May 25, 1951

SC

Solon Earl Low

Social Credit

Mr. Low:

I thank the minister, and I appreciate this statement. But I still find myself thinking that perhaps some country in the world-and it might as well be the Canadian government as any other-will take the lead, and will not wait to find out what the United States has done or what Great Britain has done.

What do we care about comparisons? Let us look at the situation as if we were facing the real problem tomorrow. Let these other countries fiddle along, if that is what they want to do. I do not believe in that procedure, at all. I do agree with the minister however that there is no sense in appropriating and spending more money than is absolutely necessary for civil defence. But let us be sure that we spend as much as we should spend at this time, so that our people will be prepared.

Supply-National Defence

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LIB
SC

Solon Earl Low

Social Credit

Mr. Low:

That is all I am concerned about. There is one practical aspect of the matter with which I should like to deal briefly- because I believe most other factors have been discussed fully. This practical aspect concerns the leadership that can be exercised by the government and by members of the House of Commons generally.

I was interested the other day in a statement emanating from Dr. William T. Salter of Yale university, who said:

The best protection against atom bomb attacks would be for everyone to pack blood plasma and bandages into a suitcase and go to live in the country.

Well, that is all very well for those who have a bag, in the first place, and who in the second place can afford blood plasma and bandages, and a place to live in the country.

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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. Martin:

That would be the worst thing to do, in any event.

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SC

Solon Earl Low

Social Credit

Mr. Low:

I did not find myself in too much agreement with that part of the statement. He did make a further statement however which, to my mind, is of importance, when he said:

We should follow a program of decentralization and of converting all our households into small granaries and medical units.

With that I thoroughly agree-and there are good reasons why. If we are wise we will counsel every Canadian family to make small granaries and medical units of their household. That is a practical thing that the people could do for themselves, if they were given just a little leadership and were offered a few suggestions. Some people, acting upon advice received from wise leaders, during the course of the last year or two, and at great pains, have accumulated a year's supply of certain foodstuffs which, today, they are constantly using and replacing. As I said, this was done painfully and at great sacrifice. They are using and replacing this supply today with newer material. An examination of what they have laid in will show that the permanent core of this store is a bushel or two of wheat in some sort of airtight metal container. That constitutes the small granary.

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PC
SC

Solon Earl Low

Social Credit

Mr. Low:

And perhaps a small flour mill, like one I now have. It is a well known fact that, with wheat and water-just those two things-human beings can survive almost indefinitely.

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PC
SC

Solon Earl Low

Social Credit

Mr. Low:

Yes, or even a small coffee grinder. With a little wheat and water a human being can exist in fair health for an

indefinite length of time. It seems to me the domestic store should contain not only the wheat in an airtight metal container, but water in stone or glass containers which would always be kept filled with fresh and clean water.

We all know one of the greatest dangers to any city in a time of air attack or bombing would be the contamination of the water supply. Under these circumstances it seems to me that one of the most practical things the minister and his staff could do would be to make the people of Canada in their homes, from one end of the country to the other, conscious of the necessity of doing something for themselves. And one of the best things they could do would be to set up in their own homes small granaries and medical units.

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PC

Heber Harold Hatfield

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Hatfield:

There has been considerable talk about hose couplings. Does the minister mean hose couplings or hydrant couplings? Surely he does not mean hose couplings?

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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. Martin:

Yes, we mean hose couplings.

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PC

Heber Harold Hatfield

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Hatfield:

But you do not need hose couplings unless you have hose. In Canada we do not have uniform hydrants in our different cities. What we need is couplings to fit the hydrants. I suggest we do not need hose couplings unless we have hose, but I am pointing out that we require different couplings for different types of hydrants. In one town or city we will find hydrants with threads differing from those in other towns and cities. Then, throughout the country, we find Old hydrants with couplings of different sizes. What we need is hydrant couplings, not hose couplings at all.

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?

Murdo William Martin

Mr. Marlin:

I will have my hon. friend's observations brought to the attention of all the provincial governments, who have asked for hose couplings.

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Mr. C. E. Johnsion@Bow River

It would seem that in the last while the minister has been getting into some difficulty and has been subjected to a good deal of criticism.

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Murdo William Martin

Mr. Marlin:

I thrive on it.

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Mr. C. E. Johnsion@Bow River

In this instance criticism is good, because there is no subject of greater importance than that of civil defence. Nothing could cause greater havoc in this country, nothing could bring about greater disruption in every sense than a poorly-organized civil defence.

In my view however the measure of success or failure in this respect must be the progress being made, and progress that we can see. While I listened to the debate I was wondering what actual and visual preparation is being made in, let us say, the city of Calgary. In the event of attack where would the people

of that city go and what would they do to seek assistance? It is not enough to say that we are preparing this or that, and that sooner or later we will have it done. The people should be aware of it now.

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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. Martin:

If that is a direct question I would answer from a report from the government of Alberta.

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SC
LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. Martin:

The government of Alberta advises us that a number of cities such as Edmonton, Calgary, Lethbridge and Medicine Hat are in an advanced stage in training- and then there is other information which, obviously, is quite secret. However, I would be prepared to show it to the hon. member privately. We are advised by the government of Alberta that civil defence directors have been appointed in these cities, and that the planning there has reached an advanced stage.

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SC

Charles Edward Johnston

Social Credit

Mr. Johnston:

I am glad some cities in the country are making progress. Again, Alberta is taking the lead-with the assistance of the minister, of course. They are advising him, and perhaps helping people in the more backward cities of Canada to use that knowledge.

I have listened carefully to the discussion, but I have not heard reference made to the progress in connection with communications and transportation. We can talk all we like about preparations for civil defence, but without proper co-ordination between air, rail and highway transportation systems, we would be at a loss. No greater confusion could come about in the case of air attack than that which would be caused by lack of proper co-ordination between our transportation systems.

This was brought out clearly not so long ago when the railroad employees were out on strike. We saw then what might have happened without highway transportation. We would have been in a very bad position. In order to add to the effectiveness of the statement I have made I should like to quote from an article which appeared in "Bus and Truck Transport" magazine and which refers to statements that had been made by General Worthington, the civil defence co-ordinator. I think this article is so applicable that I should take the time of the committee to read it. This article appears on page 35 of the May issue and is entitled, "Ottawa forms defence transportation committee." A paragraph entitled, "Tremendous Problem" reads as follows:

Civil defence faces a "tremendous problem of transportation," General Worthington told the committee at its first meeting. The success or failure of civil defence in Canada could hinge on communications and transportation, he said.

Supply-National Defence A major function of transport would be the supply of aid to a devastated area from nearby communities. As well, it might be necessary to organize evacuation and to move great numbers of people over great distances. The wide separation of Canadian cities presented a problem not encountered in Europe, nor, to so great an extent, in the United States.

Where an area was chosen as a reception centre it was estimated that the number of people who could be taken in from other cities was 50 per cent of the area's normal population. That alone would be an immense problem and, for such emergencies, there must be an over-all co-ordinated plan.

"In the case of railways we must know where their rolling stock is and how best we can use it," General Worthington said. "In addition we have to face the fact that we may lose some parts of the railway system through enemy action and, in those cases, road transport must be ready to step in.

Air transport will be needed to bring in the most vital commodities to an attacked area-most likely medical supplies and medical personnel. This would be done by the heavier aircraft; lighter aircraft would be employed in air reconnaissance for fire fighting and, perhaps, highway traffic control." Turning to the role of road transport, General Worthington said two main needs were to arrange adequate fuel supplies and traffic control. "Police control inside the cities will probably not be too bad," he told the defence committee. "There will be civil defence traffic routes, and only authorized vehicles will be allowed to use them. But we will have to anticipate traffic jams on the open roads, away from target areas, because we feel that as soon as an attack begins, many people will jump into their private cars and the highways may become blocked. One job of this committee is to figure out how highway traffic can be controlled and kept moving."

Apparently a government-sponsored civil defence transportation committee was set up early last month in this city. It has held its initial meeting but I understand that it will not meet again until the latter part of July.

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May 25, 1951