February 18, 1938

CON

James J. Donnelly

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. DONNELLY:

There is just one suggestion I want to make to the minister before we pass this resolution. I fully appreciate the position of the hon. member for Souris when he says that in his district the unsecured creditor receives no consideration whatever and that the secured creditor is the only one who receives consideration before the board of review. We have had two boards of review in Saskatchewan. Under one of these boards our situation was much the same as that mentioned by the hon. member for Souris. The secured creditor received every consideration; the unsecured creditor received none. At the present time we have a board of review that gives consideration not only to the secured creditor but to the unsecured creditor, and we find that the board is working very, very much more satisfactorily than it did before.

I am afraid, when the minister says he is going to set up two boards of review, that we may have one board giving one kind of decision and the other board giving the othei kind of decision, and there will be no uniformity at all. I would ask the minister to consider the advisability, instead of setting up two boards of review, of making the present board very much larger, with six, seven or eight members, so that it may be divided up. with three men going to one place and three to another. The chief justice, or the man who is in charge, could look over all the decisions so that we would have some uniformity in the decisions given in each province, or at least in that of Saskatchewan.

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LIB

Charles Avery Dunning (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. DUNNING:

With regard to the question raised by the hon. member I have before me, of course in great detail, the percentage reductions made by the boards of review in each province with respect to both secured and unsecured creditors. I know the hon. member for Wood Mountain will forgive me when I say that the figures do not quite bear out the full extent of his statements with regard to the relationship of the boards of review in Saskatchewan to the secured and unsecured creditors respectively. That is to say, there is an element of truth in what he says, but he has stated it rather more extremely than the figures would appear to justify.

With regard to the suggestion of the hon. member as to one board of review being divided into two, I must confess that I have given a great deal of consideration to that possibility. It would be quite beyond the physical capacity of one chairman to do what the hon. member suggests, virtually to act as chairman of two boards of review. I am assured by a number of chairmen of boards

that the work is very taxing indeed. I appreciate the problem of getting uniformity of method as between boards. In the last two years, however, we have made considerable progress towards getting uniformity of methods as between the board of one province and the board of the neighbouring province, and surely, having succeeded thus far, we shall be able to get a reasonable degree of uniformity as between two boards in the same province when we appoint them. However, we shall discuss that point again.

I should like to come back to the remarks of the hon. member for Grey-Brace. I have had time to ask a question as to just what the farm loan board did in Ontario in 1937, and I find that 515 individual farm loans were disbursed in that year to an amount of $1,033,000. That is not many, but it is 515.

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UFOL
CON

Hugh Alexander Stewart

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEWART:

How many applications were made, as a result of which 515 loans were advanced?

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LIB

Charles Avery Dunning (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. DUNNING:

I sent out hurriedly to get the information over the telephone.

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LIB

Donald Alexander McNiven

Liberal

Mr. McNIVEN (Regina):

Mr. Chairman, I have no desire to prolong the discussion, but may I say that generally speaking the board, operating under the Farmers' Creditors Arrangement Act, has performed a distinct and definite service to the farmers in Saskatchewan. I would approve of extending the number so that there would be two boards of review; even the suggestion of the hon. member for Wood Mountain might be worthy of consideration. I believe that would facilitate the hearing of cases now awaiting consideration.

The chairman of the board of review has laid out plans, principles and policies to which he has adhered during the term of his appointment, and he hears about five cases per day. On that basis it will take several years for him to dispose of the cases already before him. We approve, too, the suggestion that the term " creditors " should be amplified and defined and, likewise, that the benefits of the act be extended to cases of deceased persons.

We would like to have it made definitely certain that those who have had hearings before the board in 1934 or 1935 and who, for one reason or another, have not been able to live up to the terms of the orders made, should still have an opportunity of again appearing before the board.

However, I had something else in mind when I rose to speak. Residents of towns, cities and villages in Saskatchewan are dependent upon the prosperity of rural Saskatchewan. In

Farmers' Creditors Act

fact, their livelihood depends upon the rural area. Where, as has been the experience of Saskatchewan, a great part of the province is adversely affected by drought, and where thousands of farmers find themselves unable to pay, residents in the cities, towns and villages have been the losers. This situation was recognized in Saskatchewan by a resolution passed by the Saskatchewan Legislative Assembly in 1937. The matter was made the subject of a petition in Regina. Some 13,000 individuals attached their signatures to the petition, and many others in urban centres have expressed themselves as being in accord with the suggestion that the principles of the Farmers' Creditors Arrangement Act be extended to residents of cities, towns and villages.

There are many workmen, olerks and professional men of one kind or another who prior to 1930 invested in homes, but who to-day find themselves in such a position that they may lose those homes. The act does not apply to those thousands of people. It may well be said that in their cases voluntary adjustments would be the remedy or, in the alternative, that there should be bankruptcy. It is true that the provisions of the Bankruptcy Act are open to those individuals, but no trust company or trustee in bankruptcy will accept an estate which consists of a piece of property covered by a mortgage and subject to taxes.

In many urban centres taxing authorities have large claims against such properties, and many individuals know that they can hope for nothing in the future. They are about to lose their homes, either through the action of vendors under agreements for sale, or through the city taxing authorities, or through the mortgagee under the mortgage. This is a very real fear in the hearts and minds of many thousands of honest citizens who would pay if they possibly could, but who, under present circumstances and conditions, are losing heart. They find that the rate of interest continues at the rate which prevailed prior to 1928. I had an instance brought to my attention a few days ago with respect to a house purchased in 1928 for $7,500. Already $7,600 had been paid on it; the balance still owing on the property was $3,500, and the kind-hearted vendor under the agreement for sale offered to reduce the rate of interest from eight to six per cent. He was willing to do that only within the last few months. That experience could be multiplied in hundreds of instances.

I would ask the minister seriously to consider the absolute necessity, in so far as thousands of people are concerned-and I

shall speak only for Saskatchewan-of extending the principle of the Farmers' Creditors Arrangement Act to those men and women, in order that they may be assisted in saving their homes.

Resolution reported, read the second time and concurred in. Mr. Dunning thereupon moved for leave to introduce Bill No. 25, to amend the Farmers' Creditors Arrangement Act, 1934.

Motion agreed to and bill read the first time.

The house in committee of supply, Mr. Johnston (Lake Centre) in the chair.

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DEPARTMENT OP PENSIONS AND NATIONAL HEALTH


Pensions Branch-Canadian pension commission administration expenses, $534,330.


CCF

Charles Grant MacNeil

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. MacNEIL:

Does the reduction in

the estimate indicate any reduction in services to pensioners?

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LIB

Charles Gavan Power (Minister of Pensions and National Health)

Liberal

Hon. C. G. POWER (Minister of Pensions and National Health):

No.

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CCF

Charles Grant MacNeil

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. MacNEIL:

What is the medical staff at the Shaughnessy hospital at Vancouver under the jurisdiction of the pension commission? Could we have their salaries and whether they are on full or part time? I should like to know also the names of consultants under the jurisdiction of the pension commission.

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LIB

Charles Gavan Power (Minister of Pensions and National Health)

Liberal

Mr. POWER:

I shall give only those attached to the pension commission and not those attached to treatment or administration. They are:

Dr. J. W. Laing, medical officer, grade 4, $4,080.

Dr. B. F. Keillor, medical officer, grade 4, $4,120.

There was a Doctor G. A. Minorgan attached to that staff, but he has since been transferred so I shall not include him. The next is:

W. R. Congdon, pension clerk, $1,920.

J. Valentine, investigator, grade 2, $1,560.

T. J. McKenty, investigator, grade 1, $1,500.

M. Wallace, clerk, grade 3, $1,620.

W. Bloom, clerk, grade 2, $1,440.

Miss A. E. MacDonald, stenographer, grade 2, $1,380.

Miss G. M. Baxter, stenographer, grade 2, $1,380.

Miss E. G. Heney, stenographer, grade 2, $1,380.

Miss B. M. McCarthy, stenographer, grade 2, $1,320.

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CCF

Charles Grant MacNeil

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. MacNEIL:

Does the pension commission employ consultants at that point?

Supply-Pensions

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LIB

Charles Gavan Power (Minister of Pensions and National Health)

Liberal

Mr. POWER:

Occasionally we employ the services of consultants.

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CCF

Charles Grant MacNeil

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. MacNEIL:

Who is definitely in

charge of pensions administrations?

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LIB

Charles Gavan Power (Minister of Pensions and National Health)

Liberal

Mr. POWER:

Doctor Keillor.

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CCF

Charles Grant MacNeil

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. MacNEIL:

Would it be possible as a matter of administration to ensure that the medical pension authorities shall have the unrestricted right to secure the authorization of medical treatment when a pensioner requires it? As I understand it, the procedure now is that with a man on pension and requiring treatment, either for the disability for which he is pensioned or for a disability which has a bearing on his general health, the pension medical authority has no right to authorize treatment, it being necessary to refer the matter to the treatment branch of the department, and the man may or may not get treatment. I submit it would be a distinct advantage and probably remove any possible conflict between the two authorities if the medical men of the commission could of their own right indicate that a pensioner must have treatment. This is applicable especially to the neurological cases. The situation is far from being a happy one as a great deal of dissatisfaction exists with regard to treatment of neurological cases. Subsection 2 of section 28 of the act reads:

When in the opinion of a medical neurological expert an applicant for pension or a pensioner has a disability which is purely functional or hysterical no pension shall be paid, but such member of the forces shall immediately be referred to a neurological centre for treatment.

I am advised that in a number of cases the treatment branch has refused to give the medical attention advocated by the pension medical authority. It may be a case where the pensioner comes under class 2 and would not receive pay and allowances, receiving simply comforts while an inmate of an institution. I should like the minister to do whatever is possible to clear up this point. The same thing might be said about dental treatment.

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LIB

Charles Gavan Power (Minister of Pensions and National Health)

Liberal

Mr. POWER:

If a man is on class 2 treatment, as my hon. friend knows, he would continue to receive his pension and his family would receive relief if necessary. I understand the first part of my hon. friend's question was directed to whether or not the pension medical authorities had the right to order treatment. They have the right to order treatment for observation and they do so. In so far as I am aware, there has been no conflict between the two branches. My hon. friend quoted the section of the act which confers certain power on the pensions 51952-38J

authorities with respect to neurological patients. I believe the terms of that section are carried out. I understand my hon. friend's complaint is that they do not receive pensions, not that they do not receive treatment.

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CCF

Charles Grant MacNeil

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. MacNEIL:

My information is that they do not always receive treatment; that that matter lies entirely in the discretion of the treatment branch. I am told that the medical officers of the department are not always in accord with the judgment of the pensions medical authorities and that sometimes treatment is not secured as indicated.

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LIB

Charles Gavan Power (Minister of Pensions and National Health)

Liberal

Mr. POWER:

As far as I am aware, if treatment is required they get it. I do not know of any conflict such as my hon. friend mentions, although there may be some. He has stated that pensions were not allowed to certain neurological cases. He was a member of the committee of 1936 which requested that a board be set up to inquire into these cases and into the treatment of neurasthenic cases generally. That board was set up and, as my hon. friend knows, some kind of report was made. The report was tabled last year; I do not have it with me at the moment, but I can very easily get it.

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February 18, 1938