I should think it would be
better to have them make application. That is only my personal opinion, without giving that particular point very carefuL thought. Another suggestion is that we should make certain that the men and women coming back disabled to civil life get adequate compensation. There is no such certainty under the present law. A man is discharged and the pension commission rules that his disability was a pre-enlistment condition. This applies to men who have served overseas as well as to men who have served only in Canada. That has been the decision in many cases. I believe the pension commission have been very unwise in their rulings along this line, and I suggest that a change should be made in the Pension Act by inserting a new provision to this effect-and I am quoting now a proposed amendment :
It shall be presumed that an arrplieamt's condition as recorded on his admission to the service was in fact his condition at that time, and that any subsequent deterioration was due to his service.
In this war men joining up have been examined very carefully, far more carefully than we 'were in the last war; yet perhaps two or three years later, upon discharge, they are given this ruling: "Oh, you had this condition before you enlisted, and therefore you are not eligible for pension." I had the case of a man who had been an outstanding logger in the interior of British Columbia. He enlisted in the forestry corps; he was hurt overseas and was finally discharged, totally disabled to the extent that he is unable to carry on his previous work. In his case a finding has been made that he had a preenlistment condition, aggravated on service and therefore is not eligible for full pension. That injustice would be removed if some provision such as I suggest were inserted in the act.
Then I believe there should be an amendment to the act to make the insurance principle apply to all those serving in Canada who enlisted to fight. That point has been raised in the house many times during the last five years; at every session of parliament there has been a fight about it. The insurance principle did apply prior to May 21, 1940, but since then the applicant for pension who has served only in Canada must show that his disability arose out of or was directly
connected with such military service. In connection with disease it is almost impossible to show this, with the result that many thousands of young Canadians who were not able to get overseas, though quite willing to go, have been disabled and now can get no recompense. That provision should be changed. The insurance principle never should have been taken out of the act. As hon. members know, as a sort of substitute, subsection 3 of section 11 was passed, providing for hardship cases; but it involves all the ignominy of a means test and is really just an escape clause from the obligations of the state. I have no objection to subsection 3 being retained for the hardship cases, but certainly the other provision should be made by reinserting the insurance principle.
In any event, whether or not the government is willing to reestablish the insurance principle, provision should be made for treatment for disabilities incurred during service. If a man cannot qualify for pension as a result of the insurance principle having been wiped out, when he is disabled during service, he cannot even get treatment except for the first year after discharge, unless again he is able to show that he is practically eligible for relief, that he is almost in the bread line in which event provision is made for a cheap kind of treatment; where men have been disabled during service they should be entitled to treatment as long as they live. Certainly that provision should be inserted either in the act or in the regulations.
Then there is the dual service pension. Last fall, after the house had adjourned, an order in council was passed providing for what is know as a dual service pension. It was for the members of the veterans' guard, a basis being the fact that the recipient had served in two wars. That is a very good principle. There is no doubt that these men, who have given perhaps ten years to the service of the state, should receive a pension; but unfortunately the payment is not made in the form of a pension. It is rqfilly just a war veterans' allowance and again is based on a means test. Unless the applicant is very hard up he cannot get that pension. I suggest to the ministry that the basis for this payment should be the service of the man; that it should be a reward for service, or in other words a service pension, just as we pay a service pension to General McNaughton or any other man who has served in the permanent forces of Canada. That should be the basis for the payment. I am not making any submission to-day as to the amount that should be paid, but it should be a service pension. The present provision means that a man's earnings are restricted. If he
goes out and gets a job and earns more than a very small amount, I think about $10 a month if he is single, then he loses the allowance or has it reduced. The whole principle is wrong; payment is made on the wrong basis. In addition, I understand that it does not apply to a member of the veterans' guard who served in the imperial forces during the last war. He cannot qualify for the dual service pension. I suggest that this restriction should be lifted. I am told that quite a large percentage of the men in the veterans' guard served in the last war not with the Canadian forces but with the imperials. I see no reason why they should not be eligible for this pension.
The recipients of the war veterans' allowance, both men and women, should be allowed to receive or earn higher income, without having their allowances cut. At the present time a single person can earn only $10 a month, approximately, in addition of course to what we call casual earnings, without having a reduction made from the allowance. During the war many of them have been working, and they should be encouraged to do so in the post-war years. I believe it would be a great help if that earning allowance or income allowance were increased. The war veterans' allowance should certainly be extended (to cover those men who served with the imperial forces in the last war and were domiciled in Canada, say, prior to the outbreak of this war.
I have only one other suggestion, which has been offered at other times, and particularly I believe by my good friend the hon. member for Cape Breton South (Mr. Gillis). It is that the men who served in the merchant navy, in the fire-fighters corps, in the auxiliary services overseas such as the Y.M.C.A., the Knights of Columbus, the Salvation Army and the Canadian Legion, should be treated in exactly the same way as the men in the army, the navy, and the air force. These men have undergone great risks. Really they have constituted another arm of the services, and should be treated in the same way.
There are several other suggestions which could be made, but I shall not place them before the minister to-day.
I repeat that a delay of six months or perhaps more in facing these problems would be very unfair to the young Canadians who, of all people in this nation, should surely be the last to be treated unfairly. I ask the ministry to consider these questions and to bring down legislation during the present session to remedy some of the defects to which I have referred; or, in any event, to make a statement before the house dissolves and to take action at as
early a day as 'possible. Let us always remember that these young men and women who have served are Canada's greatest asset. No matter what we do we can never adequately repay those who have suffered, and the dependents of those who will not return, for the sacrifices they have made for this nation.
Subtopic: PROVISION FOR GRANTING TO HIS MAJESTY AID FOR NATIONAL DEFENCE AND SECURITY