Mr. Bruce Hailiday (Oxford):
Thank you, Mr. Speaker, for recognizing me for this, my first speech in the House of Commons. It has been a fascinating study of human behaviour for me, sitting here at the back, listening to and observing 263 other hon. members perform, each in his or her own unique manner. With this event soon to be behind me, Mr. Speaker, you can probably count me as one further member whom you will have to keep in order in the future. Having said that, and acknowledging that at this stage of the first session of the thirtieth parliament it would seem inappropriate to congratulate Your Honour upon being elected Speaker of this House, as hon. members preceding me have so fittingly done, may I take this opportunity to commend and congratulate you on the skill and art which you have acquired and exercised in a short
few weeks in your role as Mr. Speaker. Not having been subjectively involved in the debates to date, I have been able to assess, I would say, dispassionately your handling of sometimes difficult situations in a manner which I have felt to be most creditable to the high office Your Honour holds on behalf of all hon. members.
I would say also, Mr. Speaker, that these remarks should be considered to apply equally to the Deputy Speaker and Chairman of Committees of the Whole House (Mr. Laniel), the Deputy Chairman of Committees of the Whole House (Mr. Penner) and the Assistant Deputy Chairman of the Committees of the Whole House (Mrs. Morin). As a new member, I have been impressed by the affability, friendliness and co-operative attitude displayed by the staff under your jurisdiction.
In a few days it will be 21 years since a member representing the constituency of Oxford has given a maiden speech in the House. On that occasion it was the late Wally Nesbitt who so faithfully represented Oxford in the House and whose privilege it was to speak at that time on behalf of his constituents. I am honoured both to be chosen as his successor and, indeed, to sit in the House. Inasmuch as there are only very few hon. members now in the House who were here 21 years ago, perhaps I can be forgiven if I offer a few comments in praise of my constituency.
Oxford is situated in the heart of southwestern Ontario. Interestingly enough, the village of Tavistock where I live, on the northern fringe of the riding, is probably farther from a significant body of water than any other municipality in Ontario. We are about equidistant from the three great lakes-Huron, Erie and Ontario. I hasten to admit, sir, that we do sit on the edge of the headwaters of the Thames River which, although it may dry up in the summer, develops into a significant river as it feeds the reservoir known as Pittock Lake in Woodstock and courses on through the riding toward London and Lake Erie. Morphologically, the boundaries of the riding of Oxford correspond precisely to those of the county of Oxford. As a county in Ontario, we are unique in having been recently granted the privilege and responsibility of undergoing a political internal restructuring in lieu of a scheme of regionalization which has involved large areas of Ontario.
The economy of Oxford is quite diversified, with our population about equally divided between rural and urban dwellers. We are basically an agricultural community with a long and enviable record in the dairy industry. Although cheese-making was carried on in the very early days by pioneer settlers, the first cheese factory in Canada was established in 1863 near Norwich, in Oxford, to be followed two years later by the forerunners of the present Ingersoll Cheese Company which in 1866 produced the still famous mammoth cheese weighing over 7,000 pounds which was shown at the New York State Fair. One year later, in 1867, the Canadian Dairyman's Association was founded at Ingersoll with a convention attended by over 200 delegates from Canada and the United States. As a more timely note, I can say without fear of contradiction that both the right hon. Prime Minister (Mr. Trudeau) and the hon. Leader of the Official Opposition (Mr. Stanfield) would most certainly have been presented with a gift of
November 26, 1974
Oxford cheese when they visited our riding during the recent election campaign. In addition, Oxford is blessed with a significant mixture of other branches of agriculture, including beef cattle, hogs, poultry, tobacco, cereal and feed grains, increasingly large acreages of corn, turnips and apples.
Our urban balance is maintained by the city of Woodstock and the towns of Ingersoll and Tillsonburg, each of which makes a significant contribution by way of manufacturing and light industry of a remarkably varied nature, much of the products of which are exported across Canada and around the world. This segment of our economy continues to make significant strides, with a good growth potential for the future. Although Oxford, by this description, may sound like a land of milk and honey, we do have our problems in spite of three forays into our riding by the Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Whelan) during the last election campaign. A constituent of mine of a different political persuasion than I, but nonetheless a friend, has strongly urged me to say something nice about the minister.
Well, Mr. Speaker, like other new members I have got to know that he, too, is an honourable gentleman. But more than that, he has provided the farmers of Oxford and, indeed, Canada with an unparallelled challenge by way of an agricultural policy with the ups and downs of a rollercoaster. Like the rest of Canada, our farmers suffer from the same insecurity generated by complete lack of a consistent agricultural policy. Or, again, take the matter of excessive government intervention in the dairy industry. I quote Mr. Philippe Pariseault, chairman of the National Dairy Council of Canada, in speaking to the council back in September:
Here is a partial list of new intrusions by our benevolent federal benefactors: moisture content of cheese, fat content of butter and cheese, fat content of ice cream and frozen desserts, fat content of yogurt and cottage cheese, generic classification of cheeses, recall code procedure, Companies Act, competition bill, environment Canada regulations, termination of the fluid milk subsidy, enlargement and extension of milk powder subsidy. Maple Leaf grade symbol, increase in support price for butter and powder, maximum coliform content for cheeses, preparation of brief for GATT, preparation of brief for Food Prices Review Board, report on the dairy industry by Dr. McFarlane, regulations for partially skimmed milk, seminar on the dairy industry held by FPRB, emphasis on violations under Weights and Measures Act, Health and Welfare research projects, codex alimentarius-margarine standards.
And, as Mr. Pariseault points out, this all takes more staff, more government spending and either more taxes or more inflation of the money supply. I think it was Thoreau who once said: "Government is best which governs not at all." Mr. Pariseault went on to say:
There doesn't seem to be anyone in Canada in charge of co-ordinating the over-all federal government's concern and intervention in our industry. We've had Agriculture Canada, Health and Welfare, Consumer and Corporate Affairs, Statistics Canada, Weights and Measures, Environment Canada, dairy branch, Canadian Dairy Commission, food additives, etc. All get into the act and talk about developing more rules and regulations for our industry during this past year.
It is difficult to be too critical about a great deal of this government's activity, but it's the proliferation that is so overwhelming and the timing appears to lack any co-ordination whatsoever. After all, one can have an excess of filet mignon and sex.
The Budget-Mr. Halliday
It would be redundant and time-consuming for me to detail more of these problems now. But by the same token, many of our industrial and small business concerns and farmers have struggled along during the past six years with inadequate financial support in the way of federal small business loans, which just often are not available, together with a government policy not always favourable to the growth and development of Canadian-owned industry.
I would like to touch on one more specific problem which is not unique to Oxford but concerns southwestern Ontario in general. I speak of the appalling lack of public transportation in the rural areas, a problem which appears to be completely ignored by our present Liberal government. Twenty years ago, virtually all the villages and smaller towns in my area were served several times daily by either bus or train, and in many instances by both. Gradually over the last 20 years these means of public transportation have been withdrawn to such an extent that many communities now have no access to larger urban centres. This is a serious handicap for pensioners, for those who do not drive and for single car families where the breadwinner has the car all day. In many instances it causes commuters to waste gasoline energy when they would otherwise use public vehicles for going to and from work in the cities. At a time when efforts are being made to encourage people to live outside the large urban and metropolitan areas, this lack of public transportation is a significant deterrent.
All rail passenger systems were discontinued in midwestern Ontario on November 1, 1970. This was done as a result of a decision by the railway transport committee of the Canadian Transport Commission under the authority of the National Transportation Act of 1967. Public hearings were held to review this measure in the spring of 1972, in London, Chatham, Stratford and Walkerton. It has been 2 Vi years since the public hearings were held and release of the report by the Standing Committee on Transport and Communications which recommended that the rail service for this area be reinstated. This recommendation of the Standing Committee on Transport and Communications was submitted to the Minister of Transport (Mr. Marchand) in a letter sent on April 3, 1974, to the Hon. E. J. Benson, president of the Canadian Transport Commission. The minister referred to expressions of concern by the public and members of parliament that public transport services in the region were inadequate, or in some cases non-existent. He requested that the commission, in co-operation with provincial authorities, undertake a review of the situation. At present the passenger rail service has not been reinstated.
Having spent thousands of dollars on public rail hearings in this area, and with the report of the Standing Committee on Transport and Communications recommending the reinstatement of rail service, why has this government done nothing to implement the recommendations or offer a viable alternative such as bus service? The Fifth Report and Review by the Canadian Council on Rural Development, dated December, 1973, and entitled "Commitment to Rural Canada" states, on page 13, under the heading "Rural Predicaments" that improvements in communication and transportation networks make accessibility easier and extend the size of the area served by
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November 26, 1974
The Budget-Mr. Holliday
urban centres. Mr. Speaker, while the networks may be there, the total absence of public vehicles on these networks makes a mockery of the succeeding statement on page 21 that "the ultimate goal of development is, therefore, the improved well-being of the people."
I would like now to deal with three topics essentially of national concern but relatively ignored by our government save for paying them lip service. I refer to the problems of inflation, inadequacies in the field of medical research and, finally, the utter failure of the government to adopt policies designed to instil a sense of dignity, self-pride and self-respect into Canadians. Inasmuch as this is a budget debate, it would be only appropriate that I should refer to the problem of inflation. To be sure, the Minister of Finance (Mr. Turner), who is present in the House, referred to it several times in his budget address. Although physicians are sometimes acknowledged as being inept and lacking in business acumen, it takes very little expertise on my part to realize that what the Minister of Finance is offering this country serves only to fan the flames of inflation.
Even I can realize that year after year of deficit budgeting, with its concomitant expansion of the money supply and credit, can lead to nothing but uncontrolled inflation. And, of course, one does not have to read for very long either books on inflation or the daily newspapers to realize that world authorities on economic and fiscal policies are saying the same thing. But, Mr. Speaker, we have had a government for the last six years, and will for the next four years, that has found it can buy the votes of the Canadian people by offering them ever increasing give away programs by the single deceitful procedure of expanding the money supply. Sir, it is nothing short of reprehensible that this government should, for reasons of its lust for power, commit this travesty on the Canadian people.
Next, Mr. Speaker, I would like to discuss certain aspects of our health care system which I feel are deficient and which I believe our government finds it expedient to ignore. One could devote one's total time allotment to discussing problem areas in health care. By the same token, governments that promise the people "the best health care available" are simply ignoring costs for, as in education, the limits are infinite. Before making rash promises it would be prudent to try to determine what good health care really is, or, in short, how one measures the quality of health care.
This brings us to the question of medical research. The recent Liberal administration has been satisfied to adopt, once again, the politically expedient stance of giving or providing "free" health care to all Canadians. As mentioned when discussing inflation, more votes can be secured by offering the present expensive system of health care whereby, until lately, the prime focus has been on high-cost, hospital-centred care. To invest money in researching how to provide more effective health care and, more important still, how to measure the quality of health care is not something that is newsworthy or vote-catching.
Over the years government funds for medical research in Canada have gone almost entirely to furthering research in the basic sciences and clinical branches of medicine. And even in this area the amounts made available in Canada are pitifully small in proportion to what the USA and Scandinavian countries provide. Commendable as this type of research is, and acknowledging the contribution that has been made to a better understanding of the etiology and treatment of disease processes, we have completely overlooked the funding of operational research and how we can better put to use the clinical knowledge that is made available to us. In short, how does one measure the quality of medical care?
Medical associations have recognized this challenge as of paramount importance and have even made attempts to enter this difficult field of study, only to be stalled for lack of funding. Again I say, it is fine for governments to promise complete care from the womb to the tomb, and by so doing remove all responsibility from individual citizens most of whom could well provide for themselves at lesser cost; but where the problem is too great for individuals or even large associations to cope with, the government abdicates its responsibility to the people as in the question of how to assess the quality of health care. To illustrate how our present government views this whole matter I would refer to a working document published in April, 1974, entitled "A New Perspective on the Health of Canadians." The Minister of National Health and Welfare (Mr. Lalonde)-who is present in the House, I am pleased to say-has his name on the cover, as would an author, and, indeed, he has written the preface, or at least signed it. I went through 76 pages of this treatise looking for some reference to quality, and at the end of a 12-page chapter headed "Major Problem Areas in the Health Field" I finally found, in the second last word, the one and only reference to quality in the statement that we had to "ensure accessibility to quality service." There is no suggestion that we might have to research what quality service is, in fact. However, the same chapter discusses the health status of the population in terms of life expectancy, mortality rates, causes of death, morbidity, problems in the organization and delivery of health care and, finally, conflicting goals in the health care system-but no thought of how to measure the quality of health care. The following was even admitted:
No such public demand exists for research and preventive measures. As a consequence, resources allocated for research, teaching and prevention are generally insufficient.
How is that for leadership, when a cabinet minister not only fails to recognize the existence of a problem, but even when he does he states that no funds would be available if there were no public demand. That same chapter discusses the problem of costs of personal health care, stating that for a family of four in 1971 the cost was about $1,100 and that "most of the costs were met by insurance." The minister knows that this is not entirely true, and that the majority of these costs are met by taxes and not insurance.
Nor can I fail to observe, in the same chapter, the statement that "what is really needed is a measure of the prevalence of ill-health in the "population." The College of Family Physicians of Canada, with whom I have been closely associated for many years, has repeatedly been turned down by this government when we have sought funds for the establishment of an illness observation unit designed to collect and measure the very information the
November 26, 1974
minister said is needed. Finally, Mr. Speaker, as a family physician and general practitioner whose numbers represent slightly over 50 per cent of practising physicians, much could be said about the problems which they face. However, since I have been discussing the problems of medical research I would be remiss if I neglected a major problem affecting this important and rapidly growing group of doctors.
Traditionally, medical research has been done at university centres under the aegis of a principal investigator who is normally a salaried member of that institution. But we have now entered a new era where medical teaching and medical research, particularly in the field of family medicine, must increasingly be done by private physicians out in the real, live world of general practice. Again, the government is dragging its heels by failing to recognize that physicians out in practice have to sacrifice income and earning power in order to devote time to operational research and morbidity studies. Unlike the university-centred principal investigator, these physicians must be remunerated for time spent on research. Once again, it is the people of Canada who suffer in the long run due to the failure of this Liberal administration to adjust to changing times.
Finally, Mr. Speaker, time does not permit me to deal adequately with the more philosophical yet very real problem of how our government is gnawing away at and destroying the very fibre of our Canadian citizens. The budget which we are debating serves only to aggravate this insidious process of decay of human worth and selfrespect by paying people for doing nothing, instead of using the money to reward them for doing productive work. The October, 1974, letter of the Royal Bank of Canada states:
Government is an art to be learned, like medicine or engineering or law, or any other profession, and not merely an office to be won.
This government may have won the office but it is still groping for the art.
Topic: GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic: THE BUDGET