May 21, 1917

CON

Richard Blain

Conservative (1867-1942)

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,

1021 '

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. .

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   RETURNED SOLDIERS.
Sub-subtopic:   MOTION AS TO THE SCALE OF PENSIONS,
Permalink
CON

John Hampden Burnham

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BURNHAM:

What I said was correct, and I have nothing to take back, and I regard the remark of the hon. gentleman (Mr. Blain) as impertinent.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   RETURNED SOLDIERS.
Sub-subtopic:   MOTION AS TO THE SCALE OF PENSIONS,
Permalink
CON

Richard Blain

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BLAIN:

I accept that from my hon. friend in the spirit in which itis given. I venture to say, however, that he could have obtained up-to-date information. He was corrected in the House by gentlemen of thePen-sions Committee, but, when corrected, he was hardly willing to accept the correction, but rather preferred to read from a book thait is out of date. There is only one thing I want to add, and it is this: as I understand it, the question of pensions was referred to a committee of this House last year. On that committee were members from both sides of the House. The hon. member for Rou-ville (Mr. Lemieux), the hon. member for Pictou (Mr. Macdonald), the hon. member for North Oxford (Mr. Nesbitt), and other bon. members on that side, including, I think, the hon. member for Edmonton (Mr. Oliver), were named as members of that committee. The pension list was revised by the committee, and the committee's report was adopted unanimously by this House. I do not think it is very appropriate for the hon. member for Edmonton (Mr. Oliver) to bring up such matters, particularly at this time, when we are making an effort as a Canadian people to enlist young men for the war. I do not think that such discussions help to increase enlistments, nor do they assist in the conduct of the war. Canada's pension allowance is the highest in the world.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   RETURNED SOLDIERS.
Sub-subtopic:   MOTION AS TO THE SCALE OF PENSIONS,
Permalink
CON

James Davis Taylor

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. J. D. TAYLOR (New Westminster):

I congratulate the hon. member for Peel (Mr. Blain) on being in very great luck in his county in regard to the business of returned soldiers and their dependents. I am sorry to say that my experience has not been so happy, and I think that the gentle-

bodied men or prosperous families than that one maimed man, or one bereft family should be allowed to bear it alone.

It seems to me that we would most easily dispose of the problem of our pensions and our Pension Board by throwing the whole present scheme into the discard and starting afresh on a new basis of even-handed justice to the men who have served, and who no doubt will serve us so splendidly, and to the helpless ones from whom we have taken the services of their bread-winners.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   RETURNED SOLDIERS.
Sub-subtopic:   MOTION AS TO THE SCALE OF PENSIONS,
Permalink
CON

John Douglas Hazen (Minister of Marine and Fisheries; Minister of the Naval Service)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Hon. J. D. HAZEN (Minister of the Naval Service):

When this war broke out there was a Pension Act in force in Canada with a pension scale, and the Act was administered by the Department of Militia and Defence. It was felt that the provisions of that Act were not of a character that met fairly the situation that arose, when Canada sent troops overseas and took part in' the European war that is now raging. The matter was brought up in this House and discussed. It was discussed last session during the debate on the Address in reply to the Speech from the Throne. My hon. friend from Edmonton (Mr. Oliver) spoke, and I made some reference to the subject myself; and, partly as a result of that discussion, the Government submitted the existing pension scale to a committee of this House composed of gentlemen representing different political views. That pension scale was considered by the committee, of which I had the honour of being elected chairman. The other members of that committee were, Mr. Nickle, from Kingston; Mr. Green,\from British Columbia; Mr. Scott, Mr. Macdonald, of Pictou; Hon. Mr. Oliver, from Edmonton; Mr. Claude Macdonell, from Toronto; the Hon. Rodolphe Lemieux, of Rouville, and Mr. Nesbitt, from North Oxford. The committee called witnesses, had before it representatives of the Militia Department, representatives of labour and other organizations in this country, and private individuals who had been taking a deep interest in this matter and had to some extent been forming public opinion on the subject. The committee gave to the consideration of the matter the very best attention it was possible for it to give, and the result was that it made a report to this House signed by every member of the committee and unanimous on all but one point; my hon. friend from Edmonton (Mr. Oliver) differed from the rest of the committee with regard to having one pension rate for men whether they were married or single. That report was sub-fMr. Taylor.]

mitted to this House and discussed here, and without a single dissenting voice it was approved, it was recommended to the Government, and we were asked to see that effect was given to it. Perhaps I should not be wasting time if I referred to a few things that were said by members of the committee at the time the report was submitted to the House. In the first place, in explaining the matter to the House, I said, among other things: '

The changes which we recommend involve a very considerable increase in the amount that the country will have to pay for pensions. Under the scale in force at the present time, it is estimated that for a force of 100,000 men of all ranks in the field for one year the pension list of Canada will amount to $5,481,500. It is estimated that, under the pension laws which we recommend, the total pensions for a similar force in the field for a similar length of time be $7,184,181 a year. So hon. gentlemen will see that, based on the estimate of a force of 100,000 men in the field for a period of one year, there is an extra cost under the scale we propose of $1,702,681.

This is the pension list that is' in force at the present time For a force of 400,000 men in the field for a year, therefore, it would amount to about $29,000,000. That estimate is made up, as my hon. friend from Edmonton (Mr. Oliver) will recollect, from figures we obtained from the War Office showing what the casualties usually were in proportion t,o the number of men actually engaged in active service. That report came before the House and nearly all the members of the committee had something to say about it. My hon. friend from Pictou (Mr. Macdonald) said:

In my experience in this Parliament I have never served on a Committee in which every gentleman on both sides seemed to be actuated by so sincere a desire to arrive at the best solution of a very important question as were the members of this Committee.

Similar statements were made by my hon. friend from Rouville (Mr. Lemieux) and the Other members of the committee, all bearing testimony to the way the committee had tried to discharge their duties, to the harmony that prevailed, and to the fact that, from first to last, there never was a suggestion made by members of the committee on either side of politics that would for a moment imply that they had any political consideration, but that their sole desire was to arrive at a pension scale that would be fair to the dependents of the brave men, and to the men themselves, who were fighting the Empire's battles at that time and who are fighting the Empire's battles to-day.

The Prime Minister made a speech in reference to the matter, because the committee recommended that effect be given to this report as soon as possible. It was suggested that it might be possible to give effect to it by legislation at once, and the hon. member for Pictou (Mr. Macdonald) expressed regret that that had not been done. The report was discussed at the very close of the session, and the Prime Minister used words to this effect, that the Government bad ample power undeT the War Measures Act to pass an Order in Council that would at once bring into effect and into operation the report of the committee, and that it would be better, in his opinion, to do that rather than to pass legislation because t'he experience of the commissioners in administering that report might lead to the conclusion that changes and amendments were desirable, and these could be embodied in a Bill dealing with the whole matter at the following session of the House. As a result of that report, the Government, at a very early date after the close of the session, passed an Order in Council under the provisions of the War Measures Act which brought the new pension scale into force, and without any alteration whatever, brought into effect the recommendations contained in the report of the committee of this House.

Among other recommendations .in the report was one that a commission should be appointed for the purpose of administering this whole scheme of pensions. Up to that time the pensions had been administered by the Militia Department. To-day the Minister of Militia and the Militia Department have no more to do with the administration of the Pensions Act than has my hon. friend from Edmonton, or any other gentleman on that side or this side of the House. It is absolutely incorrect to refer to the Pensions Commission as a branch of the Militia Department, or as in any way connected with the Militia Department of this country, as some hon. gentlemen have done to-day. This is in consequence of the report of the committee at the last session. It was felt that in dealing with a matter like pensions the very suspicion of any political interference ought to be removed; that, therefore, the Pensions Act should not be administered by any department of Government, and that the Government should appoint a commission with independent powers who would administer the Act irrespective of political considerations. Let me read some of the recommendations of the Committee which have been made effective by Order in Council:

That three persons, to be known as the Board of Pension Commissioners hereinafter called the Commission, be appointed to hold office, during good behaviour, for ten years unless removed for cause, and to this commission be entrusted the consideration, determination and administration of all military and naval pensions.

The report further said:

That the Commission have full authority and responsibility to deal with and determine all matters pertaining to pensions, and from their decision there be no appeal; provision, however, should be made for any complainant so desiring to present his case, either personally or by counsel before the full commission sitting for the purpose of hearing the complaints of those who may have been dissatisfied with awards given in the ordinary course of administration.

In introducing the resolution recommending that the report be seriously considered by the Government, I used these words:

The object which every member of the committee had in view was the establishment of a board that would be entirely removed from all considerations of a political character, and with that object in view they have provided that there shall be no appeal from the decision of the Board of Pension Commissioners, either to the Government or to anyone else. The only appeal that will be allowed is that of a soldier who is dissatisfied with the pension that has been awarded him in due course, on the documentary and other evidence that is produced in support of his claim, and that appeal will be heard by the full Pension Board; but from the decision of that hoard there shall be no appeal whatever.

The hon. member for Edmonton and other hon. gentlemen who were members of the Committee will remember that, after fully discussing the matter from every standpoint, the Committee finally and unanimously decided that the Pensions Board should be the final court of appeal. It was felt that if there should be an appeal from the decision oi the Pensions Board to the Governor in Council, political considerations might have weight, and, whether those considerations had weight or not, there would be a suspision that the pensions received by the men were subject to the influence of political considerations. We came to the conclusion, therefore, that an independent Pensions Board should be appointed. Having by Order in Council adopted in its entirety the report of the Committee, the Government appointed a Pensions Board consisting of three gentlemen who are now administering the Pensions Act without any interference from the members of the Government, the Militia Department having not a word to say with regard to the matter. The gentlemen appointed were Mr. J. K. L. Ross, of Montreal, Major Todd, of McGill University, and Mr

COMMONb

Labatt, of London, Ontario. What is the ground for complaint? The Government carried out in good faith and without alteration the report made by the joint Committee, which met with the unanimous approval of members of the House at the last session. If there is any fault, it is, in the first place, that the report of the Committee did not make adequate provision. That is a matter of opinion. The Committee brought its best judgment to bear upon the question, and as a result they recommended the scale which is now in force. If the Committee erred, the mistake can be corrected. Either that is the grievance, or it is that the Pensions Board is not capable of performing properly and efficiently the duties that have been entrusted to it. I have no reason for believing that such is the case. I represent a large constituency from which a great many men have gone to the war. A great many men have gone from the province of New Brunswick, outside of the constituency which I represent, and I am satisfied that if any persons in my province felt themselves aggrieved with regard to the administration of the Pensions Act, I would hear about it. Soon after the Pensions Board was appointed and before the work was well organized, complaints came to me from representatives of men who were entitled to pensions.. Since the Board has completed its organization, such complaints have not reached me. I think that a good many of the complaints at the outset were due to the fact that the organization had not been completed and that the machinery had not commenced to run smoothly. If the Pension Commissioners are not capable of administering the Act properly, then the Government erred in judgment when it appointed them. I do not, however, think that this is the case; I believe [DOT]that the administration of the Act will proceed smoothly and successfully in the future. I cannot believe that men of the intelligence of the Pension Commissioners would say that the work of that body was of such a confidential character that information as to what they are doing should [DOT]not be furnished. The fullest information should be furnished, and I should like to hear what they have to say on that subject *before coming to a conclusion which would be condemnatory of their methods.

We must get away from the idea that the *Government has anything to do with the administration of the pension fund. Following out the desire of the Committee and of this House, the matter has been taken [Mr Hazen.] 0

entirely out of politics and the pension fund is administered by that Commission alone. The members of the Commission are not infallible; they may make mistakes. On the other hand, things may have been overlooked by the Committee in the report that they .made to the House last year. The right hon. leader of the House said that in all probability the Pension Commissioners would find in the course of their work that certain things would need correction or alteration and that the time to deal with such matters would be at this session of Parliament, when it would be desirable to give force by legislation to that to which force has been given hitherto simply by the provisions of Order in Council. I understand that the members of the Pension Board have, .in connection with the administration of the Act, found a number of matters which they think should be remedied and are of the opinion that certain changes in the pension scale are desirable. From what I have heard, I approve of some of these changes and disapprove of others. Some of the matters in respect of which a change is suggested were fully discussed by the committee; they are matters of judgment and opinion upon which the Committee came to an unanimous decision, which, however, is different to that which has been arrived at by the Pension Commissioners. It is suggested also, and properly so, that the Pensions Act to be introduced at this session should practically consolidate the different Pension Acts that are now on our statute-book. The report which the Committee made last year and which now, in consequence of Orders in 'Council passed, has all the force pf a statute, applied only to members of the overseas expeditionary force. Another Pension Act applies to members of the militia and still another to the members of the naval service. It is desirable that these Acts should be consolidated and all administered by the Board of Pension Commissioners. There are other changes, which, as I say, are worthy of consideration.

I might state to the House that it is the intention of the Government to introduce a Bill embodying the provisions of the report made by the Committee last year, embodying some of the changes recommended by the commissioners and providing for the consolidation of the different Acts. While this Bill will, in a sense, be a Government measure, the Government does not wish it to be considered for a moment that it is presenting that Bill to the House with a

desire to crowd it through the House without its receiving the very fullest possible consideration, because it is extremely desirable that in this matter of pensions there shall not be any party controversy and that a conclusion shall be reached that will commend itself to both sides of the House, because we regard this whole pension scheme as too sacred a matter to be used as a football for party purposes as might be the case. After that Bill is introduced, it is the intention of the Government to move that it be referred to a committee of this House, constituted as the Committee was last year of members from both sides, so that they may consider all its provisions; they may, if they so desire, bring before them the members of the Pensions Board who have been administering the Act; they may, if they care to, bring before them people who have been dissatisfied with the administration of the former measure, so that there may be the fullest possible consideration of the whole question and a conclusion arrived at that will be satisfactory to the country, and satisfactory, as far as possible, to the dependents; of' those men who have fought our battles and who are fighting our battles at the present time. No man can fpretell the duration of this war, and if it continues and if we keep overseas as large an army as we have at present, the amount of pensions involved will be simply enormous, and for years to come a tremendous sum will have to be paid out of the treasury of the country for the purpose of providing these pensions even on the scale as it is at present. That, however, is neither here nor there; the disposition of every one in the country is to treat fairly, properly and with generosity the men who are fighting the battles of the Empire and the battle of liberty and civilization at the present time.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   RETURNED SOLDIERS.
Sub-subtopic:   MOTION AS TO THE SCALE OF PENSIONS,
Permalink
CON

William Thoburn

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. THOBURN:

Is it a fact that the

pensions which are being paid by the Dominion Government are higher than those paid by any other country in the world?

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   RETURNED SOLDIERS.
Sub-subtopic:   MOTION AS TO THE SCALE OF PENSIONS,
Permalink
CON

John Douglas Hazen (Minister of Marine and Fisheries; Minister of the Naval Service)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. HAZEN:

Yes, I think that is a fact. I think the pensions scale, taking it all around, that was laid before Parliament last year, reported on by the Committee and adopted by Parliament, is higher than the pensions scale in any other country with the exception, perhaps, of 'Australia, in which the pensions are a little higher in some cases and a little lower in others, there being some difference in the scale.

I will not refer to the other matters that have arisen in this debate. I rose only in order that there might be a clear and distinct understanding as to how the matter stood. I do not want the impression to go out to the country that this Government is responsible, either for the pensions scale or for the administration of the Pensions Act, although, as a member of the committee of last year, I am willing to take my full share of the responsibility, and to say, in common with my fellow-members of the Committee, that we tried to do our duty and what we considered was in the interest of the overseas forces and of the country. At this session of Parliament ample opportunity will be afforded to have the matter discussed by the same committee, or by another committee if it is thought desirable that the Committee should be changed.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   RETURNED SOLDIERS.
Sub-subtopic:   MOTION AS TO THE SCALE OF PENSIONS,
Permalink
CON

Robert Laird Borden (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs; President of the Privy Council)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir ROBERT BORDEN:

Mr. Speaker, my hon. friend the Minister of Marine and Fisheries has placed the position of the matter, so far as the Government is concerned, very fully before the House. The idea last session which was conveyed to the Government, and which seemed to have a great deal of support behind it in the House and in the country was that the system of pensions, whatever it should be, ought to be administered by a commission' that was not directly under the supervision or control of the Government. It was not suggested, so far as I can remember, that there had been, up to that time, any political interference in the granting of pensions, but it was apprehended that political pressure might be exercised against a Government, and, therefore, in the interest - of the people of the country, in the interest of the men entitled to pensions, and in the general public interest, it was thought it would be better if the matter were removed from the control of the Government. We accepted that view; we placed the consideration of all these matters in the hands of a committee of five hon. gentlemen from this side of the House and

four from the other side, and that committee brought in their report. Personally I think I ventured to offer some suggestions with regard to the terms of the report. I am not sure that the report commended itself in all its details to my own judgment; but it was a unanimous report of the committee; it received the unanimous endorsation of the House, and the question was as to how it should be enforced. At that stage of the session, we

had not time to pass the necessary legislation, so we undertook to bring the recommendations of the committee into force by Order in Council and to introduce legislation at this session. We propose carrying that out.

I would like to point out to the hon. member for Peterborough (Mr. Burnham) and to the hon. member for Edmonton (Mr. Oliver) as well, that a good many of the matters to which they have directed the attention of the House have been under consideration for many weeks past by a committee of this House. It is impossible for me to refer to the proceedings of that committee, even if I had them before me, because it would be against the rules of the House to do so; but I think I am justified in the statement that some, at least, of the instances, to which allusion has been made here, have already been investigated very fully and thoroughly by that committee. I am not disposed to minimize any of the considerations that have been brought forward; I do know, however, within my own experience, that whenever allegations of a very serious character with regard to one or another member of the Canadian Expeditionery Force have been brought to my attention and I have investigated them, I have in a good many instances found that the representations made to me in the first place were not borne out when I got to the root of the matter. I shall not be surprised if, when that report of the committee is presented to the Houee with the evidence on which it is (based, the same result may be found as to some of the cases- that have been alluded to, but I merely e-ay -this in passing and with regard to the- whole subject, I have no desire to restrict debate. So far as a portion of these matters are concerned, they have already been investigated by a committee which has not yet reported. So far as the other portion is concerned, they must be under the consideration of a committee of this House as soon as a Bill is brought down which is to carry into effect the recommendations made by the committee of last year, with such further provisions as may be submitted to the Government by the Pensions Board and -considered as appropriate to include- in the legislation- to be introduced. Therefore, the whole question either has (been investigated or will be under investigation by a committee to be appointed before the session is over.

So far as other matters are concerned which may particularly affect the question

. -

of military administration, brought forward by my hon. friend from New Westminster (Mr. Taylor), I have no personal knowledge of many matters of administration in connection with the -military forces, which is not a surprising thing considering the large forces that we have- enlisted and the complexity and variety of the questions that are continually arising. I have no doubt that these matters will be taken fully into consideration by the Minister of Militia and Defence. I appreciate the force of the considerations which -have been addressed to the House by the hon. member for New Westminster (Mr. Taylor). There is, however, perhaps one consideration which we ought to endeavour to keep before us in dealing with all these matters of administration beyond the s-eas. Sometimes there are occasions of very great urgency when reinforcements must be sent at once to the front, when it is a question of throwing men in to make up losses or to hold a position against which the enemy is driving with all his force. It must be- apparent that under such -conditions, which must continually arise in the greatest and fiercest war the world has ever known, sometimes there is not a great deal of time for dealing with administrative matters in a very deliberative way. The problem that confronts the -men who are responsible at the front is to get reinforcements there at once, without the delay of one unnecessary moment, to get them there instantly in order that the line may be held and the enemy kept back. I do not say this for the purpose of minimizing the force of anything my -hon. frien-d from New Westminster has said; I think that what he has urged must be taken into account and dealt with in some satisfactory way, if possible. But conditions overseas are from time to time very urgent. I was there myself during three or fo'ur weeks when there were great losses at the front, when counter attacks -were coming all the time, when the important thing was to get the men over there, whether or not they went over as the units in which they originally crossed the ocean; -the important thing was to get them over there so that the enemy could not recover the ground we had taken from him. Under the circumstances, in view of the approaching report of the committee which has dealt with a portion of this question, and in view of the impending reference to a committee of this House of other matters which were referred to this afternoon. I

think this debate might very well be adjourned, and I will undertake to have it resumed, if necessary, after the report of the committee -if submitted, or after the committee to which I have alluded has been constituted. In any event, the subject could be discussed very thoroughly upon the report of the committee which is shortly to present its findings to the House.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   RETURNED SOLDIERS.
Sub-subtopic:   MOTION AS TO THE SCALE OF PENSIONS,
Permalink
CON

John Hampden Burnham

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BURNHAM:

As there has been a pretty full discussion, I should be glad to withdraw the motion.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   RETURNED SOLDIERS.
Sub-subtopic:   MOTION AS TO THE SCALE OF PENSIONS,
Permalink
CON

Robert Laird Borden (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs; President of the Privy Council)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir ROBERT BORDEN:

I was going to propose the adjournment of the debate, but as my hon. friend has accomplished the object of his motion, perhaps the House would have no objection to the motion being withdrawn.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   RETURNED SOLDIERS.
Sub-subtopic:   MOTION AS TO THE SCALE OF PENSIONS,
Permalink
LIB

George Perry Graham

Liberal

Mr. GRAHAM:

As the subject can be reopened later, I think there would be no objection to withdrawing the motion.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   RETURNED SOLDIERS.
Sub-subtopic:   MOTION AS TO THE SCALE OF PENSIONS,
Permalink
CON

Herbert Brown Ames

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir HERBERT AMES:

The committee that has been referred to will doubtless make its report shortly and will lay before the House not only its findings, but all -the printed evidence, and on the presentation of that report there will be an opportunity for discussing any of these questions. As chairman of that committee, I would -say that we are indebted to many hon. members for calling our attention to certain specific cases. I think there have been over 50 specific cases where soldiers or others acting on their behalf have represented that they had a grievance, and in every case the grievance has been thoroughly investigated. I think the case brought up by -the hon. member for Edmonton has already been dealt with by the committee and will be found in the evidence. Before the committee complete its findings, if any member of the House wishes to -have the case of any returned soldier investigated the committee will be only too glad to go into 10 p.m it thoroughly, and the case will appear in the evidence.

Mr. W. F. NIiCKLE (Kingston): The hon. member for Edmonton has referred to certain Orders in Council which I mentioned this afternoon as being secret. He -seemed to think they had been passed after this little red book had been printed, and without the attention of the people at large being directed to them. Both the Orders in Council to which I referred this aftempon were published in the public press, and if they do not appear in this book the reason is that one was passed after the book was published an-d the other dealt largely with

the treatment of soldiers by the Military Hospitals -Commission, which is not related to the subject matter with which this book deals.

Motion withdrawn.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   RETURNED SOLDIERS.
Sub-subtopic:   MOTION AS TO THE SCALE OF PENSIONS,
Permalink

SHIPMENT OF STEEL RAILS TO FRANCE.


On the Orders of the Day:


LIB

Frank Oliver

Liberal

Hon. FRANK OLIVER (Edmonton):

I

wish to draw the attention of the Government to a question which I asked on May 16 as follows (Hansard p. 1542):

How many tons of steel rails taken from sidings on the Transcontinental Railway have been shipped from Canadian Ports to France, to date?

The answer was:

It is not in the public interest that this Question should be answered.

May I give what appears to me to be good reasons why I was entitled to ask this question? It is because the rights of property and interests of a very large number of my constituents, several thousands in fact, are involved in the proposed action, and in view of the present condition of transport of supplies across the Atlantic, it appears to me that as the representative of these people in the House I have a right to kn-ow whether it has been found possible to -transport the rails overseas that have already been taken from the Transcontinental. I think the House is entitled to this information before the 'Government proceeds to destroy the property value of my constituents by taking up the rails on the Grand Trunk Pacific. We are all anxious to win the war, but the .taking up of rails, unless they can he transported, will not help to win the war, hut it will injure my constituents. That is the reason why I ask the question, and why I desire to press for an answer.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   SHIPMENT OF STEEL RAILS TO FRANCE.
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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs; President of the Privy Council)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir ROBERT BORDEN:

I shall look into the matter to which my hon. friend has directed my attention. It might be very much against the public interest to give information as to the actual shipment of rails across the Atlantic in the conditions under which transportation has to be carried on. My hon. friend himself, I think, will appreciate that. I do not know that I can say more about it at the moment, but I will speak to the Minister of Railways and Canals about it, and perhaps he can give the hon. member privately information upon the subject that will be of service.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   SHIPMENT OF STEEL RAILS TO FRANCE.
Permalink
LIB

Frank Oliver

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER:

With permission, I desire to add a word. It is not necessary, in answering the question I asked, to give information that would be of damage to anybody. The only question is, has it been Xiossible to make transportation of the rails already taken-are they in service now? Is it possible to transport the rails that are now being taken up or are about to be taken up? We have a right to know that, not privately but publicly.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   SHIPMENT OF STEEL RAILS TO FRANCE.
Permalink
CON

Robert Laird Borden (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs; President of the Privy Council)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir ROBERT BORDEN:

I am afraid I cannot give the information at the moment. '

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   SHIPMENT OF STEEL RAILS TO FRANCE.
Permalink
LIB

George Perry Graham

Liberal

Mr. GRAHAM:

May I be allowed to add, in to-night's paper it is stated that certain material is being taken up from the Canadian Northern as well as from the Grand Trunk Pacific. Will the Minister of Railways be ready to tell us to-morrow if this is authentic?

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   SHIPMENT OF STEEL RAILS TO FRANCE.
Permalink

CANCELLATION OF A MAIL CONTRACT.

May 21, 1917