MR. SPEAKER: ...the Amendment to the Amendment on the motion of the Honourable Member for Hamiota and the amendments thereto. The Honourable Member for Fisher.
MR. A. E. WRIGHT (Seven Oaks): Mr. Speaker, first I wish to pay my respects to you, Sir. You appear to be in very good health, and judging from the actions of this House during the past week, it is desirable that we have a durable gentleman for our Speaker. This I believe you to be, Sir, and I wish you well. I also wish to congratulate the Honourable Member for Hamiota and the Honourable Member for Wellington, for their address in reply to the Speech From the Throne -- and while I do not agree with everything they say, their sincerity was quite evident.
In this day of 'Sputniks' when a lot of our ideas are being challenged, and it seems as though we just can't be sure of anything, it's becoming more and more clear that the need for an open mind is of the utmost importance, if we're to get any happiness out of living out our brief span on this planet. And just as it is human to err, most of us are resentful of change. We can easily prove this by making some simple observations - we don't like to think we're resentful to change, but when you go home some evening and the wife says to you "How do you like the furniture now I've re-arranged it?" I don't think there would be one in a 100 who would say that they really liked it, because the things that we have become accustomed to are suddenly re-arranged. Let's reflect for a moment on some of the trends or changes that are taking place today. I should say now, Mr. Speaker, that I'm not one of those people who believes the world is going to the dogs. There is a saying that the higher you go, the more you could see. A recent photograph taken from one of our rockets showed the earth with its curviture, it even showed a hurricane brewing on the earth - a doughnut-shaped formation. We're getting pictures of our earth today that we've never had before. I think we're beginning to see that we are our brother's keeper, that famine should not exist in one part of the world, while grain elevators are filled to over-flowing in another. I think we're beginning to see that we have no choice but to live in peace. I think we're beginning to see that co-operation is far more sensible than competition. What are some of the noticeable trends in society today, and why is it necessary to keep an eye on these trends? Well, it is certainly important for elected representatives of the people, to keep their fingers on the pulse of popular demands. We have people leaving the rural areas today for the cities with it's complication in regard to schools. We have more home-owners today. People are taking a greater pride in ownership today. We have a far greater interest in health and edcuation today, than ever before. People are travel conscious today, so that our world today is a lot smaller than it used to be. We have much concern today over labour laws. People are living longer today and we hear a new word "geriatrics," (the care of the old). We hear a lot about vertical integration as far as the farmers are concerned and I suggest to you, Sir, that we have vertical integration too in the retail business of our city, and it is quite evident that the only answer is the co-operatives, and that's why we'll be hearing and seeing a lot more of the co-operative movement. We have trends in our -- today if we look at the newspapers - even getting killed today has a different trend when we read of our disastrous highway accidents as to compared to the days of long ago. We hear a lot today about motivational research - why we do the things that we do. If we take a look at what motivates these trends - Horace Fletcher once said that the greatest word in the dictionary was the word 'appreciation' and that it should be put on a board and nailed over every door-way. I think we will agree, but I think there's another word that's equally as important and closely allied to the word 'appreciation,' and that is the word 'recognition.' People today are starving for recognition. We have the Trade Union trying to get recognition; and they're just as interested in recognition, as they are in obtaining benefits for their members. We have farmers in their various movements today trying for recognition as we witnessed just a few days back. Had they been recognized, at least, that would have meant something to them. We have nations who are trying to get recognition. Even the newspapers are trying to get recognition, although I must say that at my nomination meeting, that while they gave my Leader big headlines about the Dominion-Provincial relations, and they said that it had happened at a nomination in Seven Oaks, they made a blunder because they forgot to even tell who the candidate was, who was nominated. And I thank them, Mr. Speaker, because
the 'phone calls we had showed that our people were interested even though the press didn't supply the news. So sometimes the newspapers do not give the news. We have our pensioners today, trying to get recognition. We have in our community the finest senior citizen club in Greater Winnipeg. And these people, no doubt, are interested in their pensions, but they're also interested in this thing - called 'recognition.' In this club that I'm speaking of they even have an orchestra. Just because they've reached the age of 70, or more is no reason why they should just simply fold up and twiddle their thumbs. They're still able to enjoy life and we have to make sure that they are recognized. Especially in these homes where they have a limited opportunity, because there's a lot of good minds in this country yet beyond the age of 70. We have recognition - we have our teachers today. We have a group of teachers a sort of forgotten group, who during the hungry years were the backbone of our educational system. We hear them craving recognition today because their experience is not being recognized in the way that it should be -- that experience isn't counting for as much as it should.
Politicians, of course, we all realize the value of recognition, especially at election time when we go around and kiss all the babies - it is necessary then to give recognition.
Our young people today are craving recognition. Psychiatrists tell us that the root of probably all juvenile deliquency is the fact that there has been no recognition -- and large allowances, large weekly allowances to our children doesn't make up for affection and recognition. In fact, Mr. Speaker, psychiatrists investigating that sad case of the young fellow in the States, after he had murdered a few people, they tried to find out what caused him to do this - he said he wanted to be somebody -- he wanted to be somebody. He couldn't get any sort of recognition. It seemed as if he had had no opportunity and this was the way that he sought to obtain that recognition.
Now, co-operation is certainly superior to competition as we said before. And surely the scientific and technologist know-how capable of sending rockets out into space, past the moon, into orbit, can be used together with our social scientists and doctors to hasten the day when the dignity of man will be more than an idle phrase. Or are we going to force the scientists of our country by our lack of recognition to pervert their knowledge in using it to further the interests of big business, and that's a sad story. And I'd like, Mr. Speaker, with your permission just to read a few words from a best sellet that's on the market today, it's from a little book by ... called "The Hidden Persuaders." This may seem far-fetched but this was at an electronics conference in the States in 1956: An eminent electrical engineer said that planes, missiles and machine tools already are guided by electronics and the human brain being essentially a digital computer can be, too. And we must realize, Mr. Speaker, the work of our great Walker Penfield in the Montreal Neurological Institute. I imagine most of us have read his article on the latest findings in his research on the brain. It says "already through bio-control, (a new word we're going to hear much of) scientists have changed people's sense of balance and they have made animals with full bellies feel hungry and made them feel fearful when they had nothing to fear." And Time magazine quoted him as saying this: "The ultimate achievement of bio-control may be the control of man himself, controlled subjects would never be permitted to think as individuals. A few months after birth a surgeon would equip each child with a socket mounted under the scalp and electrodes reaching selected areas of the brain tissue, the child's sensory perceptions and muscular activity could be either modified or completely controlled by bioelectric signals radiating from state controlled transmitters." He added the re-assuring thoght that the electrodes cause no discomfort. I am sure that the psycho-persuaders of today would be appalled at the prospect of such indignity being committed on man. They are mostly decent, likeable people, the products of our relentlessly progressive era. Most of them want to control us but just a little bit, in order to sell us some product we may find useful or disseminate with us, a viewpoint that may be entirely worthy. But when you are manipulating where do you stop? Who is to fix the point at which manipulative attempts become socially undesirable?
The late ... noted Historian, in writing history for the future said this "that this age will go down in history as the age of bally-hoo." Today we are at the cross-roads. Which road are we going to take - co-operation or competition? Mr. Speaker, I have always found it easy to work with a team, to get things done, but I am a little concerned about our apparent inability to agree in this House. Fighting another election may be good for newspapers and bad for both the old parties but I would have liked to have seen the private members bill which I have moved in regard to the consolidation of four school districts in my area. I
would like to see it approved because it is of prime importance to the people of these areas. However, Mr. Speaker, I know it is inevitable that we should come to the parting of the ways, because although this Government was looking forward to spending the money so carefully hoarded by the past one - I use the word 'hoarded', Mr. Speaker, because I think the word 'saved' is usually associated with having something left over after you provide the necessities, and when I think of just one thing of how we are institutionally poverty-stricken because of their policy of going too slow too long. When the Honourable Leader of the Opposition said he thought the Government was going too fast, too far, it was typical of his thinking, and I think the Honourable First Minister should accept that as a compliment rather than a criticism. I know we shall disagree because some of the legislation we have waited for so long is going to mean the raising of more money very shortly and here is the reason for our disagreement. Our idea of raising money is to tax those most able to pay--and one has only to name the source--these people exploiting our natural resources for one. I was hesitant to use the word exploit, Mr. Speaker, because had I been convinced that these people were paying their fair share I should have used the word 'developed'. I chose to use the word exploit after some deliberation. We know from the statements of the past that this approach is the last one for either of the old parties. We read much about the pioneer, whose hardy souls who set out to break new trails whether it be the covered wagon, the discovery of insulin or space travel, and we admire and applaud them. Why then, Mr. Speaker, is it so impractical to reason that we might not, here in Manitoba, break new ground? Could we not pioneer an ideal? Just to mention one; that the cost of medical care for our people should be paid for by taxing those who exploit our natural resources for a start. Only by daring to do these things will we be considered to be true pioneers by those who come behind to follow us in our brief sojourn. And today we were quoting scripture, and I'd like to quote scripture--it's from St. Luke - "and Jesus said unto him no man having put his hand to the plow and looking back is fit for the Kingdom of God". And I suggest, Mr. Speaker, that we put our hand to the plow and with an open mind, courage and with no little daring let's look forward to the better day which is within the grasp, our grasp, for all of mankind.
MR. P. WAGNER (Fisher): Mr. Speaker, I will try and curtail myself only to the sub-amendment.
I would like to take this opportunity to give voice to some of the things I have observed during the short time I have been a member of this Legislature.
One of the matters that has been brought to my attention is the amount of dissatisfaction that has been expressed with respect to the administration of the Provincial Hospital Plan. These complaints are with respect to lack of accommodation, with respect to people who are without income paying bills for hospital accommodation and service. About people being pressured into paying extra dollars in order to get so-called semi-private service. We get complaints too about the cost being higher than it should be for the individual and for the family. We find that our neighbouring province of Saskatchewan has better service, more accommodation being provided at much lower cost.
Here I have a number of letters, Sir, and I won't read them all--I'll just show you this way, and I'll just quote an article here I received from a man. He writes this way, "I have been just three months out of hospital where I have been three and a half months in the hospital and I am still under the medical care and will be for the rest of my life because I have a heart disease. And I lost almost everything", he carries on, I won't read word for word, "I have to see the doctor every month, pay for medicine $3.45 each month and nothing is left for living." Another letter, here is a woman, says she is going blind and she cannot take care of herself, she doesn't qualify under disabled plan and how is this lady supposed to carry on. So I'll carry on without quotations of more of these letters.
It is not too soon to demand even now that the Manitoba Hospital Plan be given a thorough examination. First, to assure that adequate bed accommodation is made available; that nursing and other service be brought up-to-date. Second, to assure that the cost to the individual and the family is cut down to the lowest possible level. Third, to provide for inclusion of medical and other costs. We find that even with this Hospital Plan in operation many people are being forced to endure painful illness and hardship because they just do not have the money to pay for it. It is not a bit of use providing a man or woman with a bed in hospital if that
person cannot afford to pay for a doctor to give him the advice and care he needs. I noticed that in Tribune, January 20, our First Minister stated that welfare measures being put into force by the Conservatives had silenced C.C.F. criticism; also stating that the Conservatives were putting into force all necessary welfare measures. And I find this in January 20, 1959 Tribune, which the headline reads "Election in Spring Hinted by Premier". "Premier Duff Roblin, Monday hinted at a spring election, speaking to the South Centre and St. James Women Progressive Conservative Association,"--and this is the quotation, "welfare measures being put into force by the Conservatives silence C.C.F. criticism", he said, "when then"--pardon me--"why then do we need the C.C.F. when we are putting into force all necessary welfare measures?"
Here is another [Interjection] ... Here is another clipping, Mr. Speaker, which says "boost for needy, old and blind", February 26th '59 Free Press. "Throne speech will unveil provinces biggest-ever legislative programme". Broad expansion of Provincial Health and Welfare Programme, including supplementary old age and blind pensions to those in need will highlight the biggest legislation programme ever put before Manitoba M.L.A." Yet at no time, neither in the last short session nor in the lengthy Speech from the Throne has there been a single word mentioned about one of the most urgently needed welfare measures of the century, of measures to assure that persons who are in need of medical care will have such care provided for the. If the First Minister really believes that the statements he made to the Women's Conservative Association are true, then he should have no objection what ever to having all the members of his party vote in favour of the C.C.F. sub-amendment which was submitted by our leader.
Mr. Speaker, looking over the newspaper tonight under the headline "Canada and United States are Worst Fall-out Targets, United Nations Told". World experts consider danger of strontium 90 will be the main discussion at a two weeks session of the 15 nations. This may be another disease, why we need such a wide health expansion service. Now I'll just quote "the report said today that as a result of nuclear tests by both the United States and the Soviet Union radio active strontium 90, a cancer causing element unleased by the explosion, is concentrated more heavily on the surface of the United States and Canada than anywhere else in the world." The report indicates that the maximum fall-out occurs in North America within a band from 35 to 50 degrees. In Canada this includes all Maritime, Southern Quebec, Ontario, Montreal, Toronto and Ottawa; Winnipeg and Vancouver are close to the limit. I believe, Mr. Speaker, that this government should be very much concerned about these fall-outs of radio-active strontium 90, a cancer causing element released by the explosions. I suggest to ban such nuclear tests for the safety of the human race.
I have here one more clipping that reads as follows, it's January 20, 1959 Tribune. "Will we survive 10 years, scientist is optimistic." Montreal, Sir Robert Watson Watt, British scientist noted for his development of radar says he is not optimistic--the human race will survive for another 10 years. He said here Monday night he is less worried about educating retarded children than about educating retarded adults who threaten the destruction of the world. The next 10 years were critical and if the human race had not destroyed itself by then there was hope. Men would learn to live together. "It is possible," Sir Robert said, "for man to destroy himself, not only with nuclear but with chemical and bacteriological warfare. Eight ounces of a substance," he said he knows exists, "can wipe out all life on earth including animal life".
Mr. Speaker, in conclusion I just wonder if we could not take some definite steps to the welfare of our mankind.
MR. D. ORLIKOW (St. John's): Mr. Speaker, first I would like to congratulate you on your election as Speaker of this House, and the way in which you have handled a difficult task. I would also like to take this opportunity to congratulate the mover and seconder of the Speech on their presentation.
Mr. Speaker, I have been interested in the fact that not a single speaker representing the Liberal group in this House, has yet discussed the amendment to the amendment which calls for a comprehensive Health Insurance Plan, although, Mr. Speaker, it was 40 years ago that the Liberal Party under the late McKenzie King first proposed comprehensive health insurance for Canada. I listened with interest and delight to the speech given by the Honourable
member for Carillon. I must say, Mr. Speaker, that I don't think he really believes that everybody who believes in the welfare state is a socialist, although he suggested it this afternoon. It's true that every socialist believes in the welfare state, but not everybody who believes in the welfare state is a socialist. In the last federal election, Mr. Speaker, the Leader of the Liberal Party, Mr. Pearson, called for a plan very similar to what we are proposing today -- for an extension of the health services in this country. I presume, Mr. Speaker, that the candidate of the Liberal Party in the constituency of Provencher, the son, the Honourable Member for Carillon was a supporter of the Liberal leader when he made these proposals. I don't think that made him a Socialist, Mr. Speaker.
Now, Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Health made a long speech on the subject. He listed everything which the department and the government are going to do and which they hope to do in the field of Health and Welfare. He has adopted, Mr. Speaker, whether he realizes it or not, a large part of the programme advocated by the C.C.F. over the last 25 years, and rejected for most of that time by both the Liberal and Conservative Party. The Minister says in his speech, and I quote, "the amendment to the amendment calls for non-confidence in the government for failing to bring a completely socialized health insurance scheme". Later he says "I find this sub-amendment so unreal and divorced from the problems of Manitoba". Well, Mr. Speaker, is it? We in the C.C.F. have always advocated the principle that government should provide for the health, the hospital, and the welfare needs of the people of Canada, as a right rather than through charity. Now the present Hospital Plan instituted by the former government and carried on by this government to a large extent takes hospitalization out of the realm of charity, -- takes it out of the question of whether a person can afford to pay for hospitalization, and provides the basic needs for all the people, partly through taxation money from the federal and provincial government and partly through the payment of monthly fee on the part of the people of Manitoba.
The minister spoke at great length about the difficulties which have arisen since the present scheme was instituted, and he told us in great detail about what this government is doing to overcome these difficulties. I want to suggest, Mr. Speaker, that one of the reasons that we have these difficulties in this province is that we started so late in the institution of this programme. In those provinces which had a provincial hospital scheme before the federal scheme was proposed, and that's true of British Columbia, of Alberta and Saskatchewan, although each of their schemes was different in detail, they have not experienced anywhere near the difficulties which have been experienced in this province due to the late start of the former government. I don't know the answer which the minister gave the Honourable Member from Iberville, -- probably his government would have started even later. Now the minister has told us how many hospital beds are needed -- we're not surprised -- he has told us about the new hospitals which are being built. We expected this because we always said that the people of Manitoba were not using the hospitals to the extent they would have but for the fact that they didn't have the money to pay the hospital bills. Now we knew that the former "Blue Cross" project was not fitting the needs.
Now the minister goes on to say that the legislative programme for welfare enunciated by the government was long overdue. We agree completely. Our representatives in this House always put forward the view that the municipalities have neither the money nor the personnel to handle the old age, the blind, the other groups who needed assistance. Now we have always advocated much greater assistance for these people. We welcome improvements in their standards of living by increased assistance from the federal and provincial governments.
Now the minister went on to say that this was the best programme in Canada. I don't know because I haven't had a chance to compare the legislation of all the provinces. It may be the best legislation but I doubt very much, Mr. Speaker, that when we look at the actual benefits -- the benefits which will be paid to these groups in the Province of Manitoba will be as large as that paid in such provinces as British Columbia, as Ontario or as Saskatchewan. It may be so but I doubt it. I doubt it very much. But, Mr. Speaker, the minister and this government rejects our proposal for a comprehensive health insurance plan, although the minister has accepted and the government have accepted, as I say, both comprehensive hospital insurance and comprehensive welfare plan. Now the minister suggested in his speech that the people of Manitoba don't want comprehensive health insurance. Now, Mr. Speaker, the Gallup
Poll has on a number of occasions questioned the people of on what they think of comprehensive health insurance, and on every occasion an overwhelming majority of the people have expressed themselves as being in favour of it. But I can go further than that -- further than that, Mr. Speaker. At the December 1955 convention of the Manitoba Farmers' Union, Mr. Speaker, they passed the following resolution -- "be it resolved that the members of the Manitoba Farmers' Unoin petition the federal government to immediately take steps to implement a national health plan". The Canadian Federation of Agriculture has expressed itself on the question of health insurance. Here's what they say -- "establishment of a comprehensive national health insurance scheme through federal-provincial co-operation to include hospital, medical, surgical and dental care". The Canadian Labour Congress has this to say about health insurance -- "a comprehensive programme of health care to include preventative and diagnostic as well as curative and rehabilitative services by physicians, surgeons, dentists and other specialists, hospitals and other agencies through a nation-wide scheme of health insurance undertaken by the federal government for the federal government and the provinces jointly."
So, Mr. Speaker, when the honourable minister says that the people don't want it, I think that he is wrong. The minister says it won't work. Mr. Speaker, I have before me a clipping from the current issue of McLean's magazine. I don't think anybody could accuse McLean's magazine of being C.C.F. dominated or indeed even C.C.F. influenced and here's what they say, "Backstage with Health Insurance - How it built up British". I just want to quote from paragraph. "Eight million Canadians now have surgical plan; seven provinces will have hospital insurance by July 1st. Will it make us healthier? The science authorities look to Great Britain where national insurance has been in effect just over ten years. Here's what has happened to health in the U.K. Deaths during maternity are down 55% to .47 per thousand, -- the latest Canadian figure .62 in 1956; still births down ten percent; the death rate for children under four was nearly nine of every 1,000 in 1948, -- now it's fewer than two, -- in Canada it's 7.6; in 1948 there were 3,531 cases of active Diptheria -- last year 53; fewer than half Canada's total; T.B. has dropped by one-third; Scarlet Fever nearly two-thirds; life experiency at birth up about two years, is now slightly higher than Canada."
Then they go on to talk about the contribution and so on. So, Mr. Speaker, it does work in other countries and it can work in Canada. Now the ministers oppose health insurance because this party isn't ready for it yet, and the medical profession certainly isn't ready. But, Mr. Speaker, health insurance will come in this country just as hospital insurance came. It will come because it is needed and because the present system isn't working. This is no criticism of individual doctors, many of whom, if not all, contribute a good deal of their time to looking after people who can't afford to pay them. But, Mr. Speaker, at the present time, the people who can get all the care which they need are those who are very rich, who can pay all the bills and those who are indigent, who can go to the out-patient clinics of the hospitals and be treated free. The broad mass of the people between those who are very rich and those who are indigent are not protected against real difficulties.
Mr. Speaker, I want to give just one case I know of in the City of Winnipeg. This is the case of a citizen who had both Manitoba Medical Service and Blue Cross coverage -- pretty complete coverage, he thought. In 1956 he was informed by the best doctors he could consult in the City of Winnipeg that the illness of a member of his family could not be treated in the City of Winnipeg and he was advised that only in Montreal was there adequate treatment available. Well, the member of his family went to Montreal and in the year 1957, Mr. Speaker, this citizen had hospital and medical bills recognized by the income tax department for $2,500. When the member of the family was released from the hospital, this citizen was informed that they would have to stay in Montreal for some considerable further treatment. Unable to work, the person had to be supported; this citizen had to get a housekeeper to look after his family in Winnipeg -- the cost of these extra medical, indirectly, but medical expenses was another $3,500 so that in the year 1957 this citizen had medical bills due to illness of $6,000. Now he's not in the lowest income bracket but there are very few people in this country who can afford to meet medical expenses of $6,000 in one year.
Now, Mr. Speaker, this is not an isolated case. There are hundreds, there are thousands of people in this country who are carrying a debt for a good part of their life because of the
present set-up of our medical organization. This, Mr. Speaker, is the reason why more and more people are calling for a comprehensive health insurance plan. And for the minister to say that this is an unreal request and divorced from the problems of Manitoba, Mr. Speaker, is an idea which I reject completely. I want, Mr. Speaker, to read a few sentences from a statement on health insurance which was issued by the Canadian Labour Congress about two years ago. They say this, "Health insurance is no longer a matter of controversy. The majority of the Canadian people want it; it's proved its effectiveness in other countries. A recent government survey show that the ability of people to get proper health care is limited largely by income. Poor families are not spending as much as well-to-do families. Large families are spending less in proportion to small families and turn to self-medication in an effort to keep well. For example, families with incomes between $1,500 and $3,000 per year spend on the average $88.50 a year for medical care in contrast to families receiving $5,000 a year or more, spend an average of $158.70 a year". Further they say, "a national scheme of health insurance would be superior to the present methods of health care in the following way: 1. To make health services available to the section of the population which is, at present, wholly or partly deprived of it; 2. It would spread the cost of health care over the whole population and thus provide a more equitable distribution of that cost; 3. It would make possible large scale preventative measures and thereby reduce the incidence and degree of illness; 4. It would assure more effective provision of facilities and personnel for medical care; 5. It would make for adequate financing of a desired health care programme; 6. It would establish common minimum standards of health care without regard to income or location; 7. It would bring closer to practical realization the definition of good health made by the World Health Organization and subscribed to by the Canadian Medical Association, quote 'State of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.'"
Now, Mr. Speaker, I began by suggesting that the Liberal party traditionally in Canada had advocated the extension of health services and extension of health programme. I would appeal to the members of the Liberal party in this House to forget politics and to go back to what has been a basic part of their philosophy -- not for a year or two, -- but for 40 years since 1919. I want to quote, Mr. Speaker, with just two quotations which I think apply to this particular issue, from an article in the Financial Post by Bruce Hutchinson. It says and this was on December 27th, 1958, he says, "The C.C.F. has achieved more than any other party, the kind of society it really desires". And we are getting it, Mr. Speaker, in the kind of proposal which we have heard made in the Throne Speech and in the speech from the minister of this government. And then, Sir, "the C.C.F.," apparently he's talking about the last election, "got more of what it really wanted than any of its apparent rivals ... apparent success."
MR. C. E. GREENLAY (Portage la Prairie): I should like first of all, Mr. Speaker, to congratulate you on assuming the duties of your very heavy and exacting office again and to wish you well. I also wish to congratulate the mover and the seconder of the address in reply to the Speech from the Throne. I think they did well with the opportunity they had at the present time.
Now, Mr. Speaker, along with some of the other members of the House who have spoken heretofore, I shall probably range over two or three different subjects and it seems to be the practice that no matter what the motion before the House, that you speak on whatever you feel like anyway.
Mr. Speaker, the first thing that I would speak about is with regard to the Department of Health and Welfare, and it is following up a question which I asked the other night with regard to hospital beds at the Winnipeg General Hospital not being in use. Now it seems that the Honourable, the Minister of Health, and the Honourable, the First Minister, had done, quite done their homework properly; because they gave one answer to the reason why these beds are not being used, but the administrator of the hospital gave a quite different answer and said that the shortage of, the difficulty of feeding the patients had nothing to do with it. Now, it seems to me that likely the man who is directly in charge of operating the hospital would have the proper answer to the question. And, Mr. Speaker, it seems to me that it comes to a pretty deplorable state that people are lying at home in need of hospital care and if, as the two honourable ministers here suggested, if they were put in the hospital, they couldn't be fed. Gentlemen, there are a lot of wheels in this country and there are a lot of facilities for feeding people and certainly I
don't think that is a valid objection at all. Now we come to the other objection -- the scarcity of nurses -- the scarcity of nurses. That is another valid reason I think probably a little more of a valid reason than the question of being able to serve the meals. Mr. Speaker, I think one of the things that has been outstanding here for some time and I think it's something that there should be some action taken on and that is on the question of a greater supply of nurses. What have we had over the years? We've had a restriction over the last, probably 15 years, to training of nurses in the big hospitals in the City of Winnipeg. Mr. Speaker, we have had nurses trained in many of the rural hospitals in Manitoba who hold their own with any of the ones trained in many of the big hospitals in the City of Winnipeg. And I speak particularly, Mr. Speaker, with regard to the Portage la Prairie hospital. We have nurses who have gone out from training in the Portage hospital who are holding very high positions in some of the big hospitals and really the very large hospitals in the United States. Mr. Speaker, I think that is one of the avenues which should be followed up and some of these other hospitals should be opened up for training of nurses. It has been suggested here that there should be something more done in order to train more practical nurses. I think that's all for the good but, Mr. Speaker, I don't think that the practical nurse takes the place of a trained nurse and the registered nurse. It seems to me that we have got to put something into force which will provide more places for nurses to be trained.
Well, Mr. Speaker, in listening to the list of things which the Honourable, the Minister of Health proposed, he seemed to run all across the whole programme of the department, and in listening to him it seemed to me that he suggested that he was "pitch-forked" into this -- that was probably not the term that he used -- but he was forced into this particular position and all these things were placed in front of him. It seems to me that he listened to everyone of the members of the department that came in and said, "Oh! This is what we do and this is what we are going to do -- and that's what we're going to do" and he suddenly said, a great light burst on him and he said, "Oh! We started all these things". Because you can go over a great number of the things which he suggested and they are already in effect and have been in effect for years. I cite one of them. He talks about the survey in the north and the question that he's going into a study as to whether they should provide an air ambulance service and so on. Goodness gracious, the Manitoba government air service has been giving that service for years -- long before I ever came into the government. This is nothing new and I remember on one occasion when we were visiting some of the works in the north that there was a report came in that a certain party was sick at Oxford House. We were told you can sit in the hotel. This aeroplane goes out and brings in the sick person which is quite proper. But I cite that case to show that this service has been going on for years.
Now, Mr. Speaker, I want to speak briefly with regard to the matter of schools and some of the things that were done and said left undone and unsaid, during the campaign to have the school question voted on favourably. Mr. Speaker, one of the things which I think is regrettable, that was not said during the campaign was one - and I want to refer to two of the honourable gentlemen opposite - I attended two different meetings in regard to the larger areas and at the first one the Honourable, the First Minister was present. And the question was asked, "well, where are you going to get this money?" Now I would like you to listen carefully to what I think was his answer and that was that Manitoba can afford to pay the extra money that this would entail under its present financial structure without additional taxes. Now, Mr. Speaker, I would suggest to you that that is a pretty, pretty easy way of getting around the answer to the question. Mr. Speaker, he knows and anyone else in this House knows that if you are going to add on an additional cost, it is going to have to be paid by additional taxes or by diverting other money to that from some other purposes to that one or by borrowing -- and borrowing isn't any answer, Mr. Speaker. Borrowing is only giving a promissory note and I think most of the honourable gentlemen will agree that when you give a promissory note to the bank you don't pay off the debt. You've got a long road ahead of you and a big cost ahead of you after that. I think that is one of the things that should have been answered in the campaign and, Mr. Speaker, in effect what the Honourable, the First Minister was saying to the people was, "It's none of your business how we get the money; you go ahead and vote on the question and we'll take care of the rest of it -- you never mind about the money -- it really isn't -- you shouldn't ask that question". Either he didn't want to give the answer, Mr. Speaker, or he didn't know. And, Mr. Speaker,
I think that the people of the province were entitled to know what the effect of that vote would be on them with regard to finances and with regard to taxes. Oh! Yes, he'll say that we'll take the money which we would ordinarily put into roads -- we will put it into this and we will borrow some more for the roads, or for some other capital purposes. That's all right, but I think probably if he was going to do that, he should have told the public how he was going to manipulate these accounts in order to provide that money, Mr. Speaker. And I think it was due them.
Then we have, Mr. Speaker, -- coming to the other honourable minister, the Honourable, the Attorney-General, I attended a meeting at which he was speaking and I think he did an excellent job and I want to say that the First Minister, I think, made an excellent job of outlining the good points of the plan; and I think he stuck pretty well to the purposes for which the meeting was called and I compliment him for that.
MR. ROBLIN: I made the same speech as I made in St. Annes and my honourable friend didn't like it.
MR. GREENLAY: Mr. Speaker, we come to the Honourable, the Attorney-General and I want to compliment him on the very clear way in which he explained the plan. But the one thing that I would like to point out and I don't particularly blame him for this but when the question was asked, "Where is the money going to come from?" he said, "Well, I don't know" but he said, "my leader says it's all right and I'm prepared to take his word for it". Now, Mr. Speaker, I would suggest that it has come to a very deplorable state of affairs when any minister in this government doesn't know where the money is coming from for a plan that he's advocating. I think it's pretty irresponsible, Mr. Speaker. It doesn't matter -- he doesn't know -- and the other ministers, I know the others were giving the same answers and I'm not picking on the Attorney-General but I do know of this particular case because I was there.
Now we heard a lot of weird and wonderful suggestions. We have the story of the pail, Mr. Speaker, we have the story of the pail where ... they talk about this is going to be paid out of the consolidated revenue. Well, what's consolidated revenue? Oh! Well now it's like a big pail. You put all the money in the pail and then you dip out for this and you dip out for that. But before the honourable ministers who were using this one got to the bottom of the pail, they got tired asking questions and they didn't tell, Mr. Speaker, what was going to happen when you get to the bottom of the pail and there is no more consolidated revenue. Mr. Speaker, that's the important point because I suggest to you, Mr. Speaker, that they have got a long piece past the bottom of the pail. [Interjection] Look along and see who looks the happiest.
Now, Mr. Speaker, I go along and mention those things because I think it is high time -- it is high time that this government and I would suggest the Honourable the First Minister, the Provincial Treasurer, is the one that should do it. He should outline completely what manipulation and changing of all the various account of the province he is going to indulge in, in order to achieve the end which he says he is going to as if he is not going to put on any additional taxes this year -- there's a little whisper comes out there -- the year -- and he says it can be done quite readily and, Mr. Speaker, I think one of the places he's going to use up some of the reserves which have been built up for specific purposes; he'll go out and borrow a considerable amount of money. We've heard of him crying the woes in the newspapers about the spiralling interest cost and I wonder why? Perhaps the public, the financial people, have not got quite the same faith in him with regard to his financial considerations as they had in the former government, because when you see a man starting to dip down and spend a lot more money than what he is making and taking in legitimately, then, Mr. Speaker, the lending agency generally take a pretty close look at the subject and says, "Well, we'll have to take a little bigger interest out of this if we're going to take that additional risk".
Mr. Speaker, I wanted to say a few words, too, about the Throne Speech and all of the things that were suggested in it, and to wonder if the people at the same time that they were listening to that felt the hand of the treasury slipping in to take out the tax money which they are going to have to pay to foot the bill for all these things. Certainly you can't do all the things which were set out in the Throne Speech and the ones which we have listened to across the way without having a great deal more expenditure and that has got to be paid for -- there's no mystery about it -- and you can bring in all the high priced financiers, the high priced help that you like from outside but still two and two makes four -- it doesn't make six. And there's going to
have to be additional taxes in order to foot the bill for these things which are being proposed. And, Mr. Speaker, I would say to you without fear of being wrong that after having had nine months of this Conservative government, Mr. Speaker, that it doesn't matter what government is sitting in power in Manitoba in the next three years--two to three years--there will be a great deal more taxation put on in Manitoba. Why? Because when you get these plans and programmes put into effect and opened up, there isn't any government that is going to hold them back, going to turn them back. And, Mr. Speaker, that's what we have got by nine months of Conservative government in Manitoba. And the people of Manitoba will wake up shortly and they will find that the honeymoon is over. Mr. Speaker, one of my colleagues here has mentioned Diefenbaker, and there's one thing about it is that we have got the problems of the Federal Government--financial problems of the Federal government trailed out into the open and the people know what they're in situation with regard to Ottawa but Manitoba has still got them undercover. We're not saying anything about the financial picture--they're still kept under cover.
Mr. Speaker, I think that was all I had to say with regard to those particular items. I do want to go back again and refer to the matter of finances. I want to suggest that perhaps things are run a little loosely in this government. We have had the picture of the Honourable, the First Minister, being away and ads being put in the paper for his staff amounting to what would cost the province $100,000 a year and apparently it was the programme of the department, and apparently was allright as long as the First Minister was in Jamaica but when he got back, he tramped on the list--tramped on the list--perhaps the head of that Treasury Board was away. And, Mr. Speaker, with regard to this big Treasury Board, it seems to me--well, that's another deep, dark secret--Mr. Speaker, apparently it depends--among the ministers--it depends whether you belong to treasury boards or whether you don't--whether you know what's going on in your own department or not, because we had the peculiar situation, Mr. Speaker, of where the Honourable, the Minister of Education was talking quite freely about not having any changes in the hospital plan and at the same time the Honourable, the Minister of Health, was saying, well, we are going to have changes in the hospital plan. One of them is on the Treasury Board, the other is not. Now it depends, Mr. Speaker, where you [Interjection] ... Yes, that's right. And it depends where you...
A MEMBER: You'd better consult the Minister of Education.
MR. GREENLAY: Yes, that--it depends where you sit, Mr. Speaker, whether you know what's going on in your own Department or not. I submit that the Treasury Board has never been supposed to function in that way, that it is a concentration of the Honourable, the First Minister's streamlining. I say it's a concentration so that those, that little group know what's going on, they control things, but the rest of the Ministers, well, they'll have to go along--they've got to go along.
Mr. Speaker, we have two, back in February, we had quite a nice little story here--I'm sorry. On March the 4th, we had a nice little story in the Tribune with regard to the Province, and I would read the headline, because I think it's important: "Province is Free of Debt". Mr. Speaker, that may have been true one year ago, but it isn't true today, Mr. Speaker, it isn't true today. That headline should be "Province was Free of Debt"--because, Mr. Speaker, as I see from the ads which appear in the press--one of them was for floating a loan on which there was a five per cent coupon, sold under par, Mr. Speaker, shortly--not very many months after the present government came to power, and what did the last money that this government borrowed cost? ...3 3/4 per cent, Mr. Speaker. Now I wonder if that augurs well for the borrowing powers of this government in the future. Mr. Speaker, if the standing of this Province in the financial world continues to deteriorate in that way over the next few years, where do we wind up? Where do we wind up? Mr. Speaker, with the programme that we've heard already from the few Ministers that have spoken over there, there's a big borrowing programme ahead every year--not once, not this year, but every year, because there is only a limited amount of revenue per year.
Mr. Speaker, we hear all these programmes--how many Boards and Commissions have been set up since this government came to office? You can't count them. Every time there's a piece of legislation, and every time a person thinks about legislation, there's going to be another Board. And every Board has got to have a staff of high priced men on it, and they've
got to have more civil servants. We had the reputation, Mr. Speaker, of having a minimum amount of civil servants per thousand in Canada, and we're certainly losing that very rapidly, Mr. Speaker.
Now, Mr. Speaker, there's one other thing that I would like to take a few minutes on, and that is with regard to the Dominion-Provincial tax-sharing arrangements. We had quite a statement from the Honourable, the First Minister, the other day, and in it he referred to the tax-sharing arrangements, and Mr. Speaker, as there are a lot of new members in the House since we last had any debate in this connection, I should like to go into a little bit of the history with regard to these negotiations, so that the honourable members will be--the new members will know just what has gone on. Because, to hear the Honourable, the First Minister, the other day you would think that well--he had just got hold of the thing that had been floating around rather carelessly, and he grabbed hold of it and this is what we were going to have. Now, Mr. Speaker, if we would go back into the history--I'll go back to 1955, and at that time, the Liberal government was in power in Ottawa, and we had our Liberal-Progressive government here in power in Manitoba. And, at that time, we put forward very strongly, the plea for a share of the tax--the yield of these particular taxes, and then for an equalization--an equalization, Mr. Speaker, and it is with regard to the equalization that I would like to speak to you particularly.
Every year after 1955 the same plea and the same pressure was put on the Liberal government, and then when the Liberal government changed in Ottawa, the same pressure was put on the Conservative government to obtain what we considered to be a fair share of the revenue derived from the income tax--the corporation income tax field and the succession duty field. And you hear different ones speaking about the 10-9-50 formula, and the 13-9-50 formula, and then, we have heard the other day from the Honourable, the First Minister about the 15-15-50 formula.
Mr. Speaker, in 1957, this government pressed on Ottawa to give us the 15-15-50 formula. I think at that time Ontario was also pressing for the 15-15-50 formula, but here, Mr. Speaker--and here is where I think the Honourable, the First Minister fell down, and I don't know whether he is completely aware of what this means or not--there's nothing in his statement with regard to it. And one of the important features of the tax sharing arrangement is the equalization payments, Mr. Speaker. And, while our friends in Ontario were talking about a 15-15-50 formula, but they only wanted it equalized--with equalization payments up to the average of revenue from those taxes--the average of all the Provinces in Canada. And, Mr. Speaker, that is a rather a low figure. And we--the formula that has been in effect, Mr. Speaker, has been the 10-9-50 with equalization to the average of the two top provinces, British Columbia and Ontario. And, it has been said many times at the conferences and in between conferences that there shouldn't be any second class people in Canada, that all the people of Canada, in all the provinces should receive the same amount of money from those particular taxes, along with the equalization payments. They should be equalized so that they all got the same amount of revenue from those particular taxes.
Mr. Speaker, if you will take a minute or two and just think back, if you go to the Ontario formula, where they say 15-15-50 to the average of all the provinces, that's a long way off what Ontario would get. And Mr. Speaker, then you come down to the average of the two Provinces--British Columbia and Ontario, and you still come to a little bit above British Columbia, but you don't reach Ontario, and there's still two classes of citizens--the people that lived in Ontario and the people that live in the other Provinces of Canada. And so we agreed, Mr. Speaker, that equalization should be equal to the income of the top Province. And, Mr. Speaker, I think that is the one thing that I would want to urge the Honourable, the First Minister--that in any time that he is referring to any of these particular negotiations that he should stress the fact that we in Manitoba want to have the equalization brought up to where it is equalization to the top Province and which is the Province of Ontario.
Now, I'd like to give just a few figures here, the 15-15-50 formula of Ontario with equalization to the average--the national average, would give Manitoba forty million. And, if you bring that to the 15-15-50 with equalization to the highest yield Province, it would come to fifty-two million, two hundred and seventy thousand, and that makes a difference of about fourteen dollars per person per capita in the Province of Manitoba, a difference, and an increase if we can get 15-15-50 to the highest Province. So, Mr. Speaker, I think those are figures which
are of importance, and I think they are matters which are extreme importance, and I think that any negotiations or meetings which are carried on at any of them stress should be put on the fact we wish the equalization as set out to the top Province.
Now, I think we could wonder a little bit as to why there hasn't been a conference. We hear quite a bit of talk from across the floor of the House, Mr. Speaker, about the partner at Ottawa and so on. The teacher at Ottawa, and I wonder if the partners could ever get together but Mr. Speaker, when one of them's going around the world, the other one's in Jamaica, I don't know that there's too much opportunity for the two of them to get together. And, it seems to me, that matters at home--the matters which are before the people--the matter of conferences such as this, is more important, Mr. Speaker, to both of these honourable gentlemen, than being away for such a protracted time from the Province and from the Dominion of Canada.
Mr. Speaker, I think that it behooves the First Minister here to put some more stress and some more effort into the--into trying to obtain a new conference where the needs and the arguments of Manitoba and of the other Provinces can be put forward to best advantage. I think that if he will exert himself very strongly that his partner will probably listen in for a little while, after that nice telegram that he got with regard to the farmers, he'll probably be a little more--more inclined to listen to anybody from the West and...
A MEMBER: ...take an apple to the teacher.
MR. GREENLAY: Yes, he could take an apple to the teacher--it might help too. But, Mr. Speaker, these are some of the things that I wanted to refer to at the present time, some of the matters which I think are important, I think it's important to Manitoba to know that her case is being put up properly, and effectively at Ottawa.
Mr. Speaker, one year ago--one year ago, the party that sits opposite us voted against a resolution which was aimed at the Federal government not giving proper consideration to these matters, and not calling another conference--reconvening the conference. Mr. Speaker, at that time they voted against us, and I wonder, Mr. Speaker, if they have changed their minds, as we hear the odd word about probably trying to get Ottawa to do something about calling another conference, but not too strong, Mr. Speaker, and we see the remarks that Duff is pleased with Dief and so one so forth, so that we'll begin to wonder in the country, whether Manitoba's case is being properly put forward, and whether things are all well.
MR. A. J. REID (Kildonan): Mr. Speaker, I take this opportunity in congratulating the mover and seconder on the fine reply to the Speech from the Throne. Also, my respects go to you for the fine manner in which you are handling and conducting this hectic and unnatural session of parliament. I use the word unnatural, specifically to stress a point. Definition...in parliament--of parliament in a democracy is supposed to be government by the people, for the people, but definition of our present government is government by a party for a party, which is entirely a different matter.
Election propaganda, Sir, and speeches are beginning to form fast and furious, but what amazes me, Mr. Speaker, is how anyone can speak for such length of time and so convincingly, yet when you analyze and digest such speeches, they are empty and hollow, and have no policy which would help out citizens concerned.
In all sincerity, Sir, the Conservative party has never, or ever will have a policy or conviction for the benefit of Mr. and Mrs. Citizen. Since the formation of party politics, the Conservative party has been a spokesman of big business, and not the layman. Now, they prostrate themselves in trying to convince the citizens that they are the party of the people. But Sir, as the saying goes "Beware the Ides of March," for the people of Canada realize now that they will not get any legislation for the next three years, from Honest John to whom they give such overwhelming support. And, sure as night follows day, if the people of Manitoba should unfortunately give this government similar support, all they will have had is election promises to remind them of the same.
Now, the Liberal party--(Hear! Hear!)--now the Liberal party, Sir, is the same thing only a horse of a different colour. In their past legislation, the only difference was theirs was far more Liberal and generous benefits for big business.
I recall during the depression, Sir, what a golden opportunity they had to accomplish something for the people, but oh no. They had projects like Grassmere Ditch, bush camps, etcetera, where manpower and skill were wasted and nothing accomplished with all that manpower and
material that was available. The old saying that there was no money during those periods, yet gold mines were springing up and flourishing like mushrooms. The gold boullion was over-stocked in the mint. If at that time, this was the yardstick of our economy, then we were over prosperous, yet we had an economic depression, which will bear me out that the only time either of these parties enacted legislation for the benefit of common man was when the third party entered the political field and a voice of the people was heard.
Indeed, I believe that the C.C.F. has been the most successful party of our time and the last Reverend J. S. Woodsworth will be remembered as one of our ablest political figures in this century. The C.C.F. has achieved more than any other party--the kind of society it has really advocated. And, it was the pressure of C.C.F. groups, and the intention of either party to retain the good graces of the common man, and I heartily agree with the Honourable member from Carillon, who said this afternoon, that the Conservative party has gone so far left they're practically socialists. But, the only thing that he forgot was to include the Liberal party in with them, because they've gone so far to the left that it's against both their principals, and it'll take such a long while to shuffle themselves out, and get their proper labels on again that I don't know what they'll do after that.
So, what is all this leading to, Sir? All this interest in the common man--or in other respects, just the opposite. Well, Sir, you can rest assured it is entirely just the opposite, because now both parties--old parties, with their backs to the wall, and to save themselves they will promise the people the moon to retain their power. But people should realize, it's the same old Blarney, especially when the two old parties, the Liberals and the Tories, depict themselves as custodians and guardians, and the voice of the common people. Thank you.
MR. W. B. SCARTH, Q.C. (River Heights): Mr. Speaker, may I, Sir, add my congratulations to those who have already congratulated you on the way you have conducted a very, very difficult situation, and that no matter what you rulings might have been, Sir, we all know that they were from the very bottom of your heart in honesty and integrity.
I'd like to say just a little bit about the people's party--or C.C.F., and I notice that the Leader has extolled the virtues of the Saskatchewan's government. Now, I happened to have been in Saskatchewan last spring, [Interjection] ... well, I got out of there before they put a head tax on me. But, there was a small garage man, and running a garage and implement shed, and he only had to have fourteen difference provincial licenses. Now the license fees were not extortionate, Sir, but there was one little hitch, the white-collared C.C.F. government man would come around and say "Now remember, I am the one who either recommends or does not recommend your license, when it comes due at the end of the fiscal year." That's what is going on in Saskatchewan, Sir, and so, the people's party should take a little closer look into that Province, before they get off the beam altogether and want us all licensed every time we breathe.
There's another little thing about Saskatchewan government--they have larger school districts there--I don't know what they call them, but it's a larger school area, and then there is the operating superintendent. No one may traverse on his particular little ground work so that in this school where a window was broken, and the local trustees could have fixed it for about $2.00 they had to get the big boys from forty miles away, and it only cost them $22.00 to fix that window. So Sir, I will say this, that if the people's party wish to put us out--we hope that they won't, they'll have about the same success at the next polling in Manitoba as their party did in the 1958 election in Ottawa.
HON. DUFF ROBLIN (Premier): Monsieur l'orateur: En prenant part au débat je désire tout d'abord vous offrir mes sincères félicitations pour la façon exceptionelle avec laquelle vous remplissez vos fonctions en des circonstances excessivement difficiles. Je suis certain que tous les députés de la chambre s'unissent à moi pour vous offrir nos meilleurs voeux.
Je désire aussi offrir mes chaleureuses félicitations aux honorables députés de Hamiota et de Wellington qui se sont si bien exprimes et au point en proposant et appuyant la réponse au discours de Trône. Je crois qu'ils nous ont donné un excellent exemple de force d'argument et de brièveté que nous avons tous remarques.
Au début de mon discours ce soir j'aimerais en notre langue française offrir à tous les franco-manitobains mes hommages ainsi que mon admiration pour la part qu'ils ont apportée au développement de notre province depuis son origine. Je sais qu'ils vont continuer leur travail pour le bien-être d'un Manitoba plus grand que nous désirons tous et que nous voulons tous servir dans l'avenir.
[English translation of above: In rising to take part in the debate I wish of all to offer you my most sincere congratulations on the outstanding way in which you are carrying out your responsibilities under exceedingly difficult circumstances. I know that all the members of this house will join with me in paying tribute to our speaker. I should like also to pronounce a warm word of congratulations to the members for Hamiota and Wellington who spoke so clearly and to the point in moving the adoption of the address in reply to the Speech from the Throne. I believe they set an outstanding example of cogency and brevity which impressed all of us. In opening my remarks tonight in our French language I wish to pay my tribute of respect to all that our Franco-Manitobans have contributed to the life of our Province from its earliest origins. I know that they will continue to make their contribution to the Greater Manitoba which we hope to see and serve in the future. (End of translation.)]
I shall not repeat in English, Mr. Speaker, the good wishes that I extend to you and to the gentleman who moved and seconded the Speech from the Throne, because I know that the language that I just used is one which is a constant study with you.
It has been some time now, Sir, since we entered into this debate on the Throne Speech. In fact, I suppose some of us have almost forgotten what was said in that debate by the gentlemen who are in charge of the want-of-confidence motions against the government, the Honourable, the Leader of the Opposition, and the Honourable, the Leader of the C.C.F. party. And, although I may refer in passing to some of the other speeches that have been made since then, it is primarily with respect to what they said -- or failed to say that I would like to direct my attention tonight. We were put on notice, Sir, by the press. May I say that the press has been extremely accurate in the last little while, and I'm afraid that members in the House give me far too much credit for what appears in the press, because I find that we have there an exceptionally percipient group of political reporters, who are able to provide a good deal of colourful information -- some of which can be fairly described as political comment, and some of which of course, is a result of information released by us. Well, I'm certainly not complaining about it because I think that a very interesting and instructive job is being done. But, I mention the press because we were put on notice that this was likely to be a critical session. We were put on notice that here we had a minority government -- which according to all advance information would, in this session, Sir, be fighting for its life. That was widely advertised, and it was widely advertised that there would be a frontal assault made on this administration, and that the two parties opposite which in the last session might have found it convenient somehow to be against the government, when it suited their convenience, and for it when it suited their convenience, had at last come to the point where they were ready to muster up their courage and really put us on the spot. And, I must say, that I was briefed, Sir, for that kind of frontal attack as I prepared myself mentally to receive the assaults of the Honourable, the Leader of the Opposition, and the effort of the Honourable, the Leader of the C.C.F. party, and I must say that what they had to say to the House in my view, Sir, was a sad anti-climax because the shot and shell that we were promised was there all right, but it whistled harmlessly off to one side, and it fell in a distant pasture to explode with a very dull thud indeed, as they spent their time telling us what they thought of the Federal Prime Minister of Canada.
Well, Sir, I suppose that the people of Manitoba are entitled to make a deduction from the speeches these gentlemen offered, and their deduction probably is that the Liberal party and
the C.C.F. party are unfriendly to the present Prime Minister of this country. And of course I say, when was it otherwise? The Liberals and the C.C.F., Sir, said the same thing in substance through three general elections, two of them Federal and one of them Provincial, and what good did it do them? The people spoke. I say to them if they wish to continue to criticize the Federal government, or indeed to ventilate Federal issues in here, so far as our rules provide, and they're very broad, I invite them to continue to do so, and I feel that we will get a lot of this because they're finding it exceedingly hard to attack the administration on any grounds that are proper in the Province of Manitoba to a provincial administration. And I say to them let them carry on -- that I'm equally convinced that when this matter is put to the verdict of the electors of the Province of Manitoba as it may well be, that they will judge this government on its own merits and its own record, and on its own tenure of nine months or so in office, and I am certain, Sir, that if an election comes, I am willing to prophesy that this administration will be sustained.
Now, I think that I have two tasks this evening -- two aims. One is, in so far as I am able to do so, to rebut the charges that have been made against this administration and to defend it from what few little shots have come whistling over this way from the leaders of the two political parties. And, the second thing that I would like to do, although I appreciate it I cannot do it in any great detail, is to state the positive case as to why this government should continue in office, and why it should be allowed to put its legislative programme into action and for the benefit and use of the people of this Province.
Now Sir, in the resolution that is before us now, the one proposed by the Honourable Leader of the C.C.F., I find it linked pretty thoroughly with the previous one, by reason of the wording of that amendment, and so perhaps as I said before, I will take the liberty of making some comments on both the speeches that those honourable gentlemen made.
First of all, I suppose it's only human if I should do this, but I must make some acknowlegement of the fact that the Honourable, the Leader of the C.C.F. party honoured me with a rather personal reference in the beginning of his remarks. And, I'm going to do the same for him, Sir -- I'm going to say that so far as I am concerned, the Honourable Leader of the C.C.F. party is an honest man; I say that he is an honourable man; I say that he intends to do good as he sees the good that is before him to do; I say that he has given, and I trust will continue to give, effective leadership to his political party. He knows that we do not agree on political matters, but I hoped, Sir, that I would be able to repay at least his personal friendship. I find that that may not be, for he describes me, Sir, evidently with some relish, as being perfectly arrogant, and potentially insufferable. Well, Mr. Speaker, if I should appear in that light in his eyes, I can only say that I regret it. But he jumped from the personal, Sir, into the Federal field pretty promptly, so promptly that he almost forgot to land in the Province of Manitoba at all. And I hope that he will not take it amiss, if I say to him, and speaking purely in the political sense, and in no way reflecting on his personality, I say to him that in making the speech that he made in this House, he showed himself to be irresponsible -- politically irresponsible. Here we found a leader of a -- a provincial leader, the leader of a provincial party, of a provincial party moving a vote of non-confidence in a provincial government and he spent most of his time whaling the tar out of a Federal politican.
And finally, Sir, he got around in the end of his speech, in moving a resolution asking for a federal-provincial health insurance plan and he said "because they are not getting on with this, throw the rascals out". Well, Sir, I regard that as pretty poor stuff.
In this province, Sir, I do not claim that we have that theoretical perfection that some might think that we should achieve in this field of health insurance, but I can say that we have a hospital plan which we have debated so many times. I can say that in the field of medical care we have The Blue Shield which most people of ordinary means can afford to carry. And we have in the very proposals and legislations brought down, which my Honourable friends of the C.C.F. party are now proposing to discard when they throw this government out and prevent its implementation. We have a Social Allowance Bill, Sir, which in the terms of that bill provide for the provision of surgical, mental, medical, optical, dental and other treatment for those who need it, and haven't the money to get it. But that's to go, because we cannot conform to this theoretical concept that my honourable friends must have. We have what I think is a practical scheme, one that is within the ability of this province to pay for without recourse to
these federal-provincial plans of my Honourable friend. But they are to go, and he has no confidence in it and we are to go out because we haven't got this thing that he wants. Well, I say that in my opinion that we should not be thrown out on that charge. I say that we have made it our special concern since we assumed office, and we told our honourable friends opposite that we would do this to meet the need so that no one would lack in these things who needed that kind of care. It is a prudent plan. It is based on need. It is based within our ability to pay and it's going to take care of those who need that kind of help and we are prepared to do it. And all the things that are sold opposite about "bluff" and "window dressing" and all that sort of thing, I cast them back into the teeth of my honourable friends, because if there is anything that can be said of us, we're in deadly seriousness about the legislative proposal that we have before us and we are in deadly seriousness about the financial aspects of it which, to which I hope to make some slight reference to before I sit down in this speech tonight. If my honourable friend wants to fight on the hustings of his want-of-confidence motion, I'm prepared to do what I can to take him on.
Well, Sir, I must not do him an injustice, when he was speaking in the debate, he did make some further mention of other points on the Speech from the Throne. He talked about minimum wage; he talked about vacations with pay; he talked about workmens' compensation with particular reference to widows under that plan. They are all being attended to; they are all part of our programme. He seems to forget that he is dealing with a government that tries it's best to get things done. It's a different situation than what my honourable friend has been accustomed to facing, and we have these things in our Throne Speech and we intend to get on with them. And there are many other things that I hope to refer to before I get through...
MR. STINSON: Can I fill it in a bit for you?
MR. ROBLIN: Well, when I get through with my honourable friend, he'll feel filled in all right! I hope to fill him in on all the plans that we have before this House rises, when eventually it must. But I don't want to give him the full benefit of our attention tonight because there is a word or two that should be said about the Honourable, the Leader of the Opposition. The Honourable leader... Pardon?
MR. STINSON: ... for all the points I made.
MR. ROBLIN: Well, did you make some more points?
MR. STINSON: Oh, yes!
MR. ROBLIN: Well goodness gracious, I must say they escaped me completely.
A MEMBER: You better fire your writers.
MR. ROBLIN: Oh, you made some more points -- well, I dare say that I'll hear what they are but I must confess I read his speech over, underlined everything that seemed to me to be of any substance, put a little note against it and decided what on earth I could say to answer the thunderbolt. And I did my humble best. If I have overlooked something, I apologize to my honourable friend. I may get a chance to come back to it later on.
Perhaps if he has a little bit of patience, he will see that there are one or two things that he's on the same grounds as my honourable friend, the Leader of the Opposition is. And perhaps I'll deal with those both together if that wouldn't seem too out of the way.
Now I want to talk about some of the things in which the Liberals and the C.C.F. party seem to be very much of one mind. They are both of them scuttling, pushing each other out of the way, Sir, to see who can get on the farm bandwagon first. They are scuttling to see who can get on the "March to Ottawa" with the greatest effect. Well, I'm going to come to that before long. I want to say that the Honourable, the Leader of the Opposition put on the better performance. But you know, he is a gentleman who sometimes is the victim of his own consistency, because when he was - well, you know, they say consistency is the virtue of small minds -- I know nothing about it, but that's the saying. He says, he says to the House, "Goodness, why on earth didn't you get on this farm bandwagon that went to Ottawa and help with that movement that went on"? Well, I understand very, very well indeed why he was so keen to get on it. He's got to get on something that is moving these days. There is nothing else in his party that is rolling along. And another thing that he was attracted to I'm sure is because it was asking Ottawa to do something, because if there ever was a gentleman who was quite willing, along with his party, to skip over what could well be done in the provincial field for agriculture and say it's all beyond us - let Ottawa do it, he's the gentleman. And he criticizes me because I say that. Well,
I'm afraid I'm going to have to keep right on saying it because that's what happened.
I want to tell him that his policy is not ours. We took action as far as we could within the provincial field to do things that will be of benefit to agriculture. My honourable friend, the member for La Verendrye speaking today was great on farm credits. Oh, he is very great on farm credits. He's even got an article in the Carillon News called "Stan's Plan". I rather like the sound of that. He's got two big items in this plan, one is to do with adequate farm credit and the other is to do with a plan for floor prices which I must say I find very interesting. I'm going to leave the floor prices out because my honourable friend knows that there isn't much we can do about that in this House, as far as the provincial administration is concerned. But I want to tell him this. I want to say this to the Honourable, the Leader of the Opposition and all the members of the Liberal party: Instead of trying to get on the farm bandwagon the way you gentlemen are trying to do, why didn't you do something when you were in office? I want my honourable friend from La Verendrye to explain to his voters why his party did not take the opportunity to bring in farm credit when they had the chance? Oh, he pokes fun at us. He says we're under the snow, five feet under the snow -- you haven't done anything -- oh, there's nothing going on. Wait and see -- there's plenty going on and there'll be money available for those that need it. I want him and I want the former Minister of Agriculture -- and he'll never be Minister of Agriculture again, poor chap -- he had his fling -- and while he was there, why didn't he do something about it? Because his party wouldn't have anything to do with it. No, they passed resolution and sent it to Ottawa and that is the kind of thing they say we ought to do. Well, you know we're going to take what action we can right here in the Legislature of Manitoba.
And speaking of agriculture, we have brought down the biggest farm programme in the history of this province. So my honourable frined poke fun at it. They laugh. They say that it doesn't bring the new heaven on earth. I'm afraid it doesn't -- it's only just an honest attempt to do some of the things that need to be done. I'm not going to go over the details of that.
Crop insurance, where is it they say? What did they ever do about it but pass resolutions - nothing -- we're going to bring in an Act. You can go on. It will be here. You stick around a little while, but it'll be here. All these other things that were mentioned by my honourable friend, the Minister of Agriculture, almost doubling the budget of that department. You missed that in your calculation today, my honourable friend from Carillon. You didn't know anything about that. Oh, well, we'll come to you in a little while, too. But it is all there and it is an honest effort which has met with a considerable amount of public approval, to do what a province can do. And I myself, Sir, am content to rest on that. And if that is found to be inadequate as far as the electorate are concerned, then I must take their decision and their judgement. But I feel that when I have done what we can do here, my colleagues and I and our supporters on this side, to bring in the things that we all know are badly needed, in research, in farm extension and in all those other things that have been mentioned in the last little while, that we are discharging our duties to the agricultural section of this community. I say to my honourable friend, that instead of criticizing us about the farm march, he better go around explaining why he didn't do some of those things when he has the chance. But he says never mind about that, don't look at my record because I want you to talk about the farm march.
Well, my honourable friend, the Leader of the C.C.F. party; he made the same general approach to things. He's on a slightly different tack, however, I think he's trying to take what is essentially an honest and earnest and non-partisan mass delegation on a most important farm problem -- the question fundamentally of cost-price squeeze, although it's tied in this instance to the question of payments of the sort that were mentioned -- deficiency payments. He's trying to turn it, and all the gentlemen behind him, they want to make it into their own private political little weapon. Well, it won't work and they can try all they like but it's simply not going to succeed. Now, [Interuption] I'll tell you why not. Because the voters are going to have their chance to cast their verdict on it - that's why not.
I want to say this. The Honourable, the Leader of the Opposition did, and I admit this frankly, score an excellent point off me the other night. He really was on the beam. I recall that he chastised me, oh, in a friendly way; incidentally he was more than generous to me personally and it would be wrong of me to overlook that fact. In this particular point, he did chastise me in an avuncular, in a fatherly sort of way, as so well befits him, and said "It's too
bad that when the First Minister of this province falls into the error when he talks about the farm figures of mentioning gross figures only and not talking about the net farm income". And he went on quite a little while to tell me that that was the wrong thing to do. And you know, he is completely right. It is the wrong thing to do. It's not sufficient merely to state the gross figures when dealing with the cost-price squeeze or the problems of agriculture. It's also necessary to state the net figures as well. And I'm glad he's learned the lesson because it's a lesson he's learned very recently, and I must say that it is entirely becoming that he should share this discovery with me -- because he was quoting from my article in The Monetary Times of this year. So I thought that I had better have a look at the Monetary Times of last year and lo and behold there we are: "Year of expansion and development for Manitoba," by the Honourable Douglas Campbell, Premier of Manitoba. And there is a nice picture proving that that's him all right. And then we come along to dealing with the farm problem -- and what do we find, these naughty words: "Gross value of agricultural production for 1957, etc., etc., etc.,". And there is about five or six lines and about four or five figures, all gross figures. That was a naughty thing to do; now I hope that you won't do that again.
MR. CAMPBELL: Would the honourable gentleman, would he just check up and won't he find that also in that report that it is mentioned that agriculture does not share in the economy in the same way that the other parts of Manitoba industry does?
MR. ROBLIN: Yes, I've looked at it very carefully, and I don't see anything like that in there, and even if it were there it wouldn't alter the fact that this particular sin of omission has been committed. And I must say that he's been in the habit for some years because I looked up the previous year too and I find that we have the same thing there, gross figures quoted. And also in that, I found no other reference to agriculture -- that it was a depressed industry. Well, let's not make too much of a rather small thing. My honourable friend didn't labour it too much the other night, I don't think I'll labour it too much. I merely want to say that there's life in the old dog yet. He can still learn. And I think that is a lesson for all of us. Now I want to talk about -
MR. CAMPBELL: ... the same people wrote our speeches.
MR. ROBLIN: No, I got a new one when I took over. They're still making the same mistakes... [Interjection] ... You missed on that time.
Now, Mr. Speaker, I want to speak about Dominion-Provincial tax relations, because I must confess, when I consider what has been said by members like the Honourable member for Portage la Prairie, but particularly the Honourable, the Leader of the C.C.F. party, and the Honourable, the Leader of the Opposition, they really have me on the horns of a most uncomfortable dilemma. I wish they'd get together and tell me exactly what is wrong with what I'm doing because they are preaching two entirely different symptoms, to describe my condition. When I refer to the Honourable, the Leader of the Opposition, he says in effect, talking about a Dominion-Provincial Conference and the fact that we haven't got one -- he says, speaking of me, he could if he tried, -- but that rascal didn't try enough. And the Leader of the C.C.F. party, he doesn't have that view at all - he says "Duff has lost his influence, Dief is deaf to Duff". Well, you know, that makes it rather tough. Which of these two charges should I pay some attention to? I don't think I'm going to pay much attention to either of them, because they're both pretty silly. But I must say that the charge of the C.C.F. leader is a little sillier than the other. I've got to tell him the facts of life, which I am sure my Honourable friend, the Leader of the Opposition would agree with me, at least on this point -- and that is that the affairs of this province, or indeed of any government of which I have any knowledge of, is not conducted on the "old boy" basis. It is not conducted on the basis of "the old school tie" or who you can call by their first names. The business of government is conducted in a much more realistic and hard-headed way than that. And I think, and I must say this, I think that every government regardless of its political complexion, tries to do what it thinks is best in the interest of its own people. And within the bounds of a common Canadianism, this government tries to do its best for what it considers to be the best interests of the people of Manitoba. And to charge, as my Honourable friend charged and as his follower behind said tonight, that we are putting party before province, is something which I describe, Sir, as misleading, as false and as untrue.
Now, I wish to proceed with what the honourable friend the Leader of the Opposition said. He says "We could have done it if we tried". Well, he's the voice of experience over there and
I usually pay pretty close attention to what he says, but I think that he would have to admit that regardless of a Liberal party in office provincially or federally -- and the same goes for other parties -- that the day hasn't arrived yet when the Manitoba tail wags the Ottawa dog. I say to my honourable friend, I say to my honourable friend, how many dominion-provincial conferences did he call? Was he so satisfied with the deals he got that he didn't think he should call any? Not according to his seat-mate there who told us tonight how they tried in 1956 and 1957 to get a better deal than we got tonight. Well, if he wasn't satisfied why didn't he call one? I think my honourable friend is in this position, Mr. Speaker, he's like the philosopher who says, "Don't do as I do, or as I did in this case, but do as I say". Well, I think, Sir, we can dismiss that argument as being one that is not substantial in a discussion of this sort. But I would like to say, in case it has been overlooked, that there are other aspects of dominion-provincial relations that involve money apart from a conference on tax-sharing. And while I am on that, let me say that I quite agree with the Honourable Member for Portage la Prairie, in his statement that we should try for the highest province, if we can, when working in our equalization agreement -- that is certainly our pollicy. And we are going to do something in that respect that he failed to do. We are going to do our best to see that the floor rises with the ceiling and if my honourable friend had been successful in getting that put across, we'd be a lot better off, but it's never mentioned in any of the presentations that were published.
MR. GREENLAY: Mr. Speaker, on a point of privilege, we did try to do that, to get the floor raised. The honourable members will recollect that we did that.
MR. ROBLIN: I read the documents issued very carefully and found no reference to it. Now, that doesn't mean that it wasn't said but in the documents that were available to me, I saw nothing on it.
But anyway, let's look at some of these other areas of dominion-provincial relations and just see how slack we've been. I say to you that Manitoba has made substantial gains in the last eigth months in this particular field. There is one point that I am going to mention though I don't count it really in this kind of thing, and that is the question of the freight rate appeal that we launched against the dominion government or before the federal cabinet and against the Board of Railway Commissioners. A 620 million subsidy resulted from that. We share it. My honourable friends are willing to give me all the blame for the fact that in the ten provinces of Canada we haven't been able to have a tax-rental meeting yet -- I wonder if they are willing to give me any of the credit for the fact that due to the representations of Manitoba, among others, some measure of relief was afforded in the freight rate situation. Let that go, let them decline any credit in the particular context, I don't think it matters very much because the public have already expressed their views on the matter.
But let me go on to other fields of common endeavour between the two governments. In the question of winter employment, where the plan that we proposed has been publicly acknowledged as being the initiative in connection with the situation that was faced this year. New arrangements in the technical educational field that we have made; social allowances changes and federal government support for those matters which have been mentioned by my honourable friend the Minister of Health and Welfare; federal contributions in highways and natural resource development; expanded hospital service plans and other matters in connection with the Department of Health. Gains which total, Mr. Speaker, in the last few months since we came in, many millions of dollars. New federal money in the sense, Sir, that they were approved and granted since June 1958 last, and that big gain, Sir, of many millions of dollars is one of the reasons why we are going to be able to provide new services to the people of Manitoba without that tax boost that my friends opposite seem most gleefully to be anticipating. I want to tell you, Mr. Speaker, that we have not been idle nor neglected in the field of dominion-provincial relations. For the benefit of the C.C.F. party, I can say that we have not kowtowed, and we haven't genuflected but we've worked as hard as we knew how and we've got some results -- and we are not ashamed of the results that we have achieved.
Let me come back now to one of the more substantial points that was raised by my Honourable Friend, the Leader of the Opposition, a gentleman whom some describe as "too little and too late" and who describes me as "too fast and too far". And that description coming from him, makes me think that I am just about right. He says: "How is the money going to be raised?" Well, before I get into that, there is just one word or two I want to say about two other gentlemen
that spoke on this question. One is the Honourable Member for Portage la Prairie, and I want to thank him, by the way, for his very kind reference to my speech on education in his town, because he was describing exactly the same speech that was described by the member for La Verendrye. The former Minister of Education in the second row shakes his head, but I'm afraid that I've got to confess that I used the same speech at every one of my meetings and here it is. Ah, yes... Ah, yes. I never thought that any remarks of mine could be so violently distorted as they were this afternoon.
I want to say something about the remarks of the Honourable Member for Carillon, on the Throne Speech and the financial arrangements. I listened to him with great interest, he is always a most diverting and entertaining speaker. I never fail, and I'm sure the House never fails to appreciate his contribution. He is always a challenge. He detailed his estimate of the costs of our programme, I think he got it up to $200 million. You know I don't think that I'm ever going to be able to recommend the honourable gentleman for a post in the Treasury. He really is a little too fast and loose with those millions. He had me really on the ropes. But you know, Mr. Speaker, he's not really famous for being a mathematician. There are other things that he excells in -- arithmetic is not one of them.
I remember so well a couple of years ago when he was displaying an example of classic confusion, that is between himself and the former Minister of Education on the question of a $125 million error in the question of equalized assessment. I remember that occasion and what a pickle my honourable friend was in -- he just can't handle those figures. Well, I'm not going to be too harsh on him for that because there are some over on the other side who are also having the same trouble.
Well, let me get back to my Honourable Friend, the Leader of the Opposition; he said "How is the money going to be raised?" And he made what I think is a very important statement that I would like just to read, if I can. This is what was said by the Leader of the Opposition when he spoke in moving his motion of non-confidence. "My Honourable Friend, The First Minister has given us a statement tonight that is supposed to tell us something of the government's position with regard to a lot of important matters. I think he should take the opportunity of this debate to tell us about the financial situation so far as the measures proposed in the Speech From the Throne are concerned, because it could easily be, -- and we have to recognize this possibility, -- it could be that because of the decisions of this House that we won't get a budget debate -- and it should be, it is the responsibility of the government to place the facts before the members of the House and the people of Manitoba regarding what is going to be the cost of what is proposed here, and I'm not asking where the money is coming from." And then I'll skip a bit which I don't think in any way distorts the sense of what he was saying, and he says referring to "How is the money going to be raised": Now ordinariluy this would belong to the budget, of course, but in case we don't get to the budget, in fairness to the government itself it should have a statement on this very important matter. And again he goes on; "It is my contention that that should be cleared up. Let us have the facts and then we will be able to discuss it in better terms". Well, Mr. Speaker, I can certainly appreciate the force of the argument that has been put forward in those few remarks, because everything my honourable friend has said in that connection, has considerable weight. And I must say that I gave a great deal of consideration to the way in which I might oblige him and answer in detail the questions that he raises. I read order 23 -- rule 23 -- which says that the budget shall not be presented until the debate on the motion for an address in reply to the Speech from the Throne is concluded, which seems to be pretty conclusive instructions, that according to the rules I cannot make a budget presentation while this debate is going on. ... [Interjection] ... well, we are going to come to that.
Now, my honourable friend, however, asked me questions which I am going to give some sort of an answer to tonight. I have thought over the constitutional and conventions of the budget situation and I hope that nothing I say tonight will go too far in violating those conventions on that constitution. I think that we all realize that the main reason for budget secrecy, as it has developed, is in order to prevent anyone from taking an unfair financial advantage of prior information, in respect to budget tax changes. That's the principle thing that we have to guard against, and I think that nothing I say tonight will violate that rule, and I hope that members generally will feel that that is the case.
Well, now I want to say first that I claim, and I'm willing to go to whatever lengths are required to demonstrate it in due course -- I claim that we are budgeting in a reasonable and a prudent manner; that the policies that we are advocating in this Chamber are within our means. And while I would not be so ill advised as to prophecy revenue or expenditure in years to come, I say that barring any unforeseen catastrophe, the policies that we are proposing now are within our ability to pay for.
My honourable friend asks whether we have a balanced budget. I tell him that we have. I can also say to him, Sir, that not only do we have a balanced budget, but we have a rather substantial surplus. I want to say to him that the statement that I gave this House last time we met about being no tax changes and in particular with reference to the sales tax, is a statement that I can make with equal accuracy on this occasion. My honourable friend asks me, are we depleting the reserves because they can only spent once? Are we taking into our current accounts and into our current revenue the money that has been put away as the years have gone by? The answer to that is "No". We are using the money in those reserves for revolving purposes such as the funds that have already been set up, and the House will probably have recognized the fact that even though we are entitled to charge our expenditures under winter employment to the post-war reserve, that it is not our intention at the present time to do so. We are taking that out of current revenue. So if you ask if we are bringing down and depleting our reserves in this way, I can say that we are not doing so. I point out that the late administration did appropriate from the deferred revenue, the sum of $3,788,000 to balance the budget in the last two years. We may follow his example but we certainly won't be making so big a call.
Then he says, are you repatriating your capital monies from the utilities in such a way as might be reflected in increased costs for the users of those public services? I can tell him that that has not beed done. He says "Are you paying for your current expenses out of capital borrowing?" I can tell him that that is not the case, and I can tell him that the possibility exists that several million dollars of capital expenditure will be paid for out of current revenue. I can also tell him that we are managing our debts prudently, in that we have continued the twenty-three year sinking fund provisions for all our funded dead-weight debt, and that the policy continues.
Then my Honourable friends says "What about borrowing?" Well, I can tell him this about borrowing. We are not borrowing significantly more for general government purposes than he did, and we are borrowing it for much the same purposes -- not entirely, but much. He borrowed for roads, and so do we. We also intend to borrow for flood protection -- when you get the four to eleven cost-benefit ratio, you don't hesitate very long about borrowing, if the money is not available on current account. I can tell him about the interest--are we sinking the Province and the taxpayers, is that Provincial Treasurer's hand reaching into their little pockets? Such an interesting way of describing it, used by the Honourable Member for Portage la Prairie. No, it is not. The interest charges that we will be asking the public today to pay, the net interest charges on the dead-weight debt are insignificant, and I'll be very glad of an opportunity to demonstrate the truth of that statement at the proper time in the House.
Revenues -- Well, there's more of them than there were last year, they're up. And when these things are added together with the effect of the Dominion-Provincial financial improvement that I've mentioned, it makes a fairly substantial picture. But I am conscious, Sir, I am conscious that in a statement like this, it is difficult for me with propriety to give all the facts and figures that my honourable friends opposite are entitled to have, when they pass judgement on our financial operations. And, I want to say that it is my purpose, and it will appear in the Order Paper tomorrow, to place there, a motion that will read as follows: "Resolved that Rule 23, of the Rules, Orders and Forms of Proceedings of the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba, be suspended and that the Provincial Treasurer may present his budget before the debate on the motion for the address in reply to the Speech from the Throne is concluded." And, I am looking forward to making that budget speech, Sir, on the first proper occasion, in this Legislature.
Now that, Sir, as far as I have been able to analyze them, deals with our opinions and views on the charges that were brought against us in the speeches that were made by the leaders of the two opposition parties. That, in my opinion, is a fairly reasonable reply to the charges that have been made. Such which would justify me in taking the stand now, I believe, that we
should not be dismissed from office on the basis of those want-of-confidence motions. But there is a much better reason why we should stay, and that is because we wish to have the opportunity of putting into effect the measures that are proposed to this House, and some of them are part way through it, and our budgetary arrangements that go along with it.
We want an opportunity, Sir, to put into force, the constructive and progressive policies which we believe are good for the Province of Manitoba. I am not going now to expand at any great length on the detail of that plan because, as members know, at least some indication was given of what we intend to do in the Throne Speech itself, and more will be given on the budget and more will be given by ministers in the normal course of events. But our plans, Sir, to develop the natural assets of this Province, among the first of which I include agriculture, deserve an opportunity for implementation. Our plans in the Department of Natural Resources, the development of our northern country, deserve an opportunity to be implemented. Our proposal for the expansion of the Department of Industry and Commerce, and to see what we can do with our Regional Development Bureau, deserves the opportunity to be tried. The proposals that we have made, Sir, for the biggest road programme in the history of this Province, and that we will make for the expansion of our other public utilities, deserve an opportunity to be put into force for the benefit of the people of the Province of Manitoba. Our plans for human betterment; the opportunities that we hope to create in our school system, with the plan that has just been accepted by our people; our plans, Sir, to expand our university and our colleges, and to provide larger funds for deserving students to take advantage of these forms of necessary education, deserve the opportunity to be put into effect. The proposals that we have put forward on reforming the health plan, taking the onus off the muncipalities; bringing in our Social Assistance Bill, that will supply the needs of those who require help from the state, and who deserve that kind of attention, is on our list of proposals for this House. The things that we want to do, Sir, in the field of elderly persons' housing, is something which this House ought not to reject. Our plans to increase the mental hospitals and the home for the mentally deficient, and our plans for rehabilitation hospitals and the like are things which this Province needs, and which should be put into effect now, and without any objection on the part of my honourable friends. Aids to municipalities will be significant in the fields of education, roads and hospitals and social services as will be outlined.
And I say, Sir, that this programme is based on a sound financial plan. It is not a plan that's conceived on the basis of spendthrift, or the prodigal son or consuming the assets carefully accumulated and preserved by our predecessors. If it were those things, then we would be subject to the criticism that has been levelled against us. But it is not. And, I propose, Sir, at the first convenient opportunity to lay those financial plans and facts and figures in detail, before this assembly, so that they and the people of this Province can judge. Altogether, Sir, I say we do not deserve to be defeated. I would not be so bold as to say we have not made mistakes -- I'm sure we have, and it's likely we'll make a few more. But, when the whole thing is added up I say with all the conviction that I can muster, Mr. Speaker, that the good out weighs the bad, and that we should be given the opportunity with the support of my honourable friends opposite, to make this plan work for the people of our Province.
MR. STINSON: Mr. Speaker, I rise on a question of privilege. My Honourable Friend, the First Minister, apparently felt keenly the personal reference that I made to him on March 17th. We have been in this House together now for some years, and it has not been our habit to call each other names. I was somewhat surprised at the special session last fall, when, in a challenge to us to be brave enough to throw the government out, he referred to me as a "limpet", which was not altogether complimentary. But Sir, I regret making the personal reference that I did on March 17th, and I wish to take this opportunity of apologizing to my honourable friend. I value his friendship, and I don't want him to feel that I really meant what was said upon that occasion in a personal way.
MR. ROBLIN: I thank my honourable friend.
MR. SPEAKER: Now that we're all friends again, I guess we'll put the question. Are you ready for the question?
MR. R. W. BEND (Rockwood-Iberville): Mr. Speaker, I'm going to say a few words, and going to be entirely in order, I think, because I'm going to speak to the amendment that we were supposed to have been discussion for the last three days.
First, Sir, I would like to congratulate you on your position in this assembly, and certainly it is not an easy road to follow in days such as these, and although I haven't always agreed with your decisions, certainly I know they have been made with all sincerity and honesty of opinion.
I would like as well to congratulate the mover and seconder of the address in reply to the Speech from the Throne. I think their job was very creditable indeed.
And, tonight I would like to deal as I said at the outset, chiefly with the amendment before us. I noticed that the Minister of Health and Public Welfare made the remark that, with respect to the hospital plan, he was catapulted into it. And, I think it is well to note--that he did answer my question, after the third time I asked it--that had he been in the position that I found myself in, Sir, last--a year ago this spring--this coming spring, that he would not have brought the plan in. I think that there is a certain significance there, and I would like to briefly point out what the situation was.
In the first place, the government at Ottawa, and I know that we mustn't mention Ottawa now. It used to be a very--qutie proper to talk federal politics, not too long ago--things aren't going quite so well now, we find the provincial boys moving away. I know there is one thing we won't have to worry about in the coming election is an influx of Federal members running around, doind a lot of talking--doing a lot of talking. They won't be anywhere near where we can see or hear from them--that's for sure.
A MEMBER: Let them come.
MR. BEND: However, getting back to this particular point, that I think is well worth discussing, because it had been clearly pointed out that the hospital plan as such, would not be available to the province until the first of January this year. And I make no secret that all the workings and the plannings of the department had been with the view of a January 1st deadline. And, when we went down, Sir, to Ottawa, we were greeted by the Prime Minister and those who were taking part in the conference, and out of a clear blue sky, was the announcement that this plan would be available to those Provinces who were prepared to begin the first of July last year. And, that was the first intimation we had of the bringing ahead of the date. Of course, I don't think there was anything political in it at all, but certainly I know that anybody would give a chance to a Province to be ready to go by the first of July. And the Minister says that no, he wouldn't have done it--he has, yes, quite clearly your answer was "No, I would not have started on the first of July." Well, that's fine, I just wanted to get that clear, "Until I'd assessed this and assessed that and done something else." Well, assessing doesn't build, and therefore the logical conclusion is thus, that the time at which you would have started, Sir, was when you had the Rehabilitation Hospital Bill, and when you had all these things ready; that would have been when you started.
And I simply want to point this out, and the Minister was kind enough to say this--that certainly in retrospect it is much easier to assess than it is trying to look ahead. But not one problem has he mentioned--not one, that wasn't foreseen at that time--not a new problem at all. He mentioned T.B.--we discussed the T.B. Hospitals at that time--we knew there was going to be beds available, and it was common sense that we'd use them. It's nothing amazing. It
was just simply the thing to do. And we put our finger on the trouble that would develop--and indeed we argued, with Mr. Monteith in Ottawa, and I do have a request for certain correspondence here, and I know that the government hasn't had time to give it, but it was with a view to having a look at what has been going on since the last letter it was my privilege to write. Because the Minister of Health and Welfare at Ottawa agreed with me, Sir, what I said that the main problem that is going to develop from our plans--not only in Manitoba, but in the other Provinces--is the field of nursing home care. That in order to make this plan work and Mr. Fleming was one of the first who is on record as saying that, that to make a plan function properly, it must have mental and T.B. and nursing home coverage. And if anybody stopes to think about it for a minute, it become self-evident, because the very problems that the Minister has mentioned here in his speech, this business about people being in hospital who didn't require active hospital treatment care, but who could indeed receive custodial, domiciliary, or whatever other words you want to put to it where it simply means nursing home care. That wasn't a mystery--or something that developed with nobody expecting it. It was going to be there and it was going to need real policy direction in order that when these people no longer needed this active hospital care, that they would be moved into other types of care, and the provisions are there in the set-up that was made for that very thing.
So that was nothing amazing--nothing new about that, and I was interested in this--now somebody must have the right answer here. We have two against the Minister, and one for the Minister--with respect to them, I'm going to bring up a point that my colleague already did--just to drive it home a little further, because something's wrong somewhere. The other night the Minister said to us that the reason there were 180 or close to 200 beds not in use in the General Hospital was because we couldn't feed them. Here are his words in quote, this is from the Free Press, "if we put people in those beds, we won't be able to feed them"--that was the Honourable Minister, and it can be checked in Hansard.
Now then, here is Mr. Peter Swerhone, administrative assistant at General Hospital, said the kitchen facilities have nothing to do with it--nothing to do with it. Well then, just a minute, a little bit further on is Mr. Arthur E. Johnston--I don't wonder he corrected it--a telephone call from the man who was going to give quite a bit of money to the General Hospital might get him to have a second thought about it. Mr. Arthur E. Johnston--let's call a spade a spade--Arthur E. Johnston, a member of the Hospital Board--all right, why would Mr. Johnston say this? This is in the same article...too, "says the primary trouble is the shortage of nurses." It's going to be rough for awhile but as to how long, well your guess is as good as mine.
MR. ROBLIN: Mr. Johnston and representatives of the General Hospital appeared in my office with the Minister of Health and Public Welfare, and made the statement attributed by the Minister to them, some months ago. If that hospital wasn't properly completed it was because you didn't provide the funds when you were in office.
MR. BEND: Has the First Minister made his speech now or does he want more time?
MR. EVANS: He's just demolished you, that's all.
MR. BEND: Just in your opinion. Now then, getting back to what I was saying before the Honourable the First Minister completely squashed me--but unfortunately he didn't remove these statements by two men. They're still there and they're on the records.
Now then, let us go in to see a little bit of the work that was done, because this was never mentioned by the Minister, except he said that I had done a lot of work, and I thank him for that, but there were a lot of other people. And this plan could never have come into being if it were not for at least five public spirited bodies--that has to be made perfectly clear. The Minister of Education, Mr. Speaker, knows what is coming in a few moments now. Because we were able to do in this Province, in the space of ten days, what they were having difficulty in doing in Ontario in a year; because there were these groups that had to be consulted once we knew the time was telescoped. There had to be the municipalities, without them it couldn't be done. There had to be labour organizations, without them it couldn't be done. There had to be the Blue Cross as it existed; that was three. It had to be insurance companies, as a whole--the insurance agency as whole, there is four. The other one will come to mind in a minute--the medical people were a fifth. Now then, we called into conference every one of those groups in the space of eight days, and we gave them exactly the same story. We said: Now here it is.
The only possible way that the first of July deadline can be made in our humble opinion is this type of plan. We know it has faults in it and irrespective of who happens to come along six months later, it'll be up to them to remedy it-if these faults are large enough to need remedy. But, in order for a plan to be in operation by the first of July we have to have your co-operation and this is what we'll require in our opinion to be done.
We'll take one of the groups first--the municipalties, both urban and rural. We pointed out that it would be necessary, because it was impossible at that time to develop any other plan feasible to be in operation by first of July last year, other than a premium collection. We suggested a certain rate as being feasible. Now the municipalities of course had a decision to make, and they simply said: Well, we are on record as wanting a hospitalization plan as soon as we can get it; we are not entirely pleased in every respect with this, but we think it will work, and we know quite well that whether you are here or somebody else, if there are grave injustices, they'll have to correct them. And so they returned in a very short time, within a matter of 24 hours, with a resolution saying: You go ahead, you have our co-operation. With one exception, Mr. Speaker, one exception, who recorded himself, and I'll say this for him--he had the courage of his convictions to be the only one that protested--the only one who said "No."--the Mayor of Dauphin, the present Minister of Education. He was the one that would have blocked it at that stage. Going over to labour...
MR. McLEAN: Be careful. Bucked what?
MR. BEND: Pardon, but what...?
MR. McLEAN: You're saying that I'm the only one that would have bucked it.
MR. BEND: Blocked it--blocked it.
MR. McLEAN: Well, blocked it--blocked what?
MR. BEND: The Plan.
MR. McLEAN: No Sir, that's not correct.
MR. BEND: It is correct.
MR. McLEAN: My objection was the method of fixing the municipalities with the responsibility of registering the residents and collecting the premiums. There was no suggestion of blocking the plan.
MR. BEND: ...I'll take care of it. Now then, Mr. Speaker--now then, Mr. Speaker, it was made quite plain to the municipalities when we were talking with them why it had to be this way--why we could only find this method of getting these people on a piece of paper, and their names had to be registered or we did not collect from Ottawa, and it could not be done by a central agency. We had to have the municipalities help or it could not be done. The Honourable Minister is as aware of that as was any member of that delegation, and when he said we will not accept that, as far as I'm concerned, if the municipalities had taken that stand, we would have had to say as we said to them, Sir, that this plan cannot start the first of July--and it couldn't have. In passing on, Sir, that as far as I'm concerned was the situation, and I'm very glad that the rest of the municipal men didn't take the same stand. And moving on, Mr. Speaker...
MR. McLEAN: ... we've made the corrections.
MR. BEND: Mr. Speaker, I don't know whether I'm into a debate with this gentleman or not, but we never said changes wouldn't have to be made. At that time, those changes could not be made--there wasn't time to do it, and if the honourable gentleman had of had his way, we couldn't have possibly had a plan by the first of July--it's as simple as that.
Now then, carrying on--if the Honourable Minister--I know that it's bad when you've been on record one way, and I gave the Minister credit. I said at least, he said that this is no good and it can't work this way, and that's that. So he did. It didn't work that way.
MR. SPEAKER: I would inform the honourable member that he must accept the explanation from the Honourable...
MR. BEND: Mr. Speaker, I'm speaking on a question of fact and truth and I am simply telling the truth! Now, can I not tell the truth in this assembly?
MR. SPEAKER: Certainly you can tell the truth--but you must respect the Honourable Member's explanation.
MR. BEND: He can make his explanation when he make his speech, Mr. Speaker, I'm making mine now.
However, Mr. Speaker, I know the petition you're in--I have made my point--I'll debate it from any hustings--anywhere, and I will now leave that particular subject if it makes your chore a little easier.
Now then, the same meeting was held with the labour unions, and they came in and the same story exactly was told to them. And do you think they agreed with everything that was it that bill? Not by a jugful. But, they did understand the position we were in, and they said "I'm sure that listening to what you are offering and trying to do we'll go along with you, and we'll do the best we can."
We came to the insurance companies, -- represented by their--one of their organizers from Toronto, who flew in especially for the meeting incidentally, that took place in the office. And here was a thing that was being debated in Ontario, and had been a question of a series of meetings over a period of months, and in a matter of four hours--while everything wasn't agree able to all concerned, they said "Well, if those are the amendments, we'll go along. We think that they could be changed here and there, but rather than create a big fuss, when we know how important this is, we'll go along with you." And so they did likewise.
The medical men weren't pleased 100 per cent with the plan, but they said the same thing.
The Blue Cross--there were things about it they didn't like, but they also gave the kind of co-operation that I think has never been equalled in the annals of this Province concerning a legislation of the importance of this one.
And sure there were "bugs" in it. We knew that. But not one has the Minister advanced in his speech the other day that we didn't foresee would be one that would give difficulty. But how do you remedy it? I don't care how much planning you do. I don't care how much assessing you do, Mr. Speaker, you can only get to the real root of the trouble when you know how big the problem is. That's when you can do something about it, and not before.
And there was another little item, that the Honourable Minister seems to forget. That for the first time we would be getting money from Ottawa to the tune of one million dollars per month, and underlying this whole thing was a little figure such as six million dollars which would be coming into this Province to help pay for those people who required hospitalization, out of Federal money.
I know that the Honourable the Minister of Public Works said today, "What's a million?" But six million was pretty important...
MR. WILLIS: It was another member.
MR. BEND: Well, it was your lips that were moving, there must be a ventriloquist over there today. Now then...
MR. WILLIS: I'm no C.D. Howe.
MR. BEND: You sure got your foot into that one before you realized it. However, I'm not going to argue with that--he and I have never argued yet in this House, I don't think. And I'm not in an argumentative mood--I'm trying to state facts. I'm doing it--all of these have been facts.
Now, then, we come to something else. There was six million dollars--and oh, I forgot to mention--that your leader, Sir, your leader stood up right here and said "Get on with the job! Don't fool around with this thing, get on with the job!" That's what he told me. And you come along and tell me "You should never have done a thing like that--you should have waited till we assessed the whole thing, and then we would have looked at it." But we didn't figure that that was correct, and I know that the Honourable the Leader of the C.C.F. party, when he chased me around the country-side--that was one of the points he used to make, was this--this plan has lost you money. That is not true. This plan went in and for six months and more it has given service to the people of Manitoba, it has--well, I'll say you pushed me a whole lot more than the present Minister of Education, and it looks like the present Minister of Health would have pushed me anyway--I'll say that much. And so for six months and more, now almost nine months, we've had the benefits of this plan--we've had a million dollars of Federal money, and the Minister finished up by paying his tribute to it by saying there was nothing that couldn't be handled. All emergency cases were being looked after. Certainly we knew there'd be an influx of hospital care. Certainly we knew there'd be more people. We assessed what was available and thought it could be handled and our assessment was correct, because it was handled. And
is that a crime? Because some people have come in with cases that they probably should have had looked after before. Wasn't that one of the things the plan was designed to do, Mr. Speaker? And, I certainly make no apologies for that--in fact, I make no apologies in this House for being one of the ones chiefly responsible for the hospital plan coming in July the 1st last year. No apologies to anybody, and I only say, Mr. Speaker, that if the Minister has applied himself to the problems that were developing he wouldn't have had 200 people in city hospitals as he mentioned here the other night that could have had other kinds of care. That was the figure I believe I heard him say, that there were 200 people which should not be in hospital today. And he's talking about the field med, he's talking about the collections, how successful it's been. Who set up the field men? Who set up the whole administration? It was there ready for him to use. And so with all the criticism that he directed across the way I think it was quite ineffectual and I am very happy that we were able, and able only, Mr. Speaker, as I mentioned before, able only when we put our cards on the table and said to the municipal men, the medical men, the labour men, this is the only way we can come in the first of July--are you with me or not. And without exception, with only the one exception they said we're with you.
Now then, I come to this nursing home problem. I said that when I was dealing with Mr. Monteith I pointed out that this was where the danger lies, and that it would be good business on the part of both the province and the Federal government to include it, because you would not run into the problem that the Minister has mentioned here. The problem of where people are in the hospital and they get their bills paid but if they are moved to a nursing home they do not. Where if municipalities have people in there they are very reluctant to move them, and indeed, where people have relatives in there, they are very important to move them for two reasons. Because first of all they are getting first class care, and secondly it's under the Hospital Plan. And wouldn't the proper way be this, Mr. Speaker, and the Federal Minister agreed with me at that time, wouldn't the proper way be to put the nursing homes under and the amount of money that would be saved by moving those cases which are costing $20.00 a day over to those that are costing, according to the Minister's latest figure, $8.00 a day. The money that would be saved would be a great boon to both. And there you could completely correlate all your services. There would be no difficulty in transferring a patient from one to the other where the financial obligation was not concerned. Where there was no charges made that both kinds of cases would be under the new hospitalization plan. But the Minister had a very good answer to me, and I think it was good and that's why I wanted to get this correspondence, Mr. Speaker, and his answer was this, "Mr. Bend, you or I don't know how this is going to operate--we knew there were going to be "bugs" in it--how be we leave it for a year, and after a year's experience we can see what's best to be done." Now I would like to know and the Minister has never said, what has he done with the Federal Minister. Has he pushed it or does he agree with me that this is the main problem that faces him today? Number one: does he agree? I think he does because he has mentioned it. Number two: what has he said to Mr. Monteith in the interval? Has he pushed for this to be under or hasn't he? I think that's a very fundamental and an important question, because I do not care who has the running of this plan, eventually it's got to happen, it has got to come in.
I wan interested when I heard about the First Minister saying that he was going to impress upon Ottawa that they include mental and T.B. Famous last words! How long did we talk about mental and T.B. The Prime Minister, the present Prime Minister himself, not only on the public platform, but in Hansard if you wish to read it, gave his great speech and it was a good speech, on what the new hospital plan should be, and he says no plan in complete leaving mental and T.B. out. It was Mr. Fleming who, in about the same day I believe it's certainly in the same copy of Hansard, said nursing homes should be in too. Now when we went down to Ottawa all prepared because mental and T.B. was a big thing for this province, and I don't say this critically of the First Minister, I think he's quite right in bringing this thing up again because they were on record as saying it should be in. But of course, it's not, and it has not been included. And so I say to the First Minister, good luck to you, if you can get it in, but your chances are very, very slim. Because if he was going to implement his promise there was the time to do it, when we were all there ready to talk health plan and he said, well not look there isn't enough money to go round, and you must realize that if I cover mental and T.B. that I have
to take it away from the money I give you under tax-rental. And this after he had given us this speech at the start. When you came down here before, gentlemen you were treated to take it or leave it. A take it or leave it with the former Federal government. That day is over and now we come and we are not going to treat you in that way. You know what it was then? It was take it and leave it. Take it here for mental and T.B. but leave it there for tax-rental money, so it was a change from take it or leave it to take it and leave it.
I was interested to note that in 1957 the increase in, and I had better read this right out so there's no--I made a note of it but I think it's in here...something that you can read...I need a magnifying glass. What stuff is that to put in a book? You can't even see it. Looks like little periods and commas running all over the place. And that's called--what is it--oh well, we won't go into that.
MR. ROBLIN: You voted for it.
MR. BEND: Well, if you're going to have a thing have it. Either don't have it or have it. At least have it so you can read it without putting it on a projector.
Now then, however we're in--and this is the Minister speaking--however we're in 1957 [Interjection] ...well, all right, you go ahead with your little joke--Your colleague gave this speech and it's important, I want you to listen to it. [Interjection] Well, I'm coming to that! However, where in 1957 the excess of re-admissions over first admissions were seven per cent. In 1957, that's when we were there, that's admission to mental hospitals, seven per cent. This year, that's this year, the excess is 24 per cent. Now I would be interested to know the explanation--seven per cent in '57, 24 per cent in '59. Could only be two Conservative governments elected that year.
Now we come to this great crime. This great crime of having the agricultural rep' fill out an Old Age Assistance Application. Now there was a crime. Far better to wait till you could get a man from Winnipeg to travel away out there and take the information than have the man walk across to the ag-rep office and fill out the form and sent it in. Now surely to goodness the government hasn't got to the stage that the only thing a man can do for the government is the particular department that he works for. Surely to goodness that he can fill out a form like this and send it in and save a man's trip out there and save time. Surely that's in the interests of economy, and in the interests of good business practice. And so instead we're told about having this brand new thing where a man will rush out there I suppose and get the information and rush back and then have to go out two or three more times and finally get it processed, and that's going to save time and money. That's going to be an interesting time. I don't agree with it at all. I think certainly for the final processing maybe it would be necessary, but certainly for the taking of the first information I see absolutely nothing wrong in going to the agricultural rep' if he's handy, if he has a form and getting it filled out by him and sent into this office. I certainly don't agree with the Honourable Minister there.
However, that was a minor thing and as far as I'm concerned I will say this for the new Minister it's been hard to attack him personally and I haven't. Anything I have said here had been nothing against him personally, because I have a very high regard for the Honourable Gentleman and I know the kind of a job he has, and I know the hours it takes too. It's almost with a feeling of relief when I drive by here late at night and I see him struggling up there knowing that it's him and not myself. [Laughter] And so I simply say to him that nothing has been meant personally, and nothing personal to the Minister of Education either. I said at the start, this is the courage of my convictions and I stay with it, and I take my hat off to them. But I did want to point out that at that time it was a fairly dangerous time to hold up the process.
So Mr. Speaker, I thank you for your kind indulgence and I hope that I haven't taxed you.
MR. STINSON: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order, the previous speaker promised to say something about the amendment which has to do with the comprehensive Federal-Provincial Health Insurance Plan.
MR. BEND: Would you let me finish? Do I have the consent of the House to finish, I forgot that part of my speech.
You know, Mr. Speaker, the funny thing about it, for the last minute and a half in my speech I knew there was something else I was supposed to say and I couldn't find it here, and it's on the order paper, and if somebody will hand me an order paper I can finish up now. And
I'll be very brief, I promise.
And this is to the amendment to the main motion. Where the Honourable the Leader of the C.C.F. party is [Laughter] I'll find it here in a minute. Here it is! "We further regret the failure of the Government to take the intiative in promoting a comprehensive Federal-Provincial Health Insurance Plan." I agree on this particular point with one of the remarks--a couple of the remarks made by the present Minister. He said that at the present time we have a hospital plan which has to be fitted in, and which is posing problems. I agree with him. This plan has got to be completely fitted in before you start accepting an overall health insurance plan. But I would like to refer to one thing the Minister has said which is only too true, right at the beginning where he said something about "a plan must be fitted to the province, it must be an individual plan." I'm sorry, it's "any health scheme must be individualized" was the words he used. There is a great deal of merit in that statement because different provinces and different jurisdictions do present different problems, and I would say this, while I am of the opinion that it is too early to accept this resolution as it stands, that a great deal of work needs to be done on the present Hospitalization Plan in order for it to bring all the benefits that is envisaged for it. It is not too early, Mr. Speaker, to be doing some thinking about a proposed health plan and in the words of the Minister, it must be an individualized plan, that it must be tailored to fit our needs. Now I have heard it said; where are the Liberals on this, they have been strangely quiet? Well, strangely enough, Mr. Speaker, I never got an opportunity to speak and just when I got ready to give our position on this we heard that address from the Honourable the First Minister, and so I don't think we can be criticized for not giving it when we never had the opportunity.
Now, our feeling in this matter is this. That certainly the kind of catastrophic case that was mentioned by the Honourable Member from St. John's, that type of case has definitely got to be looked after in my humble opinion. The case, where, and I mentioned one in hospitalization when we were dealing with this before, the extreme case, certainly should receive attention. Now I wonder if I might be permitted to read this because I think it is fairly important and I don't want to make a mistake. I'll make it perfectly clear we do not intend to support this amendment. We do not think that the time is right for it. We think that with all due respect to the travelogue that was given to us about the wonderful benefits that accrue in other jurisdictions. We also know that there are travellers from there who say there are defects as well, and there are things about the plan that could be remedied, and that's where I think comes in this business of the individualization spoken by the Minister of Health when he was talking about this. And I would say that this would be our position with respect to a medical plan, Mr. Speaker.
We would favour the establishment by co-operation between Federal and Provincial governments of measures that would preserve every citizen and family from many crippling burden of medical, surgical and dental costs. To this end such costs would be covered from a Medical Insurance Fund when, but only when, they exceeded a moderate proportion of a person's or family's income.
MR. SPEAKER: The question before the House is the amendment to the amendment to the Throne Speech which reads as follows; the following words be added to the main motion as amended, "we further regret the failure of the government to take the initiative in promoting a comprehensive Federal-Provincial Health Insurance Plan." Are you ready for the question?
MR. W. C. MILLER (Rhineland): Mr. Speaker, before you put the motion, I had intended to say a few words but I certainly can't finish before the suggested closing time or the closing time that's been so often suggested by the Honourable, the First Minister, and I was wondering whether, if there's no other speaker...tonight who can finish off whether he'd call it a day and adjourn the House.
MR. ROBLIN: I'd like to call it a day, Mr. Speaker, I would, however, appreciate it if anyone else intends to speak on this particular sub-amendment, if they would indicate it now.
MR. PAULLEY: Mr. Speaker, there may be one and possibly two of our group that does wish to speak.
MR. ROBLIN: I'm ready to continue, if it's not a long speech I think we should have it. We've got quite a few minutes to go.
MR. MILLER: Are there any other speakers from the government side, Mr. Speaker?
MR. ROBLIN: Depends on what you're going to say. [Laughter]
MR. MILLER: That's what I was afraid of.
MR. ROBLIN: I have no objection to calling it a day, Mr. Speaker, and in that case the motion will stand, and we'll understand that the Honourable the Member for Rhineland has the first opportunity to speak tomorrow, if we get to that item.
MR. SPEAKER: We require a motion to adjourn.
MR. ROBLIN: Then you ask the adjournment of the House, Mr. Speaker. I move, seconded by the Honourable the Minister of Agriculture, that the House do now adjourn.
[Mr. Speaker presented the motion and after a voice vote declared the motion carried, and the House adjourned until 2:30 p.m. tomorrow afternoon. ]
MR. STAN ROBERTS (La Verendrye): Monsieur l'orateur, c'est avec plaisir que je fais usage aujourd'hui des droits de notre chambre pour vous addresser en français. J'ai cependant certain regrets d'abord que vous monsieur l'orateur ne pouvez le compendre, mais surtout que le premier ministre qui au temps ou il était chef de l'opposition faisait en chambre de si flamboyants discours en français ne le fait plus. Il y'a a peine un an a l'occasion du débat du discours du Trône le 16 février 1958 qu'il recommandait au ministre de l'education d'alors, mon collègue, de député de Rhineland que le français devrait être enseigne des le grade 1 dans les écoles du Manitoba. Je me demande bien ce qu'il a fait pour réaliser ce projet depuis son élévation au rang du premier minisre. Nous en entendons plus parler.
[English translation of above: ]
MR. STAN ROBERTS (La Verendrye): Mr. Speaker, it is with great pleasure that I make use today of the rights of this House to speak to you in French. I have a few regrets, however; first that you, Mr. Speaker, cannot understand (French), but especially that the First Minister at the time when he was Leader of the Opposition would give such grand speeches in French, now does not do so. Hardly a year ago, on the occasion of the debate on the Speech from the Throne, February 16th, 1958, he (Mr. Roblin) recommended to the then Minister of Education, my colleague, the member for Rhineland, that the French language should be taught from grade 1 in Manitoba schools. I wonder what he has done about this since his elevation to the rank of First Minister? We don't hear about it anymore.
MR. EDMOND PREFONTAINE (Carillon): Monsieur l'orateur, je suis très heureux de vous revoir dans votre siège présidentiel en aussi bonne santé. Je vous remercie des belles paroles que vous avez dites en français l'automne dernier et je vous encourage a continuer. Je vous présente a vous ainsi qu'a Madame Harrison, votre épouse, mes meilleurs voeux de santé et de bonheur.
[English translation of above: ]
MR. EDMOND PREFONTAINE (Carillon): Mr. Speaker, I am very glad to see you again in your presidential seat in such good health. I would also like to thank you for the kind words you spoke in French last Fall and I am encouraging you to go on. Please accept, as well as your wife, Mrs. Harrison, my best wishes for health and happiness.
Page revised: 22 September 2009