June 2, 1921

LIB

Lawrence Geoffrey Power

Liberal

Mr. POWER:

I thought it was the intention of the committee to strike altogether from the law all question of support by the children to their widowed mother. That was my idea, and that is the idea conveyed to me by members of the committee, that from now on there would be no question on the part of the Board of Pension Commissioners of considering whether a son who was in Western Canada should be supporting somebody who is living, say, in Nova Scotia. If, however, it is not the intention of the committee to do that, we have not improved the state of the widowed mother to any appreciable degree.

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UNION

Hume Cronyn

Unionist

Mr. CRONYN:

We have improved it to an estimated extent of $18,000 a year, which the widowed mothers will receive and which the country will pay.

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UNI L

John Flaws Reid

Unionist (Liberal)

Mr. REID (Mackenzie) :

I should like to say a word or two in regard to the deduction of $10 a month from the widowed mother's pension, because she has a son staying at home with her who is supposed to contribute to her support. I suppose all the sons of Canada are good boys or, at least, presumed to be so; but I know of more than one case where, instead of a son being a help to his mother, the opposite is the case. It is absolutely unfair that a mother's pension should be reduced on account of the fact that she has a son who is supposed to support her, but over whom she has no control. This matter has not been given very serious consideration.

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UF

Thomas Wakem Caldwell

United Farmers

Mr. CALDWELL:

The hon. member for Mackenzie (Mr. Reid) speaks about a son residing at home with his mother. This amendment includes not only sons, but daughters whether they reside at home or abroad, if the commission consider that they should contribute to their mother's support. This does not mean children who are contributing, but children who, the commission consider, should be contributing, to the mother's support. I opposed the Act last year when it applied only to sons, but it is much worse now when it applies to daughters as well. Supposing a daughter of a widowed mother is doing housework at $5 or $6 a week, earning hardly enough to clothe herself. It is within the power of the commission to decide that that girl should be contributing $10 a month to her mother's support when she is not earning enough to support herself. It is a most iniquitous provision, and as a member of the special committee, I wish to put myself on record as being absolutely opposed to the clause. I move in amendment:

That subsection 6 of section VI of chapter 62 of the Acts of 1920 be struck out.

I wish to add my meed of praise of the very efficient manner in which the chairman of this Pension Committee has carried on his work, and also of the very harmonious relations of the members of that committee. I would not want to make it appear by these few remarks that I do not think the members of the committee were sincere. There was no evidence of partisanship in that committee, I am pleased to say, and I think that if we could carry the spirit of that committee into this House business would proceed much more rapidly, and we would have more of a fellow-feeling possibly when the session is over than we have under the method now prevailing. I wish most heartily to add my meed of praise to what has been said of the devotion and ability and fairness of the chairman of the committee, as well as the other members.

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UNION

Hume Cronyn

Unionist

Mr. CRONYN:

I am afraid there is

seme confusion of mind over this matter. In the first place, if children living apart from the widowed mother do not contribute, no deduction is or can be made.

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LIB

Lawrence Geoffrey Power

Liberal

Mr. POWER:

The Act specifically

states:

When a parent or person in the place of a parent has unmarried children residing with him or her who should, in the opinion of the

Commission, be earning an amount. . . . each such unmarried child shall be deemed to be contributing-

And so on.

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UNION

Hume Cronyn

Unionist

Mr. CRONYN:

That is the point I am trying to make clear; we are getting the two things mixed. Where a child does not reside with the widowed mother, unless he makes a contribution to his mother, no deduction is or can be made. Now let us put that case aside, and take the case |of children residing with the mother. Undoubtedly there is under this section, given to the Board of Pension Commissioners, power and discretion to say whether that child, be the child boy or girl, is fitted to earn and is earning an amount sufficient to charge the mother's account up to $10 a month. By the amendments now before us we are exempting $20 a month of those supposed earnings, so that the widow would have to have more than two children who, in the opinion of the commissioners, should be contributing to her support before any reduction could be made. You have to leave it to the discretion of somebody, and it was strongly represented to the committee that public opinion took offence at a condition of affairs which allowed several strapping boys to be living with the mother and yet not held liable to contribute to her support. That, I think, was the expression of opinion given to the committee, and perhaps was the reason which caused the committee to pass this section some time ago. The course taken this year is to amelioriate the condition of the widowed mother in respect to that one particular.

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LIB
UNION
LIB
L LIB

Daniel Duncan McKenzie

Laurier Liberal

Mr. McKENZIE:

What is the meaning of the amendment, which reads:

such income being considered to include the contributions from children residing with or away from her whether such contributions have actually been made or are deemed by the Commissioners to have been made.

As I understand that, it means that the exemption of $20 a month takes into account what is supposed to have been contributed by the children, and no deductions are made even if she gets that contribution?

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UNION
L LIB

Daniel Duncan McKenzie

Laurier Liberal

Mr. McKENZIE:

It might be more than that. The wording is not very clear. To

my mind, it means that whatever contributions may have been made may be included in the exemption.

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UNION

Hume Cronyn

Unionist

Mr. CRONYN:

If we read the section as it now stands, with the amendment proposed, perhaps the result will be more clear:

The pension of a widowed mother shall not be reduced on account of her having an income from other sources which does not exceed two hundred and forty dollars per annum, such income being considered to include the contributions from children residing with or away from her whether such contributions have actually been made or are deemed by the Commissioners to have been made.

The contributions which are deemed to have been made are those from the children living with the mother.

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L LIB
UNION
LIB

Lawrence Geoffrey Power

Liberal

Mr. POWER:

Supposing "such income" included contributions from three children living with the mother, $30 a month. That would not be taken into account under the Act?

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UNION
LIB

Lawrence Geoffrey Power

Liberal

Mr. POWER:

I do not see how the hon. gentleman reads that here. It says "such income being considered to include the contributions-" it does not say two or three contributions, but- "the contributions from children residing with or away from her whether such contributions have actually been made or are deemed by the commissioners to have been made." I think that would include all contributions from children. I do not know what the intention of the committee was.

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UNION

Hume Cronyn

Unionist

Mr. CRONYN:

This amendment was

drafted by the legal adviser of the board and was passed upon by Parliamentary Counsel. Let me read the original section once more.

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June 2, 1921