July 1, 1947


The house resumed from Monday, June 30, consideration in committee of Bill No. 339, to amend the Old Age Pensions Act-Mr. Martin-Mr. Macdonald (Brantford City) in the chair.


LIB

William Ross Macdonald (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Liberal

The CHAIRMAN:

All the sections with the exception of section 5 have been passed.

On section 5-Pensions to blind persons.

Topic:   OLD AGE PENSIONS
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

Hon. PAUL MARTIN (Minister of National Health and Welfare):

Mr. Chairman, the house will recall that in 1937 when the amendments to the Old Age Pensions Act respecting blind persons were first introduced by the government under the present Prime Minister the age of forty was set as the qualifying age in conformity with the expressed wishes of the organizations chiefly interested in work with

blind persons in this country. The managing director of the Canadian National Institute for the Blind, Colonel E. A. Baker, expressed himself on behalf of his organization to the effect that pensions for the blind should begin at the age of forty years. The effect of the 1937 amendments was to make it possible for the organizations working with the blind to concentrate on the training and rehabilitation of the group under forty years of age. The government now proposes, by an amendment, which I am going to ask my colleague the Minister of Veterans Affairs to move, that the eligible age for the blind be lowered from 40 to 21 years. I am sure that this is a step which will commend itself to hon. members who are aware of the plight in which blind persons find themselves, and of the many deserving blind people who will now be given new hope and encouragement by the assistance provided by this amendment. I would ask my colleague, the Minister of Veterans Affairs to move:

That in section 5, line 12, the words "forty years" be deleted and the words "twenty-one years" substituted therefor.

Topic:   OLD AGE PENSIONS
Subtopic:   INCREASES IN AMOUNTS AND INCOME ALLOWANCE REQUIREMENTS-MODIFICATIONS OF ELIGIBILITY
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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 move accordingly.

Topic:   OLD AGE PENSIONS
Subtopic:   INCREASES IN AMOUNTS AND INCOME ALLOWANCE REQUIREMENTS-MODIFICATIONS OF ELIGIBILITY
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PC

Donald Methuen Fleming

Progressive Conservative

Mr. FLEMING:

I am sure the whole committee will receive this proposed amendment with satisfaction. Right from the time the leader of the opposition first proposed this-

Topic:   OLD AGE PENSIONS
Subtopic:   INCREASES IN AMOUNTS AND INCOME ALLOWANCE REQUIREMENTS-MODIFICATIONS OF ELIGIBILITY
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?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Oh, oh.

Topic:   OLD AGE PENSIONS
Subtopic:   INCREASES IN AMOUNTS AND INCOME ALLOWANCE REQUIREMENTS-MODIFICATIONS OF ELIGIBILITY
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PC

Donald Methuen Fleming

Progressive Conservative

Mr. FLEMING:

I will repeat that. From the time this reduction in the age for blind pensioners from forty years to twenty-one years was first proposed in this debate by the leader of the opposition, it has been echoed in all parts of the house. I am sure that while this debate has been long drawn out it has at least served a useful purpose if it has brought the government around to the point where they are willing to make this much needed reduction in the age of blind pensioners. I wish the minister could have acceded to the wishes expressed in different parts of the house that other needed changes be made in the bill.

Topic:   OLD AGE PENSIONS
Subtopic:   INCREASES IN AMOUNTS AND INCOME ALLOWANCE REQUIREMENTS-MODIFICATIONS OF ELIGIBILITY
Permalink
LIB

William Ross Macdonald (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Liberal

The CHAIRMAN:

Order.

Topic:   OLD AGE PENSIONS
Subtopic:   INCREASES IN AMOUNTS AND INCOME ALLOWANCE REQUIREMENTS-MODIFICATIONS OF ELIGIBILITY
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SC

Solon Earl Low

Social Credit

Mr. LOW:

First let me congratulate the minister upon bringing in the amendment which he has introduced today. No matter who may have had influence upon him, it is to his great credit. Last night I asked the minister if he would give consideration to changing the act to make possible deductions from the incomes of pensioners because of expenses incurred in connection with dependents other than a spouse. It is quite possible that a blind pensioner or an old age pensioner might have

Old Age Pensions

an infant son or daughter, and I am asking that some provision be made for deductions from the ceiling income covering such dependents. That dependent may be as much a burden on the old age pensioner with a small income as he would be on anyone who was incapable of working and on relief. Will the minister say whether he is prepared to support such a suggestion?

Topic:   OLD AGE PENSIONS
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:

My hon. friend will appreciate that this is the Old Age Pensions Act, not a dependents act. The government has sought to provide for dependent children through the Family Allowances Act.

Topic:   OLD AGE PENSIONS
Subtopic:   INCREASES IN AMOUNTS AND INCOME ALLOWANCE REQUIREMENTS-MODIFICATIONS OF ELIGIBILITY
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SC

Solon Earl Low

Social Credit

Mr. LOW:

A good deal was said last night about the regulations, and I am given to understand. that at the last interprovincial board meeting-

Topic:   OLD AGE PENSIONS
Subtopic:   INCREASES IN AMOUNTS AND INCOME ALLOWANCE REQUIREMENTS-MODIFICATIONS OF ELIGIBILITY
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LIB

William Ross Macdonald (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Liberal

The CHAIRMAN:

Order.

Topic:   OLD AGE PENSIONS
Subtopic:   INCREASES IN AMOUNTS AND INCOME ALLOWANCE REQUIREMENTS-MODIFICATIONS OF ELIGIBILITY
Permalink
SC

Solon Earl Low

Social Credit

Mr. LOW:

I am referring specifically to this bill.

Topic:   OLD AGE PENSIONS
Subtopic:   INCREASES IN AMOUNTS AND INCOME ALLOWANCE REQUIREMENTS-MODIFICATIONS OF ELIGIBILITY
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LIB

William Ross Macdonald (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Liberal

The CHAIRMAN:

I would remind the committee that we are considering section 5, pensions to blind persons, which does not permit a general discussion at this time. I hope hon. members will not engage in a general discussion.

Topic:   OLD AGE PENSIONS
Subtopic:   INCREASES IN AMOUNTS AND INCOME ALLOWANCE REQUIREMENTS-MODIFICATIONS OF ELIGIBILITY
Permalink
SC

Solon Earl Low

Social Credit

Mr. LOW:

A blind pensioner may have dependents, and' that is what I am referring to. I brought it up last night, and the minister asked me to hold it off until today when section 5 would be discussed.

Topic:   OLD AGE PENSIONS
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:

I call my hon. friend's attention to 8A (c) (ii) in section 5 of the bill, which provides for dependent children under certain circumstances.

Topic:   OLD AGE PENSIONS
Subtopic:   INCREASES IN AMOUNTS AND INCOME ALLOWANCE REQUIREMENTS-MODIFICATIONS OF ELIGIBILITY
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SC

Solon Earl Low

Social Credit

Mr. LOW:

Could that not be extended to old age pensioners as well as to blind pensioners? I understand that at the last interprovincial board meeting the matter was discussed and a resolution was passed unanimously asking that this be done.

Topic:   OLD AGE PENSIONS
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:

There was no resolution, unanimous or otherwise.

Mr. TOWNLEY-SMITH: Will the amendment which has just been moved have any effect upon clause (iii) ? A blind person may not have lived the whole of his life in tlhis country. It would appear that the section would need to be reworded.

Topic:   OLD AGE PENSIONS
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:

The residence qualifications are the same as for the aged.

Topic:   OLD AGE PENSIONS
Subtopic:   INCREASES IN AMOUNTS AND INCOME ALLOWANCE REQUIREMENTS-MODIFICATIONS OF ELIGIBILITY
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PC

John Ritchie MacNicol

Progressive Conservative

Mr. MacNICOL:

I want to express my appreciation of subsection 2 'of section 9 which is provided for by section 5 of the bill. Where

a pensioner had been assisted during the last two or three years of his life by a member of the family and he has been left the pensioner's estate, that estate is not to be penalized to the extent of the amount paid to the pensioners. I know cases in which estates have been penalized.

Topic:   OLD AGE PENSIONS
Subtopic:   INCREASES IN AMOUNTS AND INCOME ALLOWANCE REQUIREMENTS-MODIFICATIONS OF ELIGIBILITY
Permalink

July 1, 1947