It does not come from the United States, it comes from the pooled contributions of all the people in Saskatchewan. This plan does not interfere in any way with the charitable institutions, with the Salvation Army homes or with the old folks' homes kept up by various bodies. These charitable institutions no longer have unpaid bills and our hospitals are no longer faced with dreadful deficits because of the treatment given out of the goodness of their hearts.
My husband is the reeve of a municipality. That municipality buys cards for all the indigent people. Everyone knows what used to happen. Some poor old man might have a lingering disease which kept him in the hospital for months and the municipality would be faced with a bill totaling hundreds of
National Health Insurance dollars. You cannot let people die on the streets. If you are an officer of a municipality or of a town council, if you are an alderman or a mayor you must take care of the indigent. The municipality is able to purchase these cards for $10 for their indigent and they know that they are protected. So the municipal people love it and the people who run charitable institutions love it. It does not weaken their efforts in any way; in fact it strengthens them because there are the pooled contributions of all the people in the province behind the scheme. There is a supplementary government contribution but this is the cheapest, simplest, sanest thing we have ever had in our province.
I want to take this opportunity to tell the minister how much I appreciate what he is doing in the field of health. I think very often in our zeal to improve conditions we fail to give credit where credit is due. In spite of the fact that we have not yet achieved health insurance I think the minister deserves a great deal of credit for the imagination and sympathy and initiative he has shown since taking over the portfolio. I am saying what I have said today to try to strengthen his hand, to let him know that we are behind the principle of health insurance because it is the most sensible, reasonable and logical method of tackling the problem of providing medical services.
Let me say to the hon. member for Temis-couata that the reason I am a social democrat is that I have a responsibility to more people than my immediate family. We have managed to take care of our own family, but there are many other families who also need looking after. Not only are there families without resources, but there are many people able to pay for care. This is the simplest method for those people who can pay for what they require. This is the best plan for those who are not indigent, for those who are earning. This is simply the principle of insurance which is one of the soundest developments of this century. This is a reasonable method and we should apply it in a democracy. Wanting this to be under democratic control we use the modern mechanism that society has developed-government. Government is nothing but the instrument that has been developed by civilized man to take care of the needs of the group. Government after all is the most democratic thing there is because it brings to the people the right of choice. Very soon in this dominion we are going to give the people the right to choose in the matter of policy and principle. I am a social democrat because I believe in the right of the people to choose as between parties and policies and principles and governments.
National Health Insurance
I believe in taking care of all society, not just my own family. Many steps have already been taken and every Canadian province has made tremendous contributions in the field of health. I should like to mention a few of those who have rendered outstanding service to mankind and identify them with the provinces from which they came. We are all familiar with the contribution made by Dr. Banting of Ontario when he gave insulin to the world. We are not quite so familiar with the new vaccine which came out of Quebec. I had the honour last year of listening to an address by the doctor who helped to develop that, but I regret that I have forgotten his name.
Topic: NATIONAL HEALTH INSURANCE