April 10, 1957 (22nd Parliament, 5th Session)


Elmore Philpott


Mr. Philpotl:

At the end of my speech. But, Mr. Speaker, in paying our tribute to those who have contributed in playing the role, shall we say, of a proper lieutenant, let us also be honest enough and candid enough to give the proper share of credit to the master builder of this social advance, the Minister of National Health and Welfare.
I am frank to admit that the Minister of National Health and Welfare was not the first man to think of the principle of health insurance. I find that as far back as 1906 another great Liberal had this to say, and I will give my authority later:
The state must increasingly and earnestly concern itself with the care of the sick and the aged, and, above all, of the children. I look forward to the universal establishment of minimum standards of life and labour, and their progressive elevation as the increasing energies of production may permit.
I do not think that Liberalism in any circumstances can cut itself off from this fertile field of social effort, and I would recommend you not to be scared in discussing any of these proposals just because some old woman comes along and tells you they are socialistic. If you take my advice, you will judge each case on its merits. Where you

Health Insurance
find that state enterprise is likely to be ineffective, then utilize private enterprises, and do not grudge them their profits.
That was uttered in 1906 by a very great Liberal who is still a great Liberal, Right Hon. Winston S. Churchill, the venerable British statesman. But, Mr. Speaker, if we want to find the true architect of the great reform which we are helping to enact today we would of course have to go to one of the greatest, and I think one of the most unappreciated, leaders of our century. I refer to our late and revered prime minister, Right Hon. Mackenzie King. I believe this country and for that matter any other country has never produced a more constructive statesman than Right Hon. Mackenzie King.
When I was trying to prepare some notes for this particular effort today I sent to the library to obtain a copy of Mr. King's book, which lays the foundation of this legislation of which we are completing one stage today, and I was forcibly struck by what an unappreciated man is this great figure whom Bruce Hutchison so aptly called "the incredible Canadian". He was not only a masterly statesman but he was a very smart politician, as people in this chamber well know; and he was a great social planner.
When I think of all the great social and political thinkers of the past two or three centuries-Adam Smith, who left such a deep mark on the thinking of the eighteenth century; others like Marx, who left such an unfortunately deep mark on the thinking of the nineteenth century; and other social thinkers of the twentieth century like John Maynard Keynes and Major Douglas-I submit that Right Hon. Mackenzie King was a deeper political thinker and a greater politician than any one of them. In substantiation of that statement, Mr. Speaker, I defy any man to read Mackenzie King's masterly work entitled "Industry and Humanity" in the light of what we are enacting today and not agree with my conclusion that Mr. Mackenzie King saw very clearly a whole generation before his time the relationship that exists between what I have called in this chamber the welfare state as against the warfare state.
Let us consider these words of Mackenzie King which appear in the prefatory note of his great work "Industry and Humanity" completed on October 3, 1918, more than one month before the end of the first great war. Mackenzie King concludes the foreword to his book with these words:
One of the aims of the book is to show that the war, in the last analysis, is but the expression upon a world scale of conflicting forces also at work in the relations of industry.
Mr. Mackenzie King in the book to which I have referred develops at some length the

thesis posed by Louis Pasteur in the year 1888. On page 5 of Mackenzie King's "Industry and Humanity" he quotes Louis Pasteur as follows:
Two contrary laws seem to be wrestling with each other nowadays: the one, a law of blood and of death, ever imagining new means of destruction, and forcing nations to be constantly ready for the battlefield-the other, a law of peace, work, and health, ever evolving new means of delivering man from the scourges which beset him. The one seeks violent conquests, the other the relief of humanity. The latter places one human life above any victory; while the former would sacrifice hundreds of thousands of lives to the ambition of one.
I submit, Mr. Speaker, that the master architect of the legislation which we are considering in its final stages today was our great leader Mackenzie King, who at page 345 of his book to which I have referred and in regard to the legislation we are passing today said:
Social insurance, which in reality is health insurance in one form or another, is a means employed in most industrial countries to bring about a wider measure of social justice-
I submit the following words to the consideration of my good friend the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre:
-without, on the one hand, disturbing the institution of private property and its advantages to the community, or, on the other, imperilling the thrift and industry of individuals.
It is for this reason, Mr. Speaker, that I submit it was Mr. Mackenzie King who was the great architect of all the welfare measures which have come into being over the past generation, since the time he wrote that book.
In answer to the rather shallow and somewhat unfair criticism, shall I say, which we sometimes hear from people who say, "Well, if Mackenzie King wrote it all down in a book in 1918 why have we not accomplished these things long ago", I would reply that Mackenzie King was writing a book about a system which had to have time to be built up step by step and stage by stage. As he himself said before the introduction of the national health grants, which have done so much to make possible firm foundations for the act we are passing today, those health grants were the necessary preliminary to health insurance when we were able to attain it.
The legislation we are passing today rounds out one more full circle of the admirable legislation which has been built up stage by stage in this country, complementing such measures as family allowances, which were not always approved by all parties in this house; old age pensions, which certainly were not instantly approved by all parts of this great dominion, for I believe it took 11 years before all the provinces would agree to come in even on a partnership basis; old age

security measures, crippled civilian pensions and all the other welfare measures with which we are all familiar. I submit that the greatest advance of all is the advance we are registering today in the enactment of the first stage of national hospital insurance.
I say that, Mr. Speaker, despite the fact that perhaps even in the next few months there will be sharp things said in the heat of the election. The very lifeblood of a democracy is elections, and elections are meaningless unless there are keen debates and sharp controversies. I would think everyone in this chamber would know that the last man in this country to shrink from controversies is our Minister of National Health and Welfare.
Those of us who have sat here even for the past four years and have seen day after day the sharp razor-edge questions asked by the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre and others of our genial friend the Minister of National Health and Welfare cannot help but admire the skill with which the minister has replied. I have sat here and enjoyed the expression on the face of the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre as the minister has replied to his questions. The hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre thinks up the sharpest and most difficult questions he possibly can; and when he receives one of the masterly, politically brilliant answers from the Minister of National Health and Welfare there is no man in the entire house who enjoys it more than the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre, because he is watching a master politician at work.

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