Minister of Finance is in a more responsible position than the Minister of the Interior, and he did accept them. The man was dismissed. The act-I am speaking from memory-gives the treasury board power to deal with cases of that kind, but it did not make it compulsory for the board to pay the man, and I say that if you can deal with cases like the one before us by putting an amount in the estimates to correct an injustice-I am not complaining so much of this particular case because I think it is only correcting an injustice-I say that you should do the same in other cases.
I do not recall the case to which my hon. friend refers, but the treasury board have one rule that they follow, and they are compelled to follow it under the act. If the official was dismissed for irregularities, for theft in office or being drunk on duty or anything of that sort, then under the act we cannot pay him, but wherever under the act we can legally pay him, the treasury board is disposed to deal generously with the public servants.
Another hon. gentleman a moment ago referred to those in minor positions. The Civil Service Superannuation Act provides the same privileges for the lower paid servants as for the higher paid, except that the compensation is based upon the salary and the amount that has been paid in. My hon. friend from Mackenzie has very correctly stated the position. I am not going to argue it at any length, but if hon. gentlemen do not wish to pass this item the responsibility will not be upon the government.
I repeat, Major Bell died on January 13, 1929. Had he died on January 1, 1925, under the law Mrs. Bell would have been entitled to exactly the amount that we are asking the committee to vote to-night, so we are only giving her what, she is entitled to under the law.
that in succeeding parliaments, innumerable cases of this kind will undoubtedly arise. I have no doubt that a great many civil servants have not taken the precaution of protecting themselves by coming under the provisions of the Superannuation Act, and from time to time parliament will have to do something of this nature to look after such cases.
I have no opposition whatever to offer to this item, but I have a case to submit to the committee. It is that of a man who has served, not for twenty or thirty years, but for fifty-two years. This man entered the service of the imperial government in the year of confederation, in 1867, may I say to the Minister of Justice.
Because I want the Minister of Justice to pay special attention to this. This man entered the transport service of the imperial army at Halifax and served continuously from that time until the transport service of the imperial government was turned over to the Canadian federal authorities. He continued to serve until 1919. Now here is where I condemn the Tory government, or the Union government, whichever you choose to call it.
would smell as sweet. This man .served his government and his country for fifty-two years and nine months as a captain in the transport service at Halifax. He was dismissed with a paltry gratuity of $900, not $900 a year, but a lump sum gratuity of $900. I brought this matter to the attention of the Hon. E. M. Macdonald when he was Minister of National Defence, the very first year I entered this parliament, in 1926. I also brought it to the attention of the present Minister of National Defence, and in all fairness to the minister, I wish to say that he saw no way of providing for this man. He is now eighty-five years of age, and since 1919 he has been living, I do not know how, on this paltry gratuity of $900. If an item is brought down in the supplementaries under any department, I do not care which, I guarantee to the Minister of National Defence that not a member on this side of the house would oppose it, and I appeal to the minister to include such an item this session. I am suggesting it to the Minister of
Supply-Annuities to Widows
National Defence, to the Prime Minister, to the Minister of Justice-that they put an item in the supplementary estimates to pay that man an annuity until the day he dies. He is eighty-five years of age.
Lest there might be a misunderstanding in the case of the civil servant that I mentioned a moment ago, I may say he was dismissed, not for any of the offences mentioned by the Minister of Finance, but for inefficiency, although, speaking from memory, I think he held the position for over three years, which would seem to negative even that charge. I am not particularly objecting to the estimate; I would be prepared to support any similar vote where money had been paid in and through some technical error it had not been properly applied. But I say if the principle is going to be invoked in one case let it be invoked in another. The principle on which this government acts seems to be: to him that hath shall be given, but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath. The higher up civil servants and their dependents are well looked after, but the poorer civil servants-this man drew a salary of only $70 a month-could not secure $350.
I wish to protest against passing this item in favour of Mrs. Beatrice Bell, for the same reasons as those set forth a moment ago when opposition was taken to a vote for a pension to Lady Taschereau. If the act allowed a pension in the present case, the house would not be called upon to approve of this item. No exception should be made. The same rule should apply to everybody. If Lady Taschereau has no right to a pension, in consideration of the services rendered by her husband who, at his death, was Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada, I deem that the services rendered by Mr. Bell do not warrant any more the granting of a pension to his widow.
I wish to add that I was informed that Mr. Bell left to his children an estate of $75,000, and nothing to his wife. I cannot see why the government should be called upon to support the widow when her husband could have left her a sufficient amount to provide for her needs. I am opposed to this item and I trust that the hon. members of this house will concur in my views.
I am not going to oppose this grant, but how can a member go back to his constituents and say, "I voted for such and such a grant, but I cannot do anything for your case because death took away your husband just two or three months short of the time when he would have qualified for superannuation." This is a letter from the chief accountant of the Finance department in reference to the case of a widow in my constituency:
Under the Civil Service Superannuation and Retirement Act, to which your husband was a contributor, it states that no allowance may be granted to an employee who has less than ten years' service. At the time of Mr. Hamilton's death his service was only nine years, five months and twenty-five days.
Here is a case where the man lived within four or five months of the time when he would have qualified for superannuation and left a widow and daughter without means of support, yet nothing is granted to them.