Mr. A. C. Murray (Oxford):
Mr. Speaker, a Scotsman was once asked to make a speech and the first thing he said was: "I would
The Address-Mr. A. C. Murray like to say a few things before I begin". So tonight I should like to say a few words before I begin. First of all I am sure I express the warmest greetings to a distinguished guest to the capital city today, one who I understand is being entertained this evening by the Speaker of the house. This is a distinguished man from the land of Scotland, James Miller, Lord Provost of Edinburgh, and Mrs. Ella J. Miller, Lady Provost of Edinburgh. I am sure that as one in whom Scottish blood runs strong I express the sentiments of all hon. members in extending the warmest greetings to this distinguished couple on this occasion. I am sure we are all mindful of the Scot today and of the part he is playing in the affairs of the world. With a shrewd, prudent -and peaceful conscience in the discharge of duty to a degree above all others, being imbued with tremendous powers of concentration, the Scottish race has made an impression upon the world to which no other race can yet lay claim. So I repeat how proud we are to welcome to this parliament of Canada our distinguished guests on this great occasion.
Likewise I say to you tonight that I am sure that by whatever waters of Babylon our tents may be pitched, we are all proud to serve in this parliament of Canada and in particular to have a part in the building of this great nation. I say likewise how proud we are as Canadians and as members of the government today to have as the Prime Minister of this country and as the leader of our party one so distinguished in the past, one so notable in the present, the Right Hon. Louis St. Laurent. I repeat what I have said elsewhere, that it is not wealth or riches that bring greatness to a country or to a party; it is the men who travel in its service treading like the stars to their selected place.
As we think of the part the Prime Minister is playing in the world of international affairs and in affairs that directly affect our country I am sure all government members will join me in saying that we yield to few in our admiration for one so devoted to his people and to the welfare of all mankind. As 1 think of the part the Prime Minister and members of this government are playing I am reminded of the lines:
Give me men, to match my mountains,
Give me men, to match my plains,
Men of courage, men of action,
Men with Canada in their brains.
So I say tonight, give me the men of this government of today, men imbued with the spirit of unity, with a common allegiance to democratic ideals and the welfare of all our people, and I will give you men who are
The Address-Mr. A. C. Murray making for Canada today its rightful place in the sun among the nations of the world.
It is a great land in which you and I are privileged to live, and it is playing its part among the nations of the world. To couch it in the language of the Minister of Justice (Mr. Garson), there is one contribution which I feel in the long run may well be the most important contribution that our country can make to the world today. Our country is a unique example of international good will and co-operation which could be extended to all nations. Our country is a dominion which extends from sea to sea, an association of provinces which are bound together, not by any military strength, not by any charter, not by any covenant or by any legal instrument. That which binds Canada together today are the great and mighty intangibles of life. The basis of our relationship is friendship and a spirit of co-operation, an attitude of progress with a common allegiance to democratic ideals and fundamental moral principles. Those qualities which have shown themselves so capable of transcending and bridging great disparities of race and religion within our own country can, I feel, achieve a like purpose in the world.
As our own Prime Minister once said at a London conference of prime ministers, while it may be necessary for some considerable time for peace-loving countries to maintain military strength in order to resist or deter aggression, there can never be real peace or real security in the world until we can achieve something of that mutual co-operation and understanding among all nations which today we are striving to maintain within our own commonwealth. That I feel is the ultimate objective of the whole world, the ultimate goal at which peace and brotherhood will be the ideals of men and nations everywhere.
I say that this is a great country. I ask any member of this house: Do you know of any other country in the world, perhaps barring the United States of America, that enjoys a higher standard of living than we do here in Canada? Do you know of any other country whose currency is at a premium in the market places of the world? Do you know of any other country in the world where opportunity still knocks and where by simple fundamentals you can find it to the extent that you can in this land of Canada?
I am sure there must be thousands and thousands of people throughout the world tonight who would give everything they have if they could only come to this land of Canada to enjoy our privileges, to enjoy the prosperity that has been made possible
through the policies promulgated by the Liberal government of today, policies that transcend the bickerings and lamentations that go out from this house, policies that have built and strengthened the pillars of unity, of security and of freedom for all our people.
Yet with all our policy, with all our prosperity, with all our technological progress, with all our material acquisitions, with all our natural resources, are we removing today some of the barnacles that still cling to the life of this country? I am reminded that hon. members who come from the sea may know something of the barnacle, that tiny animal that lives within the sea and clings to the passing hulls of vessels. It propagates with great rapidity and spreads a concrete-like substance across the hull of a ship which if neglected cuts down steerageway and the efficiency and effectiveness of the ship.
I appreciate that we have eliminated two of the barnacles that previously clung to this chamber, and which had been here long before I came to the house in 1949. One of the barnacles that has been removed is the lack of acoustics. Now with a man sitting at the console a member's voice is amplified through this new sound reinforcing system so his speech is brought to all parts of the Commons most distinctly, and likewise to the galleries. I say that a bouquet should go to the Minister of Public Works (Mr. Fournier) for his perseverance, his industry and his initiative in seeing that this barnacle of inefficient acoustics has been removed.
Then I should also like to present a bouquet to the Speaker of the House for seeing to it that the evening hours of sitting are regulated so we can now adjourn at ten o'clock. I am sure all members will agree that the former closing hour was a barnacle upon the life of this chamber. In these days of national crisis, these days of worry, stress and strain, we need to keep fit, we need desperately to keep our manhood and our womanhood of this and other democracies physically fit and mentally alert. I think some of us make a ghastly mistake when we do not see to it that we keep fit; for a man who may do one hour's less work per day, but save himself for the task that needs to be done for the national welfare, is far better alive with one hour less activity than dead, with his genius, his brains, his talents and his powers lost to his fellow man.
Oh, Mr. Speaker, there are barnacles elsewhere, everywhere. I was amazed the other day to read of the betting odds on successful marriages. I am amazed each year at the number of divorce cases that come before parliament, about which every member knows. It is unbelievable. Why? Barnacles,
that is all; tiny, nonsensical things that somehow get a grip on married life, that cling with all the tenacity of a barnacle to the hull of a ship, and cause that glorious ship of matrimony to lose its course and go on the rocks; things that could be so easily forgotten, things that become pitched battles when, with a little understanding and a little smile, they could be avoided.
That is what happens. Oh, I appreciate that the barnacles of government are not centred here at Ottawa alone. They are centred in the minds of men and women who will not vote when an election comes. When a war is on they will fight, they will buy bonds, they will do this, that, and everything else to bring about peace; but when peace comes they will not bother to go to the polls to choose the best man or the best woman to represent them at the councils or in the parliament of our nation. They slip back into that luxurious and splendid slumber of the democratic citizen, who thinks only of his nation's safety when it is in danger.
There are barnacles everywhere. I suppose members of the opposition will say that taxation is a barnacle in the life of Canada today. But let me remind them that their demands for lower taxation are incompatible with demands for increased government services necessitating heavy expenditures. Here we have hon. members of Her Majesty's loyal opposition proposing savings that amount to $116 million a year, whereas new services requested by the Progressive Conservative party would add $600 million a year to the federal budget.
I say to hon. members of the opposition, as I have said elsewhere, that you cannot have your cake and eat it too. If we want to build our defences strong and maintain the attributes of decency throughout the world, and if we want social security for all our people, then let us do first things first. Let us build so those who follow after us may enjoy the shade. Let us realize that if we want all these things, then we must be prepared to pay for them.
I presume there are a few barnacles in every trade and in every profession. It seems to me that no man who does not understand the principles of a particular trade or profession has any right to criticize it. My purpose in rising at this time is not to criticize; rather, it is to suggest to myself, as well as to the members of the government and to all hon. members in the house, that sometimes it is best to take the hull of the ship of state onto a set of ways, clean off the barnacles and set it sailing again, shipshape and clean, and on a voyage toward a happy harbour.
The Address-Mr. A. C. Murray
I think, sir, of the Department of National Health and Welfare and its wonderful record of achievement. Yet, Mr. Speaker, there is a barnacle on the record of that department.
I wonder, sir, if we realize that as a result of the research that has been conducted by that department and by men of science, and as a result of the growth of medicine and pharmacy, all of us are living longer than was expected at our births. I recognize, of course, that today a woman lives possibly four and a half to five years longer than a man. We have heard the reason suggested: that we take such good care of them. Nevertheless we have added almost a score of years to our life expectancy in the last half century. This poses a terrific problem for those engaged in life insurance, and those concerned with annuity and pension schemes.
I suggest the growth of science has been an important factor. Believe me when I tell you that in New York state in 1928 nearly 2,000 people out of every 100,000 died as a result of appendicitis; by 1948 the number was brought down to 440 for every 100,000 of the population. In 1928 the figures show that 16,000 people out of every 100,000 of the population died of the pneumonias, while in 1948 only 5,132 died. In 1928 1,950 out of every 100,000 died of influenza, while in 1948 there were only 114. There is the answer. Here in Canada also, as a result of the new drugs, the new antibiotics, every one of us is living longer than was expected for us at our births.
I think of insulin, which was discovered by that great Canadian, Sir Frederick Banting. Formerly, when sugar was discovered in a child's urine it was a foregone conclusion that it would never reach the age of 21 years. As a result of that great discovery, thousands upon thousands of people can now live to a ripe and useful age. I think of penicillin, discovered by Sir Alexander Fleming, and what a great benefactor to mankind he has been. I think in the same way about streptomycin, aureomycin, terramycin. Mr. Speaker, I can vouch for the fact that there are hundreds of promising new drugs on the horizon, and the horizon is equally challenging and tremendous.
Every one of us has more years of life expectancy than was anticipated at our births. What are we going to do with them? All of us are working fewer hours than we used to, but what are we going to do with our added leisure? It lays a terrific obligation and responsibility upon the family and the school to teach people the joy of living well the leisure time, and giving them guidance in how to spend the coin of leisure wisely.
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The Address-Mr. A. C. Murray
The Department of National Health and Welfare has played, and is playing, a significant role in the health and welfare of our citizens. It has carefully re-examined the way to human welfare and, as a result of its endeavours, we have gone forward steadily and in freedom toward a decent level of life. There is a strong tide flowing in the affairs of men; social injustices are being swept aside and human progress is at the flood. Yet, with this great record, there is a barnacle on the life of this department. The hon. member for Waterloo North (Mr. Schneider) referred to it in his speech in seconding the address in reply to the speech from the throne. Other hon. members have referred to it again and again, and I refer to it today. I mean, of course, that the government should do something to remove the means test on pensions for the blind. Tonight I am mindful of the biblical injunction:
And I will bring the blind by a way that they knew not; I will lead them in paths that they have not known: I will make darkness light before
them, and crooked things straight. These things will I do unto them, and not forsake them.
Surely we in this chamber cannot do less. It seems to me that the idea of the blindness allowance being a payment for their handicap has been lost sight of by the legislators. The means test and its regulations are so restrictive that they discourage blind persons from trying to better themselves. I am informed that since blind persons over 70 years of age have been transferred to the Old Age Security Act, under which they now benefit by the elimination of the means test, there are only about 4,000 of the 19,000 blind adults who do not receive the allowance. These are the ones whose income is above the allowable income in order to qualify for the allowance. These persons are blind, and need and would be encouraged by the allowance in coping with their handicap. Surely it would not place too great a burden on the various governments to agree to the elimination of this restrictive legislation.
Eighty per cent of all blindness occurs in adult life, and I need not say that the loss of sight in adult life has the effect of wrecking hopes and plans as well as the sense of security. Surely, Mr. Speaker, there is not a member of this house who would not like to see this barnacle, this restrictive means test on the blind, removed. I know, sir, that today our troops are fighting in Korea, and none of us is unmindful of the terrific sacrifice that is being made. There is the sacrifice being made by those who cannot see. There is more to a fight than is seen in the game. There is the fight that enters not the limelight of publicity. There is the fight that some day we hope will bring about peace. But today it is the fight of every one of us in
this chamber to give what we can to life, to serve not for ourselves but so that those in darkness can share and know the joy of living too.
So, Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the blind in my home county of Oxford, who have appealed to me to speak for them and likewise for all Canadian blind persons, I want to say that although I may have been halting in my words I have been struck by the sincerity with which hon. gentlemen preceding me have spoken on this subject, and I earnestly hope and pray that the government will do its part to remove this barnacle that is upon it at the present time.
Then I should like to briefly commend the government and the Postmaster General (Mr. Cote) in particular for the legislation envisaged in the speech from the throne whereby in all likelihood some compensation is to be given to the rural mail carriers for the extra cost entailed today in fulfilling their duties. These men and women travel in all kinds of weather to see that the mail goes through. I am sure all hon. members appreciate their reasonable request for further compensation and hope the government, having taken cognizance of this pressing problem, will see to it that equitable compensation is made feasible. May I say frankly that as the member for Oxford I look forward to that day when mail service will be made available directly to all rural mail patrons where roads are passable and kept open. To me, Mr. Speaker, it is a barnacle on this fine department that on account of regulations a great number of people living in our rural parts are penalized by reason of distance and other qualifying factors. I feel that some revision could be made in these outmoded laws whereby our rural people, who pay their taxes just the same as the rest of us, might enjoy the privilege of direct mail service to their gates which their neighbour may now be receiving.
I presume that taxation is in the minds of many of our citizens. It is one of the greatest barnacles in the road of progress today. I recall that when I spoke in last year's budget debate I credited our Minister of Finance (Mr. Abbott) with being the architect of a fiscal policy that has made Canada the envy of the world. I said that as a result Canada's credit abroad was being strengthened, inflation was being controlled, capital for investment was being attracted and the Canadian dollar was at a premium in the market places of the world. At that time I made the suggestion that the weight on corporations was too heavy. Likewise today I reiterate that, national defence permitting, every effort should be made to reduce corporation and personal income taxes. I do not know that
I can interpret with greater propriety what I should like to say than to quote the words of Mr. B. C. Gardner, president of the Bank of Montreal, when at a recent shareholders' annual meeting he said:
On the domestic side, development of Canada's resources and the expansion of industrial capacity should not be stifled by heavy taxes on business. With capital requirements running ahead of the amount new savings can provide, development is dependent on what industry itself can plow back in the way of undistributed profits and depreciation reserves. While a corporate tax rate which takes more than half of every dollar of profit may be a convenient fiscal devise, such a burden of taxation directly upon enterprise has very dubious connotations from the standpoint of enhanced national well-being.
Expanding on the president's remarks, Gordon R. Ball, general manager of the Bank of Montreal, said:
It is essential in a country like ours, requiring as it does large sums of risk and investment money, that the tax climate provide an inducement to this type of capital.
So I repeat, Mr. Speaker, that, national defence costs permitting, the Minister of Finance should give his profound attention to this matter of easing the tax structure on all our citizens. Oh, I suppose, sir, there are barnacles in everyone's constituency. I know that for a long time there has been a barnacle existing in the town of Ingersoll in my constituency, a barnacle represented by the hazardous traffic tie-up that prevails where the C.N.R. tracks in that town cross highway No. 2. Since becoming a member of the house I have earnestly endeavoured to have it eliminated, and I am grateful to Mr. A. J. Lomas, vice-president of the C.N.R., for his co-operation in this direction. In his last letter to me under date of November 27, 1952, the vice-president informs me that he has included this item in their 1953 capital budget and is hopeful that the necessary approval will be obtained to carry out this work. While I realize that this is a matter of internal management, I can but emphasize again on behalf of the citizens of that fine community of Ingersoll the urgency and importance of seeing that the capital amount needed for this work be approved and that remedial action be facilitated as quickly as possible.
Then, Mr. Speaker, while I am thinking of the C.N.R. I think also of the fine C.N.R. station that the Speaker of this house has in his own city of Brantford. I mention it by way of contrast with the dingy and ancient C.N.R. station at Woodstock, Ontario, with its poor lighting, its dismal, unkempt, internal appearance which is not a credit to the C.N.R. or to the lovely city of Woodstock from which I come-Woodstock, Ontario, sir, which is
The Address-Mr. A. C. Murray noted for its beauty, for its key of freedom to visiting tourists, for its surrounding fertile fields and for its friendly people. I say, sir, that station is a barnacle in the life of my community, and likewise a barnacle on the main line of the Canadian National Railways. This, too, may be a matter for internal management, but in passing I make mention of it in order to emphasize that something should be done about it.
Well, sir, I am honest enough to say that I do not know all the problems of government, but I do know that my business as a pharmacist depends upon the good will of the public who patronize me; and any of us who carry on a business or a profession where we are dependent upon the good will of our customers or clients must make sure there are no barnacles on the mind, or on the institution of which we are a part. They get there, just as easily as barnacles get on the hull of a ship, for it is easy to say "That's a good idea, but let someone else try it." It is easy to persuade oneself that things that literally cry out for the doing do not need to be done. These become barnacles; and just as ships on historic voyages have met disaster upon the rocks, when the absence of barnacles might have meant the difference between life and death, success and failure, so too with a business; so too with government.
Mr. Speaker, I repeat that I do not know all the problems of government, but here are fundamentals about mankind that I have learned and that we all can learn if we read the pages of history. One of those fundamentals is that no matter how much there may be of animosity and difference of opinion, that which is best for the greatest number eventually must come to be. That which is fairest and most straightforward and truly honest, that which benefits most largely, must inevitably one day come to be.
To me, as a member of parliament, it seems life can be magnificent provided we are prepared to enjoy it to the full; and the way to enjoy it to the full is to periodically take the ship of state up on the sets of ways and there study it and clean off any barnacles that may cling upon it.
And now, Mr. Speaker, I hope I have not rambled too much; I may have detoured some but I am coming back to the main track. In coming back to the main track I emphasize to you that being a member of parliament is not so important. What is important is to do the job while we are here. If we do that, if we remove the barnacles that are obvious about us, then life as a member will be a lot more pleasant and Canada itself will be a finer country in which to live.
628 HOUSE OF COMMONS
The Address-Mr. Hansell
Topic: AFTEH RECESS