June 14, 1948

LIB

Alcide Côté

Liberal

Mr. ALCIDE COTE (St. Johns-Iberville-Napierville):

While the Minister of Transport (Mr. Chevrier) is in his seat, Mr. Speaker, I wish to clear up a point.

(Translation):

Mr. Speaker, I have made representations 'last year, in connection with the Victoria and Jacques Cartier bridges, in the province of Quebec. I had the support, at that time, of the hon. member for Chambly-Rouville (Mr. Pinard). The government of the province of Quebec is wholly responsible for its highways and, of course, has to pay for the cost of building and maintaining the bridges that are extensions of such highways. However, the Victoria and Jacques Cartier bridges were built and paid for by the federal government. When the toll system was applied generally to all main bridges in the province, whether they were considered provincial or federal bridges, the whole population was being treated equally. When in 1942 the Quebec government ruled to abolish the toll system in fairness to all provincial taxpayers, it should have eliminated the toll also on

Victoria and Jacques Cartier bridges. Otherwise, there was this unfairness that one important region of the province kept on paying tolls whilst all others benefited from the abolition of the toll on the other bridges. That is why, as far back as 1942, the hon. Adelard Godbout, then premier of the province of Quebec, said he was ready to reimburse the federal government a reasonable amount if the toll was abolished on Victoria and Jacques Cartier bridges, the same as on other bridges of the province. However, after the negotiations were started, a new administration came to power and they were never resumed.

We must at this time take cognizance of the injustice of which I have just spoken, which consists in imposing double taxation upon one section of the population, to the other section's benefit, an injustice which has lasted from 1942 to this day.

Since then, the union of municipalities of the province of Quebec, of which I am a director, has expressly requested Premier Duplessis to meet the federal authorities with a view to solving this problem once and for all.

I am told, on the other hand, that the Quebec government have obtained permission from the federal authorities to use one of the two railway lines across the Quebec bridge for the purpose of widening the motor thoroughfare.

Last year, following representations made by myself and by the hon. member for Chambly-Rouville, the Minister of Transport declared himself willing to meet the representatives of the province of Quebec at any time to study the possibility of abolishing toll charges on Victoria and Jacques Cartier bridges. Unfortunately we are still at the same point today and this injustice has not yet been done away with.

That is why I am now asking the Minister of Transport the following questions:

First, since July 2, 1947, after my colleague and I had made representations to the hon. minister, and as a result of the latter's statement, has the government of the province of Quebec, through its premier, Mr. Duplessis, or a representative appointed by him, taken any action with a view to meeting the dominion government about the toll problem in connection with the Victoria and Jacques Cartier bridges?

Second, is the dominion government or the Minister of Transport always ready to meet the representatives of the Quebec government with a view to considering and eventually solv-

Seamen's Strike

ing the toll problem as regards the Victoria and Jacques Cartier bridges?

Finally, is it true that the provincial government has secured from the dominion authorities or the Minister of Transport permission to use one of the two railroad tracks on the Quebec bridge for the widening of the vehicular traffic lane?

Topic:   FRASER RIVER, B.C. FLOODS-HOUSING ACCOMMODATION FOR MEMBERS DURING SESSION
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LIB

Lionel Chevrier (Minister of Transport)

Liberal

Hon. LIONEL CHEVRIER (Minister of Transport):

Mr. Speaker, I have listened carefully to the remarks of the hon. member regarding toll charges on Victoria and Jacques Cartier bridges. He asked three questions. I will reply to his last one first. He wanted to know whether it was true that the dominion government had, directly or through the C.N.R., entered into negotiations with the Quebec government with a view to building a driveway on the Quebec bridge. The answer is yes. I must say to the hon. member that although the agreement has not yet been signed between the dominion and provincial governments, negotiations are now concluded and it has been agreed that a paved highway will be built on the Quebec bridge. As the details of this matter are rather complicated, I shall not deal with them tonight. However, it is true that negotiations have been brought to a conclusion. The province of Quebec undertakes to vote the money required to open up this new lane to vehicular traffic.

In his first question, the hon. member asked whether the Quebec government or some other provincial agency had made representations to the dominion government with reference to the elimination of toll charges on Victoria and Jacques Cartier bridges. In answer, I must say that, to my knowledge, no such representations have been made. Further, had any been put forth, I would have been aware of them. I must say that certainly no representations similar to those made by the provincial authorities in connection with the new highway on the Quebec bridge have been made with regard to the Victoria and Jacques Cartier bridges.

May I ask the hon. member to repeat his second question?

Topic:   FRASER RIVER, B.C. FLOODS-HOUSING ACCOMMODATION FOR MEMBERS DURING SESSION
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LIB

Alcide Côté

Liberal

Mr. COTE (St. Johns-Iberville-Napierville):

Is the Minister of Transport still willing to meet the representatives of the province of Quebec in order to consider their arguments and to see whether toll charges can be eliminated on these bridges?

Topic:   FRASER RIVER, B.C. FLOODS-HOUSING ACCOMMODATION FOR MEMBERS DURING SESSION
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LIB

Lionel Chevrier (Minister of Transport)

Liberal

Mr. CHEVRIER:

It goes without saying, Mr. Speaker, that I am entirely agreeable to hearing the representations of the province of Quebec or of any one of its agencies and, if need be, even those of the minister of public works with reference to the removal of toll charges on Victoria and Jacques Cartier bridges.

(Text):

Mr. PAUL E. COTE (Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Labour): Mr. Speaker, I was not in the house when the hon. member for Vancouver East (Mr. Maclnnis) made the first part of his observations respecting the particular subject he mentioned tonight. I suggest that it would have been more appropriate for him to have taken advantage of one or other of the two opportunities the house will have to discuss labour problems. I refer to the examination by committee of the whole of Bill 195, to provide for the investigation, conciliation and settlement of industrial disputes. We expect that will be submitted to this chamber very shortly. In the second place, the estimates for the Department of Labour are expected to be introduced soon.

I have not any intimate knowledge of the problem mentioned by the hon. member which would allow me to follow satisfactorily the remarks he has made tonight. I would point out, however, that on several occasions recently the Minister of Labour (Mr. Mitchell) has dealt with this matter. He has expressed his views in answer to questions put by the hon. member for Cape Breton South (Mr. Gillis) and others, and I am sure that at the proper time he will make, on this particular matter, any further statement that he deems appropriate.

Topic:   FRASER RIVER, B.C. FLOODS-HOUSING ACCOMMODATION FOR MEMBERS DURING SESSION
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CCF

Angus MacInnis

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

Mr. MacINNIS:

May I, in reply to the parliamentary assistant, say that the situation is critical, and I do not think we can wait for the estimates, or for some other time. People are being shot at; people are going to jail; all kinds of things are happening. I do not think we can wait at a time like this.

I asked the Minister of Labour a question this morning. Had he made any attempt to give me a reasonable answer I would not have had to raise the matter at this time.

Motion agreed to and the house went into committee, Mr. Golding in the chair.

Topic:   FRASER RIVER, B.C. FLOODS-HOUSING ACCOMMODATION FOR MEMBERS DURING SESSION
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PRIME MINISTER'S OFFICE


SI6. Salaries of staff and other pay-list items, $93,972. Item stands.


DEPARTMENT OF NATIONAL HEALTH AND WELFARE

LIB

William Henry Golding (Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole)

Liberal

The DEPUTY CHAIRMAN:

We were considering item 245 of the Department of National Health and Welfare.

Supply-Health and Welfare

245. Departmental administration, $623,428.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF NATIONAL HEALTH AND WELFARE
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SC

Ernest George Hansell

Social Credit

Mr. HANSELL:

Mr. Chairman, I am in almost the same position I was in last night, or the other night, in that I have an Important speech to deliver and only six minutes in which to deliver it. I shall try to make my speech in those six minutes-or even less. That is difficult for me to do; my congregations always complain because they say I am a long-winded preacher.

There are two phases of the work of the Department of National Health and Welfare I should like to dwell upon for a moment. I wish to bring to the attention of the minister these two matters. I am sure we are all glad that the present government is contemplating some advance with respect to the health services of Canada. The other day we listened to the Prime Minister's announcement, which I think has been quite acceptable, generally speaking, to the people of Canada.

But there is in Canada today one class of people who have been entirely neglected in any health legislation that has been passed either in this house or in any provincial legislature. I refer to incurable cripples, wheel-chair cases, bedridden cases. The medical profession have gone as far as they can with these cases and have pronounced them incurable. I have in mind those who have been crippled as a result of poliomyelitis or those who were born crippled or the epileptic cases. If I were a medical man I could put on Hansard the names of many other maladies which I do not now know. All these people are beyond the aid of medicine or of the medical profession. What is being done for them?

The question might be asked, what can be done for them? In a medical sense, nothing, but they must be cared for. Most of them are unable to earn a living or to engage in gainful employment. The result is that they are thrown upon the mercies of relatives or friends or charitable institutions. If they have not those to turn to, they must beg the relief authorities for a handout. This class of incurable citizen has been entirely neglected and forgotten.

They are not great in number; I do not know how many there would be in Canada. They are scattered from coast to coast and are unable to get out or send people around to organize for them as unions and other organizations have done in order to bring pressure upon the proper authorities. A little over a year ago, an organization was set up by a young woman in Calgary named Miss Eva Warden. At nineteen years of age she took poliomyelitis and is today a wheel-chair case. Her mother is a widow. You tell me what she can do.

[The Deputy Chairman.]

She started this organization and has had a flood of requests for information from all over Canada. She is doing her best to keep this organization going, in order to focus public attention upon their needs. I do not know whether the minister will suggest that this matter should come under the Department of Finance, but I do ask him to take it into consideration and, if possible, to put on the statute books, or aid the provinces in putting on their staute books some form of legislation that will prevent these unfortunate people from being cast upon public charity.

Perhaps mine is the small voice crying in the wilderness, but I think I have the unanimous support of this entire house and of the legislatures when I ask that something be done. This is not a party platform; we do not have these things pegged into our party platforms; it is a humanitarian thing. I believe all should lend their support to something of this kind. Will the minister not take this into his deepest consideration?

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF NATIONAL HEALTH AND WELFARE
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LIB

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

Liberal

Hon. PAUL MARTIN (Minister of National Health and Welfare):

May I assure my hon. friend that I am doing that very thing.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF NATIONAL HEALTH AND WELFARE
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IND

Jean-François Pouliot

Independent Liberal

Mr. POULIOT:

I fully agree with what the hon. member for Macleod has said in his fine speech. Once again I congratulate him wholeheartedly. Last year I took up the same question. I do not understand why there should be this gap in connection with those who suffer from infirmities. The old people have something and the needy mothers receive help from the provincial governments, but no help is given to those who suffer from infirmity, who are poor and who cannot subscribe to any form of contributory insurance.

I have made a survey which I shall speak about at another time, but tonight I appeal to the minister. I know his big heart and I know he plays no politics in connection with health. I know he places that as being of the greatest importance to the state. He understands these problems. I remember, when his predecessor sat there two or three years ago, he said, in answer to a resolution moved either by the hon. member for Compton or the hon. member for Terrebonne-I see it is eleven o'clock.

Progress reported.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF NATIONAL HEALTH AND WELFARE
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BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

LIB

Alphonse Fournier (Minister of Public Works; Leader of the Government in the House of Commons; Liberal Party House Leader)

Liberal

Mr. FOURNIER (Hull):

Tomorrow we shall take up the two resolutions in the name of the Minister of Justice, one being a measure to amend the Railway Act, the Exchequer Court Act and the Judges Act and

Business oj the House

the second being a measure with respect to the Revised Statutes of Canada. Then we shall take up Bill No. 345, to amend the Tariff Board Act; Bill No. 346, being the Canadian National Railways Financial Guarantee Act, 1948; Bill No. 60, to amend the Veterans Insurance Act; Bill No. 196, to amend the War Veterans Allowance Act, and Bill No. 200, to amend the Veterans Rehabilitation Act. When we are through with the war veterans bills, we shall take up Bill No. 198, to amend the Dominion Elections Act. If we complete those bills we shall go into supply and take up national health and welfare, trade and commerce, and veterans affairs.

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
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CCF

Stanley Howard Knowles (Whip of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation)

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

Mr. KNOWLES:

May I ask the minister a question with respect to the three bills in the name of the Minister of Veterans Affairs? Each of these bills has been amended in committee. Does the minister know whether reprinted copies of the bills as amended will be available to us tomorrow?

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
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LIB

Alphonse Fournier (Minister of Public Works; Leader of the Government in the House of Commons; Liberal Party House Leader)

Liberal

Mr. FOURNIER (Hull):

I do not know, but I shall inquire and do my best to have the bills with the amendments in the hands of the members tomorrow before we start to study them. I will do the best I can.

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
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CCF

Stanley Howard Knowles (Whip of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation)

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

Mr. KNOWLES:

That is good. Thank you.

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
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At eleven o'clock the house adjourned without question put, pursuant to standing order.


END OF VOLUME V

June 14, 1948