I should like to add a word to what has been said already in reference to this bill. Already the committee has listened with interest to the remarks of the Minister of Veterans Affairs and other hon. members who have expressed their views. The purpose of this bill is to authorize increases in the basic rates of pension. Certain other minor amendments of an administrative nature are also incorporated. Last evening we concluded the general discussion of the bill, and now we are dealing with section 2, on which I think my remarks will be in order.
It will be noted that section 1 deals with the permanent force, but in all the discussion that has taken place thus far no reference has been made to permanent force cases. I am exercising my prerogative to bring to the attention of the minister one case which has been brought to me within the last few days.
This is the case of a permanent force veteran who served in both world wars; and I mention it because I believe there are many similar cases which should receive attention. The veteran's name is Leonard Tritsch, and his number was P-8964. He is an ex-sergeant of the R.C.H.A. Friends of his brought the case to my attention, and I have taken it up with the minister. This man served in the Royal Garrison Artillery of the imperial army from 1906 to 1919, during which time he had active service in England and France. After world war I, he enlisted in the R.C.H.A. in Canada and served from 1926 until 1939, when he joined the active service and served until his discharge on November 13, 1946, being later assessed as a one hundred per cent disability. On discharge his service pension, after twenty years of service, entitled him to $8925.
I emphasize the words "service pension." This veteran suffered a stroke on January 18, 1948, and was under the care of the Department of Veterans Affairs until March 11, during which period he received one hundred per cent pay and allowances. He left the hospital totally disabled and is unlikely to recover. Here is a veteran with twenty years of continuous service in the permanent force, yet. the pension board has reduced his pension from one hundred per cent to forty per cent.
Here is what they ruled in his case, and I quote the exact words:
1. Incurred during permanent force service Canada, not pensionable as it did not arise out of nor was it directly connected' with such military service, pre-enlistment to active force service, aggravated two-fifths during that service in Canada. Effective from date of A.F. discharge.
2. Incurred during permanent force service Canada but not pensionable as they did not arise out of nor were they directly connected with such service, pre-enlistment to active force service, not aggravated during that service.
I say the findings in this case are absurd. Here is a man with twenty years of service in the Canadian permanent force and another thirteen years in the imperial army; yet they claim his disability is not directly attributable to that service. As it stands now, if this man died today his pension would cease, since the pension commission has reduced his disability from one hundred per cent to forty per cent, and his widow would be left penniless. That is a point I cannot emphasize too strongly.
In view of this particular case, and to avoid bringing up similar cases, I would recommend to the minister that in all cases dealing with permanent force N.C.O.'s and other ranks for pension purposes, a senior ranking permanent force officer, appointed perhaps by the adjutant general, fully versed in the Pension Act, should be present when the case is considered by the pension commission. I hope the minister sees my point. This man was employed by His Majesty's government for over twenty years. His case was dealt with by the pension commission, and I believe that when a member of the permanent force has his case reviewed by that board there should be some person from the permanent force there to speak on his behalf.
Topic: PENSION ACT
Subtopic: RATES OP PENSION FOR DISABILITY AND DEATH- SALARIES OF PENSION COMMISSIONERS