George Harris HEES

HEES, The Hon. George Harris, P.C., O.C.

Personal Data

Party
Progressive Conservative
Constituency
Northumberland (Ontario)
Birth Date
June 17, 1910
Deceased Date
June 11, 1996
Website
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Hees
PARLINFO
http://www.parl.gc.ca/parlinfo/Files/Parliamentarian.aspx?Item=e268685f-5f98-4956-a0d4-9aaefd036337&Language=E&Section=ALL
Profession
businessman, industrialist, manufacturer, military, military, professional football player

Parliamentary Career

May 15, 1950 - June 13, 1953
PC
  Broadview (Ontario)
August 10, 1953 - April 12, 1957
PC
  Broadview (Ontario)
June 10, 1957 - February 1, 1958
PC
  Broadview (Ontario)
  • Minister of Transport (June 21, 1957 - October 10, 1960)
March 31, 1958 - April 19, 1962
PC
  Broadview (Ontario)
  • Minister of Transport (June 21, 1957 - October 10, 1960)
  • Minister of Trade and Commerce (October 11, 1960 - February 8, 1963)
June 18, 1962 - February 6, 1963
PC
  Broadview (Ontario)
  • Minister of Trade and Commerce (October 11, 1960 - February 8, 1963)
November 8, 1965 - April 23, 1968
PC
  Northumberland (Ontario)
June 25, 1968 - September 1, 1972
PC
  Prince Edward--Hastings (Ontario)
  • Progressive Conservative Party Caucus Chair (September 1, 1968 - January 1, 1969)
October 30, 1972 - May 9, 1974
PC
  Prince Edward--Hastings (Ontario)
July 8, 1974 - March 26, 1979
PC
  Prince Edward--Hastings (Ontario)
May 22, 1979 - December 14, 1979
PC
  Northumberland (Ontario)
February 18, 1980 - July 9, 1984
PC
  Northumberland (Ontario)
September 4, 1984 - October 1, 1988
PC
  Northumberland (Ontario)
  • Minister of Veterans Affairs (September 17, 1984 - September 14, 1988)
  • Minister of State (Seniors) (August 27, 1987 - September 14, 1988)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 3 of 2202)


December 14, 1987

Hon. George Hees (Minister of Veterans Affairs and Minister of State (Senior Citizens)) moved

that Bill C-100, an Act to amend the Pension Act, the War Veterans Allowance Act, to repeal the Compensation for Former Prisoners of War Act and to amend another Act in relation thereto, be now read the second time and referred to Committee of the Whole.

He said: Mr. Speaker, once again it is my pleasure to introduce legislation to this House which will be of benefit to Canadian veterans and their families.

Bill C-100 is omnibus legislation which will remove deficiencies that have been revealed within the existing legislation. We want our legislation to be fair and equitable to all veterans and their families, and Bill C-100 will erase injustices that have inadvertently been allowed to exist.

Spouses of former prisoners of war have been particularly affected, and that is why I am proposing that the Compensation for Former Prisoners of War Act be repealed, and that our POWs and their dependants be covered in the future by the Pension Act, as they were from 1971 until 1976.

I say this, Mr. Speaker, because I believe that Parliament on several occasions intended benefits in the Compensation for

Former Prisoners of War Act to parallel those in the Pension Act. Unfortunately, as there were two separate pieces of legislation, this did not always happen. Repeal of the Act will reduce future chances of this happening.

This legislation puts forward 12 amendments in all, but as many are of a housekeeping nature, my comments will concentrate on the more major items.

As I suggested a moment ago, the Compensation for Former Prisoners of War Act has been lacking in a number of areas, and I am proposing amendments to correct this. We will be improving areas that have been of concern to organizations such as the National Prisoners of War Association, the National Council of Veteran Associations, and the Royal Canadian Legion.

Hon. Members will know, Mr. Speaker, that we compensate former prisoners of war for their time spent in captivity. Also, as with all veterans, former prisoners of war may be entitled to compensation for any disability they sustained during the time of their service.

It is my belief that Parliament's intention had always been to recognize this dual entitlement in the calculation of survivor benefits. Indeed, this was the practice followed by the Canadian Pension Commission until 1986, when it was determined that the legislation, as written, did not include prisoners of war who had not been in receipt of a disability pension. Repealing the Prisoners of War Act and placing prisoner of war benefits in the Pension Act rectifies this situation and means that for all future applicants, dependant and survivor benefits will again be in step as intended.

Similarly, it was found that the POW legislation did not permit the Canadian Pension Commission to combine rates when it had to calculate survivor benefits. Prisoner of war compensation and disability compensation must now be determined independently, and this reduces the payments being made to a number of widows. The amendment before the House will allow the commission to return to its traditional methods and cap the maximum at one full survivor's pension.

This will be of particular benefit to widows of prisoners of war who had been in receipt of pension and compensation which, when combined, yield a total of 48 per cent or more. For example, a widow of a POW who had been receiving 25 per cent compensation and 25 per cent pension will currently receive a survivor benefit of half the 25 per cent compensation and half the 25 per cent disability pension. This amendment will permit the commission to add the two percentages and pay the higher full widow's pension instead of two proportionate pensions.

We are also proposing that the married rate should be paid for one full year following the death of a spouse. This puts our POW benefits in line with those that already exist for disability pensioners.

December 14, 1987

Hon. Members will recall that a similar amendment was made in Bill C-28, passed in February, 1985. I said then that it bordered on the inhumane to reduce a widow's income within a month of the veteran's death, and I feel exactly the same about the benefits paid under the POW Act. This amendment will keep these benefits in pay for a full year following the POW's death and thereby give the widow an opportunity to adjust to her changed circumstances.

I am sure that all Hon. Members will enthusiastically support another measure which will introduce further compassion into our legislation. The House will recall the plight of those Canadians who were held prisoner in North Africa during the war. These veterans had been unable to receive prisoner of war compensation because there was doubt as to whether they had been detained in enemy territory. Eventually, and happily, this matter was resolved, but not before these veterans had been denied compensation for many years because they did not meet the strict criteria.

Now we want the Canadian Pension Commission to have the discretion to grant POW compensation in specially meritorious cases such as the ones which came forward from veterans held prisoner in North Africa.

This flexibility already exists in the case of disability pensions and has enabled such deserving people as the veterans exposed to nuclear radiation in the 1950s to make application for pension.

1 have confined my remarks to the more important amendments contained in this legislation. All amendments, however, are designed to improve the existing legislation for veterans and their dependants.

Veterans and their families are very special Canadians, and I am confident that all Members fully appreciate the fairness of this legislation, just as I very sincerely appreciate the support the Bill has received from all sides of the House.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   PENSION ACT, WAR VETERANS ALLOWANCE ACT AND COMPENSATION FOR FORMER PRISONERS OF WAR ACT MEASURE TO AMEND
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December 14, 1987

Mr. Hees:

Mr. Chairman, I am advised that it does not have any effect on present members of the commission.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   PENSION ACT, WAR VETERANS ALLOWANCE ACT AND COMPENSATION FOR FORMER PRISONERS OF WAR ACT MEASURE TO AMEND
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December 14, 1987

The Hon. George Hees (for the Minister of National Revenue) moved

for leave to introduce Bill C-96, an Act to validate certain customs duty orders relating to fresh fruit and vegetables.

Topic:   FRUIT AND VEGETABLE CUSTOMS ORDERS VALIDATION ACTS
Subtopic:   MEASURE TO ENACT
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December 14, 1987

Mr. Hees:

Mr. Chairman, I just want to say a couple of words to thank those who have taken part in this debate this afternoon. I want to thank them very much for their extremely able representations and remarks in the debate today. It was a very constructive debate.

I appreciate their support and the kind things they had to say about me. They are not deserved but very much appreciated. I thank them all.

It has been a very good afternoon. We will be bringing more legislation forward as soon as we can find other corrections to make.

Bill reported, concurred in, read the third time and passed.

[ Translation]

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   PENSION ACT, WAR VETERANS ALLOWANCE ACT AND COMPENSATION FOR FORMER PRISONERS OF WAR ACT MEASURE TO AMEND
Full View Permalink

December 14, 1987

Mr. Hees:

Mr. Chairman, just as soon as is possible. It is something that is very much overdue. We will bring it in with the greatest possible speed.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   PENSION ACT, WAR VETERANS ALLOWANCE ACT AND COMPENSATION FOR FORMER PRISONERS OF WAR ACT MEASURE TO AMEND
Full View Permalink