Mr. RICHARD CLIVE COOPER (Vancouver South):
Mr. Speaker, in discussing this report, I shall be very brief. I want to make just one reference to the remarks of the hon. member for Simcoe North (Mr. Currie). In an article in the Toronto Star of November 3, he is reported as having said that members of the committee had been approached by the whips to find out their feelings on the question of gratuities. I was a member of that committee, and I consider that the honour of every member of that committee was impugned. As regards myself, the statement is absolutely false.
The work of the committee was a work full of difficulties. Everywhere we turned we found that we were up against a discrimination or an inequality; and to evolve some scheme of gratuities or re-establishment that would be equitable was beyond the' power of our committee. The committee worked earnestly and, I think, considered every point throughly. In several cases, they reviewed the matter and then reviewed it again. That is all I have to say as to the work of the committee.
I want to deal for a moment or two with three or four of the specific suggestions and recommendations. Suggestion 2 deals with the rate of pay and allowances of officers, warrant officers and . non-commissioned officers receiving treatment in hospitals under the Department of Soldiers' Civil Re-establishment, and the committee recommended that pay and allowances be equal for all ranks. It was not in the mind of any one of the members of the committee at that time that a grave injustice would be done to officers, warrant officers and non-commissioned officers who had been transferred to these hospitals under the Department of Soldiers' Civil Reestablishment, as suffering from some war disability, I think that this is a matter that can and should be remedied. The second matter I wish to take up is suggestion 15. The committee makes a recommendation that " sterling funds " which were for pay and allowances to the members of the forces and which were brought back from overseas by them, should be exchanged at the standard rate of I4.86S. The recommendation does not, however, cover the case of men who exchanged their sterling into dollars .and
cents in the past. I wish to recommend very strongly that this matter should be considered .and that the recommendation, therefore, be made retroactive. My next point deals with suggestion 20 which covers vocational training, education, etc. This is a subject that appeals to me more strongly than any other. As regards vocational training, the suggestion was brought before the committee that all lads up to the age of twenty-one, whether or not they had received a war disability, should be eligible for a training in some one of recognized trades It was, however, felt-and I regret this extremely-that to allow this privilege to any class would be too much of a discrimination. That was the one reason given which really mattered. A second reason given was that the Department of Soldiers' Civil Re-establishment could not enlarge their facilities sufficiently to take care of the prospective applicants. Like many other things that the Canadian corps was up against, that could be got over. The question, however, of discrimination is one that, to my mind cannot be got over, and I regret that extremely, because I firmly believe that every one of these lads who can be trained in a useful occupation is going to return a value ifor that training a hundredfold in the years to come. He would be of immense value to the country; he would be of the same value to the country as the man who goeS*on the farm and produces the products of the soil. I am, however, afraid that unless a very overwhelming mass of opinion received from all soldiers' organizations throughout the country can be sent to the Government approving the training of these lads, we cannot get over the discrimination that would be shown if the Government approved the scheme now, and even then I do not know if it can be got over. The same argument, I regret to say, applies to university students.
Every man knows that the scientist who is required to-day is not available from among our own people, and we have to turn to other countries to get him. According to the evidence submitted to tne committee there are, I believe, some 7,500 returned university students, and of that number I understand that about 2,000 are unable to put themselves through university. That is a very grave loss to Canada. But the question of discrimination again arises, and unless it can be overcome by the method I, have before suggested I am afraid the recommendation must stand.
No. 21 deals with life insurance. This question was thoroughly discussed by the
committee and was investigated from every angle which any member of the committee could bring out. None of us were experts or actuaries and the recommendation made by the committee is, in my opinion, the only one that could have been made. But I would ask that when the report is brought down by the experts and adopted as a plan by this Government or any other Government that may succeed it, its provisions be made retroactive to the date of the report of the committee to the House.
To turn briefly to the question of gratuities. There was no scheme of gratuities that was absolutely free of inequality; no scheme that was even reasonably free of inequality. There was therefore no scheme that did not discriminate against one or another. In my opinion therefore these gratuity schemes were ruled out from that point alone. Furthermore, as a member who attended every meeting of the committee except one, during the taking of the evidence, I firmly believe that the financial condition of Canada and the number of people in our country who are able to subscribe to a loan makes it impossible to raise at short notice any such sum a.s would be required to meet the proposals made.
Several speakers previous to myself have mentioned the question of equal sacrifice. It is a question that is burning in the hearts of the majority of returned men, and it is one that, do as the Government may, will bum there for years still. It may not show itself in any massed form, but undoubtedly it will be evidenced in individual cases. As many speakers have said, these men have come back and now see all others prosperous around them. No matter whether it was the worker who had worked in the shop alongside him, or the manufacturer of munitions, every one who stayed behind reaped the benefits of war prosperity. Is it unreasonable, therefore, it is asked, that our men should seek to equalize if possible the sacrifices. they made by asking those who enjoyed war benefits to share with them? The suggestion was made this afternoon by the hon. member for Brantford (Mr. Cockshutt) that a soldier loan of $250,000,000 should be raised. If a soldier loan, why not a gift to the country from the men who have reaped prosperity due to the war? Well, I think that is out of the question; I do not believe we have so many altruists in the country. But if there is anything in the suggestion at all, why could not a loan be raised, free of interest and for a stated term, to allow the man who did not serve to prove his sincerity? If we have suOh a degree of unsel-
Topic: THE SUGAR SUPPLY.