June 20, 1947

LIB

Paul Joseph James Martin (Minister of National Health and Welfare)

Liberal

Mr. MARTIN:

These are junior assistants who have qualified through civil service examinations. I can only assume that when they passed the tests set by the civil service commission they were fully qualified to do this work. Then there are J. W. Telfer, Doctor J. H. Horowicz, Mrs. F. E. Hurst, whom I think the hon. gentleman knows, and' Miss B. A. Patchet.

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CCF

Alexander Malcolm Nicholson

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. NICHOLSON:

The minister is asking for $27,000. How many of those people are medical doctors? What is their background in the field of health insurance?

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LIB

Paul Joseph James Martin (Minister of National Health and Welfare)

Liberal

Mr. MARTIN:

None of those I have named is a medical doctor.

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CCF

Alexander Malcolm Nicholson

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. NICHOLSON:

What is their background?

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LIB

Paul Joseph James Martin (Minister of National Health and Welfare)

Liberal

Mr. MARTIN:

They are people who have had training like my hon. friend; they have had training at the university; they are economists, sociologists, and people of that type. Together with the medical experience in the department they make up a fine team with which to approach this subject.

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CCF

Alexander Malcolm Nicholson

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. NICHOLSON:

I am not casting any reflection upon any of those people, but the minister is asking for $27,000 to carry on health insurance studies and I submit that there should be at least one medical doctor. There should also be a graduate in dentistry and someone representing the nursing profession. There should be some one experienced in hospital services. The minister should indicate whether there are such persons on the staff. Are there any dentists?

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LIB

Paul Joseph James Martin (Minister of National Health and Welfare)

Liberal

Mr. MARTIN:

Yes.

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CCF

Alexander Malcolm Nicholson

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. NICHOLSON:

Will the minister give the name of the dentist?

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LIB

Paul Joseph James Martin (Minister of National Health and Welfare)

Liberal

Mr. MARTIN:

We use the acting director of our dental division. We use the deputy minister, who is a doctor. Then we have Doctor Little, an eminent physician who has taken up cancer research work.

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CCF

Alexander Malcolm Nicholson

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. NICHOLSON:

The minister is not suggesting that the deputy minister is doing

[Mr. MacNicol.3

nothing else but look after health insurance studies? I am submitting that if $27,000 is to be spent, there should be a full time job for some persons. It is not good enough to say that there are medical people on the staff, that there are dentists on the staff, or that you can call upon the national research council. Here is an important job to be done and there should be persons employed full time with the qualifications I have mentioned. Are there any full-time professional people in this field?

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LIB

Paul Joseph James Martin (Minister of National Health and Welfare)

Liberal

Mr. MARTIN:

I do not think I can add anything to what I have already told my hon. friend.

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PC

John Ritchie MacNicol

Progressive Conservative

Mr. MacNICOL:

I am not going to criticize the minister for not having a large staff in this branch of his department. Several of the provinces have departments of their own, and what kind of top-heavy set-up shall we have across Canada if the provinces and the dominion go into this field? I studied this matter when I was in Great Britain. Their labour department looks after health insurance for 45,000,000 people, with no larger staff than the minister has. This idea of duplicating the work done in every province could only result in a top-heavy organization which the country cannot stand. The minister has already told the committee that his chief officials can take care of what is to be done in this small branch, and I commend him for that. If he is going to staff a health insurance branch for all of Canada we might as well wind up, because we cannot stand such duplication all over the country. Britain has only a small department looking after health insurance for a population five times as large as ours, and it is carrying on the work satisfactorily.

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PC

Wilfrid Garfield Case

Progressive Conservative

Mr. CASE:

I think this matter should be pursued further. Last year $43,555 was voted and only $4,700 was spent. This year the minister is asking for $27,863. This branch seems to be treated as an orphan. Last year there was a director of health insurance studies at $6,600. This year no provision is made for a director, but temporary assistance is being provided for, and it would seem that a director would be required to direct the course of studies of his assistants. Practically the same amount is provided for temporary assistance this year as last. There was also an item of $6,000 last year for professional and special services. Nothing is provided for that this year. There may be some reason why that is not required. I do not think the minister has justified his request for $27,000 this year when only $4,700 was spent last year. The minister talks about ten employees. Mention of their names conveys nothing to me. I should like to

Supply-Health and Welfare

know what work they are doing. It would mean something if I were told that they were engaged in medical or dental or actuarial services. A break-down of that kind would be helpful.

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CCF

Alexander Malcolm Nicholson

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. NICHOLSON:

Is the minister not going to accede to that request?

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LIB

Paul Joseph James Martin (Minister of National Health and Welfare)

Liberal

Mr. MARTIN:

The hon. member for Grey North has made a helpful suggestion which I appreciate.

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CCF

Alexander Malcolm Nicholson

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. NICHOLSON:

The minister is not as cooperative today as he usually is. Why is not a salary provided this year for a director of health insurance studies?

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LIB

Paul Joseph James Martin (Minister of National Health and Welfare)

Liberal

Mr. MARTIN:

I have told the hon. member that we are providing for temporary assistance. It is usual for people who enter the civil service to come in as temporaries.

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CCF

Alexander Malcolm Nicholson

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. NICHOLSON:

Last year the department asked for $3,500 for educational and informational publicity. Nothing is being asked for that this year. Has the department no more ideas or information to give out? Why does it not need somebody for educational and informational publicity?

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LIB

Paul Joseph James Martin (Minister of National Health and Welfare)

Liberal

Mr. MARTIN:

Because there are some things you do not need to publicize always. I would rather spend the money in some other way at this stage of the game.

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CCF

Alexander Malcolm Nicholson

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. NICHOLSON:

If the minister does not wish to go into the field of health insurance studies the whole item should be dropped. It is not fair to come to parliament and ask for $43,000 last year and spend only $4,700 and then ask this year for $27,000. The minister should be frank and say that he does not plan on doing anything further in the field of health insurance studies, and drop the item. That would meet the requests of my hon. friends to my right who are demanding a reduction in expenditures.

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June 20, 1947