That is right. Now this man has been called into the army. The point I am making is that he is being pulled into a branch of the service against his will. To all intents and purposes he has been forced into the service; he is a conscript, whereas months ago he volunteered his service where he could have made his maximum contribution. In the branch of the service where he is now it will take a good deal more training to qualify him than would have been the case in the navy. I do not know why that policy should prevail; if a man is acceptable in one branch of the service as far as character goes he should be acceptable in the others. If he is not suitable for one particular branch, for certain reasons, then he should not be suitable for any branch 100-84i . '
of the service, because I put them all on the same basis when it comes to a matter of that kind. In this case I think a good deal of the country's money has been wasted. Here is a man who volunteers for the navy and who could have made his maximum contribution months ago, whereas now he is pulled in against his will and put in a branch where he will not be very well satisfied.
There is another matter I should like to call to the minister's attention, again because I think it has to do with a matter of policy.
I am not going to use any names; the minister can check these matters, because they have all been before his department in the past. There was a young man serving in the navy as a petty officer. His ship was lost and he was lost with it. His mother is seventy-three years of age. She cannot obtain an old age pension in Nova Scotia because in the days of depression, when the going was tough, she went to Detroit and lived there for a few years. Because she had spent a few years out of the province she is not now entitled to an old age pension even though she is seventy-three years of age. She has made application to the Department of Pensions and National Health for a dependents' pension because her boy who would have contributed to her support was lost at sea. The matter has not been settled; it is still in the slings. They are chasing it around.
In circumstances like this I do not think there should be any question about what should be done. In his address the minister referred to the necessity of keeping up the morale of those in the service and the obligation that we in this country have to guarantee to these boys that we are looking after their [DOT] dependents. I do not think this is a matter of policy; it is a matter of faulty administration. The boy was lost at sea and the mother has no other source of income. Things of this kind get around and relatives of boys in the service and others hear of it. Such things do not build up the morale which is so necessary.
There is another matter of policy which I should like the minister to check. I refer to the medical men who are serving at different ports under the present merchant marine-set-up. These qualified doctors have been requisitioned for service and designated to ports like Halifax, Sydney and Vancouver as port doctors. They look after all the ships coming in, including naval ships, but they are not entitled to wear a uniform. Their income is much lower than that paid to medical men in the services. Many of them have tried to transfer to the army, navy or air force-I speak from personal knowledge-but they have
War Appropriation-Naval Services
not been permitted to do so. What hurts these men most of all is the fact that they have no right to wear a service button or ribbon. Their families receive no dependents' allowance. Many of them are young men and they are making a considerable contribution, but when the war is over they are faced with the possibility of being branded as slackers. The fact is that they are carrying on one [DOT]of the toughest jobs medical men can do. They are working for fourteen hours a day and are on call at any hour of the night should a ship arrive and require examination for quarantine purposes. Most of these men are qualified for the rank of major in the army, which rank I believe is given to most medical men. This is one thing the minister should check up, because it is nothing less than an oversight to place men of this calibre in this position.
There are a number of other matters that can be discussed with the minister by way of questions, but I thought these few rambling thoughts dovetailed into the matter of policy and were in accordance with the minister's statement that matter's of this kind should be checked up in order not to leave the impression with those in the service that we were not interested in the small everyday things of life. If we take care of the small things, the large ones will take care of themselves.