June 23, 1920

UNION

Donald Nicholson

Unionist

Mr. NICHOLSON (Algoma):

Then the clause is foadly worded. But in any event, I say that if we grant a pension to a widowed mother we ought to leave her alone. The thing I object to above all is the constant harrying of the widowed mother by inspectors who go around to find out what she is getting in the shape of an income. I know what are the feelings of the woman who has lost her boy, and the question as to whether or not she is getting an income to live on should be settled in some otheT way than by having inspectors going to her home to investigate conditions and to ascertain whether she may have secured something in the Way of an income from [DOT] Mr. Power !

some source, perhaps from a daughter who is earning a little, or from a son who is gracious enough to give to his mother a part of his earnings.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   PENSION ACT AMENDMENT.
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UNION

Edward Walter Nesbitt

Unionist

Mr. NESBITT:

Nothing is deducted on account of the daughter's earnings.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   PENSION ACT AMENDMENT.
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UNION

Donald Nicholson

Unionist

Mr. NICHOLSON (Algoma):

What she receives from her daughter is part of her income "from other sources," I take it.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   PENSION ACT AMENDMENT.
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L LIB

Charles Gavan Power

Laurier Liberal

Mr. POWER:

If the daughter gives her a certain amount of money, that would be regarded as income.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   PENSION ACT AMENDMENT.
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UNION

Donald Nicholson

Unionist

Mr. NICHOLSON (Algoma):

I would earnestly suggest that, once having given the widowed mother a pension, we should leave her alone without constant and irritating interference.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   PENSION ACT AMENDMENT.
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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:

1 cannot place before the committee the amendment submitted by the hon. member for Quebec South (Mr. Power) because it is not in order. By striking out the words "240 per annum" the committee would be increasing the charges upon the public treasury, and that cannot be done unless preceded by resolution. The amendment is therefore not in order at this stage.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   PENSION ACT AMENDMENT.
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L LIB

Charles Gavan Power

Laurier Liberal

Mr. POWER:

Last year when this matter was discussed the same question was brought up by the President of the Privy Council (Mr. Rowell), but I do not think he asked the mover of the resolution, the hon. member for London (Mr. Cronyn), to withdraw his amendment on that account. I think the matter was allowed to' be discussed.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   PENSION ACT AMENDMENT.
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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 matter can undoubtedly be discussed, because it is relevant to the clause which is before the committee. It can be discussed as a suggestion to the Government, but it cannot be moved in the form of an amendment.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   PENSION ACT AMENDMENT.
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UNION

Richard Clive Cooper

Unionist

Mr. COOPER:

What I would direct attention to is schedule A-"Bonus outside Canada" and "Bonus in Canada." It seems to me that, under this head, we are making a provision that deliberately disregards the promises made to the men that came from the United States to join our forces. These men were unquestionably notified on enlisting that they and their dependents would without doubt participate in the full benefits given members of the Canadian Expeditionary Force. They were told that their dependents 'would benefit to the same extent as dependents of men in the C.E.F. living in Canada.

Under the provisions made here there is no such 'benefit, .and it seems to me to. be absolutely unfair, especially with reference to the United States, because there were special inducements to men in the United States to join the Canadian Expeditionary Force. With reference to dependents in the Old Country, or South Africa, or Australia, I do not so strongly emphasize this point. But I do not think that the committee should pass this schedule as it now stands, at least so far as pensioners who *are now residing in the United Statets are concerned. The cost of living to them is as high as it is to us, and furthermore, we pay them in the Canadian dollar and do not compensate them for the loss in exchange. As regards the Old Country or any other part of the Empire where our own currency is at a premium the pensioner benefits, but in the United States she does not, and I think that this question of bonus should be carefully considered before being put into force.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   PENSION ACT AMENDMENT.
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L LIB

Charles Gavan Power

Laurier Liberal

Mr. POWER:

I do not know whether I would be in order or not, but I will bring the matter to the attention of the Government and ask them at least to be charitable to the widowed mother. Subsection 8 provides that the pension to a parent or person in place of a parent shall not be reduced on account of the payment to such parent or person of municipal insurance on life of a deceased member of the forces, and I would ask the Prime Minister to exempt life insurance also. It would be unfair, in my opinion, to say that if a widowed mother received a certain amount of insurance on the life of her son her pension should be diminished on that account. If the Chairman thought I was in order, I would move to amend this section to read "municipal or any other insurance." I presume, however, that the same ruling would apply in this as in the other instance. If the widowed mother receives municipal insurance nothing is deducted from her pension on that account, and I would ask the Prime Minister to consider seriously whether life insurance should not be included in this provision. I do not think it would cost the country a great deal of money if we allowed a widowed mother to enjoy her pension irrespective of a few thousand dollars that she might have received on the death of her son.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   PENSION ACT AMENDMENT.
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UNION

Peter McGibbon

Unionist

Mr. McGIBBON (Muskoka):

This difficulty might be overcome by raising the amount of income in subsection 7 from $20 to $30 or $40 a month. A year ago I sug-

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gested that it be placed at $500 a year. Of course, the principle is absolutely sound that you should have some limit. In my opinion it would not be fair to give a pension to any one with an income of $2,000 or $3,000 a year. You . must draw the line somewhere. At the same time, I think that we might increase this amount from $20 to $30 or $40 a month; probably $30 would be reasonable. I agree with the hon. member for Algoma (Mr. Nicholson) that it is very irritating to widowed mothers to have visitors prying into their private affairs, and this is a matter that has caused a great deal of quiet resentment among the widowed mothers of soldiers in this country. I think that in fixing this amount we should put a reasonable figure so as to do away with a great deal of the irritation that has been caused in the past. Twenty dollars is rather too low. I do not know that it would cause any harm to leave it as it is, but undoubtedly, if it were increased, there would be less cause for complaint.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   PENSION ACT AMENDMENT.
Permalink
UNION

Robert Laird Borden (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Unionist

Sir ROBERT BORDEN:

I shall certainly take into consideration what has been said on this subject by the hon. gentlemen who have spoken. I see some force in the observation as to the feeling of irritation which might be created by too close or too frequent inquiries into the private affairs of persons who have lost near relatives in the war. But my hon. friends will observe that it will be impossible to change this provision without bringing down another resolution. I hope therefore they will be willing to accept my assurance that what they have said in the matter will not be overlooked.

Section agreed to and Bill reported.

On the motion of Hon. Mr. Calder that the Bill be read a third time:

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   PENSION ACT AMENDMENT.
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L LIB

Daniel Duncan McKenzie

Laurier Liberal

Mr. McKENZIE:

May I ask the minister in-charge of this Bill if it is the intention to consolidate the Pension Act of last year and the measure we have just passed?

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   PENSION ACT AMENDMENT.
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UNION

James Alexander Calder (Minister of Immigration and Colonization)

Unionist

Mr. CALDER:

I should think there would be a consolidation made for the convenience of everybody.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   PENSION ACT AMENDMENT.
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L LIB

Daniel Duncan McKenzie

Laurier Liberal

Mr. McKENZIE:

And the consolidated Bill distributed as speedily as possible?

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   PENSION ACT AMENDMENT.
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UNION

James Alexander Calder (Minister of Immigration and Colonization)

Unionist

Mr. CALDER:

Yes.

Motion agreed to and Bill read third time.

At Six o'clock the House took recess.

After Recess.

The House resumed at Eight o'clock.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   PENSION ACT AMENDMENT.
Permalink

STATE INSURANCE FOR RETURNED SOLDIERS.


On motion of Hon. J. A. Calder (Minister of Immigration and Colonization), Bill No. 195 to provide for the insurance of returned soldiers by the Dominion of Canada was read the second time, and the House went into committee thereon-Mr. Boivin in the Chair. On section 2-Definitions.


LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

Is this Bill like the other measures dealing with pensions, based on the recommendations of the Special Commitee?

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   STATE INSURANCE FOR RETURNED SOLDIERS.
Permalink
UNION

James Alexander Calder (Minister of Immigration and Colonization)

Unionist

Mr. CALDER:

Yes. The Special Committee went very carefully over this Bill, and, as I understand it, unanimously agreed to it.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   STATE INSURANCE FOR RETURNED SOLDIERS.
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June 23, 1920