July 14, 1943 (19th Parliament, 4th Session)


William Cameron Edwards


I have not the slightest
doubt he did, and in that he was aided and abetted by others in the armed forces, a practice which is not unknown to old soldiers. He was a fine patriotic citizen, but the fact that he was permitted to pass, I believe, three medical examinations before he was eventually sent back to this country as unfit for service raised doubts in my mind as to the propriety of the medical examinations that are given brave men who offer their lives in the service of their country. I think the figures quoted disprove the foundation for the argument advanced by the hon. member for Swift Current. But it was not with respect to that that I rose to question the minister. I was prompted by the question directed to the minister by the hon. member for Edmonton East. I did not know this department had a wing of the civic hospital, which, apparently, it built and operates or to which it contributes. In Calgary we are fortunate in having what we are led to believe will be, when completed, one of the most modern and most completely equipped hospitals to be found anywhere in Canada or perhaps on this continent, for all of which we are duly grateful and appreciative. I commend the minister and his department for having provided, even at this late date, a fine hospital for our pensioners. I think it was a disgrace that the building on 8th avenue should have been used as a hospital all these years; I am sure the rents paid would have been sufficient to build two or three first class hospitals.
I come now to a question which has bothered me, as a result of the discussion which has been precipitated here by hon. members from the fair city of Toronto, in regard to the location of these hospitals. I was of opinion not only that the hospital in Calgary was badly located from every point of view, but that the new hospital might properly have

War Appropriation-Pensions and National Health
been located where I, as a layman, naturally would think a hospital should be situated- in some place with broad grounds, away from the noise, dust, smoke and distraction of city life. But every doubt or misgiving that I had in regard to the location of the new hospital in Calgary was answered, to my satisfaction at least, by one consideration, namely, the representations of the pensioners themselves. When the Canadian Legion and the representatives of these invalid soldiers come forward and say, "We want a hospital, not out in the foothills, not out on the shores of a lake but as centrally located as we can get it, so that we may have access to the movies and to the attractions afforded by a downtown district, where we will be readily accessible to our friends and relatives who want to come and see us," that settles it for me. When I am told by the men and women whose duty it is to wait upon these soldiers that the men undergoing treatment want to be downtown in the city, for the reasons I have mentioned, I say that where the soldiers want it is where it shall be, as far as I am concerned. I believe that that consideration should outweigh all others, because if the soldier undergoing treatment would'be unhappy or lonesome, no matter how beautiful the grounds might be in some remote district, where his friends would have difficulty in getting to him and he would not see the people going by, then I say the wish of the soldiers should determine the location of the hospital. I should like to hear some expression from the minister as to what the soldiers undergoing treatment in Christie Street hospital have to say with regard to the location of the hospital and what they would say if, as has been advocated, the hospital should be located six or eight miles from downtown Toronto.
I should like the minister to state also the policy of his department in regard to the suggestion I have heard enunciated and which I would understand has been carried out in some cases at least, that at certain points his department cooperates with the municipal authorities in building additions to civic hospitals, and under what circumstances that will be done, if at all. I am reminded now that at the time the new hospital in Calgary was being considered, very strong representations were made to the department that it might well cooperate with the city of Calgary in building a new civic hospital, so that I should like to know whether there is any principle underlying the policy of the department
of not going into partnership with municipal authorities in the construction of hospitals for pensioners.

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