April 30, 1949 (20th Parliament, 5th Session)


John Oliver Probe

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

Mr. Probe:

Mr. Chairman, I should like to have a final word with respect to a matter of some importance which should be considered by the government in office when we reassemble at the next session. There is one problem which, to its disgrace I would say, the parliament of Canada has never attempted to tackle.
When parliament reassembles a certain number of hon. members who today sit in the House of Commons will have been defeated in the election-and perhaps after they have

given decades of good and faithful service to the country they have tried to serve in a public capacity. At the present time there are men standing for nomination who perhaps have no source of income other than the indemnity which, under our system of government, we authorize for those members. It is all very well for members who have been able to maintain practices or businesses of some sort, making it possible for them to leave parliament and to carry on with some assurance of security.
During this session I have watched the voting of large sums for the payment of pensions to people in the public service, and small sums to others who perhaps have played no part in the public service but who have been considered proper recipients of pensions from public funds. But no consideration is given to those who have sat in the House of Commons year after year and who, regardless of party, have served the best interests of Canada as they knew them. Their only hope for security in their old age, or when they are no longer able to work actively in the house, is that they may be sitting on the government side at a time when they might get someone to plug for them for inclusion among the pensioners over in the other place. Only ninety-six people can get into that category at any given time. I see in his place today the right hon. gentleman who until recently was prime minister of Canada. I am sure that during his long years of parliamentary experience he must have seen many pitiful instances of men in public service, who, having given their all for their country, have come near the end of the road and found themselves without any visible means of support.
It seems to me the House of Commons should provide for those of its members who, shall we say, have served throughout at least three or four parliaments. There should be some recognition by way of gratuitious pension, or some other means by which we could give recognition to these people-and I make this suggestion regardless of party.

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