March 5, 1968 (27th Parliament, 2nd Session)


Stanley Howard Knowles (N.D.P. House Leader; Whip of the N.D.P.)

New Democratic Party

Mr. Knowles:

Why not?
As a matter of fact, the point of my asking for this matter to be posted for this adjournment debate is to seek an answer to that question: Why not? Why is it that the matter of increasing the pensions of retired civil servants, as recommended unanimously by a joint committee of both houses in a report tabled on May 8, 1967, is not on the list of business to be dealt with before the present Prime Minister retires?
Obviously, Mr. Speaker, I have not time to go over the whole history of this matter, and it is not necessary because it has been done a good many times; but there are one or two other references I should like to make at this time. On December 15, 1967, eight days after
March 5, 1968

Proceedings on Adjournment Motion the President of the Treasury Board (Mr. Benson) had indicated the programs that were being cut, I asked the Prime Minister whether he would include this question of increasing the pensions of retired civil servants on the list of things that he would attend to before leaving office. His reply on that date, as recorded at page 5474 of Hansard, was that he hoped the situation would improve during the remainder of his period as Prime Minister so that this might be possible. Later, on another occasion, I asked the Prime Minister whether conditions had improved to that point. This was on Friday, February 9, 1968, as recorded at page 6558 of Hansard, and he said he was still hoping that the situation would improve so this matter could be dealt with.
The story in its entirety is a long one; it covers many years. But the facts are now pretty well known to the members of this house and to the public generally. Our retired civil servants have a case for an increase in their pensions. Other people have, too; but surely the place for the government to begin is with its own employees. That case has been confirmed by the report of the special joint committee to which I have already referred. We were assured time and time again that the matter would be dealt with, but we have been put off and off and off.
I say quite frankly that if this matter is not dealt with under the present Prime Minister,
I am not very hopeful that any of the candidates who aspire to be the prime minister in the next session of this house will be as interested in the matter as he is.

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