March 11, 1948


On the orders of the day:


PC

Arthur Leroy Smith

Progressive Conservative

Mr. A. L. SMITH (Calgary West):

I should like to repeat a question I have asked for the last two days, as to what has been done or what is the government policy with respect to the exclusion of known communists at our ports of entry. The Secretary of State for External Affairs was kind1 enough to tell me that when the Minister of Mines and Resources returned I would have an answer; but surely, sir, this must be a matter of government policy, and surely somebody can answer the question. This is Thursday; tomorrow is Friday, and then we go into next week. I should like to be sure I get an answer this week.

Right Hon. L. S. ST. LAURENT (Secretary of State for External Affairs): Mr. Speaker, I did not prepare any special answer to the question, but I can say this much. The sections of the act and the regulations have been under review by the members of the government in the light of known conditions with respect to certain persons who could be described as known communists, who were believed to be coming to Canada for the purpose of exercising here activities which under the Taft-Hartley Act they can no longer exercise in the United States. The decision has been that the immigration officers are to be asked or directed to take the view that under the existing law and regulations such persons are not admissible to Canada.

Topic:   IMMIGRATION
Subtopic:   INQUIRY AS TO POLICY WITH RESPECT TO COMMUNISTS
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PC

Arthur Leroy Smith

Progressive Conservative

Mr. SMITH (Calgary West):

Then may I ask a supplementary question, to make sure I understand the position. My impression has been that we have always had the authority, by statute or by regulation, and' that there are now instructions that these shall be enforced. Is that the simple position?

Mr. ST. LAURENT: The position is

simply that we have no more authority at the present time because of this view taken by the government than we had before, but that the present circumstances, known to us at this time, seem to make the law and the regulations applicable in such a way as to prevent the granting of entry to Canada to such persons.

Topic:   IMMIGRATION
Subtopic:   INQUIRY AS TO POLICY WITH RESPECT TO COMMUNISTS
Permalink
PC

Arthur Leroy Smith

Progressive Conservative

Mr. SMITH (Calgary West):

In short, we have always had the authority but have not used it?

Mr. ST. LAURENT: We always had the authority if we had the evidence that the individual to whom it was to be applied came within the terms of the statute and regulations, and we now feel there are a number of persons with respect to whom we have that evidence.

Topic:   IMMIGRATION
Subtopic:   INQUIRY AS TO POLICY WITH RESPECT TO COMMUNISTS
Permalink
CCF

Wilbert Ross Thatcher

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

Mr. THATCHER:

Then I should like to a.-k a supplementary question. Has the government recently taken any steps to cancel ihe immigration permits of American communist labour leaders already in Canada?

Mr. ST. LAURENT: I am afraid that is a matter of departmental administration, and I would not like to speak from what is my general impression. I would wish to have that impression confirmed by the officers of the immigration branch. I will ask them for accurate information about it. I hope the minister will be in his seat tomorrow. If he is not I shall endeavour to obtain the information from his department.

Topic:   IMMIGRATION
Subtopic:   INQUIRY AS TO POLICY WITH RESPECT TO COMMUNISTS
Permalink
PC

Arthur Leroy Smith

Progressive Conservative

Mr. SMITH (Calgary West):

You might include England; I am thinking of Pollitt.

Topic:   IMMIGRATION
Subtopic:   INQUIRY AS TO POLICY WITH RESPECT TO COMMUNISTS
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PC

William Earl Rowe

Progressive Conservative

Mr. ROWE:

In view of this question as to the entry of communists into Canada, would the minister tell us what types of communists, different from those already here, might be kept out?

Mr. ST. LAURENT: I should not like to

express any opinion with respect to a comparison between individuals in Canada and those outside.

Topic:   IMMIGRATION
Subtopic:   INQUIRY AS TO POLICY WITH RESPECT TO COMMUNISTS
Permalink

PENSION ACT

RATES OF PENSION FOR DISABILITY AND DEATH


Hon. MILTON F. GREGG (Minister of Veterans Affairs) moved the second reading of Bill No. 126, to amend the Pension Act. He said: Mr. Speaker, in submitting this bill for second reading I shall try this afternoon to confine my remarks to points related directly to the bill and of interest in general to all members of the house, since a more detailed examination will, I hope, be possible by the members of the select committee. It is a biii proposing certain amendments. The general principle I think might be indicated as follows: a greater degree of compensation to those who have suffered on account of disability or death due to war services in the armed forces of our country. The bill is designed to increase that compensation and to effect other changes intended to improve the administration of the Pension Act. Pension Act Amendment



There is another subsidiary principle implied in the bill which was not recognized in the original Pension Act of 1916. In the middle of the old war one might perhaps guess that the terms of the original act were worked out in relation to the practice after former campaigns, campaigns in which a professional army went off, did its work, came back and was demobilized; and the scale for compensation for pension for various ranks was worked out bearing a direct relationship to the pay of those ranks when in the service. Following 1916 the first upward adjustment of pensions was made in the year 1919. Then for the first time there came a recognition of new factors inherent in the make-up of a citizen armed force. Ever since then all ranks up to ex junior officers-here captains or equivalents-all received the same rate of pension, and all increases have been concentrated entirely upon that group of pensioners. That policy is continued in this bill. I might say there that the proposed new basic scale of pension for disability and death is in excess of the rate being paid at the moment for captains. Following are the total numbers of awards payable at present to officers of the rank of major, or equivalent, and above. This is for both wars. The total of such officers now pensionable is 1,824 out of a total of pensionable all ranks of 199250. I might refer here to a little bit of ancient history on pensions. In accordance with recommendations of a special parliamentary committee as far back as 1919 a bonus of twenty per cent over the basic rate of pension then in force for the rank and file was authorized by the Pension Act of 1919. The cost of living index for that year was 126-5. In view of the possibility that in future years prices might recede, the committee was of the opinion that increases in pension should be in the main effected by way of a bonus to be continued until such time as the cost of living warranted its modification. This bonus was increased to fifty per cent by the 1920 amendments to the Pension Act, and authorized in such a manner as to make the pensions for others ranks equal to that of lieutenant, or equivalent. The cost of living index for July 1920 was 150-6. The average for the year 1920 was 145-5. The bonus as such was authorized each year until June 27. 1925 when schedules A and B of the statute were re-enacted so as to include the bonus in the basic rate of pension, and this has remained in effect notwithstanding subsequent reductions in the cost of living. The cost of living index was 119-8 in June, 1925. [Hr. Gregg.] Recently, questions have been asked me outside the house somewhat as follows: Is it the government's intention that this present proposed increase constitute a new basic scale of pensions, or is it intended that the increase slide up and down in direct relation to the future cost of living index? The answer to that and similar questions is this: The government does propose in this bill an increase in the basic rate of pension and it is not intended that it should fluctuate according to the changing cost of living index. I should like now to give the house a brief outline of the main proposals contained in Bill No. 126 to amend the Pension Act. Amendment 1 can be dealt with by saying that it will be appreciated by hon. members that a member of the forces cannot be considered as an applicant for pension until his retirement or discharge from service is effected. After world war I some members of the permanent force were retired one day and retaken on strength the following day, and awarded pension for service disabilities. Many who served in world war II elected to serve with the interim force and continued with the active force. They have never been boarded for retirement or discharge from service in world war II. There appears no reason why their claims should not be considered, and the proposed amendment will rectify the situation. Amendment 2: This amendment gives effect to the proclamation in the Canada Gazette whereby, for purposes of the Pension Act, the first day of April 1947 was declared as the date of termination of world war II. Amendment 3: The amendment provides for an increase in the salary of the chairman, as recommended by the Gordon commission report of July 1946. It also provides for the deputy chairman and the commissioners. Amendments 4 and 5: The explanatory notes are sufficient; I believe they are completely self-explanatory. Amendment 6: This amendment provides for an equalizing increase in the scale of awards of helplessness allowance to officers of the rank of captain to lieutenant-colonel, or equivalent, inclusive, as otherwise they would have received less than the total pension payment to those of lower rank. Amendments 7 and 8 are to provide for certain necessary administrative changes. Amendment 9 provides additional compensation to a parent. When a member of the forces died and left a widow or a widow and children entitled to pension, and in addition a dependent parent, the act provided an award of $180 per annum to such parent. In Pension Act Amendment 1944 this was increased to $360 and it is now proposed to make a further increase to $480 per year. Amendment 10 is a much needed amendment to meet a few special cases. I will give hon. members an example. A South African veteran in receipt of 100 per cent pension died but his widow was not eligible for an award under British ministry regulations. This amendment will establish equality for all Canadians who served with the Canadian contingents in the South African war on the same basis as those who served in world wars I and II. In the case of amendments 11 and 12, the former is mainly administrative.


LIB

James Horace King (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER:

I am sorry to interrupt the minister, but on second reading of a bill only the principle should be discussed. I suggest that if the minister wishes to cover the amendments he just mention them rather than discuss them in detail.

Topic:   PENSION ACT
Subtopic:   RATES OF PENSION FOR DISABILITY AND DEATH
Sub-subtopic:   SALARIES OF PENSION COMMISSIONERS
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CCF

Thomas John Bentley

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

Mr. BENTLEY:

If it is within the right of the house to give unanimous consent for the minister to continue to do what he is doing, I suggest that it be given.

Topic:   PENSION ACT
Subtopic:   RATES OF PENSION FOR DISABILITY AND DEATH
Sub-subtopic:   SALARIES OF PENSION COMMISSIONERS
Permalink
SC

John Horne Blackmore

Social Credit

Mr. BLACKMORE:

I would like to have the minister proceed as he has planned to proceed, because he is doing a good job.

Topic:   PENSION ACT
Subtopic:   RATES OF PENSION FOR DISABILITY AND DEATH
Sub-subtopic:   SALARIES OF PENSION COMMISSIONERS
Permalink
LIB

James Horace King (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER:

I suggest to the minister and to the house that the rules should be followed. There will be an opportunity in committee to discuss the bill clause by clause. Only the principle of the bill should be discussed on second reading, otherwise we shall be exposing ourselves to having discussion twice of the same subject.

Topic:   PENSION ACT
Subtopic:   RATES OF PENSION FOR DISABILITY AND DEATH
Sub-subtopic:   SALARIES OF PENSION COMMISSIONERS
Permalink
SC

John Horne Blackmore

Social Credit

Mr. BLACKMORE:

Could not Your

Honour make an exception in this particular case, inasmuch as the minister is ready to make his speech?

Topic:   PENSION ACT
Subtopic:   RATES OF PENSION FOR DISABILITY AND DEATH
Sub-subtopic:   SALARIES OF PENSION COMMISSIONERS
Permalink
LIB

Milton Fowler Gregg (Minister of Veterans Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. GREGG:

I shall be glad to comply with your ruling, sir, and to resume before the parliamentary committee the giving of the information with respect to the amendments.

Topic:   PENSION ACT
Subtopic:   RATES OF PENSION FOR DISABILITY AND DEATH
Sub-subtopic:   SALARIES OF PENSION COMMISSIONERS
Permalink
CCF

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

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

Mr. KNOWLES:

On the point of order, may I point out that it has been more or less agreed that once second reading has been given this bill it will be referred to the committee on veterans affairs, after which it comes back to the committee of the whole. As there is so much interest in this matter perhaps unanimous consent might be noted by Your Honour and the minister permitted to proceed.

Topic:   PENSION ACT
Subtopic:   RATES OF PENSION FOR DISABILITY AND DEATH
Sub-subtopic:   SALARIES OF PENSION COMMISSIONERS
Permalink
PC

William Earl Rowe

Progressive Conservative

Mr. ROWE:

The Speaker's ruling is not debatable.

Topic:   PENSION ACT
Subtopic:   RATES OF PENSION FOR DISABILITY AND DEATH
Sub-subtopic:   SALARIES OF PENSION COMMISSIONERS
Permalink
LIB

James Horace King (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER:

Hon. members will realize that if unanimous consent is given to do this the house will be exposing itself to a discussion of the clauses of the bill when it is up for second reading. I suggest to hon. members that as this bill is to be referred to a committee and then brought back to the committee of the whole house it would be preferable if the minister and the house would abide by the rules and discuss only the principle of the bill.

Topic:   PENSION ACT
Subtopic:   RATES OF PENSION FOR DISABILITY AND DEATH
Sub-subtopic:   SALARIES OF PENSION COMMISSIONERS
Permalink

March 11, 1948