Mr. Chairman, in view of the course the debate has taken I should like to speak for two minutes. As one who has been associated with the Canadian Legion ever since that organization was formed, I do not think I could very well sit here and not participate in the discussion, if only briefly. I am not going to repeat the arguments already advanced by so many speakers. There is no need to reiterate them or put them on the record again. They have been clear, and I think for the most part they were fair and reasonable. Certainly that is true, with respect to increasing the permissive ceilings and changing the act so as to include veterans who served in England during the first war.
I have over 200 files in my office at the moment dealing with various veterans and one of the most difficult questions for me to answer is why a veteran who served in Britain in the first war cannot get the war veterans allowance when his next door neighbour is getting it who served in Newfoundland in the second world war. It seems to me that is a perfectly illogical and unfair provision, and it should be changed. As I said, I am not stressing individual arguments whatsoever. They have been put forward here, and if the government will not accept the arguments of others they certainly will not accept mine.
I should like to add a further word. I think this country has been very fortunate in the type of organization that has been looking after our veterans since the first great war. I refer to the Canadian Legion primarily but also other organizations. Without casting reflection on other organizations in other countries, I think all of us in this chamber realize that we owe a great deal to the sane leadership given our veterans in this country, particularly by the Canadian Legion. I think the Canadian Legion deserves the support of the government and the house when it approaches us with what apparently is a very reasonable proposition. You cannot expect that organization to continue to maintain its leadership and to have the support of the returned men throughout Canada unless its voice is listened to and unless it commands the respect here that it does with veterans generally. I suggest to the parliamentary assistant and to the government that there is-I will not say that "danger"-that possibility.
War Veterans Allowance Act
Unless these demands are pretty well met, when they are reasonable and when they are approved by the great majority-I believe every veteran in this house would approve of these demands-there is that possibility. Some hon. members cannot give support for obvious reasons. I am not suggesting their demands should be met in full in every case, but they should when they are reasonable, as they are in this particular case. I feel the country owes the Canadian Legion a great deal, and we should support that organization by meeting, so far as the government can possibly do so, its demands. Otherwise, we may find that the veterans in this country will receive the same type of treatment they have received in other places.
Topic: WAR VETERANS ALLOWANCE ACT
Subtopic: AMENDMENTS TO INCREASE ALLOWANCES AND PERMISSIBLE INCOME, ETC.