Duncan Hamilton MCALISTER

MCALISTER, Duncan Hamilton, B.A., M.D., C.M.

Personal Data

Party
Liberal
Constituency
King's and Albert (New Brunswick)
Birth Date
January 18, 1872
Deceased Date
March 6, 1932
Website
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Duncan_Hamilton_McAlister
PARLINFO
http://www.parl.gc.ca/parlinfo/Files/Parliamentarian.aspx?Item=3a740c8f-6f39-4f4c-a247-6a76a1f4b11d&Language=E&Section=ALL
Profession
physician

Parliamentary Career

October 26, 1908 - July 29, 1911
LIB
  King's and Albert (New Brunswick)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 2 of 4)


March 8, 1909

Mr. D. H. McALISTER (Kings and Albert).

Mr. Speaker, I do not think it would be good judgment for me at this late hour to attempt to say many words on this subject. It would be unfortunate for the other members of the House, physically and mentally, if this debate should be continued longer to-night; but I feel it my duty, I do not think I could go home and sleep well if I did not rise in my place even if I should say nothing more than 'Amen.' I feel that I particularly am justified in speaking to-night as I have in my constituency four branch lines. There is probably not another member who can say that. I declare from the bottom of my heart and not in any partisan spirit that I believe it would be a benefit to the Intercolonial Railway if it should take over the branch lines in Kings and Albert. I know that the branch line from Salisbury to Harvey runs through one of the most progressive agricultural district in New Brunswick, and if taken over by the Intercolonial Railway would be a paying proposition and would not bring a yearly deficit to the Intercolonial Railway. Another branch, the Elgin & Havelock, would certainly not produce a deficit. We have another branch called the St. Martin's and Hampton branch, which terminates in one of the most elegant summer resorts, the village of St. Martins. I would not be so sure about the old Central or the New Brunswick Coal and Railway Company. I am ready and willing to do all in my power to secure the adoption of the principle of this resolution. I am satisfied that if this resolution had not been talked of in my constituency and if my constituents did not feel that I would support it enthusiastically, they would not

have returned me to this House. I am safe in saying that it was the means of my securing the majority which I did in Albert county.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   INTERCOLONIAL RAILWAY-BRANCH LINES.
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February 26, 1909

Mr. McALISTER.

It is rather late now, and I feel ashamed to retard the passage of these estimates. But with regard to franking I wish to say a word. I may inform hon. gentlemen opposite that nothing of that kind was done in Kings and Albert. Our postage cost us between $500 or $600. I wish, however, to call the attention of the Postmaster General and hon. members on both sides of the House to a little matter . that may or may not be of importance. We have a large number of postmasters in Kings and Albert, and I am safe in saying that three-quarters of them are Conservatives. That is all right-

Topic:   SUPPLY.
Subtopic:   R. M. COULTER,
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February 26, 1909

Mr. McALISTER.

I do not think that is the case; I think we are fairly equally divided in that respect.

Topic:   SUPPLY.
Subtopic:   R. M. COULTER,
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February 15, 1909

Mr. McALISTER.

That may seem a bold statement to make, but I mean it and I am ready to stand by it. The hon. member for East Huron explained that when people take too much into their stomach it lies there and causes poisoning. But I propose to go further than that. If the stomach is in good condition it will digest far more than the system requires. The little glands or ducts take up more than is necessary and thus it is carried into the circulation. The Mr. McALISTER.

human system is a machine and requires only so much to keep it going. If more than is needed is forced into the circulation it causes dilatation of the circulatory system which is made up of capillaries, veins and arteries. These are muscles like any other. If you exercise the muscles of your arms for half an hour a day, development will take place. If too much of the products from food is forced into the capillaries, veins and arteries, the arteries are going to become enlarged. They do not become stronger as the muscles of your arms become stronger with exercise, but they become weaker, and that makes an old man out of a young one. A man is as old as his arteries, not his years.

However, that is a little aside from the subject and is more than I intended to say. In fact, I am not prepared to say very much on this subject and I will not trouble the House for more than a few moments longer. In conclusion, I would say that this subject should receive the earnest and sincere consideration of every member of this House. I am not saying that because I am a medical man. But I am a firm believer in the germ theory. I was taught that in old McGill, by Professor Adami, who is an excellent authority on pathology, and I have proven it for myself in my own practice that practically every disease is associated with some germ. Of these there are three we should particularly ward against, the tubercular bacillus, the typhoid bacillus and the diphtheria bacillus. And in that fight we should have the assistance of the federal government. Just how this is to be done, of course, is a matter to be worked out by the government itself. I hope that both sides of the House will see their way clear to support this resolution. And, in that connection, let me call attention to the fact that these germs attack Liberals and Conservatives alike.

Topic:   A BUREAU OF PUBLIC HEALTH.
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February 15, 1909

Mr. D. H. McALISTER (King's and Albert).

Mr. Speaker, I listened with great pleasure to the addresses of the hon. member for Hants (Mr. Black) and the hon. member for South Huron (Mr. T. Chisholm) who have so ably proposed this resolution. But, Sir, I was surprised indeed to notice how little attention was paid to the subject by hon. gentlemen on both sides of the House. It is one of the most important questions that have been discussed in the House this year or that will be,, yet gentlemen left the chamber, one half of those who remained went to sleep, and one quarter did not pay attention. If I cared to do so I could make half the, members now here leave the chamber and could empty the galleries by saying there are millions of microbes in this chamber. Suppose there is a consumptive in the gallery to-night, as I have quite strong reason to believe there is, and if that lady should expectorate once on the floor, how many germs do you suppose would be put into circulation? One million.

The object of the resolution we are discussing is to enlighten our people along these lines, to prevent the people with that disease coming to a place like this, and to teach them how to take care of their sputum and to sterilize that which would cause infection. It may be said that this is not a matter for this government. Mr. Speaker, it is a matter of tremendous importance. I am sorry to say there are too many people in Canada who are not aware of the dangerous germs that are in existence. Pathologists have proved beyond a doubt that all diseases are transmitted by germs. When I had typhoid fever some 19 years ago, it was not known that that disease was caused- by a germ, but since then it has been proven beyond a doubt that it is a germ disease. What are these little germs like? Like the little pollywogs in the water. It would be interesting, if time would permit, to describe the development of these germs in the water, their entrance and the great battle which takes place between this germ, the typhoid baccillus, and the lencocyte in the blood. This conflict generates a poison called a potomaine, which in many instances creates sufficient constitutional disturbances to cause death. The hon. member for Hants (Mr. Black) told you of the number of deaths from typhoid fever, and I have no reason to doubt the correctness of his figures. He could have told you there are thousands and thousands dying of tuberculosis today, from a disease caused by germs, and that the death of these people was un-Mr. McALISTER.

necessary, that the disease could be banished from our country if certain precautions were taken. That is what the government should realize, they should become seized of the idea that this thing can be done, and as my hon. friend says the time has come when it must be done. As an illustration of the manner in which typhoid can be checked, in our little town of Sussex, I myself had as many as eleven cases of typhoid at one time before the installation of a waterworks system. I was myself almost ignorant how these people were being infected by the bacilli, and I am safe in saying that not three per cent of the inhabitants realized what was causing the disease. They were using water from wells which were contaminated from cess pools, &c. Every year we lost from three to six people from that little town. Some six years ago the waterworks were installed, the water was taken from a river that was perfectly pure and was run into a filter. Since then there has not been a case of typhoid in the town. That shows that typhoid fever can be done away with if the proper precautions are taken and it is the duty of the government, I believe, to prevent the pollution of our rivers. Take Montreal, for instance, where they have a great epidemic of typhoid. I believe the federal government should take that up and force the city of Montreal to instal a filtration system. My hon. friend beside me (Mr. M. Martin) who is an alderman of the city of Montreal, tells me they are going to spend $2,000,000 this year in trying to escape from that dreaded disease typhoid. I presume they will seek to do this by installing a filtration plant.

It does not matter about the cost; it is not a matter of money at all, it is too serious a proposition for that. We are very careful, as has been nobly said by the hon. member for Hants (Mr. Black), that the dumb animals should be protected and half a million dollars a year is expended to protect them. Why, then, should not human beings be protected? They ought to be. I confess that I myself am afraid of the bacillus tuberculosis. I feel that I have in my constitution appropriate soil for its growth. Some claim that tuberculosis is not hereditary. I know it is hereditary, in this sense, that, while a child may not be born with consumption, it may be born with a delicate mucous membrane of the air passage, inherited from father or mother, associated with a weak resistance, so that when the germ comes it grows like an oat in soil that has been prepared for its reception. Medical men know that patients come to them sometimes and say that they have a cough, have not felt well, associated with emaciation and night sweats. These symptoms date from a cold. The cold did not give them consumption; it

only prepared the mucous membrane of the air passage, so that when the germ was taken in it took root and grew and formed a nucleus for the dreaded disease. We spend thousands of dollars a year in bringing foreigners into this country to become citizens and live under the dear old flag. It is estimated, as the hon. member for Hants has shown, that the average male inhabitant, able to keep himself and others, is worth $1,000 to the country under whose flag he lives. We must bring in immigrants because we are not prolific enough to populate this country otherwise. If we are bringing in others, why not protect those we already have? Thousands of our people are dying every year who could be saved from dying; we want this government to show the people how to live. I am not looking for a job myself, and I do not want to go around the country lecturing, but I do not see how a better thing could be done by this government than to employ one or both of the hon. members who moved and seconded this resolution to speak to public audiences, to instruct the people in the germ theory, teach them how to be careful of their health, explain to them, if they have a consumptive in their house, how to destroy the sputum, and so on. It is wonderful what can be accomplished in this way if we take the necessary means to do it. We do not expect the government to do everything-and it would be a bad thing for us young doctors if they did. I am not surprised to hear these statements from the hon. member for Hants (Mr. Black) and the hon. member for Huron (Mr. Thos. Chisholm), for it seems to me they will not be practising medicine very much longer-I think they expect to remain in politics for the rest of their lives; they must be looking for a senatorship, or they would not talk as they do. If the government will do what these gentlemen ask it to do they wall accomplish one of the greatest reforms ever accomplished in Canada. The hon. member for East Huron made a remark on which I would like to enlarge. He said that we eat too much. There is no doubt about it. More people in the Dominion of Canada and the United States, and all over the world, die of overeating than of overdrinking.

Topic:   A BUREAU OF PUBLIC HEALTH.
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