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


Clarence Gillis

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)


The narrower issue of winning the war in the sense that it related to the over-all picture of establishing a proper peace. The building up of a world organization was a much broader matter than that of discussing Canada's contribution to the war. In dealing with the war we would be dealing only with the internal problems of this country, assisting as best we can with outside problems. In considering the other picture we are dealing with an organization which we hope will embrace the whole problem and make the world safe in the future. We hope it will attain the objectives for which we are fighting. I do not think there could be any misunderstanding on that.
I do not wish to be critical of my hon. friends, but after listening to some of the discussion here one is led to believe that some people are afraid that the war might end
because they would then have nothing to talk about. I sympathize with them. To say that no reconstruction programme is possible without consultation with the provincial governments does not agree with my conception of this matter. I contend that no adequate reconstruction programme is possible under private enterprise. There will have to be definite and fundamental changes in the whole economic set-up before there can be any possibility of a proper reconstruction programme.
I should like to deal briefly with a few matters that come under the Minister of Veterans' Affairs (Mr. Mackenzie). I think it is right here that we find the basic necessity for reconstruction. The hon. member for Vancouver South (Mr. Green) made an excellent presentation and brought to the minister's attention many matters with which I am in accord. I am going to try to miss those if possible because I do not think repetition adds very much to the discussion.
At the last session we set up a ministry which I understood was to look after the problems of the returned service personnel. I thought it was an excellent idea to bring together the problems of the service personnel and place them in one department to be presided over by a minister who I felt was sympathetic and knew the problems. However, I am afraid that he is not presiding over the department as I should like to see him preside over it.
I refer particularly to the decisions being made in connection with gratuities. These are not being made by the Minister of Veterans Affairs or the Department of Veterans Affairs; they are being made by the Department of National Defence. In my opinion that is not what was intended when the Department of Veterans' Affairs was set up and I believe that is something that should be corrected by this house. I think attention should be focused on it at this time.

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