Amount required to pay compassionate allowances to the widows, or fathers, or mothers, or dependents of the Captain and members of the crew of the C. G. S. Simcoe who lost their lives when that vessel foundered
in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, 7th December, 1917, $61,500.
We will deal with the officers first. There were 11 officers who lost their lives, and their dependents -are awarded $2,000 each, making a total of $22,000. Then we come to the chief p-etty officers, 13 in number. We are allowing their dependents ($1,500 each, making -a total of $19,500. We are allowing the dependents of the balance of the crew, 20 in number, -the sum of $1,000 each, making a total of $20,000, or a grand -total of $61,500.
Mr. -POWER: The -reason I asked this
question wa,s that I would like to be informed whether there is in the -department any fixed rule with regard to -compensation for injuries, or compensation to the relatives of those who have lost their lives while in tibe service of the department.
Mr. BALLANTYNE- We have no such provision in the department, and that is the reason we are asking the committee to vote this amount now.
Mr. CO'PP: I notice that this item is
a .provision -made for " compassionate al
lo-wa-neas to the widows, or fathers, or -mothers, or dependents of the 'Captain and members of the crew of theC.G.S. Simcoe." I understood the hon-. minister to say that this matter has been adjusted by allowing $2,000 to the dependents of the first officers, $1,500 to those of the second officers, and smaller -amounts- to- the -dependents of -the seamen. I do not 'know what the policy of the de-partm-ent is, but I -cannot see any 'particular reason why the dependents -of an officer who- has been drowned in a catastrophe sudh as this should -be entitled to any more -compensation- than the dependents of an ordinary seaman in the same vessel who suffers the same fate. It does seem to me that is an absolutely arbritary system of making compassionate allowances. Here is an officer who may be better off financially, and may not have as many dependents to care for, and yet because he happens to occupy a little higher position than one of his men, who has worked as hard, and suffered the same fate, he receives much greater consideration. It does seem to me that the principle is wrong whereby larger compassionate allowances are given to the dependents of officers than
I admit that it is an arbitrary way of fixing the amount of compassionate allowance to the dependents of these unfortunate officers and men, but the only explanation I can give is that it is the usual one, and based doubtless on the difference in the standard of living. We all know that when a person receives a greater salary they usually maintain a higher standard of living, and hon. gentlemen will quite understand that we could not make the same grant to dependents of the crew as to the dependents of the officers. We are simply following the same policy that is followed in the army, where the dependents of a colonel who is killed receive a greater pension than is awarded to the dependents of officers of lower rank, or private soldiers. There is a great deal of merit in what the hon. member has stated, but it is simply a question of what rank was occupied. I cannot offer the hon, gentleman any other reason for the difference than that. ,
Perhaps nothing I can say will deter the minister from carrying out what I might term the "aristocratic" policy that has been followed by other governments as well as this, but I desire to place myself on record in a most emphatic way against such a policy as being absolutely wrong in principle. I am democratic enough to realize that a man who is out in a storm and suffers death has done just as noble and creditable service for his country as the officers or person of higher rank who were victims on the same occasion.
to draw the minister's attention has reference to a,n item of $10,000, which was passed the other night, for the repairing and carrying of fishways into rivers. I have received
a letter from one of my constituents stating that on the Petitcodiac river a fishway is required near river Glade,
11 p.m. and the writer expresses his sentiments very strongly. He states that the fishway has gone down and it should be repaired in the interest of fishing operations there. I would ask the minister if he would make inquiries from whatever officer he has in that locality, with a view to having the fishway in question restored..
On motion of Hon. Mr. Sifton the House adjourned at 11.05 p.m.