March 23, 1922 (14th Parliament, 1st Session)


Leon Johnson Ladner

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LADNER (resuming) :

Mr. Speaker, at the adjournment of the House last night I had made some casual observations relative to the tariff question; and now I refer to the railway question. We on this side of the House desire that the Government should fulfil their promise of the 13th instant given by the hon. Prime Minister that before this debate closed an expectant House, and no doubt an anxious country, would be made aware definitely and concretely what the proposal of his Government was with respect to our national railways. In order that there may be no misunderstanding in this connection, I should like to read to hon. members the words of the Prime Minister on that occasion :
The reference may not have been necessary on the ground that it did not involve legislation, but it was necessary that the country and Parliament should be informed at the opening of Parliament exactly as to the purpose of the Ministry with respect to the National railroads which are in our possession at the present time.
Then the Prime Minister continued:
But I would remind my right hon. friend that the proper person to discuss railway policy is the Minister of Railways (Mr. Kennedy), and I would prefer, until he has had an opportunity of addressing members of the House to defer saying anything further with respect to the meaning of the co-ordination as set forth in the" Speech from the Throne. I think the language must be perfectly clear to hon. members. If there is any doubt as to what is in the Government's mind, that doubt will be cleared up by the hon. Minister of Railways and Canals himself.
Now, Mr. Speaker, there is very grave doubt on this side of the House as to the

The Address
policy of the Government in this respect, and I put it again to my hon. friends opposite that it is only fair and right that the people should know now, before this debate closes, the railway policy of the Government. I observe that the hon. Minister of Railways (Mr. Kennedy) is in his seat, and he will no doubt, as we say in court, " take judicial notice " of our request.
There' has been a noticeable absence in this debate of reference to our returned soldier problems. I do not take it, however, to indicate apathy on the part of hon. ministers that we have had very few observations and even fewer concrete suggestions from the Government on this important question. The Government does say in the Speech from the Throne:
The work in connection with the re-establishment, medical treatment and vocational training of former members of the Canadian Forces is being sympathetically and energetically prosecuted.
Now, Mr. Speaker, if there is one thing which should be considered-and which the people will expect hon. members to consider -in a non-partisan spirit, it is this question, and I submit that there are many changes which must and should be brought about in our pension and land settlement regulations. I desire to bring to the notice of the House two instances of the injustice that is wrought by the present pension regulations. I know of a case here in Ottawa where a soldier died some time after he returned from active service overseas. Because his widow could not prove to the satisfaction of the Pension Board that that man acquired the disease to which he succumbed as a result of his war service, she was deprived of the pension to which she should be entitled. Her husband died of cancer, and the onus of proof is so severe and difficult that the Widow cannot establish positively that the disease was a result of his war service, although there were indications that it was. I know another case in British Columbia of a young lawyer who went overseas, served faithfully, never cared to admit that he was in ill health or did not feel very well, and got a one hundred per cent discharge, but to-day tuberculosis has become noticeable in him. However, the regulations governing soldiers' civil re-establishment do not permit him to have the advantage and benefit of the assistance which he ought to receive. The poor fellow is in a very bad state of health and has a widowed mo'-her to support. I give those two instances to show how necessary
it is that something should be done to modify the regulations which at present result in such injustice and neglect of most deserving cases. I hope the House will appoint a special committee to go into these things, because if there is one matter that is dear to the heart of every true Canadian it is that which pertains to the welfare of the dependents of our soldiers who made the supreme sacrifice overseas. In that connection I would commend to the Government the suggestions made by the Great War Veterans' Association a few days ago through its Dominion Command. Many of those suggestions are practical and sound, as I know from observation and experience.
The hon. member for Comox-Alberni (Mr. Neill) in the course of his speech on the 17th instant stated that he would like to see the Royal Northwest Mounted Police removed from British Columbia. I would suggest that he speaks only for himself, not for his colleagues from that province. If there is one body of men which gave us comfort and a feeling of security at a time when our constitutional system was in danger, it was the Royal Northwest Mounted Police, whom everybody respects and only revolutionists fear, and I think it would be a terrible mistake if this fine body of men were to be eliminated. It would seem that the proposal of the Government is to reduce this force.
Now I come to the real point of why I am taking part in this debate.

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