On the orders of the day:
Right Hon. L. S. St. Laurent (Prime
Minister): Mr. Speaker, I should like to reply to the question asked on Thursday last by the leader of the opposition (Mr. Drew) with respect to interim payments for war claims for persons in real need.
As I explained to the house on March 10, a scheme was devised whereby payments would be made to claimants coming under categories laid down in the compensation rules which were established by order in council P.C. 667 of February 4, 1952, and which was published in part II of the Canada Gazette on February 27.
Those persons who fall within the rules will receive interim payment if their claims are established; and that is a definite decision.
Thus far, some sixteen persons have made application for interim payment, and those applications are now being processed. Hon. members will understand that this is a fairly complicated problem, and a good deal of detailed information is required before payments can be made. I am advised that the applications are being dealt with as expeditiously as possible.
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Inquiries of the Ministry Mr. George A. Drew (Leader of ihe Opposition): Mr. Speaker, there is one thought that I should like to place before the Prime Minister in connection with what he has just said to the house. When he speaks of claims being established, that could, of course, mean the total figure of the claim. Where there may be some doubt about the total figure of the claim but no doubt about there being some substantial measure of claim, I would suggest that some system be devised under which interim payment could be made so that very needy cases, of which I know the Prime Minister is aware, could be dealt with without further delay. I think this would prevent real hardship without the necessity for awaiting the determination of the larger amounts which it may take more time to deal with.