June 2, 1921

LIB

Lawrence Geoffrey Power

Liberal

Mr. POWER:

May I ask the chairman of the Pensions Committee in which portion of this Bill provision is made for the assignment of a portion of a pension towards the payment of insurance premiums? Is that provision in this Bill or in the amendment to the Pension Act? It was one of the recommendations of the special committee.

Topic:   RETURNED SOLDIERS' INSURANCE ACT
Permalink
UNION

Hume Cronyn

Unionist

Mr. CRONYN:

As I recall it, the information we had on that point was that to give effect to the recommendation all that was required was a change in the regulations, and that that change would be made, so that hereafter a pensioner could assign a portion of his pension towards payment of premiums.

Topic:   RETURNED SOLDIERS' INSURANCE ACT
Permalink
LIB

Lawrence Geoffrey Power

Liberal

Mr. POWER:

Was the hon. gentleman's information to the effect that such an assignment of what is, in effect, government moneys, or moneys to be derived from the Government, could he made by mere regulation of one department or another? It is generally admitted that an assignment, particularly of pensions, cannot be made. I think the general pension law states quite clearly that assignments of pensions will not be recognized, and I was wondering in what portion of this Bill or of the Pension Bill that provision is to be found.

Topic:   RETURNED SOLDIERS' INSURANCE ACT
Permalink
UNION

Peter McGibbon

Unionist

Mr. McGIBBON (Muskoka) :

Has the minister considered giving to returned soldiers who take out insurance the privilege of converting it in-to an annuity in case there are no beneficiaries?

Topic:   RETURNED SOLDIERS' INSURANCE ACT
Permalink
UNION

Hume Cronyn

Unionist

Mr. CRONYN:

That question also came before the committee, and was considered together with a number of cognate suggestions, and in the view of the committee it was not deemed wise to make any recommendation on the point. This Bill gives the right to the assured to designate an alternative beneficiary in case he dies without a wife or children. That was as far as the committee thought it well to go.

Topic:   RETURNED SOLDIERS' INSURANCE ACT
Permalink
UNION

Peter McGibbon

Unionist

Mr. McGIBBON (Muskoka) :

That might work a hardship to the insured, and I think it is acting as a detriment to the Insurance Act. People can get more favourable consideration from the ordinary insurance companies, and it is hardily fair that a man who pays into this insurance company for twenty or thirty years should not participate in the insurance himself, as of right, if he found himself in financial difficulties.

Topic:   RETURNED SOLDIERS' INSURANCE ACT
Permalink
UNION

Hume Cronyn

Unionist

Mr. CRONYN:

If the insured becomes totally disabled, he certainly gets the full benefit of the insurance. If, however, he dies without beneficiaries, under the Act the insurance goes to his estate. The whole scheme of the insurance is one not to benefit the man himself, except in case of total disability, but to protect his dependents. If he has no dependents he is not supposed to derive any personal benefit from the scheme.

Topic:   RETURNED SOLDIERS' INSURANCE ACT
Permalink
UNION

Peter McGibbon

Unionist

Mr. McGIBBON (Muskoka) :

I am

afraid the hon. member does not get the

fMr. Power.!

point. A man might not be totally disabled, and although he might have no beneficiaries, he might be hard up after fifteen or twenty years in which he had paid up the insurance, and under the law he cannot participate in it.

Topic:   RETURNED SOLDIERS' INSURANCE ACT
Permalink
LIB

Lawrence Geoffrey Power

Liberal

Mr. POWER:

I asked the chairman of the committee a question, and I hoped he would give me an answer. I think he understands the point I wish to make.

Topic:   RETURNED SOLDIERS' INSURANCE ACT
Permalink
UNION

Hume Cronyn

Unionist

Mr. CRONYN:

I am not aware that the particular question which the hon. member for Quebec South (Mr. Power) asked came before the committee this year, as to the right of the pensioner to assign any part of his pension. As a matter of fact, the Insurance Act and the Pensions Act are administered under one department; there is no going from one department to another. So far as I can recall, the point raised by my hon. friend was not discussed this year.

Topic:   RETURNED SOLDIERS' INSURANCE ACT
Permalink
LIB
UNION

Hume Cronyn

Unionist

Mr. CRONYN:

The point raised by my hon. frienid is as to the right of allowing the assignment of pensions; I do not recall that question having been raised this year. I know that when the Returned Soldiers' Insurance Act was passed last year, it was the intention of the committee that, so far as pensioners are concerned, the premiums should naturally be paid from their pensions, as being the easiest and most economical method of administration. But that was not adopted for reasons set out by the Pension Commissioner. This year the committee recommends that it should be adopted, and the pensioners gfiven the power to assign their pensions. I understand that that can be done without any change in the Act.

Topic:   RETURNED SOLDIERS' INSURANCE ACT
Permalink
LIB

Lawrence Geoffrey Power

Liberal

Mr. POWER:

There has been a recommendation of the committee to the effect that pensioners may assign their

4 p.m. pensions in order that they be attributed to their insurance. In what practical manner is it intended to put this recommendation into force? As I understand the Pension Act, it is not possible for a pensioner to assign his pension for any purpose. I want to be informed by the chairman of the committee whether, when they made this recommendation, they had gone into the practicability of such assignment, and decided to amend the law in order to permit the pensioner to make the assignment.

Topic:   RETURNED SOLDIERS' INSURANCE ACT
Permalink
UNION

Arthur Meighen (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Unionist

Mr. MEIGHEN:

What the hon. member (Mr. Cronyn) said was that, in so far as

the carrying out of the recommendation contained in the report is concerned, that can be done by regulation of the ^Pension Board, and that the reason there could be no assignment heretofore, to the extent recommended in the report, was that there was no regulation to provide for it. But there is no necessity to change the law to enable such assignment to the extent that the report recommends.

Topic:   RETURNED SOLDIERS' INSURANCE ACT
Permalink
LIB

Lawrence Geoffrey Power

Liberal

Mr. POWER:

The Prime Minister will

find that in the Pension Act it is expressly forbidden to any pensioner to assign his pension for any purpose whatever; so that, in order to carry out the recommendation of the committee, it would be necessary to amend the Pension Act of 1920.

Topic:   RETURNED SOLDIERS' INSURANCE ACT
Permalink
UNION

Arthur Meighen (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Unionist

Mr. MEIGHEN:

I do not want to speak too positively, but I assume this to be the fact-that there can be no assignment as from the pensioner, but as the same department administers both Acts, it would only require a regulation, with the assent of the pensioner, to provide that he should not receive the whole of his pension, but that the department should utilize part of it for the purposes of his insurance. That would be different from an assignment by the pensioner to some third party; it means that part of the pension may be retained for purposes of insurance, with the assent of the pensioner.

Topic:   RETURNED SOLDIERS' INSURANCE ACT
Permalink
LIB

Lawrence Geoffrey Power

Liberal

Mr. POWER:

If the minister assures

me of that, I am quite satisfied; but I remember that, earlier in the session, I had a resolution on the Order Paper asking that that be provided, and the Prime Minister's objection was that assignments could not be made. However, if he has changed his mind, and now assures me that such assignments can be made, I am satisfied.

Topic:   RETURNED SOLDIERS' INSURANCE ACT
Permalink
UNION

Arthur Meighen (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Unionist

Mr. MEIGHEN:

I am informed that the evidence of the Chairman of the Pensions Board, Colonel Thompson, who is himself a lawyer, and a good one, was based on the assumption that there was no difficulty in that respect at all.

Topic:   RETURNED SOLDIERS' INSURANCE ACT
Permalink
UNION

Peter McGibbon

Unionist

Mr. McGIBBON (Muskoka) :

I want to ask the minister again what really serious objections there are to the suggestion which I have made. I know that the present system is hampering the working of the Act, and I think it is an injustice.

Topic:   RETURNED SOLDIERS' INSURANCE ACT
Permalink
UNION

Hume Cronyn

Unionist

Mr. CRONYN:

I can only repeat that

the committee had considered this proposal, along with others of a somewhat similar character, and decided against it.

Topic:   RETURNED SOLDIERS' INSURANCE ACT
Permalink

June 2, 1921