Mr. J. A. Blanchette (Compton-Fronlenac):
Mr. Speaker, the subject matter of this resolution reverses the flight of time for me some 18 years or so back to 1937, when I had occasion to speak on a similar resolution. As the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration has just stated, the resolution for national scholarships had at that time been introduced by the then member for Essex East, who still has the honour to represent-and ably represent-this same constituency in the person of the Minister of National Health and Welfare (Mr. Martin).
The resolution of 18 years ago was very well presented, and the expose that the sponsor made at the time fully outlined the needs as well as the possible consequences of putting the resolution into effect. Since that time similar resolutions have been introduced into this house, predicated always on the beneficial results which would be derived nationally by the implementation of its subject matter. Although 18 years have passed since the first resolution was introduced by the hon. member for Essex East in 1937, we have had this afternoon positive and tangible evidence of another very able presentation of the subject matter of the present debate, by the hon. member for York Centre, who introduced the resolution. I wish to congratulate him on his speech this afternoon on national scholarships, and his invitation, especially to the members from Quebec, to take part in this discussion is the reason why I am only too glad to support the resolution presented to us by him.
It is patent to us all that the purpose of the resolution is to supplement, if possible, the educational efforts not only of the federal and provincial governments but of all existing organizations interested in the subject of education.
Education is a heritage that we ourselves in this generation must assist in every possible way so that, as we pass from the field of activity, we shall leave behind us those who are probably better educated than we have had an opportunity of being. The resolution also means a greater use of our educational system and making of that system a greater national asset and a greater national benefit.
That there is often financial embarrassment to many of our students cannot be gainsaid.
It we take into consideration the fact that 44 per cent of the children of the country issue from 14 per cent only of Canadian families, the assistance which can be given to needy students is recognized by all of us as one of the best investments a country can make.
In 1948-49, when university enrolment in the country had reached the total of 80,000, 30 per cent were ex-servicemen holding bursaries from the federal government. Apart from ex-servicemen, only one out of six or seven students in Canada, or less than 14 per cent of the total enrolment in Canadian universities, were holders of scholarships, even when participants in vocational training schemes were included.
In 1938, 14 per cent of Canadian students were scholarship holders. It must therefore be admitted that we have not made very much permanent advance in the 10 years from 1938 to 1948.
On the other hand, in Great Britain, in 1947, 25 per cent of the students, apart from ex-servicemen, held bursaries. Present government plans in Great Britain will result in the increase of this proportion to 70 per cent of the total number of university students. In the United States, 20 per cent of university students are on scholarships.
The report of the royal commission on national development in the arts, letters and sciences mentions that 143 briefs had been presented to it up to 1950, and among these were those presented by the National Conference of Canadian Universities, the Trades and Labour Congress, the Canadian Congress of Labour, the Canadian and Catholic Confederation of Labour, and the Professional Institute of the Civil Service of Canada.
All of this goes to show the very high importance of the matter of education in the view of Canadians.
It is admitted by almost each and every one of us that, in accordance with the confederation act, education is under provincial jurisdiction. In no way must this requisite be interfered with, and at all times must this precept be adhered to.
I have been impressed this afternoon by the declaration of the hon. member for York Centre of the very small percentage of financial grants affecting students directly, out of the total grants made. I am wondering whether the matter could not be gone into with a view to increasing that percentage of only 6 or 7 per cent-if I recall correctly-that directly affects the students.
I know that it behooves each and every one of us to do all we can to increase, whenever it is possible to do so, the assistance for
needy and worthy students. I am wondering also whether some of our industries could not do a little more than they have done in the past in the establishment of scholarships particularly for worthy needy students. Corporation profits in 1954, for example, totalled $1,800 million. The figure for 1955 is estimated to be over $2i billion, an increase in profits of over $400 million in the last year. Surely here is a splendid opportunity for the corporations of Canada to lend their assistance to the establishment of national scholarships. In doing so they will not only assist needy students but will also assist themselves at the same time to secure the scientists and technical men they will need in the future.
The great need is for first-class men to give leadership and inspiration through their own brilliant, original discoveries. The future depends not only on the continued liberality of government agencies but on the number and quality of the men induced to do research work. The greatest need is to discover and train these men, and surely the resolution of the hon. member for York Centre (Mr. Hollingworth) will, if implemented, assist us to attain the aim envisaged.
Subtopic: PROVISION OF NATIONAL SCHOLARSHIPS AND BURSARIES