February 9, 1955

PC

William Earl Rowe

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Rowe:

If you can give us the date, we shall be glad to know it.

Topic:   EQUALIZING OF OPPORTUNITY
Subtopic:   ASSISTANCE TO PROVINCES
Permalink
LIB

John Whitney Pickersgill (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration)

Liberal

Mr. Pickersgill:

You will find it in Hansard

of January 17.

Topic:   EQUALIZING OF OPPORTUNITY
Subtopic:   ASSISTANCE TO PROVINCES
Permalink
LIB

James Joseph McCann (Minister of National Revenue)

Liberal

Mr. McCann:

It was mentioned in that letter.

Topic:   EQUALIZING OF OPPORTUNITY
Subtopic:   ASSISTANCE TO PROVINCES
Permalink
PC

Gordon Knapman Fraser

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Fraser (Peterborough):

When is it to

be held?

Topic:   EQUALIZING OF OPPORTUNITY
Subtopic:   ASSISTANCE TO PROVINCES
Permalink
LIB

William Alfred Robinson (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Liberal

Mr. Deputy Speaker:

Order.

Education

Topic:   EQUALIZING OF OPPORTUNITY
Subtopic:   ASSISTANCE TO PROVINCES
Permalink
PC

William Earl Rowe

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Rowe:

Mr. Speaker, this is a clear-cut example that has developed steadily. I think it only fair to say that failure to co-operate with the provinces has already created a lack of educational facilities. The inability of the municipalities to meet this educational challenge already has had a serious effect upon the education of our youth in this country. Education should be advancing like everything else, but it is not advancing today because we are short of classrooms, we are short of teachers, and there are hundreds of children who are not getting a fair chance and opportunity in education.

I would urge the government to keep it upon their agenda, to not continue making the excuse that they cannot relieve the situation but give us some idea how the municipalities, the provinces and the dominion can sit down and revamp an outmoded taxation system so we can meet this situation because as I say even though we are members of this house we are all taxpayers whether municipally, provincially or federally. It is a problem which everybody must face, and it is something which far transcends politics. It is an issue upon which the whole life of this country depends.

We shall be no stronger, in the years that lie ahead, no matter how great may be our resources about which we boast, than the intelligent application of sound principles to our everyday affairs by educated scientists and educated leaders in church, school and society.

Topic:   EQUALIZING OF OPPORTUNITY
Subtopic:   ASSISTANCE TO PROVINCES
Permalink
LIB

John Whitney Pickersgill (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration)

Liberal

Mr. Pickersgill:

Is the hon. member and the party for which he speaks in favour of making grants to the provinces for education?

Topic:   EQUALIZING OF OPPORTUNITY
Subtopic:   ASSISTANCE TO PROVINCES
Permalink
PC

William Earl Rowe

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Rowe:

I said I was not going to take up too much of the time of the house, and I do not propose to take up time by answering questions which I have answered already. At the beginning of my remarks I pointed out the constitutional difficulty, and even the hon. member for Saskatoon has referred to that. Over the years the Leader of the Opposition has spoken on this matter and emphasized this problem. I say again that it could be handled by a dominion-provincial conference where everyone would sit around the table. In the meantime, whether controlled or uncontrolled, if the government is going to go through another period without dealing with this issue at the forthcoming dominion-provincial conference then we should approve grants in aid to the provinces and not seek to control them.

I am more concerned about the education of the children of this province than I am about the constitutionality of the matter or any precedent that might be established. I do

Education

not believe that one dollar should be granted by this government that has not provincial jurisdiction. The provinces must have full jurisdiction over their educational system. It is not our business, it is not our function to administer educational expenditures in the provinces. At the same time I think this can be worked out by a dominion-provincial conference; but in the interval, particularly in view of your delay in calling a dominion-provincial conference for the five years in which we have been pressing for it, this situation has developed to where it is now a serious national problem concerning the mothers and fathers in almost every home in this dominion.

Topic:   EQUALIZING OF OPPORTUNITY
Subtopic:   ASSISTANCE TO PROVINCES
Permalink
SC

Frederick Davis Shaw

Social Credit

Mr. F. D. Shaw (Red Deer):

Mr. Speaker, the resolution before the house sets before us an important proposition in clear and understandable language. Its meaning is simple. It asks that the government should take steps to relieve the financial crisis in education by granting financial relief to the provinces for the expansion and equalization of educational opportunities. But it goes further and places emphasis on the fact that this should be accomplished without interference with the administration of education in the provinces. I wish to commend the hon. member for Saskatoon for moving this resolution. It is not the first time that he has sponsored a similar motion. In the face of considerable discouragement he has continued to press his point, and he has certainly had our support from the beginning.

I should like to make one or two points clear. I am sure the hon. member did not intend to leave an incorrect impression, but he referred to certain persons teaching school in Alberta as unmatriculated grade 12 students. He left it at that, suggesting that those persons were going forth to teach school without being given a certain amount of training. True, it is not very much, but they do get some training, and then they must come back during succeeding years and bring up their qualifications to acceptable standards.

I am not going to take up any time defending that particular action. Something was necessary under the circumstances to meet a shortage of teachers. It meant that either such persons were to teach or supervisors would be placed in the schools-persons without any teacher training whatsoever-or that the schools would be closed and correspondence courses only made available to the students.

Topic:   EQUALIZING OF OPPORTUNITY
Subtopic:   ASSISTANCE TO PROVINCES
Permalink
CCF

Major James William Coldwell

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

Mr. Coldwell:

I think there is something similar in my own province.

Topic:   EQUALIZING OF OPPORTUNITY
Subtopic:   ASSISTANCE TO PROVINCES
Permalink
SC

Frederick Davis Shaw

Social Credit

Mr. Shaw:

There is something similar in Saskatchewan. It is merely a stop-gap action.

As a former teacher I certainly regret that it seemed to be necessary, but certainly it is only temporary.

I listened carefully to the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration. On the basis of what he said I could cast aside all I had intended saying and spend a delightful 40 minutes analysing his remarks. However, I am just going to make one or two observations. He amazed me. If he did nothing else he displayed a superb skill in building up straw men and then knocking them down, in building up arguments and then almost immediately thereafter completely demolishing them. I suggest to the minister that some of the things he said in that speech of his today are going to come back to haunt him, not once or twice but many times. If I can help play the part of the ghost in the months ahead I shall probably do so.

I can say to the minister that had the government come forward with a proposition under which they would make available money under the terms and conditions as set forth in this resolution and for the same purpose, he could advance stronger arguments in support of it-and they would not have to be very strong to be better. He made reference to the foolhardiness of the federal government raising money and then handing it back to the provinces without conditions attached. He then turned around and put up the defence he did of the tax transfer agreements. To me it was completely ridiculous, regardless of how the minister may try to explain it away.

Topic:   EQUALIZING OF OPPORTUNITY
Subtopic:   ASSISTANCE TO PROVINCES
Permalink
LIB

John Whitney Pickersgill (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration)

Liberal

Mr. Pickersgill:

I am sure the hon. member does not want to misrepresent me. I never said I thought it was foolhardy to make unconditional grants to the provinces. I think it is essential, and I defend them to the limit.

Topic:   EQUALIZING OF OPPORTUNITY
Subtopic:   ASSISTANCE TO PROVINCES
Permalink
SC

Frederick Davis Shaw

Social Credit

Mr. Shaw:

The minister seems to have misunderstood me as he did the hon. member's resolution. He advanced the argument, and he did not try to justify it in the light of anything else, that if the government were going to collect money through taxation then they would have to have some control over how that money was spent. He can read his own speech tomorrow and I am sure he will find that. Then with respect to the grants to the provinces under the tax transfer agreements he shifted his position and in my opinion advanced an entirely different set of arguments.

Topic:   EQUALIZING OF OPPORTUNITY
Subtopic:   ASSISTANCE TO PROVINCES
Permalink
LIB

John Whitney Pickersgill (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration)

Liberal

Mr. Pickersgill:

Is not the money that is paid to the provinces under the tax rental agreements voted by this parliament precisely for that purpose and, therefore, is not that a controlled expenditure in precisely the sense I was arguing?

Topic:   EQUALIZING OF OPPORTUNITY
Subtopic:   ASSISTANCE TO PROVINCES
Permalink
SC

Frederick Davis Shaw

Social Credit

Mr. Shaw:

As far as I am concerned the question is wholly irrelevant. As a matter of fact the minister seems to be trying to explain away some of his own observations made during the course of his speech. I am suggesting to the minister that where the government of Canada-this government-has made it a matter of policy to make unconditional payments, they have always been able to find mighty good reasons for doing so. Minister after minister and private member after private member have managed to stand on the floor of this house and defend the action. All I am saying is that if they were to accept a proposition of this kind, the same strong arguments would be advanced.

Topic:   EQUALIZING OF OPPORTUNITY
Subtopic:   ASSISTANCE TO PROVINCES
Permalink
LIB

John Whitney Pickersgill (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration)

Liberal

Mr. Pickersgill:

Mr. Speaker, I do not like to interrupt the hon. gentleman, but I was interrupted a number of times and perhaps he would not mind.

Topic:   EQUALIZING OF OPPORTUNITY
Subtopic:   ASSISTANCE TO PROVINCES
Permalink
SC

Frederick Davis Shaw

Social Credit

Mr. Shaw:

I hope you do not take that as a precedent.

Topic:   EQUALIZING OF OPPORTUNITY
Subtopic:   ASSISTANCE TO PROVINCES
Permalink
LIB

John Whitney Pickersgill (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration)

Liberal

Mr. Pickersgill:

I should like to ask the hon. member to name one other unconditional grant voted by this parliament except a few grants to voluntary organizations; one other unconditional grant to a provincial government except the tax transfer payments or statutory subsidies. I should like to ask him to name just one.

Topic:   EQUALIZING OF OPPORTUNITY
Subtopic:   ASSISTANCE TO PROVINCES
Permalink
SC

Frederick Davis Shaw

Social Credit

Mr. Shaw:

I would say that in itself is sufficient, if you want a precedent. Not only that, Mr. Speaker, but when reference was made to moneys expended for the construction of a school in the city of Winnipeg, or for the construction of two classrooms in Sarnia, the minister was able to spring to his feet and advance very sound arguments.

Topic:   EQUALIZING OF OPPORTUNITY
Subtopic:   ASSISTANCE TO PROVINCES
Permalink
LIB

John Whitney Pickersgill (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration)

Liberal

Mr. Pickersgill:

Those were conditional grants.

Topic:   EQUALIZING OF OPPORTUNITY
Subtopic:   ASSISTANCE TO PROVINCES
Permalink

February 9, 1955