February 9, 1955

LIB

John Whitney Pickersgill (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration)

Liberal

Mr. Pickersgill:

Should not.

Topic:   EQUALIZING OF OPPORTUNITY
Subtopic:   ASSISTANCE TO PROVINCES
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CCF

Frederick Samuel Zaplitny

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

Mr. Zaplitny:

The minister qualifies it by saying "should not". To me it is just like putting the whole government policy in one sentence. I think it can be described as saying that it is a policy of taking the line of least assistance. If any further argument is necessary to completely reply to what the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration attempted to describe today as government policy I should like to quote only one paragraph from a speech delivered in this house

Education

on February 24, 1937, in connection with scholarships. I quote from page 1190 of Hansard of that date:

It is true, as I said a moment ago, that education under the British North America Act was specifically and exclusively reserved to the provinces: but the term "exclusively" surely does not mean that the federal arm of government cannot extend to the provinces, by way of supplemental assistance, measures which properly come within the provincial sphere. If there should be disagreement with that statement, we have the precedent of our national research council scholarships, and if we want a further precedent, we have the grants in aid in respect of technical education, pursuant to the Technical Education Act of 1919. I am not particularly concerned in what form the federal government assists in furthering this proposal, but 1 am interested in having substantially the desired results, and if they are to be brought about by grants in aid to the provinces, definitely earmarked for that purpose. I do not see that there will be much to object to in the method.

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LIB

John Whitney Pickersgill (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration)

Liberal

Mr. Pickersgill:

I completely agree with the views which have just been read by the hon. gentleman. If they are specific grants for a specific purpose, I do not see any objection to them at all. It is this suggestion of a general grant without any control that I object to.

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CCF

Frederick Samuel Zaplitny

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

Mr. Zapliiny:

I am pleased to note that the minister is now willing to recant.

Topic:   EQUALIZING OF OPPORTUNITY
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LIB

John Whitney Pickersgill (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration)

Liberal

Mr. Pickersgill:

That was what I said in the first place.

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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. Martin:

Those words are so interesting and so well chosen that I suspect they are my own.

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CCF

Frederick Samuel Zaplitny

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

Mr. Zaplitny:

The minister's suspicions are quite well founded because they are his words, or they were his words at the time. Of course at that time he was only the hon. member for Essex East. He is now the Minister of National Health and Welfare.

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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. Martin:

And still the member for Essex East.

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CCF

Frederick Samuel Zaplitny

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

Mr. Zaplitny:

And still, of course, the member for Essex East. But that process of coming up into the cabinet, into that rarefied atmosphere, quite often seems to affect the thinking and opinions of members on the opposite side of the house. I am therefore not prepared to say that that is still the opinion of the hon. member for Essex East. However, it may be. Certainly that statement sets out the position quite clearly. This motion is not attempting to impose anything upon anyone. It simply indicates recognition of a need and the willingness to take some action to provide a solution to that problem.

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SC

John Horne Blackmore

Social Credit

Mr. J. H. Blackmore (Lethbridge):

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member for Red Deer put the case admirably for Social Credit. I crave a few moments of the time of the house to

say one or two things which I believe need to be said in addition to what he said.

In the first place I believe that much must be done on behalf of those who are attempting to go to university. We are giving far too little attention to that matter. I have an idea that is one reason we are having a teacher shortage. The cost of going to university is simply so great that, except in cases where a student's parents live in a university city, they are prohibitive, or except in the case of families which are in good financial circumstances; whereas in many cases the very ones who would go to university and qualify for training come from the poorer families, as was so well shown when we started to educate the boys who served in the forces by giving them an opportunity to go to university. We saw what happened there, how many of them qualified and how well they did.

From the national federation of Canadian university students I have a communication which was sent to me after this session began. I should like to draw the attention of the house and the country to some of the facts that are set forth in division 6 of their letter:

A survey recently conducted by the national federation of Canadian university students committee at the University of Alberta shows that the average university male student is able to earn only 51 per cent of the cost of his university year during the summer months;

As hon. members will realize, that is an extremely serious situation. The cost of going to university today is high. Everything is high. Rent is high. Food is high. Laundry is high. Clothing is high. In addition to that, the universities are charging much higher fees than they used to charge. That is true not only with regard to the general fee but with regard to the special fees attached to various courses. This statement then becomes extremely serious. It is based on a survey of the students consulted in the city of Edmonton. The statement goes on to say that female students were able to earn only 40 per cent of the cost of the university year during the holidays. What does that mean? It means that, as far as people coming from humble homes are concerned, a university course is simply unattainable.

There are a good many other statements which these people set forth in their letter to me but which I am not going to tell the house about. I believe that alone is sufficient to show that it is extremely important that we devise some way or other of assisting students to go through our universities. In his excellent talk the hon. member for Saskatoon mentioned the number of university students in Britain who receive assistance,

Education

and even referred to the assistance given to university students in Russia, all of which reflects no credit upon us.

I think I should give just a little bit of attention to one remark which was made or implied in a question by the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration. As I recall it, he asked the hon. member for Red Deer if he thought Alberta required any assistance for her schools. The answer is undoubtedly that Alberta requires a tremendous amount of assistance for her schools. These figures to which I have just referred apply to Alberta. It is supposed generally by most people that just because the province of Alberta has been particularly successful in making money and has been blessed with a good deal of income from the sale of oil and gas leases, the province should just go on a spending spree and spend that money as fast as it gets it. I am sure any thoughtful person would not agree that that ought to be done.

Topic:   EQUALIZING OF OPPORTUNITY
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LIB

John Whitney Pickersgill (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration)

Liberal

Mr. Pickersgill:

Should the federal government do that?

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Subtopic:   ASSISTANCE TO PROVINCES
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SC

John Horne Blackmore

Social Credit

Mr. Blackmore:

The federal government is in a different position because the federal government has unlimited access to the means of financing through use of the national credit. Let me repeat once more, for the benefit of the Minister of National Health and Welfare and every other minister, that there is only one government in the Dominion of Canada that has the power to monetize goods and services in this country; and that is the all-important power in respect of financing.

Certainly what the Dominion of Canada can do for its university students ought to depend directly on the goods and services which the Dominion of Canada can produce, and not on the amount of money that can be wrung from the taxpayers. The sooner the members of the house and the people in the country generally get that idea embedded in their thinking, the sooner they will be in a position to face the responsibilities which rest upon them in the matter of financing our various activities in this dominion. The Dominion of Canada has the power to monetize the goods and services produced in the Dominion of Canada; and certainly the only limit to the capacity of the Dominion of Canada to find money in that respect is the amount of goods and services we produce or can produce. The provinces have access to no such sources of revenue as that. Their revenues are distinctly limited.

I wish to say just a word along the line which I had indicated before I was interrupted by the hon. member. Anybody who

looks at conditions as they are today in a realistic manner must realize that unless we have another war or unless we are scared into much more costly preparations for war than we are making right now, this country is headed straight downward into a depression. There can be no question about that whatsoever. The fact that agricultural prices are falling as they are is one of the surest indications of that fact. If a depression comes on and a tremendous burden of unemployment is caused to rest upon the provinces, where are they going to get the money with which to finance relief comparable to the relief we had to finance during the thirties? Any realistic and responsible body of provincial officials certainly must be having that matter in mind.

Would the members of this house or would the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration suggest that the Alberta government should take all the money that comes into their hands from the various sources with which they are fairly well blessed and spend it on education, and have nothing left to cushion them against the contingencies of a depression? Surely we must be realistic in this matter. I hope the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration does not ask any more irresponsible questions like that in this house. He is young. We will allow for that fact, but we expect him to mature a little bit faster than he is maturing.

There is another matter to which I should like to refer and it is this. In respect of any province, the people of the province have a way of demanding services in relation to the income which the province has available to it. Here are some of the services which provinces must give. They have to service the debt. When the Social Credit government took over in Alberta we found that we had to pay 49 cents out of every dollar of revenue for interest on our debt. That is an important matter to bear in mind. The remarks of the hon. member for Royal (Mr. Brooks) indicate how serious an item is the matter of servicing the debt for his province of New Brunswick. The cost of roads has to be taken care of, and people simply demand roads. If there is anything like a reasonably good income available to the province, the people simply insist that roads be built. Public welfare is exceedingly costly. Health is extremely costly. Agricultural improvement is also extremely costly.

Education is only one of all the various things for which the provinces require to make provision. There are such things as forest conservation and conservation generally, public works and many other matters which the provinces have to take care of. In the light of all these things I hope the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration and

all the other members of the cabinet do some good serious thinking for about three or four weeks and adopt a realistic attitude to the educational situation which faces the people of Canada.

How should the money granted provinces for aid to education be extended to the provinces? Of course there is considerable discussion concerning that matter. I agree there should be no means whereby the dominion government could even attempt to influence policy in respect of education in the provinces, but there are ways of getting around that difficulty. The Minister of Citizenship and Immigration seems to feel that just to make a grant to the provinces in a general sort of way is quite unsound. That kind of thinking is typical of Rhodes scholars. It is typical of these bureaucrats whom we have in such great numbers-

Topic:   EQUALIZING OF OPPORTUNITY
Subtopic:   ASSISTANCE TO PROVINCES
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LIB

John Whitney Pickersgill (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration)

Liberal

Mr. Pickersgill:

On a question of privilege, I am not and never was a Rhodes scholar.

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Subtopic:   ASSISTANCE TO PROVINCES
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SC

John Horne Blackmore

Social Credit

Mr. Blackmore:

I have given the minister the opportunity to make a statement which has released him from a good deal of suspicion, because he certainly has acted like an Oxford graduate, a Rhodes scholar. Generally speaking, men who have graduated from some of these universities, particularly from the London school of economics, have the idea in their narrow minds that they can tell anybody on the face of the earth how to live, that they know all about it and consequently we cannot have a country like Canada soundly governed unless all power centres right here in Ottawa where you can put these graduates of the London school of economics at work doing the job.

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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. Martin:

Will my hon. friend permit an interruption?

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SC
LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. Martin:

It is very kind of him to suggest that my colleague, the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, was a Rhodes scholar. He is not a Rhodes scholar, but in fairness to him I think I should say that he enjoyed a scholarship provided by the Imperial Order of the Daughters of the Empire. I am sure my hon. friend would not want to make any disparaging remarks in view of this information.

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SC

John Horne Blackmore

Social Credit

Mr. Blackmore:

My remarks were not intended to disparage the source from which a man gets the money with which he goes to university, but to disparage the attitude which men are likely to acquire in some of the universities of Great Britain. One of them is Oxford, another is Cambridge and another is the London school of economics. Generally speaking, when a man has graduated from

Education

any one of these he is a socialist in his ideas; he is a centralizer; he thinks nobody in the world knows how to govern a country except his own particular class, and that the provinces cannot possibly produce people capable of governing.

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LIB

John Whitney Pickersgill (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration)

Liberal

Mr. Pickersgill:

On a question of privilege, I am not nor have I ever been a socialist. I am not a centralizer. I was arguing all afternoon against centralization, and the hon. member is now arguing for centralization.

Topic:   EQUALIZING OF OPPORTUNITY
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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. Martin:

I think too in fairness-

Topic:   EQUALIZING OF OPPORTUNITY
Subtopic:   ASSISTANCE TO PROVINCES
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February 9, 1955