May 8, 1953

PC

Douglas Scott Harkness

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Harkness:

What does the minister mean?

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?

Murdo William Martin

Mr. Marlin:

Any service that is open through the public health unit of any community towards which we contribute. If one of these Indians was a real tuberculosis case we would care for him the same as we do for any other Indian in the country, unless we are satisfied beyond doubt that the Indian can pay for the services; and that is a fair policy toward the Indians and toward the white people of our country.

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PC

Douglas Scott Harkness

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Harkness:

I must say that the minister is evading the question, because these Indians are not being treated in the same way as the rest of the Indians of the country. They are required to pay their medical expenses, in respect of these things which all white people get free, except for one expenditure, the cost of the doctor, and of course the sending of contagious diseases to hospitals. Other Indians throughout the country are not required to pay that. It is quite apparent that these people are not being treated in the same way as the rest of the Indians. And, as I say, owing to the fact that their revenues have not increased in proportion to the increased cost of hospitalization, they are now in the position of having to carry an undue burden.

As the minister said, these Indians built this hospital at a time when the general health care of the Indians across the country was deplorable. The only way in which they could get any health treatment was to build their own hospital. That is why they built it. Because they took that initiative is no reason they should be saddled with this cost. Their ability to meet the cost is not as great as it was. Because they did show some initiative in that regard they should

not be saddled with this cost which other Indians throughout the country are not required to pay.

As I said, the time is long past when the minister, instead of temporizing about this matter and allowing it to drift along-that is what has happened; the thing has just drifted along-should take some definite action, and these people should be dealt with in a more equitable manner.

The minister made reference to a matter to which I have referred in the last eight years, namely the tuberculosis rate among Indians, and the progress made in connection with its treatment. I am glad to see that the total rate has dropped from 268 last year to 253 this year. Would the minister tell us the death rate among the white population?

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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. Martin:

In 1948 the white death rate was 32-4; in 1949, 26-7; in 1950, 22-0; in 1951, 20-7 and in 1952 it was 18.

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PC

Douglas Scott Harkness

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Harkness:

These figures show that the Indian death rate is ten or fifteen times as great as the rate among the white population, so far as deaths from tuberculosis are concerned. This indicates that a great amount of work is still required.

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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. Martin:

But I am sure my hon. friend will admit that what has been done is remarkable.

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PC

Douglas Scott Harkness

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Harkness:

I think the department is perhaps doing the best it can, so far as dealing with this matter is concerned. Could the minister tell us whether by this time the X-ray examinations for tuberculosis have been completed? There was a lengthy discussion last year, and my recollection is that the minister said at that time that within a year the X-ray examinations would be completed for all Indians, with the exception of a few in remote areas.

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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. Martin:

Sixty-five per cent of the native population were given chest X-ray examinations last year.

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PC

Gordon Francis Higgins

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Higgins:

What has been the result of B.C.G. inoculations among Indians and Eskimos?

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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. Martin:

There has been tremendous success with B.C.G. As the hon. member knows, we were perhaps the pioneers in its use in our Indian hospitals, particularly the one at Qu'Appelle.

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Item agreed to. Indians and Eskimos health services- 264. Construction or acquisition of buildings, works, land and new equipment, $1,130,700.


SC

Ernest George Hansell

Social Credit

Mr. Hansell:

I have had correspondence with some people in my constituency concerning the development of an all-weather road through the Indian reserve there.

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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. Martin:

That would come under the estimates of my colleague the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration.

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SC
LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. Martin:

I will speak to the minister for you. Help me to get these estimates through, and you and I will go to see him tonight.

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PC

Douglas Scott Harkness

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Harkness:

What new hospitals will be covered by this year's vote?

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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. Martin:

We are completing a hospital at Coqualeetza and a laundry building at the Charles Camsell hospital, about which I spoke before. We are completing the hospital at Qu'Appelle, in Saskatchewan, and completing accommodation for the female staff at Hobbema in Alberta, and a large health centre at Masset on Graham island. They are mostly small.

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PC

Douglas Scott Harkness

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Harkness:

No new construction is involved?

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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. Martin:

No.

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PC

Douglas Scott Harkness

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Harkness:

It is for the completion of buildings already under construction?

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May 8, 1953