the precise purpose for which the sum so granted should be expended.