June 19, 1947

LIB

Paul Joseph James Martin (Minister of National Health and Welfare)

Liberal

Mr. MARTIN:

Did he raise the pension?

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS
Subtopic:   OLD AGE PENSIONS
Sub-subtopic:   INCREASES IN AMOUNTS AND INCOME ALLOWANCE REQUIREMENTS-MODIFICATIONS OF ELIGIBILITY
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PC

Arza Clair Casselman (Chief Opposition Whip; Whip of the Progressive Conservative Party)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. CASSELMAN:

You heard what he said.

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS
Subtopic:   OLD AGE PENSIONS
Sub-subtopic:   INCREASES IN AMOUNTS AND INCOME ALLOWANCE REQUIREMENTS-MODIFICATIONS OF ELIGIBILITY
Permalink
LIB

Paul Joseph James Martin (Minister of National Health and Welfare)

Liberal

Mr. MARTIN:

Did he raise the pension?

' Mr. MERRITT: I think the minister is not being very successful in his interruptions in this debate. I happened to be away yesterday, but we received almost hourly bulletins. There were reports as to his continual interruptions when people were speaking, and the reports were that he had been very unsuccessful in those interruptions. So I suggest to him that he might be well advised to desist in that practice.

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS
Subtopic:   OLD AGE PENSIONS
Sub-subtopic:   INCREASES IN AMOUNTS AND INCOME ALLOWANCE REQUIREMENTS-MODIFICATIONS OF ELIGIBILITY
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LIB

Paul Joseph James Martin (Minister of National Health and Welfare)

Liberal

Mr. MARTIN:

Hear, hear.

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS
Subtopic:   OLD AGE PENSIONS
Sub-subtopic:   INCREASES IN AMOUNTS AND INCOME ALLOWANCE REQUIREMENTS-MODIFICATIONS OF ELIGIBILITY
Permalink
LIB

Thomas Vincent Grant

Liberal

Mr. GRANT:

What did Bennett promise to pay?

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS
Subtopic:   OLD AGE PENSIONS
Sub-subtopic:   INCREASES IN AMOUNTS AND INCOME ALLOWANCE REQUIREMENTS-MODIFICATIONS OF ELIGIBILITY
Permalink
PC

Arza Clair Casselman (Chief Opposition Whip; Whip of the Progressive Conservative Party)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. CASSELMAN:

Oh, keep quiet.

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS
Subtopic:   OLD AGE PENSIONS
Sub-subtopic:   INCREASES IN AMOUNTS AND INCOME ALLOWANCE REQUIREMENTS-MODIFICATIONS OF ELIGIBILITY
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PC

Charles Cecil Ingersoll Merritt

Progressive Conservative

Mr. MERRITT:

That very interruption by the minister brings me nicely to my next point. The minister has asked how Mr. Bennett's change helped the old age pensioners. I will tell him. The worst feature of this bill is not merely that it is not raising the pension as much as it should, but rather that it is pushing all future responsibilities and initiative on to the provinces. And in doing that, it is making it very dfficult indeed for the provinces to raise the pension in the future. It is putting an almost insuperable barrier in the way of the old age pensioner getting any increase, so long as the ultimate, whole responsibility lies on the provinces.

The old age pensioner can best hope to have his pension increased by the dominion assuming a greater proportion of the total cost. And the proof of that is in the fact that my province has been able since 1931 to add $12.50 to the amount they were paying, while the dominion has added only $7.50 in that time. As you continue to push the provincial government percentage of payment up, and as you bring it, as it is going now, back toward fifty per cent of the total pension paid in my province, so you reduce the power of the province to give any further increase.

When one reads what the minister said in introducing the bill, and when one sees that he relies so greatly upon the provinces to give increases over the uniform pension he is providing in this bill, it is clear that it is his definite intention to leave any future increase entirely up to the provinces. And I feel sure that that policy is one which will not do the old age pensioners much good in the future.

I wish to turn to a point which arises out of the regulations. There were many who hoped that the dominion would carry out its promise of 1945 and bring in an old age pension at the age of seventy, without a means test. But that hope is now completely dispelled. What I would not have expected was that the means test would be tightened up.

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS
Subtopic:   OLD AGE PENSIONS
Sub-subtopic:   INCREASES IN AMOUNTS AND INCOME ALLOWANCE REQUIREMENTS-MODIFICATIONS OF ELIGIBILITY
Permalink
LIB

Paul Joseph James Martin (Minister of National Health and Welfare)

Liberal

Mr. MARTIN:

It has not been.

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS
Subtopic:   OLD AGE PENSIONS
Sub-subtopic:   INCREASES IN AMOUNTS AND INCOME ALLOWANCE REQUIREMENTS-MODIFICATIONS OF ELIGIBILITY
Permalink
PC

Charles Cecil Ingersoll Merritt

Progressive Conservative

Mr. MERRITT:

There is the minister, interrupting again. And he will prove to be wrong in his interruption, as he has in every other case. I have before me the old and new regulations. I find that, under the old regulations, an annual visit to old age pensioners was required. The purpose of the annual visit was to check up on the means of the old age pensioner, to find out if his circumstances had changed, and if, therefore, he was no longer entitled to pension. However, in section 6(c) of the old regulations, the pension authority was permitted to waive that

Old Age Pensions

annual inspection, in cases where it was satisfied by other information that the circumstances of the pensioner had not changed. But when we turn to the new regulations and look at section 5(5) we find that the discretion given to the pension authority to waive the annual visit, and to be satisfied on other information that the circumstances of the pensioner have not changed, has been removed. The pension authority is now bound to make a personal annual visit every year to check up on the circumstances of the old age pensioner, whether or not there is any real need for that personal visit.

I wish to ask the minister to look into those subsections I have mentioned to see if he cannot restore the previous position.

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS
Subtopic:   OLD AGE PENSIONS
Sub-subtopic:   INCREASES IN AMOUNTS AND INCOME ALLOWANCE REQUIREMENTS-MODIFICATIONS OF ELIGIBILITY
Permalink
LIB

Paul Joseph James Martin (Minister of National Health and Welfare)

Liberal

Mr. MARTIN:

Of course your statement is inaccurate.

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS
Subtopic:   OLD AGE PENSIONS
Sub-subtopic:   INCREASES IN AMOUNTS AND INCOME ALLOWANCE REQUIREMENTS-MODIFICATIONS OF ELIGIBILITY
Permalink
PC

Charles Cecil Ingersoll Merritt

Progressive Conservative

Mr. MERRITT:

I have the regulations in my hand.

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS
Subtopic:   OLD AGE PENSIONS
Sub-subtopic:   INCREASES IN AMOUNTS AND INCOME ALLOWANCE REQUIREMENTS-MODIFICATIONS OF ELIGIBILITY
Permalink
CCF

Stanley Howard Knowles (Whip of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation)

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

Mr. KNOWLES:

The minister is treating you in the way he has treated everybody.

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS
Subtopic:   OLD AGE PENSIONS
Sub-subtopic:   INCREASES IN AMOUNTS AND INCOME ALLOWANCE REQUIREMENTS-MODIFICATIONS OF ELIGIBILITY
Permalink
PC

Charles Cecil Ingersoll Merritt

Progressive Conservative

Mr. MERRITT:

The minister can look it up for himself and see w'hether or not I am accurate. If he looks it up and finds that the new regulation is not different from the old one, I shall be satisfied. But he will not find it so.

When I am on this question of means test- now that we are going to keep it-let me say it seems to me that one of the nagging and undesirable parts of the test is this annual check-up. If the minister will look at Hansard for April 10 of last year and refer particularly to page 733 he will find where the hon. member for Vancouver East (Mr. Maclnnis) put on the record the holdings of real and personal property of old age pensioners in British Columbia for 1944-45. I shall not read them into the record at this time, but shall simply say that eighty per cent of the old age pensioners in British Columbia in that year had less than $1,000 worth of real property to their names. Then, ninety-four per cent of the old age pensioners had less than $1,000 in personal property to their credit.

It seems to me that this annual visit might well be made for the purpose of seeing how the old age pensioners are getting along, and whether they have any complaints or needs which social welfare authorities can satisfy, rather than asking them questions to find out whether they have inherited any money or come into any property, so that the pension can be cut down. I believe the annual visit is a good thing if it is done for the welfare of the old age pensioner, but it is a bad thing

if it is done simply to pry into his affairs. The facts are, and these percentages show, that the vast majority of these old people have not a great deal of chance of being forced off the pension by sudden wealth, once they have passed the original means test. Could not instructions be issued that this visit should be one for the welfare of the individual and not primarily for the protection of the treasury?

I believe that the pensions for the blind should have been treated differently from old age pensions, particularly with regard to the age limits and residence qualifications. The age of forty is a most arbitrary figure. I am at a loss to understand how a man who has got along without his sight until he reaches forty years of age becomes much less fit to look after himself after forty. I am sure that the age limit could be reduced without any great added expense to the country. Then the residence requirements should be vastly different. Blindness does not only happen at a young age or at birth. A person may be rendered blind through an accident, and I feel that if the individual needs help he should be eligible for a pension without having to wait for any period of years.

(Translation):

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS
Subtopic:   OLD AGE PENSIONS
Sub-subtopic:   INCREASES IN AMOUNTS AND INCOME ALLOWANCE REQUIREMENTS-MODIFICATIONS OF ELIGIBILITY
Permalink
SC

David Réal Caouette

Social Credit

Mr. REAL CAOUETTE (Pontiac):

Mr. Speaker, as it is close to eleven o'clock, I move the adjournment of the debate.

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS
Subtopic:   OLD AGE PENSIONS
Sub-subtopic:   INCREASES IN AMOUNTS AND INCOME ALLOWANCE REQUIREMENTS-MODIFICATIONS OF ELIGIBILITY
Permalink
LIB

Pierre Gauthier

Liberal

Mr. GAUTHIER (Portneuf):

There are still ten minutes to go.

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS
Subtopic:   OLD AGE PENSIONS
Sub-subtopic:   INCREASES IN AMOUNTS AND INCOME ALLOWANCE REQUIREMENTS-MODIFICATIONS OF ELIGIBILITY
Permalink
LIB

Maurice Hartt

Liberal

Mr. HARTT:

There are still five minutes to go. We wish to hear you, you speak so well.

On motion of Mr. Mitchell the house

was adjourned.)

(Text):

On motion of Mr. Mitchell the house

adjourned at 10.55 p.m.

Friday, June 20, 1947

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS
Subtopic:   OLD AGE PENSIONS
Sub-subtopic:   INCREASES IN AMOUNTS AND INCOME ALLOWANCE REQUIREMENTS-MODIFICATIONS OF ELIGIBILITY
Permalink

June 19, 1947