December 15, 1945

ALLOWANCES FOR TEMPORARILY UNEMPLOYED -CONCURRENCE IN SENATE AMENDMENTS


On the orders of the day:


LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Hon. J. G. GARDINER (Minister of Agriculture) :

Yesterday on the orders of the day the hon. member for Wellington North (Mr. Menary) asked a question with regard to the shipment of poultry products to the United States and the United Kingdom. The answer is as follows:

Poultry Products Shipped to British Ministry of Food

1944 1945

Dried egg powder

27,575,763 lb $33,970,555

Dressed poultry 1,973,- -

089 lb 774,007

Dried egg powder to Dee. 1/45 14,846,837

lb $16,916,842

*Shell eggs "fresh" 27,635,670 doz 10,689,787

Shell eggs storage 12,953,790 doz 6,037,109

$34,744,562 $33,643,738

Hon. IAN A. MACKENZIE (Minister of Veterans Affairs) moved the second reading of and concurrence in amendments made by the senate to bill No. 240, to provide rehabilitation allowances for veterans.

He said: If hon. gentlemen will look at page 490 of the Votes and Proceedings they will find the amendments. They are purely matters of clarification, and I think an improvement on the phraseology adopted by this house.

Motion agreed to; amendments read the second time and concurred in.

The house in committee of supply, Mr. Macdonald (Brantford City) in the chair.

Topic:   VETERANS AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   ALLOWANCES FOR TEMPORARILY UNEMPLOYED -CONCURRENCE IN SENATE AMENDMENTS
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DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS


398. Departmental administration, $835,856.


PC

Alfred Johnson Brooks

Progressive Conservative

Mr. BROOKS:

I had intended making extended remarks on the estimates of Veter-

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ans Affairs, but realizing the lateness of the session I am going to content myself with asking a number of questions.

May I say at the outset that I consider it unfortunate that the estimates of veterans affairs, which to my mind are the most important that the house has to consider, are brought down in the dying hours of the session. Not only in this session but in previous sessions the estimates of veterans affairs have been left to the last.. It is not fair to those who are interested in the welfare of veterans, and that includes all hon. members of the house and- the great majority of the people of the country. In future I hope that the minister will see that his estimates are brought down earlier. At the beginning of the sessions we spend a lot of our time discussing what to me are more or less unimportant matters, and at the end of the sessions these very important matters are given* scant attention.

My first question is with reference to the old veterans, the members of the veterans guard, men who served in the two wars. We all know these men are getting well along in years. They average between fifty-five and sixty years of age. Anyone who saw the parade on Armistice day and the men of the last war who were parading realizes that today these men are too old to be thrown out into the labour markets of this country to compete with younger men.

It is true that we have what is known as the dual service pension plan, but it allows single men only $30 and married men $60 a month. Before these men receive any consideration they must be in more or less necessitous circumstances. I believe that upon demobilization these men should be granted a straight pension with no conditions whatever attached. A veteran should be allowed to seek employment without let or hindrance. As hon. members know, we have what is called the means test, That is, a man is allowed $125 casual earnings and $25 interest on bonds; if more than that, a deduction is made from his allowance. I think the means test should be done away with and these veterans should be granted a straight pension and permitted to earn as much as it is possible for them to earn My first question to the minister, then, is: what does the department intend to do in reference to these veterans?

I should like the minister to say also what he intends to do in regard to providing veterans' homes for the older men. We know that Canada is more or less a new country so far as wars are concerned, and up to the present it has not been necessary to establish veterans' homes in any part of this country.

In the United States they have had veterans' homes for years, because they are an older country and have been engaged in more wars. England, of course, has had veterans' homes for a great many years. In Canada we have not felt the necessity of such homes until the present time, when the veterans of the last war are getting on in years. I know also that in this country many benevolent citizens have donated property for veterans' homes, but as yet no definite policy has been established by the government in this connection. My second question to the minister is: what is the intention of the government with reference to establishing veterans homes?

I come now to the third matter with which I wish to deal, and as I stated a few moments ago I am just mentioning the bare facts with regard to these problems. Over a long period of years imperial veterans in this country have been seeking recognition, but there has been an unreasonable prejudice against them. Why that should be I do not know. The case of the imperial veterans has been brought up time and time again at meetings of the Canadian Legion. Resolutions have been- passed at dominion conventions of the legion in favour of the extension of the war veterans' allowance to imperial ex-service men after a reasonable period of residence in Canada. I might quote a resolution which was passed at the legion convention in Winnipeg in 1042:

That we urge upon the dominion government the expediency and necessity of making prompt, adequate provision for ex-service men of the imperial forces by the extension of war veterans allowance under the same conditions as to Canadian veterans, other than on the question of pre-war domicile, providing such imperial ex-service men were resident in Canada on September I, 1930, and have since resided in Canada.

These imperial veterans fought side by side with Canadian troops during the first great war. Many of them have served in world war II. They came to this country; they have been paying taxes here for a great many years; they have brought up their families here; they have shared all the burdens of Canadian citizens, and in the war that is just over their sons served in our armed forces.

I am asking the minister that the obnoxious domicile clause, which at present governs these matters so far as imperial veterans are concerned, be removed from the War Veterans Allowance Act, and that these imperial veterans be treated just as our own veterans are treated. That is the third matter I wish to bring to the attention of the minister. I could dwell on it for a considerable length of time, but I do not think that is necessary this morning.

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To-day we are told that the cost of living has gone up about twenty per cent. That may be so on the average, Mr. Chairman, but I believe anyone who has to go out and buy food and clothing and pay rent in this country will agree that the cost of the necessities of life has increased more than twenty per cent.

I want to point out to the minister that pensions have not kept pace with the increase in the cost of living. Throughout these long years of war the men receiving pensions have borne the extra expense of living pretty well in silence. They have received no increase, no cost of living bonus. I would ask the minister what is his intention in regard to increasing pensions so that they may measure up to the present cost of living.

Another class of pensioners who I consider are not receiving their just due are the widows of those who lost their lives overseas. Our service men are coming back by the thousands to be greeted by their loved ones. We are all happy to see them come back, but the dependents of other thousands of men are not welcoming them back; they lost their lives overseas and now lie in silent graves far away. Just what is our department doing for these dependents? Well, take the case of the widows of all ranks up to and including lieutenant. A widow receives $60 a month, and if she has one child she gets an additional $15, making a total of $75. In other words the widow of the man who gave his life overseas is asked to maintain a home, educate her child and bring it up as it should be brought up on $75 a month. I would point out to the minister that this is entirely inadequate, and would ask him to tell this committee just what his intention is concerning this very important matter.

I had intended to speak at some length on the insurance principle, but I shall content myself with asking the minister if it would not be possible again to place the insurance principle in the act to cover all cases. We have it now as far as overseas men are concerned, and it also meets certain cases of those who served in Canada, but there are other cases it does not meet. I think in fairness to all men who joined the army the insurance principle again should be incorporated in the Pension Act. I might call the minister's attention to a resolution which was passed at the legion convention reading as follows:

Resolved that this convention endorse the insurance principle for pension entitlement in the case of all men and women voluntarily entering the armed forces of Canada, irrespective of whether or not they may serve in a theatre of actual war, and urge upon the government of

Canada to restore this equitable principle to the Pension Act in the case of those who voluntarily enlist.

Perhaps the minister will make some pronouncement on this matter. I presume all these questions will be discussed by the veterans committee next session, but we do not want to wait that long before learning the intentions of the government. We are receiving letters continually asking just what is to be done.

The pre-enlistment condition always has been a bone of contention in the awarding of pensions in this country. We have had trouble from that source for the past twenty-five or thirty years, and I think it is time something was done so that these men, and there are many hundreds of them, might receive the measure of justice to which they are entitled. From my own experience in the army during this war I know there should be no question of a man's preenlistment condition. When he comes in for basic training he is examined by three or four doctors. He is not there two weeks before he is given another medical examination. When he leaves basic training for advanced training he has another medical examination. When he leaves advanced training for further training he also has a medical examination. Medical examinations of these men are going on all the time. If our medical profession has not discovered some inherent weakness in this man, with all these medical examinations, then the man must be considered to be what they say he is, namely in A-l condition. And when he is out of the army, if he applies for pension for some disability it should be accepted as a matter of fact that he was in good physical condition when he joined the army and his present disability is due to his service.

Then, there is the matter of hospitalization. I shall not deal with this in detail, because I know there are other hon. members better qualified than I am to do so. However there is one phase of the matter I should like to discuss for a few moments, and that has to do with mental cases. The minister has told us that they are looking after mental cases from the last war and this one. Well, they have been looking after these cases, but they have not been receiving the attention they should receive. In some of the provinces the men are being cared for in provincial institutions, a condition which applies in my own province. I contend that separate mental institutions should be set apart for veterans of the last war and this one.

I know of a young flier stationed at Goose Bay, a boy eighteen years of age, who drank one night some lemon extract, became tern-

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porarily insane and tried to commit suicide. That boy was placed in a mental institution in Saint John, with other patients who were chronically insane. Instead of making improvement he gradually became worse. What was true in that case has been true in many others. It is not fair or right that those men who served overseas and who became temporarily demented because of the terrible hardships through which they lived should be placed among chronically insane people in institutions throughout the country. This is a matter to which I suggest the minister should give his most careful attention.

It is unfortunate that more time has not been left for the discussion of these matters, but I hope that even under these circumstances the minister will give us a clear picture of veterans affairs, and that he will state what he intends to do, not only with regard to the points I have raised, but with regard to other matters affecting veterans throughout the country.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS
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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:

Mr. Chairman, let me say at once that I find no fault whatsoever with the observations of the hon. member for Royal. I believe his suggestions have been helpful and constructive. There was, however, a touch of criticism in his first observations to the effect that the estimates of this department had been deferred until a late hour in the session. Let me remind the hon. member and the committee that no single department of government has received more consideration from the House of Commons and the members thereof, and no other department has received as much attention during this session of parliament as has the Department of Veterans Affairs. Not only that, sir; but we have an able committee on which the hon. member for Royal was a most distinguished member, a committee which considered all aspects of legislation affecting the soldiers, for the past, the present and the future. We have submitted to the unfettered judgment of the house three major measures, the discussion of which occupied several hours, and all of which were passed unanimously by the house. So I do not think his criticism respecting the limited time for the discussion of the estimates of this department is justified. I should have liked to bring them down earlier but, as he knows, there were reasons why that was not possible. So far as I am concerned, certainly I am not going to suggest any curtailment of debate or discussion of the estimates.

May I refer briefly to the several points the hon. member has made, the first of which was a reference to the old veterans. I find

myself very much in sympathy with what he said, but may I say to him that that question will be before the committee next February or March, when parliament meets again, and both the means test under the Veterans Allowance Act and the matters affecting the imperials will be discussed at that time.

I am well aware of the sentiment contained in the arguments adduced and forwarded by veterans organizations in connection with the claims of imperial veterans in Canada. I happen to be one of the few members of the House of Commons who was born in the old land, and naturally to a great extent my sympathies flow in that direction. But as a Canadian I say to the committee, I say to parliament and to its committee on veterans affairs: look after the claims of the 78,000 Canadian soldiers who served only in the United Kingdom. Unless these pensioners are entitled to benefits under the Veterans Allowance Act, then I do not think the claims of imperial veterans should have precedence over those of our own Canadians who should be entitled to benefits.

The hon. member made the suggestion that we have not veterans homes in Canada. Surely he knows better than that.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS
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PC

Alfred Johnson Brooks

Progressive Conservative

Mr. BROOKS:

I did not say there were no homes. I realize there are a few.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS
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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:

I accept the correction.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS
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PC

Alfred Johnson Brooks

Progressive Conservative

Mr. BROOKS:

But I said they were not sufficient, and that in most cases they have been donated by the citizens of this country.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS
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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:

I agree entirely with the hon. member's observations in that regard. But we are going to have veterans homes in every province. I have been through some of those already completed, and I can say that those grand old soldiers, homeless men, will have the most wonderful homes that can possibly be provided, the best medical attention, and the most humane nursing service. They will have that.

Every single problem referred to by the hon. member will come before that splendid committee of the house which will meet at the next session, because the heart of this parliament has always beat true in regard to the problems of those who have served their country in two wars and who helped to save the freedom of the world. In this matter there have been no political considerations, and I believe there never will be. I am sure that is the judgment of parliament in connection with the problems of our ex-service men of both wars.

The hon. member referred to the rate of pension of $75 a month. Again this is a

Supply-Veterans Affairs

matter that can be considered by the committee. However, the fact is that the cost of living index was higher when the present rate of pension was established in Canada than it is even at the present time. This amount was the judgment of the parliament of that day; these are the rates fixed.

The hon. member referred to the insurance principle. This matter was thoroughly and ably debated in the pension committee of 1941. No country in the world to-day has accepted the insurance principle-not one. Canada, combining her present pensions system of administration with the additional elements set out in section 11 (3) of the act, has gone farther than any other country in the recognition of disabilities. If parliament, however, wishes to go farther, that will be a matter for its consideration at the session next year, and a matter to which the committee which will sit at that time can give careful consideration.

The hon. member referred to preenlistment disability, the most difficult question in the whole administration of veterans affairs. I have gone carefully into the reasons both for and against, and I find that no country in the world has given recognition to what might be described as the automatic operation of the non-recognition of preenlistment disability. It is a difficult question; it is a highly technical question; it is a medical question. What we shall recommend in this house will be a matter for this committee to determine in future days.

I want to thank the hon. member for his moderate, reasonable and constructive suggestions. I have no doubt that when the committee meets again it will traverse the entire gamut of his observations and make adequate, reasonable and sympathetic suggestions to this house.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS
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LIB

David Arnold Croll

Liberal

Mr. CROLL:

Mr. Chairman, what the minister has said about the veterans affairs committee is altogether too true. We did go over things with a fine comb. The members were most cooperative and most helpful and a great deal was accomplished. I think the house recognized that when it agreed to pass the bills with so very little discussion. But there was something we did not have time to deal with, a matter which may become difficult before we come back again.

When we reached the peace emergency with the sudden ending of the war there was considerable dislocation. There are some warnings showing up, now that a large number of veterans are out of work, particularly in Vancouver, Montreal and Windsor, and the signs are not as healthy as they would appear. Although the situation may not be grave at the

moment, that is due I think to the wisdom of parliaments in the past, and this parliament particularly, because a cushion has been built up for the men.

A private in the Canadian army had a certain amount of money held back as deferred pay. In almost all instances that was invested in victory bonds, and most of these men had S400 to $500 when the war finished. In addition there were the gratuities which were augmented since the last war, the rehabilitation grants which permit the soldiers to purchase furniture and household utensils; there is the Veterans' Land Act, the small holdings, wartime housing, out of work benefits, unemployment insurance, technical and educational facilities. When all these matters are considered it will be realized that this parliament has taken more than ordinary precautions. In addition to that, what brought joy to most of us was the statement of the department that if changes had to be made, they were willing to make them, and on short notice.

As I say, there are some warning signals. The boat is being rocked. First, I should like to refer to an article which appeared in the Ottawa Journal of November 28. This is under a Vancouver date line and refers to Major General B. M. Hoffmeister, who was to have led the Canadian troops in the Pacific. He is reported to have said:

Men who dug slit trenches for their lives in Europe do not want to dig ditches for their livelihood in Vancouver.

And again:

If men saw fit to place their lives in my hands overseas, the least I can do is try to find an answer to their problems here.

There are those fortunate enough to have stayed home and enjoyed good jobs and better living conditions. They are the ones who should be digging ditches.

Then I should like to refer to an article which appeared in the Globe and Mail of December 6, also under a Vancouver date line. It reads:

Lewis McDonald, representing the Vancouver command of the Canadian legion, criticized trades unions for not giving full cooperation in veterans rehabilitation. He said veterans have been refused jobs because "the unions' own men were on the list ahead of them . . . and they (veterans) have no seniority."

The Ottawa Citizen of November 28 refers to a statement by Mr. J. C. G. Herwig, national legion secretary', who said:

The legion feels that it is high time the dominion and provincial governments got together with a view- to giving active, constructive leadership and direction to management and labour alike in order to avoid a repetition of the shocking conditions with which Canada's fighting men were faced at the conclusion of the first great war.

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May I say that General Hoffmeister is a splendid gentleman and what I have to say is not applicable to 'him ait all, nor is it applicable to the men of the legion. Perhaps they do not fully realize what those words may mean. I should like to quote from the Windsor Star of December 12, which contained the following under a Vancouver date line:

Members of local 249, international packinghouse workers (C.I.L.) have gone on record m favour of reducing their hours from forty-five to forty hours per week in order to give employment to veterans, William Symington, business agent of the union said yesterday.

The local is composed of 300 employees of Burns and company in Vancouver. The reduction in hours would provide jobs for thirty-three veterans, he said.

"This would mean a direct loss in wages for the members who voted in favour of reduction of hours," said Mr. Symington, "but they did it because there has been so much talk of veterans not getting a square deal from unionists."

I do not belong to the school that thinks that everything is going to be all right tomorrow. I am pointing out these things as a tip-off. I think it is some indication of how the wind is blowing. If there are people in this country who are dreaming of using the veteran in order to weaken and destroy the labour union, they are building castles in the air and I do not think they are pretty ones at that. I am not suggesting for one moment that any of these people are doing that, but I do think that anyone who attempts to dividfe the veteran and the worker is an enemy of the state.

I am glad both the Minister of Labour and the Minister of Veterans Affairs are in the chamber because it will not be necessary for hon. members to have to listen to me again when the labour estimates are up for consideration. In this country the seniority of the worker has become a property right in his job. My suggestion is that the government sit down around the table with organized labour and the legion to try to draw up a clause acceptable to everyone which would be a standard clause to be inserted in all collective bargaining agreements. We will have a great number of them in 'this country in the days to come.

The seniority of the veteran who was employed before he went into the forces is naturally recognized. That seniority includes accumulated time, the right to be rehired, pay increases, promotions, transfers from one department to another and guarantee against the disability of lay-offs. But there is one field that has not been covered, the veteran who was not employed before he joined the army because he was too young or the veteran who came back to find that his job no longer

existed. In this round table discussion that type of veteran should be provided with a synthetic seniority. I would suggest that within six months or a year after he has been discharged, or within six months after he has completed his training, he Should be given seniority on the same basis as though he had been employed in that shop.

Then there is the disabled veteran who by reason of his disability is unable to do the same job he had before. That veteran ought to have some right to any job in the plant that he can fill. I urge upon the two ministers that if that can be done it is most desirable, and if we do not do it we shall find that a lot of demagogues in this country will be having a holiday at the expense of the veterans and the workers. I have reason to believe that the legion and the unions are anxious to come to some agreement and to meet the problem, but I think that it has to be met at a very much higher level, and unless we reach some agreement in that respect we will find that the problem will break upon us and engulf us before we have fully appreciated it. It requires bold action; it requires something to be done before this house is in session again, and that is why I bring it up now.

I want to make it very clear again, lest I be misunderstood, that these agreements should be reached by consultation round the table. I think that they are all men of good will; I think that they are all anxious to solve the problem; and I ask the two ministers, who have done some preliminary work on the problem, as the house should know and I think does know, to continue with that work in the interval so that this situation may be well in hand before we come back here next session.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS
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LIB

Humphrey Mitchell (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. MITCHELL:

I agree with my hon.

friend in every detail of what he said on the question of seniority rights. We must remember that seniority means more to the average industrial worker than wages, and prior to the war-I am not speaking of since the war-more time was spent in negotiating the seniority clause contained in most industrial agreements than any other clause. That is a fact, and you cannot get around it.

In anticipation of what would develop at the conclusion of the war a committee was set up by the Department of Labour and the Department of Veterans Affairs to study the very matter to which my hon. friend has referred, but I think he will agree with me that it is far better to get agreement than for the government to give direction. I agree with him also that by no official action what-

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ever should the trades unions and the veterans organizations in this country be pitted against each other. I think that wisdom must be exercised in that regard. I say with all the emphasis at my command that anyone in this nation, whether he be a member of the House of Commons or outside, would not be rendering a service to the Canadian people w'ho advocated policies that might bring about disagreement between these two great forces within the four corners of this nation.

Might I say in a broad way with respect to the disabled veterans working in our industrial and commercial structure, a special division of the employment service of Canada has already been set up to deal with that matter. It has been found from our experience with workmen's compensation laws in this country that on the average a person with a disability has a better earning power after the disability than they had before. That is a matter of statistical record. I can say this to my hon. friend and to the committee, that no nation is better prepared than the Dominion of Canada to meet the problems of the post-war period, as we have built our organization on the experience of the past. After all is said and done, the man with a test tube is better than the man with a book, and we have had practical experience with demobilization following the last war. I think it can truthfully be said that building up that experience we have organized a machine which in the main should function with a degree of perfection that possibly cannot be imagined to-day.

I have said these one or two things, Mr. Chairman, just to indicate to the house and the country that the two matters which my hon. friend has raised have been and were being dealt with prior to his making what I consider very helpful suggestions.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS
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LIB

David Arnold Croll

Liberal

Mr. CROLL:

May I just say a word arising out of what the minister has said. I should not like the house to get the impression that I advocated compulsion. I never suggested that at all. I suggested that there should be consultation around the table.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS
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LIB
PC

Herbert Alexander Bruce

Progressive Conservative

Mr. BRUCE:

Mr. Chairman, as a member of the committee on veterans affairs I am conscious of the hard and painstaking work done by that committee to make sure that the interests of the veterans to whom we owe so much would be carefully safeguarded in the bill the provisions of which have already been approved by the house.

I wish to join the hon. member for Royal in regretting that the estimates of this important department have been opened so late; in fact, on what we hope will be the last day of the session, which means that we shall not have the advantage of having a free discussion participated in by a large number of the members of this house. I hope that next session the minister may find it possible to bring down his estimates at a much earlier stage.

Knowing that many of the provisions for our returning men who are now students were carefully considered by the committee, therefore I hesitate to refer to any of them here because I know that the members of the committee did the very best they could to provide adequate funds for students attending universities. In spite of that I am receiving many communications asking that the amount be increased because of the high cost of living, which makes it difficult for many students to eke out an existence on the amount that is paid to them.

May I call the minister's attention to the fact that single fare on the railways was provided for a period of thirty days to these men when they were in the armed forces during the war. Surely this concession should be extended to them now, and I ask the minister if he will take the matter up with the railways and try to get them to do it.

Although I approved entirely of the setting up of the Department of Veterans Affairs, I have always been of the opinion that the medical care and treatment of veterans could be better taken care of by the medical services already in existence. During the war we have had three distinct medical services connected with the three branches of the armed forces, as well as the medical services of the health department as well as those required for the civilian population. If this had been done the medical and surgical care of veterans could have been handled in such a way as to have ensured better care and at the same time have saved the taxpayer a great deal of money. I am supported in this opinion by the action of the Canadian Medical Association,'which sent a letter to the Prime Minister on May 29, 1944, from which I should like to quote a few paragraphs. May I say that during the war the Canadian Medical Association supplied five of its ablest physicians to assist on a board known as the Canadian medical procurement and assignment board, which was set up by order in council in July, 1942. In their letter to the Prime Minister they made the following suggestions, which will be found at page 3824 of volume 4 of Hansard, 1944.

10. A great national plan for health care is being devised, and it may be assumed that when

356(1

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and if it comes into operation a large number of our people, consisting of the veterans who, with their dependents, will constitute twelve to fifteen per cent of our population, might reasonably expect 'to have access to these services.

11. Again, most respectfully, we would urge that in the interests of sound administration, careful consideration be given to placing all government health services in time of peace within one department.

The next paragraph is perhaps the most important and relevant to the position that I myself take in this matter.

12. In order to concentrate the expenditure for veterans' care within one department, the Department of Veterans Affairs could arrange to purchase the "medical care,"-using the term broadly-for this group of people from the department of national health.

13. We believe that if the health services were so organized, there would be a notable conservation of medical and technical personnel and equipment and that there would be provided a finer type of service to this very important group.

It . (b) That all federal health activities be incorporated in the Department of National Health, including the health and care of veterans. .

With these opinions I am in hearty accord. I will not amplify this at the moment, seeing that my time is limited, but I would call the attention of the committee to an act put on the British statutes on March 1, 1944, known as the Disabled Persons (Employment) Act. The main purposes of the Tomlinson report were incorporated into this act, which makes rehabilitation and resettlement of the disabled after the war part of the nations social services. The state accepts its obligation towards the man or woman suffering any type of disability to recondition him mentally and physically as far as possible and to train him for a new occupation where necessary, to care for his family through his period of training, and to resettle him in suitable employment.

Another important provision requires all employers of twenty or more workers to employ a quota of registered disabled persons, the quota for each employer being a percentage of his total employees as decided after consultation between workers and employers organizations. The employer with less than his quota may not take on a non-registered person without a special ministerial permit, and a registered disabled person may not be discharged from his employment without reasonable cause if the discharge would bring the employer below his quota.

Moreover, certain occupations specially suitable for disabled persons may be earmarked so that vacancies occurring in them may be filled only by registered disabled. I think we might very well emulate the example of

Great Britain in this regard. It will be interesting also to note that following the 1914-18 war Germany made it obligatory for all its industries to engage a certain quota of persons disabled by the war.

May I now refer to a change that has come about in the treatment of patients as a consequence of certain new developments in this war, namely, the use of sulpha drugs and penicillin where, because of their use, old infections in bones known as osteomyelitis no longer recur, and as a consequence the frequent operations for the removal of necrosed bone at intervals over months and years will no longer be necessary. We can therefore hope that we shall not require active surgical treatment hospitals for a very long period after all our veterans are home. In fact, as soon as all the cases returning from overseas have had the necessary operations performed in neurosurgery, orthopedics and plastic work as well as in nerve repair work they will be dismissed from hospitals and will not, I hope, have to return except of course for emergency work that might arise from time to time. It means, therefore, that we do not require to provide a large permanent building in which to do active treatment surgery.

I believe that three centres have been established in different parts of Canada for the care of these special cases to which I have referred, namely, first, the neurosurgical cases, secondly the orthopedic cases and thirdly those requiring plastic surgery. May I ask the minister where these centres are and whether they are connected' with general hospitals or with hospitals under his own administration. I presume the determining factor in reaching decisions as to the location of these centres would be their accessibility to trained specialist personnel in the large centres.

This brings me to the point of asking the minister whether very soon it may not be well to consider what use he shall make of the large active treatment addition to the Sunnybrook hospital, the corner stone of which was laid in November last, and which will not be completed for another year. I suggest that when it is completed it might not be needed for the purpose for which it is being built. I have no doubt that it can be used for other purposes. If my suggestion has merit then the country might be saved the large amount of money which will be expended in providing numbers of operating rooms, pathological laboratories, X-ray rooms and other facilities which are needed in an active treatment hospital of that size. It might be well for the minister to ask a small committee,

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on which should sit one of the leading civilian surgeons of Toronto, along with some representatives from his own department, to look into the matter, to see whether something might be devised to meet the situation which will arise if what I believe turns out to be true, namely, that before this building is completed all the cases returning home will have been dealt with, except a few fragmentary ones, for which other accommodation will be accessible.

I do not intend to refer to-day to what I said a year ago, because anybody who wishes to read the record in regard to Christie street hospital can look back to Hansard. It would serve no useful purpose for me to refer to it again. Over one million dollars was spent on improvements and alterations to that hospital. I have not now, nor have I had at any time, any criticism to offer in regard to the splendid work that wras done at Christie street and is being done there now in the medical, surgical and neurological departments.

Perhaps it is too late to make any change now, but if we have another war, and nobody can be sure that it may not come some day, a better way of providing accommodation for our returned men would be to build annexes to civilian hospitals already existing throughout Canada. In the large centres and in some of the smaller centres from coast to coast, where staffs are already available, and where these men will be assured of receiving the very best care and attention. Some hon. members will recall that this was refused Doctor Penfield when he asked that an addition be made to the Montreal Neurological institute, so that his staff of skilled personnel could be made available. When all of these cases are disposed of a few months after the end of the war the additional buildings would be useful as civilian hospitals. The committee will recall that at one time it was proposed that an addition be made to the Winnipeg civilian hospital, where the medical faculty of the Manitoba medical school of skilled specialists would be available. When the war is over and the cases are disposed of, this hospital would have additional accommodation to meet the civilian need, but instead of doing this Deer Lodge hospital was built outside Winnipeg. I am told that Winnipeg General hospital has a waiting list of over two hundred, which condition is duplicated all over Canada. I know that the same situation exists in Toronto. I want to commend the minister for the arrangements he made with the East General hospital to use the new wing, which was nearly completed at the time, for the care of some of these returned men. I believe they have taken cane of some 250 returned men

there and I am sure that he will be satisfied with the services which that hospital has rendered.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS
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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:

Simply excellent.

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PC

Herbert Alexander Bruce

Progressive Conservative

Mr. BRUCE:

I wish to make it quite clean that in my opinion this method of handling our returned cases would be very much better than the method which was followed during this war, and which was perhaps a hangover from the last war. On a former occasion I made a plea for federal help for civilian hospitals throughout Canada, and I should like to repeat that plea to-day. Without that assistance and the assistance of the provincial governments the municipalities will not be able to provide adequate care for our civilian population. The federal government should give that assistance because through taxation they are taking away the sources of revenue of these hospitals.

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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:

May I say at once that I am grateful to the hon. member for Parkdale for his remarks. Naturally he speaks with more high authority in regard to these medical problems than I could ever assume or aspire to reach.

The first observation my hon. friend made was in regard to the transportation of those who are taking educational courses. That matter was dealt with the other day by the Minister of Transport; his statement may be found at page 3210 of Hansard. Cogent reasons were advanced at that time as to why it would not be possible.

The second observation made by my hon. friend was in regard to the submission of the Canadian Medical Association with reference to the placing of the care of veterans under national health or some other organization. May I remind my hon. friend he is very well aware of this-that after the last war an attempt was made to have the services of national defence extended for the after-care of veterans. That policy was abandoned in about six or nine months' time. The Department of Veterans Affairs was created by a committee of this house largely so that all the services, including the medical services pertaining to veterans, would be under one department. I can assure my hon. friend that it would relieve me of much anxiety if these services were placed under another department, but I do know very definitely that the organized exservice men of Canada want the medical aftercare of sendee men to be under the Department of Veterans Affairs. That is the definite recommendation of the legion, the Canadian corps and all the major organizations in Canada.

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PC

Herbert Alexander Bruce

Progressive Conservative

Mr. BRUCE:

I am well aware of that, but in spite of that fact, as a medical man I still hold the opinion which I have expressed.

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December 15, 1945