May 14, 1948

?

An hon. MEMBER:

What do they do with their babies?

Topic:   HEALTH SERVICES
Subtopic:   GRANTS TO PROVINCES-STATEMENT WITH RESPECT TO HEALTH INSURANCE AND SOCIAL SECURITY
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SC

Solon Earl Low

Social Credit

Mr. LOW:

That remark is just about as small as some people can get. We take care of our babies, and that is something some other provinces do not do. We see that they are put in decent homes, where they can grow up to be useful citizens.

Topic:   HEALTH SERVICES
Subtopic:   GRANTS TO PROVINCES-STATEMENT WITH RESPECT TO HEALTH INSURANCE AND SOCIAL SECURITY
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PC

Park Manross

Progressive Conservative

Mr. MANROSS:

Your babies grow up; some of the other fellows' do not.

Topic:   HEALTH SERVICES
Subtopic:   GRANTS TO PROVINCES-STATEMENT WITH RESPECT TO HEALTH INSURANCE AND SOCIAL SECURITY
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SC

Solon Earl Low

Social Credit

Mr. LOW:

We were particularly pleased this afternoon to see the government take some action against these scourges of the human race which, if they are allowed to run their course, are likely to impoverish whole families-tuberculosis, cancer and similar diseases. This is a splendid start in that direction.

We look upon this proposal only as a step forward, and I am sure that is what the Prime Minister had in mind-that it would be the foundation for a program of health security which I hope in the years to come will grow into the much more comprehensive scheme the Prime Minister must have envisioned.

While I congratulate the government. I should like opportunity to study the details before making any further comment on this proposal.

Topic:   HEALTH SERVICES
Subtopic:   GRANTS TO PROVINCES-STATEMENT WITH RESPECT TO HEALTH INSURANCE AND SOCIAL SECURITY
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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

I should like to say a word as to the statement I have just made. It was not intended to be other than

5849-250J

Health Services

what I said it would be, a statement of government policy on health services and health insurance. It was not anticipated that a debate would arise at this time. The fact that the . statement of government policy has been made in such complete form will enable hon. members to see the health program as a whole, so that when the house is asked to appropriate the moneys necessary for the different health services, and for hospital construction, hon. members will have the complete list of the proposed services and an estimate of the entire expenditure involved. No one is being deprived of an opportunity of debating this program, because every dollar necessary to carry it into effect will have to be voted by parliament, and all the appropriations required will appear in the supplementary estimates which will be presented to the house. There will be- full opportunity to debate all relevant matters on those estimates; I wish to make that very clear.

I had no desire to seek in any way to score over any of the parties in this house by making this statement of government policy this afternoon. It has been requested off and on throughout the session, and it has been promised off and on throughout the session.

Mr, COLDWELL: Throughout the years.

Topic:   HEALTH SERVICES
Subtopic:   GRANTS TO PROVINCES-STATEMENT WITH RESPECT TO HEALTH INSURANCE AND SOCIAL SECURITY
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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

May I say at once, speaking in a general way, how pleased I am with the manner in which the program has been accepted by all parties opposite as well as by hon. members on this side. I believe that circumstance in itself will give great satisfaction to the people of Canada. After all it would be strange indeed, with the knowledge we all have of human lives and the problems of individual homes, if all of us were not deeply concerned in these questions which affect human welfare and human well-being. It is no surprise, therefore, that hon. members should have expressed, to the extent they have, approval of this program. I am indeed happy to see the unanimity of feeling there appears to be on the part of hon. members in favour of our doing what can be done by parliament, in the light of our knowledge of conditions, to bring into being in this country an effective nation-wide program of social security and health insurance.

My hon. friend the leader of the opposition (Mr. Bracken) asked why we did not have this particular program set out in the speech from the throne. First may I say that if the hon. gentleman looks over the various speeches from the throne from 1913 up to the present he will see in each some reference to some measure of social insurance, either on the surface or to be read between the lines which

has since found its place in today's pronouncement. However I shall be perfectly frank with my hon. friend. While the speech from the throne is intended to give hon. members a lead with regard to questions which it is intended to bring before the house during the session, the speech need not necessarily include mention of all measures to be brought down. The speech itself is a formal procedure which affords to parliament the beginning of its consideration of the affairs of the session. It usually makes mention of the principal measures, but is not intended necessarily to include all the measures. As long as parliament is in session, there is opportunity for the government to bring in new measures if it so desires.

There probably would have been special mention of this program had it not been for a reason which I am sure hon. members will recall. The house was called into session much sooner than had been anticipated when we prorogued. The house met early in December because of certain emergent measures which had required very close and careful consideration on the part of the government before the session opened. In addition, as hon. members will recall, for some weeks previous, I was necessarily absent from Canada almost up to the day the house met. For these reasons it was thought desirable that we should not seek to place before the house, without very great care being given its presentation, a program which from the outset we had hoped it would be possible to set forth at this session. I think hon. members will benefit in the end from the fact that we took the necessary time to deliberate in detail upon this very large question, and present its numerous and essential features in a form which would leave no doubt as to the relation between its different parts.

My hon. friend asked about the consent of the provinces, and whether they had been consulted. We have been receiving communications from the provinces right along asking when we were going to bring in these specific proposals. I would not like to say how many communications have been received, or to attempt to give their details; all I can say, speaking generally, is that most of the provinces have I believe been asking when the proposals would be brought in. The reply given was that we hoped to bring them in as soon as we could get the provinces generally to agree.

If we have delayed in this matter, it is because we had hoped and expected that all the provinces would eventually join with us. I cannot yet understand why the two largest provinces in this country have not found it possible, as have the other seven, to join with

Health Services

this government in working out plans such as have been presented today. If there has been some delay, as I say, it has been because we were waiting in the hope and expectation that when this program was presented to parliament it would be possible to say, in connection with it, that all the provinces had been in conference.

That has not been possible. We have, however, waited as long as we thought we should. However, in what we are now presenting it will, I believe, be seen that if there has been a delay, no province is likely to suffer very much as a result.

I suggest to my hon. friend that I do not think he will find the word "all" in any statement made as to the consent or agreement of the provinces. The words "the provinces" have been used, but the word "all" was carefully avoided in any statement that was made. That was only the part of political wisdom. It might have happened that it was not the two largest provinces that had failed us, but that one of the smaller provinces had slipped up, and that as a consequence matters for all the others would have been held back. I give my hon. friend a word of counsel. It is always wise to try to anticipate all possibilities before they arise. In so doing you do not find yourself unnecessarily embarrassed when the important moment comes.

Topic:   HEALTH SERVICES
Subtopic:   GRANTS TO PROVINCES-STATEMENT WITH RESPECT TO HEALTH INSURANCE AND SOCIAL SECURITY
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PC

John Bracken (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. BRACKEN:

Then according to his own statement the Prime Minister could have brought forward this program a couple of years ago.

Topic:   HEALTH SERVICES
Subtopic:   GRANTS TO PROVINCES-STATEMENT WITH RESPECT TO HEALTH INSURANCE AND SOCIAL SECURITY
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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

Yes; and if he had, he might have spoiled the whole business. There again might I give my hon. friend another pointer which might be helpful to him at some time, although I am very doubtful if it will. I advise him not to try to do too much all at once. After all, the surest path is the one where you make certain of each step as you take it, and where you do not prejudice the larger outcome by undertaking more than you can expect to get support for at the time.

Topic:   HEALTH SERVICES
Subtopic:   GRANTS TO PROVINCES-STATEMENT WITH RESPECT TO HEALTH INSURANCE AND SOCIAL SECURITY
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PC

James MacKerras Macdonnell

Progressive Conservative

Mr. MACDONNELL (Muskoka-Ontario):

Will the Prime Minister permit a question?

Topic:   HEALTH SERVICES
Subtopic:   GRANTS TO PROVINCES-STATEMENT WITH RESPECT TO HEALTH INSURANCE AND SOCIAL SECURITY
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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

I am trying to answer some.

Topic:   HEALTH SERVICES
Subtopic:   GRANTS TO PROVINCES-STATEMENT WITH RESPECT TO HEALTH INSURANCE AND SOCIAL SECURITY
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PC

James MacKerras Macdonnell

Progressive Conservative

Mr. MACDONNELL (Muskoka-Ontario):

This is a very short question. Did I understand the Prime Minister to say that the use of the phrase, "consent of the provinces" did not mean the consent of all the provinces?

Topic:   HEALTH SERVICES
Subtopic:   GRANTS TO PROVINCES-STATEMENT WITH RESPECT TO HEALTH INSURANCE AND SOCIAL SECURITY
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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

I said that the leader of the opposition had said that I had said all the provinces would have to be in

agreement, and I said to my hon. friend that I did not think he would find the word "all" there. The word "provinces" was used, but it was not "all" the provinces.

Topic:   HEALTH SERVICES
Subtopic:   GRANTS TO PROVINCES-STATEMENT WITH RESPECT TO HEALTH INSURANCE AND SOCIAL SECURITY
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PC

James MacKerras Macdonnell

Progressive Conservative

Mr. MACDONNELL (Muskoka-Ontario):

Then I understand the Prime Minister to say-

Topic:   HEALTH SERVICES
Subtopic:   GRANTS TO PROVINCES-STATEMENT WITH RESPECT TO HEALTH INSURANCE AND SOCIAL SECURITY
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LIB

George Alexander Cruickshank

Liberal

Mr. CRUICKSHANK:

Wire George Drew.

Topic:   HEALTH SERVICES
Subtopic:   GRANTS TO PROVINCES-STATEMENT WITH RESPECT TO HEALTH INSURANCE AND SOCIAL SECURITY
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PC

Gordon Graydon

Progressive Conservative

Mr. GRAYDON:

Why do you not keep politics out of this?

Topic:   HEALTH SERVICES
Subtopic:   GRANTS TO PROVINCES-STATEMENT WITH RESPECT TO HEALTH INSURANCE AND SOCIAL SECURITY
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?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Oh, oh.

Topic:   HEALTH SERVICES
Subtopic:   GRANTS TO PROVINCES-STATEMENT WITH RESPECT TO HEALTH INSURANCE AND SOCIAL SECURITY
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PC

James MacKerras Macdonnell

Progressive Conservative

Mr. MACDONNELL (Muskoka-Ontario):

I just wanted to be sure, because after all, the Prime Minister is giving us advice and I think it is desirable that we should understand exactly what it is. Do I understand the Prime Minister to say that the use of the phrase "consent of the provinces"-that is, leaving out the word "all"-did not imply it was the consent of all the provinces?

Topic:   HEALTH SERVICES
Subtopic:   GRANTS TO PROVINCES-STATEMENT WITH RESPECT TO HEALTH INSURANCE AND SOCIAL SECURITY
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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

I said that the word "all" did not appear in any statement that I had made. The leader of the opposition had used that word1 expressly, and I was making it quite clear that he would not find it there. I just thought it might be helpful to him on some future occasion to have this knowledge of the fact.

Topic:   HEALTH SERVICES
Subtopic:   GRANTS TO PROVINCES-STATEMENT WITH RESPECT TO HEALTH INSURANCE AND SOCIAL SECURITY
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PC

James MacKerras Macdonnell

Progressive Conservative

Mr. MACDONNELL (Muskoka-Ontario):

I think I understand.

Topic:   HEALTH SERVICES
Subtopic:   GRANTS TO PROVINCES-STATEMENT WITH RESPECT TO HEALTH INSURANCE AND SOCIAL SECURITY
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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

If my hon. friend understands, then I am sure everybody else in the house will understand.

Topic:   HEALTH SERVICES
Subtopic:   GRANTS TO PROVINCES-STATEMENT WITH RESPECT TO HEALTH INSURANCE AND SOCIAL SECURITY
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May 14, 1948