January 19, 1973 (29th Parliament, 1st Session)


Jack Marshall

Progressive Conservative

Mr. lack Marshall (Humber-St. George's-St. Barbe) moved:

That, in the opinion of this House, it is expedient that the government consider the advisability of establishing a ministry of state to formulate new and comprehensive policies in relation to youth affairs.
He said: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased at last to have an opportunity to make some representations on behalf of the people in my district and the country. I am particularly pleased to have the opportunity to introduce my private member's notice of motion which states:
That, in the opinion of this House, it is expedient that the government consider the advisability of establishing a ministry of state to formulate new and comprehensive policies in relation to youth affairs.
To my mind, governments have been groping in the dark about the problems in our country. We continue to react to emergencies that exist and then introduce ad hoc programs to try and combat the particular problems which exist. It is interesting to note that we have in this
January 19, 1973

country five million poverty-stricken Canadians out of a total of 22 million. Many of them are children.
Here we are, in the year 1973, with problems which governments have not been able to cope with over the years and only grant more money to try to stop the cancer of poverty and sickness which keeps growing in spite of the efforts of governments to stop it. We keep reading and hearing every day about our inability to cope with the cost of medical services, and the experts cannot find a way to cope with these increased costs. We pour millions of dollars into studies to find out why people are getting cancer; studies on mental health problems, studies on nutrition, studies on the use of drugs.
We debate here in the House of Commons, in embarrassment, the problems of national unity, and we are at a stage today where the senior citizens of our country cannot cope with the cost of living. We have citizens in our country who in their later years cannot cope with society because of lack of education or because of the deterioration of their bodies. We are wondering why teenagers are reacting to the establishment, the supposed experts who are supposed to have all the answers about the future of our country. But we have failed miserably and are now at the stage where we must try to cure the ills with stopgap measures which are only temporary preventatives.
The problem is that we as legislators cannot see the forest for the trees. We are trying, through political bumbling, to direct efforts to ease the burden by an approach which will never solve the problem because we do not get to the source of the problem. To my mind, the answer is to concentrate our efforts toward our youth. We will never do it by creating programs with fancy names such as we have in our Department of National Health and Welfare- programs like Recreation Canada, Sports Canada, Hockey Canada, or by directing funds to create a few teams which will win championships. Neither will we do it by creating a few athletes who happen to have had the advantage of having the facilities provided because of political patronage. The answer is in youth development, the true development of the bodies of all our youth, whether they live in Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal or in the smallest hamlet in rural Canada.
It is a wonder to me why we seem to have such a hangup about becoming champions. I wonder what benefits have been derived from winning, for example, Olympic gold medals, and then we wonder why we cannot win a medal in spite of all the funds that are poured in. What have the great Olympic games proved over the years? To my mind, they proved in Germany last year that the competing countries of the world have no other objective in sending their athletes to the Olympic games, which are supposed to cement world unity, peace and understanding, than selfish, narrow aims. What did we accomplish in Germany other than the fact that some people of warped minds were able to ruin the games by the massacre of innocent athletes?
The answer, I say again, is youth development in Canada; it is to direct our efforts to the development of the bodies of our youngsters at primary school age. The answer is to provide a program to satisfy every child in
Youth Affairs
our country, whether he lives in the largest city which provides many advantages or in the smallest hamlet where these advantages are all too few.
There is no one here more interested in the education of our youth than I am, but there is more to education than improvement of the mind. We must at the same time and coincidentally try to improve the development of the bodies of our children through a co-ordinated effort in education programs-to improve minds and bodies alike, not to create hockey champions or track champions to compete for the sole purpose of winning medals. We should direct our activities toward a co-ordinated effort to produce more healthy Canadian citizens for the good of the country.
The answer lies in creating a ministry of state for youth affairs to co-ordinate and direct an effort with the provinces to set up a youth program which would achieve the objective of developing better and healthier Canadian citizens. Under this ministry we could provide the leadership and the guidance that is necessary for all our youth, not only in direct sports but in physical fitness. We must teach the child teamwork, give him leadership training and teach him comradeship. We must let the child follow his natural instincts and prove his leadership qualities, instead of being left in the background because he does not have the attributes of the hockey player.
The future of our country lies in our youth, but we will not correct the problems of our youth by stopgap measures. We must get to the source of the problem. We must provide leadership and guidance to the youth at primary school age by a program designed to develop each individual's attributes toward his greater pride and distinction and, most important, make him feel that he is contributing as much as his comrades who have greater advantages.
Heretofore, Mr. Speaker, our program was narrow and downright stupid. Instead of using our common sense we have been listening to the supposed experts in the sports world who could not care less about our youth and our country other than to write a controversial column in the sports pages for their own selfish aims. They have all the answers because they are charged with the responsibility of preparing a sports column, but it is obvious, to me at least, that they could not care less what happens to the vast majority of the youth of our country.
There was no one more proud than I when Team Canada struggled to victory over Russia in the hockey series last year. But what did we accomplish other than the false pride of those few with advantages, while those who cheered in every nook and cranny of our country are suffering due to the lack of foresight of the leaders of our country in developing all of our youth rather than a chosen few.
I was dismayed last year when one of the best programs in physical fitness for youth, sponsored by the Canadian Legion, was discontinued by the federal government because of lack of finances. I was still more amazed at the fact that the Canadian Legion accepted the decision of the Department of National Health and Welfare to discontinue contributions. The discontinuance of this program is another example of the stupidity of our experts who seem to think that they know what is right for our country.

January 19, 1973
Youth Affairs
All provinces have departments concerned with correcting the problems of the youth of our country. Constitutionally, it is incumbent on the central government of Canada to co-ordinate these efforts by participating in discussions and negotiations with the provinces, and in particular those provincial departments which are concerned with youth programs, in particular employment of older youths and the development of other policies for the betterment of our youth.
A program should be designed, under a new federal department of youth affairs, to ensure that in future years our country will produce better citizens, so that we will not face the problems which we are facing today concerning the aged, the poor, the blind, the sick and the maimed. Programs concerned with aiding these poor people are poorly administered because those who are in charge of them have only their own selfish interests at heart.
If we create this ministry, we will be developing a healthy individual who is able to take his place in our country and in our society and is able to take advantage of the opportunities that are offered him. If we create this department, we will not be faced with the problems with which we are faced today. In the future, our senior citizens will not have to ask the government for assistance and will not have to cope with health costs, but will live in comfort as participants in our great country.

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