March 4, 1943

APPOINTMENT OF SPECIAL COMMITTEE ON NATIONAL SOCIAL INSURANCE


The house resumed from Wednesday, March 3, consideration of the motion of Mr. Mackenzie King for the appointment of a select committee to examine and report on a national plan of social insurance.


NAT

Thomas Langton Church

National Government

Mr. T. L. CHURCH (Broadview):

At five minutes to six last night I had risen to discuss the objectives of the motion of the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) now before the house. As I look over the resolution I cannot help but feel that planning is first and social security and the conduct of the war a secondary consideration. Notwithstanding the fact that the war, up to the campaign in North Africa, had been going very badly, we are paying more attention to planning our post-war economy. So far as the war is concerned, -we have never been in a more precarious state and danger than we are at the present time. One would think that the generals who won the great victories in North Africa had been forgotten in Canada as there seems to be only one general remaining here, General Beveridge, and his social planning scheme for the mother country.

As I have said bdfore', in the maelstrom of planning talk the war seems to have been forgotten. Last year we wasted four months of the time of the house which were taken up with politics in a referendum. That is what happened notwithstanding the fact that we had not won a victory on land or sea, that we were still on the defensive. With Bill No. 80 and the referendum four months of the time of this house was wasted. It seems that we are entering another political year at this time.

While we have not been promised anything, I believe an election is coming. Before the vote of five billion dollars is passed I think it is the duty of the opposition to ask the government what are their objectives regarding the conduct of this war and as to a wartime election a second time for political reasons. Is this social planning all you are doing to win the war? I have received a great many letters from our men in England and other parts of the world who are serving their country on the land and sea and in the air and they ask what we are doing here to

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urge on the government that something should be done to achieve a total war effort, and prepare for the return of the men of the forces. Not only is the government on trial at the present time but the House of Commons is also on trial before the bar of public opinion in this country for its war efforts, and for what it is doing about after the war conditions. This house has surrendered to a whole lot of bureaucratic boards and controls and subcontrols and planners and modellers who control practically the whole business of the country, so much so that the House of Commons is the forgotten agency of government to-day. At times I have protested against this almost alone for the last three years, but at last the people are beginning to wake up and see the dangers that confront them.

I admit that the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) has done a great deal of work in his day in studying labour conditions and social problems. I have known him . longer I think than any other member of the house. I remember when he was a university student and a young reporter on the Toronto Globe, and when he was reporting the proceedings in the courts. I remember that Colonel Denison then predicted a very bright career for him. But I say to him to-day that not only is his government on trial but so is this House of Commons.

Coming to the text of the resolution, I must say that one of the most important matters that should be taken up by the committee seems to have been forgotten, and that is the question of providing employment. We speak of freedom from want. What does that mean? To rid the masses of fear you must provide them wtih work, but the resolution makes no mention of that. I should like to have a little order, Mr. Speaker, because this is an important matter I am discussing.

I do not interrupt anybody else when he is speaking and I am entitled as a private member to order when I am addressing the house.

I was saying that the question of providing employment for soldiers seems to have been forgotten by the government in proposing this resolution. The government seems to have two principles for curing unemployment. One is the ambassador cure for unemployment, sending ambassadors all over the seven seas, some of whom talk in a way that does great damage to the war effort and to this country. The other principle is the senate cure for unemployment, the appointing to the senate of young men who should be at the war. I would for national reasons suggest the return

of Right Hon. Arthur Meighen to the senate, and that we have appointed to the senate some representatives of the press.

I should like to refer for a moment to the British war victims fund, and to what one newspaper in Toronto, the Evening Telegram, has done in promoting that fund for the people of Great Britain who have had their houses and their homes destroyed and have suffered great losses in this war. Through the British war victims fund there has been brought home to the young people in the schools and colleges of Toronto and Ontario a realization amongst the younger generation of what they owe to the mother country in this war. Through this fund organized by the Toronto Evening Telegram there has been collected already about $2,000,000. Frequently the Telegram will publish pictures of little children in Toronto and in the province who have taken part in organized efforts to secure money for this fund, and other children will go out on the street corners and collect small sums from five to ten or twenty cents for this fund to help rebuild the mother country. I appreciate what has been done in that regard and the good work done by the late founder of the Telegram, John Ross Robertson, and the late editor, John R. Robinson, who has been succeeded by Mr. C. O. Knowles, who is continuing so well this good work. I think we all know of the good work that has been done for the Sick Children's Hospital by its founder, and what has been done in connection with health and welfare matters. I think one of the men who should be appointed to the senate is Mr. C. O. Knowles, editor of the Evening Telegram, for his British war victims fund.

Planning, Mr. Speaker, is the new name for socialism. Everybody is a socialist these days, everybody is a planner, and the war seems to have been forgotten as the matter of primary importance. The allies have just begun to take the initiative after more than three years of war. As Mr. Churchill has said, we are at the end of the beginning, and yet there is more talk about planning than about the conduct of the war on the land, on the sea and in the air. I have no objection to planning so long as we do not forget that the most important thing is the winning of the war.

But look at the text of this resolution. The committee is just to make a study and report, and it is a committee of this House of Commons. The Beveridge report was prepared by an interdepartmental committee on social insurance, under the control of a minister of

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the crown, Mr. Greenwood. But the work here is going to be done by a committee of the house. This committee is not, as I see it, being given any objectives by the government in the matter. The plan is only half-baked. It is too complicated and uneconomic, in my opinion. Timber, for instance, to rehabilitate the whole of Britain is badly needed and will be needed for reconstruction purposes after the war. Great Britain imports sixty-five million pounds' worth of timber a year, but there is no mention made in the resolution of that trade. Sometimes I think we would get better results in the way of social security and all along the line if instead of having so many professors and high-brows on some of these control boards and commissions, while other brave men are fighting our battles overseas, we had some practical men at work on the problems that lie ahead of us. Those problems are too big for any one political party.

We are proposing to make the most serious leap in the dark which this country has ever undertaken. We are faced with the greatest problems that have ever been faced by the world, and we in this country are the first to start to take a leap into the unknown world that will follow after the war. I believe that we should get men of practical experience to guide us. We should not forget those who were our best customers before the war, the people of Great Britain, upon whom we have had to rely for a market for our products. They should be taken care of. I believe that what should be done after the war is to go back to what we had before, free enterprise; try to build up free enterprise so that means for employment will be created by empire trade as before. In that way you will remove the unemployed from the unemployment seats on to the employment seats. Our raw materials should be made available to the empire and to other nations of the world on an equal basis as far as possible and every nation be given the opportunity of living in a state of freedom.

What caused the war was simply intolerance. I believe that all parties in this house and out of it should be guided by wisdom, restraint, and tolerance, and should not show a lack of ordinary Christian charity towards their opponents with whom they may happen to disagree. As I have said before in this house, it is the little man of England personified by Strube, who is the reflection of the average man who saved the mother country which has suffered so much in this war. These little men who were strong enough to beat off Hitler and

Mussolini will be able to plan the right conditions for the mother country and the empire after the war. As Admiral Southby said in the House of Commons the other day:

There are people who seem to think that the war is being waged in order to destroy a social and economic system with which they do not entirely agree.

Admiral Southby said:

Nothing could be further from the truth than that. We are fighting the war for our bare existence, for the right to live at all.

Then he suggests, speaking of the "little" man:

His victory . . . will have been in vain if, when the war is over, he is obliterated by the state which he fought to preserve. The essence of the evil nazi creed is that the state is greater than any individual. The essence of democracy, as I see it, is that the state is the servant of the individual and not his master. Therefore, let us at all costs, when we are starting to rebuild the world and to improve it, not impose what is not the less a dictatorship because it masquerades under the name of something which is politely called "democratic planning." A great man, who left us not long ago and a friend of most of us in the house, Lord Tweedsmuir, better known to us as plain John Buchan, once made a speech on Abraham Lincoln, in which he said, "The powers of moderation are slow to kindle, but once they are lit they do not go out until they have burnt up much rubbish and opened a path for the advance of mankind to a better world."

I hope and believe that we are willing to advance the progress of mankind to a better world, but if it is to be a success it must be, in my opinion, a world in which there is a square deal. That means a square deal for everybody, not solely for the small man and the sick and suffering and those out of employment, but for those who have maybe a little more substance than some others have. Much of the talk of planning after the war partakes of a plan for robbing Peter to pay Paul. Well, almost everything that Peter has is being taken away from him by two wars and a long depression, with the result that when the war is over Peter will have little or nothing left.

One of the speakers in this chamber yesterday suggested, referring to the Beveridge report, that Sir William Beveridge should be invited here. I think we have enough planners right in the house and out of it without the necessity of bringing Sir William Beveridge over to Canada to tell us what to do. While I am not a Scotsman, I was surprised to hear my good friend the Minister of Pensions speak as though incentive as we had it from capital will probably have disappeared after the war. He referred to "regulated incentive."

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That is all right if there is not too much regulation. But if we intend to pursue a course in opposition to what made the mother country and this country great, namely, private enterprise and free retail and wholesale business-I mean the system of free enterprise-we shall be trying to do something which the men who come home after the war will, I think, not tolerate. They are not fighting, nor are they willing to fight, for social planning from the cradle to the grave; they are fighting for the right of the people of this country to live; the right to possess private property which is derived from nature, not from man, and the state has no right to abolish it, but only to regulate its use. The position of the wholesale and the retail merchant should be restored to what it was before the war, if we are to create the maximum opportunities of employment. In Great Britain they passed the pre-war trade practices act to put free enterprise and the small retailer and wholesaler back in possession of the rights they held as citizens and business men before the war; and that is the way to build up this country, and release them from some controls.

Reference is made in the report to birth, maternity, old age and burial insurance. Well, after many of the taxpayers have done with the last few budgets I am afraid public insurance will be needed to pay their burial expenses. I can tell you that even some of the members of this house know of citizens who need that aid, and I have known of a few members of this house who left so little that aid was needed to bury them. Hon. members may laugh, but that is the fact. I know some of the undertakers in our city, and they are splendid citizens and men of real public spirit and do a great public health work. It has been my lot, I may say, to attend several funerals in the past two or three weeks, and I know in that city how the people are suffering.

We hear much talk about social planning and this new utopia and paradise which we are to live in. I can tell some of our planners that the new paradise, or part of the health and hospital social service, of which they speak so much started in the city hall of Toronto, with its modern health department. One of my colleagues, the hon. member for Parkdale (Mr. Bruce), was a senior surgeon of the Toronto General hospital, and our city was a pioneer in this social legislation. The late lamented Doctor Hastings built up the most modern health department in North America. He and the

gentlemen who supported him, the men I mentioned a few minutes ago, had to fight with the aid of the Evening Telegram a campaign for health reform and to reorganize the health department and the works department. By their civic efforts an outstanding programme of social legislation was achieved, including a first-class water supply, a modern sewage system, and a modern health and works department. Other newspapers gave aid later.

The hon. member for York South (Mr. Noseworthy) has for some time been, what I can call in a sporting sense, "barnstorming" all over the province of Ontario-I believe he used to play baseball, so that I do not think he will object to the term. But let me tell him that it was the planners of the city of Toronto who gave those services to the constituency he represents; it was the Conservatives of Ontario, Whitney and Beck, at Queen's Park, and the city council of Toronto and officials, who brought in the legislation which supplied cheap light and power to the homes of the province, which provided the services they now enjoy, which initiated the workmen's compensation act and many other social and health and hospital advantages. And what did the city of Toronto do? It was the pioneer of health legislation in its grants to hospitals, in instituting dental and medical inspection of school children, the eight-hour day, the improvement of the waterfront, the buying out of the street railway, the radials, the linking up of the railways and the buses, the facilitating of transportation to enable market gardeners to reach the cities and aiding by transportation the housing situation. These are some achievements of the city and the city council of Toronto. I am proud that we have always had such a splendid city council. We have always been fortunate in having a council which has done a great deal for the people of that city. Shortly before I started as a controller and as a police commissioner, in 1909 the police had only one day a month off; then they got one day a week off; and then the eight-hour day, as did the firemen, and the platoon system'was put into effect and soldiers given the preference in jobs. All the services I have mentioned are municipal and have been given to the taxpayer of Toronto without the aid of one cent from the federal government, showing that this social security came largely from the municipalities, not from federal authority.

Here let me mention that the province of Ontario and the city of Toronto were attacked the other day by the Rev. Doctor J. R. Muteh-mor, social secretary of the United church. I have great respect for that church and for him,

Social Security

but I would point out-that when Doctor Mutch-mor, with Mr. Fogg, made a Cook's tour of Canada from Regina to Halifax, he seems to have been in a fog night, noon and morning. He criticizes the province of Ontario. He said last Saturday in the Toronto papers:

The banner province of Ontario is in danger of being regarded as the spoiled child of confederation.

If he knew a little more about Toronto and Ontario, a little more about our social legislation and what has been done by the city and that province for the hospitals, the sick poor, and others, I do not believe he would have made these criticisms; and I resent them. Let me say that Ontario is the milch cow of confederation. I do not like to comment in this fashion because I have always contended for the principle of confederation, in line with the old Cornish battle-cry, "Each for all and all for each." With regard to my hon. friends below the gangway, of the five or six of them I see only the young hon. member for Charle-voix-Saguenay (Mr. Dorion) here now; he made a good speech the other day. They had a good deal to say about a certain pastor. Well, I have referred to-day to another pastor. I did not vote for church union, because I believed that, like union government, it would lead to more disunion than union. I object to remarks of Rev. Doctor Mutchmor, or Pastor Mutchmor, as reflecting on the province of Ontario, which is paying 42 per cent of the cash taxes of the dominion, and which is the forgotten province of confederation.

Doctor Mutchmor goes on to give figures about enlistments in the maritimes, compares them with Ontario, and in the name of social reform criticizes a province which has been the leader for many years past in progressive planning, hospital work, and social services of all kinds. I do not wish to say anything further about the reverend gentleman, who I understand is a very popular man in his church, except that, will all due respect, it seems to me that pastors such as the one to whom I have referred to-day should state facts and exhibit a little more wisdom, tolerance and restraint in their statements in war time in interviews given newspapers, like this interview with regard to the soldier province of Ontario, which has sent more men to the war than any other, and is now' expected to provide one-half of the ten million dollars which is asked for in the Red Cross appeal. I might point out that the reverend gentleman's figures with regard to enlistments are misleading, because soldiers from Ontario are to be found all across Canada from Vancouver to Halifax; they went to all the military districts to answer the call, and I challenge his figures

and remarks as to Ontario. I see here to-day my friend the head of the Canadian hospital association, the hon. member for Renfrew South (Mr. McCann). The doctors and hospitals of Canada are having a very hard time. The Toronto General Hospital was built for to-morrow. I remember when the per diem grant was fifty cents. That would not be a drop in the bucket for this parliament to contribute towards hospital service and relief of the poor and suffering and for per diem patients. There should be' a grant for free insulin for those in necessitous circumstances. Without it many people who are doing useful work would be in their graves. The same applies to tuberculosis. This government will have to do much more than it has done both . for education and hospitals, because the first duty of a government is to look after the health, happiness and prosperity of its citizens.

In 1935 and succeeding years we were given blueprints by our friends to my left about the war. What did they say? Not a dollar for the army; disarmament on land and sea. Knowing what vision they showed at that time what faith can we have in their vision and blueprints now?

Cheap light and power; that is what the Conservatives gave Ontario in 1905 when Sir James Whitney and Sir Adam Beck were in power; they brought cheap hydro power to the artisans and the kitchens and ' farms of Ontario.

Malnutrition; I remember when food was not inspected, when the milk supply of Toronto was not inspected. The city provided all these services without a cent of help from the dominion government, for all this social planning. So do other municipalities. Federal aid is needed for education and hospital work.

The last thing I want to mention is housing. The resolution does not mention that. When our soldiers come home there will be no housing for them. I have asked the Minister of Finance (Mr. Ilsley) about it on several occasions. An order for return was passed last June or July, but the return has not yet been brought down. An order for return was passed on February 22; I asked about it the other day-nothing done, and I can find no statement in the budget. Where are these soldiers to be housed? As my friend the hon. member for Parkdale or any good medical man, such as the late Doctor Hastings, will tell you, bad housing is one of the most prolific agencies for the spread of disease and ill health. Hon. members opposite cannot solve the housing problem in Ottawa, let alone a': Canada. Many soldiers' families are living >

cellars. The government has a big mansion on Crescent road, taken for the navy; a property in

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Queen's park was taken, also the old Flavelle property. In the British parliament housing was discussed on the debate on social security and insurance. It was the most popular topic of all these. Sir William Jowitt was the minister, and the main features of the debate was a policy in regard u. 'ousing for soldiers when they come home and for their dependents and the civilian population. But nothing yet is done in Canada except talk about it. Are these people to live out on the street? The government has taken over in Toronto for war purposes many large private houses and given them to the forces; big buildings on the waterfront in Toronto and in Ottawa and other cities. Where are the houses for civilians to come from?

The Minister of Finance told me yesterday if I would put what I want on the order paper I might get an answer from a rental commissioner I never heard of, but I have been here too long to be led astray by any such play as that. The government is spending five billion dollars, but I could point out items amounting to twenty-four per cent not for the war at all, and they have not a cent for houses. I looked all through the budget speech for it. The Toronto members were requested last Saturday to attend a meeting with the board of control of that city and the city council that has done so much for hospital and health services for the public. Starting at fifty cents a day the rate went to $1.75 a day for city patients, and yet they had the same operations for nothing as the wealthy man would pay in some cases up to $1,000 for. The hon. member for Parkdale was chief surgeon when I was on the board for seventeen years with Mr. P. C. Larkin and Sir Joseph Flavelle. But bad housing causes more disease than any other agency. Toronto has not been treated right by this parliament. There is no bigotry or intolerance in that city; its principle and that of its citizens is equal rights to all and special privileges to none. Our city has not had much federal aid for years. The province of Ontario which pays so much in taxes has not been dealt with generously or fairly here or by the interprovincial report. The Minster of Finance is not going to get away with the housing failure or his controls any longer; there is no use in telling me to put something on the order paper, and I will not do it any longer. Housing is forgotten in Canada. The families of some soldiers overseas have been evicted by the bailiff.

I have asked for a national system of insurance for the soldiers; I hope the committee will look into it. The first thing is to take care of the soldiers and their dependents for three years after the war and keep them

from being evicted from their homes so they will not be worried. A national life insurance sytem for all soldiers should be set up, to include provision for their dependents for three years after the war. If we are to be left at the mercy of a real estate board and a rent board, no wonder there is no housing. There is no incentive to anyone to build a home with this farcical rent control. Houses are wanted, not talk. We were twenty-five thousand houses behind when the select committee on housing was appointed in 1935; we made our report, and the new government came in and spent nearly $80,000,000 on small houses, yet to-day not a cent of the five billions for war expenditures is for that work.

I have a large industry in my riding, Lever Brothers. I have never been in the plant. They have published a monthly pamphlet on the problem of unemployment in which they say:

It has been easy and cheap and popular to get on the social security bandwagon. In some form or other social security apparently is here to stay as a perpetual political promise leading eventually to good or bad performance. But it has been discouraging in Canada to see how enthusiastically many members of parliament and other public men have leaped forward to embrace large plans of social security without apparently having an adequate idea or asking how they are to be paid for out of increased production, or what the cost in taxation will be.

Then there is a reference to the social reconstruction plan of the James committee and the civil service committee for providing employment in the post-war period. All that is not mentioned at all in the report. It goes on to say:

... it studies and states the parts which governments and industry can play in the elimination of mass unemployment; and it bases those conclusions on a study of what causes unemployment and of what monetary and budgetary policies by governments would most contribute to the productive capacity of each nation being used continuously and increasing steadily without restrictions being imposed either from the side of manufacturers or of labour. That is indispensable to eliminating distressing totals of unemployment.

The government should consider what should be done regarding trade with the mother country and the empire. Britain cannot exist without export and import trade, which will create employment here in providing these goods. In the city from which I come sixty-five per cent of the working people own their own homes, but what incentive is there to any working man to own his own home today? We have had two wars and a long depression in a generation; all the small savings of these people have been eaten up, and now the government will call upon them

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to make even further sacrifices for 1943. There has been quite a reaction among the working classes, I believe, and I do not think they will wish to give generously to other schemes which are only half-baked, on reconstruction, and social planning, with their taxes already a burden.

We have had planning before, but the planning of the past remains as a warning to us now. It has been all based upon the principle of robbing Peter to pay Paul, and now the process has been completed because Peter has nothing left. I remember when Mr. Sydney Webb proposed that the coal mines in England be nationalized, and he even went so far as to publish a book entitled "How To Pay For the War." In that book he stated his confirmed opinion that coal could be delivered to the household cellar at a total cost of a shilling a hundredweight or a pound a ton. Out of this price, on paper, he satisfied all the demands of the miners and in addition provided money with which to pay for the war. Yet sensible people are still prepared to listen with patience to nonsense about planning. I am not objecting to all the planning in the world, as long as we do, not forget the war until it is won; but when housing is left out of the planning and when the municipalities are not given consideration, any scheme is bound to fail. No doubt planning is necessary, but it should be reasonable and proper. I have every respect for the views of others, but I believe the time must come when we will have to consider whether the appointment of this committee is the best way to deal with this question. Would it not have been better to have a day's debate to chart our course and declare what is to be our policy particularly toward the British empire, which has been our best customer, and with regard to all those other matters which should be thought out first? In my view no amount of planning, and not even victory, can bring about the millenium, nor can any planning ever change the law of supply and demand. I believe there will be nations as long as the world1 lasts, and there will be trade barriers, and quotas and trade agreements, as resolutions like the one placed on the order paper the other day by the Minister of Finance show. The party in Ontario to which I belong has had a glorious past in labour and social legislation, and I can tell you, Mr. Speaker, that as long as I have known the Conservative party it has always taken a forward view with regard to the working classes in that province. It had no utopian ideas; it did not dwell in the clouds; it provided reforms in Ontario; it

got down to brass tacks and did all the things I have mentioned. It encouraged and aided municipalities to go forward in a concerted plan of social work for the good of all the people of the country. It believes that any planning should be done for all the people, not just for some of the people.

I believe the government would do well to pay heed to the handwriting on the wall. We have been through two wars and a long depression, and if it had not been for the mother country we would not be planning to-day. Hitler after Dunkirk would be in the United States and in Canada, and we would have to make peace with the Axis powers.

Mr. GORDON B. ISNOR (Halifax): Mr. Speaker, I do not propose to follow the arguments that have been advanced by the last speaker (Mr. Church). He referred to the city of Toronto as the forgotten city. The only comment I would make is that as long as the hon. member for Broadview (Mr. Church) occupies a seat in this house there is not very much chance of the city of Toronto being forgotten.

I refrained from taking part in the debate on reconstruction and reestablishment in connection with the resolution introduced by the Minister of Pensions and National Health (Mr. Mackenzie), because I realized that anything I might have to say in that regard could veiy well be said in connection with the resolution now under discussion. The one is closely connected and interlocked with the other; and as the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) so ably presented the reasons for setting up this committee, the general scheme behind it, its functions and purposes,

I felt that the one committee naturally would have to work veiy closely with the other. One is to deal with matters of reconstruction and reestablishment as they will arise at the termination of this war, while the other deals with the study of existing social insurance legislation of this parliament and the provincial legislatures; the social insurance measures of other countries; the most practical measures of social insurance for Canada, including health insurance, and what may be necessary in order to have them included in a national plan; the financial adjustments which will be required for the achievement of a nation-wide plan of social security, and other related matters.

As I listened to the Prime Minister speak of our industrial expansion I decided to take part in the debate, because I represent a constituency on the extreme eastern coast of Canada. I wondered what effect any measures which might result from the work of this

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committee would have on my section of Canada, and I think what applies to the eastern coast applies equally to the west.

I propose this afternoon, Mr. Speaker, to confine my remarks as closely as possible to the resolution moved by the Prime Minister. He dealt with many of the matters that must be studied by this committee if it is to achieve the desired result. He outlined certain social measures coming under federal jurisdiction, such as unemployment insurance, pensions for war veterans, pensions for war *widows, war veterans' allowances, pensions for the blind, and old age pensions. All these, as the Prime Minister said, are matters coming directly under federal jurisdiction, though it is true old age pensions are administered by the various provinces. But in addition to these, measures of a provincial nature which I shall mention in a moment at some time or other must come under the direct jurisdiction of the federal government. We have provincial governments dealing with mothers' allowances and workmen's compensation benefits, including sickness and accident. These workmen's compensation benefits are enjoyed in all parts of Canada, but the benefits enjoyed by one province should be enjoyed by another to the same extent, and for that reason all measures of this nature must come under the jurisdiction of this government at the conclusion of the war.

The Prime Minister mentioned yesterday the great expansion which has taken place in Canada since the outbreak of war. When one reads of that development and realizes just what Canada has done in such a short period of time, starting out with practically no large industrial plants before the war, we begin to understand just what Canada's war effort means. When we note the large numbers of men employed in our war plants-=-20,000 in one, 30,000 in another, 50,000 in another, 120,000 in another-it makes us wonder where these men and women came from, and whether they are going to continue to live in the centres in which they are now located. In such event, what effect will that have on the districts from which they came? I rvould impress upon the committee the importance of this problem. I know that the committee is an able one, and I am sure it will consider carefully every question that comes before it.

The committee must consider, too, the great expansion which has taken place in the central provinces of Ontario and Quebec, and the effect it will have on the eastern and western sections of Canada. This accumulation of industrial interests, opportunities for employment and gathering together of wealth will be of much benefit to central Canada, but it will drain other portions of the country which as

a result will be working under a distinct handicap. When considering this problem the committee must provide for some measure of relief for those who live outside the central part of the country.

Topic:   SOCIAL SECURITY
Subtopic:   APPOINTMENT OF SPECIAL COMMITTEE ON NATIONAL SOCIAL INSURANCE
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NAT

Richard Burpee Hanson

National Government

Mr. HANSON (York-Sunbury):

The decentralization of industry.

Topic:   SOCIAL SECURITY
Subtopic:   APPOINTMENT OF SPECIAL COMMITTEE ON NATIONAL SOCIAL INSURANCE
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LIB

Gordon Benjamin Isnor

Liberal

Mr. ISNOR:

I do not know whether I am altogether a believer in the decentralization of industry. I am inclined to think we can get mighty good supervision from one central point, but we should not centralize our activities to such an extent as to sap the best from other parts of our country.

While I must pay tribute to the Minister of Munitions and Supply (Mr. Howe) for the wonderful results he has achieved in the development of war-time industries, from an economic standpoint I would point out to him, as I do to other hon. members, that great care must be taken not to make our economic structure top-heavy, or to sap the eastern and western sections for the benefit of the central districts.

There have been great shifts of population to the provinces of Ontario and Quebec, and this presents another problem for the consideration of the committee. It will have to decide whether this shifted population will remain in central Canada or will have to be sent back to the farms or the industrial centres whence they came, and there be given gainful occupations. We know that many farmers left their farms for the advantages offered by industry in Ontario and Quebec, and that the large wages paid in war-time industries have brought about a shortage of farm help. In this connection I have in mind particularly the condition of fishermen, who have been unable to take advantage to the same extent as the farmer of the higher wages paid in industry. At a later point in my observations I shall have a suggestion with regard to the treatment of fishermen.

The resolution clearly outlines the objectives of the committee. The hon. member for Broadview (Mr. Church) said there were no objectives, but I believe anyone reading the resolution cannot help feeling that there are definite aims covering a wide scope. I hope every angle and aspect of the subject matter of the resolution will be surveyed and every possible investigation made so that in the post-war period those who return from overseas after serving in the armed forces, as well as those who have remained in Canada, will be given employment which will obviate any condition such as that which prevailed following the last war.

Much has been said about the danger of inflation. We have taken definite steps to

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control inflation, but if we are to avoid another depression we must also make plans to prevent deflation. One is as dangerous as the other. If the committee does not consider measures for the control of deflation, as no doubt it will with respect to inflation, we shall again be faced with a period of depression. Worth-while measures have been taken not only to control prices but also to control wages, and the general set-up provided by the government will go a long way toward preventing inflation. It is for this reason that I urge the committee to consider measures to deal with deflation.

May I at this point offer some definite suggestions for the consideration of the committee? In my opinion it should obtain the advice of the very best authorities in connection with social service measures. We should have a survey of social measures in both the provincial and the federal field. Old age pensions should be reviewed, with the object of ascertaining whether the present scale of payments achieves the purpose intended, whether the age bracket is correct or should be lowered, and whether the amount now paid is sufficient to meet the present cost of living or should be increased so as to conform with the cost-of-living index. It might be considered wise to have payments regulated from time to time as the index increases or decreases.

There should be a complete check-up of our present employment situation, with a view to placing men and women in industries or trades for which they are best suited. The process in this respect would be the same as that in the armed forces, where an endeavour is made to select men for certain types of work.

Almost all hon. members who spoke in the debate on the address in reply to the speech from the throne and in the debate on the resolution for the appointment of the committee on reconstruction, referred to the ques-. tion of housing. I think we are all in accord with the suggestion which has been made by practically all members that Canada must undertake a 'housing scheme in the very near future. The question is, which is the best plan. We are not satisfied with the war-time housing scheme now in operation, nor are we entirely satisfied with the national housing scheme. It did not go far enough to meet the requirements of those earning small wages, nor do I think the present war-time housing scheme meets our needs in a full sense.

_ I realize that the war-time housing scheme is an emergency measure, but these houses should have been erected to provide a greater value in the post-war period when we will be demobilizing our forces. There is no reason

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why these houses could not be put to greater use than is planned at the present time. I was surprised to learn in the committee on rehabilitation that the estimated salvage value of these war-time houses is from' $150 to S300. Surely when we invest from $2,200 to $2,500 in a house it should give a greater return than is proposed at the present time. I am sure that if the committee gives this matter serious attention we will derive greater benefit from these houses than is now anticipated. I shall not enlarge further on this, but I pass it along to the committee for their consideration and suggest that they go into the matter fully.

When the Hon. Charles Dunning was minister of finance I suggested before he introduced the scheme for national housing that a commission or board of some kind be set up to which wage earners could apply the same as they apply mow for insurance. I realize that the weakness in such a plan is that at some time a large number of houses might be thrown back on the hands of the government, but with such a plan we would be building better citizens. Our people would have a stake in the community and we would have less trouble with individuals shifting from one section of the country to the other. There would not be so much moving about if these men owned their own houses. We should do everything possible to encourage the building of homes and thus create a larger group of home owners.

This committee should deal also in a broad' way with health matters. There is a large' representation of the medical profession on the committee, and no doubt this matter will be intelligently discussed. Ordinarily the urban districts are well supplied with medical men, while the rural districts are finding it exceedingly difficult to procure the medical attention the people require. It is not uncommon in the fishing districts-no doubt the same applies to the farming districts-for a man with an income of from $500 to $600 a year to be obliged to pay from $15 to $25 to have a doctor call in the case of illness. That is not good enough for a country like Canada. We should set up health measures that will provide more medical services for the rural districts.

Education should be considered nationally rather than be left entirely to the provinces.

I realize that under the British North America Act education is a provincial matter, but the committee could study this question and make recommendations which would provide that the educational standards in all provinces shall be the same. It has also been suggested from more than one quarter that the committee

Social Security

should deal with the question of recreation. This would be closely connected with any health programme. We should also make greater use of our natural resources, but as this matter has been enlarged upon to some extent I shall not pursue it further.

The committee would be well advised to take up that almost forgotten document, the Sirois report, and consider the recommendations contained therein. This report seems to have been laid aside, because I have not heard it mentioned during the past year. I suggest that the committee also consider a report prepared by the late William F. O'Connor, law officer of the senate, dealing with the benefits of the British North America Act and their relationship to the different provinces. There is a great deal of valuable information in that report.

The question of trade relations was mentioned the other day. While Canada because of its size may not be able to claim a very important place in international trade, it would be within the jurisdiction of this committee to investigate the possibilities of international trade. A number of new industries have been organized in Ontario and Quebec and we should endeavour to procure more trade with other countries.

Like the hon. member for Broadview (Mr. [DOT]Church) I shall deal briefly with this matter from a local standpoint. I come from Nova Scotia-specifically from the great eastern port of Halifax-and I remember, as no doubt you do, sir, the important part played by Halifax in the last great war. I realize, as you do, the important part that Halifax is playing at the present time in the assembling of ships to carry supplies overseas. I wonder if immediately following this war Halifax is again to become the forgotten port on the Atlantic coast. If trade relations are entered into with other countries and we make use of the vast industrial expansion which has taken place in Ontario and Quebec, I hope that the committee will be able to suggest definite measures to the government whereby our Canadian ports on the east and west coasts will be utilized to the full, instead of allowing large shipments which could go through our Atlantic ports to continue to go through the ports of the United States. I do not propose to labour that because I know the importance of maintaining the friendly relations which now exist between our two countries; nevertheless for our own protection we must deal with this matter in such a way that we shall enjoy the opportunities to which we are entitled.

I have already mentioned the fishing industry. The western farmer is well looked after. By that I mean that the farmers are represented by great and powerful organizations able to present a strong case for the farmers, and nearly always the result has been that the farmers have received assistance. But the fishermen are not so well organized, and it is my hope that the committee will recommend measures of assistance to our fishermen. I believe the present Minister of Fisheries (Mr. Bertrand, Laurier) is in sympathy with that idea and will welcome any recommendations from the committee that will be helpful to him in strengthening this great natural industry which we have on our east and west coasts. I suggest to the minister and the committee that assistance be given to the fishermen in purchasing equipment, and by instructing them in the catching, curing and marketing of fish. These are definite proposals, and I hope the committee and the minister will take them into consideration with a view to assisting our fishermen on the Atlantic and Pacific coasts.

I had intended to speak on the control of our finances, but I may have an opportunity in the budget debate to express my views upon the financial position of the country and the financial measures which are proposed.

I consider that this is a part of the committee's work. The committee should look into our finances with a view to providing aid not alone for large industrial concerns but for the smaller farmer and the smaller fisherman so that as a country we may enjoy the increased wealth that comes from the labours of these two groups.

In conclusion, I would leave with the committee this thought of the poet Longfellow, and if they do their work in this spirit they may deserve the reward the poet speaks of:

Lives of great men all remind us We can make our lives sublime,

And, departing, leave behind us Footprints on the sands of time.

Topic:   SOCIAL SECURITY
Subtopic:   APPOINTMENT OF SPECIAL COMMITTEE ON NATIONAL SOCIAL INSURANCE
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PC

John George Diefenbaker

Progressive Conservative

Mr. J. G. DIEFENBAKER (Lake Centre):

Mr. Speaker, in rising to speak on this motion of the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King), may I be permitted to congratulate the speaker who has just taken his seat (Mr. Isnor) on the fine contribution he has made to the subject before this house.

I listened yesterday to the speech of the Prime Minister, with a large portion of which I entirely agree. Generally speaking, so far as the aims and ideals of this committee are concerned, I think all of us, regardless of party considerations, believe that the time has come to prepare for the post-war period, without

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neglecting the problem that is immediately before us, namely, that of assuring victory for the united nations. All over the world, and particularly among the united nations, men and women to-day are more socially conscious than they have ever been before at any time within the present generation. They believe that the responsibility rests upon the parliaments of the united nations to assure that conditions such as prevailed after the last war shall not exist after this war. I think this whole situation, so far as the problem itself is concerned, was set out in an address given by the Prime Minister on October 9 last. After speaking of the new order he went on to say:

The new order must be based on human rights; not on the rights of property, privilege, or position.

Then he says this:

It is necessary that social security and human welfare should be expressed in definite terms. It is, however, not my purpose to attempt^ to give a blueprint of the new order. Of the kind of objectives I have in mind, I would merely mention the following as a national minimum: useful employment for all who are willing to work; standard of nutrition and housing, adequate to ensure the health of the _ whole population; social insurance against privation resulting from unemployment, from accident, from the death of the bread-winner, from ill health, and from old age.

Those are noble sentiments and that was a very eloquent speech; but what is being done to ensure the implementation of the promise then given? There should be no necessity today to apologize for dealing with a subject such as this during war time. In the parliament of the United Kingdom the representatives of the people spent several days in discussing the report of Sir William Beveridge, and in giving their attention to social security they were but carrying out the principles enunciated in a letter, to which I shall only make reference to-day, which appeared in the London Times in December, 1940, signed by the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, by Cardinal Hinsley and by the Moderator of the Free Churches, which set forth the attitude of the Christian church to the new world. All over the world men and women say that conditions such as existed after the last war shall not be permitted to exist after this war. The Atlantic charter epitomizes that. It advocates national and international freedom from fear and want through security measures everywhere in the world.

I would point this out, that too often there are some members of political parties who would have the people believe that they have a monopoly of the desire to serve the people of Canada as a whole. The principles enunciated in Sir William Beveridge's report can be carried

into effect only under a system of free initiative where men and women still enjoy freedom to engage in enterprise. That is something that must not be lost sight of. The aim of the report is to assure security. By security it means that every able-bodied man shall have the security of a job; that those who through infirmity or invalidity cannot work shall have security without work; that there shall be security for men while they are in employment and wrhen they are unemployed; that there shall be the security of medical and hospital assistance; security of the family against the invalidity or death of the bread winner, and above all security for the men who serve the nation in the armed forces-security both for them and for their dependents. All these things can be secured under the system which has built up this country-the system of free initiative-and if they cannot be secured under this system there is something radically wrong with our thinking and our teaching.

I am not one of those who believe that when the war is over, there will be immediate and widespread unemployment. I believe that through the instrumentality of a system of public works and great power projects men will be employed, that through the transition period from war to peace, if the government will utilize the instruments which it has at hand, namely, the many scores of factories which have received assistance from the government, employment can be secured for many of our men in the necessary production of consumer goods, the need of which will be greater than ever before. Agriculture, too, should enjoy a period of prosperity when hundreds of millions of bushels of wheat become necessary to be distributed in all parts of the world, in order to restore order and to relieve people from famine. That phase of the post-war will be dealt with by the reconstruction committee.

The Sir William Beveridge plan sets out that it is necessary to insure people from the five evils of want, disease, ignorance, squalor and idleness. Security for all is a great principle, a great ideal, but unless something more is done than the setting up of a committee to investigate, with no assurance as to what is going to be done after the investigation, or when it is going to be done, it is not sufficient.

As I listened to the address of the Prime Minister the other day and to the speech which he delivered in October last, I looked back a period of years to 1919, when, at a convention of the Liberal party, certain principles were enunciated, the very same principles which are being enunciated to-day for the after-war period of this war; and I naturally asked myself this question, why have they not been implemented during the inter-

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vening period of years? I wish to refer to a few of them. They represent "the terms of the labour convention and the general principles associated with the League of Nations and incorporated in the conditions of peace," and are as follows:

1. The guiding principle that labour should not be regarded merely as a commodity or article of commerce.

2. The right of association for all lawful purposes by the employed as well as by the *employers.

3. The payment to the employed of a wage adequate to maintain a reasonable standard of life as this is understood in their time and country.

The matter of minimum wages is one of provincial legislation.

4. The adoption of an 8-hour day or a 48-hour week as the standard to be aimed at where it has not already been attained.

That was implemented in 1935 by the Bennett administration, and subsequently the legislation was set aside by the courts.

5. The adoption of a weekly rest of at least 24 hours, which should include Sunday wherever practicable.

This, again, was implemented by the Bennett government, and also set aside by the courts.

The principle that men and women should receive equal remuneration for work of equal value.

In all the years, what has been done to ensure the implementation of that great principle?

The standard set by the law in each country with respect to the conditions of labour should have due regard to the equitable economic treatment of all workers lawfully resident therein.

Another great principle.

That in so far as may be practicable, having regard to Canada's financial position, an adequate system of insurance against unemployment, sickness, dependence in old age, and other disability, which would include old age pensions, (widows' pensions) and maternity benefits, should be instituted by the federal government in conjunction with the governments of the several provinces; and that on matters pertaining to industrial and social legislation an effort should be made to overcome any question of jurisdiction between the dominion and the provinces by effective cooperation between the several governments.

That was over twenty-three years ago, and as we look at the Liberal party promises of 1919 and note the similarity to the promises of to-day, I ask this: Why should it be necessary, after the length of time that the Prime Minister has been in power, to submit the matter of social security to a committee of parliament:

... to examine and report on . . . the most practicable measures of social insurance . . . and the steps which will be required to effect their inclusion in a national plan . . .

XMr. Diefenbaker.]

Why the necessity after all these years?

Now, something more. What is the committee going to do? The committee is-

To examine and study the existing social insurance legislation of the parliament of Canada and of the several provincial legislatures; social insurance policies of other countries; the most practicable measures of social insurance for Canada, including health insurance, and the steps which will be required to effect their inclusion in a national plan; the constitutional and financial adjustments which will be required for the achievement of a nation-wide plan of social security. . . .

Well, now, everybody knows what it is necessary to do in order to secure the necessary jurisdiction, to enact health insurance. Either there must be amendment of the British North America Act in order to permit health insurance to be placed upon the statute books by *this parliament, or there must be consultations with the various provinces in order to secure their consent to the carrying into effect of a federal social insurance scheme. Surely this committee is not going to be asked to shadow-box with the problem, to go through the motions of leading the people of Canada to believe that there will in fact be something done; for the Prime Minister, possibly not intentionally, has failed to state what will be done when the committee reports, whether anything will be done, and when anything will be done.

In connection with unemployment insurance, for a period of about sixteen years the general attitude taken by the government was that such legislation could not be introduced because of provincial rights under the British North America Act. In 1935 legislation setting up an unemployment insurance act-and also, I point out, a health insurance act, sections 39 to 41 of the Employment and Social Insurance Act-was submitted to the Supreme Court of Canada and by way of appeal to the privy council by the government of the day which for many years had stated that they believed in the principle, and was declared to be beyond the powers of the parliament of Canada.

In 1940 the matter again came up, and I remember veiy well the then Minister of Justice pointing out the difficulties in connection with the situation. He introduced a resolution of parliament asking the imperial parliament to amend the British North America Act by adding to section 91 the power to put into effect "unemployment insurance". And the minister pointed out that otherwise all the provinces would have to be consulted or be persuaded to submit to its being administered by a body which was not responsible to them.

Social Security

When the Prime Minister speaks again in this debate I think we as members of this committee that is to be set up, and, if not we, this parliament, and certainly the people of Canada, have a right to know whether the provinces have been consulted, which provinces have been consulted, and what have been their answers. Are they willing to give up their powers under the British North America Act respecting health insurance?

When .the Prime Minister was speaking yesterday he referred to this, and this is what he said, as reported at .page 937 of Hansard:

Questions of jurisdiction will arise, questions between the provinces and the dominion as to whether in a national scheme the dominion should attempt to carry out all social security measures, or whether those measures in part should be under the jurisdiction of the dominion and in part under that of the several provinces.

Why have we not been told whether the provinces have been consulted? Surely the committee will not be required to communicate with the various provincial governments of Canada and ascertain from them what they are prepared to do. If we are to wait until the provincial governments would answer the committee as to whether or not they are going to release their powers I think the committee would wait quite a long time.

Then the Prime Minister went on to say:

So far as administration is concerned there are some measures which, at least for a time, the provinces will I believe wish to retain.

What are the measures the provinces wish to retain? Is it the matter of health insurance? Is it the matter of other insurance to which reference has been made? What provinces have indicated their willingness to cooperate? These are questions I ask the Prime Minister to answer. Then he says:

There may be others they will be prepared to hand over to the federal government.

That is too indefinite. A committee is to be set up by this parliament to look into the question of assuring the men and women of this dominion that after this war there will be security against invalidity and against unemployment or while unemployed-we already have that-and security against disease as far as that is practicable. Yet we have no assurance that when we get through with our work all the provinces will agree to this parliament passing the necessary legislation, or that any of the provinces will give up their jurisdictional rights as far as health insurance is concerned. All those things should have been done earlier. The Prime Minister and the government should give the people of Canada the assurance now that when this committee works, as I know from the personnel it will,

and arrives at final conclusions, its recommendations will be brought into effect; that this parliament has the power to bring them into effect; that the provinces have agreed thereto, or that the necessary amendment of the British North America Act will be applied for to enable parliament to pass a health insurance act.

In 1940 the government knew that health insurance and many of these things that were advocated in 1919 could not be carried into effect without an amendment of the constitution. Then why was it, with the realization how necessary health insurance was, that when the imperial government was approached in 1940 the application for amendment of the British North America Act was restricted to just one thing, namely, unemployment insurance? I think in large measure what accounts for the fact that our social legislation is behind that of most of the other democratic nations of the world is that there has been divided responsibility, divided jurisdiction as between the federal and provincial governments. It has held Canada back from being able to take the position that Great Britain has in social legislation. She has had workmen's compensation since 1897, old age pensions since 1908, and by way of contribution some years later, unemployment insurance since 1912 and compulsory health insurance since 1912. Canada has been hedged in by constitutional difficulties in the enactment of social legislation. Surely the committee will not be doing anything effective if all that it does is to consider what social legislation has been passed in other countries, without the assurance that something will be done to carry its recommendations into effect.

It is a singular fact, as was pointed out yesterday in the very careful summary in respect of social legislation given by the leader of the opposition (Mr. Graydon) that we had to wait until after the Winnipeg convention before social legislation was made so large a part of the programme of this government. That may account for the fact that, the convention being over only six or seven weeks ago, sufficient time had not elapsed to enable the government to communicate with the various provincial governments -on these matters. I believe that the time has come, if we wish to build up in Canada equality in social legislation, that the provinces must give up some of their rights to the central authority. We have one law in regard to minimum wages in one province, and a different law in another; we have different provisions for mothers' allowances, maternity grants and so on in the different provinces. Great strides have been

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made by the provinces, but there is no uniformity in social legislation. The result is that in one province the deathrate in childbirth is very much greater than in other provinces, and in saying that I have no particular province in mind. The fact is that there are not uniform social services; and if we are in earnest about doing something for the men who will return after the war; if we are to have the social consciousness of the ordinary man on the street carried into legislative effect, then I believe the time has come when the field of social legislation should be taken over by the dominion government. I believe there would be very little difficulty if representations were made to the provincial governments. In his speech the Prime Minister indicated that there might be some difficulty, but he also indicated that in regard to many matters he believed the provinces would be prepared to permit the federal government to put such legislation into effect.

We in his majesty's opposition have certain definite ideas in reference to this problem. We believe that the state's share of the cost of all social security measures should be borne by the dominion, and the time has come when this should be put into effect. In the next place we believe that it is the obligation of the government to make available to every citizen adequate medical, dental, nursing, hospital and prenatal care, with further advanced public health and nutritional principles so that health may be safeguarded and preserved; that the time has come to put into effect legislation to assure adequate payment for the maintenance of unemployables; retirement insurance, and the payment of increased old age pensions at an earlier age than seventy years. I am going to pause there for a moment, Mr. Speaker, and suggest that there could be no better way to assure the morale of Canada as a whole than for the government immediately to bring into effect cost-of-living allowances for old age pensioners. Let us forget the difficulties of financing as far as old age pensions are concerned, as between the federal government and the provinces. Old age pensions for the period of the war should be immediately increased to a point much higher than the present destitution level. If that could be done it would meet with approval all over Canada; it would not require the approval of the provinces if the dominion government were prepared to pay the extra cost, and by paying that extra amount we would bring new hope to those people, many of whom to-day, by reason of the small allowance, are living under circumstances very little better than destitution.

Finally, if ever there was a problem to challenge the imagination it is the after-war problem, the problem of the new world of which the Prime Minister, Mr. Churchill and President Roosevelt have spoken so often. Just in that connection I thought it was particularly appropriate that the messages read earlier today should have been sent to the Prime Minister of Great Britain and the President of the United States. It was appropriate on account of the fact that they have dominated the w-orld situation; they have given hope to the democracies; they have built up a determination in their nations that know no word but victory. Both have been leaders in social reform, and to-day the social security legislation of Great Britain is far ahead of ours, while across the line in the United States President Roosevelt in the last ten years has brought in social legislation designed to improve the lot of the common man to a degree never before equalled on the continent of North America. We believe this matter of social security is so important that the government should now appoint a minister of social security and reconstruction, to be charged with the administration of social security measures. That is what we advocate in our platform. We believe that with the load of responsibility at present being carried by the Prime Minister and the other members of the cabinet, with the division of responsibility among departments 'as far as social legislation is concerned, this problem, which now looms larger than ever before, is worthy of a minister to head a department which will administer social security laws for the uniform benefit of all parts of Canada.

I come back once more to the resolution setting up the committee. If read cursorily, this resolution gives promise that something will be done; but if read carefully, it says only that a select committee will be set up; that the committee will investigate; that it will study systems in Canada and elsewhere. There is no suggestion in the resolution that any action will be taken. That may be perfectly proper, but what is significant is that when the Prime Minister, whose interest in social legislation has always been very keen, delivered his speech yesterday he left no hope with those who heard him that the recommendations of the committee would be carried into effect in whole or in part. I think the people of Canada have a right to be assured now by the Prime Minister that jurisdictional difficulties with the provinces will be removed. Let him frankly inform the house of the attitude taken by each of the provinces if they have been consulted, and, finally, whether or not it is the intention of the government to bring in a resolution to amend the British North

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America Act. The setting up of the committee will build up fond hopes; and if no action is taken on its recommendations there will be a feeling of resentment among the people if, *when all the nations are building for the new world, this parliament intends only to set up a committee but does not intend to carry its recommendations into legislation.

Topic:   SOCIAL SECURITY
Subtopic:   APPOINTMENT OF SPECIAL COMMITTEE ON NATIONAL SOCIAL INSURANCE
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SC

James Alexander Marshall

Social Credit

Mr. J. A. MARSHALL (Camrose):

Mr. Speaker, last year I was a member of two very important committees, one the committee on reconstruction and the other set up to investigate canteen funds. To a certain extent the work of those two committees clashed. Feeling I could not do justice to both I made an agreement with my colleague, the hon. member for Acadia (Mr. Quelch) that he should take one committee and I the other. He devoted his time entirely to the work of the reconstruction committee, and I went on with the work of the canteen funds committee. That accounts for the fact that I was unable to give as much time to the committee on reconstruction as I should have liked.

My remarks this afternoon perhaps should have been given on the resolution sponsored by the Minister of Pensions and National Health (Mr. Mackenzie). I intended to speak on that resolution, but on account of the lateness of the hour, and the desire of the minister to close the discussion I considered it would be unfair to hold up the formation of the committee any longer, because had I spoken it would have meant carrying the debate into another day. Therefore I waved my right on that occasion, with the result that the remarks I intended to make then I shall make now.

Speaking in the debate to set up the committee on reconstruction, the hon. member for Acadia placed his finger on the cancer which has been eating at the heart of the economic life of Canada.

I have been prompted to enter this debate by reason of a trend of thought I felt I sensed throughout a number of the speeches on the resolution to set up the committee on reconstruction, and in some of the speeches on the resolution at present under discussion. Under the guise of social security measures there seems to be a tendency to centralize power in a central authority, thereby taking away some of the rights and privileges of lesser governments. Not only is that taking place in single nations, but there is the trend to tie all nations of the world together, place them under one central authority, the enforcement of law in that central body being placed in the hands of an international police force.

The type of individual who desires such conditions is to my mind a dangerous one.

We are setting up bureaucracies which I believe will be very difficult to do away with at the close of the war. It would be interesting to know the source from which this trend of thought emanates. I believe the idea of the world planner or bureaucrat originated in an institution in Great Britain known as the London school of economics. This institution was set up a number of years ago by an influential and rich man named Sir Ernest Cassel. He endowed it with an immense amount of money, and its avowed purpose, in his own words was-and still is-that of training bureaucrats for future socialist states.

One of the research committees operating under this school of economics issues a publication known as "PEP," the three letters standing for the three words Political and Economic Planning. Early in the war there appeared in this publication an article from which I should like to quote one sentence, because I believe it reveals the tactics being followed at the present time:

Only in war or under the threat of war will a British government embark on large-scale planning.

I suggest to the house that this is a most subtle utterance. Herein I believe lies the reason for the undue haste, shall I say, of trying to saddle upon the shoulders of the Canadian people, who at this time are most anxious about the prosecution of the war, schemes and plans which could not possibly be saddled upon them in peace time.

Let me first of all deal with world planning. There are those who believe that success can be achieved to-day only by tying all the nations together under a central authority. They believe that international trade is a solution of the problem. They believe that the amalgamation rather than the cooperation of countries is one of the factors tending toward a new day. I believe those good people are misguided. They seem to hold that what is national is inherently bad, but what is international is positively good. They wish to establish once again institutions which have been more or less discredited in the past. I refer to the institutions of the Bank of International Settlements, and the League of Nations. The Bank of International Settlements is a pro-axis organization. The chief shareholder in that bank is Germany, and the majority of the shares are controlled by axis countries. If anyone cares to have proof of that he has only to read the British Hansard of the last few months of 1942. It wall be found that that institution was the subject of many questions as well as discussion.

Social Security

Then we have the League of Nations, that brain-child of a United States college professor which was dumped on the doorstep of Great Britain and her allies at the close of the last war and then was disowned by its creator. Both of those institutions were, and still are free from national bias. Their policy is to get every nation into debt with equal impartiality. One in particular is working secretly and guards its workings most jealously from prying minds. The League of Nations was the international instrument by which reconstruction loans at usurious rates of interest were fastened upon many of the small nations of Europe. One example is the League of Nations loan to Austria. This allowed for a premium on redemption and yielded' a rate of approximately eight and a half per cent per annum although it was soundly secured and internationally guaranteed. The second instance is the League of Nations loan to Hungary which carried a rate of nearly 9i per cent per annum. The objective of the loans was to keep those countries under an orthodox economy, to keep them permanently enslaved under a debt system. Similar loans were made to Greece and Bulgaria.

For a few moments I should like to turn my attention nearer home. As I have said, these world planners are endeavouring to take powers away from the local governments and centralize them in one central authority. They work on the premise that nine wrongs make a right. They believe that if one man the worse of liquor is not able to reach his home safely, then nine men the worse of liquor will be able to get home all right provided they are tied together. They believe that if you take the provinces of Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, British Columbia and the others, all of which are loaded heavily with debt, and bring them under the control of a central government in Ottawa, all their worries will be at an end and their debt problems will be solved. These planners forget that the central government in Ottawa has balanced its budget only fifteen times in seventy-five years. Debt has been piled up in sixty years out of the seventy-five to the stage where it now threatens to engulf us.

I am not convinced, therefore, that the way to solve any problem is to make it larger. There are certain definite limits beyond which one's faith cannot go.

What is the strategy of these bureaucrats? First of all, this government set up the Sirois commission which brought in a report that, had it been adopted, would have centralized all authority in Ottawa. Fortunately for the people of Canada that report was rejected, not

by the people themselves, it is true, but by their elected representatives. It is "only in times of war or under threat of war that the Canadian government will embark upon large-scale planning."

The first step taken in Canada during the war was to saddle the Canadian people with an unemployment insurance scheme. This scheme was pronounced economically sound by one expert actuary, but it was declared to be economically unsound by another. The bill was passed in 1941, a war year. I contend that that bill would never have been put upon the statute books during years of peace. Unemployment insurance flourishes in times of war and in years of prosperity, but it bogs down in times of peace and in years of depression. That has been the experience in Great Britain, and that is why a commission was appointed to find out what could be done to tie together all the various schemes in order to make them work. That was the first step in this programme of centralization.

We come now to the next step. We are asked to adopt a national health scheme. In the last speech I made in this house on the address in reply to the speech from the throne, I prophesied that a plan of social security had already been formulated and that it would be brought out and presented for approval at the proper time. I was not surprised, therefore, to read in the Financial Post of February 27, 1943, right on the front page, under the heading " Social security report ready " the following:

Canada's first attempt at a pre-Beveridge report-the study on social security for Canada in terms of post-war planning-is now in the Prime Minister's hands, the Financial Post is informed.

The report covers some 150 pages and will presumably be available to the newly-formed parliamentary committee on social security and the parliamentary committee on reconstruction.

Prepared in less than two months, it has been turned out under the direction of the James committee on post-war reconstruction.

The report is intended as an educational document showing the background and present position of social security legislation and planning in Canada, and to indicate what would be required in respect of a comprehensive social security programme for Canada.

What is the use of setting up a committee if the plans are already cut-and-dried? All that we shall be asked to do is to give our approval to them and then they will be turned over to the publicity boys to sell them to the general public. This government, prodded by bureaucracy, appears to be determined to preserve the old order even though it means centralization and regimentation.

I should like now to direct the attention of members of the house and of members of the

Social Security

two committees which have been set up, to a resolution standing on the order paper in my name, and which I am sponsoring on behalf of the Social Credit group with which I have the honour to be associated. The resolution reads:

Whereas the men of our fighting forces are very properly looking to the people at home to see that when they return it will be to a country worthy of their magnificent courage, their unstinting sacrifices and the ideals for which they are fighting;

Therefore be it resolved,-That, in the opinion of this house, the minimum measures for the rehabilitation of the men of our fighting forces and their dependents shall be:

1. (a) On demobilization, persons who have served in the Canadian armed forces or merchant marine shall, while domiciled in Canada, receive a monthly income equivalent to not less than the full pay and all allowances including subsistence, for a private in the army, for a period of not less than three years, to enable the individual to become established in the economic life of the country, (b) thereafter they shall receive a monthly income (irrespective of any earned income) sufficient to ensure adequate basic economic security for the family against loss of income through any cause whatever.

2. Dependents of persons who have been killed in action and of persons who have died while serving in . the armed forces and merchant marine shall be provided with a pension equivalent to not less than the full benefits under clause 1 (a) during the life time of the mother or widow and, in the case of children until they become 18 years of age, when they shall be eligible for a special allowance to complete their education.

I commend this resolution to the earnest consideration of the members of the house and the members of the two committees. The resolution proposes to give the men and women of our fighting forces and their dependents individual security with freedom. If you give the people of this country financial independence, that will make these schemes we hear so much about entirely unnecessary. The individuals then will be free to choose their own doctors and nurses and hospitals. The old bogey, of course, of where will all the money come from to do these things cannot be trotted out any more because the Minister of Finance (Mr. Ilsley) himself has said that what is physically possible can be made financially possible. The Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) used similar words. It requires only the willingness of the government to put this plan into effect.

Frankly, Mr. Speaker, I do not like the move of the government toward state bureaucracy. I realize that some of it is necessary in war time, but not in such large doses as are being fed to us to-day. That is not Liberalism, at least not the Liberalism that I have always known in past years.

Reforms must come. Suffering, destitution, sickness and all other evils that afflict mankind

72537-62}

must go. We are all agreed on that. But to institute unemployment insurance and a national health scheme are simply palliatives and will not cure the disease which afflicts us. All reforms must wait on monetary reform. The greatest monopoly of all is the money monopoly, and until that problem is tackled and solved there is no hope for the people from any of these palliatives. No new Canada can be built upon a rotten foundation, and I am not yet convinced that this government desires to clear away any of the rottenness. I think these palliatives and these plans can well wait and I suggest that they wait until the Beurlings and the Merritts return to help us make blueprints of a better Canada. Let us not fool ourselves. The same old gang who lost the last peace and who admitted, as Sir William Beveridge has done, that want could have been abolished are bestirring themselves and want to write a charter of a better Canada. But the youths who ride the sky lanes over Germany, Italy, Burma and north Africa, the youths who are standing to in Great Britain awaiting the "go" sign to march to Berlin, the youths who daily brave the biting gales of the Atlantic and Pacific oceans-they are the men who, in my opinion, should write the blueprint of a new Canada. But if these youths allow the politicians of to-day and yesteryear to plan for them, they are bigger fools than I take them to be. I do not think it is likely that these young men who have donned battle-dress to win the war will meekly agree to don overalls to lose the peace.

One Englishman writing under the pen name of " Excalibur," penned a short poem which describes more pungently the situation than I could possibly describe it, and I think provides a complete answer to all world planners. The poem is as follows:

Youth Replies to Planners We should be touched by your consideration Of problems that affect our generation But frankly we are not. It may disgust you To learn it but we simply do not trust you. We fear the gifts with which you would present us,

They hide a cunning scheme to regiment us, Curl up, old busybodies, on your shelves And go to sleep and-leave us to ourselves.

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Thomas Miller Bell

Mr. COLDWELL:

Who is the author?

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SC

James Alexander Marshall

Social Credit

Mr. MARSHALL:

"Excalibur." He writes under a pen-name. I do not know him; I should very much like to, but I have never been able to find out who he is.

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Thomas Miller Bell

Mr. COLDWELL:

Where does he write7 In what paper?

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SC

James Alexander Marshall

Social Credit

Mr. MARSHALL:

I could not tell the hon. member.

Social Security

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SC

Charles Edward Johnston

Social Credit

Mr. JOHNSTON (Bow .River):

He is

writing about the Liberal cabinet!

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SC

James Alexander Marshall

Social Credit

Mr. MARSHALL:

Youth fights to win this war; the world planners fight to lose the peace. I prefer to leave the planners, the politicians, and above all the peace, to Canadian youth.

At six o'clock the house took recess.

After Recess

The house resumed at eight o'clock.

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Thomas Miller Bell

Mr. M. J. COLDWELL (Rosetown-Biggar):

Mr. Speaker, I am sure that the hon. member for Camrose (Mr. Marshall) who spoke just before the dinner recess will not expect me to follow him, because after all there is a place where international affairs can be discussed more appropriately than on this resolution. When the proper time comes no doubt we shall be able to discuss the points he raised this afternoon.

I am glad to note that the government is recommending to this house the appointment of a committee to study social security measures. But that is not enough. The government will be judged not by the problem it presents to a committee but by what it does now to impress upon the country the assurance that it is in earnest in bringing about some improvement in. our social and economic conditions. I should have preferred very much had this resolution been preceded by some mention in the speech from the throne of some provision to be in the budget for an improvement in the condition of the old age pensioners, the blind, the dependents of .our soldiers and the men who are being discharged now from the armed forces in the present war.

This afternoon the hon. member for Lake Centre (Mr. Diefenbaker) delved- into history and referred to the Liberal programme of 1919. I have been doing the same thing.

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LIB

Ian Alistair Mackenzie (Minister of Pensions and National Health)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE (Vancouver Centre):

Doubtless.

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Thomas Miller Bell

Mr. COLDWELL:

I have done it before, and I have no doubt, if the government continues the pace in regard to social legislation that it has adopted in the last twenty-three shears, someone will be doing it twenty-three years hence, and with no better result than I have been able to find. It was a wonderfully attractive programme at the time. The first resolution adopted read:

Whereas the great war and the greater epidemic have taken an appalling toll of *Canadian life; and

XMr. Marshall.]

Whereas human life and physical efficiency are the nation's greatest assets; and Whereas conservation and improvement thereof should be the country's first care;

Therefore this gathering of Liberals in convention assembled pledges itself to a vigorous prosecution of the measures best calculated to conserve the life and improve the physical standard of our Canadian citizenship.

That was adopted on August 5, 1919.

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NAT

Richard Burpee Hanson

National Government

Mr. HANSON (York-Sunbury):

That was only a chart.

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Thomas Miller Bell

Mr. COLDWELL:

Yes; that I believe was .the last national convention of the Liberal party in Canada.

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LIB

Paul Joseph James Martin

Liberal

Mr. MARTIN:

We have always had our leader.

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Thomas Miller Bell

Mr. COLDWELL:

If we progress no more rapidly than we have in the last twenty-three years we shall be a long time indeed before we achieve any real measures of social security.

A little further on is a resolution saying: That the introduction into the government of industry or principles of representation whereby labour and the community, as well as capital, may be represented in industrial control and their interests safeguarded and promoted in the shaping of industrial policies.

I am not going to comment on .that, for every hon. member knows how well or how badly that particular paragraph has been put into effect. Then we go on:

That in so far as may be practicable, having regard to Canada's financial position, an adequate system of insurance against unemployment, sickness, dependence in old age, and other disability, which would include old age pensions, widows' pensions and maternity benefits, should be instituted by the federal government in conjunction with the governments of the_ several provinces; and that on matters pertaining to industrial and social legislation an effort should be made to overcome any question of jurisdiction between the dominion and the provinces by effective cooperation between the several governments.

Here we are to-day in 1943 with the jurisdictional difficulty still facing us, in spite of the fact that we had the Rowell-Sirois commission sitting prior to the war and bringing these problems before us in a very striking manner in 1940.

Another paragraph read:

That the system of retraining the soldiers unfitted for their past work because of physical injuries be extended to disabled workers in industry.

I venture to say that the soldiers are not adequately provided for and that workers in industry have never received any real benefit under this particular resolution.

I am not going to discuss the other clauses in that section,

Social Security

Let me read the paragraph regarding insurance:

That provision should be made whereby any increased cost of insurance in favour of the dependents of the soldier should be borne by the state where such increase arises from disability incurred during the war.

And then:

That such pensions or allowances be granted as shall enable soldiers or their dependents as the case may be to maintain a liberal standard of living sufficient to guarantee health, education and all the necessities, comforts and amenities which go to make up a standard of living worthy of Canadian citizenship.

That policy was adopted a year after the close of the last war. To-day we are engaged in another great war, and I ask you, Mr. Speaker, if the men who to-day are being discharged are receiving an amount sufficient to provide them with a reasonable standard of health, education and the amenities which go with the standard of living which we enjoy normally in the country in which we live. The answer must be in the negative. Therefore I say that when the people of Canada look at the resolution to set up this committee they will not take the resolution as seriously as some would wish them to do because they know the past record of the government which is recommending it to this house at the present time.

May I say to my hon. friends to my right that when we look into their record in the years between 1930 and 1935 we can find no indication whatsoever that they would do any better, in spite of their new programme, if they were occupying the government benches instead of those of the official opposition. I remember perfectly well those dreadful years 1930 to 1935. I remember being on delegations meeting the government of the province in which I live and the premier telling us that we could not get programmes of public works because the dominion government, then the Conservative party, believed it was cheaper to keep people on the low level of relief at which they w'ere kept than to enter upon a public works programme, which would involve expenditures for material as well as for wages. Nor can I forget, as few hon. members will forget, seeing the hundreds of young men moving across this country seeking work, some of them arriving in my own city one June afternoon, as decent a bunch of boys as one would find anywhere in Canada. They may have had some leaders who were not of the best type, but on the whole they were well behaved, and during their stay in our city of Regina there was raised for them the largest amount of money that was ever raised on a single tag day in that city. In the end there was a riot, during which blood was spilled.

Therefore, I say that actions speak liouder than words, and we need from the government, from the opposition and from all parties in this house more in the way of action and less in the way of words.

As far as we in this group are concerned, we have tried to promote throughout the country a consciousness of the need for social service measures. I do not think any hon. member sitting anywhere in this house will gainsay the fact that ever since we came into existence as a party in 1933 we have endeavoured to keep before the Canadian public the need for social security legislation. I have in my hand a copy of the manifesto that was adopted at Regina in 1933 when the Cooperative Commonwealth Federation was first placed upon a strong foundation, and I will put it on the record. At that time, as at the present time, we had this plank in the platform.: publicly organized health, hospital and medical services. We went on to say:

With the advance of medical science the maintenance of a healthy population has become a function for which every civilized community-should undertake responsibility. Health services should be made at least as freely available as are educational services to-day. But under a system which is still mainly one of private enterprise the costs of proper medical care, such as the wealthier members of society can easily afford, are at present prohibitive for great masses of the people. A properly organized system of public health services including medical and dental care, which would stress the prevention rather than the cure of illness* should he extended to all our people in both, rural and urban areas. This is an enterprise-in which dominion, provincial and municipal! authorities, as well as the medical and d,ent&li' professions, can cooperate.

When we look back over the last few years in our own country, the record in connection with disease and death is certainly appalling. I do not intend to give a long list of figures; I simply state that according to official records in 1941 tuberculosis took more than six thousand lives in this country. In Ontario the incidence was 29-2 per hundred thousand of population; in Quebec it was 80-8 per hundred thousand. In 1940 infant mortality per thousand of living births was 29 in Vancouver and- 113 in Quebec city; and even 29 was too high. Some 3,954 mothers died in childbirth in 1939. The Verdun district of Montreal had four times the number of deaths of mothers in childbirth as the city of Regina, and even at that Regina does not stand at the top of the list of the cities of western Canada. I recall that the former Minister of National War Services, Hon. Mr. Thorson, in 1941, said that up to October 2 of that year, 44 per cent of the 217,588 volunteers examined had been rejected from class A as being unfit, class A

Social Security

of course being the top class. Since the outbreak of war I am informed that more than 60,000 men have been discharged or have deserted from the armed forces, which I submit is an appalling indictment of conditions in our country.

Conditions are not growing better. Last year I had occasion to refer to the shocking conditions that existed in Halifax, and I should like to draw attention to the fact that conditions in that city have grown worse during the past year. Recently the Rockefeller foundation sent two of its physicians, Doctor D. Bruce Wilson and Doctor W. A. McIntosh, to make a survey of conditions in Halifax, at the request of the provincial minister of health, Doctor F. R. Davis. What does their report show? The deathrate in Halifax has risen from 14-5 in 1937 to 17-2 in 1941, and is almost 45 per cent higher than anywhere else in Nova Scotia. Yet in order that they may do their duty and defend our country in this time of war we are sending literally thousands of our young men and some young women to Halifax, or through Halifax to other points. It seems to me that the condition of this great Canadian city affects not .only the citizens of Halifax and the people of Nova Scotia, but the people of this country as A whole. Conditions in that city ought to be :a dominion responsibility. Tuberculosis, one of tt-hat city's major health problems, is not even reported as it occurs, though these doctors state that an early report by medical men would cut down the incidence of that disease very considerably. Another appalling fact is that two and a half times as many new cases of syphilis were reported in 1941 as in 1939, and the extent of the social diseases problem is unknown because provision for treatment and control is entirely inadequate. In their report these medical men state that some of the doctors in Halifax are not even reporting these cases and that the committee which was established in that city to look after this particular social disease has not been meeting. They go on to tell us of the disgraceful manner in which the food of that city is handled. They tell us of the filth around the market place, the filthy lavatory accommodation and the wretched and entirely inadequate milk supply. Yet, as I say, we are sending thousands of our young men and women through that city. I am not going to quote further from that exceedingly gloomy report, but to my mind it is a disgrace not only to the city of Halifax, not only to the province of Nova Scotia, but to the entire Dominion of Canada.

I raised this question last year after I had seen the terrible slum conditions in Halifax, but apparently very little has been done to

meet the situation there. The report of these two medical men states that the slum population of Halifax is out of all proportion to the size of the city itself. I believe the Minister of Pensions and National Health (Mr. Mackenzie) has obtained or is about to obtain a copy of the report to which I have referred, and no doubt he will give it his attention; at least I hope he will do so.

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March 4, 1943