March 16, 1954 (22nd Parliament, 1st Session)


Frederick George Hahn

Social Credit

Mr. F. G. J. Hahn (New Westminster):

Mr. Speaker, we in this group agree that this is a good bill. However, as with so many things, we find that it does not go quite as far as we would wish it to go. I am happy to see that the government is going to set up a committee to study the bill further, because I feel quite sure that it can stand some additional study. I think we are extremely fortunate in this parliament to have among the members one who has spent so much time as a prominent educator-I speak of the hon. member for Victoria, B.C. (Mr. Fairey)-who has contributed such

valuable information at this stage of the bill and who possibly will have more to say on it at another time.
In his explanation of the bill I found the address of the Minister of Labour extremely illuminating. I was particularly pleased to note that provision was made for the rehabilitation and training of disabled civilians. The continuation of training, wherever and whenever an extension is possible, should certainly not be frowned upon but rather should be greatly encouraged. I believe that the service clubs who have helped in any way to assist these poor unfortunates should be congratulated for their efforts.
In a subsequent explanation of the bill the Minister of Labour explained to us the reason for raising the number on the advisory council from 16 to 20 members. I would say this is a good move at this time. The bill, if anything, has suffered from the fact that we have had trade, labour and industry represented, and then they have had to go to the provincial governments and ask for financial assistance. This is rather like putting the cart before the horse. Sometimes it has been a little bit difficult to get the help that should have been forthcoming.
We found today that the hon. member for Cape Breton South had added substantially to the debate on the bill. I noted one remark he made respecting the provinces and the fact that they would not be capable of participating on a 50-50 basis in equalizing the cost factor as between them and the federal authorities. I think he was specifically pointing his finger at the province of which I am a representative.
I should like to draw his attention to one of the factors that I think is important in British Columbia. While we may have a higher per capita revenue than any other province in the dominion, we also have a higher per capita expenditure for social services than any other province in the dominion. Just by way of comparison I might say that 6-3 per cent of our population is made up of persons over 70 years of age as compared with 3-7 per cent in New Brunswick. The fact that we happen to give a cost of living bonus of $15 per month to those same aged people naturally adds to our cost of social services. Those dollars are therefore not available for purposes of education, much as we would desire to give them.
I also feel that we do not contribute enough in proportion to the cost of university education. However, we must remember in this regard that universities play a different part from that of vocational training in the

world of education. Upon our university educators will depend what place Canada will occupy among the nations in the future. The matter of research is very important, and while the comparison is not odious at the same time I do not think it is entirely warranted to say that we should spend as much in proportion on vocational guidance as we do upon university education.
The bill has other shortcomings. First there is the question of educational qualifications. The minister dealt with that in part when he suggested that the provincial governments have the authority to accept those pupils who do not have the necessary educational standing. I am quite willing to agree with that. However, I believe that in the final analysis the provincial authorities in making their choice of trainees will naturally select those who are more capable, those who have reached the secondary level of education as is required by the bill. If there is any room left they will probably then give consideration to those who have only obtained .grade 4, 5 or 6 standing, or whatever it may be.
I am not suggesting that there is a large group of people in Canada whose educational standing is only of grade 6 level. However, throughout this large dominion there are probably several hundreds or thousands who for various reasons, possibly because they were living in rural areas where no institution of learning was available, did not have the opportunity to acquire the educational standing required by the bill in order to qualify them for vocational training. Many of our unemployed today fall into this category and are ineligible. Therefore I suggest the bill should be modified in such a way as to permit all those who aspire and who indicate an aptitude for training to become eligible. For example, if a young lady has learned the art of the seamstress at home and indicates to the authorities in charge of the educational scheme that she has a certain aptitude, she should be made eligible for such a course. Similarly this is true in the case of machinists and others. I would not decrease the educational standards, but rather would suggest increasing the scope for admittance to vocational training courses.
I would say that the second factor requiring serious consideration is cost. The cost of education today is possibly the greatest headache of municipal districts. I do not believe there is a municipality in Canada where the school board and municipal authorities are not at loggerheads over the price that must be paid for education. I realize that under the vocational training scheme the federal government is willing to
Vocational Training Co-ordination Act pay its 50 per cent. I believe one hon. member indicated earlier that he felt, and I do too, that we are concerned with adult education in this case, and that the classroom education of these people should have been taken care of at the primary level. However, that is not available today; therefore vocational institutions are placed in such a position that adult education is not on a comparable basis with secondary or primary education, and probably should receive more assistance from the federal government.
I am quite aware that the federal authorities say that education is a provincial job. No doubt the provinces are jealous of their rights and want to look after their educational problems. However, the municipalities are very much in need of assistance, and since their only source of revenue is the direct taxation dollar they should be given more consideration. That might be given some thought.
I was interested in studying the report of the first national conference on apprenticeship in trades and industries, held at Ottawa on May 19, 20 and 21, 1952. The report deals in part with penitentiaries, and the interesting feature so far as I am concerned has to do with a suggestion made by an hon. member yesterday that possibly we would not have quite so much crime or so many criminals if we had more vocational training. In studying the report I found the following of interest. The total male population of the penitentiaries of Canada at that time was approximately 4,500. Those under 30 years of age numbered about 3,000 and those under 21 about 500. The report stated that 98 per cent of those people would be leaving these institutions as free men and returning to society.
I know the penitentiaries have a vocational training scheme. Apparently it is an excellent one, because the results would indicate that they are paying attention to vocational training. The penitentiaries have within them nothing but the worst criminals in the country, and this is what we find. Of 465 discharged, who had received vocational training, 86 per cent have not become repeaters in crime. That is a very notable factor. Apparently the reason they have not become repeaters is that they have taken vocational training courses. On the other hand, in the case of those individuals who did not take vocational training courses we find that only 40 per cent have not committed further crimes.
I would say it is better to stop a potential criminal by training him in a vocation than to imprison him following an offence. Eliminate the cause of his going to prison.
Vocational Training Co-ordination Act I am sure the Minister of Justice (Mr. Garson) would be very happy if he found that the number of criminals had decreased because we decided to spend more money and make vocational training courses so interesting that more people would take them. These young criminals have indicated that they have the ability to think, the ability to plan and the ability to observe. In my opinion these three fundamentals are most important in teaching an individual art, and I believe the minister will agree that those factors are certainly present in the minds of these individuals. They should be encouraged along the right line of thinking. Make them eligible for jobs, and thus do away with the problem of criminal repeaters. It might be that a certain course would not be available at a particular institution, and it might be necessary to transfer a prisoner from one institution to another so he could take the course he wished. However, remember that education is cheaper than incarceration.
Another factor is the apprenticeship system. The industries taking part in this program are to be commended. I know that a good number of them have spent several thousands of dollars, and they are certainly doing an excellent job. The federal government, with the co-operation of the provincial governments and the industries themselves, has an excellent opportunity to bring about far-reaching results. I would say that we should have a rigorous apprenticeship system which would remove some of the unskilled labour from the ranks of the unemployed. I am in agreement with the hon. member for Cape Breton South that when in previous times the unemployed population stood at approximately 400,000, there were jobs available for about 370,000.
The apprenticeship system will re-establish the higher quality of workmanship. We often hear it said that we are losing our markets. Perhaps one of the reasons is that our products are deficient in quality. That may be possible, and is something that should be investigated. The apprenticeship system will result in a reduction in crime and immorality among our youth, and stop overcrowding in our penal institutions. I have already dealt with this matter to some extent.
Can it be that we have reached that point in our industrial revolution where the apprenticeship system is a necessary part of our guilds and unions system? I believe the industrial revolution we have today is probably as great as the one we had some centuries ago. Any apprenticeship system that is advocated must of necessity become an integral part of our method of solving our problems

in industry. Certainly the matter of guilds and unions should be investigated by provincial departments of education and by our federal government.
Perhaps hon. members would be interested in some of the factors set out in the book to which I referred earlier in these remarks. I shall not enumerate all of them, because the information is available to hon. members who are interested. However, there are two or three which I believe might be drawn to our attention. The first of these is a shortage of learners. There is a definite shortage of apprentices, as prescribed under provincial apprenticeship legislation, in those industries requiring skilled help, to which I referred earlier in my address.
There are three main reasons for the shortage of apprentices. First, there is a lack of interest on the part of employers, many of whom feel it is not their duty to try to find jobs for unskilled labour. They are not a bit interested in training people to work in their factories. I believe employers should be taught to revise their ideas, so they would become a valuable part of our apprenticeship system.
The second reason for the shortage is the fear by the unions of a condition of overcrowding. This is very common today, and I would offer as examples bricklayers and stonemasons, who are working only at half speed. A bricklayer will not lay more than a certain number of bricks each day, not because he is incapable of doing more but because he believes that if he did he would work himself out of a job and would have nothing to do next day. The apprenticeship system, they believe, would crowd them out of their trade. That is, in my opinion, one of the reasons for a shortage of skilled labour.
The third reason is the lack of information with respect to opportunities and benefits flowing from the apprenticeship system.
There are three suggested remedies, the first of which is continued support by provincial and federal governments of the apprenticeship idea. This would require the support of institutions of learning. Then, second, organized labour must be encouraged to consider the apprenticeship problem with a view to bringing about the best results from the use of our manpower. Third, we must induce employers to expand their training programs, so they will attract the most efficient help and turn out the best possible product at a given price.
I would suggest to employers' organizations and to groups of employees that they set aside a fund to promote an apprenticeship system. So far as the employer is concerned, one of the most irreconcilable

situations is that in which, after spending a certain amount of money to educate an apprentice, he finds that employee moving to another industry. The employee is a loss, so far as the employer is concerned; and I suggest the employer should have some protection.
In my view the apprenticeship age should begin in each province at the age at which compulsory education is completed, and there should be no maximum age limit. The purpose behind this would be to make eligible that group of individuals who, under the act as it now reads, are not eligible. Wage rates, of course, present a problem as between apprentices and skilled labour. These have to be solved through agreement between unions and management, and it should be possible to arrive at some satisfactory formula.
A decision must be made concerning a standard definition for a qualified apprentice, so that on this score there would be no difficulty between skilled labour and apprentices. There was some argument earlier about the type of vocational training taught in schools today. I would say that training must be supplemented by work in industry. One final factor is that the responsibility for this program must rest with the federal, provincial and municipal governments, as well as with management and labour.
In conclusion I recommend that the following suggestions be given consideration. First, there should be federal financial assistance in education, at the municipal level. Second, the vocational training course should be made more effective by making it available at a grade lower than the level of secondary education. Third, in specific industries we must begin to make the apprenticeship system compulsory, by statute. This, I believe, would help relieve our unemployment situation, if we still have it with us. And, fourth, there should be a strenuous program of public education through all national outlets such as the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and the national film board, with a view to teaching the people to make proper use of their leisure time through courses in vocational training.

Full View