June 2, 1921 (13th Parliament, 5th Session)


William Stevens Fielding

Unionist (Liberal)


It may be that here and there, in the remarks of my right hon. friend (Mr. Meighen) some points have been raised which will be regarded by some as matters of debate; but happily, in the main, what he has said we are able to concur' in very largely on this side. It is a gratifying fact, that so far as we have been able to go in our dealings with our returned men in the matters of pensions, the care of the sick, and so forth, there has been no division of opinion. All Canadians feel that everything that is possible should be done on behalf of these men and their dependents, and we share with the right hon. gentleman, in every respect, the desire he has expressed that they shall receive every possible consideration. I would particularly avail myself of the opportunity of renewing my expression of appreciation of the work that has been done by the committee which has handled this question for the last three years. It is a very pleasing fact that while, on many questions, we differ in Parliament, as is inevitable, in this matter there has been a unanimity of opinion from the beginning. Members on both sides of the House who have sat on the committee have vied with one another to do the best they could. We all know the obligations we owe to the committee of the present year, and it is no injustice to other members of the committee if we speak particularly of the services rendered by my hon. friend the member for London (Mr. Cronyn). He has given us the most valuable service, and I do not know of any other branch of the public service in which he could have rendered more useful assistance. The hon. member stated the other day that his constituency had been almost unrepresented because he had given so much of
his time to this particular work. I am sure the constituency will make due allowance for that, and will fully appreciate the good work he has done. If there be any difference at all, it will be that 5 p.m. some of the keenest friends of the returned men-and we all wish to be numbered among them-would wish that something further could be done for them. Well, we may all sympathize with that desire; but J believe that in the various provincial governments and local authorities, to which reference has been made, and even among the returned men themselves, there will be a feeling that, while all that the soldiers may desire may not have been done, all concerned, all have been willing to approach the question with consideration, as shown by the fact that this matter has been studied from year to year by competent members of the House who have served on the committee without any party end in view, and with the single desire to reach a sound conclusion. And though, in some respects, disappointment may be felt, I think there will be universal recognition that the House of Commons of Canada has endeavoured to deal with this matter in the right spirit; and, if all that some would desire has not been accomplished, nevertheless there will be appreciation of the spirit in which the work has been done and the good results that have been obtained.

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