May 11, 1923

BANKING AND COMMERCE

LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Liberal

Right Hon. W. L. MACKENZIE KING (Prime Minister):

I move that the name of Hon. T. A. Crerar be taken from the list of members composing the Select Standing Committee on Banking and Commerce and the name of Mr. Robert Forke be inserted in lieu thereof.

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LIB

Motion agreed to.


DOMINION LANDS ACT-COAL


Hon. CHARLES STEWART (Minister of the Interior) moved for leave to introduce Bill No. 159 (from the Senate), to amend the Dominion Lands Act respecting the sale or other disposal of coal lands and coal mining rights. Motion agreed to and bill read the first time.


PETITION OF RIGHT ACT


Sir LOMER GOUIN (Minister of Justice) moved for leave to introduce Bill No. 165 (from the Senate) to amend the Petition of Right Act. Motion agreed to and bill read the first time.


PRIVATE BILLS FIRST READINGS


Bill No. 160 (from the Senate), for the relief of Edgar Lindsay.-Mr. Stewart (Leeds). Bill No. 161 (from the Senate), for the relief of Charles Marigoli Hare.-Mr. Duff. Bill No. 162 (from the Senate), for the relief of Esther Levin.-Mr. Gordon. Bill No. 163 (from the Senate), for the relief of Hilda Marguerite Watt Black.-Mr. Stewart (Leeds). Bill No. 164 (from the Senate), for the relief of Abigal Aileen Beryl McCrea Tull.- Mr. Duff.


DELAY IN BRITISH MAILS


On the Orders of the Day:


CON

Horatio Clarence Hocken

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. HOCKEN:

I should like to ask the

Prime Minister if he can give any explanation for the extraordinary delay in British mail reaching this country. For example, the latest issue of the London Times received here was dated April 6th, but it did not arrive until May 7th. There .must

surely be some reason for this delay of apparently a month in the transmission of mail to Canada,

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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Liberal

Right Hon. W. L. MACKENZIE KING:

I cannot offhand give my hon. friend a reply. There has been some considerable delay in the crossing of some of the ships, as the hon. member will have observed. I have no doubt there are other reasons to account for the matter to which he refers. I will direct the attention of the Acting Postmaster General (Mr. Graham) to the question and will endeavour to get a reply.

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THE ROYAL COMMISSION ON PENSIONS


On the Orders of the Day.


CON

Robert James Manion

Conservative (1867-1942)

Hon. R. J. MANION (Fort William and Rainy River):

I should like to direct the attention of the Department of Soldiers' Civil Re-establishment to a telegram which I have received. I know that the hon. member for Victoria City (Mr. Tolmie) received a similar telegram, and I am sure other hon. members have received telegrams of the same tenor:

The Fort William branch of the Great War Veterans Association joins with the Dominion command in demanding from Pension Board immediate statement as to whether it intends to review claims now pending in accordance with Royal Commission findings. Board's refusal to act causing unwarranted distress and hardship among many widows, dependents, and disabled ex-service men throughout the Dominion. Urgently request immediate acceptance.

In view of the report of the royal commission, which has pointed out many defects in the carrying out of this act, I should like to ask: Does the hon. minister feel it within his power to instruct the Board of Pension Commissioners to cam' out the. intent of the law, as brought before the House of Commons last year by the parliamentary committee, and as explained to the House? If he cannot do that, I should like to find out, if possible, when he intends to bring in legislation which he stated some time ago he was going to bring in, to carry out the recommendation of the royal commission, and settle the discontent which exists very seriously throughout the country among ex-service men.

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LIB

Henri Sévérin Béland (Minister of Soldiers' Civil Re-establishment; Minister presiding over the Department of Health)

Liberal

Hon. H. S. BELAND (Minister of Soldiers' Civil Re-establishment):

It has come to my knowledge that a very large number of telegrams have been received by members of the House, and also by members of the government. As to the interpretation of the Pension Act by the Board of Pension Commissioners, my hon. friend and hon. members of this House are aware that it is entirely within

The Budget-Mr. Fielding

the discretion of that board. The question of the advisability of amending the Pension Act is for this House and parliament generally to consider. It is the intention of the government to bring down legislation during the present session with a view to remedying the grievances which have been uttered more or less all over Canada by the ex-service men. It is hoped that these amendments will meet the situation. Again repeating myself, I say that, as far as an interpretation of the act is concerned, it is entirely within the power and authority of the Board of Pension Commissioners.

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CON

Robert James Manion

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MANION:

The Board of Pension Commissioners, according to the ruling of the commission-I do not wish to discuss it, and I shall not do so except to say one wordhaving put up certain information to the minister for interpretation, and having finally taken their own interpretation, perhaps not according to what the minister had said, point out that these clauses should be interpreted to a certain extent with different points in view. Under the circumstances, does the minister not think that he might direct the Board of Pension Commissioners to interpret the act in the most broad-minded way possible, and will not he promise the House to bring down the alterations which he suggests at a very early date?

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LIB

Henri Sévérin Béland (Minister of Soldiers' Civil Re-establishment; Minister presiding over the Department of Health)

Liberal

Mr. BELAND:

The minister has on repeated occasions, in memoranda addressed to the Board of Pension Commissioners, asked for the most generous interpretation of the act. The contention of the Board of Pension Commissioners is that they have always remained within strict interpretation of the statute. The remedy, therefore, would appear to be in an amendment to the statute, and this amendment, or these amendments.

I propose to introduce in the House as soon as possible-as soon as the budget debate is* over. Whatever legislation may be adopted by this House or by parliament would not take effect before it is assented to by His Excellency which would happen only at the time of prorogation. But I repeat that I expect that it will be possible to amend the Pension Act so that the complaints which have been uttered during the last year or year and a half will be remedied. That assurance has been given by myself to all those who have done me the honour of corresponding with me either by letter or telegram.

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May 11, 1923