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


Clarence Gillis

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


In the Cape Breton area, on the island of Cape Breton. When one considers the position of the war in western Europe to-day one feels that one of the most immediate needs of the country is the perfecting of the personnel who are to look after demobilization; the business of rehabilitation, placing of men back in work, vocational training and the like, is the immediate problem that should be taken care of. The machinery to do that job should be perfected now instead of waiting for demobilization when there will be a lot of confusion, misunderstanding and so on.
There is another thought that I wish to leave with the minister, and it is an old) one. I refer to the problem of returned service personnel coming back to heavy industry. I had a lot of experience with this after the last war, having worked on boards, tribunals, and the like. Men are discharged with a ten per cent disability. To all intents and purposes that is their medical disability. They go back to a city where there is available employment in offices and the like and perhaps they are handicapped only to the extent of ten per cent; but if they go back to an area where there is nothing but heavy industry such as steel plants, coal mines, farming and so on, while they may have only a ten per cent medical disability, they are disabled a hundred per cent in so far as employment in those industries is concerned. They cannot take employment in heavy industries. That is what is happening in many sections of Canada. The men are returning to sections of the country where there is no employment except in the industries I have mentioned. While their disabilities are not great from the medical point of view, nevertheless they find themselves, when they go to selective service, a hundred per cent disabled, because they cannot take employment.
Another thing I would urge upon the minister is to fight with everybody in his department for the immediate establishment in Canada of the necessary vocational training schools to put the vocational training end of rehabilitation into operation. I consider the

War Appropriation

most important part of rehabilitation the routing of men into a school where they can take a course for employment for which they have an aptitude in order that they may be sent to something where they can be permanently rehabilitated and take their place in society. Gratuities are fine, but they last only a short time. When the gratuity is spent the man is in exactly the same position he was before he received it. It is necessary that he should have it in the first five or six months to relieve his mind and give him a chance to look around; but it is also necessary to establish these schools so that when the gratuity is spent he has grounded himself for some kind of employment. In the earlier stages they are receptive to that kind of thing. But when they drift around for five or six months it will not then be so easy to get a man back to school. If these advantages are available when they come back first they will take advantage of them. If they mill around for a few months they are likely to become discouraged and it will then not be so easy for them to do the job. I just leave these thoughts with the minister because I consider them necessary in the immediate post-war period. .

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