I said that prior to the passing of the Militia Pension Act of last session, a provision was made for the retirement of officers, which was as follows : One-tenth of the officer's pay at the time of his retirement for every year that he has served, is to be allowed ; that is to say, if an officer receiving $1,000 a year has served twenty years, he would get $2,000 on retirement. On the basis of twenty years at 5 per cent contribution per year, under the Bill we passed last year, it would not cost the country anything. If there is no 10 per cent provision in the North-west Mounted Police Act, and I think there is not. then the cost to the country will be exactly that 10 per cent of a man's pay for every year he has served.
It does not seem to be a question of what the cost is. It is a question of what is fair and right. If I read the section correctly, it seems to me that it misses the important purpose of a pension. Under the provisions of the Bill we give a pension to fin officer who has served his full term in the force for the reason that lie has become incapacitated for further service in the force or for earning his living outside the force. The man who is incapacitated by reason of bodily injury received in the discharge of his duty, at whatever period of his term of service, is in exactly the same position as the man who has served twenty-five or thirty years; and I humbly submit that it is not only for his advantage, but in the interest of the country, that he should be dealt with in the same way. If a case arises in which an officer is compelled to risk life and limb, it is only fair that having risked his life and limb in the service of the country, he should not be at a financial loss. The country should stand the financial loss so far as that can be done. I would suggest that this is the purpose of a pension, and, with all due deference, that purpose is not met by this section.
This clause is in exactly the same position as clause 5. If the officer loses his life in the discharge of his duty, his family become dependent on the country in one way or another, and it seems to me that the least the government can do is to replace that loss to his family as far as it call reasonably be done.
The argument of my hon. friend from Alberta (Mr. Oliver) is, and I entirely agree with it, that it should not be necessary for a man to serve for twenty years and then to lose his life before his widow or children can receive anything. If he serves only five years or ten years and loses his life in the service of the country, his * family should be entitled to some consideration at the hands of the government.
I have only to repeat what I said a moment ago, that if the intention of the Bill were to provide pensions for the officers of the mounted police out of the treasury of the country, the remarks made by my hon. friend would apply I but the object of this Bill is not to create a charge upon the country. It is expected that the fund to be created will be self-supporting, or that it will be supplemented by the treasury in only a limited degree.
I presume that the case my hon. friend from Toronto has in mind is the case of a man who loses his life or is wounded in action. There is a scale of pensions in force which has been in existence since 1885, which is applicable to such a case.
I was going to ask the right hon. gentleman if there were any rules or regulations of the department applicable to such cases. This Bill is not to be considered as providing for pensions, but for a savings fund to which each man contributes, and it provides for the distribution of this fund in a certain way. I suppose the right hon. gentleman has had an actuarial calculation made for this purpose. But, besides that, there ought to be some regulation covering such cases as the hon. member for West Toronto (Mr. Clarke) refers to. I think perhaps the Minister of Justice is thinking of the Militia Pensions Act.
The clause we are discussing does not deal with pensions, but with gratuities, and there must be a service of twenty years before the widows or children are entitled to consideration. By what rule or actuarial calculation do you ascertain what amounts should be retained which will be the equivalent of the annuities to the widow or orphans of those who lose their lives in the service of the country ?
Yes, but this Act is not intended to cover all cases. It applies to contributors who belong to the force, but by the changes suggested, we are making it apply to people who do not contribute their share. I am not expressing any opinion as to whether that is wise or not.
The Act is intended only to apply to those who contribute to the fund .and in the cases referred to, where a man. disabled or killed, has not served His full time, they are dealt with separately by the government. Take, for instance, item 107 of the estimates, ' pensions payable to militiamen and mounted police and others on account of the rebellion of 1885.' This deals with men who were disabled in the service of the country, and in this we have followed the rule 'which was laid dowTn in the Act of 1885 concerning the militia. I do not know that we can at present deal with such cases in any other way.