Several difficulties have arisen in connection with this act, to which the attention of the house has been directed on more than one occasion by several hon. members, noticeably by the hon. member for Shelburne-Yarmouth (Mr. Ralston) and the hon. member for Vancouver Centre (Mr. Mackenzie). A difficulty arose some months ago and the government concluded that men were being deprived of rights without an opportunity to present their case in accordance with the well-known principle which has been established by judicial decisions in the courts of last resort. We felt that it was
illegal to deprive a man of his rights without affording him an opportunity to be heard, and we so indicated to the commission. As is known to the committee, they ultimately undertook to restore to their former positions those whose rights had been taken from them and proceedings or hearings were instituted to enable the parties affected to present their cases. I understand that that has not been wholly satisfactory
because of an attitude of mind, if I may use that term, which existed w'ith respect to some of the problems. I have had the advantage of discussing this matter fully with those who officially represent the pensioners of the country in more than one of the organizations which we have in Canada. They are all anxious to avoid friction as much as possible and to improve the administration of pensions to the greatest possible extent. It is believed that with the aid of a judge acting as chief commissioner and the application of the well-known rule that he who asserts must prove the administration would be relieved of much of the difficulty which now exists. We could not have a long discussion with respect to various cases which might be misunderstood in many quarters, but we have concluded that the situation might be met by endeavouring to deal with the difficult cases in the manner I have indicated and by the application of the general rule of our jurisprudence. I have mentioned that he who asserts must prove, and that the presumptions which arise from a long-continued living together in a community of a man and a woman of repute could not be overcome except by the application of the rules of evidence as applied in the way I have just indicated. This cannot continue longer than a few months in any event, and it is believed that it affords an opportunity by administration to solve the difficulties which have been the cause of a great deal of concern. I should like to convey my thanks to the hon. gentlemen I have named for giving me an opportunity to discuss this matter with them.
Subtopic: PENSION ACT AMENDMENT