I should like to support, as representative of a soldier constituency, what the hon. member for London (Mr. Betts) has said. The day has gone by when any soldier out of employment should be at the mercy of tag-days and poppy-day funds and that kind of thing. The government itself, in its large public departments, can do better in giving preference to returned men. This commission, properly constituted and ade-
Veterans' Assistance Commission
quately supported, can do a great work for returned soldiers. In 1916, when the first troops came back to the city I represented, which sent 60,000 men to the war, the city and all its outside commissions were instructed to be a commission of one to give returned soldiers the preference. When I see in my own riding, in the north west, where Christie Street hospital is, the district I formerly represented, advertisements in newspapers by civilian organizations of poppy-day funds and tag-day funds and appeals for secondhand clothing, baby carriages and so forth for returned men out of work, I think Canada should be very heartily ashamed of itself.
The minister is to be commended for the forward policy he announced in Vancouver and for his statement in Toronto at the last Armistice day. I believe he is the proper man to put some kind of heart into methods for providing employment. After all is said and done, the returned soldier, from what I have seen, seems to have got all the pick and shovel jobs. I have studied the matter carefully, and I agree with the hon. member for London that we should put some teeth into this legislation, and that we should carry out the program ourselves, as a House of Commons, in connection with appointments to the bench, to the senate and other such positions, instead of giving the ex-service men pick and shovel jobs and leaving them to the hazards of seasonal and cyclical employment in industry and agriculture. In too many cases the returned soldier finds himself out of work, with the bailiff in his house, and his family and himself at the mercy of tag-days and poppy-day funds. I heartily support the resolution; I hope that this will be one commission that will be taken out of politics, and that soldiers who fought at the front, irrespective of their political party, will be placed on it.