November 5, 1919 (13th Parliament, 3rd Session)


James Alexander Calder (Minister of Immigration and Colonization)



I doubt very much if the G.W.V.A. could give any guarantee of that kind. The point is this: You and I have served; you have served under certain conditions for a certain length of time and in a certain place; under the scheme proposed you get a certain grant, certain gratuity, certain financial assistance; I do not get the same; my service, from my point of view, may have been just as valuable as yours; any decision that you, or those associated with you, may come to in so far as my case is concerned will never be satisfactory to me, and I am going to continue the demand that I be treated fairly, properly and justly in comparison with all others. I am sure the hon. gentleman gets my point. Their plan-I am speaking of the plan of the G.W.V.A.-differs from Mr . Flynn's plan in this<-that it would not provide any financial assistance for any man who has served in Canada for a period less than six months. Now, as an illustration of the working out of this plan, I would like to direct the attention of-the House to page 57, paragraphs (c) and (d), of the committee's report, and I think it would be just as well to read these paragraphs in full, because it illustrates the point raised by the hon. gentleman (Mr. Burnham). These are the paragraphs:
(c) As an illustration of the working out of the proposed plan and as an indication of one of the principles upon which it is based, provision is made whereby all men who saw service in France in any particular year-
Not length of service, be it noted-
-would be entitled to the same financial assistance or grant regardless of the length of their subsequent service or the date upon which they returned to Canada. To put the proposal concretely : three men joined the forces in 1914; one is retained in Canada during the whole period of the war on necessary military duty;-

We had to carry on at home as well as overseas. A certain establishment was required here. It has been represented to me, for example, that at Halifax some hundreds of men were retained on necessary military duty, forced to go down there, probably against their will. They simply had to stay there and do whatever duty was cast upon their shoulders. To come back now to the quotation:
-the two others proceed to England in 1914; one of these reaches France in 1914; the other in 1915; the one sent to France in 1914 returns to Canada in 1915 and is discharged ; the other who went to Prance remains there to. the end -of the war.
That is, during the years 1915, 1916, 1917 ' and 1918:
Under the proposal made, the man who remained in Canada on service during the whole period of the war would he entitled to $375 ; the man who saw service in France, returned to Canada and was discharged in 1915, would he entitled to $2,500, and the man who reached France in 1915 and saw service to the end of the war would be entitled to $2,300.
The claim is put forward that because a man saw service in France in the year 1914 he should get $2,500, if he only served during that year-that he needs it, he actually needs it for re-establishment work-whereas the other man who went to France in 1915 and remained during the whole balance of the war and came back in 1919 should only be entitled to $2,300. Or, take the case of a man in Canada-a man who may have enlisted, we v.ill say, somewhere in Western Canada-who was brought into the force under military control, and had to go away- he was ordered to go, we will say, to Halifax -away from his home, away from his family, and stayed there during the whole period of the war. That man would only be entitled to $375. Well, I say again, that while the Great War Veterans' Association, or the officers of the Great "War Veterans' Association might be prepared to make a statement to the effect that if their plan were carried out they would guarantee that there would be no further demand, I am quits sure the House will see that every man who considers he is unjustly or unfairly treated in a matter of this kind is not going to let the question rest notwithstanding the guarantee that might be given by any body. Just so long as he considers he has been unfairly, inequitably and unjustly dealt with, in comparison with his companion, he is going to continue to demand from the Government fair treatment-just as good treatment as any other man has received.

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