Mr. W. H. McMillan (Welland):
Mr. Speaker, it is my privilege to move, seconded by the hon. member for Joliette-L'Assomp-tion-Montcalm (Mr. Breton):
That the following address be presented to His Excellency the Governor General of Canada:
To His Excellency Field Marshal the Right Honourable the Viscount Alexander of Tunis, Knight of the Most Noble Order of the Garter, Knight Grand Cross of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath, Knight Grand Cross of the Most Distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George. Companion of the Most Exalted Order of the Star of India, Companion of the Distinguished Service Order, upon whom has been conferred the decoration of the Military Cross, Governor General and Commander in Chief of Canada.
May it please Your Excellency:
We, His Majesty's most dutiful and loyal subjects, the House of Commons of Canada, in parliament assembled, beg leave to offer our humble thanks to Your Excellency for the gracious speech which Your Excellency has addressed to both houses of parliament.
I am well aware, sir, that the Prime Minister (Mr. St. Laurent) has conferred a high honour upon me in inviting me to move the address to His Excellency in reply to the speech from the throne. I do not view this as a personal tribute, because this is my first step into Canadian politics and I have yet to prove my fitness for this important undertaking. I consider it rather as a tribute to the good people of the county of Welland whom I have the honour to represent. It is also a tribute to the memory of my immediate predecessor as member for that county, the late Hon. Humphrey Mitchell, for many years minister of labour, whose untimely death was a shock to all the people of my county, as I am sure it was to all hon. members of this house. His untiring efforts on behalf of his constituents and the people of Canada generally will long be remembered. It is also a tribute to the medical profession of which I am a member. In this house there have been many distinguished members of that (Mr, St. Laurent.]
profession, in the past as there are at the present time. The Minister of National Revenue (Mr. McCann) is a member of my profession, who quite recently received the honorary degree of doctor of laws from his and my alma mater, Queen's university.
In passing I cannot help paying tribute to an old friend and medical confrere, the hon. member for Lanark (Mr. Blair). We graduated together from Queen's in medicine; we joined the Royal Canadian Army Medical Corps and spent three years in France. Then we came back and did post-graduate work together in New York. Now, after all these years, we are together again and yet apart, in this Canadian House of Commons.
On one occasion during the first world war it was my privilege to sit in the gallery at Westminster. At that time I heard the first sea lord, the late Sir John Fisher, answer critics of the Royal Navy, while trying to get some estimates passed. He was assisted by such illustrious parliamentarians as the late Right Hon. Bonar Law and the late Sir Arthur Balfour, afterward Lord Balfour. These were household names in the British empire and throughout the world at that time. I was impressed by the democratic processes at work that day. I have always looked upon the mother of parliaments as the ideal in democracy. There a freedom has been developed under which all men are equal, an ideal that has long since taken root wherever Britishers have gone.
Today a tyranny threatens that way of life. Our civilization has reached a point at which the destiny of our country, and perhaps in no small part that of the whole world, may well be in the hands of the hon. members of this house. We pray for courage, for resolution and for divine guidance during this critical period of our history. I feel that our chief consideration here should be for our own survival and the survival of democracy.
In his New Year's message to the Canadian people I heard His Excellency state that he would be pleased to remain in Canada throughout 1951. I am sure I express the sentiments of all hon, members of this house when I say we would be pleased to hear him repeat that message at the beginning of 1952. During the second world war Field Marshal Alexander won our admiration as an outstanding military leader. Since then His Excellency and Lady Alexander have done much travelling in Canada and have endeared themselves to the hearts of the Canadian people.
The counties of Welland and Lincoln are the most easterly in the Niagara peninsula. They are separated from the great empire
state of New York by the Niagara river in its entire length. The Welland ship canal, which was built to overcome the rapids and the falls at Niagara, traverses both these counties. The canal connects lake Erie and lake Ontario, and its course runs parallel to the Niagara river at distances of from seven to twelve miles from that river. It can truly be said that in Niagara falls we have one of the natural wonders of the world, and in the Welland ship canal we have one of the man-made wonders of the world.
My home is at Thorold in the northern end of the county. It was here that the Welland ship canal was officially opened in August, 1931, by the late Right Hon. Stanley Baldwin, then prime minister of Great Britain. At that time the late Hon. Dr. Manion was minister of railways and canals. In Thorold we say that the steamships climb the mountain, because the height of the whole Niagara escarpment is ascended in a distance of less than one mile.
In the early days industry settled along the canal in order to make use of the water for power purposes and for shipping facilities. Today the water power has been largely replaced by hydroelectric power, but many of the industries have remained and expanded. The Welland ship canal passes through the city of Welland, the county seat, and also the town of Port Colborne, which is situated on the lake Erie entrance to the canal. The county of Welland has two fastgrowing cities in the cities of Niagara Falls and Welland. We also have near cities in Fort Erie, Port Colborne, Stamford and Thorold, and our rural areas are densely populated. Without a doubt we have one of the largest ridings by way of population in the Dominion of Canada. There are about 120,000 people in the county, with an electorate of about 70,000.
The earliest settlers consisted mainly of United Empire Loyalists who crossed the Niagara river from 1790 onward to carve out homes in the wilderness. Before them and later, many came from the British isles. Since world war I we have had a great influx of fine people from central and southern Europe. More recently many of our good neighbours from our sister province of Quebec have entered our county. Living as we do in close proximity to the great American cities of Niagara Falls and Buffalo, our people have daily contact with our friends in that country and thereby contribute to a greater mutual understanding between our peoples.
Our agriculture is varied between general farming, fruit farming, market gardening and grape growing. The Fonthill, Fenwick and
The Address-Mr. McMillan Stamford areas are very productive and have several nurseries, fruit farms and vineyards.
In Welland county we have one of the most intensely industrialized areas in the Dominion of Canada. Today a $160 million hydroelectric development is getting under way at Niagara falls to add another 500,000 horsepower to the already large production of hydroelectric power in that area. Our county can boast of several steel, pulp and paper, abrasive, chemical and flour milling plants. It has several wineries, a nickel refinery, cement works, aircraft factory, a fertilizer and explosives plant, a plant for the manufacture of farm machinery, as well as a large number of smaller plants. All these industries make Welland an area vital to the welfare of all the people of Canada, both in time of peace and in time of war. In passing, I might mention that the people of the county of Welland - subscribed slightly over $159 million in the various war loans.
Finally, our county is a mecca for tourists. Not only is it a gateway into Canada for our cousins from the United States, but the Ontario government maintains the beautiful Niagara parks, which consist of thirty-five miles of magnificent parklands bordering the Niagara river and include many well known and famous gardens, unusual floral displays, ancient fortifications, old battlefields and historic sites of interest and significance to the people of North America. More than one hon. member has admitted to me that he visited Niagara falls on the occasion of the celebration of his leaving the state of bachelorhood.
In the first half of this century, prior to the time of the late Hon. Humphrey Mitchell, Welland was represented by distinguished men in this house. These were the late William Manley German, the late A. B. Damude, the late Evan Fraser, and Mr. George Pettit, K.C., a well-known solicitor and distinguished citizen of the city of Welland.
Since the last meeting of parliament the arbitrator in the railway strike has made his report. The outcome was favourable to labour in that labour obtained most of its demands. This should dispel any idea that there was any unnecessary attempt on the part of the government to interfere with free collective bargaining. The conference between the premiers of our provinces and the federal government was marked in its evidence of good will and cordial relations, which we hope will continue to promote a united Canada. Certain constitutional amendments and tax agreements were submitted to the provinces and, of course, have to be considered by the various provincial governments. If the provinces accept the federal old age
The Address-Mr. McMillan security proposal, Canada will have for her aged citizens a program that will stand comparison with any other such program in the world.
Among other items in the forecast of legislation, we are pleased to note that there is one to relieve the difficulties of veterans and their dependents.
We are pleased to note that the President of the United States, in his economic message to the eighty-second congress, again stressed that the United States should start immediately on the St. Lawrence seaway and power project. There was a report from his council of economic advisers which said:
The project must be begun if imported ore is to become economically available in quantity in our inland steel centres by 1956, when the flow of Mesabi ore will almost certainly have begun to dwindle.
This work will be proceeded with in conjunction with our country when the legislation is finally adopted. When the navigation improvements are completed they will add greatly not only to the economic welfare of our newest province of Newfoundland, w!th its iron ore, but to many other parts of Canada as well. The power development part of the project will supply areas, particularly in Ontario, that have been short of electric power in recent years, and permit a greater industrial development of those areas.
It is the hope of our government to admit many new, carefully selected people, mostly from western Europe and the United Kingdom. Financial aid will be extended to help pay the fares of many of these people coming both by sea and by air. This tide of new people will strengthen the economy of our country, and they will be a valuable addition to our Canadian working force in helping us meet our obligations in preparation for defence.
Canada is a land of opportunity for these people. In the past many have been freely admitted. I agree that the few who have abused the privileges of citizenship granted them should be subject to further examination, followed by whatever action the government sees fit to take.
As a medical man, I am particularly interested in the health program which the federal government has made possible in recent years. I will enumerate what to my mind are some of the outstanding features of that program.
The national health program announced in May, 1948, was the most outstanding event in Canada's recent health history. In the past two and a half years plans have been made to spend $50 million out of the federal
health grants to the provinces. With the assistance of these grants, health services in Canada are reaching new high levels. In all ten provinces careful surveys of existing facilities and services are being undertaken. Badly needed new hospitals and additions have provided 25,000 new beds. In various fields the government has helped to train 3,500 health workers; and staffs have been added to provincial and local health services. Medical research has been greatly advanced by federal grants. Finally, the federal government, through almost 3,000 individual projects, has assisted the provinces to intensify their preventive and treatment programs against such dreaded diseases as cancer, tuberculosis, mental illness, venereal disease and crippling conditions in children. I think this program is really the foundation of a national health scheme.
I am quite aware of the fact that most health measures come directly under provincial jurisdiction; but after practising medicine for over thirty years I realize that one of the main elements in connection with the insecurity of our people is the high cost of hospitalization and the expensive diagnostic, medical and surgical procedures so often necessary without warning. I have often seen life savings wiped out in a few weeks or months of unexpected sickness or accident. I cannot help but express the hope that we shall soon see the day when there will be available to all our people a contributory health plan to meet the cost of major sicknesses and accidents. We have many group plans that are fine so far as they go, but they are either not available or are not easily available to the large majority of our people. The statement of policy adopted by the general council of the Canadian Medical Association on June 14, 1949, reads in part as follows:
The Canadian Medical Association hopes that the provincial surveys now being conducted will provide information likely to be of value in the elaboration of detailed schemes.
The Canadian Medical Association will gladly co-operate in the preparation of detailed schemes which have as their object the removal of any barriers which exist between the people and the medical services they need, and which respect the essential principles of the profession.
Canada must immediately take her place in the program of increased rearming for defence, not only for our own security but for the collective security of all free nations. We commend the efforts of our land, sea and air transport forces in the Korean war. We are pleased to note that plans are under way to meet our obligations under the North Atlantic treaty by organizing an integrated force to serve under General Eisenhower in western Europe.
To meet our obligations our government must have adequate authority from parliament in order to proceed with the least possible delay. One of the steps necessary is the creation of a new department to procure defence supplies for ourselves and for our allies. We all realize that our defence program must be integrated with that of our good friend and neighbour, the United States of America. Our defence programs will obviously involve greatly increased spending and therefore an increase in taxes. Increased taxes are never easy to bear, but it will be the duty of hon. members to give consideration to a fair application of these taxes.
At the recent conference of the commonwealth prime ministers in London, our own Prime Minister (Mr. St. Laurent) took an important part. These nine commonwealth leaders, who represent one-quarter of the world's population extending over all continents and oceans, agreed to strengthen their defences and to stand for peace. In order to promote real peace they urged that the wounds of the last war must be healed; that settlements with Germany and Japan should be made with speed; that any feasible arrangements for a frank exchange of views with Russia and China would be welcomed.
We are deeply grateful for the efforts put forth by the commonwealth members, and by our own Prime Minister and the Secretary of State for External Affairs (Mr. Pearson) in particular, directed towards obtaining a cessation of hostilities in Korea. They also stated that the peace and prosperity of the free world cannot be assured while millions live in poverty. Contribution on our part towards the Colombo plan is a practical evidence of our government's effort 1,o remove one of the causes of war. Some of us may regard war as inevitable; but a determined and resolute rapidly-arming western world might well be a deterrent. At the same time we must try to achieve an honourable peace, and it is possible that it may only be achieved by the same zeal and energy that we put into our defence program.
Most of the western world has been prosperous. Canada, for instance, has enjoyed the most prosperous year in her history. We produced more, earned more and spent more than ever before. At the same time, in parts of Europe, Asia and Africa, people died of starvation and millions more barely eked out an existence. Here, to my mind, is the real threat to our security; for poverty, disease and want breed wars. So long as these conditions continue to exist, there can be no security for us; for they provide a fertile
The Address-Mr. Breton field for communism. We know that communism is not the answer; but people in dire need do not question the source of aid, however meagre or fraudulent.
If we accept our responsibilities towards the underprivileged people of the world and if we actively try to promote the brotherhood of man, we of the free nations may yet achieve the peace which now seems so far distant. War may not be inevitable unless we so regard it.
In closing, Mr. Speaker, I want to extend congratulations to our Prime Minister, who tomorrow will celebrate his sixty-ninth birthday. Long may he be spared in good health to carry on in his high calling.
Topic: SPEECH FROM THE THRONE
Subtopic: ADDRESS IN REPLY, MOVED BY MR. W. H. MCMILLAN AND SECONDED BY MR. MAURICE BRETON