It is a voluntary parliamentary committee, acting without any authority from parliament itself. It is an arrangement among a certain group of members of parliament whose .powers, shall I say, come from the vested interests. The hon. member will know what I mean when I say that. I am not saying that there is a similar committee set up here, but I warn the members of this house that they have a duty to prevent any such movement here, even though they are on the government side. After they are elected they do not represent Liberals, Conservatives, Cooperative Commonwealth Federation or Social Credit; they represent all the people. That is what I am endeavouring to do this afternoon in saying what I have said.
Past history has shown that social legislation has made more headway during periods of war than at any other time. We are doing well now to give some thought to the postwar period. The Atlantic charter has been mentioned often since that historic meeting of Prime Minister Churchill and President Roosevelt, and it is to be hoped that the provisions outlined in that charter are not merely idle or empty words. When we speak about some new world order after the war, I suggest that we put into effect now some of the provisions of the Atlantic charter, particularly in connection with two worthy classes of our citizens.
One class I have in mind is made up of the great number of soldiers' widows in this country who have been knocking on the door of parliament for many years and whose plight is known to every member of the house. How about trying out some of the provisions of the
Atlantic charter on these worthy people? Then how about trying it out on our old age pensioners? Is nothing further to be done for them? True it is that we have on our statute books an Old Age Pensions Act which provides the small allowance of $20 a month for those who have reached the age of seventy years. This amount will hardly keep body and soul together. I wonder how many hon. members realize that the allotted span of life on this earth as laid down by God is seventy years? In psalm 90, verse 10, you will read:
The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away.
With the full knowledge of that before us, how can we call the granting of a pension at seventy years of age an old age pension? I am going to designate it from now on as a death-bed allowance. The great sums being provided by the Canadian people show that we can do anything, and refutes the statements which have been made by former ministers of finance who had always the one stock answer, "Where will the money come from?" when representations were made advocating further social legislation on behalf of our people. I remember one minister of finance holding up his hands in holy horror- I can visualize now the challenging look in his eyes
as he said, "Where can I get $100,000,000 to put these things into effect?" Yet we are budgeting to-day for "close to $4,000,000,000, a sum which staggers the imagination, a sum the magnitude of which few members of parliament can fully grasp.
Since my time is short, the last subject which I have to bring before the house has to do with the protecting of the Pacific coast. The people out there, and the people throughout Canada, are greatly perturbed over events these days. They are more perturbed because there is a feeling among the people that they are not being told the truth of the war situation. I am one of those who believe that our people can take the truth, but once they realize that they are being fooled it will be too bad for those in authority. I think it is fair to. say that since this war started the average citizen has been further ahead with his views than many of the high military authorities. On so manj' occasions they have been wrong.
The Japanese have landed on the Aleutian islands. To back up my statement that the people have not been told the truth, I should like to quote from an article which appeared in the United States press and which was copied by the Ottawa Citizen. I shall read only one paragraph of this article, which
The Budget-Mr. Reid
first appeared in the New York Times. Dealing with the fact that the Japanese had landed in the outer Aleutians, they say:
First we were assured that the enemy had landed in no "inhabited" area. Then it was suggested the islands were too rocky and forbidding to be of much value to the enemy. Later it was admitted enemy ships had entered Kiska harbour and that troop barracks had been erected on the shore. Now we are informed there cannot be more than a few hundred Japanese soldiers there.
I wonder how many people of this country and how many members of parliament are really aware of the significance of the toe-hold which the Japanese have obtained on the Aleutian islands? Even some of our own people do not seem to realize the significance of it. Lieutenant-General Kenneth Stuart, chief of the general staff, who has just taken over the Pacific command, referred to the landing of the Japanese on the Aleutian islands as being "only a little invasion". He suggested that we should pay no attention to it. I suggest that it is more than a little invasion and has more significance than he realizes or most people perhaps realize. I think the Vancouver Sun set this out veiy well in an editorial, which reads in part:
The Japanese are not yet into Alaska. They have not taken Dutch Harbour. But how can any sensible person believe that the Japanese will pause, for our convenience, in the outer Aleutians? Of course they must attempt, at all costs, to neutralize the bases of Alaska, which will be used against them as soon as Russia is at war with Japan. And the fact th.at Japan is moving so early in the north indicates clearly that the Japanese are getting ready for an early attaeK on Russia.
I should not be at all surprised if the Japanese moved forward and made a desperate attempt to attack Alaska. How many hon. members realize that Germany and Japan have put an encircling movement into effect and are attempting to divide the allies one from the other? We all wish to help Russia, but I say that if Alaska is taken by the Japanese, the one great outlet for munitions into Russia from this country will be blocked off.
Where the Japanese have a toe-hold is only 580 miles from Kamchatka in Russia, and that is only 600 miles from Japan. The Japanese are not going to sit back vvhen they have a foothold on the Aleutian islands, and if they should attack Alaska it will be a serious thing for Canada as well as the United States. We sometimes talk of an invasion. An invasion may or may not take place, but the object of the Japanese in taking Alaska and the Aleutian islands would be to stop aid going to Russia from outside countries before war between Japan and Russia takes place.
I have one word to say regarding the Alaska highway. For ten years this country has been surveying routes from Canada into Alaska. We had the routes laid out, the estimates made and the plans worked out. We knew the best and easiest route to get in there, and I believe this country made a mistake when it allowed the United States to go ahead and build a road over a very nebulous route into Alaska. We are just as much interested in Alaska as they are, and we should have taken a firm stand, instead of showing a colonial mind, and said: "Here, Mr. United States, we have gone into this thing, and here is the proper route you should take." Some people are already beginning to doubt whether the United States will be able to complete the road they have started and whether they will not have to come back and build over one of the routes we have surveyed.
Topic: THE BUDGET
Subtopic: DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
say regarding the Japanese in British Columbia. Only a few days ago a Japanese submarine fired shells into Estevan. Some have said that the Japanese must have been poor marksmen because they did not hit anything. But does anyone know what their real object was? No one can tell. They may have been looking for supplies that could have been cached there earlier. In British Columbia in January of this year, and even before, the Japanese were buying gasoline, not by the gallon but by the drum, and buying stumping and blasting powder in great quantities. We from British Columbia raised our voices many times and asked the government to move the Japanese out of the province, but this was delayed. The latest information I have is that there are as many Japanese seen around the city of Vancouver now as ever there were. Those who come from British Columbia know that the situation is serious, but we have had a terrible fight to make the authorities here believe it. It has been flung in our teeth: "Do not listen to those men from British Columbia because they have not the milk of human kindness in them." Well, Mr. Speaker, I hope we are wrong; our pwn people come first. We who
The Budget-Mr. Gershaw
have lived among the Japanese know something of their methods, and I would not be surprised if they had cached gasoline and blasting powder in different areas along the coast. The Japanese it was stated landed men surreptitiously at night in the Charlotte islands before the war; when the war started three hundred Japanese disappeared and the authorities could not get hold of them at all. I have no doubt that some of them were those who came in surreptitiously. I would ask the Minister of Justice (Mr. St. Laurent), if it comes under his department, or the Department of National Defence, to watch the bays and coves of the coast of British Columbia, and, if possible, do a little searching there to find out whether there are any caches which the Japanese have made of supplies for submarines and other vessels to pick up when needed.
In conclusion, Mr. Speaker, it is realized that the war situation is serious, but do not let us forget that Hitler's plans are not going well. His attack on Russia was a mistake, and we can thank God for that mistake. Second, he never dreamed that the United States and Canada could turn out aeroplanes and tanks and ships and munitions and food in such huge quantities as we are doing. Canada's record in that respect is one of which we can justly be proud.
It is not often, Mr. Speaker, that I quote poetry in the house, not that I have not been in a position to do so, but on this seventy-fifth anniversary of our dominion I may be pardoned if I quote four stanzas from a poem called "Canada's Call-1942," by John of "The Lilacs," Prince Edward Island.
The pipes are sounding far across the water,
Across the lakes and dells comes their refrain;
The pibroch strains are calling from the distance-
0 bonny lad, guard well thy great domain.
Guard well thy freedom! flower of Canada's greatness,
Far o'er the ocean waves thy help is needed still;
"Lest We Forget," these words live in our memory
From out the past-from Flanders' field and hill.
Ours is no empty boast, nor words vainglorious
Of flattering tongue, or craven servile race;
Upon the undying page in deeds immortal;
There Canada's sons have won a glorious peace.
No pen however great could write the glory,
Of Canada's heroes who braved war's awful hell;
"Their names shall live forever;" through the
Where history's chronicle of valorous stories tell.
My final word is this. We the members of this house have a duty to perform during these trying days. I trust that when the history of this crisis is written those who read the pages of Canada's great deeds will find a sentence something like this dealing with our parliament; During those days none was for the party but all were for the state.
Mr. F. W. GERSHAW (Medicine Hat); Mr. Speaker, in rising to make a brief contribution to this debate I should like first of all to say to the Minister of Finance (Mr. Ilsley) that the writing of the budget and the manner in which he delivered it are accomplishments that will stand out brilliantly in the political life of Canada for many years to come. I have noticed that the British people have commented favourably on this budget, and I believe that the people of Canada have accepted it, not with joy and shouting, but with the seriously firm conviction that it is fair, that it is just and that it is necessary in order to meet the very difficult circumstances with which we are faced. It is an outward indication that the economic life of Canada has changed from a peace-time to a war-time basis. But to me, Mr. Speaker, it means something -more, because I believe it means the end of that phase of capitalism which has allowed poverty and want to exist side by side with great wealth and waste. As 1 go into the homes of the people of the country I find that there is one problem which faces them all, and that is the problem of making a bare living. I find that during the thirties there was demoralizing unemployment, when many of our young people were denied the chance to work and make a decent living. I believe that the sentiment of the people of Canada and the sentiment of the soldiers who will return to Canada will be never to permit such conditions to recur within our countiy.
Speaking before, earlier this session, I advocated the giving of larger pensions for the aged and for the blind. I have also advocated that this very high taxation be kept up after the war so that the plans which the various reconstruction committees are making can be carried out. I believe that those plans can so adjust things that no one who has gone overseas will lose for having done so and that no one who has stayed at home will gain for having stayed at home.
I believe that on this Dominion day we might well not only give lip-service in honour of our fighting forces but also convince them that when they return there will be positions for them, that there will be preference for them
The Budget-Mr. Gershaw
in the positions they had before, including the civil service, and that they will be reestablished as they should be.
I believe that during and after this war we should all be on the same level in respect of whatever sacrifices are necessary. I see in this budget a levelling-up process which, I believe, will have a great effect; that level should be the one which will give the maximum health to the people of this country.
There was a day when certain people in Spain knew that they had four columns coming against them, and then they had the traitors in their midst, making a fifth column. We in Canada are faced with more than that. We are faced with what might be called the sixth column. I refer to the devitalizing effects of ill-health and undernourishment. Never since the beginning of time has the morale of an army been high when the civil population was not well fed. No army was ever at its best; no army had the necessaiy sustaining energy unless it also was well fed. So we must see to it that the boys who have gone from these shores shall be the best-clothed, the best-equipped and the best-fed army that our resources will provide, because-
Vain mightiest fleets of iron framed;
Vain, those all-shattering guns;
Unless proud England keep, untamed,
The strong heart of her sons.
Health and life are the most precious possessions of any mortal. Before this war is over, many of our bravest and best young men will lie beneath wooden crosses; many, too, will lie in foreign lands without crosses, or in the depths of the ocean. Others will return broken in spirit and in body. We cannot prevent those violent deaths and injuries. But we can prevent deaths on the highway. We can do much to prolong the span of life. Just to illustrate, I should like to mention some things which have been done.
Research up to the present has discovered means of combating previously rapidly fatal diseases as diabetes, goitre and pernicious anaemia. Sulfanilamide has been discovered, and, with its allied drugs, has been a real elixir of life, because it has done so much to inhibit and destroy the effects of the invading germs which are always present. Drug addiction in this country is almost unknown, owing to the vigorous action of the Department of Pensions and National Health. Workmen's compensation boards in the different provinces not only pay compensation but have a department studying the cause of accidents and trying to prevent those accidents from happening, and putting in measures for the protection of the workmen. Yet we find that, with all those precautions, there are still some things which
have not until recently been given much attention, and for a few moments I wish to speak on the deficiency particularly as it applies to diets.
Anyone who is working hard needs a substantial diet. A cigarette and a cup of coffee are poor nourishment to support the body. On the other hand, a full stomach is not by any means an assurance that there is not partial starvation and deficiency. There are many men who have been in good health while they were in humble circumstances, but when they started to indulge in the rich diets and the worry and the stress and the strain and probably the night life of the affluent, their health has been broken.
During the days of Washington the average age of life extended to only thirty-eight years. During the days of the first Roosevelt it was forty-nine years. To-day a male child can look forward to living sixty-one years, and a female child to sixty-four years. That great improvement has been brought about chiefly by better care of infants, better protection against contagious diseases, including tuberculosis and typhoid. There are still many-too many'-sudden deaths coming in the most active period of life. Many of these deaths have definite causes; the causes can be learned and precautions taken in time. Sometimes dietary excesses have a good deal to do with it-eating the wrong foods, drinking the wrong fluids, and a body-softening and nerve-debilitating method of life. From a study of 200,000 insurance reports it has been found that, for every hundred men who die at the age of forty-five at normal weight, one hundred and thirty-nine die at that age who are overweight, because every cubic inch of flesh and every extra pound impose a great strain on the vital organs. That, together with the high-tension lives which we live, has been the cause of many sudden deaths. This budget seems to provide very good reasons for people to improve in that respect, because the high taxes and the restrictions which this budget has brought forth will tend to cause people to walk more and ride less and live & much simpler life.
In Great Britain, rationing has brought about an improvement in the health of the people. During the last war people waited in long queues to get their food. The result was that the strong and the rich got too much, and the poor and humble were often told, "There is nothing more to-day." In this war, ration cards are given to the people, so that everyone gets his share. In Great Britain to-day and every day about a million meals are served, mostly to the children, and the government pays for 90 per cent of them. Coal miners,
The Budget-Mr. Gershaw
who are subject to cold and damp, are given extra supplies of Canadian bacon because of its heat-producing qualities, and those who work strenuously for long hours in the docks receive extra supplies of cheese because of its calcium content. Fruit juices, milk and the fish liver oils are supplied chiefly to children and to expectant mothers. The cargo space which is available to take food to the people of Britain is limited, and they must put essential foods in that space and deliver them where they are most needed. This has resulted in an improvement in the health of the people.
I come now to the second class. Deficiency affects those who have too much to eat and to drink, too little exercise and too little sleep; but it has a much more varied, serious and complicated effect upon that other class of people who have too little to eat, too much to do, and too much anxiety and worry. Poor food, poor clothing, poor housing conditions are companions of ill-health and dejection. Why? Because these unhappy conditions lower the resistance which each of us has to germs which are ever ready to attack us, to invade our systems and destroy our lives. These things result from our economic activities failing to keep up with the light and knowledge gained by medical research and medical experience. Our hearts go out to the old person, to the aged man or woman who has not ordinary comforts, but perhaps much more are we touched by the pale, drawn face and lean body of the. undernourished child. We know that these physical deficiencies can be evaluated and that the necessary proteins or minerals can be supplied in the proper quantities and qualities.
For instance, there is vitamin B. We are all interested in vitamin B because it is the youthpreserving vitamin. Deficiency of it in childhood causes decrease of growth, and in adult life fatigue, neuritis, nervous depression and so on. This substance is found in a number of foods but particularly in the whole grain cereals and in milk, liver, and such products as eggs in particular.
Take vitamin C. A deficiency of this causes poor bones and teeth, and scurvy in advanced cases. This vitamin in found abundantly in tomatoes, oranges, unpeeled potatoes.
One more vitamin comes to mind, vitamin A. A deficiency of this causes a decrease of growth in childhood and aching eyes, eye weaknesses and diseases of the eye. This vitamin is found abundantly in green vegetables, spinach, carrots, apricots and, of course, particularly in butter and in fish liver oils.
The absence of a small quantity of these important essentials does not cause total dis-ablity or complete sickness, but it does tend in
that direction. It causes partial disability. It retards the person in the strenuous struggle for life. As Doctor Thomson put it, it takes us to the nutritional twilight. We do not enjoy the bright midday sunshine of an adequate diet, but yet we are not altogether consigned to the night of definitely diagnosable disease or starvation. Doctor James recently visited some places in the east end of London. He went to Bethnal Green to a school there and found that the government was providing one meal of protective foods for the children in that school every day. He found that the children of thirteen years of age weighed eight pounds more and were one and three-quarters inches taller than their predecessors in 1938. Not only that, but that particular part of London had been hit by enemy action and they have often had to go into shelters. Then in a boys' school the diet was considered to be adequate, and yet it was found that a large , number of boys, when compared with an equal number of other boys, showed that in the first class, where one pint of milk a day had been given to each boy, at the end of a certain period of time each of these boys had gained 6-98 pounds in weight and was 2-63 inches taller, whereas the average of the other boys had gained only 3-85 pounds and 1-84 inches in height. Their school work and their sports activities showed the difference.
In Canada surveys have been made. In four Canadian cities expert dietitians went into the homes of people who were making about $1,000 a year and weighed and measured the food which was taken by each member of the family at each meal, and a surprising deficiency was discovered. It was found that the total amount of heat units was 15 per cent below normal; that iron was deficient as was also calcium. The vitamins were very deficient, and some were receiving only half what they should have been getting. These people were taking too much food made from white flour, from which valuable constituents had been extracted; there was probably too much sugar in their foods, and they were woefully deficient in whole grain cereals, fresh vegetables, dairy products, and possibly tomatoes or citrus fruits. Most of these products are not very expensive. It was worked out then that the average family of five could have an adequate diet if they had $7.50 for food each week. This means that they would have to have an income of about $100 a month. I am glad that the Minister of Finance has said that no married man receiving $1,200 will pay income tax, nor will income tax leave him less than that amount. But one-quarter of the people of Canada have not sufficient income to provide
The Budget-Mr. Gershaw
that adequate diet, and perhaps another quarter have not the special knowledge of how to prepare the diet. I am sure that if the rural homes were checked up, it would be found that many of them have not sufficient money to provide a really adequate diet.
Most of' these foods can be provided by Canadian farms, and the future market for farm products is not predictable. It has been said, however, that if every person in the western hemisphere, including the British empire, could, with public aid and education, receive an adequate diet, all the farm products of the farming communities would be used, so that what we should do is to get the farmers to produce food which will provide an adequate diet and fully pay them for it. Great strides have been made in the army along the lines of providing a balanced diet. The people of Canada are becoming nutritionally conscious. Difficulties are met with -economic difficulties, difficulties of indifference, of education and so on-but the solving of these problems is not beyond the ability of the Canadian people, and their solution would accomplish something that would be permanent and enduring. That would be a great step toward victory, by doing away with the danger of a sixth column; and the reward would be the disappearance of despair and the bringing of sunshine to many Canadian homes.
On motion of Mr. Fraser (Peterborough West) the debate -was adjourned.
On motion of Mr. Crerar the house adjourned at 5.52 p.m.
Thursday, July 2, 1942
Topic: THE BUDGET
Subtopic: DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE