April 16, 1925 (14th Parliament, 4th Session)


Joseph Henry Harris

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. J. H. HARRIS (East York):

Mr. Speaker, the facts which I gave to the House in my address and the country regarding the policies that are being pursued throughout the whole world have shown to me very clearly that this one country stands alone, a law unto itself, with regard to what policy it should pursue. Like the proverbial Irishman, we are people who find ourselves alone out of step and tell the rest of the civilized world that they are the people who are out of step rather than we.
But industry, facts, figures, dollars, cents, commodities and all those features which go to make up ,our present civilization are, as I said before, not the most important features. The most important feature is the generation that is going to succeed this one. I have, in front of me in that connection, to emphasize by another means the points that I have already made. The report of the Department of Labour. What does the department say with regard to vocational instruction which is being given to the youth of Canada to-day? We find that vocational instruction affords opportunities to the following groups:
Young folks and adults who have left school too early and who find that they need more education to succeed in their occupations.
Persons who are ambitious for promotions in their vocations and who find it necessary to become adept in the more difficult processes of their trades, or to become acquainted with the increasingly important volume of technical knowledge related to their trades. Effort must be made to keep pace with the developments of industry. In spite of the tendency towards large volume methods of production, the place of skilled and informed workmen is still secure.
In order to give the people this vocational instruction so that they can take their place in the industries of Canada, we find that not only the cost of vocational education to the people of Canada is of a tremendous magnitude and increasing by leaps and bounds, but the number of people who are attending our technical and vocational schools is growing at a very fast pace as the following table will show:
Attendance in Vocational Schools of Ontario
1920-21 1921-22 1922-23 1923-24Number of full-time teachers .. .. 191 212 288.0 379Number of part-time teachers 60 49.0 82Number of full-time pupils on roll .. .. 2.600 5,344 6,958.0 9,153Average attendance of full-time pupils .. .. 2,123 4,260 5.454.3 Number of part-time pupils on roll .... 907 574 988.0 1,319Aggregate student-hours of part-time pupils .. .. 40.997 37,776 60,972.5 176.673Number of special pupils on roll .. .. 1,019 1,604 1,456.0 2,347Aggregate student-hours of special pupils .. .. 223,570 351,214 247,439.5 314,427
The Budget-Mr. Harris

You will note from this that the aggregate student-hours have been increased over four times in three years. In a like manner, the number of pupils on the roll have increased.
This vocational education of the youth of Canada is costing us considerable sums of
money, which everyone in public life is very glad to vote from year to year. The expenditure for vocational training by municipalities is growing at a tremendous rate, as is shown by the latest summary on expenditures as given by Department of Labour report at page 104:
Summary of Expenditures by Municipalities
1919 1920 1921 1922Total expenditures
$659,072 82 $1,347,903 04 $1,585,086 36 $1,871,614 21Legislative grants
140,294 14 511,021 04 670,758 56 638,217 28
This expenditure is an index of the amount of time, effort and money which is being placed at the disposal of the young people of Canada, to train them in the vocation of the industrial life of the country. The passing of estimates in this connection by public men of all stripes is an endorsation of the policy that it is the intention of all parties in Canada to see that we build up, along with other activities, an industrial life in the manufacturing of our raw materials into finished products, in order that we may have a balanced Canadian life. I emphasize this again because, across from my door in my constituency of East York, there is a million-dollar institution known as the Riverdale Technical School, which was opened in September 1923. With regard to this school the report of the Department of Labour states:
The new Riverdale Branch Technical School, Toronto, opened its doors for the first time in September, 1923. The opportunities for vocational education here offered, with adequate accommodation and equipment, received a most satisfactory response. The number of pupils enrolled during the year was 626 in the day school and 1,890 in the evening school. Any anticipation that the opening of the Riverdale branch would reduce the total enrolment in the Central Technical School was not realized. The enrolment in the Central school remained at approximately the same figures as last year.
The total number of pupils enrolled in the three vocational schools of Toronto-the Central Technical School, the Riverdale Branch Technical School, and the High School of Commence-for the autumn term of 1923 was 4,755 day pupils and 10,074 evening pupils. I
I graduated from a technical school not many years ago and I knew practically every graduate in the Toronto technical school at that time. They could be counted on your fingers then, whereas to-day there are 'fifteen thousand students in and around the city of Toronto who are being educated to take their place in industry. Now, in view of the facts which I submitted to this honourable assembly yesterday afternoon, I say that in the policy which this government is at present persisting in we are not putting into practice our ideas as to what should be done to educate

the youth of the country. Every party, Liberal, Progressive or Conservative, will readily pass estimates for educational purposes. Let us then be honest with ourselves; if we are going to educate the youth of the country to take their place in Canadian industry, we should see to it that industry is maintained in the country in order that when these students graduate from the technical schools they may be able to obtain employment and so remain at home. Around the comer from where I live there are three or four different families, members of which have graduated from this same technical school since 1923. Where are they to-day? I wonder whether the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) saw any of them when he was down south before the Easter recess. That is where they are. Honestly, it breaks my heart to see the 'best of our youth going over to the United States!

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