May 1, 1953

LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. Martin:

I have such high esteem for my hon. friend that I can hardly credit that a man trained in our universities, as he is, and who now serves in our parliamentary system, does not yet know the limitations on the executive arm of government in this country, and under our constitution.

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PC

George Harris Hees

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Hees:

I think it is obvious, Mr. Chairman, why the Hon. Mackinnon Phillips knows nothing about what is in the minister's mind, because I am wondering if the minister does himself. Everyone in this parliament knows very well there are no limits to what this government can do, if it wishes. The Minister of Trade and Commerce has said, "If we want to get away with it, who will stop us?" And if this government can bring in an order in council, as it did a week ago, when parliament was sitting, in connection with the simple matter of sending ships to China, then of course it can bring in a measure of health insurance after parliament closes and before the date of the next election. It can do it in exactly the same way it brought in a wide measure of tax reduction only a few days before the 1945 election.

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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. Martin:

Come to my room after this sitting, and I will take you into my confidence.

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PC

George Harris Hees

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Hees:

No, I want to know now. Either the minister does intend or he does not intend to bring in a measure of health insurance after the session ends, and as an election measure. And as the minister does not deny it, we must conclude he is going to do just that. The Minister of Trade and Commerce, sitting over there, simply smiled when reference was made to the fact that we must believe in Santa Claus, implying that the government believes in Santa Claus, and that they intend to bring in health insurance before the election date so as to lure votes into the ballot boxes, as they have done in the past.

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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. Martin:

May I ask my hon. friend a question?

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PC
LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. Martin:

Does my hon. friend really say he does not believe in Santa Claus?

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PC

George Harris Hees

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Hees:

Of course I believe in Santa Claus. And, as the minister knows, I have been urging this government for the last two or three years to do something about health insurance; I have been urging him, and urging him, and urging him. Now, I take it, the government does intend-the minister does not deny it-to hold out another evergreen election lure in the form of health insurance, at the time of the next election. If the minister does not deny it we can only assume that that is the government's intention. There is nothing to stop them if they want to do it, and they certainly can do it by order in council. They have done this sort of thing over and over again.

So I take it we are going to have national health insurance introduced by this government by order in council between now and the election date. And, now that we know that, we can understand clearly why the minister has not called together a conference of provincial ministers. He does not want his plan to be known ahead of time; he does not want it to be interfered with. All he wants is to state: This is the plan; this is what we are going to do for you electors. Now go to the polls and vote for us again, and we will promise to bring it in after the next election.

But they have been doing that for 34 years and of course it does not mean any more today than it did in the past, so I am sure the public will not take it too seriously. It is nice to know anyway, at long last, what the government does intend to do about health insurance.

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LIB

Daniel Aloysius Riley

Liberal

Mr. Riley:

Mr. Chairman, I do not know if the minister will be able to pay much attention to me after having been elevated to the heights of confusion by the previous speaker. The hon. member has spoken tonight with as much authority on health insurance and social welfare as he spoke on housing in Saint John a few days ago. I should like to bring to the attention of the minister a problem in connection with civil defence affecting my own particular area.

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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. Martin:

Could not the hon. member find it more convenient to deal with that when we come to the particular item?

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LIB

Daniel Aloysius Riley

Liberal

Mr. Riley:

It may be that I shall have to be elsewhere as these items continue, and I should like to speak for a few minutes this evening. For some time now Saint John has been extremely interested in civil defence, because our city and the surrounding area are considered to be a prime bombing target

in the event of hostilities. A considerable amount of money has been spent to date by the municipality in order to co-operate with the Department of National Health and Welfare in providing proper facilities for the defence of the area and to take care of emergencies should they develop.

The city has already spent something like $10,000 in this regard. I might say here that the city of Saint John and Saint John county are most grateful for the generous co-operation of the minister through his officers in that particular section of his department, for the training of instructors in civil defence as well as aid by way of equipment. To date this has been worth approximately $18,000.

I understand that the department through the director of civil defence has made an offer to the province of New Brunswick whereby that province could obtain more money from the federal department by putting up a like amount. Up to date the province of New Brunswick has not agreed to accept that very generous offer on the part of the department and thus be able to implement a sound system of civil defence in those areas of the province where it is considered vital that we should have such a system.

I understand that two alternative offers were made. One was that the province could put up dollar for dollar with the department, and the other was that a municipality could put up one-third, the province one-third and the federal government the remaining one-third. Up to date the city of Saint John has not been able to enter into this arrangement because the provincial government has not agreed to put up the $46,000, I believe it is- I may be slightly off, but it would be only a matter of a few dollars-either by matching the federal government dollar by dollar or by agreeing to put up one-third, so that the city and county of Saint John can put up the other one-third and thus be able to derive further benefits from the national civil defence program.

Many of the citizens of Saint John are extremely concerned about this. I am going to ask the minister if he cannot deviate from the hard and fast policy. Even though the province of New Brunswick will not agree to put up the money to enable us to get more support from his department for civil defence in our area, perhaps some arrangement could be made whereby the city of Saint John could match an amount to be put up by the department and thus carry on our civil defence program.

There are many hundreds of people who are prepared to go forward with this program on a voluntary basis. There is the Red Cross

Supply-Health and Welfare and the St. John Ambulance; and we have 25 instructors who have been trained in civil defence here in Ottawa at the cost of a good many thousands of dollars. We do not want this program to collapse; therefore I am asking the minister if some other means cannot be devised whereby our municipality can come in under this program without the assistance of the province.

I thank the minister for being so tolerant as to allow me to speak perhaps somewhat irregularly.

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SC

Solon Earl Low

Social Credit

Mr. Low:

My conscience would not rest over the week end if I did not have a chance to say some of the nice things I have in mind about the Minister of National Health and Welfare. I am sure he would like to have me say those things, but under the circumstances perhaps he will not mind my putting them over until Monday morning when I can do it at greater length than I could tonight, the hands of the clock being in their present position.

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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. Martin:

May I say to my hon. friend that if he is going to say some nice things about me I am so impatient that I do not think I can wait.

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PC

REPORTS OF COMMITTEES

BANKING AND COMMERCE


Ninth report of standing committee on banking and commerce.-Mr. Cleaver. Seventh report of standing committee on miscellaneous private bills.-Mr. Winkler.


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):

On Monday we will consider the following legislation: Amendments made by the Senate to Bill No. 228, to amend the Income Tax Act and to Bill No. 338, respecting co-operative credit associations; Bill No. 340, to amend the Canadian Broadcasting Act, 1936; Bill No. 341, to implement a convention between Canada and the United States for the preservation of the halibut fishery; Bill No. 316, relating to trade marks and unfair competition; the resolution of the Minister of Labour concerning amendments to the Unemployment Insurance Act, 1940; then Bill No. 100, an act to prevent discrimination in regard to employment and membership in trade unions by reason of race, national origin, colour or religion. We will then move to go into supply and consider the

Supply-Agriculture

estimates of health and welfare, defence production, external affairs, and mines and technical surveys.

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At ten o'clock the house adjourned, without question put, pursuant to standing order. [The following items were passed in committee of supply]:


May 1, 1953