February 16, 1948

PRIVILEGE

MB. SINCLAIR-TRAVELLING EXPENSES OF MEMBERS BETWEEN RESIDENCE AND OTTAWA

LIB

James Sinclair

Liberal

Mr. JAMES SINCLAIR (Vancouver North):

Mr. Speaker, I rise to a question of privilege affecting the hon. member for Comox-Alberni (Mr. Gibson), myself, and every member in the house who comes from a distance to attend parliament. At the beginning of the last session we went to the accountant of the House of Commons and submitted our travelling expenses, along with receipts, in accordance with the Senate and House of Commons Act, section 43(1) of which states:

For each session of parliament, there shall also be allowed to each member of the Senate and of the House of Commons his actual moving or transportation expenses, and reasonable living expenses while on the journey between his place of residence and Ottawa, going and coming, once each way.

When we applied to the House of Commons accountant for payment of those expense accounts we were informed that Your Honour had ruled our accounts out of order. No reason was given, but the inference was that because we travelled by air our accounts were not in order.

I submit that the House of Commons Act makes no limitations as to the type of transportation to be used. When the first British Columbia members came here they came by sailing ship to San Francisco, across the continent by rail and then north by stage, for a matter of twenty-six days. Since that time we have had rail transportation; and since the advent of the Trans-Canada air lines, cabinet ministers, businessmen and civil servants have travelled back and forth by air. But we have been limited to travel by rail. If Your Honour will examine the public accounts for 1944 you will find that one Vancouver member travelled by air and at Easter adjournment in 1946 and 1947 members travelled by air. The hon. member for Yukon (Mr. Black) informs me that he regularly travels by air and his accounts are approved. For the pre-Christmas session, the British Columbia members who travelled by rail had to spend eight days

travelling to attend a session lasting eleven days. Moreover, those who went home by rail arrived only the day before Christmas.

We suffer enough by being absent from our homes for six months without having to drag ourselves across the continent by rail, and as a member of parliament I request that Your Honour give the reason which you gave to the accountant of the House of Commons as to why the expense accounts for the hon. member for Comox-Alberni and myself were refused.

Topic:   PRIVILEGE
Subtopic:   MB. SINCLAIR-TRAVELLING EXPENSES OF MEMBERS BETWEEN RESIDENCE AND OTTAWA
Permalink
LIB

James Horace King (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER:

The hon. member may be assured that due consideration will be given to the matter.

Topic:   PRIVILEGE
Subtopic:   MB. SINCLAIR-TRAVELLING EXPENSES OF MEMBERS BETWEEN RESIDENCE AND OTTAWA
Permalink
LIB

James Sinclair

Liberal

Mr. SINCLAIR:

With all due respect, you have already made your decision. I am only asking that as a member of parliament I be afforded the same courtesy as is given the accountant of the House of Commons.

Topic:   PRIVILEGE
Subtopic:   MB. SINCLAIR-TRAVELLING EXPENSES OF MEMBERS BETWEEN RESIDENCE AND OTTAWA
Permalink
LIB

James Horace King (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER:

I call the attention of the hon. member to a very well known rule, that the Speaker should not be questioned from the floor of the house. I have noted the remarks made by the hon. member, and he may be assured that due consideration will be given them.

Topic:   PRIVILEGE
Subtopic:   MB. SINCLAIR-TRAVELLING EXPENSES OF MEMBERS BETWEEN RESIDENCE AND OTTAWA
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VETERANS AFFAIRS

PENSIONS AND STUDENT TRAINING ALLOWANCES -STATEMENT OF PRIME MINISTER

LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Right Hon. W. L. MACKENZIE KING (Prime Minister):

Mr. Speaker, I wish to make a statement to the house with respect to pensions and) student veterans' training allowances.

On the 19th December, 1947, I made a statement in this house respecting veterans pensions in the course of which I said that "in the case of disabled veterans and pensioned widows, the government will introduce legislation during the present session of parliament to amend the Pension Act, in order to provide for an increase in rates of compensation", and that such "increases will be made effective as of October 1, 1947".

During the recess of parliament the government continued to give careful consideration to the adequacy of the pensions in respect of disability and death, and particularly to the provision for dependents. Representations

Veterans Affairs

were received1 from the national organizations of ex-service men and women, and the entire situation was reviewed by the Department and by the government.

I am pleased to announce that a bill to amend the Pension Act is now virtually ready for introduction. I am prepared at once to give in outline what the government intends to propose:

(a) The basic scale of pensions for total disability and death will be increased and, for all ranks up to and including that of captain, the compensation will be at a rate in excess of that at present being paid on behalf of captains.

(b) The additional pension which is being paid on behalf of the wives and children of disability pensioners, and' the children of pensioned widows, will be substantially increased, as will the awards to orphan children.

(c) The maximum award to the eligible parent or parents of a member of the forces who has died will be correspondingly increased.

With the consent of the house I shall now table a schedule reflecting the upward1 adjustments I have outlined. It is estimated that these adjustments over present rates will involve a total increase in cost of approximately $12,000,000.

These increased rates will, to a greater or lesser degree, affect over 400,000 persons and in accordance with my original announcement, will be effective from October 1. 1947. The government is anxious to have these retroactive payments made as early as possible. Although everything possible will be done to enable this to be accomplished, it will necessarily be a matter of some weeks, after authority is received, before the adjustment cheques can be ready.

The government has also been giving close and sympathetic consideration to the position of veterans in training, both vocational and university. It has been decided to change the schedule of training rates to provide increases to married veterans, and to those with dependents, in conformity with the rates in this schedule which I now table.

The effect of these increases will be as follows: A married veteran while taking

training will receive $90 per month instead of $80. In addition, there will be payable on behalf of the first child $18 instead of $12, and for the second child $14, with proportionate increases for succeeding children, so that a married veteran with three children will receive $134 per month instead of $114. In addition to these rates, tuition fees will continue to be paid.

The increased rates are effective as from January 1, 1948. It is hoped that the increases will overcome many of the difficulties being experienced by married veteran students.

Topic:   VETERANS AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   PENSIONS AND STUDENT TRAINING ALLOWANCES -STATEMENT OF PRIME MINISTER
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PC

George Randolph Pearkes

Progressive Conservative

Mr. PEARKES:

Is provision being made for increases under the War Veterans Allowance Act?

Hon. MILTON F. GREGG (Minister of Veterans Affairs): The amendments to the War Veterans Allowance Act are still under study, and the proposals will be completed before the end of the present week.

On the orders of the day:

Topic:   VETERANS AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   PENSIONS AND STUDENT TRAINING ALLOWANCES -STATEMENT OF PRIME MINISTER
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PC

Gordon Graydon

Progressive Conservative

Mr. GORDON GRAYDON (Peel):

I wish to ask the Prime Minister a question based upon his announcement that legislation is proposed with respect to an increase in veterans' pensions and allowances. I understand that the increases cannot be made effective until the legislation has passed through parliament. If that is so, may I suggest to the Prime Minister that when the legislation is brought in we give it priority. We give priority to veterans generally, and I think we should give priority to this legislation.

Topic:   VETERANS AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   PENSIONS AND STUDENT TRAINING ALLOWANCES -STATEMENT OF PRIME MINISTER
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PC

Howard Charles Green

Progressive Conservative

Mr. GREEN:

A further question along the same line: Is it the intention to send that

amendment to the Pension Act to the special committee?

Topic:   VETERANS AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   PENSIONS AND STUDENT TRAINING ALLOWANCES -STATEMENT OF PRIME MINISTER
Permalink
LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

To send which amendment?

Topic:   VETERANS AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   PENSIONS AND STUDENT TRAINING ALLOWANCES -STATEMENT OF PRIME MINISTER
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PC

Howard Charles Green

Progressive Conservative

Mr. GREEN:

Is it the intention to send to the special committee being set up to consider veterans affairs the bill amending the Pension Act?

Topic:   VETERANS AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   PENSIONS AND STUDENT TRAINING ALLOWANCES -STATEMENT OF PRIME MINISTER
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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

I cannot give an answer at the moment, but I will have a reply later.

Topic:   VETERANS AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   PENSIONS AND STUDENT TRAINING ALLOWANCES -STATEMENT OF PRIME MINISTER
Permalink
CCF

Gladys Grace Mae Strum

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

Mrs. STRUM:

The Prime Minister mentioned married student veterans. Does that mean there will be no increase in the allowances to the unmarried man or girl veteran?

Topic:   VETERANS AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   PENSIONS AND STUDENT TRAINING ALLOWANCES -STATEMENT OF PRIME MINISTER
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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

I can speak for the unmarried man; there will be none for him. My hon. friend, the Minister of Veterans Affairs, may speak for the ladies.

Some lion. MEMBERS: Oh, oh.

Topic:   VETERANS AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   PENSIONS AND STUDENT TRAINING ALLOWANCES -STATEMENT OF PRIME MINISTER
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CCF

Gladys Grace Mae Strum

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

Mrs. STRUM:

Student veterans.

Topic:   VETERANS AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   PENSIONS AND STUDENT TRAINING ALLOWANCES -STATEMENT OF PRIME MINISTER
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LIB

Milton Fowler Gregg (Minister of Veterans Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. GREGG:

It , is correct; there is no increase indicated for the unmarried veteran.

Topic:   VETERANS AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   PENSIONS AND STUDENT TRAINING ALLOWANCES -STATEMENT OF PRIME MINISTER
Permalink
CCF

Gladys Grace Mae Strum

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

Mrs. STRUM:

Or the girls.

Topic:   VETERANS AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   PENSIONS AND STUDENT TRAINING ALLOWANCES -STATEMENT OF PRIME MINISTER
Permalink

February 16, 1948