June 22, 1951

PRIVATE BILLS

FIRST READING


Bill No. 394, for the relief of Marie Elizabeth Rose Ange Cousineau Brousseau. - Mr. Winkler.


BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

INQUIRY AS TO FURTHER LEGISLATION


On the orders of the day:


PC

Gordon Graydon

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Gordon Graydon (Peel):

Mr. Speaker, might I ask the Prime Minister whether the order paper as it stands at present contains all the legislation that we shall be asked to deal with during this part of the session?

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LIB

Louis Stephen St-Laurent (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Right Hon. L. S. St. Laurent (Prime Minister):

I think there are still one or two bills which are now before the other place and which may be sent over here in the course of the day. But with that reservation I think that the order paper covers everything that the house will be asked to deal with, and perhaps more, before it is suggested that we adjourn.

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PC

Gordon Graydon

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Graydon:

There may be a surplus.

The house in committee of supply, Mr. Dion in the chair.

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DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS


535. Departmental administration, $2,208,070.


PC

Alfred Johnson Brooks

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Brooks:

Before this item carries, Mr. Chairman, I should like to make a few remarks on veterans affairs. I am sure that all hon. members realize that the estimates of the Department of Veterans Affairs are probably the most important estimates we have coming before the committee, and the estimates which have most to do with the lives of a great many of our people.

At the outset I should like to say that I was pleased indeed that the veterans affairs committee was set up this session. On many occasions I have advocated that there should be a standing committee on veterans affairs in this house, and I am more convinced than ever that this is necessary. The committee had twelve meetings; many important matters

were brought before it, and many suggestions were made for improvements in veterans legislation.

In my opinion the problem of veterans, as it exists today, was just touched on by the committee. Certainly there was a feeling in the committee that our work was not finished. When we came here at the beginning of this session it was obvious to most hon. members that there were certain problems relating to veterans affairs which must have attention, and I am satisfied that many hon. members, and most people in the country, felt that certain matters would be discussed and dealt with. The fact that conditions are changing so rapidly in the country, that the plight of the veteran is changing perhaps more than that of any other class of people, made us realize this fact.

Referring to the desirability of having a permanent veterans affairs committee, I might say that to my knowledge since veterans affairs were first discussed in the house there have been about eighteen veterans affairs committees. Meetings of those committees were held at a time when veterans affairs were perhaps not the serious problem that they are today. Before 1939 and 1940 we had just the veterans of world war I to deal with. Now we have the problem not only of the veterans of world war I-and then-problems are becoming more serious every year as they increase in age-but also of the returned veterans of world war II, and added to those we now have the problems of the men who are serving in the Korean theatre of war.

We had hoped that in the veterans affairs committee the two main problems concerning veterans of today, namely, an increase in the basic rate of pension, and an increase in war veterans allowances, would be discussed. Unfortunately that was not the case. We were not placed in a position to deal with these two very important problems.

Canada is becoming very social-conscious in her welfare legislation. Yesterday we dealt with the matter of old age pensions, and I am sure we are all pleased indeed that this problem is receiving so much attention, and that provisions are being made for more adequate treatment of the old people of this country. We have also heard many times in this house requests for an increase in the cost of living bonus for

Supply-Veterans Affairs civil servants and other employees. We realize that the present wages which they receive are not adequate. We have also noted that there have been great increases in wages in different kinds of employment throughout the country. We also realize that our money is greatly depreciated, to the extent that a dollar which ten or twelve years ago would buy a dollar's worth of goods, today will do little better than buy fifty per cent of that amount on the same basis. Therefore I say, Mr. Chairman, that the lot of the pensioner and the veteran in Canada today is not a very pleasant one. For this reason we in the committee felt-at least some of us-that these matters should receive the first consideration of the veterans affairs committee.

I personally was sorry and disappointed that no increase was made in the basic rate of pension this year. I was also sorry and disappointed that the matter of war veterans allowance was not considered by the veterans affairs committee, and that this serious problem was in no way discussed. I might ask, what alternative to this problem is the government offering the veteran? It is this. We have before us item 650 in the supplementary estimates of the Department of Finance. As hon. members know, it was under long discussion in the veterans affairs committee, and received severe criticism. It was also a matter which was severely criticized not only by the veterans of the veterans affairs committees, but by all veterans organizations across Canada. There was not one veterans organization which appeared before the veterans affairs committee which gave its approval of this item as solving the basic problem of the veterans at this time. Perhaps I might just read the item 650 to which I am referring. It is as follows:

650. To provide financial assistance after the thirty-first of May, 1951, in accordance with regulations to be made by the governor in council, to unemployable veterans who are in receipt of pension under the Pension Act for a disability which is a major factor contributing to their unemployability, $2,000,000.

I might say at the outset, Mr. Chairman, that the word "major" was struck out. The item was amended to that extent, and it should read:

. . . for a disability which is a factor contributing to their unemployability.

This was a wise amendment, and received the unanimous approval of the veterans of the committee. When one reads this item it may sound as if it were not very much astray on the face of it, since it purports to be of help to veterans who are unemployable. It gives it to pensioners, single men who have thirty-five per cent disability and who are

unemployable, and married pensioners with forty-five per cent disability and unemployable.

According to the deputy minister of veterans affairs, some 6,000 pensioners will be benefited in Canada. I would point out, Mr. Chairman, that this is 6,000 out of 162,000 veterans receiving pensions.

As I said a few moments ago, the different veterans organizations throughout Canada appeared before the veterans committee, and they were in accord in their objection to this unemployable allowance. They did not approve this way of handling their problems. For the benefit of the committee I should like to read some of the statements which were made by the leaders of these different organizations. Group Captain Alfred Watts, president of the Canadian Legion, said at page 78 of the proceedings of the committee:

If the proposed supplementary allowances were to be in addition to an adequate pension, they might be worthy of careful study. As has been pointed out, often times, under certain local conditions where physical fitness is a prerequisite for employment, such as in the coal mines or steel works of Cape Breton, a comparatively minor physical disability may result in unemployability. In such a case the proposed legislation might serve a very real need. But if this legislation is proposed in lieu of an adequate pension, as it is, then it is pernicious in the extreme.

Dr. Lumsden, vice-president of the Canadian Legion, a man who has made a very thorough study of Canadian problems and pension legislation, and who is considered throughout Canada as an authority on this matter, had this to say, as set out at page 83 of our proceedings:

It should be obvious that once you repudiate the cost of living and wage indices as norms and make relief contingent on need, then you have in fact introduced the means test into the pension legislation. That is inescapable. The Minister of D.V.A. insists that this supplementary allowance for unemployable veterans does not introduce a means test in the pension. But we would be false to our responsibility as a veterans organization if we did not emphatically assure him that if the total disability pensioner must establish unemployability before he receives a minimal subsistence allowance then it certainly will be regarded as a means test and resented as such. As you see, this introduces a principle of need into the pension system which has been foreign to the Canadian practice and tradition, but it does seem to reflect the practice of Great Britain and some other commonwealth countries, a practice which fortunately Canada up to the present has had foresight enough to avoid.

One of the other outstanding organizations, as hon. members know, is the National Council of Veterans in Canada. Their president, Major A. J. Wickens, an outstanding lawyer and a man who has given years of study to veterans affairs and problems, said this, in presenting his brief to the veterans affairs committee:

We have enough trouble now making veterans understand the classifications that already exist, and

we can see no reason why the good features of this unemployability proposal cannot be engrafted upon the war veterans allowance and war veterans allowance extended to include those for whom this unemployability proposal has been offered. On behalf of those for whom I am speaking and with whom I am associated I wish to say that we appreciate all the thought and consideration and the intention to do something for the welfare of the veterans which lies behind this scheme, but one cannot always accept good intention for the act, and we firmly believe that a greater amount of good can be obtained by an extension of war veterans allowance rather than by the institution of that new provision of unemployability benefit.

My last quotation will be from the president of the War Amputations Association, Rev. S. E. Lambert, who has appeared before the veterans affairs committees for the last twenty or twenty-five years, and whose record and reputation and sympathy for war veterans is well known throughout the country. Speaking with respect to item 650, he said:

If you want to make them all paupers, go ahead. We do not like it; we are not approving of it anyway. That is how the amps feel about it. We are talking to you about fighting men, about men who have been in contact with the enemy in two wars and now in three wars, and I feel somehow that Canada owes them a great deal more than she thinks she does.

There were other outstanding men who expressed the same view. Among these was Colonel Eddie Baker, who, as we know, is a grand veteran who has looked after the interests of blind veterans throughout Canada since the first war. I believe what I have placed on Hansard expresses the views not only of the different veteran organizations, but also of right-thinking people from one end of Canada to the other.

It will be noted that their first point of objection was that a new principle is introduced into pensions in this country, the principle of need instead of right. In the past a pension received has been a pension as of right. There was no question as to financial standing, no question whether a man was employable or unemployable. If he had suffered disability overseas, he received a pension according to the percentage of his disability.

We were told in committee that this principle of unemployable allowance had been introduced in England, New Zealand and Australia. I believe that was said more or less to establish the precedent for introducing it in Canada. My understanding is that the principle is very unpopular in New Zealand today, and unpopular also in England. Time and time again we have boasted that our pension legislation is better than that of England or New Zealand or any other country. We have never held up the veterans legislation of those countries as an example we should follow. It is only in this instance

Supply-Veterans Affairs that we take legislation which has proved to be unpopular and offer it as something to be followed in Canada.

We know that after two world wars Great Britain was bled white, and her financial position was at a very low ebb. We know that in the first world war she lost almost a million men, and that her pension bills were tremendous. In the second world war it was the same thing. The revenues of the country had sunk to a very low point. What England perhaps was compelled to do in the circumstances of that time is certainly nothing that should be held up here as an example of what we should do.

Since pensions were first introduced there have been two outstanding principles. First was the matter of entitlement, where there must be proof of disability and proof that the disability was due to war service. The definition as I remember it, given by one of the witnesses, was the loss of will or power to do a normal or physical act. That was the basis for entitlement. After entitlement was established, two norms were set up as the basis for pension. The first was the wages of labour, the wage of the ordinary labourer at the time. The second was the cost of living. It made no difference whether a man was a lawyer, a minister, or a ditch digger; if he was assessed at a certain disability, that disability was based upon the normal average wage of labour at that time.

Pensions were never considered as handouts to veterans. Once entitlement was established, they were considered as an absolute right. It was considered that the veteran had earned his pension, having suffered some disability. The present unemployability allowance does not recognize compensation for suffering as the basis for pension. It does not recognize the loss of enjoyment of life which the original pensions did recognize. If a young man lost an arm or a leg he was unable to join in sports or in the normal activities that are open to an ordinary man. He was given some compensation. It is only the man who is unemployable who is entitled to an increase in allowance. The cost of living has gone up nearly 190 or 200 per cent, and nothing is being done to increase pensions.

There are certain anomalies in this legislation. If a millionaire is unemployable, he would come under this item 650, but a man who was receiving a pension of $35 from some other source would not be eligible. If a veteran is 70 years of age or over and has accepted an old age pension, he would not get the unemployable allowance.

I have spoken to different veterans organizations throughout the country and they tell me that this provision is going to be difficult

Supply-Veterans Affairs to administer. For instance, it will be hard to say whether a farmer who is unable to carry on farm work is unemployable when he might be able to operate an elevator or do other kinds of work if he were in the town. The question may be asked: How can this matter be handled? I think we all realize that something should be done for the many thousands of veterans who are unemployable. It was suggested by the veterans organizations and by members of the committee that there should be an increase in the basic rate of pension. Then it was suggested, in the statements which I quoted, that there should be a supplemental increase in the war veterans allowance. The matter could have been handled in that way with justice to all veterans.

I should like to repeat what I said at the outset, that the terms of reference to the committee were too narrow. We were circumscribed and handicapped from the beginning; we could not consider matters which we felt should be considered. For instance, we could1 not consider the war veterans allowance. I moved in the house to amend the terms of reference to have this included, but my motion was voted down. During the sittings of the committee we asked repeatedly that the terms of reference be returned to the house and enlarged to include the basic rate of pension.

There are other matters before the committee with which we agreed. We agreed that there should be an increase in the allowances to widows and to children. Those matters were covered by amendments to the Pension Act. Then there are other amendments respecting benefits to members of the Canadian forces which received unanimous support. The amendments suggested to the Veterans Business and Professional Loans Act were agreeable, as were also the amendments suggested to the Veterans Insurance Act and the Returned Soldiers Insurance Act. All these matters were considered as being necessary for the welfare of the veteran and were approved by the committee as good legislation.

I want to conclude by repeating that it was disappointing indeed to the committee not to have an opportunity to deal with the two fundamental matters which are concerning veterans across Canada today. The first was an increase in the basic rate of pension, which is long overdue. It will be recalled that in 1948 there was an increase of twenty-five per cent in the basic rate which was granted because of the increased cost of living. There was no question of unemployability. I remember at that time they came before the committee offering ten per cent,

but that was rejected. Then they offered sixteen per cent, but that was unacceptable. Finally we agreed on a twenty-five per cent increase. As I say, nothing was said at that time about unemployability. The committee concentrated on the basis upon which pensions should be increased at that time, as they should now.

The other fundamental problem was that of veterans allowances. This also was not dealt with in the committee, and we did not even have an opportunity to discuss it.

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CCF

Herbert Wilfred Herridge

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

Mr. Herridge:

Mr. Chairman, I should like to make a few remarks on this important item concerning the minister and his staff before proceeding with some criticisms which I intend to make. First, I want to express my appreciation of the courtesy extended by the minister on several occasions and his interest in the veterans welfare. I appreciate also the courtesy extended by the parliamentary assistant and his work as chairman of the special committee on veterans affairs. While some of us often question his judgment on certain phases of veterans legislation, I think all members of the committee will say that he means well.

I wish also to express my appreciation of the work done by the senior officials, and their courtesy in attending to everything that was brought to their attention. Reference should be made also to the work of the departmental officials throughout the country. More and more I have had brought to my attention the good work done by the junior officials who travel across the country investigating various cases coming under the Pension Act, and the various pieces of veterans legislation. I have had several difficult cases brought to my attention in my constituency, and the officials have shown unusual patience and have gone to great lengths in attempting to solve, to the advantage of the veterans or dependents concerned, the problems that were brought to their attention.

Having said that, I must now strike a somewhat different note. In 1948 the cost of living index stood at 155-0. It will be remembered that at that time legislation was passed to increase the basic rate of pension twenty-five per cent. That increase was generally acceptable to members of the house and to the veterans of Canada. It was given on the general understanding that the cost of living index was going to level off. Although that twenty-five per cent increase was not sufficient when considered in relation to the wages being paid and the cost of living at that time as against the time when the pension was made permanent, it was considered to be generally satisfactory.

But conditions have changed for the pensioners of Canada. By November of last year the cost of living index had reached 170-7. That increase resulted in representatives of the major veterans organizations making representations to the federal cabinet, and later to the special parliamentary committee on veterans affairs, urging a 33J per cent increase in the basic rate of disability pensions. On any sound calculation no one can deny that that was not a reasonable and sound approach to the whole problem. Even 33s per cent would not completely compensate pensioners for the increased cost of living or bring their pension compensation into proper relationship with the cost of living and the wage structure of the country.

Representations were made by the Canadian Legion to the cabinet on November 10. Representations were also made by the national council of veterans. Both these organizations later made complete proposals to the special parliamentary committee on veterans affairs. I think it was the general opinion of members of the committee that they established a very good case and that the witnesses answered in a most satisfactory manner the questions put to them by members of the committee. I suppose this departure in policy by the government in providing for supplementary unemployability allowance for approximately 6,000 of the 160,000 pensioners has caused more difference of opinion among veteran members of the committee than has ever arisen before in the life of the parliamentary committees on veterans affairs. When the government's proposals were made known there was an immediate reaction from the veterans organizations and veterans generally. That was evidenced by the representations made by their national representatives, and it was evidenced by the letters and telegrams received from branches all across Canada by members of this house.

So far as my constituency is concerned, I received correspondence and telegrams from every Canadian Legion branch in the constituency, supporting their national officers and the national council of veterans in their unified request for an extension of the terms of reference of the committee to permit the committee to give consideration to an increase in the basic rate of pension, and to the needs of those receiving the war veterans allowance. There is no question about that. There is no doubt that there was a Canadawide demand on the part of the veterans. A good many members of the committee supported the proposals of the veterans organizations, because we considered they were sound and just.

Supply-Veterans Affairs I am sure if government members will review the history of the representations made by veterans organizations in Canada they will admit that their requests have always been temperate, sound, and realistically related to the circumstances of the time. We in this group are very much opposed to this departure from the established practice of pensions in Canada, namely, the proposal to pay an unemployability allowance to certain disability pensioners. That practice was established as a result of legislation, as a result of co-operation between veterans organizations, other persons in Canada interested in veterans problems, and the government. We are very sorry indeed to see the government depart from the basic principle which has been so generally accepted, because it is considered fair by the great majority of the Canadian people.

We in this group oppose the proposal first of all because of the violation of the accepted pension principle established in Canada. Second, we oppose it because this new unemployability allowance-I see the hon. member for Spadina watching me like a hawk-provides a means test. There is no question about that. First of all, the veteran has to pass a medical test. He has to prove that his condition is such that he comes within the ambit of this provision. In addition, he has to pass an unemployability test, some sort of welfare test. He has to prove he cannot obtain employment, or is unable to work. He also has to pass a financial test. There is no question about that, because, as was evidenced by the answers of the officials to questions by members of the committee, everyone who makes application must be asked certain questions.

As the hon. member for Royal said, one man could have a million dollars in the bank and receive the supplementary allowance, and another could be denied it if he was receiving $35 a month by way of superannuation or industrial pension. Therefore every applicant for the allowance must be asked the question: Have you a superannuation allowance, or have you an industrial pension? If he has either of these, then according to the explanation given by the officials the pensioner in question would not receive the unemployability allowance. That is a financial test. We object very strongly to that principle being introduced into the question of assisting disability pensioners.

In the third place, we cannot agree that the war casualties of Canada, who are the responsibility of the dominion government, should be treated in any different manner

4488 HOUSE OF

Supply-Veterans Affairs from the civilian casualties of Canada. No one ever heard of a workmen's compensation board in any province suggesting that a civilian casualty should be paid a certain rate of pension and then, if he was in difficult circumstances, that he should receive an allowance as the result of a triple means test. All civilian casualties are compensated according to the rate of their disability under the terms of the legislation in effect in the province in question. We believe that our war casualties should receive at least the same treatment by way of compensation for their disabilities as that accorded civilian casualties.

As I said before, there has been strong opposition to this proposal from the veterans organizations. The apposition not only comes from the national officers, but, without doubt, as expressed in recent provincial conventions and through the many telegrams and letters received, I presume, by all members of the house, from the rank and file of the veterans organizations in Canada.

I might say further that I have received evidence from my constituency that there are others not directly connected with veterans organizations who think that the government is taking a wrong step in introducing this new principle. In order to indicate the depth of feeling on this question on the part of members of the Canadian Legion, I wish to quote briefly from the June issue of The Legionary. The Legionary is the national organ of the Canadian Legion, and no one questions the fact that the editorials written in the monthly issues represent the considered opinion and policy of the Canadian Legion. In the June issue there is the following:

It now remains to be seen whether the committee, composed entirely of ex-service M.P.'s . . . will accept or reject the government's bill. If they reject it, as the legion hopes they will, the government may reconsider the whole matter . . .

I could go on at greater length, but I think that editorial distinctly reflects the opinion of the Canadian Legion with respect to this legislation, and I think that in this case the government has made a most unfortunate mistake. We believe, as the hon. member for Royal mentioned, that the good features of this proposal should be incorporated in the War Veterans Allowance Act so that there would be an opportunity in that way to assist those who require a special form of assistance. By doing that we would leave intact the principle of paying disability pensioners on a strictly compensation basis.

In addition, Mr. Chairman, we in this group are very sorry that the terms of reference of the committee were so narrow

as not to permit the discussion of the amendments to the War Veterans Allowance Act. It is obvious that there are many veterans and their dependents in Canada who are now receiving an allowance under the terms of that excellent act who should receive some consideration. I am sure all members of this committee have met cases in which people on war veterans allowance are finding it most difficult to exist under present circumstances, particularly those who are unable to supplement their earnings in any way, or have, shall I say, no other minor source of income. We in this group regret very much that the terms of reference were not wider. A number of the members of the special committee did try to get the terms broadened, as suggested by the Canadian Legion and the national council of veterans, but we w'ere not successful.

In passing I might say that whether we agreed or disagreed on the special committee, I am quite sure that all the members of that committee, who are all veterans, are concerned about veterans problems and their welfare. There is a keen difference of opinion largely based on inexperience. Some members really believe that this proposal will be satisfactory and will bring some advantage to some pensioners. We who object to the proposal believe it is an unfortunate departure from Canadian practice and will create new difficulties in the administration of Canadian pension legislation.

In conclusion, may I say that we urge the government to give further consideration to the representations of the veterans organizations in Canada concerning this most important question, and to give consideration to their proposal with respect to an increase of 33J per cent in the basic rate of pension, as well as to the various and obvious needs of thousands in Canada who are receiving allowances under the War Veterans Allowance Act.

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SC

Victor Quelch

Social Credit

Mr. Quelch:

At the outset I should like to say how much I appreciate the consideration that I have received from the various senior officials of the Department of Veterans Affairs in dealing with cases I have brought before them, especially those concerning the Veterans Land Act, because I am in touch with that very often. I am afraid that I cannot speak with any enthusiasm about the special committee that was set up to study veterans affairs. I was greatly disappointed in the work of that committee. In my opinion the reason the committee failed to execute the kind of work it should have executed is twofold. First of all, the terms of reference were limited to such an extent that it was impossible for the committee to take the action it should have been able to take.

Second, I think the failure was due-I do not want to be misunderstood'-in part to the personnel of the committee. By that I mean to say that there was such an overwhelming majority of Liberals on the committee. Unfortunately a large percentage of those Liberals were members who were not familiar with the work of the Department of Veterans Affairs. Had they had more experience with that department, I believe they would have been prepared to take a different attitude on some of the issues that came before the committee.

When the Canadian Legion and the national council of veterans presented their briefs before the committee, they made it very clear that they bitterly resented the fact that the terms of reference had been narrowed in the way they were. In that regard I need only quote one statement. I am quoting a statement by a man whom we all deeply respect, and that is Colonel Lambert, president of the "Amps". He generally speaks quite passionately, and I quote from page 111 of the report of the proceedings before the committee:

It has been my privilege on previous occasions to come here as dominion president of our organization ever since its inception, and for thirty-two years now, I have been the dominion president of the War Amps of Canada representing the sightless, the armless, the legless veterans of the first war, and' of the second war, and now of the third war, for we already have amputations from Korea. I came with mixed feelings today. It is always left to me to sort of make a passionate appeal on their behalf but I have lost heart to come here to talk to people who are supposed to be able to do the things that are necessary and when we come we find you are so restricted in your thinking that it is useless for us to say anything about it.

That feeling was evident throughout the briefs of the Canadian Legion and national council of veterans associations. Early in the deliberations of the committee, the member for Royal made an attempt to get the terms of reference extended. Unfortunately his motion was voted down. It is at that point I think the lack of experience had its effect. Had the members of that committee had more experience in the workings of the department they would have realized the committee should have had the power to deal with all veterans affairs. In the past, even when the terms of reference seemed to be narrow, they were sufficiently wide to enable us to deal with all matters, including war veterans allowance. Today one of the burning issues amongst veterans is the war veterans allowance, yet we could not even discuss it in this special committee.

At the start of the proceedings of this committee the Minister of Veterans Affairs made a statement, and either intentionally or unintentionally in that statement he left

Supply-Veterans Affairs a definite inference that item 650 in the supplementary estimates of the Department of Finance had been brought down as an alternative to an increase under the Pension Act. I say "either intentionally or unintentionally", and I am not going to argue that.

I am going to read what he said and let everyone judge whether or not that statement is correct. I quote from page 22 of the committee evidence:

Now, the item that is before you as a supplementary estimate implements the intention of the government to provide supplementary allowances for pensioners who are unemployable and whose pensionable disability is a major factor in their unemployability. As you know, representations were made to the department last autumn by the Canadian Legion and by the national council of veterans associations for an increase across the board in the basic rate of pension, and for various other measures of assistance to pensioners and dependents.

Now, after very careful consideration of the representations by responsible veterans organizations, and having made a survey of the situation ourselves, we came to the conclusion that the most pressing problem, or problems, rather, were those of pensioners who were unable to work and who had to consider their pensions, at whatever rate it might have been, as their sole source of income; and similarly that there was hardship in the cases of widows with small children who because of the care they had to give to their children were unable to supplement their pension income.

Consequently the government brought down item 650 instead of increasing that basic rate of pension as had been requested by the major veterans organizations of this dominion. After the minister had made his speech the veterans organizations, in presenting their briefs, made it very clear that they rejected item 650 as an alternative to an increase in the pension.

Some statements have been quoted from the brief. I want to quote a few more, but I shall be careful not to refer to any that were quoted previously in the discussion.

When the hon. member for Royal spoke, he quoted what the president of the Canadian Legion had stated. I want to carry on from where the hon. member for Royal left off in the statement by Mr. Watts, who is president of the Canadian Legion. I quote from page 78 of the minutes of proceedings and evidence of the committee. The hon. member for Royal quoted Mr. Watts as criticizing item 650. Mr. Watts went on to say:

Therefore, the Canadian Legion cannot be satisfied with the legislation before this committee. There are no recommendations for improvement in the basic rate of pensions, nor is there any mention at all of war veterans allowance, the two principal problems affecting veterans today. Worse still, the supplementary estimate of $2 million now before you would alter the tried and proven pension policy in a manner not desirable to the veteran nor, we suggest, to the Canadian public.

Supply-Veterans Affairs

Then the president of the Army, Navy and Air Force Veterans in Canada, at page 106, had this to say:

We support, gentlemen, as I have told you, the Canadian Legion protest about the unemployability grant-not entirely for the reasons expressed by the Canadian Legion in their brief.

Then a little later he goes on to say:

. . . but as far as we are concerned, Mr. Chairman and gentlemen, the practical way to deal with the matter would be to take those good things that are desirable in this scheme and engraft them upon the war veterans allowance scheme and let us have one scheme of war veterans allowances throughout which the test of eligibility will be the same. I am speaking of what is known generally as the means test.

Turning to the next page, we find that he stated:

We feel that this unemployability grant is a mistake. It is another classification and will only make things worse.

Colonel Lambert, to whom I have already referred, had this to say as reported at page 111 of the minutes of proceedings and evidence of the committee:

You bring in this supplementary allowance; it is not a bill but it is some kind of estimate, and we consider this as another contribution to the poverty of the veterans, I would say, and we do not like that.

The hon. member for Kootenay West quoted the paragraph preceding the one quoted from The Legionary. I want to quote the paragraph preceding the one quoted by the hon. member for Kootenay West. It is contained in an editorial entitled "A Burning Issue," and it reads as follows:

The Canadian Legion has taken sharp issue with the government. Its brief to the House of Commons committee on veterans affairs termed the proposed legislation "retrograde, alarming, dangerous and pernicious," and offered sound reasons to prove it. Fully documented with a wealth of relevant statistics, no more impressive brief has ever been submitted by the Legion to a parliamentary committee, and it was presented with great conviction and deep sincerity by the two top men of the organization, Alfred Watts, the dominion president, and Dr. Lumsden, the dominion first vice-president.

Then he goes on to say, as quoted by the hon. member for Kootenay West, that they hope that the committee will reject item 650.

I believe these quotations have been sufficient to prove my contention that the veterans organizations not only resent but oppose the introduction of item 650. The Canadian Legion and the national council of veterans organizations presented a brief to the government and the Department of Veterans Affairs, and in that brief they asked for an increase in the basic rate of disability pension, and also an increase in the amount of the war veterans allowance; but as we know now, the government did not take any action at that time. At the start of this session, however, they set up a special committee. Then, strangely

enough, after setting up the committee they denied them the right to investigate the very things that the Legion and the national council of veterans organizations had asked for. Those two associations had asked for an increase in the basic rate of disability pension and an increase in the war veterans allowance. The government sets up a committee and then narrows the terms of reference to such a point that the committee cannot even give consideration to the request of these major veterans organizations.

I now want to say a few words with regard to item 650. There are some good things in it. The veterans organizations have therefore suggested that the good things in it should be grafted on to the War Veterans Allowance Act. It provides for an increase in the pension of a disability pensioner whose disability is less than 35 per cent, if he is single and less than 45 per cent if he is married, provided he is unemployable and is not in receipt of the old age pension or any other form of retirement allowance. That being the case, it definitely contains a form of a means test; unless you are going to suggest that a veteran works for the fun of it. After all, when a man works, he does so in order to try to improve his means of livelihood. Yet if a man is working to improve his means of livelihood, he is denied any benefits under item 650. Furthermore, if he is receiving any benefits through the old age pension or through any other form of retirement allowance, he cannot receive any benefit from item 650. So it is definitely a form of a means test. That is a thing that these veterans organizations bitterly resent. They do not want that in any way, shape or form tied in with the idea of an increase in the basic rate of pension.

Furthermore, I would think it is a highly undesirable form of means test, for this reason. As was pointed out by the previous two speakers, a man may be receiving an income of $3,000 a year from investment; yet he can obtain benefits under item 650 so long as he is not employed. But if he is doing some little job for which he is receiving $30 a month, a total of $360 a year, for his work, he is not entitled to any consideration under item 650. The man receiving $3,000 a year from investments can get benefits under that item, but the man who is working and earning a small income like $360 a year is not entitled to any benefits at all. Therefore I say it is a most undesirable form of means test. It is an extremely mean form.

I think that the veterans organizations fear that this is the first step towards the introduction of an employability test in the Pension Act. There again I would say that, when you give consideration to the speech that was made

by the Minister of Veterans Affairs at the opening sitting of the committee, you could easily come to that conclusion. I want to quote what the minister had to say in that regard. This is to be found at page 23 of the minutes of proceedings and evidence of the committee:

Now, it seems to us there is no question that the present day idea of the working and earning capacity of those who are victims of the most serious disabilities is very different from what it was a few years ago, certainly from what it was ten, twenty and thirty years ago; and it is true that no longer is the man, for instance, who has lost a leg or who has lost an arm considered as being out of the labour market. No longer do people hold the belief that his earning capacity is necessarily circumscribed by his physical disability.

With that idea in mind, one can quite understand why the government brought down item 650, only allowing an increase in the pension provided that a man is unemployable. Naturally the fear is aroused in the minds of the members of the various veterans organizations that in the not too far distant future the government may decide to apply that same test to the whole of the pension legislation and say that any man who is employable and is receiving an income, we will say, of so many thousand dollars a year will not be entitled to a pension under the act because his disability apparently is not depriving him of the ability to earn a living. It is always the first step in an undesirable direction that you have to guard against and try to stop, because once you proceed in a certain direction it is not easy to turn around, and the Canadian Legion makes some caustic remark on that very point.

In 1948 the veterans committee, which in my opinion was one of the best veterans committees we have ever had, dealt with the question of war veterans allowance and with the basic rate of pension. At that time the government had agreed to only a ten per cent increase. Under pressure, they increased it to sixteen per cent, and the Minister of Veterans Affairs told the committee that that was as far as it would go. The committee of that day were men experienced in veterans affairs, and they were not satisfied with the minister's statement that the government would go only as far as sixteen per cent. They continued on for many days and finally the government agreed to increase the basic rate of pension to twenty-five per cent instead of sixteen per cent. That brought the disability pension for one hundred per cent disabled veterans, single, up to $94. The veterans organizations of that day were asking up to $100 a month. I remember that at that time I received many telegrams from boards of trade in my province urging that the basic rate for 100 per cent pensioners be $100 a month. That was

Supply-Veterans Affairs in 1948. Since then there has been an increase in the cost of living of another 27 points. That being the case, if it was considered by boards of trade and veterans organizations that the increase at that time was not sufficient to take care of the situation as it was in 1948, how much more is there need for an increase in the basic rate of pension today when the cost of living has risen another 27 points? Instead of that the government brings down an item merely to provide relief-you might call it some form of relief-to those veterans who are unemployable.

Some members of the committee said: Well, after all, we want to help the man who is in the greatest distress. We want to help the man down at the bottom. Item 650 does not provide any help whatsoever for the man who is down at the bottom, because item 650 will not provide any help for a disability pensioner whose pension disability is less than thirty-five per cent if he is single and forty-five per cent if he is married. There are many men today who are one hundred per cent disabled and bedridden, but whose disability classification is perhaps less than thirty-five per cent, because that disability was not due to war services. Therefore that man today is dependent upon the war veterans allowance, and all he is getting is $40 a month, or perhaps he is getting the supplementary $10 which makes it $50. If he is married he gets $70 a month. These are the men who need help today. But the committee was not even allowed to consider their case.

I think the government made a very serious mistake when they denied the committee the right to investigate the position of these married men who are living on a pitiable $70 a month. No one in this house would argue for one minute that a married man with a wife to support could possibly live on $70 a month in any state of decency. I do not think they could even exist. In most cases I think you will find that where a man and wife are living on $70 a month they are getting supplementary help from other directions. It is true they can get the additional $10 from the government in the form of what might be called relief.

I hope I have made it clear why we in the opposition in the committee oppose item 650. We look upon it as a retrograde step. We look upon it as the first step down the road which will make the pensions subject to a means test. If anybody doubts that, let him read once more what the Minister of Veterans Affairs said in the committee, namely, that today there is a change of opinion and change of attitude regarding pensions. We no longer look upon their disability as being such as to prevent them from working. I think we

Supply-Veterans Affairs all realize, Mr. Chairman, that no amount of money can ever compensate a man for the loss of a limb. Men who have lost their arms or legs can never really be compensated with money. But the least we can do is to give them adequate compensation. That is what the pension is. Give them compensation for their loss of ability to do what any other human being can do who has all his limbs. It is not merely a question of earning a living. The pensioner has to live with that disability twenty-four hours a day. Even though he may be able to earn a living in spite of the disability, he cannot enjoy life in the normal way that anybody else does who has not lost limbs. Therefore I think we are taking a backward step when we make any increase in the pension subject to an employability test.

On the question of war veterans allowance, which we have not had the opportunity to discuss, but which no doubt I shall have something more to say about when we come to that item, I should like to say this. There is a means test in the war veterans allowance. The legislation being what it is, I think most of us appreciate that so long as there is a means test in the old age pension legislation, there has to be one on the war veterans allowance, because after all, the war veterans allowance was paid on the principle that the pensioner was pre-aged ten years. We are therefore paying the old age pension at the age of 60 instead of 70. We have modified that, or rather widened it so that we paid the allowance to a veteran who was unable to work and who had seen service in a theatre of war.

That being the case, it is only natural that the means test in the war veterans allowance should be the same as in the old age pension. Now that we are removing the means test from the old age pension legislation, I trust that legislation will be brought down to remove the means test from the war veterans allowance. I do not think it is satisfactory to say that once a veteran reaches the age of 70 he should stop getting war veterans allowance and start getting the old age pension. I think that when a man has been receiving the war veterans allowance for several years he would prefer to continue receiving the war veterans allowance. If the government is going to remove the means test from old age pensions I can see no reason why it should not be prepared to remove it from the war veterans allowance. At the age of 65 you have a different situation. The means test on the war veterans allowance at 65 should also be removed.

It may be argued, of course, that the veteran at 65 can take the old age pension,

because I understand the means test is going to be modified. But let us not forget that today the war veterans allowance is paid as a federal responsibility. If you say to the war veteran: You can take the old age pension at 65, you are forcing the provinces to pay fifty per cent of the cost. In other words, the federal government is trying to pass on to the provinces part of its responsibility, and I think that would be a mistake.

But what I really started to say was this. While there is a means test in the war veterans allowance, and in the past there may have been some justification for it, I do think that once a veteran gets to a certain age we should close our eyes to the means test. In my constituency there is a veteran who is over eighty years of age and who is blind. He could not live on the war veterans allowance. He has a farm, and he is getting around $300 a year rent for it-some years he does not get that. His wife does a little bit of work for the treasury branch. She gets paid commission on insurance that she sells, and on the accounts that she handles, and that brings her own income to around $350 a year. When that was reported at the end of the year they stopped that man's allowance and told these people that the allowance would not be granted again until that amount was repaid. To repay it was impossible, because the commissions are small, and on the amount that he is getting he could not possibly pay that indebtedness. So for two years he had no more veterans allowance. Then a further application was made, and they reinstated him in the war veterans allowance but deducted $10 a month for repayment of what he owed. Where the veteran is over eighty years of age, it seems to me that a small income of this kind should be called casual earnings. In this case, however, they were not willing to call it casual earnings-why, I do not know. I have taken the case up, but so far there has been no satisfactory settlement of it.

I hope the government will give consideration to the recommendation of the committee that there be an increase in the basic rate of disability pension. If an increase is made in the basic rate of pension, it would be all right in my opinion to adopt item 650. But it would be better to bring it in in connection with the War Veterans Allowance Act, so that there would not be left in anyone's mind the idea that this proposal was introduced for the purpose of instituting an employability test into pension legislation.

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LIB

George Alexander Cruickshank

Liberal

Mr. Cruickshank:

Mr. Chairman, I shall not take long, because I do not intend to speak about any individual case. I have been a member of the veterans affairs committee since I first came here. Frankly it

was the only committee upon which I did not enjoy serving, because I do not think we accomplished anything. In my opinion the order of reference was not wide enough in the beginning and definitely it should have been widened at the request of some of us on the committee. However I was not prepared to vote against item 650. I will not go into all the details, because they have been covered by previous speakers, and no doubt will be covered again by others.

Probably the biggest trouble will be administration. I do not think the departmental officials who will be responsible for administration realize what they are up against. I hope every veteran now in receipt of thirty-five or forty-five per cent disability pension immediately puts in his application, because in my opinion it would be eight months before anything would be received. I am not saying that in any critical way, because I have great respect for the officials. However I do not think it is practicable so far as administration is concerned. It might be all right in the big cities, but not in the rural areas.

I do not think it is practicable for us to turn down the item, and I accept responsibility for voting for it, but I do so on the basis that half a loaf is better than no bread. It certainly will help those greatly in need, if it is possible to administer it.

I suggest we should concentrate upon urging the government to have the basic rate of pension increased right across the board. I hope each individual member when he returns to his riding, we hope within the next ten days, will hear from his Legion and from other organizations in his riding, including his political association, advising him to use every influence he may have to bring this about.

I believe $22 million is involved in increasing the basic pension. Surely that does not enter into the picture. I do not believe there is a taxpayer in Canada who begrudges the veteran anything he gets. And $22 million-why, heavens above, we spend $22 million on some monstrosity of a building out here, and nothing is said about it. To say that the people of Canada could not afford $22 million just would not go down with the people in the constituency of Fraser Valley.

I do not think there is anything more we can do about it at this session. However I understand we are to come back in October, and I should hope that by that time members from various parts of the country would have been strongly advised within their own ridings and by their own people to use every possible influence with parliament in this

Supply-Veterans Affairs connection-and I have said "with parliament" because, after all, parliament is supreme.

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PC
LIB

George Alexander Cruickshank

Liberal

Mr. Cruickshank:

So long as we have the form of government we now have in Canada, parliament will be supreme-and I hope we always will have that democratic form of government. Whether we put it to work or not is our responsibility. I hope when we come back in October we shall be in a position to impress upon the government the fact that a revised basic rate of pension right across the board should be put into effect, and that a new committee should be set up. Certainly its order of reference should not be as limited as it was at the present session; if it is, then I shall have no desire to serve on it. This year in my opinion the sittings of the committee were ninety per cent a waste of time, in view of the order of reference.

I will vote for the item, because I do not want to accept the responsibility of depriving veterans in the meantime of whatever benefits may accrue to them. However, I am definitely on record that in my opinion the order of reference to the committee this year was not wide enough in the beginning, that it should have been widened, and that the basic rate should have been increased right across the board.

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PC

Howard Charles Green

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Green:

Mr. Chairman, we are now

discussing the departmental administration item of the Department of Veterans Affairs, and in accordance with the practice of the house that permits a wide discussion of policy on this item, I wish to make some comments.

Before I proceed to express my own points of view I should like to concur in some of the remarks just made by my good friend, the hon. member for Fraser Valley. He expressed great disappointment with the government and with the special committee on veterans affairs which has been sitting during this session. Certainly he did not overstate the case.

It has been my privilege to serve on every committee which has considered veterans affairs since I came here in the spring of 1936. In other years, when we have had such a committee, I have gone home with the feeling that, on the whole, the committee has done a good job for our old comrades, the veterans of Canada. But this year many of us go home feeling not only disappointed but also very sad at the failure to get at the roots of the problems now facing Canada's veterans.

Supply-Veterans Affairs

There have been two significant features of government policy this year concerning veterans affairs. In the first place a fundamental change has been made in Canadian pension policy by introducing for the first time a handout to a certain group of pensioners, based upon a means test, thus breaking down the principle established for over thirty years that the pension is a payment earned by the disability suffered; that a pension is something paid as of right, and that it is, indeed, the first claim of any group of Canadians on the Canadian government.

The second significant feature of government policy this year in connection with veterans affairs is the continued refusal to face the fact that the war veterans allowance is inadequate. In one session after the other, and once again this year, there has been an absolute refusal on the part of the government to face that fact. Nothing whatever is being done to meet the situation.

The tragedy is that 1951 was to be a year of great importance to the veterans of Canada because they were to have a special committee on veterans affairs. There had been no such committee since 1948, and in the intervening period problems had been accumulating, particularly the two problems which have been discussed today of the need for an increase in the basic rate of pension and in the war veterans allowance.

The two great veterans organizations of this country, the Canadian Legion and the National Council of Veteran Associations in Canada, which includes the Army, Navy and Air Force Veterans in Canada, the Canadian Corps Association, the Canadian Paraplegic Association, the Canadian Pensioners Association of the Great War, the Sir Arthur Pearson Association of War Blinded, and War Amputations of Canada, made detailed representations to the dominion cabinet toward the end of 1950, in which they urged that there should be an increase in the basic rate of pension and in the war veterans allowance. In the Canadian Legion brief they ask that the basic one hundred per cent pension for an unmarried veteran without dependents be increased from $94 to $125 a month, and all other pension awards by corresponding amounts, that is, by approximately 33 J per cent. Their recommendation concerning the war veterans allowance was that the basic rate should be increased to $50 per month for single recipients and $100 a month for married recipients. I believe that those figures were also used by the National Council of Veteran Associations in Canada.

The promise was made by the cabinet at that time that a special committee on

veterans affairs would be set up during the 1951 session. The branches of these associations from coast to coast, veterans generally, the press and the Canadian people expected that this special committee on veterans affairs would deal with these two main problems during the present session. The record of previous committees on veterans affairs has been splendid. It has never been surpassed by any committee of the house in recent years. Everyone rightly expected that there would be results from the sittings of this committee during the present session.

What happened? There was delay in bringing in the resolution to set up the committee, but when it finally did appear on the order paper we found that the committee was to be hobbled in carrying out its work as it had never been restricted before. The resolution stated in fact that the committee was to consider only such legislation as the government saw fit to place before it. No power was given to deal with war veterans allowances; the lid was snapped on tight so far as that pressing problem was concerned.

The legislation which was introduced and sent to the committee contained some very useful amendments. I do not dispute that at all. However, the main plan of the government has been and is this handout to a small percentage of pensioners based on a means test. Of course protests were made in the house when we debated the resolution to set up the committee, and these protests were on two scores. First, we protested the failure to give the committee sufficiently wide terms of reference, and, second, we protested the nature of this proposal to meet the situation of the pensioners.

When the committee met, it heard representations by the two great veteran organizations which I have just named. Down through the years these important bodies have shown themselves to be thoroughly responsible and statesmanlike in the representations they have made to the special committees. I do not believe there have ever been finer representations made to any committee of this house in modern times than have been made on every occasion by these two associations when there has been a special committee of this house set up to deal with veterans affairs. This year was no exception.

These leaders of Canadian veterans came before the committee and pointed out that the terms of reference were too narrow, and asked that as a first step the committee should request the house to broaden its terms of reference. In spite of the fact that this new policy on pensions involved a vote which was to be paid out to about 6,000 pensioners; in spite of the fact that there was some payment

to go to veterans under that plan, the leaders of the two associations stated they would have nothing to do with it. They refused to accept that handout, and insisted that Canada's pension policy must continue to be the payment of pensions on the basis of right.

These two organizations did not always agree in earlier years. In the committee of 1948 one organization asked for and was satisfied with an increase of 25 per cent, and the other demanded an increase of 33J per cent. But this year, when they were faced with this fundamental change in pension policy, these associations united and stood firmly together. Attempts were made by various members of the committee to break down the request of these leaders, but without any success. These men stood firm, and as an old veteran of Canada I was proud of their attitude throughout.

The suggestion was made that they were only speaking for the top brass, that they did not represent the men in the branches. So far as British Columbia is concerned, I have here a resolution which was passed unanimously by the British Columbia provincial command of the Canadian Legion while the committee was considering the representations being made by the president and first vice president of the Canadian Legion. The telegram reads as follows:

The British Columbia command ol the Canadian Legion, B.E.S.L. in convention assembled at Penticton, B.C., this 21st day of May, A.D. 1951, do hereby unanimously endorse the submissions made by our dominion command to the special parliamentary committee of veterans affairs on the 17th day of May, A.D. 1951, and demand that the dominion government immediately extend the terms of reference of the special committee to allow it to consider all matters relating to the welfare of veterans taken up in the said submissions, including an immediate across the board increase of the basic rates of pensions payable under the Pension Act to veterans and their dependents, and allowances payable under the War Veterans Allowance Act commensurate with the increase in the cost of living. This convention also condemns the proposed procedure covering supplementary grants to disability pensioners as being foreign to the established and accepted principles of awarding disability pensions in that such legislation neglects the need of eighty-five per cent of those receiving disability pensions, and the needs of those receiving aid by such proposed legislation would be more adequately and properly met by the Legion's requested across the board increase on basic rates.

I have also had a submission from a group of veterans who would benefit by this handout, namely, members of the tuberculosis veterans section, branch No. 44 of the Canadian Legion in Vancouver. These men have written demanding that we endorse the submissions made by the Canadian Legion. Therefore it is not only the top brass of these two associations who are complaining of the drastic change in policy.

Supply-Veterans Affairs

To some members of this house who are not veterans it may seem strange that so much emphasis is placed on the pension being on a basis of right. I know that in the committee some of the newer members of the house had some difficulty in understanding the importance of this basic factor. They said: Oh well, this vote is going to help some of the veterans who are in need. Why not give them that help? That really shows the great objection to such a plan. These members indicated that they believed the pension should be paid if a man is in need, and that is exactly what the veterans organizations are trying to keep away from.

Hon. members who spoke earlier in this debate have pointed out that the pensions of Canada have been based on a standard which was really the lowest standard that could have been adopted, namely, the amount of wages paid for ordinary labour. The pensions are also supposed to be of a sufficient amount for the recipient, if he is a hundred per cent pensioner, to be able to subsist. They are really based on a mere subsistence level. It has always been Canadian policy that pensioners' earnings were not to be taken into consideration. The pension was given to a man so that he could start on the same footing with civilian Canadians in the race of life. If in spite of his disability he was able to get ahead and earn $10,000 or perhaps more a year, that was his privilege, and he was praised for making that additional effort.

That has been the law of the land ever since 1919. It will be found in section 24, subsection 4 of the Pension Act, which was first enacted in 1919, and reads as follows:

No deduction shall be made from the pension of any member of the forces owing to his having undertaken work or perfected himself in some form of industry.

Veterans organizations have made a point of urging their disabled comrades to find work, to get out and try to improve their position.. That has been done right down through the years since the first war. Naturally, with the pension based on wage standards, the cost of living came into the picture. When there was an increase in the cost of living, obviously the pensioner was entitled to an increase in his pension. That was the basis on which we debated in the veterans affairs committee of 1948, and the only basis. There was never any doubt that was the factor to be taken into consideration. At the present time the need of all these men who will benefit under this vote could have been met by an increase in the basic rate of pension, which of course would have preserved the basis of right in pension legislation. As some other hon. members have indicated, if after that further payments had

4496 HOUSE OF

Supply-Veterans Affairs to be made for some pensioners, they could very well be made by changes in the War Veterans Allowance Act.

So much for the basis of right. I come now to the stand taken by the Minister of Veterans Affairs. What was his argument? Late in May he admitted in Montreal that if he were to base pensions on the cost of living the claims made by these great veterans organizations could not be contradicted. I have the report of his speech- in which he said:

I cannot dispute that argument. It is a perfectly valid one if-and I want to emphasize this if- pensioners in Canada were compelled to rely on their pensions for their living. The fact is that very very few of them do, and the vast majority- about 90 per cent-are fully employed in competitive employment and enjoying the same high wage and salary rates as are enjoyed by others in the working population.

You see from that statement of government policy, Mr. Chairman, that the pensioners of Canada are being penalized because they have gone out and tried to get work for themselves in spite of their disabilities. The fact that they have, in spite of their handicaps, gone out and found jobs for themselves and carried on is now being used against them when they ask for an increase in the basic rate.

The minister said that ninety per cent are employed. That was a strange figure. We questioned it in the committee, and we found out that the way he arrived at the figure of ninety per cent of the pensioners of Canada having found jobs was that in January and February of this year there were 3,000 out of

35,000 disabled pensioners who were applying for work and were unable to get it. That will be found- at page 149, in the deputy minister's statement to the committee. It reads:

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Mr. Burns@

35,000 of the most seriously Injured. Now you will recall, possibly, that I said in my evidence that we have not any direct means of finding out how many veterans there are who have, as it were, dropped out of the employment market . . .

Of course that is the answer to this whole percentage-that the government has not the remotest idea how many disabled veterans have dropped out and are not trying to get work.

. . . but what we did do was to check and find from national employment service during the month of February, I think, or late January, how many they had on their books-how many disabled pensioners they had who were looking for employment. I think the figure was something under 3,000, which of course is much less than the ten per cent I referred to. It indicated that our general view that less than ten per cent of pensioners were unemployed at the present time appeared to be correct.

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PC

Frank Exton Lennard

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Lennard:

I would say there are less than ten per cent looking for employment, but I would not say that the other 151,000 are fully employed.

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June 22, 1951