George Alexander DREW

DREW, The Hon. George Alexander, P.C., C.C., Q.C.

Parliamentary Career

December 20, 1948 - April 30, 1949
PC
  Carleton (Ontario)
  • Leader of the Official Opposition (October 2, 1948 - November 1, 1954)
June 27, 1949 - June 13, 1953
PC
  Carleton (Ontario)
  • Leader of the Official Opposition (October 2, 1948 - November 1, 1954)
August 10, 1953 - April 12, 1957
PC
  Carleton (Ontario)
  • Leader of the Official Opposition (October 2, 1948 - November 1, 1954)
  • Leader of the Official Opposition (February 1, 1955 - August 1, 1956)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 3 of 1429)


July 18, 1956

Mr. Drew:

Mr. Chairman, I think it is appropriate that at this moment I interject that what I had said was that there had been articles written by senior officers who had just recently left their duties and that there should be an opportunity to examine those statements and that it was not the responsibility of any hon. member to say whether or not they were correct, that we could not know.

Topic:   POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT
Subtopic:   TEESWATER, ONT. CONSTRUCTION OF NEW POST OFFICE
Full View Permalink

July 17, 1956

Mr. Drew:

Mr. Speaker, do I understand from the statement just made by the Minister of National Defence that it has been agreed by the officers of 424 squadron that they shall not continue flying for the time being?

Topic:   REPORTED POSTPONEMENT OF DECISION TO DISBAND MOUNT HOPE STATION
Full View Permalink

July 17, 1956

Mr. Drew:

Is the minister not going to make any statement as to the stage at which he is going to take into consideration any of the proposals that were put forward on an earlier occasion?

Topic:   PRESENT SUPPLY POSITION
Subtopic:   PUBLIC SERVICE SUPERANNUATION ACT
Full View Permalink

July 17, 1956

Hon. George A. Drew (Leader of the Opposition):

I had hoped, Mr. Speaker, that since this subject was raised we might have had the assurance that the government will take action to deal with the very serious plight of many superannuated civil servants, members of the armed forces and members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police who received their pensions at a time when the dollar was worth a great deal more than it is today. Just a few nights ago, I was looking at a television broadcast which compared the cost of living in Canada in 1936 with that in 1956, as well as comparing some other events. It brought home very vividly the tremendous difference in the amount of money that is required to give even a minimum of living standards.

Now, whether it is possible to deal with this subject within the framework of the bill now before us, at least it does seem to me it would be appropriate at the time when we are dealing with the public service superannuation that we should have a statement that there will be at this session something done to rectify an injustice which has continued far too long. We are not making any suggestion that is unrelated to reality. We are not making any rash proposals. As has been indicated, already in the United Kingdom there have been several progressive changes in the superannuation payments to a wide list of those who depend upon the government of the United Kingdom for their pensions. The last of those was during the spring of the present year. At that time it was pointed out that this is something that cannot be measured on a contractual basis. It was pointed out, as it has been pointed out on other occasions, that the civil servants, members of the armed forces and others, who received payments of that kind, accepted and received for many years payments which were far below the level of payments for corresponding activities in private occupations.

I must say that there has been a satisfactory improvement in the situation within the civil service here and in the provincial governments of Canada in recent years. Undoubtedly the gap between the amount received by civil servants and those doing similar work outside has been narrowed. We must recognize that the gap was very great indeed in earlier years. Pension payments were related to the amount they had received. Nevertheless, they were supposed to provide a minimum decent standard of living for those who were superannuated. I submit that this cannot be dealt with on a contractual basis

like an insurance policy, or something of that kind. The test is a very simple one. Do the payments they now receive provide an adequate amount to give a decent minimum standard of living to those who served their country well in those various services? An attempt has been made to meet this situation upon that basis in the United Kingdom and in the United States. They have dealt with it on more than one occasion.

It must be common knowledge to every hon. member in this house that there are many splendid citizens of advanced years who served this country, either in the civil service, the armed services or the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, who are living in really desperate circumstances because of the inadequacy of the pension they receive.

If no other jurisdiction similar to ours had dealt with this subject, then it perhaps might be argued that this is one of those unfortunate instances where a contract has been made and that the contract must stand. However, in the United Kingdom, in other nations of the commonwealth as well as in the United States a real attempt has been made to meet this situation in a spirit of justice and humanity. I do not think it is possible to put into words the anguish of many of the people who are trying to eke out an existence on the pitifully small pensions that were fixed many years ago. I do not intend to put them on record, but I have received many letters, as I am sure other hon. members have, that tell the heartbreaking story of the struggle merely to survive with the amount of the payments they receive.

I would hope that since we are dealing with civil service superannuation, and since I am sure there will be general approval of such a plan, the minister will state now that steps will be taken to provide an over-all increase in the amount of pension. That could be done immediately. Then, more elaborate procedure could be followed to examine this subject thoroughly, as it has been examined in the United Kingdom, in the United States and elsewhere, and basing the adjustments upon the time at which the payments were made and upon the very real need of those people who have given great service to Canada, this situation could be dealt with in a way that I am sure would meet with general satisfaction. I find it difficult to believe that there would be opposition from anyone if such a proposal were made.

I hope the minister, even at this stage of the session, will make an announcement that justice to those superannuated civil servants, members of the armed forces and members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police will

be meted out at this session. In that way, hope, encouragement and some faith in their prospects for the future will be given to many deserving people who are in desperate circumstances today.

Topic:   PRESENT SUPPLY POSITION
Subtopic:   PUBLIC SERVICE SUPERANNUATION ACT
Full View Permalink

July 17, 1956

Hon. George A. Drew (Leader of the Opposition):

Mr. Speaker, further to a question which I asked the Minister of National Defence yesterday, can the minister make any statement with regard to a report in yesterday's Hamilton Spectator that the disbandment of 424 squadron of the R.C.A.F. auxiliary at Hamilton has been postponed by order of the department?

Topic:   REPORTED POSTPONEMENT OF DECISION TO DISBAND MOUNT HOPE STATION
Full View Permalink