Hon. S.J. Hefferton (Minister of Education):
Mr. Speaker, I rise to move the second reading of a Bill An Act Respecting the University of Newfoundland, and in doing so, Sir, I wish to associate myself with the previous speakers in congratulating you on the honour conferred upon you, and also upon the manner in which you have carried out your duties so far, and I trust that for many days and years you may be privileged to carry on as you have begun.
In moving the second reading of this Bill An Act to raise the status of the Memorial University College I feel that I am in some measure moving the complement to a previous legislative enactment, the Economic Development Bill, for together they represent the most progressive advances of our day. If carried forward to completion, they hold within their conceptions, the instruments whereby we in Newfoundland can make this beloved country of ours greater, and the people therein more contented than in the past. If we contend that economic development provides the means of employment for our people--helping them to a higher standard of living--equally true is it that a university provides the medium for a higher cultural and social minded people. Moreover it supplies a training centre, from which we can send out those who will be equipped to play an important part in the development of our economic resources.
No one can successfully deny the need of a Newfoundland University. Our only danger is on failure to make the fullest use of its possibilities, but that danger we can avoid if we will. At the moment it is a prerequisite that we raise the College to university status--as an enabling means for the advancement of our people.
When we look and ponder on the motto of the College, Provehito in altum, we cannot help but ponder on the significance, "Launch out into the deep." I need not remind the honourable members of this House of the source from whence that motto is taken. You recall the words of Christ to his followers--fishermen on the sea of Gallilee--how after toiling in vain, and having caught nothing, the command came to them "Launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a draught." The fishermen did so--and the act of faith was rewarded by a heavy catch of fish.
The building of the Memorial University College was an act of faith, but though it served its generation, the present time calls for greater doing, great conception of duty. It is our privilege to advance--in keeping with that motto. It Is our privilege and our duty to take up the task entrusted to us, and to contribute our part, for further generations.
One of the external marks of study at a university is a degree, but a degree certificate or a hood is generally one mark of knowledge. I do not urge the adoption of this Bill as merely providing a place for the acquisition of knowledge. You recall Solomon's Prayer, "Give me to know wisdom and knowledge." These are two entirely different things--as Cowper says,
But knowledge is the material with which wisdom builds, and I think of this step which I urge, as providing not only a seat of advanced knowledge, but a focal point in which our men and women may acquire that common sense in an uncommon degree which may be applied successfully to the solution of our economic problems, and equally portrayed in our associations with our fellowmen.
My first ideas of a national university for our country crystalized under the influence of Dr. Arthur Barnes during my teacher-training days. In those far-off days it seemed another instance of the truth of Longfellow's refrain, "The thoughts of youth are long, long thoughts." Yet some ten years later the dreams of youth were given a semblance of reality, under the direction of my former school teacher, and in 1925 Memorial University College opened its portals to the eager youth of Newfoundland.
Nearly one quarter of a century has passed since then, a period of historical significance in the political life of our people. Our old Alma Mater, erected in memory of the heroes of the 1st World War, some fifteen years later saw the exodus of its students and alumni, to take part in a second world conflict. True, they did not leave "the spirts of Oxford," as Winnifred Letts made immortal in her poem, but they gave up the cap and gown of Memorial University College to mingle with their Oxford brothers in conflict and in blood, in combat against a common foe, in defence of their freedom and their right to live their own way of life.
The gallant men and women who offered freely of their best in war typify one side of life, but we must not forget that "Peace too hath her victories." The last quarter of a century has witnessed many political changes, changes which promise much or little to Newfoundland dependent upon the will and the co-operation of the people. In the files of education also there has been progress. We have enlarged our activities. We have widened our educational horizons. We have realized in part our own defects, and spent time and money in fostering activities tending to make our citizens more educated electorate. Yet Memorial University College remains as it was in the beginning. There has been growth in membership, there has been an extension to the building, there has been emanating from it, throughout the years, leaven, effective in some measures, in moulding thought, and living in this country. During the years the number of graduates total 3,630, but of these quite a half have been forced to go abroad to Canadian and American Universities to complete their years of study. Only this year we had approximately one hundred students in residence in universities on the mainland.
It is one of our privileges to choose our sect of learning, and when we have our own university we shall still have young men and women moving off to larger centres, but, during these youthful days of Memorial University College, we have kept from hundreds of Newfoundlanders that extra two years of study which might have been productive in exerting tremendous influence on the economy and the culture of this country and its inhabitants. In the third year of its existence I graduated from Memorial University College. I went back into the teaching field, from which I had broken off a year or two before, with a sense of frustration. I was not in a position to pursue my studies in a foreign field. I could have wrangled through Memorial University College had it been chartered to allow me to finish. Since then I have met with, and talked to many students, whose experiences were similar to mine. In this House we have one or more of the Alumni who can corroborate what I say. I do not intend to analyze the reasons why we have continued year after year to allow the Memorial University College to remain unfinished. I do know that many opponents have entirely erroneous ideas about the cost involved in raising the College to a charter conferring institution, and an equally wrong opinion about the actual help that the University can contribute to the fullest degree in our destiny, but at the moment we merely plan to cap what was begun 25 years ago-to make it possible for our own students to graduate from our own University-possibly in Arts and Education.
During these years of Memorial University College adolescence not only have we sent abroad some hundreds of students, but we have been guilty of intellectual restrictions on those who have gone, and on those who have stayed in their own country. Our courses at the Memorial University College have been arranged so that they fit in with the courses pursued elsewhere. We have been forced to pursue academic courses without due consideration for the ultimate good of the student, or of his native land. It may seem out of date to quote the words of John Henry Newman, but apart from his authorship of Lead Kindly Light, Newman was a keen thinker, and in his writings on the "Rise and Progress of Universities," he says, "If a practical end must be assigned to a university course I say it is that of training good members of Society. Its art is the art of social life, and its end is fitness for the world. A University training is the great ordinary means to a great but ordinary end. It aims at raising the intellectual tone of society; at cultivating the public mind; at purifying the natural taste; at supplying true principles to popular enthusiasm, and fixed aims to popular aspiration; at giving enlargement and sobriety to the ideas of the age; at facilitating the exercise of political power, and refining the intercourse of private life. It is the education which gives a man a clear conscience view of his own opinions and judgments. It teaches him to see things as they are. It prepares him to fill any post with credit, and to master any subject with ease."
That in part was Newman's idea of a university, and incidentally, Newman said certain things about the site of a university which possibly might be studied with good effect when we come to the question of expansion of buildings.
I have no intention of going into the political feelings engendered by the erection of the building nor the criticisms directed against it at the time; nor do I wish to refer to the political promises of our present Government, but I have heard repeatedly one criticism, which in my view is somewhat narrow, and ill founded. It has been remarked that the enactment of this Bill favours the more fortunate (financiaIly) boys and girls of St. John's. Any university or school favours the children in its immediate area, but any national institution must have some central location, and it is natural and fitting that we should complete what we have started in our provincial capital.
In addition, I believe that every child in Newfoundland or elsewhere should have equality in educational opportunity. Such a belief does not mean a High School in every small settlement. The erection of Regional schools desirable from many viewpoints means enormous expense, and a surrounding of other obstacles well nigh insuperable. The University can be the centre of that equalising oportunity. The expenditure involved in sending yearly to a university, the boys and girls on a selective basis suited for university study, would be far less than any other plan of which I have knowledge.
There are in our country many opportunities for expansion in accordance with our own particular needs, and in keeping with a policy of conservation and development of our own natural resources. Only recently we became aware of our shortage in engineers. For several years now we have had annually many Newfoundland engineering students graduating from Canadian universities and all these young men have found work in the land of their adoption. We may not be able to offer the larger fields of Canada or of the United States. We certainly do possess certain possibilities which hitherto we have negected, if not ignored.
The forward step taken, by passing this Act, will provide one answer to the problem of economic development of our resources. During recent years tentative offers by philanthropic people interested in education have been made, but these offers have been nullified in some instances because of the failure of past Governments to enact the necessary legislation. The enactment of this Bill elevating the college to an University is all important, as I see it, in the interest of our country, and of its people. It will provide that which has hitherto been lacking in our educational programme. I do not say it is the only thing requiring to be done. I have already hinted at a further step, but it is, I contend, an essential in any plans made for the economic and cultural enlightenment of our citizens.
The creation of the University makes possible the endowment of a chair of Forestry. Forestry is one of our geatest natural resources. The utilization of the forestry products is one of our major industries. Research is active in trying to give to mankind further uses for the forest products and it is fitting that we should equip our own University with courses suited to the encouragement of further activities in this line of work.
Fishing is the staple occupation of this country. The future even more so than the past is bound up in the pursuit of the fisheries, but modernized to meet the ever-expanding needs of the times. Here too is an avenue through whose paths we can wend our way; an avenue which opens up new processes and new ventures. These are but two lines of work made possible by gearing our national University to meet local requirements.
Mrs. Signirney, somewhere in her writing on education said: "The true order of learning should be able to provide the threefold card." Memorial University College as it is, and as it has been for the past 24 years, has never been able to accomplish its utmost in usefulness or in culture. Its service has been restricted by the limitations placed on its status. We aim to raise that status. We hope by so doing we may enchance its use, and its cultural value to our people.
When we look at other provinces, and study their institutions, if we cast our minds back to the early Pilgrim Fathers, we get a glimpse of the value of universities as seats of learning, and as influences permeating through the lives of the people. The Memorial University College in itself as a building represents a memorial to the inherent rights of democracy, but the Memorial University College stands for something infinitely higher than a memorial for that which is past. May I quote from Daniel Webster, "If we work upon marble it will perish; if on brass time will efface it; if we work upon immortal minds, and imbue them with principles, with the just fear of God and love of our fellowmen, we engrave on those tablets something that will brighten to all eternity."
In moving the adoption of this Bill, Mr. Speaker, we think of the new university as a means towards an end, as a medium by which we enable the coming generations to build more wisely, to build more justly, a way of life. Think of the Memorial University as a symbol, always pointing to higher things, inspiring us, and the people whom we serve. I do not think of a university student in Milton's words, "Deep versed In books and shallow in himself," but rather as one who can best train his intellect to serve his country, and for that purpose--to serve the state and its people--the work so long deferred should be carried forward to its logical and natural conclusion.
Before I conclude, Sir, I would briefly refer to yet one other criticism frequently made, and sometimes, I fear, on inadequate grounds. Even supporters of this Bill sometimes ask this question: Can we afford a university? Will the expenditure involved justly itself? The answer to that question is found, in a careful analysis of the educational and cultural needs of our people. We have many problems in education, some of them due in part to our peculiar system. Two of these problems centred in the past on the inadequate remuneration given to our teachers, and our consequent inability to secure sufficient personnel, as well as on the relatively low professional status of those engaged in the important work of guiding the young. Since we came into power, we have arranged that as and from September 1, 1949, the salaries of teachers are to be proportioned more in accordance with their work than hitherto, and the scale of salaries adopted in conformity with recognised practice elsewhere, i.e., based on qualifications earned academically and from experience. In addition, we have provided for the teachers, particularly among those holding licences, or as formerly known third and second grade teaching certificates, additional government assistance to enable them to raise their professional standing. In personal contacts with the Maritime Provinces, and in comparing the large number of teachers in these provinces who held university degrees, with the comparatively few teachers, similarly qualified, in Newfoundland, I could not and cannot feel satisfied with our present position. Teacher salaries, and Government assistance for Teacher Training, provide at least partial solution to two problems. The adoption of this Bill assures us of the medium through which we can solve the third, raising the professional status of our teaching body. The issues at stake, the more adequate training of our citizenry, overrule the question of expense involved in this legislation. We cannot afford to leave unsolved, this third problem, the solution of which is intimately tied up with what we have already done for education.
I confess I have a sentimental feeling for urging the adoption of this measure, but in this instance my heart and my reason work together, both convincing me that in completing this work, in making our College a University Of Newfoundland, "we build better than we know."
I feel that in taking this step we are doing something that will go through the ages as one of the most progressive pieces of legislation that we enacted at our first session.
Mr. Speaker, I move the second reading of the Bill An Act Respecting a Newfoundland University.
This University of ours, this College, started under very good auspicies. It has been said that one man can make a university, and Newfoundland's College started with one of the greatest headmasters, one of the greatest teachers that could be found in any part of the British Empire. John L. Paton is a name that should be venerated and his name should ever be renowned even in the walls of the university to be, which is the College of the past. He has been succeeded by another fine man, A. G. Hatcher, and as a result thereof the two years' university course which has been given in the college for so many years is of such a calibre that it may be said with certainty that no university on the mainland--and when I say "mainland" I mean the North American continent--could give a better course and few could give a course so good. I have heard that even from Oxford itself; I have heard that about the two years' course at the Memorial University College. I am one of those who felt many, many years ago, that this University should be started. I feel that many years have been lost and a whole generation has lost the benefit of having a degree which would have been conferred if this movement which is on foot now had started twenty or thirty years ago.
It is gratifying that in the view of the old educationalists in this country who brought so much culture to this country, for no one can forget that the great teachers of the past brought culture to this country which has never been forgotten. Unfortunately there are few of these old teachers left; Dr. Burke, Dr. Whiteway, and Dr. Barnes are the only three I know; perhaps there are some others. I am very glad indeed that that fine old gentleman at Bay Roberts, Dr. Barnes, is still alive to see that his dream has been realized, and I trust that when the University re-opens as a full university he will be one of the honoured guests there; that he will be regarded as a great guest of honour.
But there is one thing that must be done; we must not crimp ourselves; we have lost some very good men at the College, particularly a man whom I had a very great admiration for, a man who would have made a great president of the College, A. G. Gillingham. He was a real true gentleman; he was a fine scholar; he was a man who inspired confidence in most of his students, but, unfortunately, he is gone to other regions. It would be a very good thing if men like these could be brought back; we have a very good staff here now, but I presume the staff has to be increased, and I would like to see men like Gillingham, Newfoundlanders like him, who have done so well abroad, in the College. As I have said, you can criticize a university in more ways than one. I take the liberty at the present moment to say that the grounds of the University are altogether too small, and the first thing that should be done is to try to get some land near the University. I was told about thirty years ago that Yale University was offered hundreds of acres of land five miles away from New Haven, and they refused because it was too far away from the town. That ground would be worth millions today. But people do not look ahead. When the Roman Catholic Cathedral was built here in--it started in 1847, the Catholic people petitioned the Bishop not to build the Cathedral there because it was too far in the country, and unless we start now getting some land for the Memorial College I am afraid all the land will be taken up, and I do say this much, that there is too small an amount of land in connection with this University to allow it to expand.
I think then that I would like to say that very often a man who looks ahead is not a dreamer, but a realist. If we are going to make this university a good one and a proper one, we have to get good teachers and get sufficient land to expand, because if we cannot expand it will become stagnant.
Having had a university education myself, I feel sorry for those who have been denied the privilege. Many people in this country had not sufficient money to go abroad to a university and I myself probably would have been one of those except that I had a scholarship which brought me to a university. Now this gives people in this country of small means a chance of seeing their children crowned with a degree, and I do not think that anybody can succeed in most positions nowadays unless he has a degree. You cannot get a commission in the Army, I understand; you cannot get certain positions in Newfoundland; yes certainly cannot get positions in the United States and the mainland unless you have a degree, and I think then, apart from the cultural aspect, which I think is the most important thing--because after all education is an end besides being a means; it is the means of enabling a man get a livelihood, but it is an end in itself, because it brings culture to people, which is sufficient in itself. People do get that culture by intensive reading, but they can be helped out by a university, and many a person would not get that education and culture unless a university is at their disposal. For these reasons, first, because it will be giving culture to this country, new culiure to this land, and secondly, because it will be giving young men here and young girls a chance to improve themselves in the future, that I give this Bill the heartiest support.
Having gotten the College, the next question came as to a principal, and I remember, Sir--if I may be pardoned for saying so--I remember how these same men in the Department of Education learned that Mr. John L. Paton was in Canada--Winnipeg, I think it was--and how advisable it would be if his services could be secured to head the new university. It was my privilege, Sir, in 1924, while in England with my late father, to go to Oxford and to go to University College, and there to talk with the late Sir Michael Sadleir, who was principal of University College, with a view to getting his support in securing the services of Mr. Paton, to come to Newfoundland as the first principal of our college. We had heard that Mr. Paton had accepted Sir Michael Sadleir as his adviser, and my late father, by preparing the way with Sir Michael, felt that when the approach was made to Mr. Paton to come here, that approach would not fall on deaf ears. Fortunately for Newfoundland, Sir, Mr. Paton did come, and put this college on its feet.
Later I remember, Sir, the fights to get the necessary funds to make this college possible. Dr. Burke and his two colleagues went back and forth to New York. We used to call them "picnic trips" in those days, Mr. Speaker, but these men brought back the support that this college needed, and for years this college carried on only because of the financial support and good-will that these men brought back.
It is not my intention, Sir, to delay the House. We are sure that the ghosts of the past will be looking at us to-day as we pass the final measures to bring the Memorial University College to a degree-conferring institution. I rejoice, Sir, that I am here, to be a party on this occasion to supporting the Bill. I hope that we are preparing the way so that many a young man and young woman of Newfoundland will be able to get a complete education without having to leave our shores.
We will, as Canadians, as part of the Canadian nation, gradually more especially in the generations to come, gradually and quite inevitably absorb a wider outlook, a Canadian outlook, a wider national outlook which will be wide enough to embrace even the people of far-way British Columbia, and those living between there and here. All the more reason, therefore, why we should do something to see to it that our distinctively Newfoundland culture and consciousness do not disappear and are preserved and maintained down to many generations in the future. And I feel this University will be a great means toward that end.
We must restore our Museum, and I know in that we have the very cordial support of the honourable and learned leader of the Opposition, and doubtless of his whole party, and, I take it, of the whole province. We must restore the Museum and do more than restore it; we must make it a much greater thing than it ever was. It is not enough to bring it back to the point it had reached when it was so ruthlessly scattered. We must make it a much greater Museum than it used to be before; we must do a number of things which we have never done, all good in themselves but in the aggregate good especially for the purpose of helping to preserve our own distinctively Newfoundland culture and consciousness and pride of achievement.
One thing we might well do, I suggest, is to secure paintings of all the long line of Speakers who have graced the Chair which Your Honour graces to-day. We might well line the walls of this Chamber with portraits of former Speakers of our House of Assembly, beginning with the late great Dr. William Carson. We might well also, I suggest, line the wall with portraits of the late Prime Ministers, all the former prime Ministers of Newfoundland. That would not cost much but it would add much to the sense of history which now more than ever, now that we are province of a much greater nation, more than ever we should preserve and foster.
However, it would be rather shortsighted if we were to regard this university, this Memorial University, of Newfoundland, as merely a means still further to encourage the preservation of the Newfoundland culture; we must, I think, regard the university as an active and energetic means to the economic development of Newfoundland. It must be more than merely a centre of culture and learning; it must have a very practical aspect too, along with the rest. I would like myself to see in that University a school of fisheries, and I may say that that is more, already more, than merely an idea, and already this Government has given some consideration to it, not by any means considerable and not by any means complete, but some consideration to the idea of establishing a school of fisheries in connection with the university.
We have also given some consideration, again not exhaustive or complete, but some consideration to the idea of having attached to that university a school of forestry. And we have not by any means a school of forestry. And we have not by any means yet abandoned an idea to which we gave considerable thought, and in which we took considerable interest, namely, the idea of attaching to that university a school of navigation and deep-sea engineering.
We have in Newfoundland our fisheries, our forests, and our mines. These are our three great basic natural resources, and it is only by development of these that Newfoundland must get the bulk of the income on which it can live and on which it will base its whole system of social security. These must be developed. The University of Newfoundland can and must be made an important means of assisting in that type of development.
Now the University of Newfoundland, while the province of Newfoundland has a population of approximately 300,000, is likely never to be as large as, say, the University of Oxford, of which the honourable and learned Leader of the Opposition is a graduate, or even the University of McGill or even the University of Dalhousie. At the same time, there is no reason why, if we have the vision and if we have the courage and if we have sufficient recklessness in the spending of money on that type of thing, no reason why the University of Newfoundland for its size should not be the most distinguished university in the whole world; and certainly if the plans of this Government can be brought to fruition it will become exactly that, because I give fair warning, Mr. Speaker, that it is no intention of our merely to ask the House to adopt this legislation conferring that Charter upon the University, then turning our backs on the University and allow it merely to struggle along as a poor, poverty-stricken little institution. Once the die is cast and the Charter is granted, that University, if we can do it, insofar as it lies with us to do it, that University is going to [be a] live, dynamic centre of learning [and] culture [of which every Newfoundlander] can be proud. That is our intention.
I see no reason why in the light of that University within the near future we should not have an activity for the active encouragement of historical research in Newfoundland. I see no reason why that University should not become the sponsor of research into Newfoundland history in England, where most of the source data exist far more than here in Newfoundland. and my honourable and learned friend, the Leader of the Opposition, who has spent so many years of his life as a collector of Terranovana, if that is the proper word to use, will know what I mean when I say that by far the greater part of the actual historical sources affecting Newfoundland are to be found not in Newfoundland at all but in the British Museum, the Public Record Office, the British Admiralty, the Board of Trade, the private libraries, and in all bookstores scattered throughout the length and breadth of England and with possibly a very rich source of material existing in private homes and mercantile firms in the West country of England. I see no reason I say, why the University should not, with Government assistance financially, sponsor historical research in England where most of the material is.
Well, it must be a peculiar joy to Dr. Burke to be present here this afternoon as a visitor and to see what must be a dream of his for many years past, to be present to see second reading given to this Bill to make the College a University. It must be a peculiar joy to my honourable and learned friend on my right, the Attorney General, son of one of the three original advocates of the University College, the late Dr. Curtis, to be present and to be able to say a word in behalf of this Bill, and surely if the spirits of the two who have not survived that trio are here present, and surely they must be, they must listen with great approval to the advocation which this idea is receiving in the House this afternoon.
I am sure that to the honourable the Minister of Education it must be a cause for great personal pride and pleasure to have been able to introduce this Bill to-day and I am sure that if the truth were known, my honourable friend the Minister of Public Welfare must find a responsive note struck in his own heart as this Bill is given its second reading.
There will be contentious matters before this House as there have already been, but this is one Bill on which I think we all of us, as Newfoundlanders, which we were before we became Canadians, which we as Newfoundlanders, must support ardently, enthusiastically, and quite unanimously.
It is a great personal pleasure for me, I repeat to be head of the Government which is bringing this matter forward; I can promise the House, that in bringing this Bill forward and incidentally, remembering that outstanding promise we made to the people of Newfoundland, we are beginning a long series of promise redemptions in the course of the next few months and the next few years. I am sure it has the unanimous approval of the whole House.
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