March 19, 1952

CCF

Major James William Coldwell

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

Mr. Coldwell:

For a copy of the agreement or agreements between the government and the Douglas Aircraft Company for the use of patent rights to the Douglas C54 and Douglas C47 aircraft in connection with the production of the North Star aircraft.

Motions for Papers

Topic:   DOUGLAS AIRCRAFT COMPANY
Subtopic:   PRODUCTION OF NORTH STAR AIRCRAFT
Permalink

TRANS-CANADA HIGHWAY

PC

Edmund Davie Fulton

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Fulton:

For a copy of the agreement between the dominion government and the provincial government of British Columbia covering the construction of the British Columbia portion of the trans-Canada highway under the Trans-Canada Highway Act.

Topic:   TRANS-CANADA HIGHWAY
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LIB

Louis Stephen St-Laurent (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Mr. St. Laurent:

This will be subject to the usual reservation that the consent of the provincial government of British Columbia will be obtained.

Topic:   TRANS-CANADA HIGHWAY
Permalink

Motion agreed to.


PC

Edmund Davie Fulton

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Fulton:

For a copy of all correspondence, memoranda and telegrams exchanged between the dominion government and/or the minister and/or Department of Resources and Development or any other government department or minister and the government of the province of British Columbia or any minister or department thereof, concerning the trans-Canada highway agreement, including negotiations regarding reimbursement of the provincial government for construction carried on thereunder and for capital construction already in existence and regarding the removal of tolls.

Topic:   TRANS-CANADA HIGHWAY
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LIB

Louis Stephen St-Laurent (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Mr. St. Laurent:

Subject to the same reservation.

Topic:   TRANS-CANADA HIGHWAY
Permalink

Motion agreed to.


EDUCATION

EQUALIZING OF OPPORTUNITY

CCF

Robert Ross (Roy) Knight

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

Mr. R. R. Knight (Saskatoon) moved:

That, in the opinion of this house, the government should take into consideration means of expanding and equalizing educational opportunity across Canada, by the granting of financial assistance to the various provinces for that purpose.

He said: Mr. Speaker, my first proposition is that this resolution is not intended by any means to be a political resolution. The principle of federal aid for education has its adherents in every party and in every corner of this house. A favourable vote for this resolution could not be considered in any way as being a vote of want of confidence in this government. May I say that I move the resolution because I think it will be for the benefit of the Canadian people, in the interests of Canadian national unity, and particularly for the benefit of Canadian children.

According to the British North America Act, education is under provincial jurisdiction. Its subject matter, its method and the curricula are all within the jurisdiction of the provinces. With that I have no quarrel. But the quality of the product of these provincial schools, the young men and women whom they are turning out, is, to my mind, a matter of national importance and of concern to the whole Canadian nation.

Thousands of young men educated in Saskatchewan, Nova Scotia or any of the

Education

other provinces are scattered throughout this country and are making their contribution to the building of Canada into a great nation. There are men and women of all walks of life and all professions-scientists, educationists, engineers, economists, and the rest. You find them, too, as Canadian representatives in many other countries. There they are not classified as the product of any provincial system of education, but under the broad and proud insignia of the maple leaf.

The principle behind the resolution is that all children in Canada should enjoy equality of opportunity of education irrespective of their geographical position, of the country of origin of their parents, or of their economic status. That should be denied to no child in Canada, irrespective of where he may live and irrespective of his origin. Why has that objective not been achieved up to the present? Well, it is largely a matter of the funds available, or not available, I should say, to the provinces. The enlightened members of this house are well aware of the differences among the provinces in the funds which are available, and the reasons for that inequality.

This is a far-flung country, Mr. Speaker. Providence has not scattered her gifts across it with an even hand. Great wealth-producing natural resources are in the possession of some provinces and have been denied to others. Industrialization has been developed intensely in certain of the provinces, and practically none has taken place in others. Then we have had tariffs; we have had freight rates; we have had the centralization of the payment of corporation profits. These things have tended to keep some provinces poor in relation to others.

The hope that some of us entertained that some of these inequalities would be eliminated at the various dominion-provincial conferences has not been justified. Had it been justified, there might have been less need for this resolution.

The resolution, sir, is not a new one. I have introduced it in this house on three different occasions. Why has it not succeeded? Why have we not translated into legislation the principle involved? Dare I say, sir, the fact that we have not done so is a sign of our national immaturity, a sign that there is still in some degree a lack of that national unity to which we all would look forward?

There are still those who think that federal aid to education would somehow or other

imply federal control, that those who favour the resolution have some sinister desire to interfere with minority rights in the matter of education, or even in matters of language or religion. Thus it is that those who are sincerely in opposition to this resolution-and I give them credit for their sincerity-and indeed this government, which I cannot believe is sincerely opposed, but which fears to adopt it as a matter of practical politics, always fall back upon the excuse of provincial autonomy.

May I say here once more, sir, categorically, that there is no desire on the part of anyone I know, least of all on my own part, to interfere with the administration, the method or the curriculum of education within any of the provinces. The object is to ensure that each province shall have sufficient funds to carry on the system of education which the people of that province themselves favour.

A great man has said that this century belongs to Canada. Industrial development is unparalleled. A great new age for Canada is opening up. Well, I suggest that we should get ready for that new age by having our young people ready to meet it. Can we afford it, you ask. Well, look at our liquor bills and our tobacco bills. Look at the huge surplus that we have built up. Look at the investments in development that are pouring into the country, in British Columbia particularly and in other provinces as well. We are becoming one of the wealthy nations of the world, with one of the highest standards of living in the world. Can we afford to develop our human resources? I ask you, sir, can we afford not to develop them?

I have said that in Canada there exists great inequality of opportunity in education for children, and this might be estimated on a provincial basis, or at least on a geographical basis, I suppose. It is only fair, sir, that I should document that particular assertion; therefore I would ask permission of the house to put on the record a table which I have prepared from figures furnished by the dominion bureau of statistics, and on which, in order that it may be clear to my immediate listeners, I shall make some comment here. If I have the permission of the house, sir, I shall do that.

Topic:   EDUCATION
Subtopic:   EQUALIZING OF OPPORTUNITY
Sub-subtopic:   ASSISTANCE TO PROVINCES
Permalink
LIB

Elie Beauregard (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. Speaker:

Has the hon. gentleman leave to have the table included in Hansard?

Topic:   EDUCATION
Subtopic:   EQUALIZING OF OPPORTUNITY
Sub-subtopic:   ASSISTANCE TO PROVINCES
Permalink
?

Some hon. Members:

Agreed.

Education

Topic:   EDUCATION
Subtopic:   EQUALIZING OF OPPORTUNITY
Sub-subtopic:   ASSISTANCE TO PROVINCES
Permalink
CCF

Robert Ross (Roy) Knight

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

Mr. Knighi:

The table follows:

Expenditure per pupil on Expenditures on public, elementary and secondary education Median salariesProvince elementary and secondary education per pupil on average daily attendance basis per capita of population of teachers in all schools 1948 1949 1949 1949 1950$ c. $ $ $ $83-66 83 13 1048 1083100-06 114 19 1520 101-32 128 20 1258 1341172-41 161 23 1974 2109157-27 160 22 1593 1689172-53 174 27 1514 1580211-73 201 32 2163 2279221-28 244 30 2502 2668(!) 120 19 C) C)C) 77 13 976 966

(*) No figures available.

These figures were obtained from Dominion Bureau of Statistics Daily Bulletin, Vol. XXI, No. 42, of February 20, 1952 and D.B.S. Bulletin on Teachers Salaries and Qualifications in Eight Provinces, 1948.

In making a comment or two upon this table I should like first of all to mention what certain provinces spend on education of an individual child as compared with certain other provinces. I find from this table that the expenditure on public, elementary and secondary education per pupil on an average daily attendance basis is as follows: British Columbia in the year 1949

spent $244; Alberta spent $201, and Saskatchewan $174. These are the three highest, as compared with the three lowest: Newfoundland, $77; Prince Edward Island, $83, and Nova Scotia, $114.

As to the individual contributions of the populations of the provinces toward the education of their children, I take the figures under the heading "Public, elementary and secondary education per capita of population" and I find for 1949 that each inhabitant of British Columbia contributed $30 toward education. Alberta takes the lead in this regard with $32, and Saskatchewan comes

next with $27, as compared with the three lowest: Quebec, $19; Newfoundland, $13, and Prince Edward Island, $13.

As to how the provinces treat their teachers-and perhaps this has some measure of relevancy to this whole discussion-in the matter of salaries, here are the median salaries from the table which I have just put on the record. Median salaries in all schools for 1950 were $2,668 in British Columbia; $2,279 in Alberta, and $2,109 in Ontario, as compared with the three lowest: $1,341 in New Brunswick, $1,083 in Prince Edward Island, and $966 in Newfoundland. If my hon. friends will read that table in full I think they will agree that it tells the story of inequality of educational opportunity across Canada.

Then of course there are the differences within the provinces themselves. There are the differences between rural and urban schools in such matters as buildings, equipment, the efficiency of teachers, and the like. In my own province of Saskatchewan we

Education

have a program designed to bring, about at least some degree of equalization as between those types of schools. I am sure other provinces have a similar aim and are moving in that direction. Some of the provinces may be said to be making notable efforts in the education of their children; but with all the will in the world they are limited by their limited resources.

The demand by the people for the education of their children can no longer be met by the local authorities, or, in fact, by the provinces themselves. Surely the federal government has some responsibility in meeting this situation. Let us consider one or two respects in which I think this government has a responsibility.

Immigration to Canada has brought to our schools a great influx of foreign-born children as well as adults. In many districts defence and industrial projects are going forward. We have army camps, air training establishments and all the rest of it, and they are all contributing their quota of children. The families of these service personnel are swarming into the local schools, which lack the necessary buildings, equipment and teachers to carry on their educational work.

At present, of course, the basis of taxation in the municipalities is upon real property. A broadening of that basis is one of the first necessities, bu,t the municipalities are without power to do anything in that direction. Most of the municipalities are at the end of their resources. They have turned to the provinces, whose administrators have replied that they are in exactly the same position.

Let us look at the state of education in this country as a result of all these developments. It is not my purpose here to deal with the efficiency, or lack of it, in the educational methods followed by the provinces. That is strictly the business of the provinces concerned. I would rather point up here the inadequacy of the system under which we operate to finance properly our schools, because the problem with which we are dealing here today is almost entirely financial. The recent trouble in Nova Scotia, where they had a strike of teachers, would indicate that all is not well in the maritime provinces. I have here a Canadian Press dispatch which I think speaks for itself. It is entitled "Serious Problems to Face," and is dated Ottawa, March 3. It reads:

Canadian education week, sponsored by an army of some 3,000,000 citizens, started Sunday amid mounting indications of growing deficiencies in this country's educational system.

Some of the problems are these:

1. A disturbing shortage of teachers, expected to climb to 25,000 by 1955.

2. Overcrowded class rooms and lack of schools. By 1955, another 1,000 schools will be needed to keep pace with registrations. There is serious doubt whether Canada will have them.

3. An alarming number of drop-outs in school attendance. The bureau of statistics estimates that fifty-five per cent of Canada's population has no more than an elementary or public school education.

School enrolments-with the exception of Quebec, for which no figures are available-are expected to jump to 2,027,900 from 1,770,200 this year.

Then listen to this:

But there still will be many children leaving school too soon. In Quebec, the percentage of population with less than eight years schooling has reached 62-5, the highest of any province. In other provinces the percentage runs from a low 35-4 in British Columbia to a high of 58 in New Brunswick.

That shows a picture which is not pleasant to contemplate. I believe the estimated shortage of 25,000 teachers for 1955 is probably low, because it was based upon last year's figures, and we find that the figures this year are even worse. Those were the figures, of course, of normal school trainees, where teachers receive their training. We have to face the fact that large numbers of people teaching at present are not fully qualified to do so, and that our best students are not finding any inducement to enter the teaching profession. If you will just scan the salary figures in the table I have put on record you will discover one of the principal reasons.

Perhaps I had better develop a little more fully the falling off in the number of normal school trainees. As I said, it is even worse this year than last year. The writer of that press dispatch predicted a shortage of 25,000 teachers in 1955. All the provinces report a drop in enrolments this year, and I am going to put the figures on record. The decreases as compared with last year are as follows:

Percentage

Province drop

British Columbia 20

Alberta 15

Saskatchewan 22

Manitoba 15

Ontario 10

Quebec (Protestant schools) 12

New Brunswick 20

Prince Edward Island 37

Newfoundland 13

I have not the figures for Nova Scotia for this year, but I imagine we may assume there is a drop there as well. That points to a rather serious condition, Mr. Speaker, for which I confess I have no remedy except the one I am advocating today. Assuming a continuance of the present trend I warn the Canadian people that three years from now a substantial proportion of their children will

have either no teachers at all or teachers not properly qualified. That is a condition none of us want, and some of us at least think we have a remedy.

Now we come to the argument as to federal aid being unconstitutional. Of course that argument has been brought forward time and time again; it is nothing new in this house. I remember that a year or two ago the Minister of National Health and Welfare (Mr. Martin) made that his main argument when the government decided to turn thumbs down on a similar resolution. It is argued that federal aid to a province earmarked for a particular purpose is unconstitutional. As a matter of fact the minister based his argument on three words in the resolution; he objected to the phrase "for that purpose". Then are grants to the provinces which have been earmarked for old age pensions or the building of hospitals unconstitutional?

But we do not need to mention those things, because we have many examples of federal grants in aid to education itself. The federal government is already committed to tremendous expenditures by way of aid to education. I estimated the amount of the commitment last year as $35 million, and probably that is too low. This amount was spent either in the form of direct expenditures or in the form of grants to the provinces for the purpose of education. I have jotted down a few of the undertakings, but I have not half of them. My list is as follows:

Direct education of Indians; veterans educational training, both vocational and at universities; the Royal Military College and the Canadian Naval College. I suppose one would classify those as direct expenditures. Then, we have the indirect ones as follows: Vocational school assistance, youth training, educational health grants, aid to schools of social work, technical school grants, and national research.

Anyone who says, in the face of this list, that federal aid to education is unconstitutional, is simply talking double-talk. If the thing for which I am pleading is unconstitutional, then by the same token those things must be unconstitutional. I am happy to say that last year the government took a progressive step when it included in the estimates an amount of $7,100,000 for federal aid to universities. I presume that was unconstitutional, too, but we had the good sense to do it.

Then we have another grant foreshadowed- I do not know how large-and that is a grant for a national system of scholarships.

Education

Those are my main arguments. I warn this government that while I said this was not a political resolution, and no politics should enter into it, it may become a political matter. I should like to warn this government, in terms that it understands, that in the past five years a tremendous demand for federal aid to education has been created. I could talk for hours on this subject. I could write a book; in fact I could fill a dozen books with quotations from educationists and those interested in education in this country who favour this idea. I could tell you about those who, on a national basis, have subscribed to this resolution-the Canadian school trustees association, the Canadian Legion, University Women's club, I.O.D.E., chambers of commerce, and dozens of others. Then, perhaps not on a national scale, hundreds of other resolutions have been sent into this government from agricultural organizations and co-operative societies. I forgot to mention the labour organizations who have been demanding this aid for years.

I warn the government that so far as we in western Canada are concerned, ninety per cent of the people who are represented by the Liberal members from Saskatchewan are in favour of federal aid to education. Up to the moment I have not heard much support for that cause from those particular backbenchers.

When I was talking about the number of federal grants in aid of education to which the dominion government has already committed itself, I asked whether those grants were unconstitutional. Did the fact that they might have been unconstitutional prevent this government from granting them when the urgent necessity arose? My argument today is that there is an urgent necessity for federal aid to our elementary and secondary schools. With all due respect, I should like to ask whether any of the provinces protested the acceptance of those grants, or, if protesting on the one hand, did they not reach out with the other for the money? Can anyone say that the acceptance of those grants interfered in any way with provincial jurisdiction over education, or that they implied any control that lessened provincial autonomy in that field? Can any hon. member argue that the grants so far contributed to education by the federal government have in any way lessened the control of the people of any province over their own system of education? It would indeed be strange that a province should have any constitutional qualms, if I may call it that, about receiving a couple of million dollars of federal money to assist young people over fifteen years of age in getting

Education

an education where half of their time is spent in the shops, but would consider it unconstitutional to accept a like grant providing people of the same age with an education which happened to be purely academic. There is no logic in such a situation, and there is no logic in the continued refusal of this government to give those grants in aid of education.

I have put forth certain conclusions. First, I have set forth as my premise the democratic principle that every child in Canada should have, as of right, an equal opportunity of education with every other child. Second, I have shown that the educational system in Canada is riddled with inequality, and that the cause of such inequality is largely financial. Third, I have shown that the municipalities in certain of the provinces, and those provinces themselves, are unable to cope with the expenditures needed to bring about such equality. Finally, asserting that such equality of opportunity is a subject of national concern, I urge that the dominion government, the only body with the necessary financial resources, should proceed forthwith to inaugurate a system of federal aid to education in Canada.

Topic:   EDUCATION
Subtopic:   EQUALIZING OF OPPORTUNITY
Sub-subtopic:   ASSISTANCE TO PROVINCES
Permalink
LIB

Jean-François Pouliot

Liberal

Mr. Jean Frangois Pouliol (Temiscouata):

Mr. Speaker, I always enjoy listening to the hon. member for Saskatoon (Mr. Knight), who is so well informed' whenever he addresses the house. But this is not such an easy matter as he contends it is. The Minister of Justice (Mr. Garson) and representatives of the provinces have met together to discuss the constitution of this country. To a certain extent their discussions have been successful, but they have not agreed on everything, in spite of the good disposition shown by this government and by the provincial governments. I believe all those concerned are in complete agreement on this subject, and it seems to be premature to discuss a resolution of the kind that is before us now.

In virtue of the constitution-and I do not intend to read the text of the provisions that concern education-the federal government is empowered to do certain things exclusively; the parliament of Canada is empowered to do certain things exclusively. On the other hand, the provincial legislatures have the counterpart of that right; they have the right to do other things exclusively. I have never understood how and why there could be, between the parliament of Canada and the provincial legislatures, an agreement to bypass the constitution and to come to certain understandings which are not in accord with the constitution itself. I hope that I am clear enough to be understood. That is the

crux of the discussions that have been entered upon between the government of Canada and the representatives of these provincial governments.

If a boy or a girl is too lazy to study, no grant from the government of Canada will change his or her mind. In the first place, with regard to education, there must be on the part of every student the determination and the will to learn something. In the second place there must be on the part of the teacher the ability to make something understood by the student. The thing works both ways.

Topic:   EDUCATION
Subtopic:   EQUALIZING OF OPPORTUNITY
Sub-subtopic:   ASSISTANCE TO PROVINCES
Permalink
CCF

Joseph William Noseworthy

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

Mr. Noseworthy:

The teachers would do better if they were paid higher salaries.

Topic:   EDUCATION
Subtopic:   EQUALIZING OF OPPORTUNITY
Sub-subtopic:   ASSISTANCE TO PROVINCES
Permalink
LIB

Jean-François Pouliot

Liberal

Mr. Pouliot:

My hon. friend is one of the distinguished members of this house, but I never had the honour to be one of his pupils.

Topic:   EDUCATION
Subtopic:   EQUALIZING OF OPPORTUNITY
Sub-subtopic:   ASSISTANCE TO PROVINCES
Permalink
?

An hon. Member:

That is your loss.

Topic:   EDUCATION
Subtopic:   EQUALIZING OF OPPORTUNITY
Sub-subtopic:   ASSISTANCE TO PROVINCES
Permalink
LIB

Jean-François Pouliot

Liberal

Mr. Pouliot:

It may be unfortunate. I will not discuss the matter, but I have a right to speak. If our views differ, it is too bad; but I have the right to express mine. I may disagree with any hon. member in this house, but my convictions are just as sincere as are those which may be expressed by anyone else.

The question is this, Mr. Speaker. The provinces have exclusively certain rights that they should be proud to enjoy. Each province is like a kingdom by itself in certain matters. In others they have no right at all. What I admire about the constitution is that the same thing applies with regard to Ottawa. Ottawa has some powers that are exclusive, but it cannot go beyond the constitution. In matters that are not under the jurisdiction of parliament, by virtue of the constitution, Ottawa has not the right possessed by any province, small or large.

There is one thing that the hon. member for Saskatoon has not mentioned, and it is a vital matter; it is the basis of the discussion. The provinces are supreme in educational matters. Can they or can they not respectively fulfil their obligations to the citizens? Do they have sufficient revenue for that purpose? The last edition of the Canada Year Book that I have before me is that of 1950. It is not complete with regard to the revenue of the provinces of Canada, but it gives us an idea of the trend that has existed with regard to the increase of the revenue of the provinces. My hon. friends will admit that at the present time their province of Saskatchewan, as well as my province of Quebec, gets more revenue from taxation than it did a few years ago. It is therefore easier for them now to give larger subsidies to education than it was possible for them to give some years ago.

Topic:   EDUCATION
Subtopic:   EQUALIZING OF OPPORTUNITY
Sub-subtopic:   ASSISTANCE TO PROVINCES
Permalink
SC

Frederick Davis Shaw

Social Credit

Mr. Shaw:

But it goes only half as far as it did ten years ago.

Topic:   EDUCATION
Subtopic:   EQUALIZING OF OPPORTUNITY
Sub-subtopic:   ASSISTANCE TO PROVINCES
Permalink

March 19, 1952