May 7, 1952

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. Fournier (Hull):

Mr. Speaker, though I did not announce further business for today, I think it would be a pity if we were not to employ all our time. I would suggest that we take up the resolution standing in the name of the Minister of National Defence. I understand that there would be no objection to that resolution being considered this afternoon.

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Permalink

CANADIAN FORCES ACT

DISCIPLINE AND ADMINISTRATION

LIB

Brooke Claxton (Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Hon. Brooke Claxton (Minister of National Defence) moved

that the house go into committee to consider the following resolution:

That it is expedient to introduce a bill to amend the National Defence Act to effect certain changes respecting the discipline and administration of the forces and to provide that persons who commit grave breaches of the Geneva conventions of 1949 may be tried out of Canada by court martial: to amend the Defence Services Pension Act to provide that the total emolument, by way of salary and pension, payable to a pensioner who is employed as a civil servant may be adjusted in accordance with current rates of pay and allowances of the forces and to provide that members of the forces who are otherwise eligible for pension may be permitted to count periods of full-time reserve service of a continuous duration of six months or more for the purpose of determining the amount of pension; to amend the Civil Service Superannuation Act to enable a person who served overseas with the Royal Canadian Navy during the second world war otherwise than at sea to count such service for the purpose of the Civil Service Superannuation Act notwithstanding that the time for election to count such service has expired; and

(Mr. Gregg.]

to amend the Senate and House of Commons Act to make the provision respecting the eligibility of servicemen to sit as members of the House of Commons consistent with the provisions of the Canada Elections Act.

He said: Mr. Speaker, hon. members will recall that at two previous sessions bills were submitted to the house bearing the titles the Canadian Forces Act, 1950, and Canadian Forces Act, 1951. Those measures contained a number of miscellaneous provisions respecting defence. The bill which would be introduced if this resolution carried will be entitled the Canadian Forces Act, 1952, and it would follow the precedents set by the previous measures.

This bill would involve a number of amendments to the National Defence Act, Civil Service Superannuation Act, the Defence Services Pension Act and the Senate and House of Commons Act. The amendments to the National Defence Act, with one exception, are concerned with technical changes, and perhaps at this stage I do not need to go into them in any detail as hon. members can better appreciate what they are when the bill is before them. The only matter of substance proposed by way of amendment to the National Defence Act is to enable Canada to carry out obligations that we may assume under the Geneva conventions of August 12, 1949. These conventions relate to the treatment to be accorded members of the armed forces who in time of war are wounded, sick or shipwrecked, taken prisoner of war, and the protection of civilians. Under these conventions the countries signatory to them agree to provide penal sanctions and to bring alleged offenders, regardless of their nationality, before their courts. This proposed provision would enable us to do that.

The bill contains a proposed amendment to the Civil Service Superannuation Act to correct an anomalous situation wherein certain former members of the navy with service ashore overseas in the second world war may not at present allocate the amounts of their period of active service on the same basis as their army and air force counterparts. In other words, a member of the army or air force is permitted to count his service overseas for certain purposes under the Civil Service Superannuation Act, but a member of the navy who had similar service overseas is not at present allowed to count that service for the purpose of civil service superannuation.

Other clauses in the bill would amend the Defence Services Pension Act in two respects. The first amendment deals with the situation of retired officers who are on pension and who have taken up employment in the civil

service. At present these officers may receive by way of service pensions only an amount which, when added to their civil service salary, does not bring their total emoluments above the level of their pay and allowances upon their retirement from the forces. The proposed amendment would enable these retired officers, now in the civil service, to r ceive the difference between their civil service pay and the pay of their rank as it then is, which would enable them to secure the advantage of any increases in pay subsequent to their retirement. This would be achieved by providing that such civil servants could receive by way of service pension an amount that, when added to their civil service salary, does not bring their total emoluments above the current pay and allowances of the rank in which they were retired. In other words, a new ceiling would be created, namely the pay and allowances of the forces in effect from time to time as an alternative to the pay and allowances in effect upon retirement.

Perhaps I can give an illustration; it sounds quite complicated but it is not. In the department we have a retired rear admiral working as special adviser to the minister. His civil service pay was fixed at $10,000. His service pension was approximately $6,000. Hence for a full year's work, full time, he actually received $4,000 over and above what he would have received1 without working. The pay and allowance of a rear admiral are now increased* to about $11,000. This amendment would enable this rear admiral to secure $5,000 net for his services instead of the $4,000 that he now gets.

Topic:   CANADIAN FORCES ACT
Subtopic:   DISCIPLINE AND ADMINISTRATION
Sub-subtopic:   PENSIONS, SUPERANNUATION, ETC.
Permalink
PC

Alfred Johnson Brooks

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Brooks:

What would happen in case an officer were demoted?

Topic:   CANADIAN FORCES ACT
Subtopic:   DISCIPLINE AND ADMINISTRATION
Sub-subtopic:   PENSIONS, SUPERANNUATION, ETC.
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LIB

Brooke Claxton (Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Mr. Claxton:

The person we are considering has been retired and he would not be subject to demotion. In the case of officers who retire from the armed forces, particularly those having technical qualifications, we are sometimes finding it highly desirable to continue their services as civilians after they have reached the retirement age; but there is not much inducement in their working full time and assuming the responsibilities of a heavy job unless some change is made.

Topic:   CANADIAN FORCES ACT
Subtopic:   DISCIPLINE AND ADMINISTRATION
Sub-subtopic:   PENSIONS, SUPERANNUATION, ETC.
Permalink
PC

George Randolph Pearkes

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Pearkes:

Is this provision limited to officers only?

Topic:   CANADIAN FORCES ACT
Subtopic:   DISCIPLINE AND ADMINISTRATION
Sub-subtopic:   PENSIONS, SUPERANNUATION, ETC.
Permalink
LIB

Brooke Claxton (Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Mr. Claxton:

I have not looked the matter up for some years, but it is my recollection that the restriction does not apply to men today. I will look it up and give an answer when we get into committee.

The second amendment to the Defence Services Pension Act would enable contributors who have had long periods of full-time

Canadian Forces Act reserve service to count that service as full time for the purpose of computing the amount of their pension but only if such contributors would have sufficient service to make them eligible for pension without this amendment.

There is in the bill a proposed amendment to the Senate and House of Commons Act to modernize or to bring up to date the terminology of the provisions in that act respecting the eligibility of members of the forces to sit as members of the House of Commons. At present the act refers to the non-permanent active militia and other terms which have been replaced. This would bring that terminology into line with an amendment made to the Canada Elections Act at the second session of 1951. The provision would be identical.

There are only six clauses in the bill. They are all of a technical nature except that with regard to the Geneva conventions, and I hope the house will adopt them.

Topic:   CANADIAN FORCES ACT
Subtopic:   DISCIPLINE AND ADMINISTRATION
Sub-subtopic:   PENSIONS, SUPERANNUATION, ETC.
Permalink
PC

George Randolph Pearkes

Progressive Conservative

Mr. G. R. Pearkes (Nanaimo):

Mr. Speaker, this is rather an omnibus resolution inasmuch as it is a bill to deal with amendments to four separate acts. On hearing the resolution my first thought was this. Would it not have been better to bring in four resolutions and to have four bills, each to amend one of these various acts? To put them all together seems to me to be a rather confusing and complicated way of dealing with this particular matter. These amendments deal with subjects which range all the way from courts-martial in connection with crimes which may have been committed in connection with the Geneva conventions of 1949 down to changes in the Civil Service Superannuation Act and in the Defence Services Pension Act. Of course the matter of many retired service personnel finding employment when they have left the service and of government departments utilizing the special knowledge that service personnel have acquired through their service-as, for instance, in the example given by the minister-has always been a problem.

I see that you are looking at the clock, Mr. Speaker. As I have one or two further comments I wish to make, I would move the adjournment of the debate.

On motion of Mr. Pearkes the debate was adjourned.

Topic:   CANADIAN FORCES ACT
Subtopic:   DISCIPLINE AND ADMINISTRATION
Sub-subtopic:   PENSIONS, SUPERANNUATION, ETC.
Permalink

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. Fournier (Hull):

Mr. Speaker, tomorrow we will go into committee of ways and means and take up the budget resolutions, I am told, in the following order: excise tax, customs tariffs, income tax and succession duty.

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Permalink

At six o'clock the house adjourned, without question put, pursuant to standing order.



Thursday, May 8, 1952


May 7, 1952