June 22, 1951

LIB

Jean-François Pouliot

Liberal

Mr. Pouliot:

He has also said it. That is the tenor of the article of the Vancouver Province which was sent to me by the Rev. Roy MacDonald. It is a personal letter which I give to the minister for his information.

Now, here is a letter from Mr. H. A. Ross, veteran, Fleming, Saskatchewan; ex-Princess Pat. He is a veteran of both wars; chairman of grievance and pension committee, taking his case as a test case. He received a bill for $33.50 for medical services, although called and instructed by D.V.A. to get treatment. There are many cases like that, and I will come to them later.

Now there is the case of Mr. John M. Pringle, L-12934, Froude, Saskatchewan; accepted as A-l April, 1940; proceeded overseas, June 1941; went to hospital overseas with bronchial pneumonia and arthritis of the spine; the fall of 1941 placed in category C-2; 1944 returned to Canada and discharged unfit for service; pension refused; C.P.C. says, "Arthritis condition pre-existing and not aggravated."

There are so many cases like that; but perhaps members of the committee would not listen to me if I quoted only cases from the province of Quebec. That is why I brought their attention to cases mostly outside of Quebec from veterans who are not satisfied with the way they have been treated by the C.P.C., otherwise known as the Canadian pension commission.

Now there is the case of Herbert Button, 639871-D, Ottawa; veteran, world war I; died from war injury. Mrs. Button, semiparalysed, received no pension. Evidence was here classified by C.P.C. as contradictory because one man stated Mr. Button had been hit on the head with a hand grenade and another that he had been blown up and buried. He could have sustained both injuries; but because they did not agree on the injury that caused his death, the widow has no pension. It is a very bad case, apparently. I worked on the case with the previous minister, and I did not succeed on account of the hard-headed commission.

Now there is the case of Ralph Jones, New Brunswick-and I take them as they come. This is G-52067, Cork Station, York county, New Brunswick; served overseas from May, 1944, to October, 1945, and escaped form Ste. Anne de Bellevue hospital February 9,

Supply-Veterans Affairs 1948. His wife has not heard from him since. Is he dead or alive? Mrs. Jones does not believe the information she has had about her husband is accurate. Could she claim a pension if he is dead? No one knows.

Then there is the case of Charles Bohan, 335807, Bath, New Brunswick; medically unfit for hard work. Enlisted April 16, 1916; discharged March, 1919; served in England and France; two years overseas; six months in hospital; received $12 a month pension. Wants question put on the order paper about the pension tribunal, 1930-33. For a long time they had some trouble with the pension tribunal.

Then there is the case of P. M. Tamlyn, Lancaster hospital, Saint John, New Brunswick; wants a series of questions asked of the government. The letter is here and I will pass it over to the minister who will read it in due course-and I hope he will answer those letters, privately, to me, so I can forward his answers to that gentleman.

Then, Mrs. H. M. Hayward, Blackville. New Brunswick, who wrote me on May 28,-

As I said in my former letter, I had no axe to grind in writing you-

She received a pension of $75 a month. Then she says:

But your opinion of many of the doctors at the veterans hospitals was so right and so exactly described the case of my husband that I felt I just had to write and let you know.

Then there is the case of Roy Clyde, 59172, Peninsula, Gaspe county; B.P.C. No. 141424-fifty-five years of age; lost right eye in a theatre of war; forty per cent pension; buried three times by enemy shells; fifteen per cent shock. C.P.C. says he is not entitled to automatic raise for 55-year-old 50 per cent pensioners, because his pension is 40 per cent for direct action and 15 per cent for other conditions. His shock is due to the fact that he was buried three times by enemy shells. They say it was not direct action. This is a case I would like to have redressed.

Then there is the case of P. Roberge, 1169 St. Georges, Montreal. Up to April 5, he received $40 a month veterans allowance for services rendered in an actual theatre of war. This is not a loan, according to the law. He has been working since April 6; has been informed that the surplus of $600 a year that he earns will be deducted from future allowance. He expects to earn $1,800 this year; will owe the allowance board $1,200, which means he will be penalized for thirty months at $40 a month. A few beneficiaries of this allowance who have worked have been prosecuted and even imprisoned for such reimbursement. Mr. Roberge would like this law changed to correct such an anomaly. [Mr. Pouliot.l

The next is the case of Edouard Simard, D-l 10853, Montreal. He suffered from arteriosclerosis of the heart with angina pectoris. He was treated in hospital-up until now unsuccessful in his application for a pension.

Then there is the case of P. A. Levert, D-114821; St. Aime sur Richelieu. This man is a son of a veteran, he has five dependents and is a total invalid. He receives $36.50 from D.V.A. Report of Dr. H. Martel of Sorel is corroborated by many well known doctors that Levert is suffering from: 1. Painful umbilical hernia; 2. Chronic bronchitis with emphysema and enlarged heart; 3. Sciatica, right side; 4. Chronic arthritis of the right knee. He says his case has been aggravated by the D.V.A. doctors. He wants the law changed to permit veterans to choose their own doctors and hospitals and have them paid by the D.V.A.

Then the next is J. M. Fontaine, of 52A Fournier, Drummondville, Quebec. He complains about the Hopital de la Reine Marie, Montreal, in which he spent three months. He says that the veterans are used as guinea pigs of the medical profession.

I know this medical officer very well and I knew him when he was in charge of the soldiers at Quebec city. He was the son-inlaw of a former mayor. He knew what the war was because he went to England on a Cook's tour that lasted one, two or three months. He was then qualified for overseas preference. The troubles I had with him during the war were something awful and I cannot understand how he has been successful in pulling the strings to get his promotion to Montreal. The soldiers suffered at his hands.

This soldier complains about the Queen Mary hospital, Montreal, because they are using the veterans as guinea pigs for the medical profession. I do not blame all the doctors, but hon. members who are here today must remember the case I made against the army doctors who treated the soldiers like cattle during the last war. They used to put men who were completely disabled in category A.

I asked Colonel Desrosiers, the former deputy minister of national defence, to look after these cases. Everyone knows that the actual Minister of Veterans Affairs did a lot to help the soldiers when he was parliamentary assistant to the minister of national defence. I must pay a tribute to him and to Bill Macdonald of Halifax who did so much to help those soldiers whose cases were brought before the army doctors at the time.

Fontaine entered the hospital with a disjointed foot; he had three operations and now has a permanently incapacitated foot, knee

and hip. He was told at 35 McGill street that he will never receive help from them because he had written to the minister of pensions about the treatment he received at the said hospital. I know that the minister is broadminded and will not refuse to study the cases of these men that I am bringing to his attention. We have a minister to whom we can speak and we must speak to him because the pension commission is doing nothing to help these soldiers who are in distress.

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An hon. Member:

Carried.

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LIB

Jean-François Pouliot

Liberal

Mr. Poulioi:

I will ask the hon, gentleman to keep quiet. I am not speaking for myself,

I am speaking on behalf of men I have never met. I am speaking on behalf of men who have been in the army and who deserve the consideration of this committee as well as of the Department of Veterans Affairs. I do not say that with any antagonistic disposition.

I say that because I cannot understand when there is an organization to protect men who have been disabled in a theatre of war, whether all these facts are correct or not, whether there are shades of difference, when they deserve the sympathy of everyone, why these cases cannot be remedied. I took the trouble to come here today from the most beautiful country in the world in order to defend their cases. I want to be listened to and those who are not interested may go out. If someone says "Order" I will speak for hours more. I am not going to be terrorized by anyone. There is no one who will terrorize me. The other day I gave evidence that the minister of external affairs could not succeed in terrorizing me, nor could his deputy minister succeed in terrorizing me by having me called an isolationist by a picayune journalist of Ottawa. I am not going to be terrorized by anyone because these cases deserve the utmost consideration.

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An hon. Member:

Hear, hear.

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LIB

Jean-François Pouliot

Liberal

Mr. Poulioi:

I am going to argue these

cases here in the committee.

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An hon. Member:

Order.

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LIB

Jean-François Pouliot

Liberal

Mr. Poulioi:

I know there are generals and brigadiers all over the country, but I am not speaking for them. I speak for those who are forgotten. I speak for the poor devils who must have someone to defend their cases. I do not want to see the injustices of the last war committed again, otherwise no one will enlist. I want everyone's case redressed. I am presenting these cases because I have confidence in the minister. I have no confidence in the pension commission or in the veterans allowance board. I have said so before, and I repeat it. I will say that again in my own part of the country and everywhere I have an opportunity to speak. I

Supply-Veterans Affairs think they should be fired. But I have confidence in the minister and that is why I am laying these cases before him. There is not one good man on the pension commission; there is not one good man on the veterans allowance board. They pay no attention to the sufferings of these men who deserve every consideration possible.

The next is Lieutenant J. O. Girard PSN 696-J, CCP 219381, Mat. 11, 417253, 520184 ASC. I suggest that a man with such numbers on his file should be entitled to something because there must have been many bureaucrats who have put their signatures on the different pages. His file must be extensive. This man was a veteran of both wars and is too old to get a job. His pension is inadequate. It was established at 20 per cent in 1943 and should have been 100 per cent. He had had six sicknesses. The C.P.C. says that his state of health was bad when he enlisted for the second time. He is asking for an allowance.

If his state of health was bad when he enlisted for the second time the fact remains that he was accepted by the army doctors. Probably he was one of those who were put in category A when suffering from disabilities which should have kept them out of the service.

The next is Alcide Cimon, E-62603, Despin-assy, Abitibi East, formerly of Temiscouata. When this man was in the army he tried to be discharged on account of his health but the army always insisted that he was A-l. When he was discharged he was classified as *category E. He complains about not receiving any replies to his letters to D.V.A. He wants a pension.

These men think they are gods. We cannot write to them. We cannot speak to them. They are there and they never make mistakes. The same thing is true of all bureaucrats in Ottawa. They will never admit that they make errors. They are infallible. They are like justice with scales in her hands, but they never give justice to anyone. They simply look powerful and astonished.

The next is Jean Rioux, C-76187, St. Medard. This man is an invalid and unable to work. He earned $97 in 1950 and received $27.90 in April to buy clothing. He was fortunate in getting something, as very few do.

Then there is E-621901. I hope this name will not be mentioned. I will give the note to the minister because it is a very sad case. I will describe him by the reference "E-621-901". He was called under the N.R.M.A. He did not report, was arrested and spent one month in prison at Riviere du Loup. He was accepted in the army and sent overseas without the knowledge of his family.

4518 HOUSE OF

Supply-Veterans Affairs He was two years overseas and was discharged for insanity in 1943 at 23 years of age. In 1933 he was treated by Dr. Alphonse Couturier of Riviere du Loup for dementia praecox. He was ill until May, 1934, and had frequent relapses from 1933 to 1943. Here is a man who did not have his mind. Yet he was accepted and classified grade A by doctors who should have been sent to the asylum in his place. He was in the war for two years, and now they say that he suffers from dementia praecox. It is impossible to get anything for him. The almighties of the pension board have decided that he should not have anything.

I come now to a very sad case that I know very well. It is the case of a man who was in the Chaudiere regiment. His name is Paul Desbiens, E-6133, of Riviere du Loup. He was awarded the military medal and was wounded in the spine. He went from hospital to hospital while overseas and is still suffering. He has a small pension. I have a file about two inches thick concerning him.

I tried to submit his case to the department but without success. He is one of the most meritorious cases in the department. He is an active fellow. He was wounded and was suffering but he wanted to earn his livelihood. I had him appointed to the Canadian National Railways for a time but he was set back because of the decrease in the number of personnel. He went to Montreal and worked in a baker's shop. He was injured there and then he came back. What I say is that the amount he gets as a consequence of the wounds that he received in action deserves special consideration, and on his behalf I insist that the department do something for him. My file is quite considerable, and I will give it to the minister in the hope that he will see to it that justice is done.

Now, what is the situation? There are some members in the house who want the bureaucrats to be free, without any control, but so far as such cases are concerned we need parliamentary control to redress the grievances of those who suffer. There is not a member in the house who will say that disabled returned men are not worthy of our consideration. If they are not worthy of the consideration of the pension commission or the allowance board-period, it ends there, thirty, as the journalists write at the end of their articles. Nothing more can be said. Thirty, it is finished. There is no appeal from the almighties, and I cry my contempt of them in the house today because there are so many pitiful and unsettled cases that deserve the consideration of everybody.

Why can we not do anything? It is because a government of a former day listened to

those who did not want any parliamentary control over the doings of the bureaucrats in Ottawa. That is it. I believe in parliamentary control. I am ready to assume my responsibility, and I am sure the majority of members of the house feel the same about it. It is time for us to awake and to decide that every deserving case should be brought to the attention of the minister in the first place and then to the attention of the house. Let me repeat that there are no indispensable men anywhere. If there is a place where there are men who could be more easily dispensed with it is on the pension commission and the allowance board. Everybody knows it.

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An hon. Member:

Smile.

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LIB

Jean-François Pouliot

Liberal

Mr. Pouliot:

I have plenty but I summarize. What is wrong with that? Who disagrees with me on that?

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PC
LIB

Jean-François Pouliot

Liberal

Mr. Pouliot:

Those who disagree with me only have to say so. 1 am here to answer them and I am not afraid to do so. I travelled 400 miles today to come here to present the cases of these men.

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SC

Ernest George Hansell

Social Credit

Mr. Hansell:

If the hon. member is asking whether anyone disagrees with him I do not mind replying to that. So far as I am personally concerned, I do disagree at least partially with him. I believe he is focusing the blame in the wrong place. He has brought a number of cases to our attention. I felt that when he was through I might ask that the item be delayed until I had sent a couple of messengers to my office with a couple of trucks to bring down all my files so that I might present the cases one at a time, but I am not going to do so. I believe that my hon. friend, together with many others, fail to realize that even the minister himself, as well as the pension board, has to work within the confines of certain rules and regulations, and they would be fired overnight if they went beyond those bounds. We have known the minister for a good many years. He has his assistant with him, and they appear to be kind-hearted men.

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LIB
SC

Ernest George Hansell

Social Credit

Mr. Hansell:

All right. Let us ask whether the minister feels-

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LIB
SC

Ernest George Hansell

Social Credit

Mr. Hansell:

-that something should be done for these cases. I am quite certain he does not have a heart of stone. I am quite certain he would rise and say: Yes, something should be done. We might say: Why

are you not doing it? We may as well come to the point. The fact of the matter is that the minister, the pension commission and the

veterans allowance board are not the authorities who impose restrictions of wider application to the Pension Act or the War Veterans Allowance Act. Behind them again is a higher authority. Treasury board says: You can only have so much money. To widen the act would cost so much more. We are sorry but you will have to work within the present act.

The hon. member for Temiscouata has referred to a previous government bringing in certain rules and regulations. Let him point his finger at his own government that he supports for permitting the regulations and the acts to remain as they now stand. That is the position. I could speak the same way that he does, spread it on Hansard, and appear to be putting up a great fight for these cases. So could anyone else. But nevertheless I am confident that the minister and his department, the pension commission and the veterans allowance board would, if they obeyed the dictates of their own consciences and hearts, help every deserving case. But when one realizes that the regulations and the statute are so restrictive in their application one has to look behind the minister to find the joker in the pile. That is the situation as I see it, and I am not coming to the defence of the government. I am simply saying it all boils down to the monetary policy the government has which restricts them in being able to adequately provide for these very deserving people.

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LIB

Jean-François Pouliot

Liberal

Mr. Poulioi:

Mr. Chairman, the only thing to do if the pension commissioners cannot use their powers to give a pension to anyone is to dispense with them.

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SC

Ernest George Hansell

Social Credit

Mr. Hansell:

Change the act; persuade your own government to change the act.

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LIB
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Donald MacInnis

Mr. Maclnnis:

I think the remarks made by the member for Macleod very timely. It is too bad he rather spoiled them by the last few sentences. I believe, however, that what he said should have been said by the minister. He is the one who ought to reply to the tirade which has for the past half hour been directed against the pension commission and the war veterans allowance board. The member for Temiscouata has said that he wants parliamentary control. I take it that we have parliamentary control, that the pension commission itself is the result of parliamentary action and, consequently, parliamentary control. It has been established by this parliament. If that is not parliamentary control, the only other parliamentary control of which I can conceive would be to have parliament set itself up as a committee to hear all

Supply-Veterans Affairs those cases and make decisions on them individually. It is obvious that such a method of dealing with those matters is out of the question.

As a result of a bill introduced by the government and approved by parliament, parliament has laid down the rules by which the pension commission and the war veterans allowance board deal with the cases that come before them. I am not always satisfied with the decisions I receive on the cases I present to them.

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June 22, 1951