April 7, 1949

LIB

Ralph Melville Warren

Liberal

Mr. Warren:

May I put a question to the hon. gentleman? If he would just answer my question, which is a reasonable one-

[The Deputy Chairman.]

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LIB

William Henry Golding (Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole)

Liberal

The Deputy Chairman:

Order. The hon. member should resume his seat.

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PC

Howard Charles Green

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Green:

The third argument I wish to place before the house is that the money required to pay this increased basic pension would, of course, have to be paid by the Canadian people. They have shown that they are in favour of an increase in the amount paid. On February 23, 1949, a

Gallup poll reported on this question of the amount people thought should be paid by way of old age pensions. The report reads:

The old age pension rate issue holds keen interest amongst Canadian voters, the great majority of whom would favour notably higher benefits.

At another point the article reads:

The amounts advocated in the most recent study were: $20 or less, one per cent; $21 to $30, 4 per cent;-

-so that at the present time the government is only meeting the wishes of 5 per cent of the people queried in this poll.

$31 to $40, 11 per cent; $41 to $50, 29 per cent; $51 to $60, 17 per cent; $61 to $99, 21 per cent; $100 or over, 9 per cent; no suggestion offered, 8 per cent.

This poll virtually indicates that the vast majority of the people of Canada believe the old age pension should be increased. They are taking into consideration of course the amounts actually received which, in some provinces, are over $30 at the present time.

These senior citizens of Canada and our blind citizens are in a trapped group. They can secure no increase in their wages. They are on a fixed income. The cost of their living has gone up. I know in my own city of Vancouver many of them are in a tragic position. They are not given any help at all by the present budget. They seem to be the forgotten men and women of Canada, in these days of huge national income and of large surpluses. I submit, Mr. Chairman, that is not good enough for Canada in this year 1949. I urge that the government at this session raise the basic pension to at least $40.

With these old people time is of great importance. A year from now many of them will have passed away. They are always faced with that time element. I do urge the government to increase the basic pension at this session to at least $40 per month. I point out that it had better act quickly because if it does not act at this session, the new Progressive Conservative government will put through this increase.

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LIB

Paul Joseph James Martin (Minister of National Health and Welfare)

Liberal

Mr. Martin:

Mr. Chairman, this item of course does not interfere with the general administration or policy of the department in so far as old age pensions are concerned. In view of the amount, and in view of the fact

that it can be taken care of in another way,

I would move that item No. 607 be withdrawn.

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Motion agreed to.


PC

George Alexander Drew (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Drew:

Mr. Chairman, before the resolution is reported I would recall that I indicated earlier I had an objection to one item of these estimates. Before expressing opposition to the reporting at this time, simply upon the basis of the national defence estimates discussed earlier, I would once again urge the government to give an undertaking, in view of the discussion that has taken place, to set up a select committee to inquire into the present plans and future requirements of the Department of National Defence. Failing that, and simply as an expression of opposition to the unwillingness to give such an undertaking, I would certainly oppose the reporting at the present time.

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LIB

William Henry Golding (Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole)

Liberal

The Deputy Chairman:

Shall I report progress and ask leave to sit again?

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PC

George Alexander Drew (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Drew:

On division.

Resolution reported, read the second time and concurred in.

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WAYS AND MEANS

LIB

Douglas Charles Abbott (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Hon. Douglas Abbott (Minister of Finance) moved

that the house go into committee of ways and means.

Motion agreed to and the house went into committee, Mr. Golding in the chair.

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LIB

Douglas Charles Abbott (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. Abbott moved:

Resolved, that towards making good the supply granted to His Majesty on account of certain expenses of the public service for the fiscal year ending 31st March, 1949, the following sum be granted out of the consolidated revenue fund of Canada, namely:

The sum of $100,904,073.87 being the amount of each of the items set forth in the further supplementary estimates for the fiscal year ending March 31, 1949, as set forth in the resolution concurred in this day in the committee of supply.

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CCF

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

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

Mr. Knowles:

Mr. Chairman, may I ask whether that figure allows for the reduction of $5,500?

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LIB

Douglas Charles Abbott (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. Abbott:

No, it does not; it should be amended accordingly.

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LIB

Alphonse Fournier (Minister of Public Works; Leader of the Government in the House of Commons; Liberal Party House Leader)

Liberal

Mr. Fournier (Hull):

I move that it be amended by decreasing the amount by $5,500.

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CCF

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

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

Mr. Knowles:

Mr. Chairman, speaking on the amendment moved by the Minister of Public Works (Mr. Fournier), I wish to state my objection to this method of cutting off discussion of this very important question. It is quite clear that that is all that was done. It seems to me, Mr. Chairman, particularly in view of the rumours in the press that something is going to be done for these people at this session, that the Minister of

Supply-Ways and Means National Health and Welfare (Mr. Martin) owes it to this house and to the country to make an announcement at the earliest possible moment. If he is not prepared to make it tonight, he should make a statement by tomorrow afternoon, before this house adjourns for the Easter recess.

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LIB

Paul Joseph James Martin (Minister of National Health and Welfare)

Liberal

Mr. Martin:

May I reply to what the hon. gentleman has said. He will have every opportunity in the budget debate, as he has had throughout this session, and I want to say to him that we on this side will take second place to no group in this house with regard to what we have done and are doing for the old age pensioners.

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CCF

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

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

Mr. Knowles:

Try and tell that to the old age pensioners.

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LIB

George Henry Ross

Liberal

Mr. Ross (Si. Paul's):

The Minister of

National Health and Welfare has made a statement to the effect that every hon. member has had every opportunity of speaking in connection with the subject which has just been brought up by the member for Winnipeg North Centre. I want to tell the minister that in the forty minutes allotted to a member he cannot deal properly with more than one subject. The minister does not need to leave the impression that every hon. member has had an opportunity of speaking on this subject.

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PC

Donald Methuen Fleming

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Fleming:

I just want to ask the Minister of National Health and Welfare a question. He indicated that the hon. member who made the protest would have an opportunity of speaking in the budget debate. I ask the minister if all hon. members in the house are going to have that opportunity, and if the minister will give the house the assurance that the budget debate will be allowed to run its full course so that every hon. member in this house who wishes to speak in that debate will have that opportunity.

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April 7, 1949