May 22, 1939 (18th Parliament, 4th Session)


Denton Massey

Conservative (1867-1942)


I am sure the minister would not want to tell the committee that public health is a purely provincial problem and must be handled by the provinces and municipalities alone; for by such efforts as have been put forth by the federal government to eliminate leprosy, and toward the reduction of maternal deaths, he admits, and the government admit, that the federal administration has the right to participate with the provinces and the municipalities towards the elimination of preventable disease and the cure of curable disease. By this very admission, therefore, I do not see that any minister can rise in his place and say that what I have been discussing this evening is of no concern of the federal government.
I draw the attention of the minister to the fact that his department asks for only about $1,000,000 to be spent towards the reduction of a national wastage which runs into hundreds of millions of dollars a year. We sit here and are asked to vote for public works large sums running into hundreds of millions. This is regarded by many as an expense which is a palliative, perhaps necessary for the time being but nothing permanent about it. At the same time we are asked to vote only about 8 per cent of the cost of the new Canadian National Railways terminal in Montreal for the maintenance of the health of the people of Canada. Even the Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Gardiner) has no difficulty whatsoever in having passed, for the health of animals, essentially twice or three times the amount we spend federally for public health.

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