At the risk of having members of the House think that I have become a nuisance with regard to this subject, I must once more protest against the treatment meted out by the House of Commons and by the committee to the widowed mothers of our soldiers. I have on several occasions brought this matter to the attention of the House. When I present it in the form of a resolution I appear to get the almost unanimous support of members on both sides, but when it comes down to actual practical legislation I appear to be all alone. In this instance, therefore, I do not intend to submit an amendment-in the first place because I know, Mr. Chairman, your knowledge of the rules is such that you would promptly rule me out of order as you have already done on two occasions; and, in the second place, because the most enthusiastic supporter of the proposal which I have put forward is my hon. friend from Skeena (Mr. Peck), who, unfortunately, though he and I share the same opinion in this matter, is away and I am paired with him. So I am in the unfortunate position of not being able to put this matter before the committee in such form that it will be brought to a vote. But I would like to make my protest once more-perhaps fo" the last time, because this may be the last session of this parliament-and if only to keep my record clean in that at every session of this parliament I have protested against the treatment accorded to the widowed mother. In order to make my protest clear, Sir, and to show the anomalies of the Act, I wish to be permitted to read section 34 of the Act, subsection 1, which has reference to pensions to widowed mothers:
A parent or any person in the place ot a parent with respect of a member of the forces who has died shall be entitled to a pension when such member of the forces left no child, widow, or divorced wife who is entitled to a pension, or a woman awarded a pension under subsection three of section th! 'ty-three of this Act, and when such parent or person is in a dependent condition and was, at the time of the death of such member of the forces, wholly or to a substantial extent, maintained by him.
That is to say, the widowed mother of a soldier may obtain a pension when the soldier has left no child, no widow, no divorced wife under certain conditions, or a woman "awarded a pension under subsection 3 of section 33 of this Act." Now, let us see who the woman is who is thus preferred to the widowed mother of a
soldier. I quote from subsection 3 of section 33:
A woman who, although not married to the member of the forces, was living with him in Canada at the time he became a member of the forces and for a reasonable time previously thereto, and who, at such time, was publicly represented by him as his wife may, in the case of his death and in the discretion of the Commission, be awarded a pension equivalent to the pension she would have received had she been his legal widow. The Commission may also award a pension if, in its opinion, an injustice would be done by not recognizing a woman as the wife of a member of the forces although there is no evidence that she had been publicly represented by him as his wife.
I am not objecting to this section so far as it refers to what we have been pleased to call the " unmarried wife;" I am simply pointing out the anomalies of the Act as it exists. Under the law this woman, a man's mistress, his concubine, the prostitute with whom he has lived, will get a pension before his mother will get a pension. That is the state of the law as it exists to-day. I do not like to bring this matter before the committee, but I think it is fair that hon. members should know just what our Pension Act is. This country prides itself on its Christian spirit and on its morality, yet here we have in our statutes a provision which consecrates the principle that before the woman who bore the child shall get a pension on account of his death the woman with whom he lived in sin gets a pension. Sir, I think I have a right to protest against such a state of affairs. I do hope that if the matter cannot be remedied this year, the members of the committee and of the Government next year will see to it that this state of affairs no longer exists and that the mother that gave her boy to her country should at least get not inferior treatment to the person who, possibly, lived in open adultery with him.