April 3, 1945

NAT

James Arthur Ross

National Government

Mr. ROSS (Souris):

I still make the statement that they will be greater than the 16,000, that is all told to date.

Topic:   WAR APPROPRIATION BILL
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR GRANTING TO HIS MAJESTY AID FOR NATIONAL DEFENCE AND SECURITY
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LIB

John Gordon Ross

Liberal

Mr. ROSS (Moose Jaw):

Do you mean for the whole five years? Do you mean every one who has gone absent without leave since the beginning of the war?

Topic:   WAR APPROPRIATION BILL
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NAT

James Arthur Ross

National Government

Mr. ROSS (Souris):

I say that many of these men would not now be deserters if it had not been for the half-hearted, piecemeal policy which has been applied to the army to date. You people are much concerned about the throwing away of rifles and so on, but I want to tell you that many of these troops have thrown down their rifles and deserted-[DOT]

Topic:   WAR APPROPRIATION BILL
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LIB

Colin William George Gibson (Minister of National Defence for Air)

Liberal

Mr. GIBSON:

Throwing some more mild.

Topic:   WAR APPROPRIATION BILL
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NAT

James Arthur Ross

National Government

Mr. ROSS (Souris):

Topic:   WAR APPROPRIATION BILL
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR GRANTING TO HIS MAJESTY AID FOR NATIONAL DEFENCE AND SECURITY
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CCF

Clarence Gillis

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

Mr. CLARENCE GILLIS (Cape Breton South):

Mr. Speaker, we had intended to

make what remarks We wanted to make when this figure had been broken down under the different headings, but since we seem to have got into a debate there are a few remarks I should like to make. The hon. member who has just taken his seat (Mr. Ross, Souris) misinterpreted what the hon. member for Rose-town-Biggar (Mr. Coldwell) had to say. That sort of thing is becoming a habit in the house. I was sitting behind the hon. member and I do not think there was any possibility of misunderstanding him.

He referred to the narrower issue of the war-

Topic:   WAR APPROPRIATION BILL
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?

An hon. MEMBER:

Winning the war.

Topic:   WAR APPROPRIATION BILL
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CCF

Clarence Gillis

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

Mr. GILLIS:

The narrower issue of winning the war in the sense that it related to the over-all picture of establishing a proper peace. The building up of a world organization was a much broader matter than that of discussing Canada's contribution to the war. In dealing with the war we would be dealing only with the internal problems of this country, assisting as best we can with outside problems. In considering the other picture we are dealing with an organization which we hope will embrace the whole problem and make the world safe in the future. We hope it will attain the objectives for which we are fighting. I do not think there could be any misunderstanding on that.

I do not wish to be critical of my hon. friends, but after listening to some of the discussion here one is led to believe that some people are afraid that the war might end

because they would then have nothing to talk about. I sympathize with them. To say that no reconstruction programme is possible without consultation with the provincial governments does not agree with my conception of this matter. I contend that no adequate reconstruction programme is possible under private enterprise. There will have to be definite and fundamental changes in the whole economic set-up before there can be any possibility of a proper reconstruction programme.

I should like to deal briefly with a few matters that come under the Minister of Veterans' Affairs (Mr. Mackenzie). I think it is right here that we find the basic necessity for reconstruction. The hon. member for Vancouver South (Mr. Green) made an excellent presentation and brought to the minister's attention many matters with which I am in accord. I am going to try to miss those if possible because I do not think repetition adds very much to the discussion.

At the last session we set up a ministry which I understood was to look after the problems of the returned service personnel. I thought it was an excellent idea to bring together the problems of the service personnel and place them in one department to be presided over by a minister who I felt was sympathetic and knew the problems. However, I am afraid that he is not presiding over the department as I should like to see him preside over it.

I refer particularly to the decisions being made in connection with gratuities. These are not being made by the Minister of Veterans Affairs or the Department of Veterans Affairs; they are being made by the Department of National Defence. In my opinion that is not what was intended when the Department of Veterans' Affairs was set up and I believe that is something that should be corrected by this house. I think attention should be focused on it at this time.

Topic:   WAR APPROPRIATION BILL
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR GRANTING TO HIS MAJESTY AID FOR NATIONAL DEFENCE AND SECURITY
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LIB

Ian Alistair Mackenzie (Minister of Veterans Affairs; Leader of the Government in the House of Commons; Liberal Party House Leader)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE (Vancouver Centre):

May I interrupt just to clarify the situation? Gratuities as such are being paid by the paymasters general of the various districts, whereas the reestablishment gratuities as such are being paid through the Department of Veterans' Affairs after we are notified what the amount of the gratuity is to be.

Topic:   WAR APPROPRIATION BILL
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CCF

Clarence Gillis

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

Mr. GILLIS:

The cash grants are being paid by the Department of National Defence?

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LIB

Ian Alistair Mackenzie (Minister of Veterans Affairs; Leader of the Government in the House of Commons; Liberal Party House Leader)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE (Vancouver Centre):

That is right.

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CCF

Clarence Gillis

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

Mr. GILLIS:

And the decision as to who is to get the gratuity is also made by the Department of National Defence. I do not think national defence should have anything

War Appropriation

to do with that particular matter. That is a veteran's problem and it should be dealt with by the Department of Veterans' Affairs. I remember when the Veterans' Grants Act was tabled in the house a question was asked of the minister in connection with the dependents of service personnel who had died or been killed overseas or during service, whether such grants would be paid to the next of kin. The minister replied that these would be paid if there had been an assignment of pay.

The first intimation I had that this was not being applied in that way was when I received a letter from a woman who had had two sons killed. In the case of one boy there had been an assignment of pay from 1939 to December, 1943, but his pay had been stopped just a few weeks before he was killed. Because the assignment was not in effect at the time of his death, then ipso jacto no gratuity was indicated. That was discussed backwards and forwards, and a change was made. The decision then was that unless they were wholly or partly dependent no gratuity was indicated. That decision was made in the house and the members left this house with the understanding that an assignment of pay to the next of kin, not necessarily specifying father or mother, was all that was necessary. .But then the Department of National Defence or some brigadier who is administering the regulations took it upon himself to change that. My conception of pension, legislation is that everything depends upon its administration. You can write the law as you like in this house, but if you appoint people to administer it who are not sympathetic and handle the regulations to suit themselves, they can make quite a mess of it, and I contend that that is what is taking place on this particular angle of gratuities.

The minister asked the hon. member for Vancouver South (Mr. Green), first, if he thought that the gratuity should go to the estate of a deceased soldier. I say, yes, it should. It belongs to him, and it should be part of his estate. The minister's next question was: Should the next of kin have to apply for the gratuity or should it go to them automatically? I say that it should go automatically.

Topic:   WAR APPROPRIATION BILL
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LIB

Ian Alistair Mackenzie (Minister of Veterans Affairs; Leader of the Government in the House of Commons; Liberal Party House Leader)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE (Vancouver Centre):

If it goes to the estate it would go automatically.

Topic:   WAR APPROPRIATION BILL
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CCF

Clarence Gillis

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

Mr. GILLIS:

That is right, but I am saying that it should go automatically because the minister asked that question.

Another badly treated section of the service about which I am going to say a few words is the merchant seamen. I believe that something has been done to broaden the scope of the rehabilitation regulations, and I am not

going to touch on that angle until we have the break-down and the presentation of the minister. But I say to the minister who is handling pensions and national health and has supervision over the hospitals that something should be done for merchant seamen who are injured on service. I know one who was in hospital in Sydney for four months *with a fractured vertebra and both legs broken. He was in hospital there for four months, a long distance away from home, and while in hospital there he got no pay and allowances, no compensation-nothing. He

wrote to everyone he could think of for help of some kind but the answer was always the same-there is no provision. Whether he will get any pension or not when he leaves the hospital is still being probed.

Topic:   WAR APPROPRIATION BILL
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR GRANTING TO HIS MAJESTY AID FOR NATIONAL DEFENCE AND SECURITY
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LIB

Ian Alistair Mackenzie (Minister of Veterans Affairs; Leader of the Government in the House of Commons; Liberal Party House Leader)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE (Vancouver Centre):

Was he a Canadian merchant seaman?

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CCF

Clarence Gillis

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

Mr. GILLIS:

Yes.

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LIB

Ian Alistair Mackenzie (Minister of Veterans Affairs; Leader of the Government in the House of Commons; Liberal Party House Leader)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE (Vancouver Centre):

Serving on a Canadian ship?

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CCF

Clarence Gillis

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

Mr. GILLIS:

Yes. The man filled out a lot of forms, but nothing was done for him and he lay there in hospital for four months without even money enough to buy cigarettes. He was injured on service. He fell into the hold of a ship out on the high seas. Under those circumstances when a merchant seaman is placed in the hospital some provision should be made whereby he would be granted an allowance or compensation of some kind to help him along while in hospital. But there is nothing at the present time. That is something that should be taken care of, and taken care of as soon as possible.

Then there is this business of a dual pension. That is an old, old story. The Canadian Legion has been fighting for the last twenty-five years to have the legislation in Canada made applicable to the imperial veteran residing in Canada who enlisted in the British army. As I say, it is an old story and I do not need to elaborate upon it because every member has received long memoranda and resolutions on the subject which have been passed by the veterans guard of Canada right across the country. What they are asking for is that any veteran of both wars who resided in this country in 1939 shall have the dual pension order made applicable to him if serving in the veterans guard and if he was domiciled in Canada at the time of enlistment. The minister who has been dealing with veterans' problems for a long period of time knows more about that story perhaps than any other member of the house.

War Appropriation

Topic:   WAR APPROPRIATION BILL
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LIB

Ian Alistair Mackenzie (Minister of Veterans Affairs; Leader of the Government in the House of Commons; Liberal Party House Leader)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE (Vancouver Centre):

In which province was the seaman my hon. friend spoke of hospitalized?

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CCF

Clarence Gillis

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

Mr. GILLIS:

Nova Scotia, at the naval hospital at Sydhey.

I wish to say a few words on the matter of discharges. There are six different types of discharges, and they are all indicated by code numbers. There is a discharge known as 1029 (12)-"services no longer required." There are certain limitations attached to it. I cannot figure out that type of discharge myself. I have written to the Department of National Defence several times about it, but apparently they are stuck on centre-"that is the form"- "that is how the discharge works"-"there is no reason to change it," according to National Defence. I. met a young man about twenty-eight years old who had been overseas for three years and who came back to his military district in Canada and was discharged, and the type of discharge he got was 1029 (12) -"services no longer required." Anyone reading that man's discharge papers who does not understand the set-up immediately concludes that it was a dishonourable discharge because the man is, to all appearances, physically fit, the war is still on, they are scraping the bottom of the man-power barrel for men, and here is a pretty husky-looking fellow with all his limbs who is let out of the army because his services are no longer required. I cannot understand it, andl that type of discharge militates against the man's prospects in many ways. When he goes to an employer seeking work and the employer sees that he was discharged from the army because his services were no longer required, and can 6ee that he is a husky-looking fellow with apparently nothing the matter with him, he concludes, "he would not be a very safe person for me to employ." I have never been able to understand why a man is let out with that type of discharge.

When a man is let out because he is medically unfit, that reason is given on the discharge papers. If he is let out for misconduct, that is written in so plainly that no one can miss it. But what is the explanation of letting a man out who is physically fit? I have never been able to get it straightened out in my mind. I have got in touch with the department and they say that it is not a dishonourable discharge. They say, "We have to let him out," but they do not say why they have to let him out. The man cannot get a pension. He has difficulty getting into hospital. I am not sure whether he gets rehabilitation benefits or not. I think that type of discharge should be discontinued, and the real reason for

discharge definitely stated on his discharge papers. I should like the Minister of National Defence or his representative in the house to check up on this type of discharge, 1029 (12), and tell the house why they let out a man who to all intents and purposes is physically fit, a man who is not discharged for medical reasons, who looks all right, with only the reason given "services no longer required." I should like to know what is wrong with him.

At six o'clock the house took recess.

After Recess

The house resumed at eight o'clock.

Topic:   WAR APPROPRIATION BILL
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR GRANTING TO HIS MAJESTY AID FOR NATIONAL DEFENCE AND SECURITY
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April 3, 1945