June 10, 1952

LIB

Lester Bowles Pearson (Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. Pearson:

If I did not deal with these questions before six o'clock it was not because I thought there was no argument about them. I agree there should be argument in the house about every proposal to increase salaries and amend statutes. The only reason I did not refer to the matter then was because I thought it was probably better to deal with such questions when we were in committee. I am quite happy to answer some of them now.

The question raised by the hon. member for Peel, and also referred to by the hon. member who has just spoken, about the justification for increases of this kind becomes very important. I listened incidentally, Mr. Chairman, with great interest to some of the observations of my hon. friend about salaries generally and the necessity of trying to keep them on a comparable basis. Some of those observations which dealt with cabinet ministers' salaries, for instance, may have evoked a warm response within me, but it is a matter about which it would be improper for me to say anything, as the hon. member himself indicated. I should like to add that whatever he may say about the Prime Minister outside the house, we shall always recall with gratitude the estimate of the high value

of the Prime Minister's services which he has made inside the house, and with which we agree.

It is quite true, as the hon. member has indicated, that this question of the salaries of different officers should not if possible be dealt with piecemeal. Indeed it is not, because there is a continuing review of these salaries, and there has been an effort to bring them all up to a reasonable level in view of changed conditions. That was the case with this particular commission, and the salaries of its chairman and its members. The work of the international joint commission has grown in value and in importance over recent years. I do not think there is any doubt about that. I believe I could confirm that statement by a comparison of the references which are now before this commission with those which were before the commission eight or ten years ago. The hon. member for Peel mentioned only a comparatively small number of references. If hon. members will recall the annual report of the Department of External Affairs for 1951, on page 19 there is a chapter devoted to the work of the commission, which shows how important and how widespread are the references which are now before it.

The main reason it is proposed that these salaries be increased is because of the increased work, and the increased importance of that work, as well as the fact that a salary which might have been appropriate in 1911 might be considered not so appropriate in 1952. I think I am right in saying that until fairly recently the work of the members of the international joint commission has not been such as to occupy all the time of the members of the commission on either the Canadian or the United States side. But certainly that is not the case now. It is now a full-time job for all the members, as even a cursory survey of the work now before the commission would show. For instance, at the present time there is before the commission a reference on the pollution of boundary waters; the Sage creek reference; the Niagara river reference; the Saint John river reference; the question of atmospheric pollution; the Souris-Red rivers reference; the Waterton-Belly rivers reference, which is an extremely important one; the Columbia river reference; the flood control projects on the Okanagan river; the Kootenay river projects; the project to construct a dam near Waneta, British Columbia, to say nothing of the St. Lawrence reference which we hope will be before the commission shortly and indeed the reference on lake levels to which the hon. member for Peel has referred, and which we are trying to work out with the United States government at the

Boundary Waters Treaty Act present time in a form which is satisfactory to both governments. One of our preoccupations in that attempt is to make sure that a reference of this kind, of such great importance, will not get in the way of or unnecessarily postpone the St. Lawrence waterway reference which will include proposals fundamentally related to the control of lake levels.

I therefore think it is fair to say that the work of the commission has grown in volume and in importance. A proposal of this kind that the salaries of the members of the commission should be increased is not merely a recognition of changed conditions since 1911 but also a recognition of the growing importance of this work.

Topic:   BOUNDARY WATERS TREATY ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENT TO INCREASE MAXIMUM SALARIES OF MEMBERS OF CANADIAN SECTION . OF INTERNATIONAL JOINT COMMISSION, ETC.
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PC

Donald Methuen Fleming

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Fleming:

Will the minister permit a question?

Topic:   BOUNDARY WATERS TREATY ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENT TO INCREASE MAXIMUM SALARIES OF MEMBERS OF CANADIAN SECTION . OF INTERNATIONAL JOINT COMMISSION, ETC.
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LIB

Lester Bowles Pearson (Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. Pearson:

Yes.

Topic:   BOUNDARY WATERS TREATY ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENT TO INCREASE MAXIMUM SALARIES OF MEMBERS OF CANADIAN SECTION . OF INTERNATIONAL JOINT COMMISSION, ETC.
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PC

Donald Methuen Fleming

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Fleming:

The minister has given a list of references before the commission. Will he indicate at what stage they are at present? Some of them may not be advanced to the stage where they are actually imposing heavy duties on the members of the commission as such.

Topic:   BOUNDARY WATERS TREATY ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENT TO INCREASE MAXIMUM SALARIES OF MEMBERS OF CANADIAN SECTION . OF INTERNATIONAL JOINT COMMISSION, ETC.
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LIB

Lester Bowles Pearson (Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. Pearson:

I think I can say that these references are in fact imposing extremely heavy duties on the members of the commission at the present time. I know it is hoped by the commission to clean up as many of these references as possible before the other questions of the St. Lawrence waterway and the lake levels have to be considered.

Some reference was made by the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre to the proposal in this resolution that the salary of the secretary of the commission be altered by raising the maximum to $6,000. He called attention to the fact that in the estimates there is at present, I believe, an item which would indicate that the present salary is above the present maximum of, I think, $4,000. I had, of course, noticed that discrepancy myself. On making inquiries as to the reason for it I was informed that in November of 1946 the then Secretary of State for External Affairs inquired of the Department of Justice as to the position of the secretary of this commission in relation to the Civil Service Act. The information which was secured on this matter is contained in a letter from the then Secretary of State for External Affairs to the chairman of the Canadian section of the international joint commission. Perhaps I might read from that letter. I think it will be an answer to the

Boundary Waters Treaty Act question raised by my hon. friend. This letter, which is dated November 29, 1946, reads as follows:

It is true that originally authority for appointing a secretary to the Canadian section of the international joint commission may have been vested in the said Canadian section. This would appear to be justified by the wording of article 12 of the Boundary Waters Treaty of January 11, 1909, which was confirmed and sanctioned by section 1 of the statute 1-2 Geo. V., c. 28. Further evidence of this authority can be found in section 7 of statute 1-2 Geo. V., c. 28 as amended by 4-5 Geo. V., c. 5, section 2.

However, this power of the Canadian section appears to have been repealed by 8-9 Geo. V., c. 12, section 53 (Civil Service Act 1918).

53. "Subject to the provisions hereinbefore contained . . . the power under any statute of any board or commission situated at Ottawa either with or without the approval of the governor in council, to appoint or promote any officer, clerk or employee . . . are repealed."

On 19th November, 1918, Mr. Newcombe, then deputy minister of justice, expressed the view that the officers and servants of the Canadian section of the international joint commission are a part of the civil service and as such subject to the provisions of the Civil Service Act. This view has now been confirmed by the acting deputy minister of justice by an opinion dated 12th November.

From the foregoing, it would appear that the appointment of a secretary of the Canadian section of the international joint commission must be made pursuant to the provisions of the Civil Service Act with which you are undoubtedly familiar.

Therefore I suppose that strictly speaking, Mr. Chairman, it was not necessary to amend this act to deal with this question of the secretary's salary; but it was felt that it was desirable to do so in order to bring it in harmony with the other act. That is why that situation arose.

Topic:   BOUNDARY WATERS TREATY ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENT TO INCREASE MAXIMUM SALARIES OF MEMBERS OF CANADIAN SECTION . OF INTERNATIONAL JOINT COMMISSION, ETC.
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CCF

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

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

Mr. Knowles:

Mr. Chairman, I appreciate the answer the Secretary of State for External Affairs has given to this point. However, it is a bit disturbing when one discovers on an occasion such as this that we are paying, through the estimates, a salary in excess of what the statute allows. It makes one wonder if there are any other cases like that scattered through the estimates. Maybe not. Maybe this is the only one. But here is one that we have not known about, and it has come out in this way.

I was going to say this to the Secretary of State for External Affairs, when he read that letter. If that was the case, namely that it had already been decided that the secretary of the international joint commission is a civil servant rather than an appointee of the international joint commission, why should there be the provision in the resolution now before us that the secretary and other employees are to be brought under the provisions of the Civil Service Act? I would presume that when this resolution which is now before us was drafted, the drafters must have known of that matter which came to

light in 1946. All I can suggest at this point is that this proves the desirability of fairly close scrutiny of things of this kind by members of the House of Commons.

I hope that there is not too much of this sort of thing going on; that is, statutory provisions being altered by means of getting some decision from justice or somewhere else that the statute does not really mean what we have always thought it to mean. When this resolution now before us was drafted, apparently it was thought by whoever drafted it that the secretary is not covered under the provisions of the Civil Service Act, because the drafter of this resolution said that the secretary should be covered. Now when we complain about the fact that we are already paying this secretary more than the law allows under the statute of 1911 as amended by the statute of 1914, the Secretary of State for External Affairs says the secretary does not come under the provisions of the Civil Service Act. That is not being unduly critical of the Secretary of State for External Affairs because, from what he said, I imagine that he discovered the same disparity I discovered. He apparently, on his own initiative, made the same sort of inquiry that I have been making here on the floor of the committee. I cite this as an example of the need for pretty close scrutiny of these financial matters by members of the House of Commons.

Topic:   BOUNDARY WATERS TREATY ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENT TO INCREASE MAXIMUM SALARIES OF MEMBERS OF CANADIAN SECTION . OF INTERNATIONAL JOINT COMMISSION, ETC.
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PC

Gordon Graydon

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Graydon:

Has the auditor general drawn this to the attention of the government at any time to the minister's knowledge?

Topic:   BOUNDARY WATERS TREATY ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENT TO INCREASE MAXIMUM SALARIES OF MEMBERS OF CANADIAN SECTION . OF INTERNATIONAL JOINT COMMISSION, ETC.
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LIB

Lester Bowles Pearson (Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. Pearson:

I think reference is made to the secretary's salary in one of the auditor general's reports; whether it is in this context, I am not sure. But I should like to add that there is nothing sinister in this matter. The fact that the salary of the secretary was established in the original act and that a subsequent act of parliament in essence repealed that particular provision merely means, as I understand it, that the secretary's salary has been paid subsequently by virtue of the Civil Service Act provision which, according to an opinion of the Department of Justice, has in fact repealed the earlier provision; and the bill which will be based on this resolution will make that clear.

Topic:   BOUNDARY WATERS TREATY ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENT TO INCREASE MAXIMUM SALARIES OF MEMBERS OF CANADIAN SECTION . OF INTERNATIONAL JOINT COMMISSION, ETC.
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LIB

George Matheson Murray

Liberal

Mr. Murray (Cariboo):

I should like to point out the very great importance to Canada of safeguarding our water resources, which on the west coast begin with the Skagit river.

Topic:   BOUNDARY WATERS TREATY ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENT TO INCREASE MAXIMUM SALARIES OF MEMBERS OF CANADIAN SECTION . OF INTERNATIONAL JOINT COMMISSION, ETC.
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LIB

Louis-René Beaudoin (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Liberal

The Chairman:

I am sorry to interrupt the hon. member, but this resolution should not serve as a pretext to discuss the safeguarding of our waterways. This resolution deals merely with the International Boundary Waters Treaty Act and maximum salaries of

the members of the Canadian section of the international joint commission, and to bring the secretary and all other employees within the provisions of the Civil Service Act.

Topic:   BOUNDARY WATERS TREATY ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENT TO INCREASE MAXIMUM SALARIES OF MEMBERS OF CANADIAN SECTION . OF INTERNATIONAL JOINT COMMISSION, ETC.
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LIB

George Matheson Murray

Liberal

Mr. Murray (Cariboo):

I bring that out to show the importance of these men who are charged with that responsibility. They should be men of the very highest quality and character, because they are charged with safeguarding one of our greatest resources, particularly in the west, where these waterways originate in Canada and are used in the states of Washington, Oregon and Montana for the development of power and irrigation. I refer to waters flowing from and having their source in Canada. That is true right across Canada, and in the north where the Yukon river is a potential source of power for proposed industry in the territory of Alaska. We must have men who are experts to safeguard our interests where international waterways are concerned.

Topic:   BOUNDARY WATERS TREATY ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENT TO INCREASE MAXIMUM SALARIES OF MEMBERS OF CANADIAN SECTION . OF INTERNATIONAL JOINT COMMISSION, ETC.
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PC

William Joseph Browne

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Browne (St. John's West):

Until we had an explanation from the Secretary of State for External Affairs that this commission is now very busy, it was very hard to understand why we would want to increase their salaries or make the extension proposed by this resolution. I notice in the list of submissions that are before the commission, which the minister set out, he mentioned the pollution of boundary waters. I hold in my hand a report of the international joint commission of the United States and Canada on the pollution of boundary waters, and I note from that report that they were requested by references made to them by the governments of the United States and Canada in April, 1946, to make an investigation. They immediately referred it to experts and technical advisers who reported to them on August 24, 1949. On that date they made their report to the commission and the commission made their report in October, 1950. It took them fifteen months after they received a report from the experts before they sent the report to the government, and that report was not published until 1951.

The minister admitted that until recently he did not think the commission had very much to do. I do not say he used exactly those words, but he certainly gave the impression that they were not overworked. He now says that they have all these references. What has been done with regard to the references? Where are the offices of this commission? Are they situated in Ottawa? Are they holding inquiries all the time? I was under the impression that they did not seem to be holding many hearings during the five years this inquiry was going on, and on which a report was made.

Boundary Waters Treaty Act As has been pointed out by the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre, the resolution proposes to bring the secretary and other employees of the commission within the provisions of the Civil Service Act. Some of these are temporary employees. Is it the intention to bring temporary employees under the Civil Service Act? I understand that this year an engineer has been added to the staff and one or two other officials. There are four permanent positions, including the three commissioners. These other members of the staff are temporary. Can the Secretary of State for External Affairs tell us whether it is the intention to bring these three commissioners under the Civil Service Act, with the idea of giving them pensions? How long have they been employed, and how will that arrangement be carried out? [DOT]

I notice that in the bill there is to be provision that all expenses incurred in carrying out the provisions of the act shall be paid out of moneys appropriated by parliament for the purpose. Surely that is the way it has been done. Is there some other way by which these expenses have been paid, because I notice in the public accounts for 1951 there appears the following item:

To provide for preliminary studies and surveys of the mid-western watershed, $10,000, expenditures, $7,888.88.

Then the following appears:

To provide for Canada's share of an investigation on the matter of air pollution in the vicinity of Detroit and Windsor, $40,000, expenditures, $27,052.29.

In the estimates this year there is a vote of $10,000 for the purpose of studies and surveys of the mid-western watershed. In connection with the investigation into the matter of air pollution in the vicinity of Detroit and Windsor, $52,000 is to be voted. I notice in the estimates this year there are two new items. I think the matter of the Saint John river reference has been dropped this year, judging by the estimates. I should like to have some information from the minister.

Topic:   BOUNDARY WATERS TREATY ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENT TO INCREASE MAXIMUM SALARIES OF MEMBERS OF CANADIAN SECTION . OF INTERNATIONAL JOINT COMMISSION, ETC.
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LIB

Lester Bowles Pearson (Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. Pearson:

I should say in the first place that I believe the details of the work of the international joint commission can, I think, be more usefully discussed when we have the estimates of my department up for consideration, and I shall have all these details with me. I just mention that, Mr. Chairman, because there will be another opportunity to discuss the work of the international joint commission.

However, the hon. member who has just spoken has brought up a few questions, and I should like to try to deal with them now in the hope that they will not be brought up

Army Benevolent Fund Act again when our estimates are under consideration. He has asked where the offices of the commission are situated. They are situated in Ottawa. The commission does a great deal of its work travelling around, holding investigations and hearings in all parts of the country and indeed in the United States.

If I said a few moments ago that the commission in earlier days had, as my hon. friend put it, not much to do, I did not want to give the impression that they were idling on the job. I wanted to give the impression that the references they had were not as numerous or as important as the ones they have now. The particular reference quoted by my hon. friend is one example of the work of the commission. I have a feeling that if he studied that reference in detail and had an opportunity to learn something about its complications and difficulties and the work required in negotiations with other governments, not only the United States, because the provinces came into it, he would appreciate that the work was well done and that there was no undue delay.

So far as the staff of the commission is concerned, the bill based on the resolution will merely state that the secretary and other officers, clerks and employees as required for the purposes of this act might be employed under the provisions of the Civil Service Act, so they would all be employed under that act and as such would become civil servants. At the present time there are two permanent civil servants and four temporaries on the staff of the commission.

Resolution reported, read the second time and concurred in.

Mr. Pearson thereupon moved for leave to introduce Bill No. 333, to amend the International Boundary Waters Treaty Act.

Motion agreed to and bill read the first time.

Topic:   BOUNDARY WATERS TREATY ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENT TO INCREASE MAXIMUM SALARIES OF MEMBERS OF CANADIAN SECTION . OF INTERNATIONAL JOINT COMMISSION, ETC.
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ARMY BENEVOLENT FUND ACT

INCREASE IN RATE OF INTEREST ON MINIMUM MONTHLY BALANCES

LIB

Hugues Lapointe (Minister of Veterans Affairs)

Liberal

Hon. Hugues Lapointe (Minister of Veterans Affairs) moved

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

That it is expedient to introduce a measure to amend the Army Benevolent Fund Act, 1947, to increase the rate of interest from two and one-half per cent per annum to three and one-half per cent per annum on minimum monthly balances to the credit of the fund not in excess of five million dollars.

Topic:   ARMY BENEVOLENT FUND ACT
Subtopic:   INCREASE IN RATE OF INTEREST ON MINIMUM MONTHLY BALANCES
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PC

Alfred Johnson Brooks

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Brooks:

Will the minister make a statement at this time?

Topic:   ARMY BENEVOLENT FUND ACT
Subtopic:   INCREASE IN RATE OF INTEREST ON MINIMUM MONTHLY BALANCES
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LIB

Hugues Lapointe (Minister of Veterans Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. Lapointe:

Mr. Speaker, as hon. members are aware, following a report submitted by

a special committee of the House of Commons on canteen funds during the session of 1947, an act was passed to establish the army benevolent fund, from the army canteen and other service funds. This fund is administered by a board set up under the act, composed of five members who sit voluntarily under the chairmanship of Lieutenant General Murchie.

According to the terms of the act it was provided in part that plans would be formulated on the assumption that there would be prospective beneficiaries for 50 years from the establishment of the fund, and the actuarial schedule assumes that the bulk of the expenditures from the fund will take place during the first 30 years at a rate of $400,000 per annum. In fact, the board's current annual expenditures are higher than this sum.

Another section of the act provides that the fund shall be credited with interest at the rate of 21 per cent per annum, semiannually, on the minimum monthly balance. With the fund at approximately $9 million at the present time the income from this interest would amount to $225,000. It appears that in order to finance operations on the current basis the board would deplete the capital at a greater rate than is planned for in the present actuarial schedule. Hence if the fund continues to spend at the present rate, and there is no increase in revenue, it will be unable to continue in operation for the 50 years as planned originally.

In order to avoid this, and having regard to the interest rates being credited to other comparable funds now, it would seem reasonable to increase the rate of interest paid on the army benevolent fund to 3J per cent; and this it is proposed to do.

Another amendment is proposed to the act. Members of the board have recommended that, should persons interested in the welfare of army veterans wish to make donations or bequests to the army benevolent fund, the board should have authority to accept such donations or bequests. This authority the board does not possess at the present time. The amendment proposed would permit to credit such receipts to the army benevolent fund. It has also been found that some veterans to whom grants have been made voluntarily offered to refund such grants. Under the act as it stands at present such refunds go to the consolidated revenue fund, and not to the army benevolent fund. Similarly, any recovery of sums that may have been obtained through fraud or misrepresentation at the present time fall into the consolidated revenue fund. This other amendment would make it possible for such recovery to benefit the army benevolent fund itself.

I do not think there is anything further I wish to say, at this time. I would like, however, to take this occasion to express on behalf of the government and the Department of Veterans Affairs our deep appreciation of the efforts of the men who are serving voluntarily on the board, and of the members of the various provincial committees set up to administer the fund in each province. The work and energy they have devoted to this task have been of the greatest value to a considerable number of veterans in this country.

Topic:   ARMY BENEVOLENT FUND ACT
Subtopic:   INCREASE IN RATE OF INTEREST ON MINIMUM MONTHLY BALANCES
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PC

Alfred Johnson Brooks

Progressive Conservative

Mr. A. J. Brooks (Royal):

Mr. Speaker, I do not think anyone will criticize in any way the resolution before the house. We are pleased indeed to see this increase in rate from 2J to 3| per cent so that, as the minister said, the fund may be made available for 50 years, as set out in the act. He also explained, by way of justification for the increase, that the new rate of 3J per cent is being obtained in respect of similar funds at the moment.

I wish to join with the minister in congratulating those in the different parts of Canada who are in charge of the fund. I know there are boards set up in every province, as well as in the United States and the United Kingdom and, I believe, the Yukon Territory. As has been pointed out, on a voluntary basis these people have been doing good work. I know the disposition and the general administration of the fund has been well handled.

This fund gives relief to many veterans who otherwise would not receive it, because no other source of relief is available to them. I do not think I can add anything more at this time. I was curious to know why the monthly balance to the credit of the fund is not in excess of $5 million. I think under the old act no limit was set, though there is in the present one. Probably when we get into committee the minister will explain just why there is a limitation. As I said at the outset, I think those who are administering the fund deserve our appreciation and thanks for the splendid work they are doing.

Topic:   ARMY BENEVOLENT FUND ACT
Subtopic:   INCREASE IN RATE OF INTEREST ON MINIMUM MONTHLY BALANCES
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CCF

Clarence Gillis

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

Mr. Clarence Gillis (Cape Breton South):

Mr. Speaker, the amendments proposed by the minister are all right; there is nothing wrong with them. They are steps in the right direction, designed to build up the fund; but I have an amendment in my mind which I had in mind when the act was set up and which I am disappointed the minister has not brought in. I refer to the definition of "veteran" in the act, which is that a veteran means a person who was on active service in the military forces of Canada during world War II.

Army Benevolent Fund Act That definition excludes from the benefits of the act many veterans in Canada who served in the auxiliary services and who also saw service in world war I. These auxiliary service personnel were known as supervisors, and they served in Canada not because of their own choice, as they made their services available to the government in any capacity. Most of them were quite willing to go overseas and serve in any capacity in which they might be useful.

However, the government decided at that time to use these auxiliary supervisors in Canada because of their experience. In the great majority of cases the decision as to where they would serve was made by the government. I think it was a mistake to write the present definition into the act when it was set up, and I do not think it was the intention of the government or of the committee to deal out that particular classification because they were granted every other right granted to veterans who saw overseas service in the last war.

These supervisors came from such organizations as the following:

The Canadian Legion war services National Council of the Young Men's Christian Association

Knights of Columbus Canadian army huts Salvation Army war services They served with the army, navy and air force. The acts that have been made applicable to this particular classification are the following:

Veterans Land Act Veterans Insurance Act Veterans Rehabilitation Act War Veterans Allowance Act Unemployment Insurance Act Veterans Business and Professional Loans Act

Department of Veterans Affairs Act War Service Grants Act Civil Service Act Pension Act

Every piece of legislation made applicable to the veterans of world war II was made applicable to these supervisors. At the time the act was passed I felt that the definition was too narrow to include many people who in the years that lay ahead might require the benefits available under the act.

Many of these men were in the older age group and were more likely to run into hardships which would qualify them under the act than the younger returning personnel.

I have had many cases of veterans who ordinarily would have been able to qualify for benefits under the army benevolent fund

Army Benevolent Fund Act but who icould not because of this definition to which I have referred. I have had considerable correspondence with the officials administering this army benevolent fund, both nationally and provincially, and I know that most of them are sympathetic. I was led to believe that in January 1952 there was to be a meeting at which consideration would be given to broadening that definition and bringing the war service supervisors within the scope of the act. It looks as though the minister has not been advised as to the necessity for that particular amendment, because apparently it is not going to be made.

I was quite pleased when I saw this resolution on the order paper concerning the army benevolent fund. There are three of them. I then thought that the amendment I had in mind was going to toe brought in. As I said before, the amendments proposed are fine. They are designed to build up the fund, increase the interest rate and so forth, but I think it is much more important to amend the act in order that deserving people who should have come under its provisions in the first place may be able to receive benefits which the act was designed to provide for veterans who are unfortunate enough to get into circumstances which qualify them for participation in the benefits of the army benevolent fund.

I again suggest that the minister give consideration to changing the definition of "veteran" in the act. As it is now, it is pretty narrow. Unless a change is made many deserving people are going to be left on the outside. The minister was not in charge of the department when this act was set up, and possibly he did not know much about it at that time. I think it is axiomatic that supervisors should be included within the provisions of this act because every other piece of veterans legislation has been made applicable to them. I think there has simply been an oversight on someone's part.

The Minister of Veterans Affairs (Mr. Lapointe) and the hon. member for Royal (Mr. Brooks) may pat the administrators of this fund on the back and say it has worked beautifully and all that sort of thing; but while I have had the pleasure of meeting some of these very nice people I have had considerable difficulty getting anything from the fund in connection with those cases in which I was interested. In one instance the man lived in the home province of the hon. member for Royal. It is not easy to get anything from the fund as there is a lot of red tape about it. Of course they are operating within the scope of the act, and a case that

[Mr. Gillis.)

can be handled in the municipal or provincial fields or in any other way is outside of the act regardless of how bad the need may be.

If the minister could see his way clear to have a change made in the definition of that word I can assure him that it would relieve quite a few cases-not a thousand but quite a few-where there is considerable hardship, and which I have been trying to iron out for some time. I plead with the minister that some consideration be given before this thing is finalized. When you are opening the act for amendments and are making amendments along financial lines to build up the fund, I urge the minister that consideration should also be given to making a slight change in order that certain people in very poor circumstances may receive the benefits that the act was intended to bestow upon them. I would ask the minister to comment upon that angle before he proceeds with the amendments he has introduced.

Topic:   ARMY BENEVOLENT FUND ACT
Subtopic:   INCREASE IN RATE OF INTEREST ON MINIMUM MONTHLY BALANCES
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June 10, 1952