June 26, 1925 (14th Parliament, 4th Session)


Henri Sévérin Béland (Minister of Soldiers' Civil Re-establishment; Minister presiding over the Department of Health)



It is not a regular money
bill. A body constituted by parliament has the exclusive power of awarding pensions, and payment can be made by parliament only after such award is made. The Senate have decided not to insist upon two of the three amendments to which I have referred, but to insist upon the amendment they made to the clause regarding appeal. I read in the Montreal Gazette of this morning a report which unwittingly ill-describes the situation. It is represented in that report that the Senate agreed to insist only upon the amendment which it had made to the pension bill prohibiting the granting of pensions in cases where disability was to be traced to misconduct. That is not the situation as it exists. We have never attempted to prohibit payment of pension to men whose disability was to be traced to misconduct. What we attempted to do was to provide an appeal for all those men who on that ground were refused a pension. A decision on the part of the Board of Pension Commissioners not to grant pension on the ground that the disability was due to misconduct is tantamount to saying that the disability was not attributable to war service, and in all other cases where the decision is that the disability was not attributable to war service there is the right of appeal. The Justice department has given the opinion that where the Board of Pension Commissioners decide that the disability was due to misconduct and that therefore no pension can be awarded, there is no appeal, and we had provided in the bill for such an appeal. The Senate has chosen to insist on its amendment. I do not propose to move for a conference at this late hour; I do not think that any useful purpose can be served by it. The Senate acted in full cognizance of the whole situation and circumstances. I can only express regret that at least for a few months more the men who have been turned down on this ground and who feel that they have been unfairly dealt with will be precluded from entering an appeal.
Motion agreed to; amendment read the second time and concurred in.

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