March 18, 1938

LIB

Charles Gavan Power (Minister of Pensions and National Health)

Liberal

Mr. POWER:

That is exactly what the paragraph says. Let me read it:

(2) The provisions of paragraph (c) of sub section 1 shall not be construed to apply to any veteran who is, in the opinion of the board-[DOT]

Full discretion is given to the board.

-physically and mentally capable of maintaining himself if work were available.

That puts it on the shoulders of the board and the -board only to decide whether the man is physically and mentally capable. We are giving them the widest possible discretion.

Topic:   WAR VETERANS' ALLOWANCES
Subtopic:   'EXTENSION OF ALLOWANCES TO INCLUDE CERTAIN OTHER CLASSES-ENLARGEMENT OF MEMBERSHIP OF BOARD
Permalink
CCF

Charles Grant MacNeil

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. MacNEIL:

Would it not be possible to leave out the phrase "if work were available"?

Topic:   WAR VETERANS' ALLOWANCES
Subtopic:   'EXTENSION OF ALLOWANCES TO INCLUDE CERTAIN OTHER CLASSES-ENLARGEMENT OF MEMBERSHIP OF BOARD
Permalink
LIB

Charles Gavan Power (Minister of Pensions and National Health)

Liberal

Mr. POWER:

No, really we should have something like this in order that ex-service men generally will not be deceived by this legislation. I want it to be clear beyond the shadow of doubt what the legislation means; that it does not cover the man who is able to work, and the only way to do that is to write it into the bill. It would have been much easier for me, and the bill would perhaps have had a far better reception throughout the country, had we left that provision out. But I think we have to be fair to the ex-service men by telling them just who is to benefit and who is not, and it is for that reason this is inserted in the bill.

Topic:   WAR VETERANS' ALLOWANCES
Subtopic:   'EXTENSION OF ALLOWANCES TO INCLUDE CERTAIN OTHER CLASSES-ENLARGEMENT OF MEMBERSHIP OF BOARD
Permalink
CON

Frederick Cronyn Betts

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BETTS:

I am very appreciative of

the trouble the minister has taken with this bill in holding over this section and in consulting the Department of Justice. I have the greatest respect for the opinion of the officers of that department, but in this particular case I do not agree with them. I do not think the new section 4 will give the board nearly as wide a scope as the old section. I hold that view because of the reasons advanced just now by my two friends from Vancouver. Therefore, I propose to move an amendment to the bill. In order that the record may be absolutely clear, I shall read the old section, the section which the government is now. proposing, and the amendment I intend tc suggest.

War Veterans' Allowance Act

The section dealt with by this bill is section 4 of the War Veterans' Allowance Act, which is chapter 48 of the statutes of 1930, as amended by chapter 48 of the statutes of 1936. This section reads:

Subject as hereinafter provided, allowances under this act shall be payable with the approval of the board to any veteran who, at the date of the proposed commencement of the allowance, has attained the age of sixty years or is, in the opinion of the board, permanently unemployable by reason of physical or mental disability, or having served in a theatre of actual war, has attained the age of fifty-five years and is, in the opinion of the board, incapable of maintaining himself because of disability, pre-aging and general unfitness, and in either case is, and has for the six months immediately preceding been domiciled in Canada.

Under that section the board is asked to consider whether an applicant is in its opinion incapable of maintaining himself for various reasons. There is no duty cast upon the board of considering the likelihood of an applicant becoming capable of maintaining himself. I turn next to the section proposed by the minister, being section 3 of the present bill, which reads:

(1) Subject as hereinafter provided allowances under this act shall be payable with the approval of the board to any veteran who has been domiciled in Canada for the six months immediately preceding the date of the proposed commencement of the allowance, and who

(a) has attained the age of sixty years, or

(b) has not attained the age of sixty years, but is, in the opinion of the board, permanently unemployable because of physical or mental disability, or

(c) does not qualify by age or disability under the two preceding paragraphs, but having served in a theatre of actual war, is in the opinion of the board incapable and unlikely to become capable of maintaining himself because of economic handicaps combined with physical or mental disability or insufficiency.

I am critical also of subsection 2, which reads:

The provisions of paragraph (c) of subsection one shall not be construed to apply to any veteran who is, in the opinion of the board, physically and mentally capable of maintaining himself if work were available.

I shall not read subsection 3, because I have no quarrel with it. Allow me to review my objections. My submission is that the board is asked in every case to form an opinion whether an applicant is likely to become capable of maintaining himself. I submit that the board will find it far more difficult to grant allowances under these circumstances than it does under the present legislation. At present all they have to decide is whether an applicant is incapable of maintaining himself. This new phraseology makes it necessary for the board to find in addition, as a matter of carefully

considered opinion, that the applicant is unlikely to become capable of maintaining himself. The minister has said on more than one occasion that he is particularly desirous of giving the board the widest possible discretion. I agree that that is eminently desirable, but it seems to me that the only possible interpretation we can place upon this language is that it will have the effect of restricting the discretion of the board. It gives them one more point to consider and one more matter in connection with which they will have to form an opinion. Therefore, I say that it is not implementing what the minister has told us is his desire in the matter, nor is it in conformity with the recommendations of the veterans' assistance commission, as found on page 69 of their report. The recommendation in connection with unfit veterans reads:

That the War Veterans' Allowance Act be amended by removal of "age 55 years," where it refers to the granting of an allowance because of disability, pre-aging and general unfitness;

And further:

That the act be amended so as to permit a more liberal interpretation of legislation covering the granting of the allowance at any age to a veteran who saw- service in a theatre of actual war and who, because of his unfit condition, or other handicaps, is unable to maintain himself.

There is nothing in that recommendation about the likelihood or probability of a veteran becoming capable of maintaining himself. I submit that the present section is out of line with the recommendations of the veterans' assistance commission. It is also out of line with the resolution passed at the convention of the legion held in Fort William in February of this year. That resolution reads in part:

-and to ensure adequate assistance for those who saw' service in a theatre of actual w-ar and who are now by reason of economic conditions combined with their disability, tangible and intangible, resulting from war service, unable through no fault of their own to secure employment.

The minister had this to say in connection with that resolution, as reported on page 1039 of Hansard:

It mav be said that in passing this legislation we shall be fulfilling to the utmost the requests of the returned soldiers themselves as expressed through the dominion convention of the Canadian legion held in Fort William early in February-

My submission is that by reason of the phraseology which obligates the board in every case to consider whether a veteran is unlikely to become capable of maintaining himself, the minister's statement is incorrect.

War Veterans' Allowance Act

I should like to repeat that I am extremely appreciative of the work of the war veterans' allowance board and I am just as anxious as the minister that this board shall be enabled to operate in the future with completely unfettered discretion. But I do not want to place a board which has been doing good work in an embarrassing position. It has protected the interests of the soldiers and the treasury. It has held the scales in a nice balance between the two interests, and I say that a board constituted as is the present one would be very much embarrassed by regulations placing upon it the duty to consider in each case whether an applicant is likely to become in the future capable of maintaining himself. So far as veterans between the ages of fifty-five and sixty years are concerned, this provision undoubtedly narrows the benefits of the act. It makes the act more restrictive.

So much for a board seized of the right idea in dealing with veterans' administration. Suppose we were to put this legislation in the hands of a board unsympathetic towards veterans, as have been some boards and commissions of which we have had knowledge. I say we are placing in the hands of the board an instrument which would make it very easy for them to grant no allowances at all to the class of men the measure is intended to benefit. I would remind the minister that the personnel of boards changes from time to time, but the provisions we place on the statute books will stay there for some considerable time, and the removal of that which is not in the interests of returned soldiers would involve a great deal of difficulty and expense.

Therefore I move, seconded by Mr. Brooks:

That section 3 of the bill as printed, be amended by deleting the words "and unlikely to become capable" where the said words appear in line 33 thereof;

And by deleting subsection (2) of the new section 4, lines 30 to 39 inclusive of the bill as printed;

And by changing the number of the last subsection of the said new section 4 from (3) to (2).

That amendment, if accepted, would make the new section 4 read as follows:

4. (f) Subject as hereinafter provided allowances under this act shall be payable with the approval of the board to any veteran who has been domiciled in Canada for the six months immediately preceding the dale of the proposed commencement of the allowance, and who

(a) has attained the age of sixty years, or

(b) has not attained the age of sixty years, but is, in the opinion of the board, permanently unemployable because of physical or mental disability, or

(c) does not qualify by age or disability under the two preceding paragraphs, but having served in a theatre of actual war. is in the

opinion of the board incapable of maintaining himself because of economic handicaps combined with physical or mental disability or insufficiency.

(2) An allowance shall not be awarded or continued under this act to a veteran or a recipient while such veteran or recipient is in receipt of an old age pension awarded under any proyincial old age pension legislation adopted in pursuance of an agreement made under the authority of the Old Age Pensions Act.

My submission is that if the present section is so amended the intention of parliament, of the legion convention, and of the minister will be fully carried out.

Topic:   WAR VETERANS' ALLOWANCES
Subtopic:   'EXTENSION OF ALLOWANCES TO INCLUDE CERTAIN OTHER CLASSES-ENLARGEMENT OF MEMBERSHIP OF BOARD
Permalink
LIB

John Frederick Johnston (Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole)

Liberal

The DEPUTY CHAIRMAN:

The question is on the amendment.

Amendment negatived: Yeas, 24; nays, 61.

Topic:   WAR VETERANS' ALLOWANCES
Subtopic:   'EXTENSION OF ALLOWANCES TO INCLUDE CERTAIN OTHER CLASSES-ENLARGEMENT OF MEMBERSHIP OF BOARD
Permalink
CON

Norman James Macdonald Lockhart

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LOCKHART:

The amendment has

now been declared lost.

Topic:   WAR VETERANS' ALLOWANCES
Subtopic:   'EXTENSION OF ALLOWANCES TO INCLUDE CERTAIN OTHER CLASSES-ENLARGEMENT OF MEMBERSHIP OF BOARD
Permalink
?

An hon. MEMBER:

Yes.

Topic:   WAR VETERANS' ALLOWANCES
Subtopic:   'EXTENSION OF ALLOWANCES TO INCLUDE CERTAIN OTHER CLASSES-ENLARGEMENT OF MEMBERSHIP OF BOARD
Permalink
CON

Norman James Macdonald Lockhart

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LOCKHART:

There is no reason to be proud of it, and I shall give the reason why.

Topic:   WAR VETERANS' ALLOWANCES
Subtopic:   'EXTENSION OF ALLOWANCES TO INCLUDE CERTAIN OTHER CLASSES-ENLARGEMENT OF MEMBERSHIP OF BOARD
Permalink
?

An hon. MEMBER:

Nothing to be ashamed of, either.

Topic:   WAR VETERANS' ALLOWANCES
Subtopic:   'EXTENSION OF ALLOWANCES TO INCLUDE CERTAIN OTHER CLASSES-ENLARGEMENT OF MEMBERSHIP OF BOARD
Permalink
CON

Norman James Macdonald Lockhart

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LOCKHART:

The amendment as proposed by the hon. member for London-

Topic:   WAR VETERANS' ALLOWANCES
Subtopic:   'EXTENSION OF ALLOWANCES TO INCLUDE CERTAIN OTHER CLASSES-ENLARGEMENT OF MEMBERSHIP OF BOARD
Permalink
LIB

Charles Avery Dunning (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. DUNNING:

On a point of order, there has been a vote on the question the hon. member is discussing.

Topic:   WAR VETERANS' ALLOWANCES
Subtopic:   'EXTENSION OF ALLOWANCES TO INCLUDE CERTAIN OTHER CLASSES-ENLARGEMENT OF MEMBERSHIP OF BOARD
Permalink
CON

Norman James Macdonald Lockhart

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LOCKHART:

I am not speaking to the amendment. The amendment has been decided upon, and we are now speaking to the original section.

Topic:   WAR VETERANS' ALLOWANCES
Subtopic:   'EXTENSION OF ALLOWANCES TO INCLUDE CERTAIN OTHER CLASSES-ENLARGEMENT OF MEMBERSHIP OF BOARD
Permalink
LIB

Charles Avery Dunning (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. DUNNING:

That is right.

Topic:   WAR VETERANS' ALLOWANCES
Subtopic:   'EXTENSION OF ALLOWANCES TO INCLUDE CERTAIN OTHER CLASSES-ENLARGEMENT OF MEMBERSHIP OF BOARD
Permalink
CON

Norman James Macdonald Lockhart

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LOCKHART:

These words still appear in the section: "-in the opinion of the board, physically and mentally capable of maintaining himself if work were available." If the minister will listen for a moment I shall give details with respect to the point I am trying to make, although I cannot give exact dates. We are attempting to take care of a large number of South African veterans. I do not recall the number; the minister has stated the number.

The two men I have in mind are partially disabled. They have never had relief or assistance of any kind, but through the influence of friends they have been able to earn a livelihood for themselves and their families. I am of the opinion that they will now come' under the section of this act which we have been largely discussing. I am not so sure that these men could have obtained employment if it had not been for influential friends helping them. Now if in the opinion of the board such work was available for these men, they may not be ligible under this act. That is the point I want to make clear. These

146S

War Veterans' Allowance Act

two men, now fifty-seven years of age, have been able to get work of a certain kind up to the present, but if they are unable to obtain this certain type of work in the future, I am afraid that in the opinion of the board they may not be eligible. The minister said earlier in the session that the board had not discretionary powers, that they had no latitude, but he has said since that they have latitude. I do hope that borderline cases of this kind, where the men are fifty-seven years of age or thereabouts will be able to get the benefit of the act even in the face of the wording of this section.

Topic:   WAR VETERANS' ALLOWANCES
Subtopic:   'EXTENSION OF ALLOWANCES TO INCLUDE CERTAIN OTHER CLASSES-ENLARGEMENT OF MEMBERSHIP OF BOARD
Permalink

Section agreed to.


LIB

Frederick George Sanderson (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Liberal

The CHAIRMAN:

Shall I report the bill?

Topic:   WAR VETERANS' ALLOWANCES
Subtopic:   'EXTENSION OF ALLOWANCES TO INCLUDE CERTAIN OTHER CLASSES-ENLARGEMENT OF MEMBERSHIP OF BOARD
Permalink
CON

Frederick Cronyn Betts

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BETTS:

No, Mr. Chairman, I have a further amendment to move. I move that a section be added to the bill dealing with the treatment in departmental hospitals of recipients of an allowance under the War Veterans' Allowance Act who are not in receipt of a pension.

Topic:   WAR VETERANS' ALLOWANCES
Subtopic:   'EXTENSION OF ALLOWANCES TO INCLUDE CERTAIN OTHER CLASSES-ENLARGEMENT OF MEMBERSHIP OF BOARD
Permalink
LIB

Charles Gavan Power (Minister of Pensions and National Health)

Liberal

Mr. POWER:

I would point out that such an amendment would not be in order, because it would involve the expenditure of money.

Topic:   WAR VETERANS' ALLOWANCES
Subtopic:   'EXTENSION OF ALLOWANCES TO INCLUDE CERTAIN OTHER CLASSES-ENLARGEMENT OF MEMBERSHIP OF BOARD
Permalink
CON

Frederick Cronyn Betts

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BETTS:

I think the point is well

taken, Mr. Chairman.

Bill reported, read the third time and passed.

Topic:   WAR VETERANS' ALLOWANCES
Subtopic:   'EXTENSION OF ALLOWANCES TO INCLUDE CERTAIN OTHER CLASSES-ENLARGEMENT OF MEMBERSHIP OF BOARD
Permalink

FARMERS' CREDITORS ARRANGEMENT ACT

March 18, 1938