Mr. RICHARD BLAIN (Peel):
I do not think the hon. member for West Peterborough (Mr. Burnham) or the hon. member for Edmonton (Mr. Oliver) expressed the feeling of the people of Canada in regard to the Pensions Board's treatment of returned soldiers. I represent a county from which a large number of soldiers have gone overseas; many of them have been seriously wounded, and many have lost their lives in battle. For that reason I have had occasion to come in contact with the Pension Board, and I know something of the generous provision that has been made by the Government for those who have suffered in the great struggle. In regard to the statement of my hon. friend from Edmonton as to secrecy on the part of the board, I wish to say that every time I have applied to the Pensions Board for information it has been given to me
promptly and fully; nothing hg,s been withheld. To-night is the first occasion on which I have heard or read of any man in Canada expressing the opinion that there is anything secret about the Pensions Board. I have no hesitatipn in saying that the statements of my hon. friend with regard to secrecy are not well-founded, and I am sure the people of this country do not share his views.
Having many of these matters to deal with in my own county, I called a meeting a short time ago in my home town of the relatives of the soldiers, and I gave an explanation of the regulations in regard to assigned pay, separation allowance, pensions and other matters of that kind. The meeting was largely attended by people of all shades of politics, as it was entirely nonpolitical, and at the conclusion of the meeting I asked whether there was any one present who had complaints to make about separation allowance, assigned pay or the Pensions Bill, and of the many persons present there was not one who rose to say he had not been treated promptly and fairly by the Government of the day. It would be impossible to expect there would be no complaints when the board is dealing with such a vast number of cases; some people complain for reasons of their own, but I am sure from conversations I have had and from what I have read there is very little criticism of the generous treatment the returned soldiers are receiving from the Government. Only the other day I received a letter from a friend of mine in the cdunty where I reside. It said that a certain young man who had enlisted in October 1916, had assigned his pay to his sister. She had been complaining that the Government had paid her none
9 p.m. of the assigned pay. As soon as the matter came to my attention I immediately got in touch with the Assigned Pay Branch, and found that this young man instead of assigning his pay to his sister had assigned it to another person altogether. This young woman had been complaining for more than six months that the Assigned Pay Branch had paid no attention to her brother's order assigning his pay to her.
When it was brought to the attention of the Assigned Pay Branch they were able in a moment to explain. Instead of people going to the right quarter to get the information, which they could receive by telephone in a moment, they prefer to take up the attention of the House and spread their complaints broadcast. For my part,
in such matters as this, I think iit is the duty of every member in this House, instead of exposing these things in Parliament, to go to the proper sources of information. I do not say this in particular criticism of what my hon. friend from West Peterborough (Mr. Burnham) has said. He is a public man of note and importance, but I rather think he did not do himself justice in not informing himself up to date before he presented his case in the House. That is a matter of opinion, and, I am sure, my hon. friend will not complain, and he was generous enough ito say that the Government were desirous of doing the proper thing. .
Subtopic: RETURNED SOLDIERS.
Sub-subtopic: MOTION AS TO THE SCALE OF PENSIONS,