July 27, 1944

CCF

Clarence Gillis

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

Mr. GILLIS:

You backed up a little.

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 backing up at all.

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 think this is a step forward; it is an improvement on the old soldiers' insurance act, but there is much force in the arguments advanced by the hon. member for Brantford City and the hon. member for

Veterans' Insurance

Lambton West. Opening up the old act is not the solution of the problem raised by the hon. member for Brantford City. As I see it, this measure is merely one part of the scheme of rehabilitation of service personnel returning from the war, and the formation of a department of veterans' affairs was brought about, in my opinion, to consolidate all the machinery for both old and new service personnel so as to make one central administration. In view of the fact that we took the old pension act and opened it up, related the new forces to it, and made the necessary changes to bring it up to date, we should do the same thing with respect to this bill. There is no difference between the old soldier and the new soldier. They fought the same kind of war, against the same enemy, for the same objectives, although we are thirty years late in getting around to this as far as the old soldier is concerned.

In the field of insurance the soldier has a problem all his own. He is not looked upon as a profitable client as far as old line insurance companies are concerned, and if the government is to -go into the insurance business-and I think it should in so far as it can thereby protect those who have come out of the service-let them bear in mind that whether a soldier has a hole shot in him or not he suffers a great deal of disability if he has gone through a war, and it is difficult for him to secure insurance.

I think that this bill should be related to the soldiers of the last war. I visualize it in future as a large insurance scheme instituted by the government to protect those who are not able to get protection in the ordinary field of insurance. I believe there is quite a business in this for the government and that sooner or later they will have to come round to it.

I am not in favour of the time limit, because the average soldier coming out of this war, like his predecessor of the last war, is unlikely to appreciate within this period the advantages of this insurance. It will be ten years after he comes out of this conflict that he will recognize the value of this insurance. If the measure is on the statute book to be taken advantage of, and it is not being used, it is not costing anything. At the same time, when those who are intended to benefit by it realize that it means something to them, its benefits should be available to them. In my opinion this time limit is inserted for the purpose of appeasing the old line insurance companies, who may see in this bill a threat of invasion of the field of insurance.

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; no. I can assure my hon. friend that that is not correct.

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:

No, not so far as the minister is concerned; but there are a lot of long-range figures behind the scenes who have something to do with this. I believe that the minister's intentions regarding this measure are absolutely honest. I have merely risen to support the hon. me.mber for Brantford City and the hon. member for Lambton West. I believe that the limit should be removed and the scheme broadened to include the old soldiers. Most of them have no protection; they cannot get insurance to-day, and they should be enabled to take advantage of this particular scheme. This is a 1944 model, and we should let all ex-service men in the country have the benefits of it.

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):

May I tell my hon. friend that we consulted some of the veterans' organizations and there was no request made for what is now being suggested. I should mention one or two other points in this connection. It might be unfair to introduce new principles for those who still survive from the old war. Some of them have gone away for good from this sphere; and the element of discrimination must be considered. But, also the rates would be very high, because the average age to-day of veterans of the old war would be fifty-five or fifty-six years.

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 would not agree with that. I believe the average is lower than that.

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

Gordon Graydon (Leader of the Official Opposition)

National Government

Mr. GRAYDON:

Let the minister look at his own birthday, to-day, and see.

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 any event the rates would be very high, and I doubt whether more than a few veterans could afford to take the insurance.

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:

It would be cheaper than private company insurance.

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

George Hugh Castleden

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

Mr. CASTLEDEN:

Under what section

does schedule A, setting out the rates of premiums to be charged, become a part of the 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):

That comes under an amendment which I shall ask one of my colleagues to move:

That clause 12 be amended by adding thereto the following subclause (2):

"(2) The premiums payable under the various plans of contract shall be as provided for in schedule A to this act."

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

George Hugh Castleden

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

Mr. CASTLEDEN:

How were these rates

arrived at?

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

Joseph-Arthur Bradette (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Liberal

The CHAIRMAN:

Order. I would point

out that the committee is now on section 10.

Veter am' Insurance

I know that hon. members were satisfied to discuss this subject in the general debate, and it is impossible to discuss the matter now.

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:

I realize that I am out of order in reverting to section 3, but the minister has been very liberal, and we passed these sections rather rapidly. I hope that in spite of the fact that that section has passed, the minister, in the light of what has been said, and in the light of experience under the old act, which was renewed, as he pointed out, for some thirteen years, will remove the time limit under clause 3. I hope there will not be a time limit in this act, and I wish the minister would give the committee the reasons for putting one in. I endorse what has been said by the hon. member for Cape Breton South. It takes members of the armed forces a number of years to get on their feet and become reestablished. The young men who come out of this war, though they may be a little better informed on insurance matters than those who survived the last war, know very little, at the age of eighteen or twenty or twenty-one, about the various types of insurance. I think it is a mistake to have a time limit of three years. The bill would be more generally acceptable to the returned men of this war and to the country generally if that limit were removed, and I urge the minister to remove it.

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):

I appreciate the remarks of the hon. member. The reason for the limitation is obvious; we had it before, in 1920, when it was two years. It is to encourage these boys when they come home to take advantage of the very generous provisions of this legislation while they are still young and the rates are very low. It is that which makes it so difficult to adopt the suggestion of the hon. member for Cape Breton South.

In regard to old men like ourselves who were 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:

Speak for yourself.

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):

I think the limitation is an encouragement to insure. If it should be found necessary or advisable by the parliament and the government of that time to extend the period beyond three years, I am sure that the parliament then, with its usual generous heart, will do it.

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

John Ritchie MacNicol

National Government

Mr. MacNICOL:

I support the views just expressed by the hon. member for iLambton West; I had intended to express them myself. From the result of much observation following the last war, I was astonished at the number of the boys who returned who could not make up their minds within three years to do anything, and I have been wondering whether the

[The Chairman.]

minister could not see his way clear, if there is to be a time limit, to extend it to five years. Perhaps before the end of that time most men will have realized that they will lose the benefits of the cheaper rate unless they act quickly. In the riding I represent there are a very large number of returned soldiers, and if the minister could see his way clear to set the time limit at five years it would help them very greatly.

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

George Alexander Cruickshank

Liberal

Mr. CRUICKSHANK:

I do not think a complete repetition on my part of the remarks of hon. members who have spoken on this matter is necessary, but I entirely endorse- and I think I can speak in this connection for British Columbia soldiers-what they have said. I cannot agree with the minister as to the time limit, nor do I greatly believe in the supposed generosity of governments in the future. The .minister will remember that his own department only this year permitted1 pensions to be paid to those married after a certain period, following a strenuous battle *by the Legion throughout Canada. I cannot see why the time limit should be there at all unless it is at the instance of the insurance companies. When young soldiers come back we hope they will not follow the example of the minister in charge. We hope they will get married as soon as they can. But a young soldier is not in a position to take out insurance, to buy furniture, to establish a home for himself and a family. Again, I do not see why there should be a time limit. I agree with the suggestion that it should be extended to all veterans instead of reopening the act. I do not see where it would1 confuse the issue. It might confuse the insurance companies 'but I am not in the least bit worried about them. They have been able to look after themselves mighty well for many years and we need not worry about them. I suggest that the time limit be removed and that the act be made applicable to all overseas men. I am not worried about the fellow who served in Canada. As regards the man who was willing to go overseas, that is a different matter, but I am speaking on behalf of all soldiers of the active army both as regards the last war and as applicable to this war.

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