Mr. F. D. SHAW (Red Deer):
There are several matters to which I should like to refer while the debate is in its present stage. I think we are all conscious of the fact that we have a great many veterans returning to Canada at the present time. We know they are all facing the problems of rehabilitation. In my part of Canada it is recognized that while many are being successfully rehabilitated there are a great many who are still encountering considerable difficulty. Members should, and I believe do, appreciate fully the magnitude of the task which is confronting not only the government but all the people of Canada. In connection with this matter I think veterans and their relatives look to parliament and to the government for guidance. In the matter of rehabilitation they are quite justified. I say, too, that they expect to see through the actions of the government and of parliament a reflection of the appreciation which I think they believe we should see in their heroic achievements.
Reference has been made during this debate to the payment of the war service gratuity in the case where the serviceman becomes a casualty. As yet no one from this group has expressed an opinion on this matter; therefore, to strengthen the hand of the minister, who I believe will fight to have the gratuity paid to the estate of the deceased service man, I should like to put our stand on record. Recently the legislative assembly of Alberta yVTr. Gillis.]
passed a resolution with respect to this matter. We endorse the resolution. It was considered purely from a non-partisan point of view. The resolution was sponsored by Mr. Williams, veterans' candidate in the provincial legislative assembly, and seconded by Mr. Ward, one of the service representatives. I should like the house to bear with me while I read this resolution, which received the unanimous endorsation of the provincial legislature: Whereas under clause 1, the War Service Grants Act, 1944, which provides for payment of war service gratuity to members of the armed services on discharge, it is set forth, that if a member of the armed services dies on service or after discharge, before he has been paid war gratuity in full, payment of gratuity or the unpaid balance thereof shall be made only to a person to whom or in respect of whom, dependents' allowance was payable on behalf of such member immediately prior to his death, And whereas a large number of men and women in the armed services have dependents to whom or in respect of whom, they are unable to have dependents' allowance established, Therefore be it resolved that we, the members of the Alberta legislature assembled here, do hereby request the dominion government to amend the said bill so as to provide for war service gratuities being paid to the estate of all members of the services who die on service or after discharge before said gratuity has been paid in full.
. Let me emphasize that this resolution was unanimously endorsed by the members of the legislative assembly of Alberta. It may have come to the attention of the minister prior to this time. [DOT]
One case comes to mind when I speak of this matter and, without mentioning any names, I think I should give one or two details in connection with it. A young lad was enabled to attend university only because his father mortgaged his business. After completing either two or three years of his university course this boy joined the Royal Canadian Air Force and later was killed overseas. The agreement with his father-understood, of course-was that upon the completion of his course he would pay back to his father the money raised through the mortgage. While overseas he did make certain payments to his father; but the long and the short of it is that after the lad died nothing could be claimed by his father, with the result that the business is still mortgaged and a real hardship has been caused. That boy's father does not look upon the gratuity as compensation for the loss of his son. Never; but I do believe that in fairness the gratuity should certainly be made part of his estate and paid to it upon the serviceman's death.
The next matter to which I should like to refer is the granting of the Memorial Cross
to the widow or the mother of a member of the service personnel who lost his life while on duty. I understand that regulations governing this award were established by order in council P.C. 4210, dated August 27, 1940, as amended by order in council P.C. 2135, dated March 28, 1941. These regulations define a mother as follows:
"Mother" means the woman who gave birth to the sailor or soldier or airman or seaman.
Let me point out what has happened. Two cases in my constituency have come to my attention in which lads were adopted when very tiny babies and lived with their parents, so-called, for a period of twenty-five to thirty years. They then enlisted and lost their lives. Under this regulation those mothers are refused the Memorial Cross. It is not as though that cross cost very much. Those boys never knew any other mothers. They called them "mother"-; those women looked upon the boys as their sons, and it is easy to understand their feelings when they receive word that because they did not give birth to those boys they are not entitled to the Memorial Cross.
Subtopic: PROVISION FOR GRANTING TO HIS MAJESTY AID FOR NATIONAL DEFENCE AND SECURITY