February 14, 1962

PC

Gordon Minto Churchill (Minister of Veterans Affairs; Leader of the Government in the House of Commons; Progressive Conservative Party House Leader)

Progressive Conservative

Hon. Gordon Churchill (Minister of Veterans Affairs):

I had no intention, Mr. Speaker, of saying anything further with regard to this subject until I listened to the hon. member for Burin-Burgeo (Mr. Carter) last night and again today. I think he has been very effectively answered by the hon. member for St. John's East (Mr. McGrath) who has just taken his seat. The hon. member for Burin-Burgeo, who is usually a very reasonable man with regard to problems affecting veterans affairs, I think in this instance has shown the height of ingratitude over this bill which we have brought before the house.

Topic:   AMENDMENTS EXTENDING PAYMENTS TO CERTAIN GROUPS
Permalink
LIB
?

An hon. Member:

You too.

[Mr. McGrath.)

Topic:   AMENDMENTS EXTENDING PAYMENTS TO CERTAIN GROUPS
Permalink
PC

Gordon Minto Churchill (Minister of Veterans Affairs; Leader of the Government in the House of Commons; Progressive Conservative Party House Leader)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Churchill:

Ingratitude to the government of the day for bringing it forward. Let me tell you this, Mr. Speaker. As has already been pointed out, there were plenty of opportunities in the past for the former Liberal government to take action but they took no action whatsoever.

Topic:   AMENDMENTS EXTENDING PAYMENTS TO CERTAIN GROUPS
Permalink
?

Some hon. Members:

Shame.

Topic:   AMENDMENTS EXTENDING PAYMENTS TO CERTAIN GROUPS
Permalink
PC

Gordon Minto Churchill (Minister of Veterans Affairs; Leader of the Government in the House of Commons; Progressive Conservative Party House Leader)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Churchill:

As the hon. member for St. John's East has pointed out, the province of Newfoundland was adequately represented here from the standpoint of numbers on the government side, who could have acted on behalf of the Newfoundland foresters but who took no action. Now we bring forward an act which gives recognition to the Newfoundland foresters and the hon. member for Burin-Burgeo is not satisfied. He has some other method by which he contends it should be done and he has diverted the attention of the house from a matter on which we might have proceeded rather rapidly and dealt with. He has interjected a note of comparison of service during wartime, something which I think is unsuited to the occasion.

I think it is fruitless to attempt now, 16 years after the war, to determine who did what during wartime and whether or not his service was equal to someone else's service. That is a very dangerous field on which to enter. I would be the last one to enter into that field and to attempt to decide who performed a greater service for his country in any of the groups, whether he was in the navy, the army or the air force or in these other categories mentioned in this bill. As a matter of fact, if a person really wanted to examine the situation very carefully, he would likely find that adult civilians as well as children in the United Kingdom and Europe, perhaps performed a more adequate service in wartime than did any of us who were in uniform or any who were in these various categories mentioned here. Hence, one can push the matter too far.

I regret very much that the hon. member for Burin-Burgeo has trod on that ground and has been attempting to get us into a dispute with regard to what service was rendered by various groups and whether this word "veteran" should be used for everyone who served. Let us not forget this fact. People made their choice during wartime. A great many people who were not accepted in the navy, army or air force because of disability or age, had an opportunity to serve somewhere else and should be very grateful for that opportunity inasmuch as there were still other thousands who were not accepted in any of the services or groups that were called upon in wartime. There were many men who would

have liked to serve abroad on behalf of their country. I think that anyone who had the opportunity to do so should be very grateful for that opportunity. I also think he should be very happy that he is alive today and that freedom prevails in Canada.

Let me just say this, Mr. Speaker, with regard to the origin of this bill, which could have been brought in many years ago. When I was given the privilege of doing something for the veterans of this country in this portfolio about one and a half years ago, one of the first matters I drew to the attention of the officials of the Department of Veterans Affairs was the status of the merchant marine which I mentioned in particular, and other groups such as the firefighters and the foresters. As is their duty, the officials brought before me the reasons which had been advanced in the past for not including these groups under the veterans charter because of the definition of the word "veteran". I told the deputy minister that I wanted a solution to this problem, and that the time had come to do something about the firefighters, the foresters, the merchant marine and these other groups. I said that I wanted an answer to be produced. Thanks to the efficiency of the department that answer was produced without any further argument. I was not only pleased but rather amazed at the ingenuity shown in bringing these categories under the Civilian War Pensions and Allowances Act. That is how this thing has come about.

The easiest thing for me to have done was just to say nothing or to decide that the obstacles were too great and just let the thing go, as had happened in the past. On the contrary, with the full co-operation of the department, this bill has been produced. The hon. member for Burin-Burgeo now says that it is not satisfactory. May I say that he is going to have the opportunity to declare here in the house whether or not it is satisfactory. He will be obliged to stand and be counted if he remains in his place, as we will call a vote on this matter in just a few minutes.

Let me make this suggestion to the hon. member for Burin-Burgeo. If he wishes to pursue this problem with regard to a person who served in some category or other during wartime he should do it in some other way. This is something that should be done through the various veterans organizations across this country. Let this matter be discussed in Legion branches, by the navy, army, and air force group, the corps association and by other veterans groups in this country as has been done in the past. If public opinion among the veteran population is in favour of redefining the word "veteran" in the veterans charter, then we know where we are at.

Division

However, for the hon. member for Burin-Burgeo to come in here today and suggest that this bill is unsatisfactory, that there should be an amendment to another bill, is in my opinion simply delaying the business of this house. If the hon. member is not in favour of the bill, let him move to have the foresters struck out and we will see that the benefits go then to the merchant marine, the firefighters and the other categories which are mentioned here. Then perhaps he will bring forward some other method by which his group in Newfoundland can be dealt with.

However, we think that the method being followed is the better one at the present time. It has not been easy to get this matter to this stage. Having heard the various views expressed by the members from Newfoundland, I hope the house will now get down to business, proceed with this measure and make these benefits available to the very deserving categories mentioned in the bill who in the past have not had the privilege of being considered with regard to the benefits which are available under the allowances act as it prevails under the veterans charter.

Topic:   AMENDMENTS EXTENDING PAYMENTS TO CERTAIN GROUPS
Permalink
PC

Daniel Roland Michener (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Speaker:

Those in favour of the motion will please say yea.

Topic:   AMENDMENTS EXTENDING PAYMENTS TO CERTAIN GROUPS
Permalink
?

Some hon. Members:

Yea.

Topic:   AMENDMENTS EXTENDING PAYMENTS TO CERTAIN GROUPS
Permalink
PC

Daniel Roland Michener (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Speaker:

Those opposed will please say nay. In my opinion the yeas have it.

And more than five members having risen:

Topic:   AMENDMENTS EXTENDING PAYMENTS TO CERTAIN GROUPS
Permalink
PC

Daniel Roland Michener (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Speaker:

Call in the members.

Topic:   AMENDMENTS EXTENDING PAYMENTS TO CERTAIN GROUPS
Permalink
LIB

John Whitney Pickersgill

Liberal

Mr. Pickersgill:

I thought the minister was anxious to get on with this.

Topic:   AMENDMENTS EXTENDING PAYMENTS TO CERTAIN GROUPS
Permalink
PC

Gordon Minto Churchill (Minister of Veterans Affairs; Leader of the Government in the House of Commons; Progressive Conservative Party House Leader)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Churchill:

I am but I will have you stand and be counted.

Topic:   AMENDMENTS EXTENDING PAYMENTS TO CERTAIN GROUPS
Permalink
PC

Daniel Roland Michener (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Speaker:

I declare the motion carried.

Bill read the second time.

Topic:   AMENDMENTS EXTENDING PAYMENTS TO CERTAIN GROUPS
Permalink
PC

Daniel Roland Michener (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Speaker:

When shall the said bill be considered in committee of the whole house; next sitting?

Topic:   AMENDMENTS EXTENDING PAYMENTS TO CERTAIN GROUPS
Permalink
?

Some hon. Members:

Agreed.

Topic:   AMENDMENTS EXTENDING PAYMENTS TO CERTAIN GROUPS
Permalink
PC

Daniel Roland Michener (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Speaker:

It being five o'clock the house will now proceed to the consideration of private members' business as listed on today's order paper, namely notices of motions and public bills.

Topic:   AMENDMENTS EXTENDING PAYMENTS TO CERTAIN GROUPS
Permalink

FLAGS OF CANADA

PROVISION FOR REFERENDUM ON ADOPTION OF CANADIAN FLAG

PC

Laurier Arthur Régnier

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Laurier Regnier (St. Boniface) moved:

That, in the opinion of this house, the government should consider the advisability of introducing a measure to provide for a referendum concerning the adoption of a Canadian flag.

That the question submitted in said referendum be as follows: Are you in favour of a flag for Canada which would not include the emblem of any other country?

He said: Mr. Speaker, I have great pleasure in moving again this year a resolution similar to the one I moved last year, asking that a referendum be taken in connection with giving Canada a distinctive national flag. For 35 years now a great deal has been said in this house about the Canadian flag, and I think it is time to give the people of Canada an opportunity to decide upon the type of flag this country should have.

I should like first to prove four points: (1) That all political parties are pledged to give Canada a distinctive national flag; (2) that there is a demand for a distinctive national flag; (3) that as political parties we all support this demand; (4) that giving Canada a distinctive national flag is part of the political program of all organized political parties in this house.

We have no independent members in this house. Last year my party held a convention of some 2,000 people. At that convention we passed unanimously a resolution to give Canada a distinctive national flag.

Topic:   FLAGS OF CANADA
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR REFERENDUM ON ADOPTION OF CANADIAN FLAG
Permalink
LIB

Paul Joseph James Martin

Liberal

Mr. Marlin (Essex East):

Then why have we not got it?

Topic:   FLAGS OF CANADA
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR REFERENDUM ON ADOPTION OF CANADIAN FLAG
Permalink

February 14, 1962