March 15, 1962


Technical and vocational training assistance- 636. To carry out the purposes of the Technical and Vocational Training Assistance Act and agreements made thereunder-payments to the provinces-further amount required. $28,400,000. At six o'clock the committee took recess. AFTER RECESS The committee resumed at 8 p.m.


NDP

Walter George Pitman

New Democratic Party

Mr. Pitman:

Before the recess, Mr. Chairman, I tried to indicate, although we do need technical and vocational training, what this program most needs. First of all we require to put these things in an order of priority. I tried to indicate that there has been no sensible, rational, planned order of priority whatsoever; that we are putting the money in the wrong place and using it in the wrong way.

One of the areas in which I think it is most unfortunate the way this program is being carried out is that of trained teachers. Surely the whole thing depends upon the kind of trained teachers we have. This is a tremendous problem, because when you have a poorly trained working force or a less skilled working force you have even fewer people from which to draw for the jobs which require skills. This, again, was put

Supply-Labour

very well by Mr. Bridge in the speech included in the document to which I referred this afternoon. He says:

There is an urgent requirement for the development of vocational teacher training programs in Canada to provide both basic and advanced professional training for the growing numbers of teachers who will be required.

In this respect I would comment that surely this was one of the first things that should have been done. Once the needs have been determined, once the courses and the whole program had been determined we could have begun to train the teachers, and then perhaps we could have begun to put up the buildings. At the present time there is a serious shortage of adequately trained instructional staff; that is, before this program was even started there was a shortage, and with the building of additional facilities this shortage will become more serious. An estimated 1,000 to 1,500 additional, trained technical and vocational teachers will be required during the next ten year period. I can assure the committee that certainly they will need more than 1,000 or 1,500 now, with the number of buildings that have been put up during the last few months. I continue reading from this speech by Mr. Bridge.

The programs for training vocational teachers in Canada have never been well developed. The need does not justify a college for training vocational teachers in each province but there is ample need for at least four such training centres, one for the four western provinces, one in Ontario, one in Quebec, and one in the Atlantic provinces.

How much of this tremendous amount of money which we are putting aside for vocational education has been assigned to the training of people to put this program into effect? I would suggest it is a very, very minimal amount, and this has caused a tremendous amount of chaos and disruption in the teacher training programs in each of the provinces. This was not adequately prepared for, and these are the problems you get when you try to put crash programs into too many educational media. Mr. Bridge continues:

Provision should be made for these vocational teachers to advance to degree level in vocational education if they so desire.

There is also a shortage of supervisors and administrators for these programs.

In Bill No. C-49, which I am sure all hon. members have read, there is provision for the dominion government to pay half of the cost of training those who are going to be teachers, administrators and supervisors in this whole program. But there again we are doing the thing backwards; we have not laid enough emphasis on this area, and instead we have been subsidizing, virtually, the educational program in Ontario to a large extent. Mr. Bridge continues:

Supply-Labour

These persons usually come through the ranks of the vocational teaching staff but they require training which will prepare them for the responsibilities of directing programs and improving the standards of instruction.

The last thing I would like to say is that we have had no proper national approach to this problem. I say this with all humility, because this is a tremendous problem; it is a tremendously complex and complicated problem, but that does not mean we should throw up our hands and simply distribute money and let somebody else handle the problem who is in a far worse position to deal with it. I refer to the local municipal school boards. I say that in many cases we have disrupted the whole educational approach. There has been over the years, especially in my own province, a decision which means that people in the outlying areas who need vocational training shall be brought into the larger cities.

Hon. members who come from rural areas will say, "Good heavens; surely people who live in rural areas have the same right to vocational training as those who live in the urban areas". Certainly they do; but we cannot always give the best vocational training by putting up a school at their back door. The best way may very well be to bring those people by bus or various methods of transportation into an area where they can get a far greater diversity and higher level of training than if they simply put a school into a rural area.

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PC

John Cameron Pallett (Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Palleii:

Oh, just move everybody into Toronto.

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NDP

Walter George Pitman

New Democratic Party

Mr. Pitman:

Holy smoke, what an inane, silly remark from the parliamentary secretary, "Just move everybody into Toronto". Surely the parliamentary secretary has something better to do at this time than sit there and make a silly remark like that. Perhaps he should go out and have another fight with the Voice of Women.

Anyway, the rural school boards find themselves in this position. Some of them find they are at present sending their students into an urban school and they have to pay some percentage of the capital cost of the city school system. But what happens? The federal government comes along and says: "We will pay 75 per cent of the cost of the building" so you have virtually a free building. They can either pay some percentage of the capital cost of the schools in the urban area or they can have their own virtually free institution. This is like a misguided philanthropist who wanders into an African village, puts up a university and walks off and says, "This is wonderful; haven't I done a great deal for these people?" They do not define how they

are going to find the people to man the university or how they are going to pay for it. That is not his problem. He simply walks off the scene. There are several examples which could be given of this kind of observation. I could use one which is not too far away, in the area of Pelham. The normal development of this area would be the enlargement of the Thorold-Fonthill high school which is on a quiet 30-mile road. But what happens? The county is putting up another high school on a 60-mile highway. How they are going to pay for this they do not know. The Robarts system is to keep costs down. There has been some discussion of this. It has been taken up in the press. I could draw the attention of the committee to an article in the Evening Tribune of January 23, 1962, in which one of the members of the board is reported to have stated:

We know how much a classroom costs but nobody seems to know what it costs to operate it.

That is a surprising statement and it is even more surprising that the chairman of the board should write in a letter to the Fonthill Herald on January 30:

As to the cost of operating the new school, no one knows at this time. We have good reason to believe that there will be additional grants, the only guide we might have would be our cost of vocational training at other schools compared with our cost of academic training at the same school.

As to having reason to believe there will be additional grants, hope springs eternal. I trust he has an indication that there are going to be some additional grants from the federal government because, believe me, they certainly will need them.

I should like to end my remarks with a number of constructive suggestions as to how we could salvage, I use that term advisedly, what we have been doing over the last two years. We know we have spent some $269 million, including the federal share-away over anything we had ever expected to spend in the next ten years. Now I think is the time to take a serious look at what we have been doing and the way we are going. I would be the first to admit that as long as we accept the belief that government responsibility has no concept of planning and looks upon the economy as a whole as a mass of wild horses going in every direction, it is going to be hard to plan an efficient training program for that kind of economy. I understand the difficulty that this creates. However, I think we could make more enlightened guesses than we have been making over the past year and a half. The first thing we should do is to put on the records of this house exactly what the needs were. Surely, we could get that information from the provinces, because we are paying enough; find

out exactly what the facilities are in those provinces, and how they are being used at every school level. I think knowledge is the first thing we must have if we are going to plan this properly. We should have had it on the debate on the bill last fall but we did not, and now perhaps we should sit back and find out where we have gone and where we are going.

Second, we should take off the deadline. There is a difference between building schools and building sewers. There is a difference between sewage and students. There is no point in putting deadlines which force departments of education to go on at breakneck speed to do things because they have to get them up to get the money. Third, we should put the priority on expenditure in training those who are now unemployed. We should put up a system of education or, at least, trade schools to get these individuals retrained. Fourth, a great effort should be made to find out exactly where the work force is going. We cannot talk about this intelligently at the national level before we know this.

How are the boards of education in any province of Canada to be expected to provide education for the future if we do not know where the future is? That is a matter of some concern to me. Fifth, we should recognise that job retraining is a continuous process. I have found from my own experience that it is possible to put a school up, but more difficult to get the kids into the course. As long as we in Canada believe that every individual has a right to decide on the course he is going into, that is more difficult. I agree, and I believe we all agree, that we do not want to force them. We have to find some means of educating the parents to get their children to go into these courses. In my own experience we have had shops which have been three quarters full.

The technical teachers themselves are concerned about this program. They do not want to see some half-hearted program which is going to undermine all the efforts they have made to build up a prestige for technical education. We still think far too much in terms of academic education. We need a program of public advertising in the best sense to bring the advantage of this training to everyone likely to need it. I think, also, we have to decide on a system of sustaining grants to these institutions. It is not good enough to put up a building and leave a municipality with a great pile of ruins without deciding how they are going to be staffed adequately, how they are going to be equipped and how the equipment is going to be kept up to date.

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Supply-Labour

I have suggested five or six things which perhaps could be done to salvage what we are doing now. If we do not do this, we are doomed. We shall have buildings unrelated to our employment needs. They may be training people for the wrong employment opportunities. We may have inadequate instruction; we may have courses completely irrelevant to the kind of work these people are doing; we may have a fragmentary vocational system in many parts of this country; we may have disillusioned it about technical education and it may take years to restore confidence. We may have thousands of unemployed, along with many thousands who realize that their skill are running out and that they would be virtually impossible to place in industry if new machines should make their present skills unnecessary.

This may sound pessimistic. I hope this government will make a full scale effort to recover the loss of ground that has taken place in the last few years.

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PC

John Cameron Pallett (Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Palleii:

Mr. Chairman, I did not intend to participate in this debate but after listening to the footle of the hon. member for Peterborough, which was subscribed to by the hon. member for Trinity, I feel that some of the erroneous statements that have been made should be corrected and that some indication should be given to these hon. gentlemen, particularly the hon. member for Peterborough who I understand is a pedagogue, of what is involved in the technical training educational system and the purpose of the participation in it by the federal government.

These estimates cover expenditures under technical and vocational training agreements with the provinces. The hon. members for Peterborough and Trinity seem to think the province of Ontario is not entitled to share in this program as the other provinces do. Their statements this afternoon appeared to express an objection to any benefits going to Ontario, and it is interesting to note-

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LIB

Paul Theodore Hellyer

Liberal

Mr. Hellyer:

Would my hon. friend permit a question? Is the hon. gentleman saying that the federal government now has jurisdiction over secondary education rather than the provinces?

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PC

John Cameron Pallett (Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Palleft:

I suppose it is not very flattering to me but by his question the hon. gentleman indicates that he has not listened to or read any of the speeches I have made in this house on the subject of education. If the hon. gentleman would take the trouble to peruse the record he will find the answer to that question in clear terms.

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LIB

Paul Theodore Hellyer

Liberal

Mr. Hellyer:

Why not briefly and succinctly give it to me now?

Supply-Labour

Mr. Pallet!: I shall resort to one syllable words if that is the wish of the hon. gentleman, so he may fully understand our position in that regard.

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LIB

Lionel Chevrier (Official Opposition House Leader; Liberal Party House Leader)

Liberal

Mr. Chevrier:

Send us a letter.

Mr. Pallet!: We are dealing with technical and vocational training. I suggest that the hon. member for Trinity has no conception of what are the responsibilities of the federal government in relation to this type of education-if there are responsibilities-on the basis of what he said today with respect to the apprenticeship training program of Ontario, which has nothing to do with the federal government and is irrelevant to the item before us.

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LIB
PC

John Cameron Pallett (Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Pallelt:

The hon. gentleman's statements also indicate his complete lack of knowledge of the training program that is being conducted under the act, through the operation of trade schools that are operating not only by day but also by night in the province of Ontario, and that are available to the unemployed workers of this country.

I was astounded at the lack of knowledge of this subject revealed by the comments of both hon. gentlemen. I was astonished at their failure to read newspapers, to visit these schools, to talk to people who know something about the programs and processes that are going on. Despite their lack of knowledge hon. gentlemen stood in this chamber and made statements that were far removed from the facts. If they were not innocent- I suppose that is the correct word-I would accuse them of being intentionally misleading, but I would not wish to go that far.

The hon. member for Peterborough suggests we have a grand plan. In a recent speech in this house I heard the hon. gentleman say that his theory is to move workers from spot to spot.

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NDP
PC

John Cameron Pallett (Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Palleii:

I will give the hon. gentleman the reference if he wishes it.

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NDP

Walter George Pitman

New Democratic Party

Mr. Pitman:

May I ask the hon. member a question?

Mr. Pallet!: I would be delighted.

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NDP

Walter George Pitman

New Democratic Party

Mr. Pitman:

Does the hon. member realize that the Department of Labour has moved and is moving workers from area to area? Does the hon. gentleman know that is taking place under the jurisdiction of the Department of Labour?

Mr. Pallet!: There is quite a difference, Mr. Chairman. The workers the Department of Labour moves are those who request transfer

from areas that are declared labour surplus areas. The hon. member in the speech he made, which I suspect he will have occasion to remember far into the future, said nothing about the voluntary movement of workers from area to area. He was speaking of compulsory movement, which is in line with socialistic thinking.

The hon. member spoke about a grand plan and said we in this chamber should anticipate what the state of the nation will be 40 years from now. No one anticipated ten years ago that a group of parliamentarians would adjourn to watch a trip around the world by Colonel Glenn in a space capsule; and yet that trip was delayed while a bolt holding the door was repaired by the skilled hands of a workman. That is what this program does; it puts skills in the hands of future workmen.

The hon. member for Peterborough made a categorical criticism of all boards of education across the country. He refuses to recognize that these are the people who correctly assess the needs and who have surveys made. He may not be familiar with this fact because probably he has not sought out the information-and I say this to the hon. member for Trinity as well-but in the metropolitan Toronto area, for instance, the following questions were put not to hundreds but to thousands of industries: If you had skilled workmen available today, how many would you hire? How many would you hire in five years? How many would you hire in ten? All this information is available to boards of education-

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NDP
PC

John Cameron Pallett (Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Pallell:

This information is gathered from those who will be employing and training these skilled workers. These are the people who comprise the strength of the free enterprise economy which, of course, the hon. member for Peterborough cannot understand. Part of the purpose of education is to fulfil the social needs of future society. This applies equally in the technical field.

Of course, the hon. member would not understand that consideration has been given to these questions by boards of education. Each area board of education or trustees first determines its own needs. Each area need is carefully checked by a high school inspector who is familiar with the locality. Of course this may not suit the hon. member who is a member of the teaching profession. By implication he is saying that the boards and inspectors themselves are not capable of doing what must be done, that they do not know what they are talking about, that

they are making recommendations dishonestly. That is what he is saying. He indicates that they are not assessing properly the educational needs of the young people in their recommendations to the departments of education, that they are giving false service. That is what the hon. member said today.

Every sentence of criticism, every suggestion that the money is being taken for purposes other than that prescribed, is a condemnation not only of the provincial boards of education but also of the inspectors who approve the programs. And then the hon. member condemns every public servant of the provincial departments of education who approves the plans and the program and makes his submission to this government. This afternoon the hon. gentleman engaged in a blanket condemnation of the people engaged in the educational systems of every province and more particularly his own, and all his remarks were subscribed to and echoed by the hon. member for Trinity.

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LIB

Paul Theodore Hellyer

Liberal

Mr. Hellyer:

Those are your words not mine.

Mr. Pallet!: Your speech is on Hansard.

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LIB

Paul Theodore Hellyer

Liberal

Mr. Hellyer:

Yes, my speech is.

Mr. Pallet!: The first words of the hon. member for Trinity were words complimentary to the hon. member for Peterborough on the speech he had made and on the accuracy of that speech.

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LIB

Paul Theodore Hellyer

Liberal

Mr. Hellyer:

It was certainly a lot better than yours.

Mr. Pallet!: The hon. member for Trinity to my way of thinking completely endorsed all the remarks made by the hon. member for Peterborough.

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March 15, 1962