May 28, 1926


The House resumed from April 16 consideration in committee of Bill No. 21, respecting Old Age Pensions.-Hon. Mr. King (Kootenay).-Mr. Duff in the chair.


LIB

James Horace King (Minister of Public Works)

Liberal

Hon. J. H. KING (Kootenay, Minister of Public Works):

When we were last in committee this bill was thoroughly discussed and most of the sections were passed. Sections 2, 3, 4, 7 and 9 were held over for amendments which seemed proper. I have prepared the amendments, first of which is that to section 2.

On section 2-Definitions.

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LIB

William Duff (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Liberal

The CHAIRMAN:

Mr. King (Kootenay)

moves that subsection (d) of section 2 be amended by adding after the word "territory" the following:

In respect to which "Commissioner" shall be read for "Lieutenant Governor in Council".

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CON

Leon Johnson Ladner

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LADNER:

I would like to bring up

a matter in connection with subsection (b)

of section 2, concerning certain petitions and circulars which have been received from different soldier organizations requesting some arrangement which would provide old age pensions for ex-soldiers who were prematurely aged through service in the war. There are a great many cases known to the department where an applicant for pension under the Pension Act was not able to establish what is known as attributability; that is, he could not relate the disability under which he. suffered actually to war service, but nevertheless a portion of the medical opinion established fairly well that his health had been undermined and that his condition actually arose from his service overseas.

I want to make this statement as brief as possible, but there is a question of policy facing the government. Is it the intention of the government to respond favourably to the request for legislation which will provide for pensions to those returned men who have become prematurely aged by reason of their war service? Do they propose to take a step of this kind; could they take such a step in this act, or will they make provision in the regular Pension Act under which military pensions are paid? Is that matter under consideration; will the petitioners, the ex-soldier bodies and a great many of the public, receive the favourable attention of the government, and will any amendments to the Pension Act be brought down?

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PRO

John Warwick King

Progressive

Mr. KING (Kootenay):

When we were in committee before I think the suggestions of my hon. friend were thoroughly discussed, and at that time the government intimated that they did not consider it advisable to interfere with the present act as drafted. It is true that certain soldier organizations have made such representations, but if it is considered desirable to deal with that class would it not be better to deal with them through the Pension Act?

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CON

Leon Johnson Ladner

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LADNER:

That is all very well if

the Pension Act is coming before the House, but otherwise the opportunity of dealing with the matter will be lost, because the session will be over. Perhaps the minister can inform me whether or not it is the intention of the government to bring down any amendments to the Pension Act, so that a matter of this kind may be considered.

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PRO

John Warwick King

Progressive

Mr. KING (Kootenay):

We are now

dealing with the Old Age Pension bill, and I am not in a position to advise my hon. friend as to the Pension Act. I would repeat, however, that it is not considered advisable to incorporate a clause of that kind in this

Old Age Pensions

bill. I am sure the hon. gentleman is anxious to see this bill go through, and I think he will see the inadvisability of incorporating such an amendment at this time.

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CON

Leon Johnson Ladner

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LADNER:

I appreciate the contention of the minister, but I, together with a great many of the public, am very much interested in whether or not the Minister of Soldiers' Civil Re-establishment (Mr. Elliott) intends to introduce amendments to the Pension Act this session. If so, is it the intention to consider this question?

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LIB

William Duff (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Liberal

The CHAIRMAN:

Shall section 2 carry?

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CON

Leon Johnson Ladner

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LADNER:

This is a matter of some

importance, and I would like an answer.

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LIB

John Campbell Elliott (Minister of Soldiers' Civil Re-establishment; Minister presiding over the Department of Health; Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. ELLIOTT:

I might say, Mr. Chairman, that so far as amendments to the Pension Act are concerned, no decision has been arrived at by the government to make changes of any importance this session.

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CON

Leon Johnson Ladner

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LADNER:

I infer, then, that some

changes will be made, and that the matter will be before the House.

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LIB

John Campbell Elliott (Minister of Soldiers' Civil Re-establishment; Minister presiding over the Department of Health; Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. ELLIOTT:

It is barely possible, but

there will be no changes of importance.

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CON

Richard Burpee Hanson

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. HANSON:

I would like to ask the

minister if, in the interim since this bill was before the House last, there has been any attempt made by the government to interview any of the provincial premiers with respect to co-operation in this measure.

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PRO
CON

Richard Burpee Hanson

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. HANSON:

I am satisfied that this

bill is simply a washout unless the provinces are interested. I would like to point out to the Minister of Public Works (Mr. King, Kootenay), who is sponsoring this bill, that I think there will be a meeting of the provincial premiers in Toronto within a week or so, and if this bill is to amount to anything there ought to be a determined effort on the part of the Dominion authorities to get the co-operation of the provinces. Otherwise, I venture the prophecy that this legislation will simply fall to the ground.

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PRO

John Warwick King

Progressive

Mr. KING (Kootenay):

I think that was

thoroughly discussed when we were in committee before. Parliament has a bill before it to provide for old age pensions in conjunction with the provinces, but the provinces do not need to avail themselves of the bill unless they see fit, it is optional with them. There would be nothing to be gained at this time by chasing around trying to interview provincial premiers. The bill, once it is on the statute book, will be available for the provinces if they wish to take advantage of it.

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CON

Richard Burpee Hanson

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. HANSON:

The minister's answer

simply confirms the suspicion that most of us had when this legislation was introduced, that the government is afraid the provinces might take them up and that this might really amount to something

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PRO
CON

Richard Burpee Hanson

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. HANSON:

Otherwise, I venture the

assertion that this bill means nothing anc: never will mean anything.

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May 28, 1926