September 14, 1945 (20th Parliament, 1st Session)


Harry Leader



I will read part of the affidavit of Victoria Wilson, of 367 Kensington street, St. James, Manitoba. She made a sworn affidavit before a notary public on July 3, 1945, and from it I quote:
That the said Doctor Edith Lautsch-
That is the lady doctor who is the secretary of the commission.
-interviewed me for about an hour and a half and made lengthy notes. She talked a great deal about Doctor Davidson, his patients, his methods and his treatments. She made the definite statement that there was nothing in Doctor Davidson's supposed cure for cancer; that his serum treatments did more harm than good by postponing operations which ought to be performed at the early stages of cancer.
7. That the said Doctor Lautsch asked me whether I thought that Doctor Davidson had helped me. I replied that I certainly thought he had; that I had been greatly benefited and my health much improved since coming under his care and taking his treatments and gave him the credit for it.
8. That the said Doctor Lautsch said, among other things at the said interview, that it had been proved that some of Doctor Davidson's patients whom he claimed to have cured of cancer had never had cancer at all; and that out of about 400 of his patients over 300 had died.
9. That the said Doctor Lautsch further said she considered Doctor Thorlakson one of the best cancer doctors in Winnipeg, that she would

The Address-Mr. Leader

recommend me to go to him, except that he was so strongly prejudiced against Doctor Davidson.
There are some good features in the commission's report. If I have not already done so, I want to say now that I believe that every man on that commission was a man of integrity. I only know one of them personally, and that is Doctor Savage, the chairman. I know he is a capable pathologist. He is a man of integrity for whom I have the utmost respect. The other members are medical men whom I do not know personally, but I ascribe nothing but honesty to their motives. But when we remember that these men are steeped in the old orthodox doctrines of medical men it will be understood that there might be a little prejudice there, and while I am willing and glad to admit their absolute honesty, it may be that their reasoning is not so good as it might have been. Here is another extract from the report which gives us an inkling that there is really something to Doctor Davidson's treatment, because it says:
Approximately seventy per cent of the patients living at the time of the investigation claimed subjective improvement and gained weight at least for a time. Many testified that they felt better than they had for years, in spite of evidence that the disease was extending.
Mr. Speaker, are we to continue to combat the greatest scourge of mankind, the disease of cancer, by following the old orthodox methods? Is it not time we looked around for something that might prevent cancer? This was Doctor Davidson's ambition since he started this work. Curing cancer was only a secondary consideration. He was advised, as I said, by at least one medical practitioner to carry on his work, and his idea was to find a preventive for cancer. If you can prevent disease you do not need a cure. Just think of what they have done with diphtheria, typhoid fever and smallpox, and imagine what they are going to do in the future, both our older doctors who remained home in Canada and those who are overseas. Great improvements will be instituted with regard to all diseases, and I am looking for some great improvement in regard to cancer.
But I am dealing with the commission, Mr. Speaker, and I want to give you one of the conclusions to which they came:
2. That no public money be voted to aid further experiments of the general kind carried on by Doctor Davidson with mice unless it be for an extensive and prolonged programme of experimental work conducted by an adequate personnel.

That is exactly what Doctor Davidson has been asking for; not a dollar of public money, not a donation, although he has received some, and was glad to receive the help. But he asks for a clinical test. There is the ray of hope; there, gleams out the fact that if the dominion government will play ball with the province of Manitoba a clinical test will be made. Why should there not be? They are making them in other lands. I read the other day that a pathological institution, I think it is the university of Cleveland, Ohio, is now carrying on a clinical test in regard to a serum discovered by some Russian. This investigation or test is going to be carried on over a three-year term, and they are getting $30,000 to help conduct the test. We want something like that in Canada, and this matter will never be cleared up until we get it. I received a letter from the minister of health of Manitoba, who stated in the concluding paragraph that if the matter is to be carried on further he will be glad to lend his cooperation in whatever action is taken. We expect action, and I think we are going to get it. If you will permit me sir, I will read a statement made in this house by the Prime Minister himself. Speaking on July 14, 1944, as reported in Hansard, at page 4885, he said:
One point should be made perfectly clear. From the discussion here to-day it may be assumed throughout the country that, because of decisions given as to jurisdiction, the dominion government is preventing Doctor Davidson from making certain investigations which might be made at the instance of government authority. What I cannot understand is this: Doctor Davidson having the reputation wdiich he has, hon. members from Manitoba believing him as they do, why the province of Manitoba itself does not undertake the work of research in relation to cancer and retain Doctor Davidson for the purpose. It should be made perfectly clear that the province of Manitoba, if it wishes to do so, can undertake all this work of research so far as Doctor Davidson is concerned. In Ontario the provincial government has undertaken similar kinds of research.
To show at least the sympathy which the federal government has had with research in a case where success has been proven, I recall very well that, when Doctor Banting had found a cure for diabetes with insulin, I myself had placed in the estimates and headed a discussion in this house to have Doctor Banting given a life endow'ment of $7,000 a year, and it was so voted by this house. That surely is an indication of the sympathy which the federal parliament has with the work of research where it has reason to believe that matters have proceeded sufficiently far to justify making a special

grant and special endowment. If the province of Manitoba were to have Doctor Davidson undertake to make a research into cancer at the instance of the province, and he were as successful in his subject as Doctor Banting was in his, I for one would be prepared to ask this house to adopt toward him by way of endowment the same course which it adopted toward Doctor Banting.
I want to advocate here to-day, as I have on previous occasions, that we spend more money for medical research. I think we spend less than $50,000 a year on medical research- which certainly is no compliment to the ability of the Canadian parliament. I think we should spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on research work, and in this connection may I quote the statement of the authoritative journal of the American medical association:
The only hope of solving fundamental problems of cancer lies in research.
I will support any amount of money the government sees fit to grant in cooperation with the provinces, which the Department of National Health and Welfare allows them to do at the present time, for the work of Doctor Davidson and other men who have given their lives to this research.
In conclusion I wish to say that this is not the end. We must have finality in this matter. Casualties of the war have ceased, but the death toll of cancer victims goes without an armistice. I do not believe the Canadian people are satisfied with conditions as they are. They will insist that something substantial, perhaps radical, be undertaken to combat this terrible disease. It seems to me that if we do not undertake this we shall break faith with those 14,000 people who died from cancer last year; we shall dash the hopes of the 50,000 people who are now suffering from cancer in Canada; the death toll will go on, and over 14,000 people will die from cancer next year, with j, constant increase in the years to come. I believe that the people will demand action, and that the government will fufil their duty. This is not a partisan matter, and I ask every hon. member on all sides of this house to support me in the appeal which I have made this afternoon.
On motion of Mr. Knight the debate was adjourned.
On motion of Mr. Mackenzie the house adjourned at 5.43 p.m.
Monday, September 17, 1945.

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