June 24, 1946 (20th Parliament, 2nd Session)

PC

Gordon Knapman Fraser

Progressive Conservative

Mr. FRASER:

The minister has not said anything about pensions for the blind. I know that pensions are given to them, but is the department doing anything, to prevent blindness and to help the blind? The minister's department should take every means possible to prevent people from becoming blind. I have not heard of anything that the department is doing in that connection. I believe this matter came up in the social security committee in a brief presented by the Canadian National Institute for the Blind. The earning power of a single blind person should be increased to $660 and a married person to $1,200, and at the same time they should be permitted to retain their pension, because these blind people require people to assist them to and' from work.
During the last few years the Canadian National Institute for the Blind has helped a large number of people to obtain jobs. They have shown them how to work. The blind people are doing a splendid piece of work. The Canadian National Institute for the Blind has helped the department of the Minister of Veterans Affairs to place men in jobs, and these men are doing jobs that are worth while. We have them in factories in Peterborough and they are doing jobs which are very difficult. They are doing the job as well as, if not better than, people with eyesight. Therefore I wish to impress upon the minister that everything possible should be done by his department for these blind people. They deserve it. I should like the minister to make a statement in regard to what the department is doing and intends to do in that regard.
The suggestion of the hon. member for Dauphin that the pension should start where the family allowance leaves off at seventeen years of age is a worthy one. The department should take it up, because these people need pensions at all times.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OP TRANSPORT
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