William Hector MCMILLAN

MCMILLAN, William Hector, B.A., M.D., C.M.

Personal Data

Welland (Ontario)
Birth Date
January 24, 1892
Deceased Date
September 8, 1974

Parliamentary Career

October 16, 1950 - June 13, 1953
  Welland (Ontario)
August 10, 1953 - April 12, 1957
  Welland (Ontario)
June 10, 1957 - February 1, 1958
  Welland (Ontario)
March 31, 1958 - April 19, 1962
  Welland (Ontario)
June 18, 1962 - February 6, 1963
  Welland (Ontario)
April 8, 1963 - September 8, 1965
  Welland (Ontario)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 188 of 189)

December 11, 1951

Mr. W. H. McMillan (Welland):

St. Lawrence Waterway turned. On that occasion the Hon. William Hamilton Merritt made a speech from which I should like to quote a few extracts. The ceremony took place near the little village of Allanburg, and two hundred persons were present. In his introduction, he said:

We are assembled here this day for the purpose of removing the first earth from a canal which will, by the shortest distance, connect the greatest extent of inland waters in the whole world; and it gives me peculiar pleasure to find that the line of this canal has been, located in this neighbourhood, the inhabitants of which have tinned out on all occasions with a zeal and alacrity worthy of the undertaking.

He expressed some of the difficulties with which they were faced in this way:

We were fully aware of the supposed magnitude of the undertaking; we were sensible that the personal interest of the capital and talent of the district was against us, and that we had no cooperation to expect from them, which the result fully proved. Every attempt has been made to get his project taken up by able hands, but not one individual of extensive capital in the province, or in any high official station, has given it the least assistance, except the Hon. John H. Dunn.

They had other difficulties. For instance, it was hard to get local subscribers to pay up their subscriptions, because it was rumoured that the people in Quebec who had subscribed had not paid up their subscriptions. He enumerated the benefits that would accrue in this way:

Instead of remaining in this dull, supine state, in which we have been for years past, we shall mingle in the bustle and active scenes of business; our commodities will be enhanced in value, and a general tide of prosperity will be witnessed on the whole line and surrounding country. In short, gentlemen, we are situated in a country favoured with every advantage, in soil, climate and situation; its resources remain only to be known to draw men of capital amongst us; and we trust, now that improvements have been commenced, it will increase, and that we may witness the same spirit of enterprise here that our neighbours, the Americans, possess in so eminent a degree.

Further on he says:

We remove the only natural barrier of importance

the falls of Niagara. The rapids between Prescott and Lachine command the next consideration.

Just as they do today. There is one more paragraph I should like to read which makes some comment on what the people thought of the government of the day:

When we contemplate the natural advantages we possess over the Americans in our water communication, it is astonishing to think of the apathy and indifference that have hitherto prevailed amongst us on this subject. If we inquire the cause, nine-tenths of us would blame the government.

Just as we do today.

There never was a more erroneous idea. We are ever inclined to move the burden from our own shoulders, and can only blame ourselves.

Then in one last sentence he says:

It is a rare occurrence that measures of great national improvement originate from the administration of the government.

Most of this work, Mr. Speaker, was done by hand. Diggers were hired at 63 cents a day, Upper and Lower Canada subscribed for stock, and by five years later-in January, 1829-boats were able to go from lake to lake. Since that time two canals have been built. One was built in 1870 and another was started just before the first war and was completed in the early thirties. I hope hon. members will forgive me for giving part of this historical background.

In those early days, when money was scarce, the people had vision and foresight. There was less dependence upon the government than there is today, and they tackled something more out of proportion to their means than we are asked to do today. It is true that the profit motive was present there, but in those early days the people of Upper and Lower Canada united their resources to build something that was for the good of Canada as a whole. The same spirit I would say is evident among members of this house. Practically all members are in favour of this project. Likewise, I think that we as members should support the government in projects in other parts of Canada if it can be proved that they have a good economic basis and can stand on their own feet.

I think the Minister of Transport (Mr. Chevrier) made a brilliant exposition of this subject in introducing the bill the other day. I would be interested to see figures showing prospective earnings of the navigational part of this project. I think we all should like to see such figures. In the light of present-day requirements of iron ore and of the movement of other commodities, we should probably be able to get figures as to the minimum tonnage that would be required in any one year to liquidate this amount of money that has to be spent.

I am convinced that we should construct steel mills to process our own iron ore in this country as much as possible, but I would be adverse to withholding any iron ore from our friends to the south in the United States. I think we should remember that our country was built up by iron and steel from their mills.

I do not agree with the hon. member for Cape Breton South (Mr. Gillis) when he says that this resolution is only window dressing for the purpose of providing power for the province of Ontario. I am not conversant with the engineering part of the program, but I imagine that one project is a complement to the other. In any case, the province of Ontario will pay in full for its power, and I think it is time that we clear up this bottleneck of shipping in the St. Lawrence.

The minister said that money would need to be spent on the Welland ship canal for dredging, and that the locks were adequate. There are seven locks on the Welland ship canal. Locks Nos. 1, 2, 3 and 7 are single. Locks Nos. 4, 5 and 6 are twin; they are called twin flight locks. They are built that way because of the contour of the land which is the Niagara escarpment. These locks are built end to end, and they succeed each other much like the steps on a stair. Their total lift is 139i feet. A few hundred yards from the top of lock No. 6 is lock No. 7, where boats are lifted to the summit level which is practically the level of the water in lake Erie. At the present time when shipping is busy in the canal, lock No. 7 is a bottleneck. Certainly in years to come, if the canal gets busier, I would think that lock No. 7 would need to be a twin lock. There are many industries along the canal. It is the hope that the minister will give favourable consideration in regard to the naming of Port Colborne, which is situated at the lake Erie end of the canal, as a port of registry.

In conclusion, I would say that the people of Welland county are much in favour of this double project, because in times past we have been short of power, and it will not be long now before we shall need more power in that area where power is produced; we should also like to get an adequate gateway to the Atlantic.

Topic:   II, 1951
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June 22, 1951

Mr. McMillan:

Except they differ in some details. What are the details?

That is the detail on which these eight organizations disagreed with the Canadian Legion.

The Witness: Well, the detail we have not considered extensively Mr. Chairman, and Doctor McMillan. There were some observations about means test applicable to this unemployability allowance, but the chairman of the pension commission and the deputy minister were kind enough to place themselves at our disposal for the best part of an hour this morning, and, in discussing the matter, they gave us a very informative illustration of how the unemployability allowance is going to operate. We came to the conclusion that the observations which the Legion made about this being in effect the introduction of a means test in pensions were not tenable. There were other minor details of that kind.

Then again at the same session of the committee, page 119 of the proceedings, the chairman asked the representative of the eight veterans organizations this question:

Are there any other questions, gentlemen? I shall now take the liberty since we have our officials here, of turning the tables on the committee, and saying that particularly in view of the hitherto lack of specific knowledge revolving around this $2 million supplement, that if any of the members of the delegation have any uncertainty in their minds respecting what is set forth in this, that it would be acceptable to the committee that they should ask questions of them.

Major Wickens has told us that they had the advantage of a consultation this morning with the senior officers of the department. We have a few minutes left and if the committee concurs, I think it would be in order. It should be helpful, and some points might be clarified.

The Witness: Mr. Chairman, practically every

member of our delegation was present at that conference this morning. We are very much indebted to the two officers for the very frank session we had with them.

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June 22, 1951

Mr. McMillan:

I understand it has been the feeling of the meeting that they support in the most part the submissions in the Canadian Legion brief?

The Witness: That is right.

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June 21, 1951

Mr. McMillan:

Mr. Chairman, I want to congratulate those who have taken part in this debate, and more particularly my good friend the hon. member for Lanark for his well-known interest in the sick and the afflicted. I will not deal with the physiology Mr. Beyerstein.]

of life or try to tell why we click. I did not know before that my medical confreres were so inefficient.

This is only the second time that I have chosen to enter the debate since moving the address in reply to the speech from the throne. Many subjects have been before hon. members to which I might have made some contribution, but I preferred to leave it to the experts. I do not pretend to be an expert on health measures, but by reason of practising medicine and surgery for thirty years, I think I may reasonably be expected to know something of what goes on in the health department.

I would suggest, first of all, that the department of health might well start at home and give members of this house some lessons in health measures. We all become prisoners to a system whereby we are pent up in this house from nine o'clock or ten o'clock in the morning until eleven o'clock at night. We should all have some leisure time in the evening for reading and for preparing work for the following day. I think it was the hon. member for Peel who said that the hours were inhuman. Certainly our system is not compatible with any rules of health with which I am familiar. We all should commend the Prime Minister, the Leader of the official Opposition and the leaders of the other opposition groups in their agreement to find ways and means in future to expedite the work in this House of Commons. I should also like to commend Mr. Speaker for his interest in the need for improvement of the acoustics of this chamber. Since I have been here many a good speech has been dissipated into the upper realms of space as you could not hear it. That is because our voices lack the volume and the quality necessary in a chamber of this size. The spoken word certainly leaves a more lasting impression; and when this work is finished, the use of Hansard in this house at least should be relegated to those who are engaged in research in the realm of words in order to harass and to embarrass their authors.

I should like to commend the minister and the personnel of his department for the fine work they are doing for the people of Canada generally. To my mind health matters transcend party politics, as well they should. Our only differences should be in the amount and degree of health services provided. A critical scrutiny of the estimates should always be welcome so that we can get the most for the health dollar. I will not attempt to enumerate or describe the recent advances in medicine and surgery-I think the hon. member for Lanark described some of these.

I will say, however, that many of the effective

new drugs are very expensive and add greatly to the cost of medical care. I would think that the main purpose of the health department should be to see that these new scientific discoveries and treatments are made available to all our people, and to help maintain our health standards at a high level.

In moving the address in reply to the speech from the throne, I referred to the interest I had in the national health program announced in May, 1948. At that time I enumerated some of the main features. The various federal and provincial surveys now being conducted, to my mind, will supply some of the information necessary to evolve a national health scheme of contributory health insurance.

In talking about such a scheme I fully realize that the inauguration and payment of universal old age pensions to those 70 and over, and 50 per cent to those between 65 and 70 will be inflationary, and will have a very considerable impact on our economy.

I realize also that health matters, and certainly, more particularly those that apply to patients treated in our general hospitals in the provinces, are under provincial jurisdiction.

I want to thank the Prime Minister for the compliment he paid to my profession here yesterday. I think the medical profession in Canada realizes its responsibilities fully. According to the members of their executive they want to give our people the best possible prepaid medical care. The trans-Canada medical services is really a consolidation of the seven provincial medical services already in existence. They state that they believe they can provide a better and more economical service than can be done by the government when it is government run. I believe this to be the case, because I know that the medical associations have been studying medical economics for some time.

I hear some criticism of the scheme because it is being run by doctors. Some people also say that doctors are poor businessmen. That may be so, but I think they can run a good scheme. I think the system should be on the fee-for-service basis, for we want to maintain the basic freedoms and a high standard of medical services in Canada. In any event, I think it should be studied, and I am certainly in favour of the most economical system. The trouble with the scheme at the present time is that the membership is limited. You can become a member only if you belong to a group. Self-employed persons and individuals cannot join. I feel that these details will be corrected in time.

This scheme is much more ambitious than the one I had the temerity to propose last 80709-283j

Supply-Health and Welfare January. I talked about a contributory plan for the major medical expenses. This plan is much more inclusive and should receive the study of all members of this government, because expenses incidental to sickness are the last major element left in the feeling of insecurity of our people.

In suggesting some type of contributory health insurance in January I had in mind that many schemes were in force, but they all had some drawbacks, and I will give these quickly, and that will be all.

(1) For the most part they are sold to groups, and as such are not easily available to a large majority of our people.

(2) Most of them have limitations as to the amount of benefits and the length of time they may be received.

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June 21, 1951

Mr. McMillan:


(3) They do not present a true picture of the cost of medical services, because those admitted are reasonably healthy, since they are engaged in production.

(4) Many schemes terminate at the time of, or soon after, the termination of employment. I think this is important.

(5) There is no uniformity of coverage. This can militate against the labouring man. I have known men to remain in one place of employment instead of taking more preferable employment because of the better medical and hospital coverage where they are.

(6) I have been told by employers, for instance, that they would not hire men over 50, and prefer not to hire men older than 40, because of the higher premium for medical and insurance coverage necessary for a higher average age group. I am convinced that we should encourage the employment of the older age group. Most people are much happier and healthier when they are employed. Discontent, sickness and misery are often early manifestations of the idleness of retirement. We would be making a fatal mistake to have all our taxation fall on too narrow or contracted an age group of our people. It would bog down our economy. We should rather always try to broaden that age base for a better economy and for happier Canadians.

Topic:   2L 1951
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