November 6, 1919

UNION

James Arthurs

Unionist

Mr. ARTHURS:

I was not referring to the member for Quebec South (Mr. Power). But that hon. gentleman did say some things. In the first place, while the committee stated that no further gratuities were possible at the present time, he went further and said that they should not be given under any circumstances. He has also said that he is in favour of the abolition of the Department of Soldiers' Civil Re-establishment. Now, if the investigations of our committee proved anything they proved that notwithstanding the charges which have been indiscriminately made against that department, the work done by it was much greater than we had

anticipated or ever thought of. This department takes care of the men who have been disabled and who require further medical treatment either now or at any future time. In that respect, therefore, the hon. member is very much mistaken; I am satisfied that he will not get one follower throughout this great Dominion who, thinking the subject over, will say that the Department of Soldiers' Civil Reestablishment should be abolished. On the contrary, we should extend the department; and I may say incidentally that while the committee found it impossible to recommend the granting of any further gratuities at the present time owing to the financial condition of the country and other considerations which I shall mention later, we found also-and we were unanimous in the conclusion-that everything possible should be done, first, for the men who had been disabled in their efforts for us in this war; and second, for the widows and the children of those men who failed to come back.

I have said that the statement has been made that this committee was biased, and I have endeavoured to prove that the contrary was the fact. This committee held a great many sessions; I understand that there were fifty or sixty meetings. We had witnesses from all parts of Canada. We sat morning, afternoon and night, even on Sundays on one or more occasions, in order that we might have a finding to place before Parliament before the close of this session. We went into the matter very thoroughly, and our opinion, shortly, was this: The

adoption of any of the large or general schemes of gratuities would bring about no permanent, basis of settlement. If we took any one of those schemes there would be no guarantee, no guarantee could be given by any man or any body of men that would settle for all time the question of the civil re-establishment of the soldier. All hon. members know that there is going to be a certain amount of unemployment and hardship during the present winter, and if we acceded to the proposals put forward by Mr. Plynn or by any of these bodies, would we have any guarantee that there -would be no unemployment this winter? Would we have any guarantee that these men would not soon lose or spend this money in some way? Would we have any guarantee that the country would be protected against unemployment? I contend that we would have the same obligations to meet even if we acceded to the request that an additional

gratuity be granted. We know that these problems must recur from time to time; and the finding of the committee was that we should turn down, to use a short term, the various proposals placed before us for a general gratuity, in favour of relieving cases of necessity during the present winter and providing for those cases that might occur in the future.

I wish to say a few words with regard to the various schemes of a general character that were placed before us. The first scheme was that of Mr. Flynn. For obvious reasons, I do not think any member will frankly say that he is in favour of this scheme. The proposal was that a grant of $1,000 be made for service in Canada, $1,500 for service in England, $2,000 for service in France, regardless of length of service or anything else. When asked the question before the committee whether he would give the $1,000 to a man who had only been in service for two or three days, Mr. Flynn said1 that he certainly would. The chief trouble that has been experienced in connection with the gratuity that has already been granted is based upon its inequality. We found that gratuities were granted to and accepted by men who in the ordinary sense of the word did not need them. A great many civil servants went overseas and while there drew full pay as civil servants as well as their military pay. It is quite true that their dependents did not get separation allowance, but ' in all other respects they were treated the same and received the same pay as any other soldier. Upon their return to Canada they went back to their ordinary positions, received any increases which might have been given to others of their rank while they were away, and received the gratuity in addition. Other men in the employ, perhaps, of railway companies or of private individuals got the same gratuity . under practically the same circumstances. This difficulty of inequality, therefore, would not be remedied by the proposal of Mr. Flynn; in fact, it would leave us exactly as we were before.

The second proposal was that of the Great War Veterans' Association, and it had all the elements that make for failure. The gratuity plan as proposed by the Great War Veterans' Association put a premium upon a man's service as related to a particular year. In other words, a man who went over in 1914-and many young fellows of adventurous spirit joined the army in the autumn of 1914 in the expectation that the war would not last very long, perhaps only

a few months-would receive, on account of the simple fact that he entered the army, a grant of $500, then an additional $1,000 if he reached England during that year, and an additional $1,000 if he reached France that year. 'Mr, Speaker, the young man who volunteered and went to the front in 1916 or 1917, after the sufferings of our men at Ypres and the Somme had become known, was a greater patriot and deserved much more credit-if indeed, there is any measure to the credit due to these men- than the man who went ov%r there in the first days of the war. Under the plan submitted by the Great War Veterans' Association this man was discriminated against. All a man had to do was to go over in 1914 and reach France that year or the succeeding year, and if he returned to Canada within two weeks after he got to France he would receive the maximum gratuity of $2,500; whereas the man who went over in 1916, knowing to a great extent the awful character of the war, and remained there until the last gun was fired, would receive a very much smaller sum. In other words, the Great War Veterans' Association plan had absolutely no regard to the length or character of the service rendered, other than such as could be found in the proposal that a twenty-five per cent feduction be made in the case of those who had not seen combatant service.

During this debate we have had one prominent advocate of the Great War Veterans' Association, the member for North Simeoe (Mr. Currie). '

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UNION

Henry Arthur Mackie

Unionist

Mr. H. A. MACKIE:

Did the committee consider the Great War Veterans' Association plan as an absolute proposition and was it turned down as such, or was the plan presented to the committee purely and simply as a suggestion?

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UNION

James Arthurs

Unionist

Mr. ARTHURS:

The plan was put before the committee as a straight proposition. It was modified by some of the witnesses in certain details, but as I understood it, the representatives of the association put the plan forward as a concrete suggestion.

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UNION

Henry Arthur Mackie

Unionist

Mr. H. A. MACKIE:

Did your committee suggest to the Great War Veterans' Association that any suggested. modification of their plan would be considered by the committee?

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UNION

James Arthurs

Unionist

Mr. ARTHURS:

Just in the same way

as we were willing to consider suggestions made by any man in Canada. We made no exceptions in favor of the Great War Veterans' Association or any other body.

We had suggestions from private individuals. We had a very good suggestion, to my mind the best of all, because it eliminated many of the inequalities of the previous gratuity, from Mr. Margeson. This suggestion was put forward entirely on his own behalf, without regard to any body else. We were quite willing to accept any proposals, whether put forward by the Great War Veterans' Association or by any other body or person.

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UNION

Henry Arthur Mackie

Unionist

Mr. H. A. MACKIE:

Did the committee turn down the proposition of the Great War Veterans' Association by reason of any discrepancies between the amounts paid to one soldier and another, or by rea'son of the fact generally that the money could not be raised by this country to pay the gratuities which had been demanded by that association?

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UNION

James Arthurs

Unionist

Mr. ARTHURS:

For both reasons. The committee considered all those schemes on their merits. Then we took into consideration the financial condition of the country and the financial requirements of the men. As I said before, the hon. member for Sim-coe North (Mr. Currie) has been in this House the champion exponent of the scheme of the Great War Veterans' Association, and I just want to read a few words that he said during the course of the debate as to his appreciation of the word " need," because the whole scheme of the Great War Veterans' Association is based on the common application or definition of the word " need " as applied to gratuities. The hon. member for North Simcoe shortly after the commencement of his speech, speaking of the Great War Veterans' Association, said:

They have not asked for charity. They are asking; for gratuity and gratuity means a grant in money or in kind which will compensate them for lost time during the war and enable them to carry on in civilian life in the future.

Later on he says, as reported on page 1856 of unrevised Hansard:

It is a grant by the nation in recognition of his services and the losses that he has sustained on behalf of the State.

Later on, on the same page, about the middle, he says:

When you speak of men as being in need, you mean charity.

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UNION

John Allister Currie

Unionist

Mr. CURRIE:

The hon. gentleman is, of course, quoting from my speech in this debate, and I might very well object to that as not being permissible under the rules of the House, but I am quite willing to let

that go. If he will examine my remarks, he will find no reference to the Great War Veterans' Association. I referred absolutely to the returned soldiers. I said in conclusion that I was quite willing to support the proposal of the Great War Veterans' Association and the amendment, that was all.

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UNION

James Arthurs

Unionist

Mr. ARTHURS:

I am quite willing to take the hon. gentleman's word, and to apply his remarks to all the gratuities alike.' The same thing applies to every one of the schemes that were before the committee. They all hinge upon the definition of the word " need ", and I am pointing out the definition as given by the hon. member for North Simcoe when he says that according to his opinion these grants must be given to all indiscriminately, that is, given as a reward for services and to make up for losses sustained by the various members of the force. He says: If you discriminate and use the word " need ", it means charity. In other words, the committee accepted the view that if you took any one of those schemes, you must apply it to all the members of the force who would be entitled to it according to the ordinary acceptance of the word. While we are all having a heart-to-heart talk, I may say personally that if the finances of the country could stand it, I believe in the scheme ' of Mr. Margeson, and my only objection is that the finances of the country cannot stand it. By following Mr. Margeson's scheme the various inequalities existing in connection with the present gratuities would be obviated, and the common private soldier, who after all has the greatest need for re-establishment, would have what was coming to him in proportion to the others.

I have no hesitation in saying that, while I subscribed to the report and am quite willing to stand or fall by the committee's report which says that we cannot see our way clear at the present time to advocate or recommend any gratuities as a general thing.

This is largely owing to two factors that enter into this discussion, the first and the principal one being the financial condition of Canada at the present time. I am not going to go over the figures, as it is quite unnecessary for me to do so; but the fact remains that counting the capital expenditures alone or the expenditures which are absolutely fixed by statute and the interest which we must pay upon the present Victory Loan and the loan which must follow it in order to meet our obligations, Canada

will be required to find a sum of approximately $320,000,000 or $330,000,000. That means $40 for every man, woman and child in Canada per annum, counting our population at 8,000,000, which is a fairly liberal estimate. In order words, every family of five will, under the present circumstances, be required to find about $200 per annum on the average in order to fulfil our present unavoidable obligations. Your committee felt that it was utterly impossible that, under the present circumstances, we should add to that $20,000,000, $30,000,000 or

$40,000,000. We, however, provided for assistance to those soldiers who might be in need at the present time, and we also made certain recommendations for changes in the present regulations. *

As regards special cases, we have altogether thirty-three recommendations, which I am sure every hon. member has read. While we could not follow every suggestion, we at least attempted to give a fair consideration to each and every one of those questions, and we made certain recommendations which I believe are entirely in the interest of the men themselves and mean fair treatment to them by the country, and that is what they certainly deserve. Some of the suggestions which we were unable to recommend were of great merit. We have one mentioned in the amendment of the *hon. member for Winnipeg Centre (Mr. Andrews), namely, the one regarding the Pensions Board. I am one member of the committee who was very insistent, as the chairman will bear out, in trying to increase the award presently given by the Pensions Board to orphans in Canada. I did the best I could, but I was confronted with the fact, that the committee after all had nothing to do with pensions. We were appointed to look after Bill No. 10, and the best thing we could do was to make a recommendation that the Pensions Board should be continued and should look into and consider further these inequalities, and that if any hardships existed, the Government should make such provision through the Patriotic Fund as would alleviate any distress during the coming winter. This has been done. It is quite unnecessary that I should read the recommendation, but it is one of the clauses which the hon. member for Winnipeg Centre desires to have stricken from this report. Does the hon. member for a minute mean that those widows and orphans are receiving too much at the present time? Does he think that we exceeded our duty when we asked that the Government should take this into con-

sideration and recommended that if there is any trouble during the winter, the trouble should be alleviated through the Patriotic Fund ?

A second suggestion which we were unable to make any finding upon was the matter of life insurance. I do not think there is a doubt In the mind of any hon. member who has considered this question at all, that this matter should at the earliest possible moment be cleared up, and that we should make some provision whereby our boys, who went to the front and who have come home suffering from any disability which will make life insurance more expensive to them, should be relieved of the difference between the ordinary expense of life insurance and that which they would presently have to pay.

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L LIB

Peter Robert McGibbon

Laurier Liberal

Mr. PETER McGIBBON:

When does

the hon. member think that that time will arrive? .

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UNION

James Arthurs

Unionist

Mr. ARTHURS:

I think the time has already arrived; indeed, so far as that is concerned, we are away behind the times. But we could not do anything except to take conditions as we found them. This is one of the matters that were brought before the committee, and while we did not possess the expert knowledge necessary to gives an actuary's decision on the question, we have recommended to the Government the appointment of actuaries to look into the matter, and I think that the House will bear me out when I say that this was a very wise provision. It is also one which the hon. member for Centre Winnipeg (Mr. Andrews) would have struck from the report.

The figures which have been previously given in this debate differ somewhat from those which I would submit in regard to the present commitments of the Government, which I set out in this way:

Gratuities which have already been given to the soldiers in cash, or which will be given, according to the estimate, before the 1st of April next, $153,686,577; return of dependents, $1,916,578; or a total of $155,603,155. There can be no doubt that these amounts are a direct bonus to the soldiers who have returned to Canada. A man receives no gratuity until he has been discharged, and! these amounts so paid must be to men categorically A 1, or those who have received a pension. The second class of payments are pensions, $53,536,498, and payments by the Soldiers' Civil Reestablishment $57,045,644, or a total of $110,582,162, which has been paid directly and

solely to the disabled men and the widows and orphans. These two commitments are essentially for the soldier himeelf and for his re-establishment in Canada, and they total some $256,000,000. In addition to that, as has been pointed out frequently in the debate, during the present fiscal year we will make a payment of $48,228,103 for land settlement. Personally, I do not think that in any sense the land settlement scheme' is one for the benefit of the soldier. I think it has been put forward by the Government entirely in the interests of the colonization of Canada in order to have men

put on the land in the shortest time and in the best manner possible. In my opinion it- is a good scheme, and I think that one Canadian soldier who will honestly attempt to take up farming i-s worth any ten Doukhobors who were ever brought to Canada. He is a far better citizen and is more apt to make a success at farming than any foreigner, and any expenditure which the Government makes along this line should be supported by Parliament, and will certainly have my support now or at any time in the future.

I desire to say a few words in regard to - the finding of the committee. The first item of expenditure recommended is $9,000,000. This is to equalize the gratuities of those Canadians or residents of Canada who joined the Biutisli forces for service in the air, or in the motorboat patrol of the navy, or in any of the mechanical troops which were advertised in Canada, and for which this Government asked for recruits. It applies also to British reservists, who answered the call from Canada. These men must necessarily have been residents of Canada before the war, and must have returned to Canada and taken up their residence in this country again. As they are Canadians, 1 think the House will agree with me that they should receive the same gratuity as any other Canadian. They were fighting the same war, and were then and are now Canadians. There is no reason therefore why the gratuity should not be the same in their case as in the others. As I say, this involves an expenditure of $9,000,000. The second class provided for are those who spent money for the return of their dependents from 'Ehglandi. It was found that after the armistice the Government had made provision whereby the expenses of dependents returning to Canada were paid by the Government to the extent of a third-class passage on the ocean, with a similar provision for rail, 117

amounting usually to about $50 for each dependent. But those Canadian soldiers who sent their dependents home previous to the armistice did so at their own expense, many of them on the advice contained in circulars issued in England, and from the terms of which they considered themselves in duty bound to send their dependents home. The committee found that they were entitled to have the same amount paid them as was paid in the other case. This will involve about $1,000,000, which expenditure it will not be difficult to defend. The third recommendation was free clothing for those hospital patients under the care of the Soldiers' Civil Reestablishment. This is a very small matter, but it is of grave concern to the men. The men in the military hospitals have clothing supplied free while those in the Soldiers' Civil Re-establishment up to the present have not enjoyed that consideration. The amount required for this purpose is unknown to the committee. The question has arisen regarding our recommendation as to pay and allowances for those undergoing treatment in the Soldiers' Civil Re-establishment. I might say in this connection, bearing out the remarks of a previous speaker, that your committee had only in mind those men who had been regularly discharged from the Canadian service and who were under treatment by the Soldiers' Civil Re-establishment simply as patients, in which case they should receive equal pay, colonel or private.

The committee had no intention of taking anything from the pay of the man who was still in the service, or who, by the action of this Government, was taken from one hospital under the Militia Department and placed in another under the Department of Soldiers? Civil Re-establishment. I think that is a matter that will be dealt with under the regulations which will be formulated as a result of this recommendation.

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L LIB

Peter Robert McGibbon

Laurier Liberal

Mr. PETER McGIBBON:

On what ground does the committee justify the taking of a diseased patient, no matter whether he is an officer or private, and treating him in an ordinary private hospital at the present time?

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UNION

James Arthurs

Unionist

Mr. ARTHURS:

Personally, (I can see no reason why two discharged men under the same circumstances, whether major-generals or privates, should not receive exactly the same treatment, provided they are both civilians. Men who are civilians, and who are not under continuous treatment are the men who were in the mind of the committee

when this recommendation was made. Is that what was in the mind of the hon. member for Muskolta?

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L LIB

Peter Robert McGibbon

Laurier Liberal

Mr. PETER McGIBBON:

What I had in mind was that the treatment which is provided is practically the treatment provided for charity patients in an ordinary hospital, which I think is not sufficient.

Mr. AlRTHURS : According to the regulations, any man coming back to the hospital for treatment of a recurring disability from wounds or otherwise receives the pay and allowance of his rank. That is the regulation that we are amending. When a man who has been regularly discharged comes back to the hospital for treatment of a recurring disability, whether from wounds or from other causes, he is a civilian, and the committee saw no possible reason why one civilian, because he happened to be a major-general, should get a major-general s pay, when, under exactly the same circumstances, another man received the pay of a private. *

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L LIB

Peter Robert McGibbon

Laurier Liberal

Mr. PETER McGIBBON:

My hon. friend has not answered my question.

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UNION

James Arthurs

Unionist

Mr. ARTHURS:

sent conditions I am quite ready to stand by it and support it in toto.

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UNION

Henry Arthur Mackie

Unionist

Mr. H. A. MACKIE:

I ask the hop. gentleman whether the plan of the Great War Veterans was an actual proposition or a -mere suggestion. My understanding was that it was an absolute proposition and no,t a suggestion. Am I right, Sir?

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UNION

James Arthurs

Unionist

Mr. ARTHURS:

I understand it was an absolute proposition and my knowledge of it is verified in this way: that when it was pointed out to the principal witness for the G.W.V.A. that his plan would work out unfairly regarding service-that is that the man would lose a hundred dollars because he lost a day or two, he then proposed to bring it down to a basis of a monthly gratuity.

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UNION
UNION

November 6, 1919