May 19, 1938

LIB

Charles Gavan Power (Minister of Pensions and National Health)

Liberal

Mr. POWER:

I shall be glad to give more detail on that vote. I have a statement on the whole dental situation; but I left it with my other documents relating to treatment, because my hon. friend requested that I do not discuss treatment to-night.

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CCF

Charles Grant MacNeil

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

Mr. MacNEIL:

There has been considerable alarm among ex-service men with regard to substantial reductions in this item and the item, care of patients. I would appreciate it if either on this vote or the other the minister would give a general picture of the situation. It was reported that for March, 1936, the cost of hospital treatment was $2,760,866; and for

Supply-Pensions and National Health

March, 1937, it was $2,732,087, a decrease of $28,778. For hospital allowances the figure for March, 1936, was $1,315,347, while for March, 1937, it was $1,083,919, a decrease of $231,427. Hospital admissions in March, 1936, were 10,411 and 9,486 for March, 1937, a decrease of 925. The minister will remember that in the proceedings of the special committee in 1936 certain stated questions were submitted to the officers of the department regarding P.C. 91, asking for assurance that there would be no restriction under that order in council as compared with the one previously1 in force. Would the minister, either now or under another vote, tell the committee whether there has been any transfer from class 1 to other classes, thereby reducing the number of men eligible for allowances as class 1 patients?

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LIB

Charles Gavan Power (Minister of Pensions and National Health)

Liberal

Mr. POWER:

My hon. friend will notice that this year the estimates are set out in a different way. In other years the two items, care of patients, and hospital and other allowances, were bulked. The total amount provided in the estimates for these two items was in excess of the actual expenditures incurred for these activities during the past fiscal year. There was an unexpended balance in the vote. I have a comparison here. For 1936-37 the actual expenditures were:

Hospital and other allowances.. $1,083,919

Care of patients 2,989,446

In the 1938-39 estimates, vote No. 221, which we are now considering, the figures are:

Hospital and other allowances.. $1,075,000

Care of patients, vote 223 3,045,287

An increase of approximately $50,000 for the two votes put together.

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CCF

Charles Grant MacNeil

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

Mr. MacNEIL:

Has the minister the figures of hospital admissions during the last year?

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LIB

Charles Gavan Power (Minister of Pensions and National Health)

Liberal

Mr. POWER:

I have that somewhere, under care of patients. But the average is about 2,400. It ran to about 2,580 during last winter and is gradually coming down; I suppose it will reach about 2500 to 2,300 during the summer.

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CCF

Charles Grant MacNeil

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

Mr. MacNEIL:

Has there been any substantial transfer from class 1 to other classes under P.C. 91? Are the figures available of those who have been admitted under the various classifications?

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LIB

Charles Gavan Power (Minister of Pensions and National Health)

Liberal

Mr. POWER:

As far as I can get those figures. I shall bring them.

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CON

John Ritchie MacNicol

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MacNICOL:

What attention is given to returned soldiers who die suddenly, away from the hospital? I know of a returned

soldier who 'had a job in northern Ontario; he left his place of employment, had to walk some twenty-four miles to the station. About halfway there was a stopping place where he stopped overnight. Next day he started for the station. He had been subject to fainting spells and falling, as the hospital records show; apparently he had one of these spells on the way to the station that day and was frozen to death before he was found. After the post mortem, however, the doctors said he had died as a result of being frozen to death. Personally I do not believe that; the doctors may have been right; but since the man was troubled with fainting spells he might have had one at that time, and not being able to get up again he froze to death. I want to know under what item I should bring this matter up.

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LIB

Charles Gavan Power (Minister of Pensions and National Health)

Liberal

Mr. POWER:

I think it might be properly discussed under the item relating to pensions, since I take it my hon. friend proposes to make claim for a pension on behalf of the widow of the ex-soldier who died under those circumstances. As the hon. member knows, the Canadian pension commission has full authority and jurisdiction, without regard to the minister or anyone in this house, to judge whether or not the widow would be entitled to pension.

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CON

John Ritchie MacNicol

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MacNICOL:

I have always found them very satisfactory.

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LIB

Charles Gavan Power (Minister of Pensions and National Health)

Liberal

Mr. POWER:

Then I commend my hon. friend to the pension commission, where I have no doubt he will get satisfaction.

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CCF

Charles Grant MacNeil

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

Mr. MacNEIL:

On the question of class 1 allowances I wish to refer to a matter which was referred to previously. Order in council P.C. 91 definitely includes a disability resulting from aggravation while on service. No distinction is made; that principle has been accepted. I think on previous occasions the assurance has been given that there would be no restriction under P.C. 91 as compared with the previous order in council regulating government medical treatment. A number of cases have been brought to my attention recently of men who have been denied class 1 treatment and have not secured the allowances, because the disability resulted from aggravation on service. I shall not take up the time of the committee at the moment to refer to a case cited previously, No. 103431-

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LIB

Charles Gavan Power (Minister of Pensions and National Health)

Liberal

Mr. POWER:

Is that a Halifax case?

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CCF

Charles Grant MacNeil

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

Mr. MacNEIL:

No; a Seattle case, in which the departmental medical authority definitely stated that since the condition

3072 COMMONS

Supply-Pensions and National Health

antedated enlistment, and as it was aggravated only to a very slight degree as a result of service, the man should not be entitled to class 1 treatment. I should like some assurance from the minister that no distinction is made in regard to aggravation cases.

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LIB

Charles Gavan Power (Minister of Pensions and National Health)

Liberal

Mr. POWER:

I think we offered to bring that man back to Canada, but he would not be hospitalized in Canada. Is that the case?

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CCF

Charles Grant MacNeil

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

Mr. MacNEIL:

No. If the minister will permit me, the department offered to have this man treated in the outdoor department in Seattle, and the United States veterans' administration replied on January 5 of this year that they had no facilities available for outdoor treatment for such a severe degree of disability. That was dealt with in connection with other matters, but I am asking for some assurance that no discrimination will be made in reference to aggravation cases in regard to pay and allowances, and treatment as a class 1 patient.

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LIB

Charles Gavan Power (Minister of Pensions and National Health)

Liberal

Mr. POWER:

I am informed, and I have some recollection of it, that the man eventually did get his treatment, did he not?

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CCF

Charles Grant MacNeil

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

Mr. MacNEIL:

He got an increased

pension instead.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF PENSIONS AND NATIONAL HEALTH
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LIB

Charles Gavan Power (Minister of Pensions and National Health)

Liberal

Mr. POWER:

I can reiterate my assurance that when P.C. 91 was passed there was no intention to restrict in any way the rights which ex-soldiers had previously enjoyed, and whenever any case like that is brought to my attention I do the best I can to rectify the difficulty.

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CON

Douglas Gooderham Ross

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. ROSS (St. Paul's):

Is there any

arrangement with the imperial government for giving allowances to imperial ex-soldiers under this item?

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May 19, 1938