Matthew Robert BLAKE

BLAKE, Matthew Robert, M.D., M.R.C.S., L.R.C.P.

Personal Data

Party
Unionist
Constituency
Winnipeg North (Manitoba)
Birth Date
January 8, 1876
Deceased Date
November 21, 1937
Website
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matthew_Robert_Blake
PARLINFO
http://www.parl.gc.ca/parlinfo/Files/Parliamentarian.aspx?Item=f7523425-47e5-4a50-9f04-74f92ee172e2&Language=E&Section=ALL
Profession
physician, surgeon

Parliamentary Career

December 17, 1917 - October 4, 1921
UNION
  Winnipeg North (Manitoba)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 6 of 14)


April 21, 1920

Mr. BLAKE:

I am informed that some of those saddles were bought twenty-two years ago, so it can be seen how extravagant the purchases were in those days. I really have not gone into' the matter raised by my hon. friend.

Topic:   PURCHASING BOARD FOR CANADA.
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March 31, 1920

Mr. M. E. BLAKE:

(Winnipeg North): Mr. Speaker, in supporting this resolution' m favour of universal military service, I desire to deal with that aspect of the .question which relates to the health of the nation as it would be improved by the training and by the inspections that would take place during that training.

Our present system of looking after our men who are at war is well organized; our Army Medical Corps have done their share towards winning the war by keeping up the efficiency of the men. Napoleon could have won out if he had had a well organized Medical Corps to look after his army, but he had not, and we know what the result was. In South Africa a great many more men died as a result of tyhpoid than were killed by Boer bullets. The first really well established medical service in war was that of Japan; the results of the services rendered by her medical officers very greatly reduced the losses and thereby increased the army's efficiency

It is even more necessary to look after our manhood in time of peace so far as health is concerned, because efficiency depends upon the health of the nation. Our developing manhood has not in the past received as much attention from a national standpoint as it should have received. The best stockman, any man who takes an interest in stock, will look after the development of his young cattle, horses, sheep or whatever it may he, and aid them and in every way bring them along to perfect full-grown animals. The health of the young manhood of our nation can be much improved by training and a better and nobler manhood thus produced. If the stockman finds it necessary to look after the development of his stock, it should be the nation's bounden duty to look after the development of its manhood. One of the benefits of training may be shown in the fact that, while the military regulations required men to have a chest measurement of 34 inches, after the war had continued for a year or two, it was found that the Chest expansion under military training and proper exercise developed, so that in the later years of the war, men were taken in with deficient chest measurement, the medical officers knowing that they would develop and come up to the requirements through training. One officer told me that it was a. recognized thing that the tunics all became too small after three months' training, so as to necessitate a supply of new tunics. That was not due to the surplus food with which they were being served in the canteen, be-

cause I think the people of no nation in the. world ordinarily enjoys better food than do Canadians. It might be said of those who come from the slum districts of London that the improvement was due to proper food, and exercise in 'the fresh air, but that would not apply to Canadians who ordinarily get the best of food and are accustomed to outdoor life. This marked development in the chest and lungs of men on military service proves .the benefit resulting from military training. We would not have had so many shell-shock cases or psycho-genetic afflictions if we had had the men trained before the war. Their psychology would have been trained; they would have been used to manoeuvres; they would have been accustomed to cannonading; they would have the military spirit; and' with the changed psychology there would have .been a great deal fewer of the shelhshoek cases, or the psycho-genetic cases that have resulted from the war. I feel that a young man's education is not completed until he has had a good training in discipline. Sir Willian Whyte, who was Vice-President of the Canadian Pacific", attributes a great deal of, his success in life to the training he had received in the volunteers of Ontario in his early days. Shakespeare has made some reference to the fact that a man's training is not complete until he has learned to dance, and he goes on to say how much better a man is in hearing and deportment after he has learned to dance^all of which may. be true. Men who have been trained in discipline are more prone to make a success in the commercial world, than those who have not. Many of the homes in our cities are not overburthened with discipline; the children do very much as ' they like from their ealiest years, and it is lamentable to see in too many of the homes such a lack in this respect. This lack would be supplied by military training, and not only would the health be improved, but the psychology and viewpoint would be changed. Our youth would regard life more seriously, and, when they got a job, they would not be waiting around :for five o'clock and payday, but 'they would on the contrary get down to business and produce an honest day's work. Such would he the effect of discipline, and the result would be of incalculable benefit to the nation. The good book says: "He that ruleth himself is mightier than he that taketh a city. Self control, which is brought about only by discipline, not necessarily stern, hut firm and kind, is something that will help

a man to rule himself in his after years and make him more efficient.

Millions of dollars of this country's money' were spent in training men for a While to fit them for overseas service, and then many of them failed either in this country or after they got to England, because they could not stand the strain. .When you consider that it cost about $2,000 to send such a man to England, you will realize how much better it would have been had the physical defects been discovered 'before the man left Canada, and how still better it would have been had disciplinary training revealed the defects at an early stage. It cost us $2,500 to put a man into France, so that you can see what a great sum of money might have .been saved to the nation by the proper training of our young men and by eliminating the weak ones.

In the United States, it was found that out of every thousand men examined in the whole of the American- army there were 557 defective. These figures are startling, and they -show that by preparedness -much could be done to offset this unfortunate condition. I am told that Kid McCoy, the.great prize fighter, appeared before the military medical tribunal and iwas -told that he was not fit for service. I believe flat-footedness was his trouble. He said: "But I am physically fit; I am very fit. Do you know who I am?" "I do no't care who you are," said the medical examiner, "You are not fit for training and I must reject you." He said>"I am Kid McCoy." The medical officer replied: "I do not care who you are; your feet are flat." This deformity does not come on suddenly; it is improved by calisthenic exercises, and most up-to-date orthopedic -surgeons agree in giving calisthenic exercises such as standing up on one's toes, to strengthen the muscles and preserve the contour of one's foot. If there had been proper inspection of the youth by medical men and these corrective exercises indulged in during their earlier years, Kid McCoy and thousands of others like him would not have flat feet. Rupture or hernia affected many of the men, and with proper inspection, these cases would have been probably all or nearly all operated on and -cured before they .were >called upon for active service. , In Manitoba tor-day 124 per cent of our deaths are due to tuberculosis. Most people probably do not take a full breath every day and never exercise their lungs sufficiently. The benefit that exercise has upon the lungs may be exemplified by the

case of the blacksmith who, with his right hand, is hammering with a heavy hammer and with his left, merely turning oyer the steel, and the result is that his right -biceps is from one and a half to two inches larger than his left. Exercise produces strength and an athlete does not prepare for a contest by lying in bed, but rather by going in for severe and hard training. The same thing applies to the lungs, and men who take physical exercise, who live in the open, who do laborious work, are free from tuberculosis. A friend of mine applied for admission to the flying co-rps. He was told: "We -cannot take you; your -chest measurement is deficient." He went home and worked at the dumb bells and practised deep breathing every night and inside of two months he passed a successful medical test for the flying corps. That -man's mind had not been directed into the proper channels before; but when he saw the deficiency and was told how to .remedy it, he learned a lesson and attained the object he desired.

Had this large percentage of 12J per cent of the population who die from tuberculosis in Manitoba been treated in early or middle life, andc been taught proper methods of living, proper -exercises of the lungs and the benefits of living in the open, the mortality would not be nearly so great. It is said by the best pathologists that 80 per cent of the population at large have had tuberculosis, have it now, or will have it before they die. When you walk down a crowded thoroughfare and realize that four out of every five people come in one of these three categories you can see what a dread disease is abroad in the land. Only ten per cent of -this 80 per cent, that is, eight out of a hundred, die of tuberculosis. If that other eight could be saved, or even half of them, by being taught how to look after themselves, it would be of great benefit to the nation. Many of our youths are never taught at home how to take care of themselves. One of the worst maladies that afflicted our troops was trench-mouth or what is known as pyorrhea, which caused great havoc in the army. Many men went overseas with it before the Dental Corps was thoroughly organized. Later on, they were taught to use the tooth brush, which many of them had never used before. If these men had been taught beforehand the proper protection of their teeth a great deal of the losses due to these causes would have been avoided. Neuritis, rheumatism, trench fever, and kidney trouble are all caused to a great extent, if not entirely, by pyorrhea.

Another thing that would be of great benefit to the nation as a whole would be the teaching of sex hygiene in the camps. This is a matter that -is being considered by educationalists all over the country. I have always felt that if we could get the proper teachers sex hygiene should be taught in the higher grades of the public schools. It is a very delicate subject, of course, and would require careful handling, 'but I think it is a step that should be taken in the matter of education. Young people know nothing of veneral diseases. None of them are warned against them, and I do not know of any better place where young men could be taught this subject than in . the military camps, just as our troops were instructed through lectures on other subjects. Then, when they had received this instruction in sex hygiene they would be more cautious when the calico looks like silk. There would be more restraint and less loss from venereal diseases. I have not the figures of the losses from venereal diseases, but one has only to enjoy a large practice in any city to see the ravages that are being made upon our young manhood and womanhood by these diseases. I am satisfied that the teaching of sex hygiene could be better done in the military camps than anywhere else, even in our public schools. An army to be efficient must be healthy and strong, and the same applies to a nation. By directing the people along the best lines to produce perfect health would, I think, result in a saving to the nation that would compensate for all the expenditures that have been suggested here to-day, and would develop a more moral and a more noble manhood.

Mr. J. E. 8. E,. D'Anjou (Rimouski) (translation): Mr. Speaker, I may say at the outset that I emphatically object to the resolution introduced by the bon member for Parkdale, (Mr. Mowat). As I understand it, if it were adopted by Parliament and if steps were taken to apply it, it would lead to compulsory military service. Then it is militarism which is to be foisted upon this country, that same militarism which for five years the Allies have fought against Germany to destroy-1 have always been and I am still an anti-militarist. I am not going to change my mind, and, as far as I am concerned, I think that such a resolution should not be voted by this House. It is high time we should cease talking of military organization. The hon. gentlemen who have in hand the destinies of this country say that Canada is now a nation,

that she is a member of the League of Nations and that from now on we shall have no more wars. Wjliy then should we establish training camps? Why compel our boys to do military service? It seems to me that it would be more useful for us to take an interest in peace work rather than pass such resolution. Even previous to the war Canada used to expend exorbitant amounts on military camps. Just now, as we are passing through a dreadful crisis, and this country is on the verge of bankruptcy, when there are dificits on all sides, when not later than yesterday the hon. Minister of Railways stated that the Government railways had a deficit of about $50,000,000 for the last year. I think it is more important to economize, to see to the development of our natural resources, to promote agriculture and anything that may ensure prosperity to this country, than to try and establish military organizations.

Il do not propose to detain the House much longer, I wish merely to personally protest from my seat against that resolution, because such are my opinions and, also, as representing a constituency which, like myself, is opposed to militarism. I shall have then done my duty toward my electors, myself and my country in stating that I most emphatically take exception to that resolution. Anticonscriptionist I was, anti-conscriptionist .1 am and anticonscriptionist I shall remain.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   UNIVERSAL MILITARY TRAINING AND - SERVICE-MOTION BY MR. MOWAT.
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October 2, 1919

Mr. BLAKE:

No, it has been doing business for years, but an alteration in the charter is desired to satisfy an Old Country company that is taking the business over.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   PRIVATE BILLS.
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October 2, 1919

Mr. BLAKE:

Yes.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   PRIVATE BILLS.
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October 2, 1919

Mr. BLAKE:

The provision that promotion shall be made on the recommendation of the deputy head seems "to conflict with the provision made for promotion by section 45.

Topic:   CIVIL SERVICE ACT (1918) AMENDMENT.
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