There are one or two questions I should like to ask about this item. First, I believe an order in council was passed a few days ago amending the rehabilitation act so that personnel in hospitals would receive training allowances or something of that nature. Could the minister explain what those changes mean? I believe the order in council was dated September 28, 1949.
The second point is concerned with the transfer from university training to vocational training and vice versa. I believe there was a deadline set when applications for transfer from one type of training to the other had to be made. I think it was within six months of the termination of the course. Some people did not receive any notice about that deadline. The only notices which were sent out appeared in the newspapers and, quite obviously, many veterans would miss them. People who were travelling or who lived in isolated parts of the country would not see such a notice. Would the minister consider extending that deadline in cases where a recommendation was made, perhaps by the president of the university or the principal of the vocational training course concerned, so that the men who had given up hope of being able to transfer from vocational training to university might still be able to take advantage of that amendment. They would then be able to continue a course which, perhaps, they had given up because they saw no opportunity of following the line of rehabilitation they particularly desired.
I have in mind men who were taking a course in carpentry who felt they would like to go farther and take a course in architecture at a university. When we are dealing with this item, would the minister answer the questions which were directed to him before the recess regarding the rehabilitation of the men who served in the merchant navy?
On the first point, Mr. Chairman, may I say that I have not a copy of that order in council before me. I shall bring it with me at some later date when these estimates are being considered. On the
Supply-Veterans Affairs question of the changeover of training, and the arrangements that were made to make that more flexible, I can say now that if a given veteran, through circumstances beyond his control, did not get the information with regard to that change in time to get in under the dateline, then the matter will certainly be taken into consideration to see that he does not suffer on that account. I doubt whether there is anything I can add tonight with respect to the matter that was discussed before the parliamentary committee and at the last session with regard to the merchant marine. As was pointed out this afternoon, the committee at that time recommended that the younger men who served in the merchant marine should be given the opportunity for vocational training in addition to training in their own business at sea. It was pointed out that at our seaports on each coast some of these young men were not working but were hanging around and being subjected to subversive influences; and it was suggested that it would be a good thing if they could be allowed to take vocational training in the same way as those who had served in the armed forces.
This matter was considered by the government, and the Department of Transport arranged that this be done, going through my department; the training was carried on in conjunction with the vocational training centres of the province in the same way as it was carried on with the veterans. More recently representations have been made, to the same effect as those that were made this afternoon, that the age of thirty was considered too young. Many of these men had already gone beyond that age and still were not permanently employed. On behalf of the Minister of Transport I think I can state that the matter will be carefully considered in view of what was said this afternoon.
There is one matter that I should again like to bring to the attention of the minister, namely, the plight of one group of the auxiliary services that I feel have had a shabby deal. I refer to the Red Cross girls. As the minister well knows, they did not get even a clothing allowance when they came back to Canada. As a result of the small amount of remuneration received, and on which they had to live while overseas, when they came out of the service they had nothing. I wish the minister would give serious consideration to this matter.
I should like to ask the minister to give the committee a short explanation of the position of a Newfoundland veteran now coming under the veterans legislation with respect to vocational training. Will his rights for vocational training have lapsed
Supply-Veterans Affairs before the act came into force in Newfoundland or will he have some retroactive rights to training?
As all hon. members know, including those from Newfoundland, veterans in Newfoundland are in all respects now in receipt of the benefits under the veterans charter in the same manner as though Newfoundland had been a part of Canada at the time of demobilization. I think that is a fair statement. To refer to vocational training and university training, I may say that in all parts of Canada at the present time the main body of veterans have had their training. As to university training, Newfoundland had a plan of their own. They also had a plan for vocational training. It was somewhat different from ours, but it was a good plan. Some of these veterans were in receipt of training when union took place. My department took them over and carried them on under our rights until they finished their particular training, whether it was vocational or university training.
Before this item is passed, I think utterance should be given to a word of commendation of a certain type of public servant. We are free, and properly so, to criticize where criticism is due; and I think we should give praise where praise is due. I refer to the type commonly known in the small towns as the D.V.A. representative. I believe that later on he was attached to the Department of Labour but he originally came to towns the size of mine as a D.V.A. representative. I should like to say to the minister that in those places with which I am familiar these men have done a job which it is impossible to extol too highly. The veterans of all services-even veterans who politically have no use for this government, and many who have not much use for the economic system under which we live-are all loud in their praise of the D.V.A. local representative who had assisted in matters such as employment, the Veterans Land Act, loans and so on. I think that some of us-and I am glad to do so -should publicly express our appreciation of the work these men have done on behalf of all veterans.
It gives me great pleasure to direct those welcome remarks to my colleague the Minister of Labour, inasmuch as this official who has just been spoken of is in reality an employee of the offices of the national employment service across Canada. It is true that some of them did happen to serve previously in the Department of Veterans Affairs. To what has been said I should like to add that, in every centre of Canada where there is an office of the Department of Veterans Affairs and also an office of the
national employment service, I believe the closest liaison and co-operation have been carried out in order to obtain employment for our veterans.
The minister stated that further consideration will be given to a change in the provision under which a merchant seaman gets vocational training. Can he explain to the committee just how the authority is divided on that question between the Department of Transport and the Department of Veterans Affairs? I have just recently had the case of a merchant seaman brought to my attention. Of course he is unable to get university training. Nevertheless, he has gone to university and requires only one more year to get the degree of bachelor of commerce. In the meantime he has applied for vocational training in the way of articling to a chartered accountant. After graduating from university he proposes to take up chartered accountancy. He could get that vocational training from the Department of Transport, but they say that if he is to get it he must start in right away with his articles. Obviously it is foolish for him not to finish his course at the university. The Department of Transport refuses to give him a year's extension on the vocational training. I do not think that is right. The Department of Veterans Affairs is obviously quite willing to let him have that extension. The minister's own department obviously believes that this lad should be allowed to finish his course at university and then get the vocational training but the Department of Transport officials are making an arbitrary ruling that they will not give him that vocational training unless he leaves university to commence his articles. There is a division of authority which is unfortunate. I suggest that the Department
of Veterans Affairs be given full authority to deal with these applications. I can see that the establishing of his service in the merchant navy would be done through the Department of Transport but once he had established that service, why not let the Department of Veterans Affairs take over from then on? The way it is now these lads are not getting a fair deal.
Further, does the minister not think that the merchant navy men should now be allowed to get educational training as well as vocational training? In the meantime many of them have paid their own way through perhaps two or three years but they are still in university. It is a shame that they have not had that educational help.
I will answer the last question first by saying that a parliamentary committee composed of many minds did not recommend the university training and it has not been put into effect. To answer the other question, in their service with the merchant marine these men were under the Department of Transport. If the occasion should arise and the merchant navy were ever increased again, I presume the same situation would exist. It is also true that the Department of Transport have all the records available regarding these men; we have not.
Regarding their service in the merchant navy. Consequently it seemed sound, and I think it is, to have their applications made to the Department of Transport. If by chance they came to my department or to the district offices they were routed through the Department of Transport to decide upon their eligibility under the terms that had been laid down. After that had been decided upon and they were accepted for training they were sent on to the Department of Veterans Affairs to carry on their vocational training in the regular vocational training courses throughout the districts. As to responsibility during that stage, we have looked upon it as a joint one. If my hon. friend feels that injustices have been done in individual cases I know that my colleague, the Minister of Transport, would be glad to discuss it with him, as I would be.