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


Denton Massey

Conservative (1867-1942)


I should like to carry along my argument. I qualified it for the benefit of the chief whip who interrupted by saying that public works such as I cited are, in the main, palliative measures.
True, of recent date a grant of $52,000 has been made by this government for the associated committee on medical research of the national research council. Here is the federal government's contribution towards federal medical research in Canada, a contribution equal to about one day's deficit of the Canadian National Railways!
We have in Canada one of the most outstanding scientists of the age, Sir Frederick Banting, who is chairman of this committee. Why do we not give him full scope for the magnificent work he is capable of doing, instead of restricting him by such a paltry grant?
But the minister will say; "I fully agree as to what we should do, but where do we find the money?" I ask him, what is the cost of medical research compared with the elimination of wastage which it makes possible? I wonder if it costs so much to establish adequate health units from coast to coast and provide uniformity in medical services in all provinces. What sort of policy is it that maintains the standard of relief on a level that endangers health and thus threatens in the Canada of to-morrow the strong, healthy, virile manhood and womanhood of which we in this dominion have in the past 'been able to boast?
I have already drawn the attention of hon. members to the accomplishments of the health units in the prairie provinces, which have been set up at a cost of about 60 cents per capita. The Canadian Medical Association estimates that units could be set up in Canada from coast to coast at a cost of no more than SI per capita; an expenditure of only SI 1,000,000 to preserve the health of the nation and to prevent the ghastly wastage of to-day 1
In conclusion, may I remind hon. members I have not said a word about the humanitarian side of this question, nor do I wish to play upon the sensitiveness of hon. members through such letters as I have received even during the last month, indicating the distress existing from one end of Canada to the other as a result of the failure of those in authority of deal adequately with this great question of public health. Any man who has a heart cannot be insensitive to distress and suffering. We owe a debt to the past, and the only way we can pay it is by putting the future in debt to ourselves. What better way is there for us to accept this responsibility than to (Mr. Gray.]
make sure that our new Canadians are born of healthy parents, and that the children of these children do not have to face the hazards occasioned by the under-nourishment and resulting ill-health of their fathers and mothers in early life. The challenge is clear, the way is clear. Medical science stands ready and willing to do its part. So I ask the government, is it prepared to accept the challenge?

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