March 15, 1962

LIB

John Whitney Pickersgill

Liberal

Mr. Pickersgill:

If I can only provoke the parliamentary secretary into talking for another 30 minutes-

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NDP

Douglas Mason Fisher

New Democratic Party

Mr. Fisher:

Mr. Chairman, I hope all these remarks are getting on the record. Perhaps the best way for me to begin my remarks on this item is to say that I received a letter last September from the minister informing

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me that a new vocational school was going to be built in Port Arthur and the contribution of the federal government was going to be approximately $1,700,000. It is a crash program and it is anticipated that the school will be ready this September. The federal government in effect will be putting up close to two thirds of the cost of the school, which will be around the $3 million mark, and the provincial government is putting up most of the rest.

It is said that you cannot vote against Santa Claus or you cannot kick Santa Claus in the face, and I realize that in trying to make an analysis based upon something in my own city I may stand in some danger of being misinterpreted or my views may be warped in much the same way that I felt the chief whip was twisting some of the views of the hon. member for Peterborough. However, I should like to offer some comments as a taxpayer in my own city, and as a teacher. As a matter of fact, I was offered a job in this school and it would be a good place to work.

I have taken an interest in the educational program in the city and I know something about it. I should like to emphasize that I have talked to the members of the board of education, the secretary of the board and the principals in the city, and as a taxpayer I am delighted that the city of Port Arthur through the board of education is getting what amounts to a $3 million high school without any capital outlay on the part of the taxpayers of the city of Port Arthur. I am delighted with it from that point of view. But I ask myself this question. How does this fit into a program of improving the technical qualifications of the students in my own area and, if this is part of a national plan, in the nation as a whole?

I understand that the school is going to have 61 classrooms. I know that there will be an electrical shop, a sheet metal shop, an automobile engineering shop and a woodworking shop. There will be general academic courses, business or commercial courses and courses in the shop or industrial subjects. I know that the school system in Port Arthur will experience difficulty in getting students to take the industrial and commercial courses because of the fact that the general course, from my understanding and following of the situation, has always tended to be and continues to be much more popular than industrial courses, and with very good reason, I think.

The hon. member for Peel indicated that one of the critics in this group was not aware of the statistics or the pattern with regard to what students were interested in. It is

very hard to keep up to date with educational statistics in Ontario because the annual report is always 18 months to two years behind time. The latest one I have been able to get is 1958. However, 1958 is not too long ago, and here are the figures respecting the enrolment of pupils in secondary schools in Ontario by courses: General, 170,000; commercial, 29,000; industrial, 20,000; home economics, 465; art, 659; special industrial, 1,308. It is very obvious from these figures that in the province of Ontario there is a tremendous preponderance toward general courses, and in this regard I want to suggest that there are both poor and good reasons for this situation.

As a teacher one good reason I should like to suggest why the general course is much more efficacious for children in grades 9 to 12, children between the ages of 14 and 18, is that in those adolescent years it is extremely difficult to carry on any kind of effective trade training. I should like to illustrate that from my own experience. I started teaching school and doing library work in an academic high school and I thought teaching was a wonderful game. Discipline was not hard, the hours were regular and the students usually had their homework done. Through a couple of accidents of fate I found myself teaching for a few weeks in a school that had a number of industrial, business and commercial courses. Suddenly I found myself up against what the hon. member for Trinity referred to this afternoon. In effect I was a sort of high priced loud shouting baby sitter because the atmosphere of the composite school with a great many students taking industrial courses is not one of study. It is extremely difficult to develop an esprit de corps and a real concern with education in that kind of school. The hon. member for Peel may not believe me but I wish he would talk to some of his teacher friends about this matter. It is a very real problem. It is one of the reasons why in my own city so many parents do not want their children to go to schools offering industrial courses or to take industrial courses.

We had a situation in the city of Port Arthur, Mr. Chairman, where we had one academic high school and two composite schools. There were parents who went to the trouble of selling their homes in order to move 100 yards to be within the boundaries of an academic high school, so their children could take general courses rather than have to go to these composite schools. Now, I regret this attitude, and I still regret it in any community-this looking down upon technical training and vocational training. However, it is a very real problem which exists, and these

figures from 1958 confirm it. From what I have seen of the mores of Ontario parents and children, it is not a regional attitude.

One change that has come on the scene has been the Robarts plan to which the hon. member referred. I am not going to sound off with any criticism of the Robarts plan, not because I do not have any views upon it. I am critical of it. I am critical of it for reasons that have already been indicated. I can perhaps give a most general criticism from a rather excellent study by James S. Coleman entitled, "The Adolescent Society". I want to stress one paragraph which I think is germane, in a very general way, to this problem. I quote:

In sum, then, the general point is this: our adolescents today are cut off, probably more than ever before, from the adult society. They are still oriented toward fulfilling their parents' desires, but they look very much to their peers for approval as well. Consequently, our society has within its midst a set of small teen-age societies, which focus teen-age interests and atttitudes on things far removed from adult responsibilities, and which may develop standards that lead away from those goals established by the larger society.

Now, getting away from the sociological language, the author is saying, in effect, something with which I believe everyone can agree. We have created in North American society today, a teenage, adolescent world. These teenagers are finding it extremely difficult to accept adult responsibilities and attitudes, for example, towards job training. One of the consequences is the lack of success of technical and vocational programs for students in grades 9, 10 and 11. This is one of the main criticisms that has arisen of the so-called Robarts plan. Of course, one has always to acknowledge that most people thinking of educational programs are activated by the best intentions in the world. I feel that the Robarts plan will flounder on this very point unless it is postponed at least until ages 16 or 17 when you can begin to make some impression on the teenager or adolescent about gearing his educational program towards occupational goals beyond the school.

This argument may seem extremely theoretical to hon. members, but I assure them it is not. I have done enough supply teaching in the past few years, visited enough schools and enough teachers' rooms, talked to enough teachers, to realize that this is a very real, live problem. It underlines the tremendous technical and vocational training programs at the secondary school level. I expressed this concern when this measure was originally introduced. I recall at the time members telling me that surely this was a means of getting the federal government into the educational field; that this was tremendously worth while, and one could put aside one's worries to see how the program worked out.

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I come back to being a taxpayer in the city of Port Arthur. I am delighted that our tax load is not going to be so heavy because we are going to get a 61-room high school which -I will argue this and I will insist upon it -is going to house a majority of students in general courses rather than technical or commercial courses. I am sure this will be the situation, knowing the statistics as I do and the attention in my home area. This would be fine if it were the real purpose of this program; but is the purpose of this program to ease the burden on our local school boards across this country? Judging by the statistics, particularly for Ontario, if this is the intention I can only feel that the school boards and taxpayers in Ontario have had a tremendous bonus. I wonder what would have happened if other provinces had answered the call, had been prepared for the call, had been spurred by the Robarts plan to take advantage of the plan in the same way as Ontario has? Our debt this coming year would be fantastic. Look at the figures. The federal share for Ontario is $124 million and for Quebec only $5 million. As hon. members from Quebec know, there are tremendous changes and increased expenses in the educational system of that province. However, Quebec only picks up $5 million under this plan, while Ontario gets $124 million.

Well, I have never been the kind of Canadian who could take great delight in seeing my particular part of the country get the lion's share and another part of the country go without. I made some inquiries from some people I know in the province of Quebec. I asked, why is it Quebec is only picking up $5 million and Ontario is getting in for $124 million? The obvious thing is to say that the Ontario government is on its toes, and the Quebec government is not on its toes.

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?

Some hon. Members:

Hear, hear.

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NDP

Douglas Mason Fisher

New Democratic Party

Mr. Fisher:

I think that is too simple an explanation. The explanation that I would give is that Quebec felt it could take advantage of this scheme only to this extent because it was taking money only for schools that were properly and completely technical training institutions, that is they did not offer general courses or anything like that. They were completely technical training institutions such as the Ryerson Institute and schools like that. This is what I really thought we were going to get out of this measure, Mr. Chairman. We have a tremendous need for this kind of program. However, I support the hon. member for Peterborough completely in his statement that at the moment we do not have this tremendous need for courses in woodworking, metal work, electrical work, automobile mechanics, and so on,

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for children of the ages of 14, 15 and 16. I believe this is where most of the money for Ontario is going, to provide the opportunity for schools offering general training.

Having said this about the situation, I think that we have to have an explanation from the minister of this fantastic, this tremendous gift or bonus or reward to Ontario from the federal treasury. The other provinces do not even come close to it. I wonder whether the minister would not acknowledge that in the response he has had to this program, particularly from Ontario, there has been a misjudgment. I wonder if he would not acknowledge that the deadline date of March 31, 1963, in itself, was a misjudgment? I should like to point out to the minister that he has been sent a copy of a report prepared in my part of the country on the advice of some of his own economists called, "Report by Northwestern Ontario Commission on Unemployment." Hon. members may be aware that our area is an easy one to study because we are isolated from all metropolitan centres. We are, in a sense, a microcosm of Canada that you can look at intensely, because we are not within the sphere of influence of any metropolitan area. This group of citizens, on the advice of the minister's economists, did this study and came up with some recommendations that I hope the minister is considering at the present time. I should like to put on the record a couple of the recommendations they made. They have just been going into this whole question of people coming into the labour force, training facilities and the school expansion that we have had. Among other things they want a regional advisory council, a regional economic conference, a resources inventory and a research oriented university. Then they come to this:

The university should be capable of taking all our grade 13 students who can benefit from undergraduate study. Projections indicate there will be about 1,500 students from northwestern Ontario by 1966. Graduate research faculties will help industry to develop new methods and use untapped resources.

Then it goes on:

Regional colleges of technology should be established to train people in the demand skills of the late twentieth century and increase the range of vocational, extension and night courses.

Special courses should be organized to train people for jobs in potential developments so that developers in the area would be assured of properly trained, available personnel.

Then it continues:

A vocational guidance and testing centre properly equipped and staffed by competent specialists should be established to fill a vital need in the region.

Those are recommendations of this group which indicate that they are concerned about the very problem this legislation is trying to meet. I suggest that this is primarily a problem in adult education or adult retraining, plus the establishment of technical institutions such as Ryerson on a much larger scale.

I regretted the tone of the remarks of the hon. member from Peel, because he seemed to suggest that people in our particular party were looking at the educational system very cynically. I would like to tell him that I worked for a few years in a technical institute that was taking people from grades 12 and 13 and first year university. This institute was giving courses for mining and forestry. I was always inspired by what took place with so many young fellows who came into that forestry school with very bad high school records. They took the technical course and began to come on. Then next they would be down in the university of Newfoundland or McGill or Toronto, going on to higher education; or if not, going out into the woods with an excellent job with security, and with a magnificent future. I have seen what effect a technical institute of this kind has on these young people.

I think there is not a school in Canada today that has had the success of Ryerson Institute of Technology in Toronto. That institute has made magnificent accomplishments in so many fields. But that is not what we are getting out of this money. We are not really getting this kind of response. What we are getting is secondary school classrooms in the main. I would like to see the focus go in this direction rather than in providing classroom space of the average secondary school kind, which is in the main what we are doing, which I think is perpetuating what has been an error in our vocational training since about 1913. If hon. members do not think this has been an error I would ask them to look at the Ontario statistics, where after 25 or 30 years of a vocational and technical training program we find that in 1958, 170,000 students were in the general course, only 29,000 in the commercial course and 20,000 in the industrial course.

We know that the goal of the general course is to eventually lead to university or technical institutes such as Ryerson. I would suggest that those figures are an indication that this program has gone off the rails and that something is very wrong with it. I think there is such a disparity here between what Ontario is getting and what the other provinces are getting that I would recommend to

the minister that he should immediately call a conference of the ministers of education in this country.

Last week the hon. member for Peterborough and I went down to visit the Canadian conference of education that went on for a week in Montreal. It was a rather confusing place to be, because so many of the delegates were dissatisfied or up in the air with various things. Repeatedly we heard- or at least I heard, and I think he got the same impression from a different lot of people-that there is a tremendous feeling that it was time the federal government took the lead in these matters. All kinds of obsequious remarks were made about the attitude of Quebec, but the feeling was-and anyone who read the Montreal Star of last week, which covered this conference magnificently, will find this to be so-that the federal government should show greater leadership in this field by making a national office of education. Repeatedly this suggestion was put forward. I think this was mainly because our efforts in education are piecemeal, haphazard and not directed or co-ordinated in any overall way.

I suppose the rebuttal to this is that this kind of planned approach is socialistic. I would like to make the point that it was a most popular approach that I found at the Canadian conference of education, and I am not so optimistic-whatever my party may be-as to feel that most of those people who were talking that way considered themselves socialist, even though this was the view they were expressing at that conference.

I would suggest that when you get educators in responsible positions such as Dean Leddy, Max Swerdlow, Kurt Swinton and people like that all recommending federal leadership in this particular field, it underlines the point that a program such as this, wonderful as it may have been in conception, is probably well off the rails because of the very disparity of the figures released of what expenditures have gone where, and to what province.

Mr. Chairman, I wanted to speak about a specific local situation that ties in with this. Two weeks ago I was in Elliot Lake speaking to a university women's group on the topic of education. Spontaneously from this rather large group in the community came the repeated suggestion-I can say to the Minister of Veterans Affairs that although I would not say they have forgiven him for the Whiteshell business, they are no longer talking about that-that Elliot Lake could possibly be used as a retraining centre. After all, having 600 or 700 empty houses there and institutional buildings that no longer have occupants or the occupancy of which 26207-1-118

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has faded, why cannot the federal government approach this question with imagination and use Elliot Lake as a retraining centre for the very kind of thing that all the educators are saying we need in order to retrain our people?

I do not know whether it could come under this particular kind of program, but it certainly seems to me this is the kind of expenditure under this program that would do much more good than providing more classroom space. I know that at Elliot Lake the schools are magnificent. They are still building schools there despite the fact that the population is decreasing. The fact remains that at the present time they have not the equipment, the teachers or the facilities to do the kind of job that this group obviously feels Elliot Lake could do, and act as a bit of a lodestone or magnet. It could be a great example to the rest of the country if that were the first place to be set up under federal and provincial auspices, with regional support, to undertake a magnificent retraining program for those men aged, say between 18 and 35 who can be retrained in various specialized aspects of technology, or it could even be linked in with the mining and forest industries in more of a tradesmen kind of approach.

The surprising thing is that when you get out into communities such as Elliot Lake, North Bay, Sudbury, Port Arthur or Kenora you find that at the local level education is one of the most intensely interesting topics, and repeatedly the suggestion-as we heard from the Canadian conference of education- is that they want federal leadership and inspiration. It just seems to me that we cannot have it until this government and future governments decide that they are going to lead rather than introduce a program such as this which has become so unbalanced.

There is one final point I wish to make about these expenditures. I suppose the spending of any money may be good, and the spending of $269 millions in this field is wonderful in creating temporary employment. But when I look at these figures I come back to one of the great agencies which the federal government set up a number of years ago in education. That agency is the Canada Council. I realize so many people including members of both parties have criticized that $100 millions that went into the Canada Council. When we realise that $50 millions of that Canada Council money has gone into capital projects at various universities, when we realise that the Canada Council has been claiming repeatedly that it does not have enough income from the other $50 million to meet its scholarships and payments, we look at this other institution where the federal

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government is putting up in this period of a couple of years a total of $129 million and we wonder what kind of sensible apportionment has been given to federal moneys in the field of education.

Nobody would suggest there is any greater merit in putting money into universities as against technical institutes or trade schools, but surely something has gone out of whack here, when the Canada Council, the main federal agency in the field of the arts and the humanities has only the money that it has to operate on, and the head of it has complained very openly, almost bitterly, about the situation, and we are spending $179 million under this crash program.

I come back to where I started. As a taxpayer in Port Arthur and as someone interested in the schools there, I am delighted we have a new high school called the Dag Hammarskjold school, and that the taxpayer is only to have to staff it and carry it on because the funds came from other sources. But I am also a federal taxpayer, and I wonder whether there is any real justice in this kind of approach when Ontario, my own province, indeed, my own town, benefits so much in this regard and the rest of the country seems to go short. I really wonder about the justice and fairness of this program.

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PC

Edwin William Brunsden

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Brunsden:

Will the hon. and academic member for Port Arthur permit a question? He talked a great deal about Ontario and ignored the fact that there are some other parts of Canada west of Ontario. May I ask him if he will drop the verbiage from his words and tell us bluntly whether or not he believes in the vocational training school program?

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NDP

Douglas Mason Fisher

New Democratic Party

Mr. Fisher:

The hon. member has opened up another hour's debate. The vocational training program has its place, but I would suggest that before the ages of 16 and 17 its place is limited. I can point out, if the hon. member wants to come down to a pedagogical or educational philosophy point of view, that I believe learning to read, to write, to do arithmetic, and to know something about our society and about citizenship should be the core of the training of every child and adolescent until they begin to reach a stage where mentally and manually they are able to move to some kind of training which has links with an occupation. I suggest that this core of reading, writing and expression is important to everybody whether they are going to take technical or vocational training or not. I think, in a sense, the whole program of vocational and technical training in Canada has been an attempt to compromise between this goal and the idea of preparing

young people to enter into a trade, and I would suggest to the hon. member who put the question that if he can show me that Alberta technical and vocational secondary schools are able to train people and send them into the labour force competent to work in their trades as craftsmen I would say I am completely wrong, but that certainly is not the situation in Ontario.

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PC

Edwin William Brunsden

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Brunsden:

Never mind about Ontario. Let us talk about Canada.

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NDP

Douglas Mason Fisher

New Democratic Party

Mr. Fisher:

The hon. member says "Let us talk about Canada". I think that Ontario represents a portion of the country, and I happen to have some relationship with its educational system. I am not trying to suggest to the hon. member that I think it has a better system than the other provinces. That is the kind of debatable thing that you can never really be sure of. I do know this, though, that as a result of this program there is no doubt about it Ontario is going to have a lot more nice big high schools than any other province in the country. I have only to refer the hon. member to the paragraph which appears on page 1778 of Hansard where he will see the scale. I am delighted that Alberta, his home province, has been able to take advantage of this to the degree it has and that it is getting a federal share of $20 million. But we can only reiterate our doubt that this program, about which we expressed some reservations when it was initiated, which, I think, shows there is a consistency in our approach as a party, has met with the success which the minister claims. I suggest that the hon. member take a look at the statistics. He will see that the scale of success is concentrated in the province of Ontario. I have given an example from my own constituency to indicate that right here it really is not meeting the growing need. The growing need is, surely, the technical training of young people from 17 to 22 and the retraining of those people in the work force who cannot get jobs now and are practically unemployable.

We have a very good unemployment insurance office in Port Arthur and a good one in Fort William. I think the officials who work there are as knowledgeable about the problems in the region as are any of our school teachers or our school principals or our inspectors. They have told me repeatedly how difficult it is to carry on a retraining program. Our board of education in Toronto is co-operative. It has found facilities. Women are taking classes in hairdressing and men have learned how to repair television sets. They have tried to find something flexible that will retrain people and give them a

better chance of getting jobs; but in the main these programs are very short-range. They are ad hoc and very limited in the success they are having in meeting the problem. It seems to me the effort has to be along the lines suggested by the northwestern Ontario committee on employment. I think that one of the main things that has to be done is to establish these vocational guidance and testing centres not only in our region but right across the country.

I cannot take up the time of the committee any longer on this item. I certainly have had my share of the discussion. But I should like to appeal to the minister, whom I have always found to be fair, much as I disagree with his approach to certain aspects of his responsibilities, to immediately have a review of this program, to bring in all the education ministers from across the country. I should like to know, for example, what Mr. Paul Lajoie of Quebec feels about this program.

I should like him to give the minister an explanation as to why Quebec could take only that amount of money and Ontario could take so much more. I think this is a question that needs to be resolved and the minister can do it only by having that kind of review of the situation.

I know the minister can readily say that, this being such a popular program, this kind of approach is unnecessary. I know it is very popular in Port Arthur. As I said we are getting a $3 million high school without any capital costs devolving upon the taxpayers but I wonder whether that may not be the very reason why it is difficult in Ontario to obtain a really constructive analysis of what this program is doing. As I said earlier in my remarks, no one is going to kick Santa Claus in the face.

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LIB

John Whitney Pickersgill

Liberal

Mr. Pickersgill:

Mr. Speaker, I should like to put a question to the minister about this program and about the relationship of the program to something that was said last night on television by the Prime Minister. In order to make my question intelligible I should like to read this paragraph from what the Prime Minister said. He said:

Now, there's one problem that's causing me a great deal of concern and that's the men and women who are having to go in too early retirement-

I think there is a misprint here. I feel that should read, "who are having to go into early retirement". I continue:

-some at 50. 55, up to 60, some younger. This is a very difficult problem to meet. And to do so will require the co-operation of the provinces, business and labour. And I'm having a full study made of this question, for I am determined that action must be taken to give hope to that body of men 26207-1-118i

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and women who find themselves retired at ages when they should expect many years of productive service ahead of them.

Now, I assume that that full study which the Prime Minister says is being made now is being carried on by the Department of Labour and I assume, of course, that it is largely retraining for people in these age groups-

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PC

Michael Starr (Minister of Labour)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Starr:

The hon. member is doing too much assuming.

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LIB

John Whitney Pickersgill

Liberal

Mr. Pickersgill:

-so that as the Prime Minister put it, and I thought very well-

Mr. Pallet!: It was an excellent speech.

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LIB

John Whitney Pickersgill

Liberal

Mr. Pickersgill:

-they could have many years of productive service ahead of them.

I am sure we would all like the minister to tell us about this study. We would like to know who in his department is carrying it on, how it is being carried on, how it is organized and how it fits into the vocational training program of the government.

I feel it was very opportune that the Prime Minister should have made this speech last night when the estimates of the department are before us. I thought it would have been even better if the minister when he brought the estimates before us had told us about this study and given us all the details so all of us could have talked about it. But now that the Prime Minister has told us this useful study is being made, would the minister tell us something more about it and particularly the lines it is following and the direction it is taking and who is carrying it out?

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PC

Michael Starr (Minister of Labour)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Starr:

Mr. Chairman, the hon. member for Bonavista-Twillingate is doing a considerable amount of assuming on the basis of a speech made by the Prime Minister last evening. If the hon. gentleman wishes complete details I suggest to him that he ask the Prime Minister on the orders of the day.

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LIB

John Whitney Pickersgill

Liberal

Mr. Pickersgill:

Well, Mr. Chairman, the minister has been a member of this house for quite a while and by this time he ought to know about the rules of this house. Under the rules, as the minister should know, it would be a totally inappropriate question for the orders of the day.

If there is any such study going on at all surely the minister knows about it. If these people are to have many more years of productive service-the people who are being retired too early-they will only have those years of productive service because they have some kind of training and surely the training is going to be done under the aegis of the Department of Labour.

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If what the minister is saying is that this is just so much hot air on the Prime Minister's part and that there is no such study at all and that he knows nothing about it, let him get up and say so; but if there is any substance in this, as I assumed there was in my innocence, because the Prime Minister had said it, let him tell us what part his department is having in this study, what members of his department are taking part in it and what the nature of the study is.

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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. Chevrier:

No answer.

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LIB
LIB
PC

Charles Alexander (Sandy) Best

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Best:

Mr. Chairman, it was not my intention to participate in this debate but when I entered the chamber this evening the hon. member for Peterborough had the floor. His comments were so fantastic that they aroused my interest and I feel compelled to reply to some of the fallacious remarks that emanated from that corner of the house this evening.

I feel that the hon. member for Peel in a capable fashion has put the record straight in clear and emphatic terms. The hon. gentleman delivered a hard-hitting and excellent speech.

The speech made by the hon. member for Port Arthur to which we have just listened was somewhat more temperate and perhaps more positive than that of his seatmate from Peterborough whose speech was one of the most completely negative utterances I have heard in this chamber for a long time. If one sought to attempt to destroy a scheme and pour cold water on a program, one could not have succeeded to a greater extent than did the hon. member. I must say I cannot think of an educational program at any level in Canada which is as significant as this concerted attack by the government.

In my own riding of Halton in Burlington, Oakville and Georgetown three technical wing additions to high schools have been approved for a total federal contribution of approximately $4 million and possibly there may be further interest on the part of other communities in the riding. This is partially a sudden or crash program, but in view of the arrogance of the previous Liberal administration with its intellectual wastelands and lost time-and the hon. member for Trinity who spoke earlier was a member of the former government-surely we have some catching up to do in this country and must get at this rather quickly.

The statistics used by the hon. member for Port Arthur were, I thought, somewhat erroneous. I do not have all the figures with me this evening. I will accept his figure of between $120 million to $125 million as representing the money going into Ontario under the scheme. He used the figure $20 million for Alberta. Calculations I made just now by asking my neighbours from that province, indicate that since Alberta has approximately only one fifth of the population of Ontario, on a per capita basis Alberta would receive very close to the contribution we are giving to Ontario. To say that nearly all the money is going into Ontario is completely inaccurate and if all the hon. members' statistics are as wrong as those presented this evening I think we can discount almost all the remaining remarks the hon. member made.

Nevertheless, it is interesting to examine the remarks made by three Ontario members, the hon. member for Trinity, the hon. member for Peterborough and the hon. member for Port Arthur. Do they really not wish Ontario to accept this money? Do they feel that the local boards of education and the provincial departments of education have no knowledge of this scheme and no basis on which to make decisions with respect to the program? The statements made by the three hon. gentlemen represent a significant denunciation of all our municipal boards of education and our provincial department of education-indeed of the teaching profession. I wonder whether those two hon. gentlemen who are members of the teaching profession could re-enter the profession today in view of some of the comments they have made. I really doubt that they could on the basis of the comments they have made about the school system and their colleagues in the profession.

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LIB
PC

Charles Alexander (Sandy) Best

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Best:

Some interesting remarks were made at the conference on education at the recent conference in Montreal and one quotation used by the hon. member for Port Arthur referred to federal leadership and inspiration. I have heard those remarks applied to this program in my area. I have heard it said that this is an area in which we must move with some speed. I have heard the program characterized as being one of vision. I can think of no program in any educational field- primary, secondary, technical or at the university level-introduced by any municipal, provincial or federal government that compares with the present program.

I mentioned the figures for the province of Alberta. The per capita grants going into that province are comparable with those

going to Ontario. The hon. member for Port Arthur talked about secondary schools. I happened to see the figures just here this afternoon and although I may be inaccurate here, I believe that near Edmonton there is one school which is receiving a total grant of something like $8 million under this program. This surely is a large specialized school which will give detailed vocational and technical training in some depth.

Ontario perhaps has been able to make some use of this plan with the new Robarts streaming technique. It seems, however, that many of the objections we have heard this afternoon and evening are based on a detailed analysis of municipal and provincial responsibilities. I do not say that this matter should not be discussed to some extent in this chamber; but surely we must rely on the municipalities and on the provinces in their wisdom to work out the details of these schemes within their provincial and municipal jurisdictions, the province of Quebec in a different manner from the province of Ontario. We are not a Conservative government here at Ottawa that wishes to dictate- as I think the hon. member for Port Arthur and the hon. member for Peterborough and probably the near socialist member for Trinity would like to do-the educational programs and schemes of the provinces and municipalities. We do not intend to do that. We wish to grant under a general government and a general scheme, moneys to be used by the provinces and the municipalities according to their methods, and according to their best ways and means. This is our philosophy. If those sitting opposite disagree with it, that is their privilege. Again, I think this is a complete renunciation of local responsibility. It can only mean, as the hon. member for Peel pointed out, a complete lack of confidence on the part of the N.D.P. and the Liberals in the authority, integrity and ability of the local boards of education and provincial departments of education. I have talked to guidance teachers in high schools in my riding and to provincial inspectors around Ontario and I find that there is a whole hearted and warm acceptance of this scheme.

Some remarks were made by the hon. member for Peterborough about the retraining of vocational teachers. We know that this is going on. There are rush programs being carried out to retrain and and further train our present vocational teachers in order to bring them up to higher standards for these new classes and these new courses. This is going on. Undoubtedly new teachers will have to be recruited as well. That is being done and I am sure is realized by the provinces and municipalities in question.

Supply-Labour

I am told that the hon. member for Timis-kaming in speaking this afternoon was guilty of a number of inaccuracies-I observe that he is at last listening now-with regard to students being obliged to decide in grade 8 to commit their lives to one course or another. Again I believe the hon. member for Peel has set out the true scheme. There is one year after which students may criss-cross to different courses; and, as I think perhaps has not been pointed out this evening, really none of these courses closes the door, upon graduation, to a variety of college or technical training thereafter. This is an encouraging thing. There are basic similarities between these courses. There is only a percentage- perhaps 20 per cent-of specialized training in the different courses. There are many subjects which will be common areas in the first three streams. This will not close doors or possibilities to any students to further their education and their training beyond the secondary school level.

I must admit that I was troubled at first by this seeming inflexibility of the scheme. However, on better acquaintance I now realize the tremendous flexibility it has, the great choice provided in the fact that students can go on from there to a variety of things after their secondary schooling.

The hon. member for Peterborough also said that we should be training, instead, the unemployed. Of course we are doing that. We are doing that in my riding. In the town of Oakville the province, the federal government and the municipality and the school board, as a matter of fact-that much decried school board about which we heard so much earlier this evening-have taken it upon themselves, on their own initiative, to cooperate seeing the opening made by our Minister of Labour here, through this provincial federal scheme, to retrain some of the unemployed in our area. This scheme is just starting to catch on. There is not perhaps a tremendous volume of students as yet but this is a very healthy sign in the training of the unemployed. We are trying to classify them and to train those who are most capable of receiving that training and to give them courses which will make them able to fit into a wider variety of jobs.

As I have said, hon. members opposite who have spoken this evening have raised problems which are largely provincial in nature. The basic conclusion to which we must come is that this is part of a concerted socialist bureaucratic attack on the problem of education in this country. I am not one who feels that our government in a variety of ways should not contribute to some extent to education. However, I am far from thinking that we at this level should control the curricula,

Supply-Labour

the students, the methods of study and the training of teachers at the federal level. From some of the remarks made here this evening I can only conclude that this is the direction in which the New Democratic party would head. As was mentioned by the hon. member for Peel, I think that everybody would have to move to Ottawa. We would let all the little boards go and let the provincial departments go and we would have one glorified huge bureaucratic department of education here in Ottawa. I think that is just as ridiculous as it sounds. If they wish to vote against this program I think possibly we may see just what their objections are. However, the sort of negative remarks which we have heard this evening-

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF LABOUR
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March 15, 1962