When this matter was before the house last night the hon. member for Vancouver North and other members had suggested that in considering the time of service in the non-permanent active militia and the other reserve forces as counting for service for pension purposes in the permanent forces, it should be possible to count service in one of the arms on account of service for pension in any of the other arms. In this connection I should point out that when the provision was drawn as it was in 1910 and left as it was last year when this part of the act was adopted, it was considered that non-
Militia Pension Act
permanent time, to be considered for pension purposes, should be time spent in experience in a branch of the forces which would be useful in the soldier's permanent career. Consequently when part V was drafted last year, and when it was enacted by the house, this provision took its present form, and in order to count for pension purposes non-permanent service had to be in the arm in which the soldier made his permanent career.
I should also point out that up to the amendment enacted last year this provision enabling a permanent force soldier to count non-permanent service on account of pension was available only to officers, and one of the amendments introduced last year was to make it available to other ranks. That was part of a carefully worked out plan for pensions for officers, warrant officers and other ranks of all three services. It was introduced in the house last year and enacted as part V of the Militia Pension Act. I must say frankly, as I said last night, that we should like to keep this provision as it is and see it in practice for a time before making changes. There are reasons for that. One is that this part applies not only to soldiers who entered t'he permanent force after April 1, 1046, but also to members of the permanent force at April 1, 1046, who may elect to come into this part and become subject to its provisions provided they make that election up to March 31, 1948. As yet we do not know how many members of the permanent force on April 1, 1946, if any, will take advantage of the election. .
It does seem, however, on consideration and after discussing it with the officers of the three services, as if the number who will make that election will not be very great; so that if the proposal of the hon. member for Vancouver North is carried out, it would not have any very substantial retroactive effect. It would benefit, of course, those it covers among the men Who have entered the force since April 1, 1946; but even there the number having nonpermanent service in another arm would probably not be very great. In consequence, while we should have preferred to keep the act as it is, I am prepared to accept this suggestion on behalf of the government and will ask my colleague, the Secretary of State, to move the amendment.
Subtopic: EXTENSION OF PROVISIONS OF ACT TO CERTAIN GROUPS