October 25, 1951

PC

Gordon Graydon

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Graydon:

Was there any objection to the expression "national dividend", or "senior citizens' dividend" or "senior citizenship superannuation"?

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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. Marlin:

There were several other

suggestions.

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CCF

Clarence Gillis

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

Mr. Gillis:

I notice the Minister of Veterans Affairs is in his seat, so he may be prepared now to answer my question. How will the new old age security legislation affect the Pension Act? I understand the minister told the hon. member for Kootenay West that no pension paid under the Pension Act would be affected by this act, and that all in receipt of pensions under that act would qualify. I then proceeded to ask this question: Would dependent parents granted a pension because of the loss of a son in one of the services, and who received such pension under a means test, qualify for the new old age security pension without affecting the pension they now receive as indigent parents?

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LIB

Hugues Lapointe (Minister of Veterans Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. Lapointe:

I said before that no disability pensioner would see his pension reduced, or that all disability pensioners would be receiving old age security when they qualify by age. Then, as regards people in receipt of dependents' pensions, I would

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Old Age Security

point out that this is a different type of pension, one which is awarded by the Canadian pension commission upon evidence of need. In other words it is subject to a certain type of means test.

Perhaps I am thinking out loud when I say that the situation would be somewhat similar to that of the recipient of war veterans allowance. There again the old age security payment will be considered as income. The Canadian pension commission will consider these cases individually, as they do at the present time, and keep in mind always the receipt of $40 a month as the old age security payment, and as income.

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CCF

Herbert Wilfred Herridge

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

Mr. Herridge:

I am glad to hear the minister's explanation, because my question was this: Would persons being paid pensions under the authority of the Pension Act be affected so far as this legislation is concerned?

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LIB

Hugues Lapointe (Minister of Veterans Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. Lapointe:

Not the disability pension. The veteran himself who is in receipt of a pension, whatever the percentage of disability may be, will qualify to receive the old age security payment without affecting his pension. Those who are in receipt of a dependents' pension, which is awarded on a completely different basis and which carries with it a means test, as my hon. friend knows, will possibly be considered in the same manner as the recipients of war veterans allowances. That is to say, the Canadian pension commission, in looking into a case to see whether or not a dependent pension should be awarded, will take into consideration the fact that the applicant is in receipt of a $40 a month old age security pension.

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PC

Howard Charles Green

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Green:

Mr. Chairman, that means the dependents are very apt to have their allowances cut, and the same is true of the recipients of the war veterans allowance. It is perfectly clear, from the statement made by the minister earlier this evening, that many of the recipients of the war veterans allowance are going to have their allowances cut. It all adds up to the Canadian veteran getting the small end of the stick on this deal.

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LIB

Hugues Lapointe (Minister of Veterans Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. Lapointe:

It might add up like that in my hon. friend's mind, but that is not the way it works out.

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PC

Howard Charles Green

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Green:

Who has the floor, Mr. Chairman?

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LIB

Louis-René Beaudoin (Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole)

Liberal

The Deputy Chairman:

The hon. member for Yancouver-Quadra may continue.

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LIB

Douglas Charles Abbott (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. Abbott:

He makes these appeals all the time.

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PC

Howard Charles Green

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Green:

I suggest that this whole question as to the effect of this legislation on veterans should be considered by a special committee on veterans affairs to be set up at this session of parliament. There is no reason at all why all these questions could not be thoroughly reviewed by that special committee on veterans affairs. We are going to be here for another six weeks, and it just is not good enough to put the veterans' side of this problem over until next March or April and be told that perhaps the payments will be made retroactive. The veterans' side of this picture should be straightened out now and not left until next year. I submit to hon. members that there is no reason at all why it should not be dealt with now.

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CCF

Clarence Gillis

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

Mr. Gillis:

I hope the minister has not given his final decision in this matter. I hope he has just been thinking out loud. When the minister makes the statement that all dependent pensions paid under the Pension Act will be affected in the way he indicates, that is pretty all-inclusive. I am thinking of the widow of a soldier who was killed in service and who receives a dependent pension.

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LIB
CCF

Clarence Gillis

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

Mr. Gillis:

I am glad to hear the minister say "no". His statement of a moment ago could be construed as meaning that.

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LIB

Hugues Lapointe (Minister of Veterans Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. Lapointe:

That is a pension as of right.

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LIB

Jean Lesage (Parliamentary Assistant to the Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. Lesage:

That is not a dependent pension.

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LIB

Hugues Lapointe (Minister of Veterans Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. Lapointe:

It is not considered a dependent pension under the Pension Act.

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CCF

Clarence Gillis

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

Mr. Gillis:

I am glad to hear the minister clarify that because that is why I got up. His statement seemed rather ambiguous and to me it could mean a lot of things. I still think he should not be too adamant in the matter of dependent parents' pensions. That too is a pension as of right and should be considered as such in the minds of the people who interpret the act. The parents who have lost a son or sons in service often find themselves with no income, and when a pension is granted by the government it should be considered a pension as of right. Their circumstances are largely attributable to the fact that they have lost those who might have supported them had they lived out their normal span of life.

I wish the minister had stated that this matter will be considered by the veterans affairs committee if and when it meets, at this session if possible. I think that is worthy of consideration. I know many people in this category whose only income is the $40 per

month. We have been paying this for twenty-five years in some cases, and I think we should continue it from this fund which is going to be contributed to by the nation as a whole. It would not be a great drain, and it would be a gesture in the right direction.

There is also the matter of compassionate pensions which are paid to widows of veterans whose pension was under 50 per cent. I have in mind a widow with eight children whose veteran husband had a 40 per cent pension. She is left with those children on her hands. She could not get a war veterans allowance or a dependent's pension as of right, so the government gave her a compassionate pension. According to the minister's decision that pension will be affected by this old age security legislation.

I think the minister should give this matter more consideration and not arrive at any final decision. I believe every hon. member is pretty much of the same mind. I do not know much about this as yet, and I am simply trying to feel my way about. After due consideration there are many things we think cannot be done that we find can be done.

Resolution reported, read the second time and concurred in.

Old Age Security

Mr. Martin thereupon moved for leave to introduce Bill No. 13, to provide for old age security.

Motion agreed to and bill read the first time.

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BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

October 25, 1951