May 9, 1953

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Murdo William Martin

Mr. Marlin:

That is right.

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CCF

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

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

Mr. Knowles:

And the balance are blind persons over 70 who are on old age security rather than on the blindness allowance?

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Murdo William Martin

Mr. Marlin:

I will give that information to my hon. friend. Surely we do not need to go into those details at this late stage.

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CCF

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

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

Mr. Knowles:

I think it would take about two sentences for the minister to put the matter straight on the record.

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Murdo William Martin

Mr. Marlin:

All right. More than 6,000 blind persons 70 years of age or more are presently getting their old age security pension free of the means test. That would be over 30 per cent of the total blind in Canada. The proposal to abolish the means test would not be of any help to those.

More than 8,300 of the 12,000 blind between the ages of 21 and 69 are already receiving blindness allowance. Ninety per cent or more of these are receiving the full amount of $40 per month. The average amount paid to all 8,332 blindness allowance recipients in March, 1953, was $39.57. The abolition of the means test from the blindness allowance would therefore benefit the 8,300 present recipients of blindness allowance by only 43 cents a month on the average. In actual fact, it would not benefit 7,500 of the 8,300 at all. The remaining 800 would benefit partially, of course.

Supply-Health and Welfare

None of the 2,000 blind persons under the age of 21 would benefit from abolition of the means test.

Apart from the 800 recipients of partial benefit mentioned already, the only persons who would benefit from abolition of the means test are approximately 4,000 blind persons between the ages of 21 and 69 who are not presently in receipt of blindness allowance.

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CCF

Clarence Gillis

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

Mr. Gillis:

I should just like to say this, Mr. Chairman-

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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. Martin:

I hope that what I have just said does not provoke more discussion.

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CCF

Clarence Gillis

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

Mr. Gillis:

No. It is not going to.

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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. Martin:

This is the third discussion we have had on this item already.

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CCF

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

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

Mr. Knowles:

This is the first time the minister has given those figures, though.

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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. Martin:

I know that.

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CCF

Clarence Gillis

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

Mr. Gillis:

The hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre, when he rose, stated that he was making a statement for the group in order to save time. I just want to clear up one point arising out of the minister's statement. He said, to the group he mentioned, the abolition of the means test would result in benefit to the amount of about 43 cents per month on the average. The point I want to make is that what the ordinary blind people are concerned about are the permissible earnings and how those are affected by the means test. So there is no way of arriving at actually what the amount would be.

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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. Martin:

I am sure my hon. friend will find that what I said is correct.

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LIB

George Taylor Fulford

Liberal

Mr. Fulford:

Before this item passes, Mr. Chairman, I want to make one short observation. I wonder whether the minister noticed in last night's Ottawa Journal an advertisement published by the Progressive Conservative party of Canada. In case he missed it, I should like to point out that the advertisement is a facsimile of the short income tax form, 1952, but the facsimile is eclipsed by the large, bold words:

For a change be Conservative . . . not Liberal, with your own money!

Strangely enough, about the only part of the facsimile not overshadowed by the words just quoted is this:

Your old age security tax for 1953 and subsequent years is 2 per cent of taxable income . . .

And so on. I trust that this advertisement does not demonstrate the attitude of our Conservative friends toward social security generally: "For a change be Conservative, not Liberal, with your own money".

5074 HOUSE OF

Supply-Health and Welfare

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PC

Howard Charles Green

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Green:

In reply to that, Mr. Chairman, perhaps I might suggest to the hon. member that he could best help get the money to make improvements such as this if he took a few of the horses off the payroll.

' Item agreed to.

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LIB

William Alfred Robinson (Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole)

Liberal

The Deputy Chairman:

Item 283 and supplementary item 683 deal with the same subject, namely the National Physical Fitness Act. Would it be the wish of hon. members to deal with those two items together?

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Some hon. Members:

Agreed.

Welfare branch-

National Physical Fitness Act-

283. To provide for the administration of the act, the sum hereby provided, notwithstanding sections 8 and 9 of the said act, to be credited to a separate account in the consolidated revenue fund, to be subject to section 35 of the Financial Administration Act and to be paid out by the Minister ofFinance upon the requisition of the Minister of

National Health and Welfare, $68,824.

National Physical Fitness Act-

683. To provide for the administration of the act, the sum hereby provided, notwithstanding sections 8 and 9 of the said act, to be credited to a separate account in the consolidated revenue fund, to be subject to section 35 of the Financial Administration Act and to be paid out by the Minister ofFinance upon the requisition of the Minister of

National Health and Welfare-further amount required, $12,400.

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LIB

George Matheson Murray

Liberal

Mr. Murray (Cariboo):

Mr. Chairman, it will be a good change to turn from old age and old age security and all that sort of thing to something that has to do with the youth in our country. I think this money is probably being better spent than is any other tax money. But I understand that the physical training program, during the recent chaotic political conditions out in British Columbia, has been put aside and that British Columbia therefore will not want any part of the amount which comes under this head.

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Murdo William Martin

Mr. Marlin:

That is not my information.

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SC

Charles Edward Johnston

Social Credit

Mr. Johnston:

Wrong again.

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May 9, 1953