April 3, 1945 (19th Parliament, 6th Session)


Howard Charles Green

National Government

Mr. H. C. GREEN (Vancouver South):

Mr. Speaker, this afternoon I propose to say a few words about veterans' affairs. I do so because it is altogether likely that that particular department will not be under consideration until the dying days of the session, and in fact there may be no adequate time for the consideration of the various problems having -to do with the men and women who are representing Canada on the field of battle.
I do hope that the government will see fit to bring down during this session certain legislation dealing with veterans' affairs. While I realize that is askjng a lot, there are nevertheless certain defects in our present veterans' legislation which might very well be remedied nt this session; defeats which will be recognized by members of the house on all sides, so that I am quite sure there would be very little delay in putting through the necessary amendments. At any rate it is vital that action should be taken on these questions before the fall. The new house will probably not sit until after a lapse of six months, or perhaps longer, and the intervening delay may very well mean great injustice to many thousands of our young men and women.
During these last five years the main job of Canada and of the Canadian parliament has been to wage war; but complementary to the waging of war there is always the care of those who are doing the fighting, and- care for their dependents. I suggest to hon. members that the time will be here very soon when the first concern of the Canadian people and of the Canadian parliament will be the care of these young men and women and their dependents.
In meeting these problems we are against a time limit. There is only so long in which to make the necessary changes. In a few months' time thousands upon thousands of our young men and women will be coming back to their homeland andl we must be prepared to see that they are properly treated when they do come back. The Canadian people are uneasy about the whole question of absorbing the young men and women back into our national life. There is great anxiety and determination to see that they get a proper start. People are asking that these young men and women be given fair treatment and that there be no delay.
To show members of the house how far civilians have gone in some parts of the country, I would point out that in my home city of Vancouver there has been set up a rehabilitation council of greater Vancouver made up of leading citizens of all parties and occupations. I believe that the government has agreed to the setting up of such a council, but the people who comprise the council have
War Appropriation

not been willing to accept any money whatever from the government. They are raising funds by private subscriptions, believing that if they carry on in that way they are far more likely to get the good will of the men coming back from the forces, and will be much freer to make suggestions, as well as complaints to whatever government may be in power. The Minister of Veterans' Affairs no doubt knows whether similar councils have been set up in other cities; I presume so.

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