March 4, 1949

CCF

Clarence Gillis

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

Mr. Gillis:

I did not mean that as sarcasm. I merely wanted the explanation.

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LIB

Andrew Wesley Stuart

Liberal

Mr. Stuart (Charlotte):

On a point of privilege, Mr. Speaker, two or three statements have been made about hospital schemes not being adopted in my province. I do know that schemes are being considered in many parts of the province, and in my own constituency a project is being considered which calls for the building of a hospital that will cost nearly a million dollars.

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PC

Alfred Johnson Brooks

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Brooks:

One of the reasons is that we need a new health department in New Brunswick.

The Address-Mr. Reid Mr. Speaker: Order. May I take advantage of this occasion to suggest to hon. members that it would be fair to allow the hon. member for New Westminster to speak for more than forty minutes, because of the interruptions that have occurred.

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LIB

Thomas Reid (Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of National Health and Welfare)

Liberal

Mr. Reid:

In answer to the last member who spoke, I may say that I can find little fault with what is happening in New Brunswick. Judging from the information which I have received, it is my opinion that the minister of health in that province and his deputy are among the finest in Canada.

I now come back to where I left off regarding misstatements made by the hon. member for Wood Mountain (Mr. Argue), and point out to him that it was not eleven months. It was only eight months.

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CCF

Hazen Robert Argue

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

Mr. Argue:

Eleven months of the fiscal year.

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LIB

Thomas Reid (Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of National Health and Welfare)

Liberal

Mr. Reid:

Yes, but that is a cute way to put it for the people in the backwoods, Mr. Speaker. All hon. members know that it is put out for the consumption of the men in the backwoods. It was eight months of the fiscal year. We were setting up a program.

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CCF

Major James William Coldwell

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

Mr. Coldwell:

Saskatchewan is not in the backwoods.

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LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. Gardiner:

Saskatchewan was under a good Liberal government for a long time.

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CCF

Major James William Coldwell

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

Mr. Coldwell:

We shall talk about that at some other time.

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LIB

Thomas Reid (Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of National Health and Welfare)

Liberal

Mr. Reid:

He is just a little wrong in his arithmetic, because on page 1136 of Hansard he said:

Up to February 28, 1949, the total amount made available and paid to the provinces for purposes of hospital construction was $1,194,693.15. A few days ago in the house the Minister of National Health and Welfare stated that approval of grants had been given for the construction of 6,401 hospital beds which, on the basis of the money so far made available to the provinces, is at the rate of $186 per approved hospital bed. At the time the statement was made last year as to the government's program, the house was told that $1,000 would be made available per hospital bed for the treatment of ordinary cases and $1,500 per hospital bed for the treatment of chronic and convalescent cases. Surely what has been done is far short of an adequate health program.

This is a gross misrepresentation of fact. The hon. member has divided money actually paid out by the number of hospital beds approved, instead of dividing the amount of construction approved by the number of beds approved, which would mean about $1,000 and not "$186 per approved hospital bed."

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CCF

Hazen Robert Argue

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

Mr. Argue:

How many beds?

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CCF

Major James William Coldwell

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

Mr. Coldwell:

That was not clear in the return.

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LIB

Thomas Reid (Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of National Health and Welfare)

Liberal

Mr. Reid:

These are facts, Mr. Speaker. A proverb in the country from which I come says, "Facts are chiels that winna ding".

The Address-Mr. Reid I think I have covered most of the statements made by the hon. member in his criticism of the dominion program of national health. I spoke of the $30 million program; He however chides the government for offering a $150 million program in 1945, and then he says that all we got was $30 million. I think every hon. member is aware-but again the man in the backwoods might not be aware of it-that there were two provinces which would not agree. The hon. member told us that in his speech. Having stated that, he keeps on saying that all we got was $30 million. I agree that, until we got the nine provinces to agree, the offer made in 1945 could not be carried out because health and education are two matters within the jurisdiction of the provinces.

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CCF

Hazen Robert Argue

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

Mr. Argue:

Offer separate agreements.

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LIB

Thomas Reid (Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of National Health and Welfare)

Liberal

Mr. Reid:

When the dominion government found itself up against the impossibility of reaching an agreement with all the provinces, should it have sat down and done nothing? Should it have said, "Well, we cannot do a thing about it until all the provinces agree"? No. The dominion government, realizing that it had an interest in national health, and that many municipalities were in need of assistance, made available $30 million. But they could not go to the provinces and tell them that they must do this and that, but they did the next best thing. The sum of $30 million was appropriated under certain definite agreements, of course. Every inducement has been offered to the provinces to take advantage of the $30 million; I can say without fear of successful contradiction that there has been an uplift already in the health services of the people of this country since the inauguration of the new health plan.

I think I have pretty well covered the remarks made by the hon. member, but I want to repeat, as he repeated in his statement, that it is a little unfortunate that he takes a left-handed crack at the province from which he comes, because that province is having some difficulties, as are some of the other provinces, in the matter of commitments, expenditures and finances. When he says that Saskatchewan has allocated to it the magnificent total of 1-1 per cent and that Quebec has received a great deal more,

I say that he has done his province a great injustice.

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CCF

Hazen Robert Argue

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

Mr. Argue:

Nonsense.

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LIB

Thomas Reid (Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of National Health and Welfare)

Liberal

Mr. Reid:

Yes, a great injustice.

I wish to deal with one or two other matters before I take my seat. This is my nineteenth session in the House of Commons. I have sat

under three Prime Ministers, two leaders of the Liberal party, and six leaders of the Progressive Conservative party. There is no doubt that the house has taken on a little more life this session; some say it is because it is a pre-election year. That may be so; but it has taken on some life because of the fact that we have two new leaders in the house. I am not going to criticize the many statements made by the leader of the opposition (Mr. Drew), except to say that he comes into the house at a little disadvantage when compared with the present Prime Minister, the new leader of the Liberal party.

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PC

Harry Rutherford Jackman

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Jackman:

We won't swap, though.

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LIB

Thomas Reid (Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of National Health and Welfare)

Liberal

Mr. Reid:

I wish the hon. member would read a little more scripture. There he would find that he that ruleth his spirit is better than he that taketh a city. Mind you, they must have had somewhat the same kinds of men back in those days. There is one thing I shall say about the new leader of the Liberal party. Whatever the new Prime Minister says in Quebec or in any other province, he will say exactly the same in British Columbia. I well remember, and so does every other hon. member from British Columbia-I think they will agree with me in this, if not openly, at least in their hearts-that as members of the Liberal party, at almost every election when the hon. member for Glengarry (Mr. Mackenzie King) was the leader and Prime Minister, we were told by electors, for example, "We think you are all right, Tom, we have nothing against you; but that leader of yours is always catering to the province of Quebec. And so I do not think we can very well vote for him." When we ask them now about the province of Quebec under the new leader of the Tory party they are silent out there. They will not tell you anything about-1 was almost going to say-the alliance with Duplessis. It comes very close to that. In the forthcoming election we shall not now be accused or have the same kind of misstatements that have been thrown at us previously.

I do not know whether it would be wise to say what I am about to say, but I see my hon. friend sitting across the way. We as Liberals in British Columbia would be a little more uneasy in our minds if the hon. gentleman from Saskatchewan had obtained the leadership. I think the hon. member for Nanaimo (Mr. Pearkes) was right in his address when he said that people clear across the country were crying, "We want John; we want John!"

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PC

George Randolph Pearkes

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Pearkes:

Mr. Speaker, on a question of privilege, I think the hon. member is trying to insinuate that the hon. member for

Lake Centre (Mr. Diefenbaker), and perhaps myself, were not loyal to the present leader of this party.

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March 4, 1949