Mr. L. D. Crestohl (Cartier):
I should like to make one or two observations on this matter. I feel like the hon. member for Cape Breton South and all those who are of the opinion that not sufficient attention is being given to the value of vocational training schools generally. I am pleased to see that the minister has now introduced a measure which may enable us to highlight the importance and the value of vocational training.
The hon. member for Cape Breton South referred to the fact that people coming to this country require training. Veterans returning from duty overseas, who have been away from their work, will need training if they intend to go into the trades. This country must keep abreast with mechanical progress, and that can be done only through vocational training.
We face the problem that the provinces are continually setting up by legislation joint committees or boards before which young people must appear to obtain what are called competence cards to qualify them for employment as bricklayers, machinists, electricians or carpenters. The people making up these boards which deal with competence cards are often those employed in the particular trade, and they may feel they have a certain vested interest in suppressing competition in that trade, and are apt to create difficulties for people who want to enter the trade. I feel that the creation of a system of vocational training schools would perhaps improve the present procedure under which young people must qualify for employment in various trades.
If, for example, a person graduates from a recognized trade school as an electrician or a carpenter and obtains a diploma from that school which, in effect, declares that he is now a competent carpenter, electrician, bricklayer or barber, that should be sufficient to enable that individual to qualify for a job in that particular trade. He should not again be subjected to scrutiny by a group of superexaminers within that trade who might be interested, as I pointed out, in forestalling competition and therefore might unfairly review a man's competence. To my way of thinking, the establishment of schools where people can be trained is not unlike the establishment of a system of universities. The previous speaker very properly pointed out that 90 per cent of our people do not attend universities. Yet, though I have not the figures with me, I believe we will find that a far greater proportion of money is expended in training the remaining 10 per cent of our population in the professions than is expended in training the 90 per cent in the trades in a form of skilled labour, which I believe, is the very basis of the future of this country.
For that reason, Mr. Chairman, I would like to commend the minister for introducing this amending bill at the present time, particularly with regard to that section of the bill which makes it possible for veterans to acquire training. Our men who are overseas away from their work, who in their formative years at the age of 19, 20, or 21 went into military service, have not had a proper opportunity to train themselves for the future. When they return four or five years later it is extremely helpful to them if they are able to enter a vocational school, if not a university, where they will become trained, equipped, and able to take their place in society. I consider that is a very helpful amendment to the present act.
Earlier in the session I placed a resolution on the order paper in which I asked the government to consider introducing legislation to allow as an exemption from income tax the fees which are to be paid to vocational training schools. I lay great emphasis on the fact, Mr. Speaker, that helping people to help themselves and making it possible for that 90 per cent of our population to become trained, self-respecting and self-supporting citizens, is one of the greatest duties we can possibly perform. If we shall encounter difficulties with the provinces on the constitutional aspect of this matter I am quite prepared to go along with the hon. member for Cape Breton South in suggesting that perhaps some federal system of vocational training schools should be created. Perhaps some conference can be held at which the federal authorities will be able to work out a method of closer co-operation with the provincial authorities so that the proper emphasis, the emphasis which the subject deserves, can be placed on creating adequate, competent, and satisfactory vocational training schools in Canada.