William Arnold PETERS

PETERS, William Arnold

Personal Data

Party
New Democratic Party
Constituency
Timiskaming (Ontario)
Birth Date
May 14, 1922
Deceased Date
September 17, 1996
Website
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arnold_Peters
PARLINFO
http://www.parl.gc.ca/parlinfo/Files/Parliamentarian.aspx?Item=451d41d6-6f60-40ef-87f1-bd1aea75e8c2&Language=E&Section=ALL
Profession
miner, representative

Parliamentary Career

June 10, 1957 - February 1, 1958
CCF
  Timiskaming (Ontario)
  • Whip of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (January 1, 1958 - January 1, 1962)
March 31, 1958 - April 19, 1962
CCF
  Timiskaming (Ontario)
  • Whip of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (January 1, 1958 - January 1, 1962)
August 3, 1961 - April 19, 1962
NDP
  Timiskaming (Ontario)
  • Whip of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (January 1, 1958 - January 1, 1962)
June 18, 1962 - February 6, 1963
NDP
  Timiskaming (Ontario)
April 8, 1963 - September 8, 1965
NDP
  Timiskaming (Ontario)
November 8, 1965 - April 23, 1968
NDP
  Timiskaming (Ontario)
June 25, 1968 - September 1, 1972
NDP
  Timiskaming (Ontario)
October 30, 1972 - May 9, 1974
NDP
  Timiskaming (Ontario)
July 8, 1974 - March 26, 1979
NDP
  Timiskaming (Ontario)
May 22, 1979 - December 14, 1979
NDP
  Timiskaming (Ontario)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 1220 of 1221)


November 8, 1957

Mr. Peters:

Mr. Chairman, I am pleased to see how bipartisan the veterans policy is. Like most hon. members, I too am a veteran and in the past I have been very proud of the part that the Department of Veterans Affairs has played in the welfare of our returned people. On most occasions it has been bipartisan, and we are pleased to see that it is so today. Of course, I think a committee could be set up to study veterans' affairs. I do not think the fact that we pass this legislation will take away the need for setting up such a committee to discuss further the problems of veterans that are not settled by this resolution.

I should like to congratulate Mr. Burgess, the dominion president of the Canadian Legion, on the presentation that they made and the able manner in which the work has been done which has gone into that presentation.

In my particular area the Canadian Legion has always played a prominent part in veterans affairs. From my reading of the

brief and from the knowledge that I have of veterans problems-it may be small-I think the Minister of Veterans Affairs might have given more consideration to increasing the amounts which are being increased to bring them up to the 33i per cent which has been asked for by the Canadian Legion. At all times I have found the Legion moderate in the extreme. They have always tended to be on the conservative side, with a small "c". At no time have their demands been anything other than reasonable.

I should like to bring to the attention of the minister the fact that at the present time there are people working in the House of Commons who are veterans of the British armed forces. When they applied for jobs here they were instructed that they did not come under the veterans preference. That is a matter that could be taken into consideration and perhaps some thought given to it.

I have found on many occasions that persons reporting to the pension board for their annual check-up-I have been in that position myself-have been instructed by the doctors sitting on the board and dealing with the review of pension cases that they have looked in the files and found no entries, no medical evidence that the pensioner had needed attention since the last time they saw him. I think some consideration should be given to this problem in those instances where medical plans are in operation. A doctor may be working continuously in an area under a medical plan and in many cases he does not see fit to fill out the forms for the Department of Veterans Affairs. Therefore, even though the man may be treated once a week, once a month or at irregular intervals, there is no record of such treatment, and when he comes before the board for the annual review there is no record of any medical service having been given to that particular pensioner. The obvious conclusion drawn from the blank record for that year is that he has not needed any treatment.

I am not sure what amount doctors are paid for calls involving pensioners but it may be that the rate is not sufficiently high to warrant the doctor filling out the form. He may find it is much more profitable to use the medical plan in that particular area.

There are also a number of cases, including one in particular about which I can speak with some authority, where the veteran comes before a pension board in a small community and there are no specialists attached to the review board with the result that the pensioner is sent somewhere else to see a specialist. In some cases I think the pensioner is legitimately justified in saying that when he is sent to a private practitioner

he should only be sent there for examination and should not be compelled to take treatment, treatment that would only serve to put a few dollars in the pocket of the particular specialist and would have no bearing whatsoever on the pension review being undertaken.

In the particular case I have in mind the person's pension was cut because he had refused the treatment, and he had simply been sent to the specialist for an examination and not for treatment. If these matters are brought to the minister's attention I am quite sure he will take cognizance of them and it will not be necessary to say any more about them.

On occasion we have had problems with a type of veteran who does not appear to be covered by the Department of Veterans Affairs Act. There are a number, some of whom I know personally, who served in the merchant navy, saw action and were wounded by shells or torpedoes and are unable to get any type of pension. It seems that originally there was a pension for merchant seamen and that when the war began that pension was discontinued. A period of time elapsed before the pension plan under which they were then brought was put into effect. One particular chap I know lost an arm and was badly shot up, but there is no coverage for him. I believe this matter has been raised in the house on a number of occasions. This person has never received any pension, and I think it can be legitimately argued that he was serving in a very active field of hostilities.

In talking to soldiers, airmen and navy personnel recently I was most surprised to find that they do not come under what we would have considered the protection of the Department of Veterans Affairs while we were service personnel. It is true that while they are on duty for their eight hours a day they would be covered in case of accidents when working at the job they are supposed to be doing. I am not going to repeat a number of cases that have been mentioned. There was one discussed at some length in 1956, an accident where a man was killed while still under the orders of his superior officer. But because what he was doing was considered to be outside the line of duty his wife received no pension.

However, it would appear to me that in such cases we could reasonably ask the government to provide and pay for an insurance plan that would at least supply some of the necessities for the widows and dependants of these service personnel who at the present time are serving their country not only in Canada but in foreign lands. It does not

Pension Act

appear to me that there would be much satisfaction involved for some lady, whose husband had been killed on the streets of Paris, being told that he was not on duty at that particular time and that nothing could be done about it. There has always been a certain honour and pride in serving in the forces of Canada and I think we should protect that at least with insurance which would cover these people in the hours when they are considered not to be working. I think that rates could be arranged whereby insurance of $20,000 or $25,000 would not be prohibitive in cost and I believe such a move would be very favourably received by the armed services.

Finally, I should like to leave the thought with the minister that some consideration be given to setting aside November 11 as a national holiday. Every person in Canada has had some close friend or relative who gave their life in the service of Canada. Indeed, many of us have had hundreds. The least I think we can do for them is to set aside one day on which to honour their memory.

Topic:   S16 HOUSE OF COMMONS
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November 4, 1957

Mr. Arnold Peters (Timiskaming):

If the

remarks we have heard, Mr. Speaker, were an indication that the hon. member for York West (Mr. Hamilton) and his party are going to recommend that something further be done for the old age pensioners in the form of housing developments which will take their income into consideration, then we will indeed be looking to the future rather than to the past. But as I have listened to the various comments which have been made about the government's proposal and the various rates of pension which have been discussed I believe that the member for Port Arthur (Mr. Fisher) was probably quite correct when he said we were running a bingo in this regard.

Before the last election took place many years had gone by during which the old age pensioner had not been well taken care of. If the rate was not a fair one, we should have been doing something about it in those years before the $6 increase was finally granted at election time. Since that was done the cost of living has again risen. It

has continued to rise, and now we are offering the old age pensioner $55. I suggest that $55 is not sufficient to bring the pension up to the standard of living which he had in 1949 when the $40 pension was in force, and I think the amount of $75 which we regard as a suitable rate should be justified.

In recommending any increase to the old age pension I think we must develop a means by which the rate can be tied in with the cost which the pensioner has to bear, and one of the ways in which he could do that could be found in the method of financing the pensions.

We have a limitation of 2 per cent with a maximum rate of $60 making this a contributory type of pension, to an extent, and I can see no justification, and I do not think the Canadian people can see any justification, when we reach that stage of $60 why the people who have the money to pay income tax no longer have to contribute any more than the $60. So I think we have been amiss when we have not made the suggestion that we take that little bit off and make it truly contributory. Those who are more able to pay should be allowed to do so.

If we have a pension plan which we have agreed is at least partially contributory it is obvious that the contributions have been made by our senior citizens who have produced the wealth of the nation and they should have some say about what they do with the small percentage of that wealth which we give them in the form of old age pensions and old age assistance. This being the case, I say that we cannot limit these people in terms of telling them where to live and what to do with their pension.

If an aged parent wishes to take up residence with his child in another country because he has no other close connection in Canada then he should be free to do so because of the right he has established by contributing to his pension. I think we should eliminate the requirement under which people must periodically return to Canada, to check in as it were, and reestablish residence here in order to continue receiving the old age pension. I believe they establish their residence in Canada during the years they live here and build up their pensions.

There are three points in this legislation, as I see it, and I am in complete agreement with the third which reduces the residence qualification for participation in the old age pension plan.

I would think the Canadian people are going to have to and will take a look at the financing of the pension plan. There is no reason at all to believe that the cost of

Old Age Security Act

living is not going to continue to climb. We have heard no solutions from the government with regard to inflation and monetary problems in general and, as was mentioned by the previous speaker, we have heard very little from the government as to what is being done to meet the housing problem. I am glad to have heard what was said this evening because I know in my own community in Ontario the minute this pension is increased every dime of it and in some cases more is taken off for rent, food, drugs and the other commodities the pensioner has to buy.

In my constituency we have a home for aged people run on a cost basis by a church as a non-profit organization. The pension is so low that the municipality must pay $15 in addition to the pension for the inmates of the home who cannot receive financial assistance from their children, relatives or friends. In the light of the constant increase in the cost of living the increase we are now providing will be eaten up in the way the increases granted in the past have been.

It is my opinion that we have an obligation to our senior citizens to closely scrutinize the financing of our old age pension plan with a view to bringing it into line with the cost of living and through the insertion of an escalator clause or by some other means providing for increases proportionate to the increase in the cost of living so that we will not have to wait until an election is held before the old age pensioner is given a pension adequate to meet his needs.

Topic:   TABLE II
Subtopic:   GROSS NATIONAL PRODUCT AND FEDERAL AND PROVINCIAL EXPENDITURES ON OLD AGE PENSIONS, 1927-28 TO 1958-59
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November 4, 1957

Mr. Peters:

Mr. Chairman, could I ask the minister if a person goes out of the country and stays away for eight months and then returns to Canada-assuming for medical reasons or something of that kind he had overstayed the six months period, coming back at the end of eight or nine months or even after a year-how long would he have to be in residence in Canada again before being entitled to further payments of the old age pension?

Topic:   TABLE II
Subtopic:   GROSS NATIONAL PRODUCT AND FEDERAL AND PROVINCIAL EXPENDITURES ON OLD AGE PENSIONS, 1927-28 TO 1958-59
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November 1, 1957

Mr. Peters:

Mr. Chairman, I too am pleased that this legislation has been introduced increasing the amount of income that is permissible. I should just like to mention one instance that has come to my attention in recent months. A gentleman who worked in the mines in 1942 was injured in a blast. He lost some of his sight and subsequently 96698-44

Blind. Persons Act

it entirely disappeared. He now obtains a small pension from the Ontario compensation board but does not quite meet the limitations that we provide in this section. He has a small farm, a wife and a couple of children. On that farm, he does some of the menial tasks that he can do and hires somebody to do some of the others. I would say that it could make no profit on a yearly basis. Recently he was receiving $9 a month under this section of the act. The Ontario administration or the section of it administering this act sent an investigator around. During the month in which they sent the investigator around he had sold two cows and a calf and his income, accordingly, was about $250. This amount, with his pension, brought him over the amount that he was allowed.

What I should like to ask is this. Would the minister be prepared to make suggestions -I presume there is an opportunity to do that in conjunction with the provincial authorities in the administration of this act- to the effect that if people are in circumstances where they are living on a farm and deriving some income from it, no claim may be made against income earned until the period of time has elapsed in which that income would be earned. In other words, to take the price of two cows and a calf and call that income in a one-month period is not reasonable having regard to the length of time it took to raise those animals. I should like to suggest to the minister that he take this matter under consideration when he is discussing the matter with the provinces and that they work out a much more satisfactory system of paying this money or of allowing income on an annual basis.

Topic:   BLIND PERSONS ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENTS RESPECTING ALLOWANCE AND ALLOWABLE INCOME
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October 31, 1957

Mr. Arnold Peters (Timiskaming):

I should like to direct a question to the Minister of Labour. Has the minister received a request from the northern Ontario district council of the lumber and sawmill workers' union for

Inquiries of the Ministry the establishment of an office of the national unemployment insurance commission in the towns of Hearst and Cochrane and the establishment of a court of referees in this area to facilitate the handling of unemployment insurance claims? If so, can the minister indicate if the request can be granted?

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE COMMISSION
Subtopic:   HEARST AND COCHRANE, ONT. REQUEST FOR ESTABLISHMENT OF OFFICES
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