Mr. MACKENZIE (Vancouver Centre):
I now come to what I might call the date line provisions of the bill. There are three of them. The first date line provision deals with the time of application for pension. In a previous year the date line was made 1936 for those with service in Canada, 1942 for those with service overseas in the great war and, in bill 17 as introduced, there was a date line for the present war. Your committee struck out the 1942 limitation and decided that at least for the present there should be no date set for the present war. So that only the 1936 date line remains in the amended bill.
The second date line provision is concerned with widows. I believe in what I am about to say I am stating fairly well the opinion of the committee, although strong representations were made to us to extend that date to the present time, and not necessarily make it retroactive. The committee did not feel so strongly about the 1930 date line as it did with regard to the 1933 date line, having to do with children's allowances. Strong arguments were placed before the committee to extend the 1933 date line, and equally strong arguments for that extension were put forward by members of the committee themselves. It is felt, however, that this is scarcely the time to alter the principle involved. It has been before the house on several earlier occasions. The leader of the opposition will recall how the date line was established in 1933. As a result of a conference between the then minister of finance, Hon. Mr. Rhodes, and those who were representing all veteran organizations in Canada, an agreement was reached to the effect that allowances be not paid after May 1, 1933. The matter was taken up in this chamber on several occasions subsequent to 1933, but parliament has not varied the provision. I for one feel that with the tremendous obligations confronting our people, this is not the time to do what we could not do between 1933 and 1939.
There are other provisions of the bill which have to do with administration. One important section, dealing with Canadians serving with imperial forces, definitely broadens out the provisions of the old act. There is, however, a difficulty. We have indicated a period of four years prior to the war, in an endeavour to protect our boys in the Royal Canadian Air Force who went overseas in 1936, 1937, 1938 and 1939 for a short term of service with the Royal Air Force, and whose intention it was definitely to return to Canada when those four years had expired. So that not only are those who enlisted since the war for service with the Royal Air Force protected under the sheltering provisions of the section I have indicated, but also those who went over for a period of four years prior to the war are in like manner protected.
Subtopic: APPLICATION TO CERTAIN MEMBERS OF CANADIAN AND UNITED KINGDOM FORCES-CHANGES IN PRINCIPLE AND PROCEDURE