February 27, 1976

LIB

Otto Emil Lang (Minister of Transport; Minister responsible for the Canadian Wheat Board)

Liberal

Mr. Lang:

He has, of course, not had time to examine what he calls the parliamentary practice. If he does examine it he will find that some long time ago I indicated to the House that while sales like this, which by the way was a sale to China and not to Russia-

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   PRIVILEGE
Sub-subtopic:   MR. BAKER (GRENVILLE-CARLETON)- ANNOUNCEMENT OF WHEAT SALE TO U.S.S.R.
Permalink
?

Some hon. Members:

Hear, hear!

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   PRIVILEGE
Sub-subtopic:   MR. BAKER (GRENVILLE-CARLETON)- ANNOUNCEMENT OF WHEAT SALE TO U.S.S.R.
Permalink
LIB

Otto Emil Lang (Minister of Transport; Minister responsible for the Canadian Wheat Board)

Liberal

Mr. Lang:

[DOT]-while sales like this are extremely important, it would not be my practice, in this case any more than with regard to any departmental or governmental situation, to attempt to make the announcement in the House. I suppose if there were a kind of bulletin board occasion for that, one might like to do it so that the opposition could properly respond and say that is great, wonderful, and nothing more, instead of taking up the time of the House with a lot of extraneous matters.

In this case, it is not only a case of not making an announcement. While important, it follows the pattern of sales and, therefore, involves no new policy. However it is true this sale had been made possible because of a policy of the government.

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   PRIVILEGE
Sub-subtopic:   MR. BAKER (GRENVILLE-CARLETON)- ANNOUNCEMENT OF WHEAT SALE TO U.S.S.R.
Permalink
?

Some hon. Members:

Hear, hear!

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   PRIVILEGE
Sub-subtopic:   MR. BAKER (GRENVILLE-CARLETON)- ANNOUNCEMENT OF WHEAT SALE TO U.S.S.R.
Permalink
LIB

Otto Emil Lang (Minister of Transport; Minister responsible for the Canadian Wheat Board)

Liberal

Mr. Lang:

It allows for a guarantee by the government of the credit involved on the part of the buyer, China. However, as I say, that is a standing policy which I am sure was discussed in the House at the time it was first introduced. It is not necessary to indicate its specific use each time it is utilized.

The sale to China represents another kind of government policy, maintaining a good relationship with a country like China. We have maintained that relationship as we have done with Cuba, even though hon. members opposite may argue about specific acts on the part of the government. We have maintained the position of a good trading relationship. An open door is important.

February 27, 1976

Privilege-Mr. W. Baker

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   PRIVILEGE
Sub-subtopic:   MR. BAKER (GRENVILLE-CARLETON)- ANNOUNCEMENT OF WHEAT SALE TO U.S.S.R.
Permalink
LIB

Gérald Laniel (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Liberal

Mr. Deputy Speaker:

Order, please. I am sure the minister will agree that he is getting far away from the point of order.

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   PRIVILEGE
Sub-subtopic:   MR. BAKER (GRENVILLE-CARLETON)- ANNOUNCEMENT OF WHEAT SALE TO U.S.S.R.
Permalink
LIB

Otto Emil Lang (Minister of Transport; Minister responsible for the Canadian Wheat Board)

Liberal

Mr. Lang:

Mr. Speaker, I think you might find from examining the record that I have not gone much further afield than the hon. member, but I will nonetheless adhere to your good advice and stay with the question of privilege.

Announcement of this 35 million bushel sale by the Canadian Wheat Board with credit terms over an 18 month period was, as a matter of practice, made simultaneously by the Canadian Wheat Board as the selling agent and by myself because of the government policies involved, including the credit. The time for making the announcement is, in fact, determined as a matter of course by the Canadian Wheat Board. I try to accommodate their time as much as possible. I make myself available to the press because of the great interest to the nation in the matter. The House finds out about it immediately as well.

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   PRIVILEGE
Sub-subtopic:   MR. BAKER (GRENVILLE-CARLETON)- ANNOUNCEMENT OF WHEAT SALE TO U.S.S.R.
Permalink
?

Some hon. Members:

Hear, hear!

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   PRIVILEGE
Sub-subtopic:   MR. BAKER (GRENVILLE-CARLETON)- ANNOUNCEMENT OF WHEAT SALE TO U.S.S.R.
Permalink
LIB

Gérald Laniel (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Liberal

Mr. Deputy Speaker:

Hon. members will agree that the Chair should not get involved in the debate that had taken place. The question that has been raised may be of importance, but the Chair only has to decide whether a prima facie case of privilege is involved.

The question is of importance to the hon. member for Grenville-Carleton (Mr. Baker) and other hon. members. It is of great interest to the Canadian people. However, insofar as a breach of the privileges of hon. members is concerned, all precedents indicate there is no way the Chair can make a decision supporting the arguments of the hon. member for Grenville-Carleton.

The Chair has to decide all breaches of privilege regarding the operations of this House or affecting the rights of hon. members in the performance of their duties. In any event the hon. member did not substantiate his question of privilege by a motion that would have required action by this House. Therefore I must reject his point.

Orders of the day.

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   PRIVILEGE
Sub-subtopic:   MR. BAKER (GRENVILLE-CARLETON)- ANNOUNCEMENT OF WHEAT SALE TO U.S.S.R.
Permalink
LIB

Eugene Whelan (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. Whelan:

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker, I would just remind the House through you that none of this great debate would have taken place if it were not for the great productivity of our farmers in Canada.

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   PRIVILEGE
Sub-subtopic:   MR. BAKER (GRENVILLE-CARLETON)- ANNOUNCEMENT OF WHEAT SALE TO U.S.S.R.
Permalink
?

Some hon. Members:

Hear, hear!

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   PRIVILEGE
Sub-subtopic:   MR. BAKER (GRENVILLE-CARLETON)- ANNOUNCEMENT OF WHEAT SALE TO U.S.S.R.
Permalink
PC

Walter David Baker (Official Opposition House Leader; Progressive Conservative Party House Leader)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Baker (Grenville-Carleton):

Despite the minister.

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   PRIVILEGE
Sub-subtopic:   MR. BAKER (GRENVILLE-CARLETON)- ANNOUNCEMENT OF WHEAT SALE TO U.S.S.R.
Permalink

GOVERNMENT ORDERS

MEDICAL CARE ACT


The House resumed, from Thursday, February 26, consideration of the motion of Mr. Lalonde that Bill C-68, to amend the Medical Care Act, be read the second time and referred to the Standing Committee on Health, Welfare and Social Affairs, and the amendment of Mr. Gilbert (p. 11210).


PC

Donald W. Munro

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Donald W. Munro (Esquimalt-Saanich):

Madam Speaker, when I was interrupted by the clock last evening you will recall, I was admitting to puzzlement and was asking myself why the Minister of National Health and Welfare (Mr. Lalonde) chose this particular time to renege on the undertaking of a previous Liberal government, the Pearson government, to provide assistance to the provinces in the medicare field, at the same time repudiating an undertaking given ten years earlier by the Diefenbaker government to assist the provinces in the supply of hospital services. Is it, I was asking myself, because the minister feels that the basic infrastructure is now in place, and that in consequence federal assistance can now be withdrawn? Happily for me, my knowledge of the inside of a hospital is very limited, but I am aware of the lack of hospital facilities across the country.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   MEDICAL CARE ACT
Sub-subtopic:   COST OF INSURED SERVICES UNDER MEDICAL CARE PLANS
Permalink
LIB

Albanie Morin (Assistant Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole)

Liberal

The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Morin):

Order. The Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Health and Welfare (Mr. Kaplan) on a point of order.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   MEDICAL CARE ACT
Sub-subtopic:   COST OF INSURED SERVICES UNDER MEDICAL CARE PLANS
Permalink
LIB

Robert Phillip Kaplan (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Health and Welfare)

Liberal

Mr. Kaplan:

Madam Speaker, it should be drawn to the hon. member's attention that this is not a bill dealing with hospitals. Hospitals are covered by the Hospital Insurance Diagnostic Services Act. The government is not cutting back or setting a ceiling on any kind of hospital costs. This is a medicare bill. The hon. member should be brought to order.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   MEDICAL CARE ACT
Sub-subtopic:   COST OF INSURED SERVICES UNDER MEDICAL CARE PLANS
Permalink
LIB

Albanie Morin (Assistant Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole)

Liberal

The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Morin):

Order. I merely want to remind the parliamentary secretary that Bill C-68 is an act to amend the Medical Care Act.

As long as the hon. member points out the relation with medical care, it is difficult to call him back to order.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   MEDICAL CARE ACT
Sub-subtopic:   COST OF INSURED SERVICES UNDER MEDICAL CARE PLANS
Permalink
PC

Donald W. Munro

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Munro (Esquimalt-Saanich):

Thank you, Madam Speaker. I find it a little difficult to dissociate medicare from hospitals. Medicare is given in hospitals. I would remind the hon. member that hospital services came first under a Conservative government; it took another ten years before his government got around to medicare.

As I was saying, we know that the hospital situation and the provision of medical care in hospitals have not been solved at the present time. Anyone who has any cause to be admitted to a hospital has first to wait for many, many months in any province in this dominion of ours. Of

February 27, 1976

course, happily, emergency cases are generally handled quickly and taken care of, but acute cases, cases requiring an operation, sometimes these must be booked months in advance. For example, in Victoria it can be said that they have to wait six months, and I say this of my own personal knowledge. This suggests to me that there is still a great need for hospitals and hospital beds so that medicare can be properly administered in our hospitals, and nurses and doctors trained. There is also a need for a greater variety of hospital facilities, acute, intermediate, and chronic care.

Is this the time then, Madam Speaker, to cut back on assistance to the provinces, which is designed to help them meet their medical and hospital needs? I suggest quite the opposite is the case. With needs still pressing, with construction costs rising, with a government refusing to eliminate the tax on building materials, this is no time to trim back programs which, however unwillingly, were undertaken in the end in good faith 10 or 20 years ago by the provinces. This is what this legislation proposes to do.

I am at a loss to understand the government's priorities or whether it has any at all. This is certainly no time to trim programs. In a time of inflation when charges for medicare are increasing and the means whereby provinces can raise funds to meet these charges are not increasing, the federal government chooses to draw back on its program. What is needed, of course, is a proper balance between acute, intermediate, and chronic care facilities, all of which cases have to be housed in order that medicare can be administered. If once we can get to that position it might be more rational for the federal government to back out gently on a phased program from its earlier undertakings. But a proper balance is still a long way off.

Because it is a long way off, the existing hospital situation is being aggravated. Chronic care patients and patients convalescing are occupying acute bed space. The truth of the matter is that the government has done nothing to get hospital needs sorted out, thereby reducing pressures that are being exerted on acute bed facilities and permitting medicare to be properly administered to all Canadians, as was the original intention. I say this is no time to cop out. Therefore I am concerned in the first place with the drastic cutback of a needed program. This I find quite unacceptable. The amendment before us proposes a six months' hoist. Perhaps such a period would enable the government to reflect and to change its approach to this whole question, and for this reason I support the amendment.

My second concern about this measure, one closely related to the amendment and the need for a six months' delay before proceeding with this bill, has to do with the manner in which this federal cop out took place. In the minister's opening remarks we heard that lengthy consultations took place. Oh yes, they were well advertised. We had people in the conference centre and many discussions took place between federal and provincial ministers of health. Indeed the matter was raised, I am almost certain, when the premiers met with the right hon. Prime Minister (Mr. Trudeau).

These consultations were presumably designed to reach some sort of consensus. Then without any forewarning whatsoever, in a budget statement on June 23 last year, pop goes the weasel, and a cop out is upon us. Without any

Medical Care Act

warning, without telling the provinces what it was going to do, the federal government decided to back out. This legislation is the implementation of that undertaking in the budget speech.

If one could give credence to the statements of the government, Madam Speaker, it prides itself on its record of consulting before acting. It says it floats notions ostensibly to get feedback. But if we look behind those statements to the facts, we find quite a different situation. It consulted in the Liberal sense, in the sense that this government consults on the matter of price and wage controls. We all remember the discussions that were held before the implementation, the coming, or the appearance of Bill C-73. They presumed to have consultation on these matters and then, having encountered a pretty resounding opposition from labour, management, and the provinces, without any warning, zap-down comes C-73, the antiinflation measure drafted by Draco himself. Draco, for those who are interested, having been the archon of Athens in 621 B.C., whose code of laws is described-

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   MEDICAL CARE ACT
Sub-subtopic:   COST OF INSURED SERVICES UNDER MEDICAL CARE PLANS
Permalink

February 27, 1976