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


Clarence Gillis

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


Yes. I say, that classification should be given full consideration along with the air force who are doing the flying, because in my opinion they did an essential job at the beginning of the war, and, for that matter, all through the war. We can do nothing but sing the praises of those men for the flyers they turned out, carrying the banner of Canada in the air overseas.
There is another angle to this matter of allowances which I would bring to the attention of the minister. I mention most of these questions because I have tried to straighten them out with the department and have not been successful. There are many cases where two or three boys out of one family are in the service. The mother died some years ago, and in the case I have in mind two boys have been overseas for approximately four years. Their sister had been keeping house for them for twelve years. The home is their own and the boys were maintaining it. She tried to establish a claim for allowance but was not successful. She has no income except the assigned pay of the brothers, but the income is not sufficient to pay the taxes on the property, with the result that year by year the taxes are getting into arrears and the town threatens to sell that property.
Those boys left their jobs and they are fighting for their country and for their home. The chances are that when they come back that home will be gone for taxes and the sister, who had kept house for twelve years, may be in a boarding house somewhere.
I have tried with the dependents' allowance board to get the allowance but have not succeeded. I tried the dependents' allowance advisory committee to see if some provision could be made to protect that property, but the board ruled it out on the ground that there must be an allowance before action can be taken. There the matter stands. There are three years' taxes owing on that property. The sister cannot keep it up; the brothers arc liable to lose it and they are in the service. I think there should be some provisions whereby the dependents' allowance advisory committee could have the necessary latitude to protect the property of the boy in the service under circumstances such as I have described. That is not an isolated case; I myself have had several of them.

War Appropriation
I should like to say something directly to the Minister of Veterans' Affairs with respect to the hospitals that come under his department. I am going to mention Camp Hill hospital in Halifax particularly. There is an excellent hospital there. There are a lot of patients in it but the personnel of the hospital is completely inadequate. The medical staff leaves much to be desired. I go in there occasionally. I visit around. I know the personnel well and I know they are doing a good job with what they have, but from what I have seen there the hospital is completely understaffed medically. Second, the hospital itself leaves much to be desired with respect to treatment for personnel who may have serious operations. There is no place to which patients may be moved so that they can be quiet and be by themselves. Wards are large. Take an amputation case or a man with a serious abdominal operation. He is put in one of those big wards. He might as well be put in a machine shop. There is a lot of noise going on and all that kind of thing.
I suggest that small private rooms be provided in these hospitals where men who are seriously ill can be segregated and given an opportunity to rest. I believe that if the medical staff is not augmented there the two doctors who are looking after the patients will be in hospital themselves. Perhaps there was an argument two or three years ago that the medical personnel was not available. I do not think that holds good to-day because air force hospitals, army hospitals and the like are being maintained all across Canada. I think sufficient personnel can be taken from these hospitals to maintain the regular permanent establishments such as national defence hospitals will be in the future. I myself believe that these are the hospitals that should be properly staffed and every facility provided now so that they can do the job which they will have to do in the future.
I look upon the other hospitals as merely temporary establishments to take care of emergencies and the like. I believe that in so far as the regular national defence hospitals are concerned the whole matter of maintenance personnel and rehabilitation personnel necessary to implement the programme that the government has outlined such as gratuities, vocational training, out-of-work benefits, and the like, needs to be jacked up a hundred per cent. When the minister replies he will likely say that the personnel is not available. I do not believe that holds good in Nova Scotia. Before coming into the house I made a check with the national selective service offices in the area from which I come. I
found some eight hundred registered unemployed in the area. Many of them were service personnel. Many of the service personnel were good material for civil service positions. In fact some of them had applied and I believe that the personnel necessary to put the machinery in operation could be found among veterans of this war who are seeking employment.

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