July 22, 1960 (24th Parliament, 3rd Session)

CCF

William Arnold Peters (Whip of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation)

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

Mr. Peters:

I agree. But times have changed. But originally the labourer was referred to as a pick and shovel man. The pick and shovel man now gets very large sums of money because there are few people who will do that kind of work. Even the clean-up men around cement work get $1.50 or so an hour. I do not think this is a proper method of comparing the two groups. Certain things have been added on the side of the veteran and we are grateful for that fact, because I think they should be added. But there are things that have also been added to the labour side of the picture such as, for example, compensation, group insurance, sick and accident benefits, hospital insurance. There are many considerations that make his money more valuable than the $3,000 which is assumed to be the labour wage at the present time. If we keep adding all the benefits on there, I think the situation will look even worse as far as comparisons are concerned.
All we are saying is that we believe the veterans pension, whether it be war veterans allowance or veterans pension, must be tied to or kept in relation with the cost of living. I think there is no excuse to look back into history and say that from 1920 to 1946 there were no increases. There was a time I think when the pension was increased because the standard of living and the cost of living had dropped rapidly in Canada and the pension may have looked fairly good in 1931, 1932 and 1933. But by 1946 there were a large number of new veterans and the situation had completely changed.
I do not think it Is any argument to say that we should wait for these periods to go by before we make a change. It is my opinion that the change must be made and that followup must continue as the cost of living rises. I am sure the minister will agree that we are interested in maintaining a fair and reasonable relationship, no matter what we compare it to, and one of the comparisons we would have to use is the cost of living.
I just want to point out that while I sympathize with the minister I do not agree in the comparison he drew as between the veteran and the labourer in 1920. He left out some of the things that would have to be added if we are going to make a comparison today between a labourer and a veteran and. there would have to be certain considerations given there. I think that the difference between the two would have increased almost as rapidly as is indicated by the particular letter in the Legionary.

Topic:   I960
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