I hesitate to delay the committee in connection with a matter which I feel it my duty to consider, and I am not sure I would have done so if I had not received a letter by air mail yesterday from Vancouver. The member from Temiscouata the other day told us about his receiving fan mail sometimes, and I too have received fan mail, as no doubt other members have done. This letter is in some respects an example of fan mail. I had better read it in order to open the discussion. It has reference to the case of an aircraftman named Lowell T. Campbell, R-160565. The letter is as follows:
John H. Blaekmore,
Dear Mr. Blaekmore: I would appreciate
your taking action before leaving Ottawa regarding the above named. He was discharged from the Shaughnessy Military Hospital August 6. 1946, with a check for approximately $20. This is to cover the needs of himself and dependents until such time as the Canadian pension commission settle his pension status. Of this amount ($20) the proportion accruing to Lowell is $3.30 and the remainder for his dependents.
As you will note by his file, he has been receiving the sum of $117 covering himself and his five dependents. This is now arbitrarily cut off at a time when he has to make what preparations he can under the circumstances to get his children in readiness for school. His children, as you know, are scattered around among several families who have their own obligations to meet. This is a very urgent matter.
Please note Lowell Campbell was discharged from the Shaughnessy Military Hospital with his back in an iron brace'to support the injured spine. In this condition he has been forced by the department to take a job as a watchman in order to maintain his family in lieu of pay and allowances until his pension is adjusted by the commission.
I think this crude action by the department should be publicly exposed. Here is a disabled man forced to take a job when every movement of his body is difficult and when he is in need
of constant rest instead of performing duties as a watchman. The Minister of Veterans Affairs needs assistance in the running of his business when such things as this can take place.
Will you please take action in this matter before leaving Ottawa and kindly notify me accordingly.
Thanking you for what you have done this session in cooperating with the writer in these matters I am,
Walter H. Kirchner,
The letterhead is that of the Canadian Combat Veterans Association in British Columbia Incorporated.
I am not in a position to judge of the accuracy of any of the statements either in this letter or in the extensive file which has been forwarded to me in connection with the case of Mr. Lowell T. Campbell. I have desired throughout this whole affair to be perfectly fair with everybody concerned. I believe all hon. members will realize that if a member receives a letter like this he is under considerable pressure to take action. I have not been called upon to take action in connection with veterans' affairs this year. My party assigned me to three other important tasks at the beginning of the year and I have been attending to them; consequently I have not been able to give to veterans' problems the attention I have given them in the past.