May 23, 1919


Section agreed to. On section 4-period of service during war to be counted for pension purposes.


UNION

Samuel Hughes

Unionist

Sir SAM HUGHES:

Why not have this clause read so that every year served in the war shall count the same as two years in time of peace?

Major-General MEWBURN: I would certainly have no objection to that. As I explained the other night, the present Pension Act provides only for officers seconded in the public service of Canada, and it was doubtful whether officers of the permanent force who had been given leave of absence in the Canadian Expeditionary Force, as that force was simply a temporary extension of the active militia, could come under this. In the former Act provision was made for men who had served in the South African War, or the Yukon, that

[.Major-General Mew burn. ]

the time they had served there would count for pension. This is simply to say tjaat men who have served in this war shall receive the benefits of the Pension Act. It has been suggested that men who have served in the present war should be allowed to count double time for their service. It is for the Committee to say whether the service given by these men in the present war should count double time for pension or not. If that were done, it would mean that section 4, which refers to the officers, and section 7, which refers to non-commissioned officers and men, would have to be amended by inserting the word "double" in each section.

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UNION

Daniel Lee Redman

Unionist

Mr. REDMAN:

I think the point just discussed by the minister is very well taken. It may be doubtful whether recruits will be immediately obtained for the permanent force in the numbers required unless some inducement is provided, and the very best class of recruits that can be secured for that force will be those who have had some years of active service overseas. With that in view, as well as the idea of doing justice to those particular members of the permanent force who have done service overseas, I move to insert the word "double" before the words "the time" in the first line of paragraph (f) of clause 4 and also in the first line in paragraph (f) of clause 7.

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L LIB

Georges Henri Boivin (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Laurier Liberal

The CHAIRMAN:

The amendment in regard to clause 7 will have to stand until we reach that clause.

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UNI L

William Stevens Fielding

Unionist (Liberal)

Mr. FIELDING:

I would suggest that if the substance of the hon. gentleman's amendment is approved, the drafting be committed to the law officers of the Crown, because I do not think the form in which he has put it will effectively serve his purpose. There is, in connection with that, this thought: Have we not already passed legislation of this character in regard to the Royal Northwest Mounted Police, and I also think some other branches of the Military Service? We had before us one or two Bills of this character. I am merely suggesting that what is done in the one case, it is probably desired to do in the others.

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UNION

Newton Wesley Rowell (President of the Privy Council)

Unionist

Mr. ROWELL:

The Bill which has

already passed relating to the Royal Northwest Mounted Police provided that time served overseas should count as time in computing the pension.

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UNION

Richard Clive Cooper

Unionist

Mr. COOPER:

Do I understand that this clause will refer only to active service in this war and not to future wars of the Empire, and also that it applies only to

doubling the time officers, non-commissioned officers and men actually served in the field?

Major-General MEWBURN: The section referred to in the original Act stated the period of time for the purposes of the Act, and then it went on to describe what the service was, including the South African war, the South African Constabulary, the time served in taking over the fortifications in Halifax and the Yukon Field Force.

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UNION

John Wesley Edwards

Unionist

Mr. EDWARDS:

What is the object and what was the effect of this? Is the idea to increase service so as to enable these men of the permanent force to be sooner retired?

Major-General MEWBURN: The object of the general amendment is, as I have already explained, that under the present Pension Act officers, non-commissioned officers and men could retire only after twenty years' service. Owing to the war, from 117 to 120 non-commissioned officers and men have been given commissions in the field, xnd in the re-organization of the force, it is an utter impossibility to take care of all these officers. The result was that we considered it advisable, in the interest of the country and the public at large, that we should be enabled to retire some of the officers after ten years' service.

They are all paying into the pension fund and can receive pension only on the ratio of the number of years of service. This will enable us to carry that proposal into effect; otherwise those non-commissioned officers and men who got commissions on the field on returning would have to revert to the non-commissioned rank, which would be unfair. The question is whether a man who has served in the war for two years or four years as the case may be, should count double time, and if a man who had never been in the permanent force but has now joined it should have the benefit of the time he had served in the war in the computation of his pension. It is now suggested by the amendment that service in the war should count double time.

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UNION

Thomas Wilson Crothers

Unionist

Mr. CROTHERS:

What are the officers, who are now part of the permanent force, entitled to by way of pension under the Pensions Act? I understand that these are officers that are employed in the city of Ottawa.

Major-General MEWBURN: No.

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UNION

Thomas Wilson Crothers

Unionist

Mr. CROTHERS:

It does not include

them?

175J

Major-General MEWBURN: I do not

think there are more than five. They get one-fiftieth for the actual number of years served. All these officers pay into the pension fund 5 per cent of their pay and are now entitled, under the present terms of the Act, to l-50th per annum for each year's service, but can only be retired after twenty years. The point is, shall those who retire after ten or twelve years' service do so on the ratio of the number of years they have served?

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UNION

Samuel Hughes

Unionist

Sir SAM HUGHES:

The statement was made some time ago that this concerned only the permanent force. As I understand it, time will be doubled for the man who is not of the permanent force as well as the man of the permanent force.

Major-General MEWBURN: If he joins the permanent force.

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UNION

William Folger Nickle

Unionist

Mr. NICKLE:

I think the Committee

should approach this matter with considerable deliberation and not be stampeded.

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UNI L
UNION

William Folger Nickle

Unionist

Mr. NICKLE:

I may be wrong, but if I understand the principle of the Pension Act, 5 per cent is supposed to be paid in by the officer towards a certain fund and when he has served in the permanent force for twenty years he is entitled to 20-50ths of the pay he was receiving on his retirement. If he continues for twenty-five years and is promoted he gets 25-50ths of the amount, and so on, up to but not exceeding 35-50ths of the salary to which he was entitled at the time he should be retired. Let us see for a moment what the amendment of the hon. member for Calgary signifies. In the first place, I submit that it is out of order, because I have a distinct recollection of a similar motion having been ruled out of order when moved to a Bill as it would increase the public expenditure. If I remember correctly, there is a provision in the British North America Act or in the Rules that all Bills for the expenditure of public money must emanate from the Government and that it is not competent for any private member to move an amendment to such a Bill, if the result of the amendment will be an increase and not a decrease of expenditure. Certainly the effect of the amendment moved by the hon. member for Calgary would be to increase the expenditure. If double time is to be given to each man for the time he served in the Canadian Expeditionary Force, the pensions would be increased. That would in-

volve an increased expenditure and therefore the motion is out of order.

But let us look more carefully at the matter. I think that under Order in Council No. 1595-it may be No. 1596, I am not just sure of the exact number-all members of the permanent force -were to be incorporated, so to speak, in the Canadian Expeditionary Force, with the result that every member of the Canadian Permanent Force affected by that Order in Council became, ipso facto, a member of the Canadian Expeditionary Force. The net result of the amendment of the hon. member for Calgary will be that every single member of the permanent force. Whether he went overseas or not, will .count double the number of years he actually was in the force overseas in the computation of his pension. Let us view it from another standpoint. I, on another occasion, already drew attention to the fact that a great many, men in the permanent force had received rapid promotion during the war and that this country did not begrudge them such promotion nor the remuneration they were receiving. But since the war began there has not only been rapid promotion but, unless my memory fails me, there has been a very radical increase in the remuneration paid members of the permanent force. The principle on which these pensions were to be paid was based on the argument that 5 per cent should be taken from the man's pay from year to year and that at the expiration of 20 years he should receive 20-50th of the amount of his salary at that time. Add to that the second principle that you are gotog to add one, two, three or four years, as the case may be, and then double it for every man who was a member of the permanent force; and then add further that you are going to determine

this matter not on the salaries that were paid at the time war broke out ibut on the remuneration now paid and on the further consideration that promotions, will be taken into account in giving these pensions, and the result will be a vast outlay of money. I do not think there is any member who objects to the principle of the Bill as enunciated by the minister, that is, that unnecessary officers should be given a pension and allowed to retire after having been in the service ten years. But I do not believe that the country will view with favour a large pension list being created on the principles and in accordance with the arguments I have just advanced. We want to be fair and generous, but there is such a thing as acting reasonably, and I do not

[Mr. Nickle.l

think the Government would be acting reasonably in adopting the suggestions of the hon. member for Calgary.

Major - General MEWBURN: The hon. member for Kingston is perfectly right. The question of double time did come up when this Bill was drafted. I did not personally think it wise to include that at the time, but certainly I do not want to oppose it, because I think these men are entitled to consideration. These men cannot retire voluntarily; their retirement is compulsory. The services of many of them are required and they may have to remain in the force for twenty years. But the question is whether the time served during the war should count as double time. I did not deem it wise to include it in the Bill. The amendment is not mine, but if the committee feel that double time should count I do not wish to oppose it.

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UNI L

Frank Broadstreet Carvell (Minister of Public Works)

Unionist (Liberal)

Mr. CARVELL:

I feel, notwithstanding the fact that my colleague expresses an agreement with this, that I should say something about it. I am heartily in accord with the attitude taken by the hon. member for Kingston. I have no hesitation in saying that this matter was discussed a great many times and the Bill was brought down after mature consideration 'by the Government. If there is a class of men in the Canadian army who are not entitled to such special privilege as this I think they are the men of the permanent force. They voluntarily joined the Canadian army and became professional soldiers. They were paid for their service and were maintained for years doing nothing, this, of course, being through no fault of their own. When the war broke out they were the first men in Canada who logically should go to the war. They did go, but in doing so they were only performing their duty. They did not do more than, and, indeed, not half as much as, hundreds of thousands who volunteered and went to the war. Now the war is over and they are coming back. This proposal means that you are going to give to the men who belonged to the permanent force the right to retire, and you will add to their period of service double the time which they served at the front. If a man was transferred to the Canadian Expeditionary Force and stayed in Ottawa, as many did who never got out of the city-

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?

An hon. MEMBER:

Active service?

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UNI L

Frank Broadstreet Carvell (Minister of Public Works)

Unionist (Liberal)

Mr. CARVELL:

Many men in Ottawa never got out of the city. They belonged

to the Canadian Expeditionary Force and their wives had the separation allowance. I know what I am talking about. You are simply handing to these men double pay in the form of pensions. The principle is not only wrong but it is vicious and I hope this Committee will not back it up.

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UNI L

William Stevens Fielding

Unionist (Liberal)

Mr. FIELDING:

In order that we may prevent any further disagreement among our friends of the Cabinet, I would ask your ruling, Mr. Chairman, on the point raised by the hon. member for Kingston (Mr. Nickle), that this involves an increase of the public expenditure and can only originate on a motion from the Crown.

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L LIB

Georges Henri Boivin (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Laurier Liberal

The CHAIRMAN:

There is no doubt that the point of order raised by the hon. member for Kingston is well taken and that the amendment is not in order.

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Section agreed to.


May 23, 1919