July 27, 1944 (19th Parliament, 5th Session)


Ian Alistair Mackenzie (Minister of Pensions and National Health)


Mr. MACKENZIE (Vancouver Centre):

In reply to the hon. members for Brantford City and Lambton West I may say that the provisions of the Returned Soldiers' Insurance Act were in existence for practically thirteen years. The hon. member for Brantford City has referred to the limit of $10,000 in this bill as against $5,000 under the former act. I would inform him that the average insurance taken out under that act was slightly over $2,000. I do not think his argument applies with any force at all. There were five different extensions of the Returned Soldiers' Insurance Act. To be frank about it, it was not taken advantage of to a very large degree. There were certain rigid features about that act which we have endeavoured to remove in drafting this legislation. We have raised the amount to $10,000 and we have increased the benefits to the widow. If we are to provide benefits for the veterans of our time, it would have to be done by amending the old returned
soldiers' act, by providing a further extension of that act. Frankly speaking I do not believe the number of applications made under the provisions of the old act would justify such a course. Let us see to it that this bill, which is for the benefit of the boys who are now overseas in this war and of those who have been discharged, with its more generous terms, is as successful as possible. I think parliament will be doing its duty by seeing to that.

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