July 27, 1944

LIB

James Joseph McCann

Liberal

Mr. McCANN:

Is there any physical or medical examination of any kind?

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS
Subtopic:   VETERANS' INSURANCE
Sub-subtopic:   PROVISION OF LIFE INSURANCE FOR VETERANS OF THE PRESENT WAR
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LIB

Ian Alistair Mackenzie (Minister of Pensions and National Health)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE (Vancouver Centre):

Not as a rule; but there are exceptions to that rule. Look gt schedule B at page 9 of the bill, where reference is made to applicants who are not seriously ill. Then, in class II there is reference to applicants who are seriously ill. Class III deals with applications from persons in so serious a condition of health that they have no reasonable expectation of life, and the fourth class is general. So that I take it the minister could call in a medical examiner at any time with respect to a case which was in a doubtful class, and where there might be some doubt as to recovery. That procedure would be taken in respect of applications considered really unjust or in other words in cases where there would be no hope of recovery.

5448

Veterans' Insurance

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS
Subtopic:   VETERANS' INSURANCE
Sub-subtopic:   PROVISION OF LIFE INSURANCE FOR VETERANS OF THE PRESENT WAR
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LIB

James Joseph McCann

Liberal

Mr. McCANN:

Is that left to the minister, or will there be a medical board to pass upon it?

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS
Subtopic:   VETERANS' INSURANCE
Sub-subtopic:   PROVISION OF LIFE INSURANCE FOR VETERANS OF THE PRESENT WAR
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LIB

Ian Alistair Mackenzie (Minister of Pensions and National Health)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE (Vancouver Centre):

The answer to that question will be found in section 13 of the 'bill, where it is stated that-

The minister may refuse to enter into a contract of insurance in any case where there are in his opinion sufficient grounds for eo doing but, in the exercise of the powers conferred upon him by this section, the minister shall be governed by the provisions of schedule B to this act and he may require for this purpose that the insured shall submit himself to medical examination or shall furnish such other information as the minister may require.

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS
Subtopic:   VETERANS' INSURANCE
Sub-subtopic:   PROVISION OF LIFE INSURANCE FOR VETERANS OF THE PRESENT WAR
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NAT

Thomas Langton Church

National Government

Mr. CHURCH:

I should like .to occupy only three or four minutes of the committee's time, and in doing so I shall direct my attention particularly to section 7 of the bill. I had intended to ask certain questions on second reading. I might say, however, that the bill now before us is a most commendable one, so far as it goes.

It might be recalled that in January, 1940,

I brought this matter of soldiers' insurance to the attention of the house. At that time I placed a resolution on the order paper stating that-

A system of life insurance on all soldiers be established, to include provision for their dependents, both during and after the war, and to include, for three years after the war, provision for their insurance against unemployment and want and free hospitalization.

When the matter was discussed I pointed out to the Minister of Finance what had been done in Toronto, and also in Washington. At the time of the last war, soldiers in Toronto were insured for SI,000. The beneficiaries, upon the death of those soldiers, received cheques for that amount from the city of Toronto. Then, in Washington they had a soldiers' insurance act. I believe that the Sparkman Act was introduced in Washington about the time they came into the war. Several provinces have aided in this matter by legislation.

The difficulty about this bill is that we are about four years too late.

I made that complaint only a month or two ago on a finance bill. I said at that time that , I had known a very fine specialist in Toronto, one who had specialized on diseases of the eye, ear, nose and throat, and who had operated on a former member of the House of Commons and, so far as I could learn at the time, saved his life. That physician went early to the war, having on his life an insurance policy with one of the commercial companies. I will admit that the Canadian insurance companies generally have performed a

patriotic duty during the war, but in some cases, owing to the peculiar types of policies, insured persons were faced with the alternative of having to pay additional sums or lose some of the benefits.

So far as this bill is concerned, it is my view that there are very few soldiers who would be able to pay three and a half per cent interest. I was hoping in the last three years that the minister would revive the provision contained in the Pension Act, to which he has made such worth while extensions. We wiii recall that a bill was before the house only a month or so ago to provide a separate department for soldier problems. It will be my hope that he will accept the same principles I proposed in 1940 as to a system of insurance, and include all other beneficiaries along the lines I have indicated.

I am convinced that many of the wives of soldiers will have great difficulty in carrying out payments on existing policies when their husbands are away. If the husband dies abruptlj-, it becomes more difficult to prove the claim and to get ready money to pay necessary expenses. This bill extends the policies from S5,000 to $10,000, a feature which I consider most commendable. I am sorry, however, that some provision has not been made for insuring soldiers in other ways, and against certain other difficulties they are bound to have. For instance, it was stated at a civic council meeting in Toronto that 600 soldiers are to be evicted from their homes. They will have nowhere to go. All this is to happen in the city from which I come. Yesterday at Toronto there was a meeting held on this with the Toronto board of control and Ottawa officials.

It would be my proposal that this principle of insurance should have wider scope, so as to include all conditions the families of soldiers might have to face. While the bill is commendable in many respects, yet in my view it does not go far enough, and is not protecting those who are overseas in France and Italy, and who are suffering as they have had to suffer. *

As to getting money to protect small businesses they may have, I am afraid that controls of various kinds, and other conditions, will bring about a situation under which some of them may lose those businesses.

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS
Subtopic:   VETERANS' INSURANCE
Sub-subtopic:   PROVISION OF LIFE INSURANCE FOR VETERANS OF THE PRESENT WAR
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LIB

Ian Alistair Mackenzie (Minister of Pensions and National Health)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE (Vancouver Centre):

I am sure the house is greatly indebted to the hon. member for the consistent interest he has taken in this question of insurance protection for our servicemen. I can assure him that the government through its official committees, not only in the Department of Pensions and National Health but also in the services,

Veterans' Insurance

has given very careful and sustained attention to the very problems he has mentioned. There are great difficulties in the way. I might inform my hon. friend by way of comparison that if he would take the capitalized value of our scale of Canadian pensions and compare it with that of some other nations which have adopted the in-service insurance policy, he would find that there is an increase, on an average, of from $5,000 to $6,000 in the capitalized value of Canadian pensions.

The hon. member mentioned another point which to my mind is far more important-and when I say this I am speaking from a purely personal standpoint, and not for the government. In my view the protection of dependents is more important than in-service insurance. We have in Canada a most comprehensive system for the post-war period to protect returning soldiers, airmen and1 members of the navy from the hazards the hon. member has mentioned,

I believe the present measure in respect of returned soldiers' insurance is as far advanced as that to be found in any other country. We have raised the amount from $5,000 to $10,000, and under section 10 of the bill we have made brovisions which are more generous to the pensionable widow or beneficiary. This is most certainly a definite advance. My personal view is that possibly something more should be done in connection with the protection of premiums. I ami not criticizing my hon. friend in respect of the points he has raised. On the contrary I am agreeing with what he has said, and I must also commend him for the stand he has taken in the last three or four years. I can assure him that every possible attention has been paid to this matter.

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS
Subtopic:   VETERANS' INSURANCE
Sub-subtopic:   PROVISION OF LIFE INSURANCE FOR VETERANS OF THE PRESENT WAR
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NAT

Thomas Langton Church

National Government

Mr. CHURCH:

Would it not be possible under this bill for the government to consider paying half the new premiums for these soldiers? Would that not be done during the war, and for about a year after? I say that because some of them are pretty hard1 up.

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS
Subtopic:   VETERANS' INSURANCE
Sub-subtopic:   PROVISION OF LIFE INSURANCE FOR VETERANS OF THE PRESENT WAR
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LIB

Ian Alistair Mackenzie (Minister of Pensions and National Health)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE (Vancouver Centre):

I think my hon. friend is dealing with an entirely different principle. This measure is designed only for those who have been discharged. This is a veterans' insurance bill, and the last one was a returned soldiers' bill. The provisions of this bill extend to those who are pensionable under the various orders in council, such as merchant seamen and members of the auxiliary services.

Mr. GILiLIS: Are merchant seamen covered?

Mr. MACKENZIE (Vancouver Centre) Those who are pensionable are covered, that is, those who have suffered disabilities are entitled to the same protection as enlisted men if pensioned under the Pension Act.

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS
Subtopic:   VETERANS' INSURANCE
Sub-subtopic:   PROVISION OF LIFE INSURANCE FOR VETERANS OF THE PRESENT WAR
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NAT

Thomas Langton Church

National Government

Mr. CHURCH:

Can a man transfer a

policy from a private company to the government insurance?

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS
Subtopic:   VETERANS' INSURANCE
Sub-subtopic:   PROVISION OF LIFE INSURANCE FOR VETERANS OF THE PRESENT WAR
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LIB

Ian Alistair Mackenzie (Minister of Pensions and National Health)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE (Vancouver Centre):

This is designed principally for the man who cannot get a standard policy from a life insurance company. It enables such a man to obtain insurance with the protection of the state behind it. A man with a disability who cannot obtain insurance in any other way can obtain insurance up to $10,000 under the provisions of this bill.

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS
Subtopic:   VETERANS' INSURANCE
Sub-subtopic:   PROVISION OF LIFE INSURANCE FOR VETERANS OF THE PRESENT WAR
Permalink
LIB

William Ross Macdonald

Liberal

Mr. MACDONALD (Brantford City):

Is there any provision in- this bill to insure men who served in the last wair and who did not take out insurance under the old act?

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS
Subtopic:   VETERANS' INSURANCE
Sub-subtopic:   PROVISION OF LIFE INSURANCE FOR VETERANS OF THE PRESENT WAR
Permalink
LIB

Ian Alistair Mackenzie (Minister of Pensions and National Health)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE (Vancouver Centre):

No, there is not. That would mean a reopening of the Returned Soldiers' Insurance Act which expired ini 1933. If a returned soldier of the last war was insured and has enlisted for duty in 1933, he would be entitled to $5,000 additional to the $5,000 he might have taken out under the old returned soldiers' act.

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS
Subtopic:   VETERANS' INSURANCE
Sub-subtopic:   PROVISION OF LIFE INSURANCE FOR VETERANS OF THE PRESENT WAR
Permalink
LIB

William Ross Macdonald

Liberal

Mr. MACDONALD (Brantford City):

It seems to me that provision should be made in this bill for the veterans of the last war. There are many of these men between the ages of forty-five and fifty-five years. When they came -back from the last war they were not in a financial position to take out the insurance available to them under the Returned Soldiers' Insurance Act. Now that their financial position has improved, why should they be prevented from coming within the provisions of this bill? I know there are quite a few whose finances were not such that they could come under the provisions of the old act and who would like to take advantage of this legislation. I think in that respect I can speak on behalf of some hon. members of this house. I know there are a number who served in the last war who would like to come under the provisions of this bill. To my knowledge some of them were not in position to take out insurance at that time, but they could take out some now. I am speaking not only on behalf of these members of the house but on behalf of a vast number of soldiers of the last war who I feel should come within the provisions of this bill.

Under the provisions of the former act a soldier could take out only $5,000 insurance, while under this bill he can take out up to $10,000. I commend the government for bringing in this bill at this time. I know that the measure which was brought in at the end of

Veterans' Insurance

the last war helped a great many soldiers. In saying that I speak from personal experience. I know there are other ex-service men in this house who took out policies under the old act. There were men who could not get insurance because of their physical condition and they were able to get this under the provisions of that act. It was a splendid thing for the returned men, because they could look ahead with confidence knowing that they had at least- an insurance policy behind them. I hope the government will see its way clear to widen the scope of this bill so that it will cover those who served in the last war.

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS
Subtopic:   VETERANS' INSURANCE
Sub-subtopic:   PROVISION OF LIFE INSURANCE FOR VETERANS OF THE PRESENT WAR
Permalink
LIB

Ross Wilfred Gray

Liberal

Mr. GRAY:

Before I supplement what the hon. member for Brantford City has said, I should like to ask if there is any date of expiration in this bill.

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS
Subtopic:   VETERANS' INSURANCE
Sub-subtopic:   PROVISION OF LIFE INSURANCE FOR VETERANS OF THE PRESENT WAR
Permalink
LIB

Ian Alistair Mackenzie (Minister of Pensions and National Health)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE (Vancouver Centre):

Three years after discharge. The first bill which was introduced in 15)20 extended to only two years after discharge, but this is for three years.

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS
Subtopic:   VETERANS' INSURANCE
Sub-subtopic:   PROVISION OF LIFE INSURANCE FOR VETERANS OF THE PRESENT WAR
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LIB

Ross Wilfred Gray

Liberal

Mr. GRAY:

I came under the old act

myself, and as I remember there were a number of extensions, I believe three or four at least. I do not think there should be a time limit in connection with this bill. If there had been no time limit on the old act, the soldiers referred to by the hon. member for Brantford City would have been able to take out insurance as they became financially able to do so. I agree with the hon. member for Brantford City that some provision should be made to include the veterans of the last war under the provisions of this bill.

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS
Subtopic:   VETERANS' INSURANCE
Sub-subtopic:   PROVISION OF LIFE INSURANCE FOR VETERANS OF THE PRESENT WAR
Permalink
LIB

Ian Alistair Mackenzie (Minister of Pensions and National Health)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE (Vancouver Centre):

In reply to the hon. members for Brantford City and Lambton West I may say that the provisions of the Returned Soldiers' Insurance Act were in existence for practically thirteen years. The hon. member for Brantford City has referred to the limit of $10,000 in this bill as against $5,000 under the former act. I would inform him that the average insurance taken out under that act was slightly over $2,000. I do not think his argument applies with any force at all. There were five different extensions of the Returned Soldiers' Insurance Act. To be frank about it, it was not taken advantage of to a very large degree. There were certain rigid features about that act which we have endeavoured to remove in drafting this legislation. We have raised the amount to $10,000 and we have increased the benefits to the widow. If we are to provide benefits for the veterans of our time, it would have to be done by amending the old returned

soldiers' act, by providing a further extension of that act. Frankly speaking I do not believe the number of applications made under the provisions of the old act would justify such a course. Let us see to it that this bill, which is for the benefit of the boys who are now overseas in this war and of those who have been discharged, with its more generous terms, is as successful as possible. I think parliament will be doing its duty by seeing to that.

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS
Subtopic:   VETERANS' INSURANCE
Sub-subtopic:   PROVISION OF LIFE INSURANCE FOR VETERANS OF THE PRESENT WAR
Permalink
LIB

William Ross Macdonald

Liberal

Mr. MACDONALD (Brantford City):

I had intended that my remarks should be congratulatory to the Minister of Pensions and National Health. I know he has a great interest, not only in the men who served in the last war but in those who are serving in this war. I commend him most heartily for bringing in this bill with respect to the men who are serving in this war, but I still feel that the men who served in the last war and who were not in a financial position to take out insurance should1 be able to take advantage of the benefits offered. The minister suggests that the old act would have to be revived. I ask him to give that his most serious consideration. I do not want to confuse the issue by emphasizing this point too strongly. If this bill is for the men who served in the present war then I agree with the minister when he says that it should be *put through. I suggest to the government that they review the old act to see whether or not it is possible to revive it in order to give the soldiers who were not in a financial position at that time to take out insurance an opportunity to obtain the benefits granted. They should also be able to increase their insurance to $10,000, as is provided for in this bill. That is another question; and I am merely referring! it to the government. I am in complete accord with the provisions of the present bill.

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS
Subtopic:   VETERANS' INSURANCE
Sub-subtopic:   PROVISION OF LIFE INSURANCE FOR VETERANS OF THE PRESENT WAR
Permalink
CCF

Clarence Gillis

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

Mr. GILLIS:

I am sorry the hon. member for Brantford City has weakened in his argument.

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS
Subtopic:   VETERANS' INSURANCE
Sub-subtopic:   PROVISION OF LIFE INSURANCE FOR VETERANS OF THE PRESENT WAR
Permalink
LIB

William Ross Macdonald

Liberal

Mr. MACDONALD (Brantford City):

I am not weakening. I aim just as strong as ever for reviving the old act, but I do not want to confuse the issue.

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS
Subtopic:   VETERANS' INSURANCE
Sub-subtopic:   PROVISION OF LIFE INSURANCE FOR VETERANS OF THE PRESENT WAR
Permalink

July 27, 1944