June 19, 1947

LIB

Thomas Reid

Liberal

Mr. REID:

My hon. friend does not see the point. After a great deal of pressure, and after having a look at this excellent bill, this morning Colonel Drew saw fit to rush in and get on the popular band wagon, so to speak, by giving the people in Ontario what he knows they should have had long ago. When I was a boy there was an old precept, to the effect that he who is faithful in that which is little is faithful also in much. As I heard the speech of the leader of the Progressive Conservative party, in which he wilfully endeavoured to chide this government for a reversal of its policy-about which I will have a word to say later-I could not help wrondering about the poor people who left the province of Manitoba during his years as premier, and who told me about the terribly meagre allowance on which the government of which he was head was giving the aged citizen of that province. He was in office then; and so I am asking the people of this country not to judge a man entirely by his words but to judge him by his actions. I repeat: he that is faithful in that which is little is faithful also in much.

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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CCF

William Irvine

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

Mr. IRVINE:

He was a Liberal then,

was he not?

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

Thomas Reid

Liberal

Mr. REID:

He was a Liberal, so-called.

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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?

An hon. MEMBER:

What are you?

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

James Horace King (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER:

Order.

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

Thomas Reid

Liberal

Mr. REID:

Oh, they can call names if

they like; it may confuse but it will not help the aged people of this country one iota. Let them go to it. Let the country realize that they are more interested in calling names and trying to howl me down than in hearing a discussion of this important question.

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

Donald Methuen Fleming

Progressive Conservative

Mr. FLEMING:

You are calling the leader of the opposition names.

Old Age Pensions

Mr.-REID: To continue with what the

leader of the official opposition stated yesterday, in my opinion the half truths that were stated by him and by the speaker who followed today are more dangerous than whole truths. They may be termed by them political truths, but in truths' name it is not true, because here is the statement made by the minister on behalf of the government, at page 4283 of Hansard for yesterday: .

It is important at this stage to recall the proposals the federal government made in August, 1945, to the provinces with respect to a programme covering national health, public investment and social security. These proposals include a suggested scheme for a national old age pensions and old age assistance programme of a fundamental character.

Then on another occasion he said:

Pending final consideration of these proposals at_ the appropriate time, when it is possible to join with the provinces in consideration of our joint social security responsibilities, it is not the desire of this government to embark upon any programme which would jeopardize in any way the eventual implementation of these objectives.

In the face of those words how can any man honestly say there is now any reversal of government policy in this bill? It simply is not true; it is not according to the facts. I well remember listening to the great debate from across the other side of the house regarding what we were doing to the provinces when we suggested we should go to London and ask for a change in the British North America Act. Each and every member of this house knows that under the British North America Act the provinces have certain rights and jurisdiction, and, as the minister rightly says, they are extremely jealous of them. Would the leader of the Progressive Conservative party, if he were sitting on this side of the house, deliberately do other than this government has done? Oh, no; the speeches that he would make if he were in office would be far different indeed. So I say to hon. members that they should not be carried away too much by some of the utterances which have come from the opposition so far.

Now I want to say a word or two with regard to the leader of the C.C.F. party. An hon. member reminds me about the promises that were made by Mr. Bennett. I am not going to talk about those promises; I am not going to hold the leader of the Progressive Conservative party to promises made by others years ago. Those promises could be quoted, but I am not going to waste time doing so, because that is all water under the bridge, and I believe there are more important things to speak about. To come to the statements made by the leader of the C.C.F.

party, I agree with some of the things he said. In his opinion the pension should be the same in every province, and I entirely agree. Personally I think it should be national in scope. But the hon. member did introduce a remark about New Zealand, about the low cost of houses to rent in that country, and so on. Conditions in New Zealand is one subject to which I have given a little study. The other day I made a suggestion which I thought perhaps the hon. member had taken to heart, but evidently he did not. I suggested that the true guide in relation to actual costs in a country is how much labour a man has to expend for a suit of clothes, for his food, and so on. Yesterday something was said about the low rentals being charged in New Zealand. Well, one has only to remind hon. members that New Zealand farmers are getting far lower prices for their butter fat than are the farmers in this country, and have to pay two or three times as much for their machinery as our farmers pay. I have before me the official records, in case anyone doubts my statement. The price of butter in Canada at the present time averages 40 cents per pound. I have in my hand the latest dairy records of the dairy association of New Zealand, which is an official publication, and there the average price is around 31-48 cents per pound.

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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CCF

Alexander Malcolm Nicholson

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

Mr. NICHOLSON:

What is the cost of producing it?

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

Thomas Reid

Liberal

Mr. REID:

The cost of producing it? If they were paying in butterfat for some of the things they have to buy they would just have to pay about one and one-half times more in New Zealand than the Canadian farmer would have to pay. I will just give those figures.

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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CCF

Alexander Malcolm Nicholson

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

Mr. NICHOLSON:

It is an entirely different climate.

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

Thomas Reid

Liberal

Mr. REID:

I would like to have the whole afternoon to talk with the hon. member about New Zealand and Canada. I say that because I am proud of what this country is doing; I am not one who dangles something before our people, either, about what is being done in Russia or in any other country. I say there is no better country than Canada, and in no other are they in as good a position as we are in this country.

In that connection let me give just one more figure-and perhaps this will hold for a time the hon. member who interrupted. In 1943, if a farmer in New Zealand were buying a tractor plough of the same make and variety used in Saskatchewan or Manitoba, he would have had to put up 570 bushels of

Old Age Pensions

wheat, whereas in Canada the farmer in Manitoba or Saskatchewan would have been called upon to put up only 180 to 200 bushels, for the same kind of machine. That is quite a difference. We could spend the whole afternoon on New Zealand.

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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CCF

Percy Ellis Wright

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

Mr. WRIGHT:

Has the hon. member the figure for 1947?

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

Thomas Reid

Liberal

Mr. REID:

No, but I will tell you what I will do. You can ask about New Zealand in any year you like, and I believe I can show you that this country is much better off.

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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CCF

Alexander Malcolm Nicholson

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

Mr. NICHOLSON:

Are you proud of the Canadian old age' pension plan?

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

Thomas Reid

Liberal

Mr. REID:

So far as it goes yes; and I will add that this process of making comparisons with other countries is not helping our aged people at all. Canada has treated its aged, destitute and other needy people better than any other country or government in the world. I realize that it does little good to make comparisons because we are not particularly interested in what other countries are doing. We are interested or should be more in what we are doing for our own people.

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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CCF

Percy Ellis Wright

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

Mr. WRIGHT:

Why not talk about it, then?

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

Thomas Reid

Liberal

Mr. REID:

Well don't interrupt so much. I will take you on with respect to New Zealand and a comparison with the country any time. I am proud of Canada and conditions generally here.

Then mention of Great Britain was made by the leader of the C.C.F. There again the same thing enters into the picture. I have before me the last statement of wages paid to the people in London. This is an official record right from Britain. I shall not take up a great deal of time to deal with it, other than to say that the highest wages paid to metal engineers in the shipbuilding trade works out at around S100 to $110 per month. Compare that with the wages paid in this country to our mechanics-and when doing so let us not overlook the fact that in England they work 47-4 hours a week compared to an average of only 44 hours.

I now pass on to something else. We are all I trust in favour of lowering the age limit somewhat, and increasing the pension further. But certain facts must be faced. None of us is entirely content with what the government has brought down, but we realize nevertheless that it will be of great assistance to our aged people. At this point I am going to urge upon

the minister something which I am surprised to say has not thus far been mentioned in the debate. I suggest that when seven provinces of the dominion have come to a financial agreement with the federal government, steps should be taken then by the government to implement complete social security. I ask that, and I feel sure that if that step were taken the other two provinces would not be long before they joined.

Something should be said about the means test. Anyone who has spoken to our senior citizens realizes that the means test is one of the things which should be certainly done away with. I realize it is of no use to tell our aged citizens that in all countries in which we find a system such as we have in Canada, the means test prevails. There is no country-and this includes Great Britain, Australia and 'New Zealand, and all other countries which have social security measures-which does not have the means test. Personally I am in favour of doing away with it, because I believe that the sooner we get to complete social security for all our people, the better it will be for all.

I believe the heaviest burden falls on the women of this land. I am sure every hon. member has met women of fifty, sixty or sixty-five years who are ill or whose husbands have passed on and left them in straitened circumstances. There is no hon. member here who has not met persons who have not dissipated their earnings, or what little means they had, but who in after years have found themselves dependent upon their families or on charity. In many instances there are no families upon whom they can depend, and so must depend upon some organization to help or tide them over to the end. I am sure every hon. member could say he has met with many cases such as I have described. Therefore I say no one person, or no one member of any party, should claim that his party is the sole champion of the unfortunate and the aged.

I look forward in the near future to a far better deal for our aged citizens. For a moment of two I shall place before hon. members a few important figures. According to the latest figures given by the income tax branch, out of a total of 4,101,980 workers receiving incomes, 3,449,990 earn $2,000 or less per year. In other words, if one goes further into these figures he finds that only fourteen per cent of the people are earning between $2,000 and $5,000. Then, those who talk about soaking the rich must bear in mind that while perhaps there are a few well-off people in this country, the number is not as great as some would have us believe. There

Old Age Pensions

are about 47,000 with salaries ranging between S5.000 and $10,000 a year; and 14.307 with salaries between $10,000 and $25,000. Those with more than $25,000 number only 2,750.

I am not particularly interested however at this time in the higher income brackets, because the income tax branch takes care of them-it takes care of them fairly well indeed. However I am more interested in those in the low income groups. We find that in 1943 there were 524,696 earning less than $1,000. To me those are startling figures. I cannot visualize a young man marrying and raising a family under those circumstances, who could find himself with anything at all left to take care of his old age.

I say that when one realizes these facts he cannot help rising in his place in the house to champion the cause of the less fortunate who have never had enough in this life to save for their later years. I should like at this point to read one paragraph from a letter-and I believe it should be read, because to my mind it is important. First of all may I say the giving of pensions as a means of social security is a good thing particularly because it lengthens the lives of those who are up in years. The letter I have before me is from Mr. Creighton, who is in charge of the administration of old age pensions in British Columbia. He says:

On more than one occasion observant officials of old age pensioners' organizations have remarked that the lives of many of their members have definitely been lengthened by the receipt of the pension. They assert with evident conviction that this is due to the added sense of security which even this modest income gives them. These expressions of opinion, and the awareness of the rapid lengthening of the lifespan of people generally, interested us in doing some research work to find out how well British Columbia pensioners really are doing relatively in the race for longevity.

He proceeds to point out that a survey was made, and it was found that in 1928, the year the pension was first paid in British Columbia, there were 210 male pensioners who died at an age of about seventy-seven years. In 1944 the figures show that of 810 male pensioners who died, the average age was something more than seventy-nine years. They come to the conclusion from these figures that the pension has had the effect of adding about two years to the lifespan of these aged citizens.

One could go on setting out the benefits of social security measures, and especially old age pensions to our senior citizens. Another striking example of what social security can do is found when one looks at the life span

[Mr. Reid.)

of members in the other place. I have seen them go in there sick and half bent over, so much so that you would think they would not last long, and the week after theil appointment you would hardly recognize them; the way they would revive was just wonderful. It seems to lengthen their span of life. If that can be done for those who in most instances are fairly well off, just what will it do for the under-privileged1?

I am sorry in a way that the leader of the Progressive Conservative party made a comparison between raising the members' indemnity and old age pensions. However, I noticed that he did not get up and denounce the increase when it was brought in, nor did he say that he would not take it. Nor did I hear him say one word about the $2,000 being tax exempt. I am willing to go just as far as he, and if he w'ants to have it taxed I will support him. I believe it should be taxed. But he never said a word. Now he gets up and makes a comparison which I think is not exactly fair.

As to increasing pensions the question may be asked: Can we afford it? Of course we can afford it. In Switzerland they have a wonderful philosophy. In that country they sacrifice something in peace time rather than wait until a war comes. This country of ours made great sacrifices during the war and did its full share. Perhaps it did not do as much as Great Britain and other countries, nevertheless our people rose to the occasion during the war. If we had the philosophy of Switzerland and were willing to do a little more in peace time, I believe our nation would be the better for it.

Let us look also at our bank balances. I am not saying that bank balances represent our true wealth, because after all, real wealth consists of labour and material things. In 1939 there were 4,846,000 depositors with $2,530,200,000 standing to their credit. In 1947, in spite of all the cry against this government that we had gone to the demnition bow-wows, some 6,902,000 depositors had to their credit $5,803,445,396, more than double the amount of 1939. When one considers those figures one cannot but come to the conclusion that this country can afford more for our aged. We have afforded it for our children; why not afford it for our aged people?

In British Columbia the unemployment insurance people made a survey of those seeking employment, and they found that life is getting more difficult for people in the forty-five years and over age group; it is harder for them to get employment. Perhaps we are losing sight of the principle that the life of every individual who reaches a certain age

Old Age Pensions

should be used, not just spent. We are not doing our duty fully by providing old age pensions alone. I believe we are drifting to the time where the aged people may become the forgotten men and women. We will have to take note of the conditions under which they live, and of course provide an adequate amount upon which they can live.

Because of superannuation and annuity schemes many business concerns today are reluctant to engage people who are forty-five years of age or over. In the government service, where superannuation applies to all permanent employees, age may be a determining factor in employment. There is a place in life for people of all ages, provided they are competent. I have just been reading a booklet put out by the Department of National Health and Welfare which is under the jurisdiction of the minister in charge of this bill, from which I should like to quote as follows:

Fitting the older worker into gainful employment is becoming more urgent every year as the age composition of our population changes. In .1971, it is estimated that more than five million Canadians will be over 45 years of age. At that time, 36 per cent of the population will be in this age group as compared to 26 per cent today.

I think we could very well take stock of what has happened in Great Britain. In that country it has been estimated that only some eighteen per cent of the workers are carrying the entire nation-a staggering figure. I am warning the people of this country not to let us go so far in that direction that our younger people will be carrying the entire nation. We must take steps to see that useful employment is provided for all who are able to work. The very fact that superannuation and annuity schemes are becoming so popular is evidence that the people of this country are social security minded. I am just afraid that we may be drifting in the same way as Great Britain has drifted. Some evidence was given before the immigration committee, and if hon. members wish to look this up they will find it on page 207 of the proceedings of that committee of Wednesday, May 14. A most interesting table was given by Mr. Forsey of the Canadian Congress of Labour, I believe, which shows that in 1921, 2-8 per cent of our population were seventy years of age and over and that by 1941 this percentage had increased to four per cent. I merely mention these things to bring home to our people that something more than merely providing pensions will have to be done. We shall have to take stock also of a class of our citizens who are below sixty or sixty-five years of age and who are unable to find employment

because of the age limit restrictions of superannuation schemes which have been put into effect by dominion and provincial governments and many industrial employers.

I see my time is going on, but before resuming my seat I want to say that in my opinion we should have or aim at an old age pension of not less than S50 per month and $75 per month retirement allowance under a social security scheme. No one in the house has ever quoted figures to show whether $40, $50 or $60 is enough. There are some in receipt of pensions who may be able to get by nicely, but there are many of our citizens who have rent to pay, who have food and clothing to buy who certainly cannot get by in our towns and cities on less than $50 a month or more.

I have no apologies to make for getting up in my place and advocating increased pensions for senior citizens, which should be the same in every province. The rate of $50 a month is not too much and that should be our aim, with at least $75 a month under a social security scheme for those who are deprived of employment, with the means test removed and with a lowering of the present age limit.

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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CCF

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

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

Mr. STANLEY KNOWLES (Winnipeg North Centre):

Mr. Speaker, when we strip the verbiage to which we were treated yesterday by the Minister of National Health and Welfare (Mr. Martin) from this debate, together with all the argument and crossfire we have had since, the simple fact is that this House of Commons now has before it a proposal that $30 per month be made the basic old age pension for Canadian citizens. That implies that we in this house, intelligent, responsible representatives of the people, are to be asked to approve the suggestion that old people can live on $30 a month. Mr. Speaker, it simply cannot be done.

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:

No one ever suggested that.

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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CCF

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

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

Mr. KNOWLES:

I am glad to hear the Minister of National Health and Welfare make that interjection. In other words he knows himself that it cannot be done, as does every hon. member. I want to say, Mr. Speaker, that after you have used such words as the minister used yesterday, when in one place he said "ultimately" and in another place he talked about long range plans, about moving stage by stage and not upsetting the balance of the social security plans, about doing things within an over-all framework, and so on-after you have heard all these words, after you have listened to the pounding of desks, such as we heard during the remarks of the last speaker,

Old Age Pensions

the plain fact still is that we have before ns a proposal for an old age pension which is disappointing and utterly inadequate to enable our elder citizens to live in comfort, indeed to live at all.

Last year the present minister of national health and welfare was Secretary of State. In that capacity he had the honour and the privilege of piloting through this house an historic piece of legislation which makes it possible for us to be known as Canadian citizens. It seems to me that he should be hanging his head in shame to have to bring into the house this 3'ear a proposal that Canadian citizens, when they reach the age of seventy, be asked to live on $30 a month. It is an insult to citizenship; it is an insult and an affront to the members of parliament to bring such an inadequate measure before us. The Minister of National Health and Welfare knows, as well as all the rest of us in the house do, that this amount is inadequate^ and I am sure that he knows from experiences of his own how distressing poverty is in the lives of old people. I am certain that in the cabinet he must have fought for something better than this. It seems to me that he should not be willing to continue in a government which asks him to stand by a measure so inadequate.

During the past number of months we have had a great deal of publicity leading up to this measure. We had the promise in the speech from the throne on January 30 that the Old Age Pensions Act was to be amended, and then we had a definite promise from the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) on February 4. On that occasion he was not able to tell us just when this measure would be before us, but he did say that when it came down it would include all that we had then, on February 4, and something more. Well, I suppose there are those who will argue that S30 is more than $25; but as a matter of fact, Mr. Speaker, in terms of the cost of living today as compared with what it was a few months ago, $30 today is not worth as much to old people as $25 was on February 4. I submit that in practice that promise has been broken. Our old people are not to get more than they had on February 4. In terms of food, clothing and shelter, they are to get less than they had then. It seems to me, therefore, that this was no occasion for the boastful kind of speech we had from the Minister of National Health and Welfare yesterday; it was an occasion on which he should have come into this house in sackcloth and ashes.

The bill which is before us and the speech which was made yesterday by the minister

make two obvious admissions. Those two admissions are made in two ways. First of all there is the admission that $30 a month is not enough. That admission is made by the fact that the ceiling on the total income of old age pensioners is raised by this bill to $50 for a pensioner living by himself and to $90 for a married couple. I submit that these figures, $50 for a single pensioner and $90 for a couple, should be made by this government not a ceiling but a floor. The government should be coming before this house with a proposal to guarantee that our Canadian citizens, given the right last year to call themselves such, when they reach the age of not seventy but at least sixty-five should be guaranteed that for the rest of their days they will not fall below the standard of living which could be obtained at these figures.

The admission that $30 a month is not enough is also made in the appeal that the Minister of National Health and Welfare made yesterday to the various provinces. He appealed to the provinces that already have certain supplements in effect to continue these supplements; he appealed to other provinces to add to the $30, a frank admission that this government is not discharging its responsibility to our elder citizens, because he asked that the provincial governments take on part of that responsibility.

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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June 19, 1947