May 26, 1938

CON

Howard Charles Green

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. GREEN:

This is the item under which it was arranged earlier in the session we should be at liberty to discuss the report of the veterans' assistance commission. There was some discussion on it one night when the item was up previously, about two months ago, but that was a one-man performance with the minister taking all the parts; he then told us that he was not going to accept the main recommendation of the commission.

Before I proceed to deal with that report, I should like to add a word in support of the suggestion that the government do something to help the imperial veterans. I agree with the hon. member for New Westminster that for many years the lot of the imperial veterans in Canada has been a tragic one, and anything that can be done by this parliament to assist them certainly should be done.

This, I suggest, is the session when the commission chickens are coming home to roost. Two years ago this government quite cheerfully tied several difficult problems to several commission chickens, with the result that they were flown away and did not have to be faced until this year. Now these chickens are back with reports. There is the veterans' assistance commission, known as the Rattray commission; the national employment commission, known as the Purvis commission; the

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textile commission and the wheat marketing commission, both known as Turgeon commissions, and the penitentiary commission, known as the Archambault commission. Then there is the Rowell commission on dominion-provincial relations just over in the next field, on the way back-

Topic:   PRIVILEGE-MR. CAHAN IMPERIAL CONFERENCE OF 1926 DESCRIPTION AS SEPARATIST MOVEMENT FROM BRITISH COMMONWEALTH
Subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OP EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Sub-subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OP PENSIONS AND NATIONAL HEALTH
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LIB

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

Liberal

The CHAIRMAN:

The hon. member is out of order in discussing commissions not pertaining to pensions and health.

Topic:   PRIVILEGE-MR. CAHAN IMPERIAL CONFERENCE OF 1926 DESCRIPTION AS SEPARATIST MOVEMENT FROM BRITISH COMMONWEALTH
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CON

Howard Charles Green

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. GREEN:

I was just going to say

that this Rowell commission threatens to fill the whole barnyard when it gets back. But to get back to the Rattray commission chicken, it had the unfortunate experience of coming back to the doorstep of the Minister of Pensions and National Health. I think that was a very unhealthy place for it to land, for after a certain amount of deliberation the minister proceeded to give its neck a twist by turning down the main recommendation, which was that the dominion government should accept responsibility for temporary assistance to indigent unemployed veterans who are employable; in other words, for unemployed veterans who are fit, with several provisoes: first, that these men must have served in a theatre of actual war, or, in other words, that they must have been front line men; second, that they must have been domiciled in Canada at the time of enlistment; and third-and I point this out particularly-that they must be willing to work. If they were not registered with an employment agency; if they showed any sign of being unwilling to work, then they were not to be eligible for this assistance. It should be pointed out also that this recommendation does not apply to pensioners or to veterans in receipt of the war veterans' allowance as burnt-out soldiers. These groups are cared for in other ways.

The reply of the government to this recommendation by its own commission was definite and complete. I quote the remarks of the minister, which are to be found at page 1040 of Hansard:

Most hon. gentlemen will agree with me in considering that the one hundred per cent fit man is not the responsibility of the federal government. If he is out of work at the present time it is due to economic causes, and not to war causes.

That is a statement which, I think, needs many qualifications. But the minister went on:

If a man is absolutely fit to work it is extremely difficult to attribute his unemployability to his war service.

Then at page 1459 the minister said:

I want to repeat that the government does not think it should accept responsibility for 51952-2081

the care and maintenance whether by way of an economic allowance or otherwise, of 100 per cent fit men.

That was a definite and complete rejection of this recommendation, and a denial of any responsibility for the care and maintenance of the fit front line men. It was rather surprising, in view of past events.

The problem of the unemployed war veteran, who was not a pensioner or the recipient of war veterans' allowance because he was brunt-out, came with the depression. It was so bad by 1934 that in that year the Canadian legion made an extensive survey of unemployment among veterans. In January, 1935, they asked the late Conservative administration to have an investigation, and in March of that year the Hyndman committee were appointed. They were instructed to investigate facilities for providing employment for unemployed veterans and also-and I stress this point-to investigate the facilities for the care and maintenance of these unemployed veterans while unemployed, showing that the government of that day recognized the fact that Canada had some responsibility for the care and maintenance of these veterans while they were unemployed.

Late in May of 1935 the Hyndman committee brought in an unanimous report finding that the dominion government should assume some responsibility for these men. I quote the following from page 5 of that report.

We are of the opinion that Canada as a whole would shrink from any policy which would permit these unemployed non-pensioners to remain in want and dire distress, as some of them undoubtedly do, and would approve of reasonable assistance being extended to them during temporary unavoidable idleness, until such time as occupations suitable to their ability can be found. .

They recommended that the government should add to the relief paid to veterans by municipalities where the municipal rate was below that paid by the Department of Pensions to small pensioners. They recommended further that a veterans' assistance commission be set up to help find jobs for these unemployed veterans. Later in 1935 came the election, and I have no doubt every hon. member heard about the Hyndman committee report. Probably many of them undertook to implement those findings.

Then, in the 1936 session this government passed the Veterans' Assistance Commission Act which under paragraph (e) of section 6 provided the following:

6. The commission shall,-

(e) investigate into existing facilities for the care and maintenance of veterans while unemployed and report thereon with such suggestions or recommendations as may be deemed advisable.

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This shows that in 1936 the present government realized that Canada had some responsibility for the care and maintenance of these men while they were unemployed. That bill was referred to a special committee of the house known as the committee on pensions and returned soldiers' problems. The bill was approved by the committee and returned to the house with a recommendation in which again responsibility was acknowledged. That recommendation from the committee was as follows:

As representations were made that the existing facilities for the care and maintenance of unemployed veterans were inadequate in some localities your committee would further recommend that the commission, while conducting this survey into the extent of unemployment, should investigate the facilities available throughout Canada for the care and maintenance of veterans and should make such suggestions and recommendations as may be deemed advisable.

The Veterans' Assistance Commission Act became law. The Rattray commission was appointed on July 7, 1936, and shortly afterwards fifteen honorary local committees were set up across Canada-with a paid secretariat and provision made for officers to help carry out the provisions of the Veterans' Assistance Commission Act. The Rattray commission deserves a great deal of credit. With the aid of these local committees, which also have done wonderful work, and for the setting up of which I give the government and the minister all due credit-

Topic:   PRIVILEGE-MR. CAHAN IMPERIAL CONFERENCE OF 1926 DESCRIPTION AS SEPARATIST MOVEMENT FROM BRITISH COMMONWEALTH
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LIB

Charles Gavan Power (Minister of Pensions and National Health)

Liberal

Mr. POWER:

The commission did that

work; I did not do it.

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CON

Howard Charles Green

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. GREEN:

The minister helped to set

up the commission. Work was found for many of the unemployed veterans in several ways. For example, the honorary committees went to employers and were able to place many of the unemployed veterans. There is a very cheering word in the report with regard to the attitude of the veterans to work, and the attitude of the prospective employers to the veterans; at page 55 of the veterans' assistance commission report we find this:

Before recommending temporary allowances be granted to single and married unemployed veterans who saw service in a theatre of actual war, this commission established these facts:

1. Veterans are anxious to work;

2. Employers are willing to employ them.

I believe employers across Canada have never been more favourably disposed towards veterans than they are at the present time, on account of the efforts of the Rattray commission and of the honorary local committees.

In addition, the commission set up different projects which were referred to to-night during the course of the discussion, such as the corps of commissionaires, Workshops Limited, and other projects; and probational training was provided to fit men for work which they could not have done without the extra training.

But in addition to finding jobs for veterans the commission made a thorough investigation of the problem of the unemployed veteran. Early last year interim reports were brought in, and finally in December a final report was presented. Several significant findings were made by the commission. For example, it found that it could do nothing for unemployable veterans, those who were disabled. There was no sense in getting jobs for men who were not fit to do them. Several of us had pointed out to the minister and the government during the 1936 session and again last session that the unemployable men could not be helped by the commission, and that they should be provided for by an extension of the War Veterans' Allowance Act. The Rattray commission found the same thing, and this year the government has extended the act to provide for those men. Then, the commission found that many of the employable men could not be placed either through projects, through direct contact with employers, or by giving probational training. Thousands of these men could not expect to get jobs. Tonight the minister frankly admits that the projects the government is financing during the coming year will take care of only a few more of the unemployed veterans, and that there is no legislation being proposed or no provision being made by the government to find jobs for these men.

The commission reported as its main recommendation the following, which will be found at page 63 of the report:

After giving the matter considerable thought and bearing in mind the representation made by organizations throughout the country, by honorary local committees, and information obtained from various sources, the commission has come to the conclusion that it can do no less than recommend that the dominion government accept responsibility for all indigent unemployed veterans who were domiciled in Canada at date of enlistment and who saw service in a theatre of actual war.

But it goes on to state the proviso that the men must be willing to work. That finding is confirmed by the reports of the different honorary local committees which actually had to face the situation. They were composed of men who knew the facts and the Rattray commission had travelled from one end of

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Canada to the other and knew the facts too. The numbers covered by the recommendation are to be found at page 61 of the report. It is there stated that there are 10,146 men. At page 20 of the report the commission has this to say:

This leaves about 10,000 men with actual war service who are physically fit, who want work, and up to the present time have not been able to find it.

It will be noticed that the recommendation does not include those who served only in England or Canada, and includes only those imperials who were domiciled in Canada when they enlisted. And I would draw particularly to the attention of the minister the fact that the recommendation that the government assume responsibility for these men is directly in line with the recommendation of the national employment commission, known as the Purvis commission, that the Canadian government should assume responsibility for the unemployed in Canada who are employable. Both commissions recommended that employable men willing to work were the responsibility of the dominion government; yet the answer of the government so far as veterans are concerned is, "We will assume responsibility only for those who are unemployable, who are broken down." In other words, the government's policy is what might be termed a " break-down " policy. There is to be no responsibility for care and maintenance of an unemployed veteran unless he is broken down.

I submit that the policy should be to do everything to prevent these men from breaking down. It is another case of an ounce of prevention being worth a pound of cure. This answer is given by the government despite the fact that it was known from the start that the fit unemployed veterans were the largest group in trouble. It was known that these men could not all be put to work and that the commission would have to make some recommendation for their care and maintenance while unemployed. The principal reason given by the minister in support of the government's action is, " Oh, the soldier organizations have not supported the recommendation; the soldiers are not agreed on what should be done." As a matter of fact, I do not think there were many soldier organizations in Canada that were not agreed that the responsibility lay with this government. There was some disagreement as to the method by which that responsibility should be undertaken, but there was practically no disagreement on the principle recommended by the commission.

Certainly the reason given by the minister is no excuse for doing nothing; it is merely

camouflage. No answer is given to the reasons set forth by the commission for the recommendation. The commissioners found that the veterans are handicapped in the labour market because of loss of training; that they were in the army during the time when normally they would have been receiving training; also because they were preaged. The dominion government admitted that the exsoldier is preaged to the extent of ten years when it made provision that the war veteran should receive an allowance at sixty years of age instead of at seventy, the age at which the civilian becomes eligible for old age pension. Another reason given was the difficulty that these men had in readjusting themselves when they came back from the war; many of them have not been able to readjust themselves up to the present time. It was found that all these handicaps are the result of the service that these men gave to their country. The commission also considered the tendency of the provinces and municipalities to question their obligation to the veterans. It was found that these other governmental bodies take the position that the veterans are not their responsibility; that they are the responsibility of the dominion government. At page 34 of, the report of the commission we find these words:

The whole problem of care of the veteran is complicated by the different, and frequently conflicting, governmental authorities. The dominion government has always assumed full responsibility for its pensioners. Not so, however, in the case of the non-pensioners who are classed as ordinary citizens and come under the same social legislation and benefits as other residents of their respective municipalities and provinces. None the less, the majority of unemployed veterans insist that they are wards of the federal government because they were enlisted by that government, paid by that government, and promised the never-failing gratitude of the country by representatives of that government.

This attitude is shared by the provinces and the municipalities. True, in respect of the latter there is always the hope that they may succeed in shifting part of the burden of expense from themselves. But apart altogether from this hope, there is a feeling that the federal government has a responsibility towards the veterans that sets them off from ordinary citizens.

Another reason given by the commission for this recommendation is the attitude of the veterans themselves toward relief. The following is to be found on page 19 of the report:

To the veteran, relief is something which is given reluctantly by a government body- usually his municipality-which he does not consider the governmental authority that really should look after him. The war veteran's allowance on the other hand, is looked upon as a reward for services rendered to the dominion government during the great war. The veterans'

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Topic:   PRIVILEGE-MR. CAHAN IMPERIAL CONFERENCE OF 1926 DESCRIPTION AS SEPARATIST MOVEMENT FROM BRITISH COMMONWEALTH
Subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OP EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Sub-subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OP PENSIONS AND NATIONAL HEALTH
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CCF

Charles Grant MacNeil

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

Mr. MacNEIL:

The minister made a statement on March 17 bluntly rejecting the main recommendation of the veterans' asssist-ance commission, and we have since had an opportunity to gauge the reaction of the ex-service men and the public generally. There has been found disappointment everywhere at the attitude taken by the minister and his unwillingness to assume additional responsibility with regard to the problem outlined by the commission. The approach to the problem has been very carefully and ably outlined by the hon. member for Vancouver South (Mr. Green), and I wish to support his position and to add a few observations on my own account.

I did hope that as a result of the Hyndman commission report, the work of the parliamentary committee of 1936 and the interim and final reports of the veterans' assistance commission we had now reached the position where this problem could be brought to a stage of finality, where sufficient evidence had been gathered to enable the minister to present to parliament a well-rounded program disposing of the residual features of the situation. As I have said before, inaction or delay in these matters is always more costly than prompt action.

I have perused the report of the veterans' assistance commission with great interest. This report is something more than merely an interesting document; it represents a very careful analysis of the situation in all its aspects. For the first time in recent years it affords a fairly accurate measure of the dimensions of the problem, and also makes concrete proposals for dealing with it. The report deals with the obligations of this country in regard to ex-service men, promises made in years gone by, tells exactly what has been done and what remains to be done, and makes an effective plea for ex-service men, not on compassionate grounds, but for a satisfactory solution of their problems in the public interest.

A very important point it makes is that there are no constitutional barriers in the

way of effective action by this government in regard to this problem. In connection with the general problem of unemployment we have frequently been told that constitutional difficulties prevent action by the federal government. This report shows how the government by aiding ex-service men as suggested in the main recommendation could ease the burden resting upon the municipalities and ameliorate much of the general social distress which is apparent across Canada. I was struck with the reminder contained in this report of the promises made to the soldiers and the circumstances under which they were made. May I quote briefly from page 27:

Sir Robert Borden addressed the Canadian fighting forces at Vimy Ridge in 1917 in words ascribed to him as follows:

"You are men actually facing the enemy day and night. You are suffering greatly from fatigue, overstrain and lack of rest. The marvel of it is that men could undergo such a strain without breaking; but you have never yet broken, and history will appreciate that in days to come.

"You men are about to enter one of the most serious engagements that ever faced the Canadian corps. I cannot, at this moment, give any information as to where this attack will be staged; whether it be successful or not, it is to be borne in mind that it will not be an easy success . . . We feel confident that you

will succeed where others failed; for you have never yet failed in anything that you have set your hand to as a Canadian corps.

"You can go into this action feeling assured of this, and as the head of the government I give you this assurance; that you need have no fear that the government and the country will fail to show just appreciation of your service to the country and empire in what you are about to do and what you have already done.

"The government and the country will consider it their first duty to see that a proper appreciation of your effort and of your courage is brought to the notice of the people at home, and it will always be our endeavour so to guide the attitude of public opinion that the country will support the government to prove to the returned men its just and due appreciation of the inestimable value of the services rendered to the country and empire; and that no man, whether he goes back or whether he remains in Flanders, will have just cause to reproach the government for having broken with the men who won and the men who died."

In these words Sir Robert, on behalf of the government, entered into a contract every whit as binding as that between Canada and the holder of victory bonds. In a certain sense the contract was more solemn. The victory bonds were, after all, pretty much a business transaction. The contract between Canada and her men going overseas reached beyond business into the realm of the ideal.

The report brings to the attention of the minister evidence that gives an excellent perspective of the entire problem. Boiled down it is this: there are practically 15,000 unemployed men, as far as they are able to esti-

Supply-Pensions-Veterans

mate, who have seen service in a theatre of actual war; five thousand of this number are likely to benefit under the new amendments to the War Veterans' Allowance Act. There remain approximately ten thousand men who cannot be classified as unfit or partly fit, for whom no provision is made. I would point out the large percentage of these men suffer from disabilities or handicaps as a result of service for which no satisfactory yardstick can be found in existing pensions legislation or in the War Veterans' Allowance Act. There are, for instance, those men who enlisted early in life and sacrificed the formative years of their life, who were unable to gain skill in any trade or vocation, whose educational progress was interrupted, and who since then have never had any opportunity to gain a secure foothold in the economic life of the country. These men suffered more than any other class during the depths of the depression. There are men in this group to-day who are classified as being "too old at forty," who for various reasons are not wanted in our industrial enterprises. They are more or less derelict, drifting, forgotten and unwanted. This report brings these facts to the attention of parliament in a very concise form.

The central issue at stake with regard to the main recommendation is, as has well been pointed out by the hon. member for Vancouver South. Shall the federal government assume additional responsibility with regard to those who are classified as nonpensionable or not elegible under the War Veterans' Allowance Act, and who yet, by reason of war service, are unable to secure gainful employment? I think the tragic feature of the situation is that the minister definitely rejects the main recommendation of the commission, though on several occasions previously he has admitted the existence of this problem in all its most serious aspects, and yet he has not presented to the house any satisfactory alternative as a solution of this problem.

The minister in a statement on the 17th instant, in rejecting this recommendation for a provisional economic allowance, made the definite point that there was little agreement among the organizations of ex-service men. I am bound to point out that the disagreement to which he referred was only with regard to details as to the recommendation. Practically all the national organizations were in agreement as to the principle that the federal government should accept responsibility now for the welfare of unemployed, fit ex-service men.

I think a word should be said here, because of remarks previously made by the

minister, as to the attitude of the national organizations of ex-service men. They have painstakingly gathered together evidence with regard to this problem and presented it in a reasonable w'ay to the government. All their proposals have been reasonable. There has been no attempt to create artificially a problem or to foster a general grievance. I think it should be recognized that in their representations, arising from conclusions reached in the units across Canada, they are under great pressure because of the need that exists in all these communities. At every meeting that I have attended of ex-service men I have found pathetic evidence of a large number of men in distress appealing to these organizations for definite aid, and only through these organizations do they find channels of negotiation. Those who serve in the national executives of these organizations do so only because of a desire to assist their less fortunate comrades and at the same time reconcile that service with the public interest.

Coupled with the rejection of the main recommendation of the commission on economic allowance, I am distressed to note the reduction in the provision for special employment projects. The minister has said that while he could not accept on behalf of the federal government any further responsibility for the extension of relief to unemployed, fit ex-service men, nevertheless the government was prepared to accept a full measure of responsibility with regard to provision of employment facilities. There is as yet no evidence that this particular phase of the work will be extended in a manner that will deal adequately with the situation. In this regard I think we should note the position of the local honorary committees. Within those committees there have been recruited representative business men, and I fear that unless adequate funds are provided for the projects outlined by them, there will be a sense of let-down; they will be disappointed and discouraged, and never again will their cooperation be secured for work of this sort.

It is becoming increasingly apparent that ex-service men are at a special disadvantage when unemployed, particularly when it becomes necessary for them to apply for relief. Everywhere I find, as the hon. member for Vancouver South has found, evidence that the municipalities are inclined to refer exservice men back to the department, to deny any responsibility and to say that they should be provided for by the federal department. Day after day I receive letters from men and meet men who seem to be kicked about from pillar to post. They are told, if they apply for work on the relief projects,

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that they are medically unfit, that they should go to the federal department. When they go to the federal Department of Pensions and National Health they are told that their disabilities are not such as can be recognised for pensions, war veterans' allowance or unemployment assistance. Their plight is serious in that regard because of the general pressure now being exercised to reduce relief expenditure. For that reason I feel that the minister should not be too blunt in closing the door on negotiations with regard to this problem. The problem has not yet been solved. He rejects the recommendation of the commission in this respect, and if he does not suggest some satisfactory alternative the problem will assume more definite aggravation in the days to come.

I also wish to add a word in support of what has been said about the plight of imperial ex-service men in Canada. Everywhere there is pathetic evidence of their distress-men who, encouraged to come to Canada, have given every evidence of a desire to establish themselves as satisfactory citizens in our community, men who when they left the United Kingdom surrendered what advantages in the way of social services they might have enjoyed if they had remained in their own land. As a parliament we cannot deny all responsibility for their present tragic plight. I do not suggest that the Canadian government should assume full responsibility for their welfare; but I do suggest and urge that the minister take suitable action to enter into negotiations with the British government whereby, with a general cooperative effort, some provision may be made for their needs. Possibly at another time-the hour is growing late-we may have an opportunity of dealing more extensively with this particular problem, which is most urgently demanding our attention in all communities in Canada. The most conservative estimate I have yet seen of the number of imperial ex-service men in Canada is 76,000. I think we owe it to them at least to enter into negotiations on their behalf. The minister stated formerly that he did on one occasion while overseas, interview officials of the British ministry of pensions. May I suggest to him that a passing and more or less casual interview of that sort is hardly sufficient. We have records of negotiations successfully consummated previously with regard to those who served in imperial units, who had pre-war domicile in Canada. Part of that agreement is incorporated in the Pensions Act, part of it stands apart from the Pensions Act; but by reason of negotiations entered into by Canadian government officials it was possible that

when the problem has been fully stated on their behalf by the minister or some representative of the Canadian government we may find it possible to evolve some scheme which will ease the tension of the present situation. It is most unsatisfactory at the present time to find so many of these imperial exservice men in want, in desperate straits, and with no direct avenue of negotiation on their own behalf.

I have just a word to say upon the discussion which took place earlier in the evening with regard to the employment of ex-service men on dominion government projects. In the house the other day some reference was made to the situation in Halifax. Only this morning I received a communication from an organization in that city stating that they have a definite grievance, that when the veterans' assistance commission sends a list of the unemployed ex-service men available for special improvement projects, this must be o.k.-ed by a representative of, or personally by, one of the sitting members for Halifax. When the list is o-k.-ed-on the basis of political considerations, as I am informed-it is then referred to Colonel Vince, the head of the local engineering branch of the National Defence department. A selection is again made from that list, and the definite complaint is that by reason of that procedure of selection civilians are actually placed on the work to the exclusion of veterans who are competent and available. They say that many of those in charge of projects frankly state that they are not prepared to employ ex-service men.

As I have stated, the ground has been thoroughly covered by the hon. member for Vancouver South, and I desire to place myself on record as indicating my support of all the recommendations of the veterans' assistance commission. I find it hard to believe, from what I know of the character of the men who composed that commission, and the nature of the inquiry conducted across Canada, that they would make this recommendation in respect of a provisional economic allowance unless they were earnestly convinced that there was no satisfactory alternative to solve this problem. May I, in closing, quote a few sentences from page 62 of their report:

We are convinced that we would not have done our duty if we failed to make recommendations that would cover them all-

Referring to the entire 15,000.

-and that if we recommended remedial legislation to cover only a portion of the unemployed veterans who saw service in a theatre of actual war, we would not have completed our difficult task.

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There is a general feeling throughout the country that unemployed war veterans should be accepted as the responsibility of the dominion government. Particularly is this view prevalent amongst provincial and municipal authorities, and among responsible veteran organizations who have to deal with the class of veteran included in this report.

During the recruiting period in Canada, many war-time promises were made to the troops by men in public life, no doubt in all sincerity at the time, but it would not be correct to say that all of the promises had been fulfilled.

There is no doubt that the veterans keeping in mind these promises, believe that they are and should be accepted as a definite responsibility of the dominion government when unemployed.

It is not altogether surprising that, in view of the attitude of provincial and municipal authorities on this matter of unemplo5rment relief responsibility, veterans, who have to seek local assistance, do so with a feeling of humiliation. Disillusionment and bitter thoughts prevail amongst many of these men to-day, yet they have held themselves aloof from all that *is not good citizenship. They stand for law and order, but they feel that they deserve better than their present lot.

Our veterans are a strong moral force in the nation and, during years of depression, their attitude has had a steadying effect on the community in general.

By its efforts to solve the unemployment situation, the dominion government has already recognized that unemployment is basically a national problem. In the case of ex-service men, the commission feels that unemployment is essentially even more of a national problem, because the influences that contributed most to the unemployability of these men had their origin in a national emergency.

I heartily endorse these words.

Topic:   PRIVILEGE-MR. CAHAN IMPERIAL CONFERENCE OF 1926 DESCRIPTION AS SEPARATIST MOVEMENT FROM BRITISH COMMONWEALTH
Subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OP EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
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SC

John Horne Blackmore

Social Credit

Mr. BLACKMORE:

I do not wish to say much at this late hour, but I do want to associate myself earnestly with the previous speakers. All things considered, our treatment of our returned men has left very much to be desired, and I think something further should be done for them. If this system under which we are living renders Canada incapable of doing more for her returned men, that fact alone stands as a condemnation of the system and for all thoughtful men it should be a sign that the system must be changed. Manifestly a country like Canada can do more for her returned men than she is doing. I shall never be satisfied until at least all that is asked for and recommended by these two commissions is done.

Topic:   PRIVILEGE-MR. CAHAN IMPERIAL CONFERENCE OF 1926 DESCRIPTION AS SEPARATIST MOVEMENT FROM BRITISH COMMONWEALTH
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LIB

Gordon Benjamin Isnor

Liberal

Mr. ISNOR:

I realize that the minister is anxious to get this item through, and I do not propose to take up time except to reply briefly to a remark made by the hon. member for Vancouver North. I would hesitate to criticize actions or supposed actions taking place in Vancouver, which is rather a long distance from Ottawa, and still longer from

Halifax, and for that reason, without knowing my facts, I wmuld hesitate to make criticisms of conditions at such a distance. I live in Halifax; I am there the greater part of the time, and when I am in Ottawa I keep in touch with matters pertaining to my constituency. I have on my desk and in my file letters from various returned soldiers' organizations in Halifax, and almost without exception they have been good enough to write thanking me and asking me to express to the Minister of Pensions and National Health as well as to the Minister of National Defence their appreciation of the cooperation given to returned men not only in regard to pension matters but with respect to the general employment situation. I hesitate to say that the hon. member for Vancouver North raised the question from political motives. Knowing him, I would not say that he had spoken from that point of view; but in regard to the question raised the other day by an hon. member sitting on the other side of the house, when he asked a question based upon a telegram he had received from an individual in Halifax, it was shown later that the information was not according to the facts.

Last Christmas the complete list of names which was forwarded by the secretary of the veterans' assistance commission was accepted 100 per cent, which shows a willingness to cooperate on the part of those who are in authority in Halifax. I believe the same can be said to a very large extent with respect to various projects now being carried out in Halifax. I say, therefore, with all due respect to the criticisms offered by the hon. member for Vancouver North, I am satisfied that in the very large percentage of cases, almost wholly, this government has the support of the returned men not only in Halifax, but also throughout Nova Scotia.

May I say one word in reference to another criticism offered by an hon. member in reference to a certain undertaking in Nova Scotia. He did not mention the county, but the reference was to the town of Yarmouth. I have been informed that, regarding the recent project in connection with the airport in the town of Yarmouth, a responsible party wrote to the honorary secretary of the veterans' assistance commission in Halifax, stating that fifty per cent of the men on that project were returned men and that a large number of unemployed returned men of Yarmouth were being taken care of. That is altogether different from the picture presented by the hon. member for Vancouver North. The hon. gentleman did not state his authority for the statement he made. Perhaps he will give us the name of the person who sent the letter.

Supply-Pensions-Veterans

Topic:   PRIVILEGE-MR. CAHAN IMPERIAL CONFERENCE OF 1926 DESCRIPTION AS SEPARATIST MOVEMENT FROM BRITISH COMMONWEALTH
Subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OP EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Sub-subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OP PENSIONS AND NATIONAL HEALTH
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CCF

Charles Grant MacNeil

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

Mr. MacNEIL:

I have no desire to question the hon. member's statement. I brought this matter to the attention of the committee as an indication of the general procedure in connection with the employment of ex-service men. The letter is from an organization known as the Veterans of France and is signed by N. M.L. Rolfe over the seal of the organization. The complaint is not against the hon. member or the department, but rather against the procedure. It is that when the list of exservice men available for work is prepared by the veterans' assistance commission, it is again scrutinized on the basis of political considerations, apparently in regard to their eligibility to share in political patronage, and is o.k.-ed by some representative of the hon. member or by the hon. member himself. Then they say it is again scrutinized by the department, and that by reason of this procedure some ex-service men who might have obtained employment are denied that opportunity. It is just that, with the hon. member for Vancouver South, I protest against such procedure, because it results in the elimination of some men who, I feel, should be entitled to employment. They state definitely that on some of the projects now under way in Halifax a very small percentage of ex-service men are employed. I hope to hear from the hon. member for Halifax a denial that such procedure is followed, and that regardless of political considerations all deserving ex-service men are granted an opportunity to obtain employment on these projects.

Topic:   PRIVILEGE-MR. CAHAN IMPERIAL CONFERENCE OF 1926 DESCRIPTION AS SEPARATIST MOVEMENT FROM BRITISH COMMONWEALTH
Subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OP EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Sub-subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OP PENSIONS AND NATIONAL HEALTH
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CON

Howard Charles Green

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. GREEN:

What is the present position with regard to the number of pensioners who are getting assistance?

Topic:   PRIVILEGE-MR. CAHAN IMPERIAL CONFERENCE OF 1926 DESCRIPTION AS SEPARATIST MOVEMENT FROM BRITISH COMMONWEALTH
Subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OP EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Sub-subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OP PENSIONS AND NATIONAL HEALTH
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LIB

Charles Gavan Power (Minister of Pensions and National Health)

Liberal

Mr. POWER:

There are about 8,500.

Topic:   PRIVILEGE-MR. CAHAN IMPERIAL CONFERENCE OF 1926 DESCRIPTION AS SEPARATIST MOVEMENT FROM BRITISH COMMONWEALTH
Subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OP EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Sub-subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OP PENSIONS AND NATIONAL HEALTH
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CON

Howard Charles Green

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. GREEN:

Then there has been a substantial reduction in the number of pensioners requiring relief?

Mr.,POWER: Yes. A good many of them have obtained jobs and quite a number more received the war veterans' allowance during the past year.

Topic:   PRIVILEGE-MR. CAHAN IMPERIAL CONFERENCE OF 1926 DESCRIPTION AS SEPARATIST MOVEMENT FROM BRITISH COMMONWEALTH
Subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OP EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Sub-subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OP PENSIONS AND NATIONAL HEALTH
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Item agreed to. Services to veterans and dependents-Care of patients, $3,045,287.


CCF

Charles Grant MacNeil

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

Mr. MacNEIL:

The other evening the minister stated that there was an increase in the total appropriation for hospital allowances and care of patients. I have some difficulty in understanding the figures he utilized. Apparently he took the actual expenditures for 1936 and 1937, according to his statement on page 3071 of Hansard, and compared them

with the estimate for the present year. But in both estimates, for care of patients and for hospital allowances, there are definite decreases indicated this year. Is it possible for the minister now to give comparative figures for the fiscal years 1936-37 and 1937-38 as regards provision for care of patients and provision for hospital allowances, as well as comparative figures with regard to hospital admissions, with particular reference to class 1 patients?

Topic:   PRIVILEGE-MR. CAHAN IMPERIAL CONFERENCE OF 1926 DESCRIPTION AS SEPARATIST MOVEMENT FROM BRITISH COMMONWEALTH
Subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OP EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Sub-subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OP PENSIONS AND NATIONAL HEALTH
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LIB

Charles Gavan Power (Minister of Pensions and National Health)

Liberal

Mr. POWER:

It has been very difficult to get the exact figures, on account of the different set-up of the estimates this year. I do not think I can get that information for my hon. friend without going to a great deal more work than I have had time to do since I last saw him. There has been a change in the system since 1936 in that, as my hon. friend knows, class 5 has been established, which is really a clearing-house for the other classes. So it is very difficult for us to obtain comparable figures.

Topic:   PRIVILEGE-MR. CAHAN IMPERIAL CONFERENCE OF 1926 DESCRIPTION AS SEPARATIST MOVEMENT FROM BRITISH COMMONWEALTH
Subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OP EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Sub-subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OP PENSIONS AND NATIONAL HEALTH
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CCF

Charles Grant MacNeil

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

Mr. MacNEIL:

I shall not press the

minister if it entails a great deal of work, but I asked for these figures because of the general concern that exists with regard to the application of P.C. 91 as against P.C. 1842. There are some points which have been brought to my attention in dealing with individual cases. It is alleged that a number of men have been transferred from class 1 to other classes and thereby have been deprived of pay and allowances, and there has been some readjustment in regard to reclassification which has reacted to the disadvantage of the men.

The next point was with regard to dental treatment. That was touched upon the other night, but I wish to add that when dental treatment is offered a man living in a remote district, away from a departmental institution, and it is required that he receive that treatment in a departmental institution, no provision is made for transportation expenses, so that it is practically impossible, as I understand the situation, for that man to take advantage of the regulation. The expense of travelling probably would be greater than the expense of having dental treatment at home.

Topic:   PRIVILEGE-MR. CAHAN IMPERIAL CONFERENCE OF 1926 DESCRIPTION AS SEPARATIST MOVEMENT FROM BRITISH COMMONWEALTH
Subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OP EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Sub-subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OP PENSIONS AND NATIONAL HEALTH
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LIB

Charles Gavan Power (Minister of Pensions and National Health)

Liberal

Mr. POWER:

I suppose my hon. friend

knows that under P.C. 1842, the former order in council, dental treatment was never given as class 2 at all, and that under P.C. 91, passed in 1936, dental treatment is given as class 2. So there is that much improvement in comparison with the old order in council; I think that is pretty clear.

Supply-Pensions-Veterans

Topic:   PRIVILEGE-MR. CAHAN IMPERIAL CONFERENCE OF 1926 DESCRIPTION AS SEPARATIST MOVEMENT FROM BRITISH COMMONWEALTH
Subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OP EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Sub-subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OP PENSIONS AND NATIONAL HEALTH
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CCF

Charles Grant MacNeil

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

Mr. MacNEIL:

Yes; but my plea is for

the man for whom dental treatment has been recommended as likely to improve his general condition. He may be in receipt of a pension for tuberculosis, let us say-

Topic:   PRIVILEGE-MR. CAHAN IMPERIAL CONFERENCE OF 1926 DESCRIPTION AS SEPARATIST MOVEMENT FROM BRITISH COMMONWEALTH
Subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OP EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Sub-subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OP PENSIONS AND NATIONAL HEALTH
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LIB

Charles Gavan Power (Minister of Pensions and National Health)

Liberal

Mr. POWER:

But he did not get it at

all before; so he is that much better off now.

Topic:   PRIVILEGE-MR. CAHAN IMPERIAL CONFERENCE OF 1926 DESCRIPTION AS SEPARATIST MOVEMENT FROM BRITISH COMMONWEALTH
Subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OP EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Sub-subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OP PENSIONS AND NATIONAL HEALTH
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CCF

Charles Grant MacNeil

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

Mr. MacNEIL:

I am glad to hear that;

but is it not possible to make satisfactory arrangements so that a man may either receive his transportation expenses to a departmental institution where he can receive the necessary treatment, or secure that treatment at the point where he resides?

Topic:   PRIVILEGE-MR. CAHAN IMPERIAL CONFERENCE OF 1926 DESCRIPTION AS SEPARATIST MOVEMENT FROM BRITISH COMMONWEALTH
Subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OP EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Sub-subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OP PENSIONS AND NATIONAL HEALTH
Permalink

May 26, 1938