Mr. Chairman, I have listened with a great deal of interest to various speakers this evening placing before the committee problems which are peculiar to the veterans and which are deserving of serious consideration by the committee. I have run across a problem that has arisen in the past few months with respect to veterans that has burned itself into my mind. I should like to place it before the committee tonight. I am not a veteran, but during the war years I worked very closely with veterans. For two years I was solicitor for the Veterans' Land Act for the maritime provinces. During that time I learned to admire the veterans very much. I worked desk to desk and shoulder to shoulder with men who had suffered pain ever since the first world war, who would come into the office in the morning and carry out their duties throughout the day without complaint; yet those of us who were working with them knew that all during the day these men were suffering pain.
The conclusion developed in my mind that many veterans who were casualties of the first war and many of those who were casualties of the second war had probably done more themselves to rehabilitate themselves successfully into civilian life. After having undergone sacrifices and suffering that their fellow
Supply-Veterans Affairs citizens will never realize, these men had re-entered civilian life successfully and had put themselves in the position where they did not have to lean too heavily on the government or their fellow citizens.
Recently I was advised that a review of the different positions held by the various employees of the department was being made with a view to cutting down the number of personnel. I realize, and I think every veteran and probably every other citizen of the country will agree with me, that the Department of Veterans Affairs has done a remarkable job since the second world war to assist veterans to rehabilitate themselves into society. I also realize that the Department of Veterans Affairs is one whose responsibilities are lessening as the years pass by.
In 1945 the Department of Veterans Affairs had grave responsibilities. A large number of veterans needed assistance; but as succeeding years have gone by the number of such veterans has lessened. Well, this year apparently it was determined that there should be a review of the responsibilities of the staff. As a result of that review, which was carried on by the department and the civil service commission, it was determined that there were certain positions in the department where the responsibilities had lessened to the point that numbers of the staff were downgraded or, if not down-graded, their remuneration was lessened to some degree.
Subtopic: EXTERNAL AFFAIRS