March 10, 1939

CCF

Thomas Clement (Tommy) Douglas

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

Mr. DOUGLAS (Weyburn):

Yes.

Topic:   NATIONAL DEFENCE
Subtopic:   CREATION OP DEFENCE PURCHASING BOARD TO ENTER INTO CONTRACTS FOR MUNITIONS, EQUIPMENT, MATERIALS AND SUPPLIES
Permalink
LIB

Ian Alistair Mackenzie (Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE (Vancouver):

I shall have the information when the bill is in committee.

Topic:   NATIONAL DEFENCE
Subtopic:   CREATION OP DEFENCE PURCHASING BOARD TO ENTER INTO CONTRACTS FOR MUNITIONS, EQUIPMENT, MATERIALS AND SUPPLIES
Permalink
SC

James Alexander Marshall

Social Credit

Mr. MARSHALL:

The resolution refers to unreasonable profits. Will any limit be set on the profits that may be made in the manufacture of munitions? For instance, we were told that in connection with the Bren gun contract a ten per cent profit was allowed.

Topic:   NATIONAL DEFENCE
Subtopic:   CREATION OP DEFENCE PURCHASING BOARD TO ENTER INTO CONTRACTS FOR MUNITIONS, EQUIPMENT, MATERIALS AND SUPPLIES
Permalink
LIB

Ian Alistair Mackenzie (Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE (Vancouver):

The profit allowed here is five per cent. As a matter of fact, according to the evidence given, the profit under the Bren gun contract is 7-76 per cent.

Topic:   NATIONAL DEFENCE
Subtopic:   CREATION OP DEFENCE PURCHASING BOARD TO ENTER INTO CONTRACTS FOR MUNITIONS, EQUIPMENT, MATERIALS AND SUPPLIES
Permalink
SC

René-Antoine Pelletier

Social Credit

Mr. PELLETIER:

The press dispatches in to-day's newspapers state that there seems to be a decrease in the tension in Europe and

Defence Purchasing Board

that the clouds of war which were hovering over Europe a short time ago appear to be dispelled. I was just wondering if the work to be undertaken in connection with national defence would be such that it could not be discontinued in the event of more peaceful times coming to the world. In setting up a board of this kind I should like to know whether it is to be of a permanent nature. They are even talking of possible disarmament conferences and new limitations being placed upon armaments that might be required. There seems to be some hope that countries will not have to carry on with their armament programs. In setting up a board of this kind the government must have some definite information that the situation will be precarious for many years to come. I submit it would be illogical to set up this board for a year or some other short period of time. We are being asked to vote some $65,000,000 for purposes of defence, and I should like to know what would happen in the event of the situation in Europe becoming less tense, and there being no further danger to this country. Will the government then drop all these armament projects or will it be compelled to continue with the work it has undertaken? During the last number of years the government has spent millions of dollars to build up defences which we are told are obsolete to-day. I ask the government to give some indication of what is feared in the future and what its attitude will be concerning the continuation of a program of this kind in the event of the war clouds over Europe disappearing.

Topic:   NATIONAL DEFENCE
Subtopic:   CREATION OP DEFENCE PURCHASING BOARD TO ENTER INTO CONTRACTS FOR MUNITIONS, EQUIPMENT, MATERIALS AND SUPPLIES
Permalink
LIB

Ian Alistair Mackenzie (Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE (Vancouver):

Obviously the questions asked by my hon. friend are such as are not capable of being answered specifically. Naturally the attitude of any government in Canada would be guided largely by the conditions which might prevail in the world. There is nothing in the constitution of this board to make it of an absolutely permanent nature. What we are trying to do is to provide an efficient system, in connection with even small purchases, with the requirements of the Department of National Defence.

Topic:   NATIONAL DEFENCE
Subtopic:   CREATION OP DEFENCE PURCHASING BOARD TO ENTER INTO CONTRACTS FOR MUNITIONS, EQUIPMENT, MATERIALS AND SUPPLIES
Permalink
CCF

Abraham Albert Heaps

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

Mr. HEAPS:

When the minister was speaking this afternoon, I asked what would be the status of the interdepartmental committee when this board was appointed. Will that committee still function?

Topic:   NATIONAL DEFENCE
Subtopic:   CREATION OP DEFENCE PURCHASING BOARD TO ENTER INTO CONTRACTS FOR MUNITIONS, EQUIPMENT, MATERIALS AND SUPPLIES
Permalink
LIB

Ian Alistair Mackenzie (Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE (Vancouver):

That will be fully disclosed by the text of the bill. I would say, however, that the interdepartmental

committee which has rendered such excellent service to the country in the last two years would be no longer required for this particular purpose. As a matter of fact, under the bill to be introduced, this board will have authority to deal not only with contracts, as I explained this afternoon, but to review all existing contracts which have been let under the old system and to report thereon to the government.

Topic:   NATIONAL DEFENCE
Subtopic:   CREATION OP DEFENCE PURCHASING BOARD TO ENTER INTO CONTRACTS FOR MUNITIONS, EQUIPMENT, MATERIALS AND SUPPLIES
Permalink
CCF

Abraham Albert Heaps

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

Mr. HEAPS:

In a sense this new set-up will be a replacement of the interdepartmental committee which has been functioning up to the present time. As the minister said this afternoon, a great deal will depend upon the personnel of the new board. Am I asking too much when I inquire whether the powers of the new board will be of an absolute nature, or will its work be subject to review by this parliament?

Topic:   NATIONAL DEFENCE
Subtopic:   CREATION OP DEFENCE PURCHASING BOARD TO ENTER INTO CONTRACTS FOR MUNITIONS, EQUIPMENT, MATERIALS AND SUPPLIES
Permalink
LIB

Ian Alistair Mackenzie (Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE (Vancouver):

The

work of any board is subject to review by this parliament. We could not take away from parliament the right to review the work of any board. I think it would be more convenient if my hon. friend would wait until he sees the actual sections of the bill, which are self-explanatory in regard to the questions he has just asked. I may say, however, that this is to be an independent board to supervise the purchases by the department.

Topic:   NATIONAL DEFENCE
Subtopic:   CREATION OP DEFENCE PURCHASING BOARD TO ENTER INTO CONTRACTS FOR MUNITIONS, EQUIPMENT, MATERIALS AND SUPPLIES
Permalink
CON

David Spence

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPENCE:

How can it be an independent board if, as has been suggested by some one, there is to be on it a representative of labour and representatives of other classes? We should have on this board men of the highest integrity, men with good business training and with sufficient ability to carry out the work successfully.

Topic:   NATIONAL DEFENCE
Subtopic:   CREATION OP DEFENCE PURCHASING BOARD TO ENTER INTO CONTRACTS FOR MUNITIONS, EQUIPMENT, MATERIALS AND SUPPLIES
Permalink
LIB

Ian Alistair Mackenzie (Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE (Vancouver):

I can

promise my hon. friend that we shall do our utmost to carry out his suggestion in that regard. I think it is advisable, as far as possible, to have the various occupations represented in the make-up of the board. We might need an accountant; we might need a trained legal man; we might need a representative of labour, as was suggested by the commissioner. Of necessity, no decision has been made as yet in regard to these occupational qualifications.

Resolution reported, read the second time and concurred in. Mr. Mackenzie (Vancouver) thereupon moved for leave to introduce Bill No. 38, to establish a defence purchasing board.

Motion agreed to and bill read the first time.

Pension Act Amendment

Topic:   NATIONAL DEFENCE
Subtopic:   CREATION OP DEFENCE PURCHASING BOARD TO ENTER INTO CONTRACTS FOR MUNITIONS, EQUIPMENT, MATERIALS AND SUPPLIES
Permalink

PENSION ACT

ABOLITION OF PENSION APPEAL COURT AND EXTENSION OF TIME FOR PENSION APPLICATIONS


The house resumed from Thursday, March 9, consideration of the motion of Mr. Power for the second reading of Bill No. 6, to amend the Pension Act.


CCF

Charles Grant MacNeil

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

Mr. C. G. MacNEIL (Vancouver North):

Before the bill passes its second reading, I have a few observations to make. I wish to associate myself very warmly with the remarks made last evening by the hon. member for Vancouver South (Mr. Green). I am not' in opposition to the bill. I think the minister is to be commended for proposing to abolish the pension appeal court and to set forward the date for receipt of applications for pensions.

I think, before the bill passes second reading, the minister should take an opportunity to explain to the house his attitude with regard to several important proposals which have been made to him by organized ex-service men in connection with pensions. An honest endeavour was made earlier in this parliament to recast as it were the Pension Act and to bring all pension matters to a stage of finality. Since that time we have experienced various problems; we have encountered several anomalies in the act; and I think that on this occasion, when he is introducing an amending bill, a further effort should be made to bring to a stage of finality these important problems with regard to which the minister has received recommendations.

I do not wish my remarks to be construed as opposition to the bill introduced by the minister, but this is the only opportunity we shall have to point out its inadequacies and to invite him to make a pronouncement with regard to several matters which should be dealt with at this time.

I am of the opinion that a bill of this kind should be referred to a special committee of the house. There are several important and valid reasons why it should be dealt with by a special committee. This matter of pensions should be considered with relation to the general problem. If it becomes possible to deal with small groups under the Pension Act without violating the principles of that act, that, I think, should be done with relation to existing problems among ex-service men. The question of pensions is a subject of a highly technical nature, and can be discussed more readily and with more facility in a special committee. A committee provides a useful forum for the receipt of recommendations and the discussion of them without

detaining or unduly occupying the time of the house. Furthermore, it is important with regard to the pensions question, with the experience we now have, that we should bring this matter, as I have said before, to the stage of finality. .

I think it is important that the minister should make a pronouncement at this time with regard to the claim of non-pensioned widows. This matter has received considerable attention in recent months, and certain classifications of those widows have a strong claim upon the government and upon this country. I believe a strong case can be made for those widows of ex-service men who until the time of death were in receipt of pensions. Those women up to the time of their husbands' deaths were in receipt of the additional pension. They were in a sense assured up to the time of death of an income in respect of the disability incurred during service. Because it cannot be definitely established that the man's death was due to a pensionable disability, they are cut off with, perhaps, only a month's allowance. I think consideration should be given to those in that classification who are in destitute circumstances, who were in receipt of the additional pension until the time of death of their husbands and that some form of allowance on the basis of need should be extended to those widows to enable them to adjust themselves to a new mode of life. After all, if they are in destitute circumstances they must apply for relief, either for mothers' allowance or some other form of aid, to the provincial or civic authority, and usually the federal government contributes a large proportion of the assistance extended to them. I think they have a just and proper claim upon the federal government. There would be no great expenditure involved. As far as I can ascertain by an examination of the departmental figures, not a very large number are involved in that classification, and I believe that at this stage the government would be well advised in moving forward to a sympathetic consideration of this classification.

With regard to the other classifications, I think some of them at least might be placed on the same basis as the widows of those who were in receipt of war veterans' allowance at the time of death, and who at the present time receive the allowance for the continued period of twelve months. Much could be said in this regard. I am confident that already, because of representations made to him, the.minister must have given the matter careful attention.

Perhaps I should refer to these cases where there is doubt, the borderline cases

179S

Pension Act Amendment

where it may be contended strongly that the pensionable disability was a contributing factor to death. I have under my hand a copy of a decision made by the pension appeal court which I think illustrates the point I am discussing at *the moment, where a man had established entitlement to pension, where he was admitted to hospital because he required operative treatment-he was pensionable for a chest condition-and as a result of the administration of a general anaesthetic he developed bronchial pneumonia and death ensued within a few days. In this particular case the appeal court went to considerable trouble to question the former decision rendered by the pension commission with regard to entitlement. The deceased officer in question happened to have had service in the British forces. It was shown in the concluding paragraph of the judgment that there was doubt, even in the minds of the members of the pension appeal court who signed the judgment, and by the way, the case was appealed by the crown. The court felt that a further claim should be made and that it might be possible in their opinion to consider fresh evidence with regard to entitlement. I feel that cases of this kind should be again reviewed, under the new and amended legislation, by the pension commission. I think that in cases such as this a powerful contention may be made for some form of allowance to the widow who is not now pensionable and because a reasonable doubt exists that the pensionable disability was a contributing factor to death. In this case the widow had some assurance that because of her husband's disability she would receive some form of income from the state with respect to that disability. Certainly in many of these cases the widow during her husband's life gave the best years of her own life irr administering to his comfort and need when the man was handicapped by his war disability.

I wish again to stress the necessity of amending the legislation dealing with the needs of those suffering from mental and nervous disorders. That ground was traversed last evening by the hon. member for Vancouver South, and I support him in that regard. I suppose that almost every hon. member is having considerable trouble with claims advanced by men suffering from some form of neurological disorder. I have under my hand a case which, I believe, illustrates the point

a man who had three enlistments and who gave meritorious service in France. There is a record of hospitalization, while on [.Mr. MacNeil.] '

active service, for epilepsy, mania and neurasthenia. Nevertheless, upon examination by the neuro-psychiatrists of the treatment branch, it was diagnosed that he was suffering from psychopathic personality of constitutional origin, that there was superimposed on that psychopathic personality an anxiety neurosis, and to quote the report:

On the strength of the neurological report and diagnosis to psychopathic personality, the commission have ruled that the entire disability present in this case is the result of the constitutional condition and psychopathic personality with spasmodic affection of the eye, and the man's award of pension previously paid at 30 per cent for anxiety neurosis lias been discontinued. .

I have no criticism in this regard of the pension commission, 'but the man's total disability was thirty per cent. He is receiving pension for aggravation at the rate of eighteen per cent because of the spasmodic affection of the eye. I suggest that if section 11 (b) be suitably amended by the house at this time along the line suggested by the hon. member for Vancouver South, the pension commission would be on stronger ground in dealing with these cases and be in a position to relieve the worry and anxiety which these men are occasioned, and which I contend accentuates rather than removes their disability. That is in my opinion an important matter. I believe it was the original intention of parliament to protect the man who served in a theatre of actual war with regard to pre-enlistment disability. It was never intended that there should be discrimination in respect of mental or nervous disorders. I fail to comprehend why there should be any distinction drawn between, say tuberculosis, and a mental disorder. If a man had any constitutional or hereditary tendency to pulmonary tuberculosis, no discrimination is made because of that, and upon discharge from the service he is given the full protection of this section of the act. But by reason of the recommendations of the neuropsychiatrists of the treatment branch, who dominate the situation with respect to diagnosis, this discrimination against mental or nervous disorders does exist to-day, and a certain number of men, whether the number be large or not I do not know, are suffering grievous hardship as a result. I urge upon the minister that he take the opportunity of amending the act in the way previously suggested, so that men in this category may be given their full rights.

I find that this bill makes no provision for the plight of those dealt with under section 77 of the Pension Act, and that also was referred to last evening-the payment of

Pension Act Amendment

additional pension in respect of children born after May 1, 1933. I would remind the house that this section was introduced as an economy measure when the depression was at its depth, and no longer is there any good reason for the maintenance of this section.

I also urge that the date with respect to marriage contracted subsequently to the appearance of disability, which is now January, 1930, should be moved forward to synchronize with the final date for payment of additional pensions, May 1, 1933, or delete section 77; in one way or the other remove the apparent anomaly that exists in the Pension Act.

I again urge upon the minister the necessity of dealing more generously with the nonpensionable widow. If he cannot see his way clear to assuming any additional responsibility in this respect at the present time, he should at least give consideration to lowering or extending the classification. At the present time provision is made for the dependents of those who died in receipt of pensions, classes 1 to 5. That might be lowered to include those in receipt of fifty or sixty per cent pension without incurring any great additional liability, and again meeting the need of those who are rendered dependent by death where the pensionable disability is a contributing factor to death.

I do not wish to detain the house at length.

I merely urge upon the minister at this stage that he make a declaration on behalf of the government with regard to the important recommendations which have been advanced and which should now receive consideration.

I repeat my suggestion that it would be proper at this time to have a brief inquiry by a special committee of the house where all these technical matters might be adequately and frankly discussed to the satisfaction of the organized ex-service men.

Hon. H. II. STEVENS (Kootenay East): Mr. Speaker, this bill, of course, is strictly limited. I gather that it deals merely with the change from the appeal court to appeal boards of the commission.

I am inclined to agree with the suggestion of the hon. member for Vancouver North (Mr. MacNeil), who has just taken his seat, that it might be advisable to set up again this session a special committee to deal with the numerous, and, I think, reasonable requests, many of them, that have been made by veterans' organizations. I recall that over the years since the war, the special committees that have been set up from time to time to deal with soldier problems have done extremely valuable work. I think all who know of the work of those 71492-114

special committees will agree with me in paying tribute to the splendid work done by the present minister (Mr. Power) when he was a private member of the house and a member of that committee, and, on some occasions, chairman of it.

While I was not a member of that committee, I do recall that few committees of this house have carried on their deliberations with a more genuine spirit of cooperation, or reported to the house with a greater degree of unanimity than the special committee which was set up from time to time to deal with pensions and returned soldier problems. I suggest that at this session a similar committee should again be set up, to which this bill might be referred, for the purpose, not of dealing with this particular subject but, rather, of reviewing the position of the veterans as it is to-day.

I am quite aware that there will naturally be in the minds of many people the thought that sooner or later wTe must call a halt on pension legislation. But I feel that this concept is not a very sound one in the light of the facts with which we are confronted at the present time.

May I now turn the thoughts of the members of the house for a short time in a slightly different direction. From time to time we are told, as, for instance, when we were dealing with the question of free hospitalization or free medical attendance of a civilian nature, that these, are matters of provincial jurisdiction where the province must be considered, and where, indeed, our jurisdiction is distinctly questioned. And so again with questions of relief. We are told that this is primarily a municipal matter, certainly a provincial matter, but that through grants in aid we can cooperate. But the welfare of veterans is definitely and distinctly a federal responsibility, and I think the time has arrived when we as a parliament ought clearly to declare, as we have in a half-hearted way declared at times in the past, that this is a federal matter and that we propose definitely to take that responsibility on our shoulders. I think if we should so declare, it would go a long way toward clearing the atmosphere.

I am not giving to the house anything new when I refer to a document issued by the Canadian Legion containing a copy of an address by the late Sir Robert Borden when he was Prime Minister. I have no doubt members of the house are familiar with it, and I shall not quote it at length but rather refer to it for the purpose of supporting what I have just said. In this address by Sir Robert

Pension Act Amendment

Borden to the members of the Canadian expeditionary force in 1917, I find the following language:

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 to so 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.

These were magnificent words spoken by the then Prime Minister of Canada, and in my opinion-and I have always held this view tenaciously-it was a declaration that we dare not break faith with those men, a declaration which we must respect. Taking that view, I hold that we should not hesitate to declare that it is our federal responsibility, the responsibility of this parliament, to care for the veterans of the great war. What does that involve? I know that we cannot respond to all the requests and suggestions, because many of these requests, though made by men in good faith, are made without an appreciation of the magnitude of the demands or of their seriousness-demands such as a large bonus to every individual, and so on. Some of these requests cannot be entertained, but the least that parliament can do is, as we have done in the past, from time to time to review the general conditions of the veterans of the last war, in such a manner as to ensure that we are doing the maximum in caring for them.

There is a second point I wish to emphasize. The other day we spent several hours discussing state medicine, and it has been discussed on several occasions in this house. Well, there should be no hesitancy on the part of parliament in assuming responsibility for the complete hospitalization of the veterans of the last war, irrespective of whether they are pensionable or not. I speak now as a layman and from observation and contact with these men, and while of course my opinion is not technically authoritative, it is nevertheless my view that most of these men are probably eight or ten years older than they are, if I might use that contradiction in terms. By virtue of that service they are aged before their time. I may be wrong, but that is my impression. I meet men I know who are no older than myself, but they are certainly much older in their physical condition than I am, and I think that is generally the case. For that reason we ought frankly to accept the responsibility of hospitalization for the

veterans, and I would make no discrimination regarding the causes of their illness, and so on. I would accept responsibility in the name of the people of Canada, and because I think parliament must keep faith with the declaration made by the Prime Minister of Canada of that time, with full knowledge and a sense of responsibility of his statement as Prime Minister, that we would take care of these men.

The hon. member for Vancouver North referred to the question of widows' pensions. I am not sufficiently acquainted with the technique of this subject, the particulars of the law, to discuss it, nor do I wish to discuss it at length. But there in that connection is a point which I think we could well take into consideration. The widow of a veteran, although for pension purposes, under the law as at present drafted she may not be entitled to continuation of the pension, because of lateness of marriage or for some other reason, is nevertheless in my opinion still entitled to special consideration by this parliament, and I again apply to that subject the same test I applied to the other, namely, that we are called upon in Canada, through the provinces and the municipalities, to care for the derelict, the unfortunate, the unemployed and the destitute citizens of the country, by tens of thousands. We do that with the question of jurisdiction constantly thrust forward, whereas we have here a group whom we might very well take under our care, and the responsibility for whom this dominion should assume.

There is another question which is perhaps more difficult. I do not admit that in these two other instances I have mentioned, the question of hospitalization of veterans and the question of widows, there is any complicated difficulty. But the next is perhaps a little more complicated, and that is as regards imperial veterans resident in Canada. With respect to this class, I recognize, of course, that there may be two broad divisions. On the one hand there is the imperial veteran who is perhaps an old country born man, who enlisted in the early weeks or months of 1914 in the imperial army. Many of them hastened away because of the delay at Valcartier and because they wanted to get back and join the imperial forces. At any rate, they left Canada and joined the imperial forces, and they are naturally subject to such benefits as the imperial parliament may have granted. There is a technical argument- that can be advanced regarding this class, and that is that they are imperial veterans and that therefore the imperial parliament must take care of them. On many occasions since the

Pension Act Amendment

war their rights or requests have been reviewed, and we did make certain concessions, so that the answer I have just indicated does not really hold good. I say, we have made certain concessions to them. Now I suggest that their requests should be again reviewed by a competent committee of the house to consider whether or not we could extend to them some additional privileges which they do not now enjoy. I suggest that we might very well include them in the privileges of free hospitalization. These are certain major questions to which I wanted to refer.

There is, of course, the question of taking care of or making what we call economic provision for the returned unemployed. I hold in my hand a letter which I received from the Cranbrook branch of the Canadian Legion, signed by its secretary, W. S. Johnston. from which I quote one paragraph:

The officers and members of the branch are in complete sympathy -with the proposal that the dominion government adopt the principle contained in the recommendation of the veterans' assistance commission and the dominion convention of the Canadian Legion at Fort William; "that unemployed ex-service men who saw service in the theatre of actual war be paid a provisional economic allowance by the dominion government while unemployed."

That is a suggestion made not only by this branch but by the veterans' association and the Canadian Legion generally. I am quite aware that it might be argued that the federal authorities should not be asked to pay an allowance to unemployed veterans. But we are caring for our unemployed-this is a point I should like to emphasize-and some at least suggest that many of the unemployed are now getting substantial relief, and more than is granted under the soldiers' aid provision. In other words, the civil unemployed get from the civic authorities plus the dominion grant more than do veterans directly from the department. I again submit that inasmuch as we are called upon to make very heavy grants to the provinces and the municipalities on general unemployment, this is a section of our citizens that we might well consider taking under our special and direct care.

Many of these men are, because of war service, burnt-out before their time. I am sure medical men in the house will support me when I say that because of war service many of these men who are unemployed or only partly employed, are not employable in the ordinary sense of the term. A great many of them are, as a result of their war service, quite unfit for ordinary manual labour. I know that in some instances men who suffered 71492-114i

some slight wound or sickness overseas, some of the very best of them, did not report or disclose their disability or sickness during service; when they came back from the war they felt fairly good and they said-some of them used pretty frank language-"To the devil with it; I am not going to bother about pension or make any application," so they just let it slide, and the record is gone. Now, as these men have grown older, it is difficult for medical men to determine whether their present disability is exactly due to war service.

It is true we have in the law a provision referring to the burnt-out group and borderline cases, but the law has been fairly strictly interpreted. The minister rather smiles; perhaps he thinks I am wrong in that, but I know cases where it has been strictly interpreted. I cannot of course speak for a very large number; but within my own knowledge there have been many cases that I have brought to the attention of the authorities, and in some instances they have been adjusted. Perhaps it was because I and others pressed the matter, not in any political sense; the minister and the department under the present administration will react just the same as any others, but in many instances there has been an adjustment, or shall I say justification of an adjustment has been recognized, after reviews which it was difficult to get and which had been denied in the ordinary interpretation of the law. That being so, I say we should take responsibility for these cases and recognize them definitely as a federal responsibility.

I wish also to refer to another communication which I received only a day or two ago from the Canadian veterans' bonus league at Regina, signed by its president, Mr. Cole, and its secretary, Mr. Gee. I shall not read the whole communication, but it impresses me as a rather reasonable analysis of the case. I quote a paragraph or two-

Topic:   PENSION ACT
Subtopic:   ABOLITION OF PENSION APPEAL COURT AND EXTENSION OF TIME FOR PENSION APPLICATIONS
Permalink
LIB

Charles Gavan Power (Minister of Pensions and National Health)

Liberal

Mr. POWER:

If my friend will permit

me, they do not seem to agree with him entirely in regard to imperial veterans.

Topic:   PENSION ACT
Subtopic:   ABOLITION OF PENSION APPEAL COURT AND EXTENSION OF TIME FOR PENSION APPLICATIONS
Permalink
CON

Henry Herbert Stevens

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEVENS:

That may be true. I have a number of communications and am dealing with several of them.

Topic:   PENSION ACT
Subtopic:   ABOLITION OF PENSION APPEAL COURT AND EXTENSION OF TIME FOR PENSION APPLICATIONS
Permalink
LIB

Charles Gavan Power (Minister of Pensions and National Health)

Liberal

Mr. POWER:

This particular branch does not seem to have the same view as my hon. friend.

Topic:   PENSION ACT
Subtopic:   ABOLITION OF PENSION APPEAL COURT AND EXTENSION OF TIME FOR PENSION APPLICATIONS
Permalink
CON

Henry Herbert Stevens

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEVENS:

There may be differences of opinion among ex-service men, but I never allow that to interfere with my approach to

Pension Act Amendment

this question. I think we should approach the question in a very broad spirit. This letter contains this paragraph:

We contend that the soldier of 1914-18 served the nation as a whole and no section in particular; that during such service he was a complete charge-

This is rather a good argument; I would like the minister to catch it.

-he was a complete charge of the federal government during the time of service, therefore as a veteran should still be such a charge, and that the federal government should assume the full responsibility for their welfare.

I think that is putting the matter succinctly and well. Then they make certain suggestions. They asked for action during the present session to cover these points-I will read the points as they have outlined them:

1. Place the responsibility for the care of the veterans where it rightfully belongs, on the federal government.

With that I entirely agree.

2. Deal with the problems of that class of veteran that is incapable of competition in the labour market due to age and disability.

3. Create Work and employment for this class of veteran that will be of a permanent nature and not that type of employment which will be discontinued in a few *weeks or months and then place the veteran back where he is.

4. In ordering certain types of employment for the exclusive employment of veterans over a period of years guarantee permanency and allowing the veteran to stabilize his economic position.

5. Give the Canadian veterans certain preferences over imperial veterans.

Well, I have never argued that we should place the imperial veterans in exactly the same position as Canadian veterans. I think it is a question that is open to argument. I think we should be very generous towards the imperial veteran in any of these measures of assistance that we can render, particularly if he was long a resident of Canada before the war, as many of them were. Many of them were born here; others were men who had lived in the country a good many years. I know one little village, Wallashee on the Canadian Pacific main line near Ashcroft, B.C., where there were twenty-seven ablebodied men when the war broke out. Every man went and went immediately. They had been in that village for years building up little fruit ranches. As you go by you can see these ranches to-day, gone to waste, the fruit trees dead and the neat little houses now

[Mr. Stevens. 1

a wreck. Not one man lived. The whole village was wiped out. That is the class of men they were. Of those who did fortunately come back, many had spent years in building up the country and are entitled to such consideration as I have suggested.

There are a number of other points to which I might refer, but I see it is eleven o'clock. I suggest earnestly to the minister that a committee be set up this session to review the present requests and suggestions for dealing with the veterans, and that parliament should declare at this session that it accepts the responsibility of caring for the veterans of the great war as a definite and distinct responsibility.

On motion of Mr. Finn the debate was adjourned.

Topic:   PENSION ACT
Subtopic:   ABOLITION OF PENSION APPEAL COURT AND EXTENSION OF TIME FOR PENSION APPLICATIONS
Permalink

March 10, 1939