April 15, 1901 (9th Parliament, 1st Session)

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The MINISTER OF MILITIA AND DEFENCE (Hon. F. W. Borden).

My hon. f riend from Victoria, B.C. (Mr. Prior) has anticipated the discussion which, I suppose, we shall have on the Pension Bill of which I have given notice, and which I hope to introduce to the House within a day or two. But, I am sure that my hon. friend has done this from the very best of motives, and I do not at all quarrel with him for having done so -in fact, I am very glad he has taken this course, because I think the discussion that has taken place to-day will have the effect of preparing the House, to a certain extent, and in a favourable sense, for the Bill when it comes forward. We have heard to-day from hon. gentlemen who hold commissions in the militia, one of whom was at one time, a good many years ago, when I first entered this House, Minister of Militia. And,

not less important, we have hail the testimony also of an hon. gentleman who is not a military man, but who supported this proposal quite as strongly as any of the military gentlemen have done. Now, I do not think it would be convenient, nor would it tend to the advancement of the business of the House, for me to anticipate the remarks which I intend to make /When I bring down the Bill. I shall, therefore, make only one or two observations. It is perfectly true, as has been stated by my hon. friends, that we have failed in the past in Canada to make adequate provision for the permanent force of this country. It has been pointed out that the duties to be performed by the permanent force are most important. The members of this force are the instructors, the educators, of the active militia. That I have always held to be their proper sphere. And it is our duty, even more so than it would be if they were simply for the purpose of doing garrison duty, to provide for these men in such a
way that the country shall be sure of always having men fitted for the Important duty which devolves upon them. That cannot be done under their present rate of pay without providing pensions for them. Something has been said with reference to the rate of pay. I shall not go into that here, but I am at one with my hon. friends who are of the opinion that it ought to be larger than it is. However, we will have done a great deal towards making up for this deficiency if we pass into law the Bill which I shall bring before the House, and which will provide, somewhat on the lines of the old Civil Service Superannuation Act, for a retiring allowance after a service of twenty years. My hon. friend from Victoria. B.C. (Mr. Prior) has referred to the desirability of granting pensions to non-commissioned officers and men. I may say to him, and to the House, that it has seemed to me for a long time that there was no reason why a distinction should be made between the North-west Mounted Police, who are granted pensions, and our permanent force, which is called upon to do duty somewhat similar. I shall therefore propose as a part of my Bill that the law which now applies to the pensioning of non-commissioned officers and men of the North-west Mounted Police shall equally apply to the non-commissioned officers and men of the permanent militia. We find it very difficult now to get suitable men to do the important work of the permanent force. I hope after my Bill becomes law that we shall have very much less trouble in that regard. It is not proposed, as my hon. friend seemed to imply, that we shall ask for any contribution towards the fund from the non-commissioned officers and men. It will be somewhat similar to the old Superannuation Act, except that no contribution

Topic:   SUPPLY-PENSIONS TO HEADQUARTERS STAFF, PERMANENT MILITIA.
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