July 3, 1947

INCOME WAR TAX ACT

CONCURRENCE IN SENATE AMENDMENTS


Hon. DOUGLAS ABBOTT (Minister of Finance) moved the second reading of and concurrence in amendments made by the senate to Bill No. 269, to amend the Income War Tax Act. Motion agreed to; amendments read the second time and concurred in.


ARMY BENEVOLENT FUND

ESTABLISHMENT FROM ARMY CANTEEN AND OTHER


Hon. BROOKE CLAXTON (Minister of National Defence) moved the second reading of Bill No. 410, to establish a benevolent fund from army canteen and other service funds. Motion agreed to, bill read the second time, and the house went into committee thereon, Mr. Macdonald (Brantford City) in the chair. On section 1-Short title.


LIB

Brooke Claxton (Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Mr. CLAXTON:

Mr. Chairman, before

this clause carries I think a short statement should be made. On February 26 of this year I moved for the appointment of a special committee to look into the question of the disposition of canteen funds. Those funds originated through profits made in the sale of various supplies through canteens and through other similar sources entirely related to the Canadian Army. The committee was set up and I think hon-. members will have observed with satisfaction the composition of the committee in that nine of its members had served in the second world war, twelve in the first world war, and three in both wars. This was not the first committee set up to deal with canteen funds. A committee had been set up on August 30, 1941, under the chairmanship of Mr. J. M. Macdonnell, then in private life but now the hon. member for Muskoka-Ontario. A parliamentary committee was created by resolution of this house on March 24, 1942, and it had a great number of meetings under the genial and efficient chairmanship of the Deputy Speaker who is now presiding over this committee of the whole, the hon. member for Brantford City. That committee made its report on July 22, 1942. Generally speaking, army canteen funds have since been administered by the regimental funds board in accordance with the reports of these committees.

Army Benevolent Fund

The funds with which we are now concerned originated, as I have said, entirely from profits made through the sale of supplies through army canteens. As members know, members of the armed services in most places and in practically all units had opportunities to purchase at low cost additional comforts, and sales, small overhead and low costs led to the accumulation of very considerable profits. Some of these were expended by the units during the war. There is now left in the possession of the government the sum of $8,134,934. It is expected that that will be further increased by an amount of approximately one million dollars, so that the canteen funds with which we are concerned in the present bill total something of the magnitude of $9,000,000, a very considerable sum.

The committee held thirteen meetings. It made a unanimous report on June 12, 1947. It is not unusual, Mr. Chairman, for committees to make unanimous reports, but I think it is rather unusual that a committee should have held all its meetings, as I believe this one did, without any divisions and without any votes. That reflects great credit on the non-partisan spirit of full cooperation with which members from all parts of the house took part in the work of this committee. I think I speak for members of the committee and for members of the house when I say that it was in no small measure due to the tact and skill of the chairman that this very happy result followed.

The report of the committee proposed the adoption of a bill which had been drafted under direction of the committee and which was annexed to the committee's report. That bill is virtually word for word the bill which is now before the house. The government has accepted the report of the committee and puts forward this bill not only as the bill of the government but it hopes with the full support of the committee and of members in all parts of the house.

The bill itself provides for the establishment of the fund and describes the origin of the various sums which go to make up the fund.

By section 4 the bill would establish a board consisting of five members appointed by the governor in council, of whom one is to be nominated by the Canadian Legion and another by the National Council of Veterans Association in Canada, and it contains this very interesting provision:

No member of the board shall hold or occupy a position in the public service of Canada.

It obviously was the intention of the committee that the board should be operated in as independent a fashion as possible, and with a view exclusively to the best interests of the veterans.

[Mr. Claxtond

The bill goes on to create a committee for each province and sub-committees where they are needed. It provides for no remuneration for members of the board or committees but provides for a per diem allowance, and travelling expenses where that is agreed to by the board. Provision is made for the appointment of a secretary whose salary is as set out in the bill.

The important provision, Mr. Chairman, is that made in section 9 of the bill, which reads:

There shall be paid out of the fund to or for the 'benefit of veterans or their dependents or the widows or children of deceased veterans such amounts as the board may from time to time determine.

The purpose of the benevolent fund which is to be established by this bill is that it be administered and paid out for the benefit of veterans and their dependents. Subsection 2 of section 9 lays down certain principles which the board is to follow. These have been prepared by the committee in general terms so that the board will not be hamstrung, but will be guided in the application of the funds.

The remaining sections of the bill deal with matters of procedure. One important provision of the bill is that the board is to report to the minister who is defined as the Minister of Veterans Affairs. Consequently with the adoption of this measure and its enactment, this will cease to be a matter of direct concern to the Department of National Defence with which I am concerned, but will be the responsibility of the Minister of Veterans Affairs. This is in accordance with the policy put forward by the government and approved by parliament, that as far as possible all matters having to do with veterans should be the responsibility of the Department of Veterans Affairs.

As I have said, the report mainly provides for the enactment of a bill, but there is one additional proposal recommending that the government put forward legislation to coordinate the work of the Canadian naval service benevolent trust fund, the army benevolent fund board and the Royal Canadian Air Force benevolent board and establish a committee which would' insure as far as possible that the funds were administered on a uniform basis.

As hon. members are aware, the corresponding fund which came into being in connection with the profits earned from expenditures of members of the Royal Canadian Navy is dealt with by the Royal Canadian naval benevolent board which was created by P.C. 42/10672 on November 23, 1942. The naval benevolent fund was incorporated by dominion charter in July, 1945. The Royal Canadian Air Force benevolent fund is of an earlier origin, in that it was

Army Benevolent Fund

founded in 1934 and incorporated by dominion charter in July, 1944. These two funds have separate boards. It is the recommendation of the committee that as far as possible all these should be administered so as to secure uniform results. I am not speaking for the government on this, but I can assure the committee that that recommendation will have their most serious consideration, and as far as the Department of National Defence is concerned we shall use our good offices to see that as far a3 we possibly can there is close cooperation among the three funds.

The report itself refers to one thing to which I think I should make reference. It

says:

In this connection the committee is gratified to be able to report that, probably for the first time since the termination of world war I, all veteran organizations of national scope in Canada have collaborated in the preparation of a joint brief and have been unanimous in their recommendations.

This result is warmly appreciated. It is also fair to say that the recommendations of the committee are in substantial accord with all the submissions put before the committee, whether by organizations or individuals. According^ it is the view of the government that the bill, having received sound consideration and widespread support, should receive the favourable consideration of the house. Its object is to provide machinery for the careful expenditures of money created by the expenditures of the men and women of the army. It is designed to do that in a way which they themselves would like to see it done; that is, for the benefit of those of their number and their dependents who are in necessitous circumstances. It represents a true spirit of comradeship and an attitude of unqualified cooperation.

Topic:   ARMY BENEVOLENT FUND
Subtopic:   ESTABLISHMENT FROM ARMY CANTEEN AND OTHER
Sub-subtopic:   SERVICE FUNDS-PROVISION FOR BOARD OF ADMINISTRATION
Permalink
LIB

Leslie Alexander Mutch

Liberal

Mr. MUTCH:

If I have learned one thing as chairman of the committee whose report is being discussed at the moment it is that if you have something to say you should make it direct and brief. But no matter how important the considerations before us or how great the urge to get through, there is always time to take a moment or two to be courteous and to give expression to that courtesy. If the remarks of the minister as applied to the committee of the whole were justified, and I think they were, then I as chairman of the committee should like at this moment to express publicly to the committee my appreciation of the fine spirit of industry and of cooperation manifested by the members of the committee on canteen funds. If the remarks of the minister directed toward me

were in any way justified, I should like to say publicly that much of the efficiency, expedition and thoroughness of the work of that committee was due to one who is not a member of the committee, the capable secretary who was supplied to the committee, whose interest and knowledge of veterans affairs is the equal of that of any hon. member of the committee, and exceeds that of most of us. It is a bit unusual, but on behalf of the committee I should like to pay a word of tribute to Mr. Burgess, who was an able assistant to that committee.

Since the bill which the committee reported has come before the house intact I do not want to be in the position of placing any logs or stones in the path of its progress. Therefore, again expressing my appreciation of the work of the committee and expressing to the minister the appreciation of the committee for his kind words, I shall allow the committee to discuss the bill.

Topic:   ARMY BENEVOLENT FUND
Subtopic:   ESTABLISHMENT FROM ARMY CANTEEN AND OTHER
Sub-subtopic:   SERVICE FUNDS-PROVISION FOR BOARD OF ADMINISTRATION
Permalink
PC

Alfred Johnson Brooks

Progressive Conservative

Mr. BROOKS:

There is not very much that needs to be said regarding the bill. I simply wish to confirm what has already been said by the minister and by the hon. member for Winnipeg South. The committee was unanimous in the report. The work of the committee was congenial. Perhaps that was due to the chairman. I am not going to take away from him any credit which has been, given to him, except to say we all felt that our duty was to do our best for the returned men. I also think that we have learned a lot from the experience of handling the canteen funds of the first great war. We had the experience of having before us as witnesses men who had worked on these canteen funds since the first great war, and they helped us materially.

As the minister said, we also had representatives from the different returned men's organizations. Taking it all in all, there was no reason in the world why we should not bring in a unanimous report. The only matter on which perhaps there was any difference of opinion was regarding the air force and navy benevolent funds. They did not come within the terms of our reference; but as the minister has pointed out, we made a recommendation in that connection. I feel it was the general opinion of the committee that at some future date the matter should receive careful consideration by the government, possibly with the idea in view of placing these funds in the same position as the army benevolent fund, or the bill which is now before the house. Further than that I have nothing to say except that we were

Army Benevolent Fund

unanimous. We feel that the recommendations in this bill are good, that they will redound to the benefit of the returned men, and personally I see no reason why they should not receive the unanimous support of the house as they did in the committee.

Topic:   ARMY BENEVOLENT FUND
Subtopic:   ESTABLISHMENT FROM ARMY CANTEEN AND OTHER
Sub-subtopic:   SERVICE FUNDS-PROVISION FOR BOARD OF ADMINISTRATION
Permalink
CCF

John Oliver Probe

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

Mr. PROBE:

I wish briefly to support the remarks which have been made by the hon. member for Winnipeg South and the hon. member for Royal. A good deal of the credit for the work of the committee and the unanimity of the report is due to the fact that the submissions of the Legion and the other service men's organizations were concise and to the point, and based on actual experience of the work of the canteen fund committee following the first great war. There was of course a limitation in the terms of reference to the committee which prevented us from going into the matter of some uniformity of policy with respect to the disposal of canteen funds of the other two service organizations, the air force and the navy. I was glad that the minister referred to the fact that the committee has made a reference to the need for such legislation, and I trust it will not be forgotten, because the service men of all these organizations have an equal right to be considered twenty, thirty, forty or fifty years from now, or until that time when all canteen funds are exhausted.

There is a special feature of this bill which I think should be called to the attention of this committee. There is written into the bill itself a limited guarantee for some educational benefits to the children of needy veterans. These educational benefits are not placed on a competitive or scholarship basis, from the standpoint of academic standing, but rather on the basis of need, and therefore it will make it possible for needy children, especially of the deceased veterans, to receive an education which they might not otherwise be in a position to acquire. If there is one criticism of the veterans' charter it is the fact that while the returned man himself is looked after, and to a limited extent the widows of men killed * in action, we have not held the federal government responsible for the passing on to the child of such education as would likely have been its right had the father lived to provide it.

I am glad it is specifically emphasized in section 9 of this bill that the educational rights of the children- of needy or deceased veterans will be looked after. There is another thing that deserves commendation. There was some discussion as to whether or not we should have permanent force personnel on the continuing boards to administer this fund. We have

here a regulation which prevents employees of, the federal government from taking an active part in the work of administering the fund, and I believe that provision will get the support.of the public generally. The citizens of the country other than members of the civil service will be in- a position to administer it.

There is one minor point which escaped me at the time it went through the committee, and the minister might consider it at another time. I refer to the interest rate of two and one-half per cent which is mentioned in subsection 3 of section 3. There may have been an explanation for it in the committee at the time, but if so I have forgotten it. The fund, I submit, should earn the same rate of interest that the government generally pays for its money.

Beyond that, the members of our group are in hearty agreement with the general scope and provisions of the bill. It looks to me as though we shall be able to administer the $9 million odd left from the canteen fund operations to the benefit of the veterans and their families as a whole.

Mr. CHUiROH: I am glad that the soldiers of all parties Who sat on the committee have presented us with such a commendable bill. I happened to be on a similar committee that was set up after the last war and I moved a resolution at that time that the fund should be administered according to soldier population, so far as the sold-iers were concerned, in the various provinces equitably. Looking back, I am sorry that the act that was then passed did not afford the public protection that is written into this bill, namely, public control over the whole fund. I think there was some criticism of the manner in which the fund was provincially administered, particularly in one or two areas in Saskatchewan. I am pleased to note that the auditor general has control of the fund by audit, but I should like to see one of the clauses, that relating to education of veterans' children, made a little less stringent, because many of these veterans' children work very hard in the summer to earn their fees. In the last few days we have seen in the -newspapers pictures of some of them engaged in different forms of rather hard work.

On the whole, I wish to congratulate the committee and the house on the good work that has been done in connection with this bill. I think we ought to extend the principle and have similar cooperation in other directions. It would enhance the reputation of parliament before the people of the country as far as the conduct of the country's business is concerned.

Army Benevolent Fund

Topic:   ARMY BENEVOLENT FUND
Subtopic:   ESTABLISHMENT FROM ARMY CANTEEN AND OTHER
Sub-subtopic:   SERVICE FUNDS-PROVISION FOR BOARD OF ADMINISTRATION
Permalink
LIB

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

Liberal

The CHAIRMAN:

Do I gather from what has been said that hon. members are agreeable to all the clauses?

Topic:   ARMY BENEVOLENT FUND
Subtopic:   ESTABLISHMENT FROM ARMY CANTEEN AND OTHER
Sub-subtopic:   SERVICE FUNDS-PROVISION FOR BOARD OF ADMINISTRATION
Permalink
LIB

Walter Adam Tucker (Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Veterans Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. TUCKER:

With the exception of section 9. It is desired to ensure that the dependents of deceased veterans shall have the same rights as if the veterans were alive. It is therefore intended that a motion be made that subsection 1 of section 9 be amended by inserting the words "or former dependents" after the word "children' in line 21 on page 5 of the bill.

Topic:   ARMY BENEVOLENT FUND
Subtopic:   ESTABLISHMENT FROM ARMY CANTEEN AND OTHER
Sub-subtopic:   SERVICE FUNDS-PROVISION FOR BOARD OF ADMINISTRATION
Permalink
LIB

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

Liberal

The CHAIRMAN:

Shall sections 1 to 8 carry?

Topic:   ARMY BENEVOLENT FUND
Subtopic:   ESTABLISHMENT FROM ARMY CANTEEN AND OTHER
Sub-subtopic:   SERVICE FUNDS-PROVISION FOR BOARD OF ADMINISTRATION
Permalink
?

Mr HARKNESS:

There is one question I wish to ask with reference to section 3. Does this list of amounts credited to the fund include all the amounts which the committee considered should be included? I ask that because, going over it, I could not remember whether all the various funds which we thought should be credited to the account had been included in this list. As far as subsection 3 of section 3 is concerned, the amount for kitchen by-products is only for kitchen by-products which were secured overseas, and the amount for kitchen by-products in this country apparently is not there. I may be incorrect in that regard, but that is according to my recollection. Could the minister say whether everything we thought should be included has been included in the list?

Topic:   ARMY BENEVOLENT FUND
Subtopic:   ESTABLISHMENT FROM ARMY CANTEEN AND OTHER
Sub-subtopic:   SERVICE FUNDS-PROVISION FOR BOARD OF ADMINISTRATION
Permalink
LIB

Leslie Alexander Mutch

Liberal

Mr. MUTCH:

Perhaps I might be allowed to say a wrord. In the final report of the committee there was not included a recommendation with respect to kitchen by-products in Canada. After a discussion we had with the associate deputy minister, and1 the explanation that was made, the matter was not pressed. We did press for the inclusion of the whole of the sum overseas which had been designated1 with the regimental names, and for which claims had been entered at the time payment was made. I can say to the hon. member that the bill introduced today, with the exception of the amendment that was made a few moments ago, is in point of fact exactly the same bill that the committee finally recommended. The byproducts from the camps in Canada are not included in the bill, for reasons given in the committee.

Topic:   ARMY BENEVOLENT FUND
Subtopic:   ESTABLISHMENT FROM ARMY CANTEEN AND OTHER
Sub-subtopic:   SERVICE FUNDS-PROVISION FOR BOARD OF ADMINISTRATION
Permalink
IND

Herbert Wilfred Herridge

Independent C.C.F.

Mr. HERRIDGE:

I think the committee which dealt with this question has done an excellent jab. I have read1 the minutes and followed the proceedings of the committee, and I think they approached the question in a very fair and practical manner. I support 83166-321

the commendatory remarks made by hon. members who have spoken previously. Two features of the bill appeal to me particularly. One is the provision for a decentralized administration; the provincial committees and subcommittees will be close to the problem, and needs. I think that will make for successful administration of this act and of the fund. I am pleased also to see some provision for the education of veterans' children. In British Columbia for a good many years we have had an act which provides grants for the assistance of veterans' children, and it has done a great deal of good in these cases. I am particularly delighted with the provision of the bill.

Sections 1 to 8 inclusive agreed to.

Section 9 as amended agreed to.

Sections 10 to 13 inclusive agreed to.

Bill reported, read the third time and passed.

Topic:   ARMY BENEVOLENT FUND
Subtopic:   ESTABLISHMENT FROM ARMY CANTEEN AND OTHER
Sub-subtopic:   SERVICE FUNDS-PROVISION FOR BOARD OF ADMINISTRATION
Permalink

EXTERNAL AFFAIRS


Right Hon. L. S. ST. LAURENT (Secretary of State for External Affairs) moved that the house go into committee to consider the following resolution: That it is expedient to present a measure to provide pensions or other superannuation benefits for senior appointees of the Department of External Affairs serving outside Canada and the wives, widows and dependents thereof.


PC

Gordon Graydon

Progressive Conservative

Mr. GRAYDON:

Would the Secretary of

State for External Affairs mind giving us some explanation as to the purposes and objects of the proposed measure?

Mr. ST. LAURENT: I would not like

to precipitate a debate at this stage, I think it would be more practical to have the debate upon the bill, when hon. members will have it in their possession and can see just what we propose to do. The purpose of the legislation is to deal with the position of a small number of persons who have been brought in from outside the public service to head missions abroad. Our public service has developed so rapidly that it has not been possible to provide as heads of missions everywhere persons who were in the service and who were entitled to the benefits of the Superannuation Act. A few such persons have been appointed under conditions similar to those w'hich prevail in the selection and appointment of judges, and the purpose of this bill is to provide pensions which in a general way would be somewhat similar to

External Affairs

those provided under the Judges Act but which would be contributory whilst the pensions under the Judges Act are noncontributory.

There are two or three other provisions in the bill to take care of the continuation of the pension rights of those from other branches of the civil service who are made heads of missions in foreign countries. The bill will deal with a small number of eases, of which I can give the details when we deal with the bill, to show how each section will apply to them. If it suited the convenience of hon. members to allow the resolution to pass, the bill could be distributed at once and would be brought on for discussion as soon as it can be reached. A full discussion may be held on the second reading, when the terms of the legislation would be before hon. members.

Topic:   ARMY BENEVOLENT FUND
Subtopic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Sub-subtopic:   PENSION OR SUPERANNUATION BENEFITS TO SENIOR APPOINTEES SERVING OUTSIDE CANADA
Permalink
PC

George Russell Boucher

Progressive Conservative

Mr. G. RUSSELL BOUCHER (Carleton):

Mr. Speaker, from the explanation given by the minister I understand the main purport of the bill is to provide superannuation for those of our senior servants in the Department of External Affairs, principally diplomats-

Mr. ST. LAURENT: Exclusively diplomats, serving outside Canada.

Topic:   ARMY BENEVOLENT FUND
Subtopic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Sub-subtopic:   PENSION OR SUPERANNUATION BENEFITS TO SENIOR APPOINTEES SERVING OUTSIDE CANADA
Permalink

July 3, 1947