Newfoundland National Convention, 24 November 1947, Debates on Confederation with Canada


November 24, 1947

[Mr. Fogwill was informed that his question on railway pensions would be forwarded to the Commission.
Further debate on the Economic Report was deferred.
Mr. Cashin gave notice of a series of questions asking for information on the condition of the S.S. Cabot Strait,[1] and on the financial condition of the Government of Canada.
On a request from Mr. Ashbourne, the Chairman asked the Information Committee to investigate the matter of possible tariff reductions with the Commission of Government]

Report of the Ottawa Delegation Proposed Arrangements for the Entry of Newfoundland into Confederation Committee of the Whole

Mr. Smallwood I move that the Convention resolve itself into a committee of the whole to further consider and discuss the proposals received on November 6th from the Right Hon. the Prime Minister of Canada.
Mr. Bailey Mr. Chairman, we have come to the famous "diaper bonus" and I was surprised at the complacent attitude of Mr. Smallwood that Mr. Job would pay. As a layman, I was wondering how Mr. Job would pay, since when I am finished with this job I intend to go fishing, and to land and sell at Bonavista Cold Storage, of which, I am informed, Mr. Job and associates are the owners. Now, I am perplexed. Will Mr. Job forget he has a "diaper bonus" to pay and give me the full value for the fish I'll land, or go in a dory and fish for the bonus himself, or will he, with that bonus in mind, take it out of me? I'm afraid he will. I have dragged up my family, and it looks like I've got to help bring up others. You have always got to pay it, even a young man today, when he gets up to the age of 40, with kids up to 16; you go on paying the "diaper bonus" until you are 70, when you get the "whisker bonus". Another vicious circle.
I have been doing a little delving this past 10-30 years into matters of taxation and I have some figures before me which I think should be brought before our people, for if this farce goes through and our people ever get tax-conscious, they will be in virtual revolt. Let us examine the happy Zion to which our confederate apostle is leading us. The leader of this movement is painting a picture that cannot but cheer the heart of every toiler in this island home of ours. I wish I could subscribe to it, but I must have used up all my optimism on the Economic Report. Why the pessimism? It's simply this: ever since I came into this Convention I have heard nothing but the hardships of our system of taxation, and I had really hoped that in the leap towards Zion that tough road would be smoothed over; but I am disappointed! First fixings first. I don't want to go meandering around from Quirpon to Grand Falls, so here it is. We heard a royal address about taking from the rich and giving to the poor. I'll say more about that later, for that's up my alley, but this before us unfortunately is not so, for I'm going to lump the two big social sums together, the "diaper bonus" and the "whisker bonus". They cost, together, $342 million.
Now in that grand Dominion they have a sales tax and I'll quote:[2]
The sales tax hitherto has always been considered as one of the most vicious forms of regional taxation. It hits every man, woman, child and babe in arms, totally regardless of income; but the federal government plans to collect $325 million in sales tax this year, against $298 million collected last year, for the major taxpayers in Canada are the poor people of Canada, not only in the income tax as the figures readily prove, but in the fact that 12 million people in Canada are sharing November 1947 NATIONAL CONVENTION 815 equally the burden of $1,045,000,000 of indirect taxes this year.
....I have no way to tell the people of this country what this will cost them, no way to find out what the sales tax will cost this country, as I don't think there is any way to find out the volume of business; but I believe the federal sales tax is 8%. Let us see how this tax works out with regard to Mr. Smallwood's assertion that the rich would pay for this family allowance.
This most vicious tax hits every man, woman, child and babe in arms after they collect from those citizens, old and young. First we have a sales tax income of $325 million which will pay for the family bonus of $260 million and the old age pension of $82 million within $17 million of both expenses. Now in heaven's name, how can Mr. Smallwood say that this is soaking the rich; it even soaks the family allowance itself, for if a woman with one child buys $5 worth of essentials per month, she chips back into the family allowance ante 40 cents. Is that soaking the rich? I think this should clear up this matter of who soaks who. The unassailable fact is that the cents are taken from everybody. The man who has his family dragged up, and wants to go a little easier, every time his wife goes to the shop to spend a buck, she chips in eight cents towards the raising of somebody else's kids; even if he is 60 and finds it hard to do a day's work. It's simple for us to have a baby bonus that way. So, to me at least, Mr. Smallwood's plan is not so good. He has made a wonderful table of all the places by districts. Let us take the shops in those districts and find out the volume of business they do. Put on the sales tax and see what they will send out to Ottawa. Remember it will be taken from the earnings of the berries, the rabbits, the spuds you sell, also the few dozen eggs. Everything goes in the ante, as I see it. Just figure to yourself. Just count the number of dollars you spend in a year and take eight cents out of each of them, and you'll find out what the baby bonus and the old age pension will cost you. Remember this bonus doesn't come from the federal government of Canada. It comes from the people.... Sorry this is so long, but I want the people to know....
They have also in Canada what is known as excise taxes which bear heavily on the common man. It amounts to $290 million. Time forbids me to handle it here, only to point out that added to the sales tax of $325 million it brings in $615 million, enough to pay for the family allowance and the old age pension and leave a balance of $273 million. This excise tax is a superduper sales tax of which I will have more to say later. The reason for referring to it now is to show that it is not the rich who are paying for those services, but the very poor as well. It is a case of passing it from one pocket to another.
I think in all honesty, the next time we send a delegation to Canada, in light of this, we should get a financial expert, for had I been there I would have pushed it down their throats that this was anything but a bargain. They may be able to fool all their people, and we may be too green to burn, but they can't fool a green Newfoundlander. Some people take umbrage at the word "baby bonus" but to my mind I can call it nothing else — an inducement for people to have children, but it's not financially sound and tends not to the betterment of a people. If the money could be raised by another way but by a sales tax, then I could see the good of it, but this way it's a detriment to a man who is trying to get ahead, while it subsidises those who look on life as a period of procreative activity. I don't give much credit for the financial brains of this Dominion if they can't devise a better way to produce the funds to pay for those great services. Let us have them. I know it can be done, and of that I will speak later. I think this is a good argument against our turning our country over again to remote control. It seems we have been pikers in the past in the art of tax collection. See how easy it is. Anybody who has a shop is a tax collector. I can now see a reason for all the stores in Newfoundland. They can now take the place of the civil service.[1]
I will now read the list of goods exempted from sales tax in Canada, as you will find in the Black Book....[2] These are your exemptions from the sales tax. If for instance, take my friend Mr. Northcott across the way, if he was to hang his hand — as I have seen in the small stores in the United States — over the cash register, and you drop in your 8% on every dollar you spend, I wouldn't be surprised at the end of the year that 816 NATIONAL CONVENTION November 1947 Mr. Northcott would be able to pay a pretty good baby bonus in the district of Lewisporte. Now I think I've come to the end of what I've got to say. And I believe that we should not pass these terms. There's been a lot of talk about them, and I think the time has come for our people to know just what they are. And I believe that we should debate them in every way, bit by bit, even if we're here till Tib's Eve,[1] and thrash it out so that our people can understand what it's all about. I know that our people today are looking for a promised land. It's something they've heard so much about, a land of lower taxes; but, what is it going to gain us tomorrow if we take off the customs tax, put on a sales tax and a superduper excise tax? We can easily have a family allowance in this country and old age pensions if we wish to take 8% out of every dollar that goes around, no odds how many times it goes around in this country. I'm afraid when you come to weigh up the 117,000 children and weigh up what money they're taking, we have no way to find out. One record we couldn't find in this country as we've been going through our work, is the amount of business that's done in the country. Because you can't gauge the money in a country by looking at what it sends out and brings in. You have to have a bird's-eye view of how many times that dollar goes around, when you're paying taxes on the dollar that's moving around. So Mr. Chairman and gentlemen, I believe that we're going to learn a lot from this Ottawa vacation. So let's have some more of it from Mr. Smallwood....
Mr. Chairman Mr. Bailey, I don't think you're justified in referring to it as a vacation. I've already ruled Mr. Smallwood out of order on that point and I'm entitled to assume that however erroneous or mistaken the members of that delegation may have been in the proper evaluation of their duties, I'm not prepared to allow the remark to stand that they were on a vacation.
Mr. Bailey I apologise, Mr. Chairman. I only meant it as a joke.
Mr. Chairman I've already ruled that Mr. Smallwood couldn't make that remark and I.... You made the remark, you directed the remark to Mr. Higgins and I had to ask you to withdraw it the other day.
Mr. Smallwood Sir, I was only referring to the remark that he had made....
Mr. Chairman I know.
Mr. Bailey So let us have some more. "Avant", as they would say in Quebec.
Mr. Cranford It seems to me if I am correct, the list Mr. Bailey read out is all exempt from 8% sales tax. We have to pay no sales tax at all. I don't know if I'm correct on that or not. But the list that he read out, it makes it all clear of everything
Mr. Fogwill On page 139,[2] foodstuffs, exemptions under foodstuffs — salt. I was wondering is fisheries salt exempted from sales tax?
Mr. Smallwood I don't know if it's the intention of the gentlemen in the Convention to discuss taxation in Canada and Newfoundland at every point where a clause comes up for debate. Saturday, we debated family allowances. The next item is old age pensions and pensions for the blind. The item after that is unemployment insurance and then sick mariners' benefits for merchant seamen and fishermen, and after that assistance for housing. If we're going to have a discussion of taxation on each one of these items, I would be optimistic and say that we should finish this Convention sometime in 1953.
Mr. Chairman At the same time, if you don't mind Mr. Smallwood, the impact of taxation upon the people of this country has to be taken into account, and side by side with any benefits which are proposed to be conferred. Because let us remember that benefits and liabilities are codependent.... I think it perfectly relevant....
Mr. Smallwood Yes sir, I'm not at all for a moment...
Mr. Bailey This arose out of you being asked point-blank to state who was going to pay this bonus, if I remember rightly. And you referred to the rich. I just tried to tell the people in my estimation, now I may be wrong....
Mr. Chairman You are making a point of course.... You must not assume that interjection is going to be permitted in its most literal sense under the thin guise of point of order. You can only interrupt the Speaker if you rise to either a point of privilege or a point of order and you have to state which it is, and I'll have to rule on it before I can allow any further interruption.
Mr. Smallwood Mr. Chairman, bearing on your November 1947 NATIONAL CONVENTION 817 ruling, I'm not for one moment questioning the right of the Convention to raise the question of taxation as and when it likes all through this debate on these terms. But if that is to be done, where will we be when we arrive at the point in our debate where taxation is to be discussed? There is a point in this document where taxation will be gone into. But if all we're going to hear when family allowances, old age pensions, pensions for the blind, unemployment insurance, sick mariners' benefits for merchant seamen and fishermen, and every point that's raised here, is taxation, while it may be perfectly legal and perfectly parliamentary, I do suggest it is going to cover a vast range of ground and take a tremendous amount of time.
Mr. Chairman I accept that position Mr. Smallwood, butI'll remind you that I'm absolutely helpless on the matter. If in connection with this proposed arrangement, the question of taxation is raised, that is touching the ability of persons to pay, then obviously I think out of necessity I must rule that the remarks are in order....
Mr. Smallwood I would suggest, Mr. Chairman, to the gentlemen of the Convention it might help us to get along a bit quicker if they reserve discussion of taxation till the time when the matter comes up. They will not find me slow or unwilling to discuss taxation in Canada, and the Canadian taxation that would apply to Newfoundland and I don't think they will find me entirely ignorant of the subject. I think on the contrary they may discover that I've given the matter some study. I didn't spend three months in Ottawa exactly doing nothing. So with your permission sir....
Mr. Chairman I quite agree that a considerable time may be saved if members could note the various questions that they want to make on various items, then ask them when we've got through this document. Instead of making a series of speeches, perhaps they could cover all the points they had in mind by perhaps one speech or two speeches as the case may be. Otherwise it may very well be, as I previously said, that instead of completing the business of this Convention and getting through by Christmas, we may be here till Judgement morning.
Mr. Smallwood Now sir, on section 4, clause 4 of the document, sub-section 2: old age pensions and pensions for the blind.
Mr. Butt Excuse me one second. It's not my intention to interrupt you Mr. Smallwood, but I think that it might be relevant to point out that $250 million annually spent on baby bonuses or family allowances, represents a 60% increase over the normal expenditure of the Government of Canada in 1939. I don't think that's a question of taxation, but it might be relevant to point that out. It represents for Canada in ordinary expenditure on government account an increase of 60%.
Mr. Vardy Mr. Chairman, on Friday Mr. Smallwood stated that the population of Canada is around 12,500,000. They get $250 million in baby bonuses, we'll call them for the time being, that works out around $20 per head. So on the same basis I presume that Newfoundland would have about the same proportion of children under 16 years of age as they would have in Canada. It's not a matter of being critical at all, it's just to keep the record straight because our people were listening in, and I've been asked already on the street how we arrived at these figures. We say our population is around 320,000, approximately. Therefore we would get around $6,400,000. Now the chairman of the Ottawa committee reported it to be in the vicinity of $8,200,000 and in another statement he said around $750,000 a month, which would work out around $9 million, which is one-third over the approximate amount I take it we would get, admitting that we have 117,000 children.... Of course, I don't know what the Chairman feels about that, I find it difficult to see how we can evade talking forms of government when we're debating a form of government in itself. I'm wondering what position our Chairman is going to be in when we touch a rather delicate point.
Mr. Chairman I'd like to put you straight on that question now. The procedure under which this report was to be debated was not a matter for the Chairman at all. It was a question of procedure which was decided by the Convention itself when the motion to resolve the Convention into a committee of the whole was adopted. As far as I'm concerned the manner in which any document coming before the Chair is to be discussed, or the procedure to be employed in the discussion of any document, is one for the Convention. I would like to point out, Mr. Vardy, I quite realise 818 NATIONAL CONVENTION November 1947 the difficulties, but at the same time I would ask members to remember that we're discussing the financial terms, and I would like members to confine themselves, insofar as practically possible, to confine themselves to the financial aspects rather than the purely political aspects to which we'll come in due course after and when we terminate the present debate.
Mr. Vardy That is exactly the view I've taken Mr. Chairman, and so far as we've gone I believe that most of the members have agreed fairly well in that respect. But I was a bit puzzled at the beginning, wondering if we wouldn't in a very short time reach a deadlock. But I feel that I would appeal to Mr. Smallwood — rather than get sore at him — to try to cut short the various explanations. I have no wish in the world to cut short this debate. I voted, as you all know, to send a delegation to Canada on each occasion the resolution came up. I have no regrets along these lines except that there were certain disappointments in the length of time it took. But we're into this thing now and I believe we should let the public know the facts to the best of our ability, so that eventually they will be able to arrive at the proper conclusions and digest the various bits of information as we hand it out to them. I feel that ...everyone of us should go all out to make a very special effort to wind up the work of this Convention before the end of the year. I really think we have wasted some time. So I think we should be very conscious over this fact and when we rise to our feet, try to be as constructive as possible and let the people know the truth as we see it. In that way only will we be able to do justice to the districts we represent and the country as a whole. Now I believe we're moving on to old age pensions.
Mr. Chairman To be fair to you, Mr. Vardy, I must identify myself unqualifiedly with everything that you said.
Mr. Vardy Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Fogwill I'm satisfied, sir, to take up the question of taxation when we come to it, that's if we do. But while Captain Bailey did raise the question of general sales tax, I was curious to know whether the sales tax was applied to or imposed on fishery salt. I'd like to have an answer to that. Where do we find the exemption in these books?
Mr. Smallwood If it's not in the book, I'll produce documentary evidence officially to that effect.
Mr. Fogwill I cannot find it in the book.
Mr. Smallwood I understand that. Now, Mr. Chairman...
Mr. Chairman Is there any other...
Mr. Smallwood Mr. Vardy seemed a little doubtful about the actual amount of money that would be paid out in Newfoundland, to children under 16, in family allowances each year. We had in 1945, 117,000 children under sixteen. That is official from the census of 1945. Because our population is increasing at the rate of 1.1% per year, that would make today a little over 1 17,000 children under the age of 16. The average taken based on actual experience is $6 a child each month. The amount varies according to the child's age. It's $5 a month up to the age of six; $6 over the age of six and under ten; $7 over ten and under 13; $8 over 13 and under 16. When I say under 16, I mean, up to the last day before the sixteenth birthday is counted as 15 years of age. Now, there are little reductions. When you pass the fourth child in a family, that child gets a dollar less per month and the fifth child I think the same. The sixth child is cut by $2. But the average is taken universally in all government records, based on their experience, at being $6 a month. Well, 117,000 children in Newfoundland in 1945 at $6 is $702,000 a month or $8,424,000 a year. And the actual amount will increase accordingly, as our population is increasing at the rate of 1.1%. So it's a fair anticipation that in three or four years, instead of 117,000 children under 16, it'll be well over 120,000; in another three, four or five years it'll be up around 125,000; and as that number grows, so will the amount of money paid out. That's just in reply to Mr. Vardy. I am not going, at this time, to reply to his point about where the money comes from to pay the family allowances. We all know it comes from the Government of Canada.
Mr. Chairman In fairness to Mr. Vardy and other members, it is your intention, is it, to welcome at least these other questions?
Mr. Smallwood Of course, sir, of course. We can't discuss this business without knowing exactly what the taxation system is in Canada, because if we were to become a province, that system of taxation would be our system of taxation. Now I pass on to section 2 of clause 4.
Mr. Chairman Are there any further comments on section 4, sub-section 1 before we move on to the next sub-section? In that case Mr. Smallwood, if you'll be good enough to go into sub-section 2.
Mr. Smallwood Sub-section 2 of clause 4: "Old age pensions and pensions for the blind as provided by the Old Age Pensions Act, 1927 and amendments subject to agreement with the government of the province." Sir, here is an official memorandum prepared for the delegation by the Government of Canada:
Old age pensions and pensions for blind persons are non-contributary pensions subject to a means test and paid under a Dominion-provincial plan. The provinces are responsible for the administration, and the Dominion pays 75% of the cost of the pensions paid in accordance with the terms of the agreements made under the authority of the Dominion's Old Age Pensions Act. Before entering into an agreement with the Dominion, the province must have legislation authorising the provincial government to pay pensions and to make an agreement with the Dominion for reimbursement by the Dominion of its share of the cost of pensions. Before an agreement can come into force the plan for the administration of pensions proposed to be adopted by the province must be approved by the Governor in Council. (That is of course the governor in council of the Government of Canada.) An agreement continues in force so long as the provincial statute remains in operation, or until after the expiration of ten years from the date the Dominion notifies the province of its intention to terminate the agreement. Under the provisions of the Dominion Act, the province is free to fix in its agreement both the maximum pension payable and the maximum income allowed within the limits specified in the act. The Dominion's contribution, however, can not exceed 75% of $30 a month in any case, and is payable only where the pensioners fulfill the requirements set forth in the Dominion Act and the regulations made there under.
The principal requirements are age, residence and income. For an old age pensioner, the age at which pension may be granted is 70 years and for a blind pensioner 21 years. The act requires that an applicant must have resided in Canada for the 20 years immediately preceding the date of the proposed commencement of the pension. Both the act and the regulations, however, make special provision for pensioners who have been absent during the 20 year period. The maximum income, including the pension allowed in the case of an unmarried old age pensioner, is $600 a year; and in the case of a married old age pensioner, $1,080 a year. Higher amounts are allowed for blind pensioners and for married old age pensioners with spouses who are blind. The transfer of property by an applicant or his spouse may delay the granting of a pension. The provincial pension authority must decide whether or not an assignment or transfer of property was made for the purpose of qualifying the applicant for pension, or for a higher pension then he would otherwise receive. After pension is granted, a provincial pension authority may, if authorised by provincial legislation, encumber any real property owned by the pensioner. No province requires an applicant to turn over his property to the provincial government either before or after granting pension. In its agreement with the Dominion, a province agrees to deal with an application in manner prescribed by regulation, and to grant pension to any person residing in the province if satisfied that he is eligible to receive pension. Each province also agrees to pay the pension of any pensioner who transfers his permanent residence to such province, and to reimburse any other province to the extent of 25% of $30 monthly or the amount of pension granted, whichever is the lesser, where the pensioner during the last 1,095 days that he was present in Canada prior to reaching pensionable age, or prior to making application whichever is the later, was present in such province for a greater number of days than in any other province. The details of administration are contained in the Dominion Old Age Pension Regulations. The act authorises the Governor in Council to make the regulation setting up an inter- provincial board to interpret and recommend alterations in the Dominion Act and in the 820 NATIONAL CONVENTION November 1947 Dominion regulations. While the old age pensions regulations are regulations made by the Governor in Council under the authority of the Dominion Act, they are made on the recommendation of the Dominion and provincial members of the inter-provincial board and can become operative in a province only with the approval of the Lieutenant-governor in Council of the province. The nine provinces have made agreements providing for a maximum pension of $360 a year, with the maximum allowable income specified in the Dominion Act.
Now, I don't know to what extent that memorandum will be intelligible to the members without having it before them to read, and possibly the Secretary of the Convention might be prepared to mimeograph it and lay it on the desk of each member. But in brief the story is this:[1] it is not the Government of Canada which pays the old age pension to the people of Canada. It is the provinces — each one of the nine provinces pays the pension, and it pays it according to its own provincial law.... The province can pay $1,000 a month if it likes, but if the provincial pensions authority enters into an agreement with the federal government, the federal government says, "We will hand over to you 75% every month of $30 ($22.50) a month." But if the federal government hands over $22.50 to be paid out in old age pension, the provincial government must put $7.50 with it, making it up to $30 per month for people who have reached the age of 70 years. It is not paid to everyone as the family allowance is. There is a means test. You can get $30 a month old age pension if you need it. You can get it and still have a private income of your own from any source whatever of $240 a year, $600 altogether.... If you earn over that much, here is what happens. If you get $250 a year, $10 will be taken off the pension. If I should have a private income of $300 a year, then my old age pension is not $360 a year, it is cut down to $310. If I have a wife, the same thing applies. If she is 70 she gets $30 in just the same way. That is $60 a month from old age pensions between the two. The only difference is that when the man and wife get a pension of $720 a year, they are not allowed more than $1,080 total income.... Take a man living in an outport; owns his own home; not earning any money at all; maybe he is sick; maybe he cannot work; maybe he cannot get a job. He does not get $240 a year; maybe he does not get 240 cents. But he has a house; if he did not have a house, he would have to pay rent. So the provincial pensions authority has the right to say this, ... "If you did not own that house you would have to pay rent, that is worth $96 a year income because you own and occupy that house." If it is worth $10 a month, that is $120 a year. He is still under the $240 — $20 a month is counted as income. How many homes in the outports that are worth up to $20 a month rent and occupied by persons of 70 and over, I do not know.... If they are, that is $240 a year income. If the rental value be $260, then that is $20 taken off the old age pension. It is not taken off his wife's pension — it is taken off the person who owns the house. One other point: the pension is paid starting at the age of 70 only to those who need it; 75% comes from the Government of Canada and 25% from the provincial government. $750,000 a year would be our share of the old age pensions. We now pay $260 a year for old age pensions, because we do not pay until a man is 75 and then only $30 a quarter for two — man and wife — $10 a month, that is what we pay....
But this must be made very clear. If a person reaches the age of 70 and gets the old age pension, until he dies his property is his own. No one else owns it but himself. When he dies it is his widow's; nobody gets it but her. When she dies, if no one has contributed to their support, the government steps in, and out of the estate, if it is worth $2,000 or more, the government takes back the pension it paid. The idea is this: the old age pension is only paid to those who need it. It was not got up for rich men, wealthy men, men fairly well off, or for people who have sons and daughters who can help them out. It was gotten up for people who need the help. There is a means test....
Mr. Hillier I would like to ask Mr. Smallwood a question. We all want to be fully informed on these matters and we want to be sure things are as they are. In the case of old age pensions, will any claim be made by pension authorities on property of a pensioner after his death? Or will a son, to whom said property may be willed, be November 1947 NATIONAL CONVENTION 821 liable for payment of the amount of pensions paid his father during a period of say from one to ten years? People ask me questions ... and I ask questions in return.... We all hope to get through this business before the New Year. It seems to me it is not necessary to make any long comments or to prolong the issue or to make interruptions. We are here to find facts. Let us find them to the best of our ability....
Mr. Smallwood One point I did not mention was the blind. If a blind person of 21 years or older, who has satisfied the same residence qualifications and who is not an Indian.... "To be eligible for such a pension a blind pensioner must be so blind as to be unable to perform any work for which eyesight is essential...."
[Short recess]
Mr. Vardy Mr. Chairman, we are dealing now with aged people, up around 70 years of age, and I think that the one thing above all others we should not do is, we should not try to kid the children. Let's try to give them a fair, true angle as it stands. Now I believe the facts are, and I am sure Mr. Smallwood will correct me if I go wrong, that we have around 12,000 persons in Newfoundland around 70 years of age. I take it that not more than 5% of these would be living in rented homes. The first qualification on the application, or the means test, that is given to these men, would be that they could not at any time during the period when they would be receiving old age pensions assign or transfer their property to their heirs or successors, in order to evade having the state come in eventually and take their property for the amount of pension they have received. Now in my time I have filled out, without exaggeration, anwhere from 40 to 50 old age pension forms for people, and while Mr. Smallwood was explaining this clause my thoughts were going back to thees people. I can think of them at this moment almost by name, in the past 30 years or around there, and I have been at various time in various communities, and I can say without fear of contradiction that I have never signed an old age pension form without having it go through. Now if any of these men had to submit to the means test, as I understand it ... think of one individual who would today be receiving his old age pension. For the simple fact is that if they knew, or his sons, married or single knew, that when poor old dad reaches 72 or 75 and passes on to his great reward the state steps in and takes the property to pay for the old age pension he received, to begin with they would not allow him to accept his old age pension. If these old age pensioners knew that that was going to happen they would not apply for that old age pension — in a great many cases, there are isolated cases of course.
Mr. Smallwood Up to $2,000 or more. The estate must be valued at around $2,000 or more.
Mr. Vardy Of course it depends also on the value that would be put on the property in the outports. For instance a humble little home of two stories 20 x30 and so on, in the city of St. John's would be valued at around $3-4,000 probably, whereas the same home in the outports would be valued at $3-400....A $2,000 home in an outport in Newfoundland, on a forced sale, has to be quite a good property. And I take it also that the auditors would give the applicant for the old age pension the benefit of the doubt. No one would be incline to over-estimate the value of any property, but...
Mr. Smallwood Could I interrupt? The assessing of the value of the property is done by the local, the Newfoundland pensions authority. It is they who fix the value of the property, not the Government of Canada, but the Government of Newfoundland, and they base it on the general value of the property in and around the same locality.
Mr. Chairman Maybe, Mr. Vardy, you could clear up something for me. Maybe while you are on the subject you might care to address Mr. Smallwood on whether or not I am correct in assuming that the assessment does not take place unless and until the property is taken over.
Mr. Vardy ... I honestly feel that there would be a very limited number under these conditions in Newfoundland qualified for, or even applying for the old age pension. The feeling exists in Newfoundland, rightly or wrongly, among the old, aged fishermen, that when they reach the age of 75 years, even though they have a few dollars in the sock as it is often referred to, and they have a humble property around them, the boys take over the fishing gear and go about their way to make their living, that they should get the old age pension, and I believe that if the means test was very severe, that there would be a number at this very moment eliminated from the list. I would not 822 NATIONAL CONVENTION November 1947 agree with it. Personally I feel that we cannot do too much for these people who toiled and supported a family, all of them raised large families, and contributed so much towards the general revenue of this country, that we should go on, as far as possible, increasing the amounts paid the old age pensioners. We know we have not reached the stage yet where we have done anything like full justice to these people. But they are, Mr. Smallwood, they are as I see it very stringent qualifications. You can get the pension, yes sure, providing your property is not valued at over $2,000, but...
Mr. Smallwood No, no. You can get the pension if your income each year is not over $600. Your yearly income must be $600 before you are barred from getting the old age pension. If it is $500 a year then you get $100 pension. If your income is $400 a year then you get $200 pension a year. You have got to have an income of $600 a year all your own before you are barred from the old age pension.
Mr. Chairman Now then, the other point Mr. Vardy wants to know is whether or not the question of your property enters into it at all. Is there any question of assessment where the property occupied by the pensioner does not exceed $2,000?
Mr. Smallwood No sir, it does not matter what the property of a man is, once he reaches the age of 70, providing his income from that property does not go over $600 a year. It does not matter if it is worth $10,000.
Mr. Hickman Could Mr. Smallwood tell us what part of the act that $2,000 refers to?
Mr. Smallwood I am glad Mr. Hickman raised that. If Mr. Vardy does not mind there, the position is this: there is an Old Age Pensions Act. Here it is. There was an amendment passed to it by the Parliament while we were in Ottawa. Here is is, July 1947, and then here are the statutory orders and regulations made under the Old Age Pensions Act, and it is the regulations that govern the conditions under which the whole thing is carried out. Now these regulations are made by the interprovincial Old Age Pensions Authority. Every province has its own old age pensions authority, say three men appointed to administer old age pensions. Every province has that. Now on top of all of them there is an interprovincial Old Age Pension Authority, made up of provincial authorities. They meet once or twice a year, and every province is represented in it. They meet once or twice a year to decide all questions under the act, but the actual carrying out of it is done in the province itself by the provincial authority, and the figure that has been fixed throughout the entire Dominion by the interprovincial authority, made up of all the nine provinces (ten if we were in) is $2,000 per house. Not house only, but house, land, boats and any property a man has, must be worth $2,000 or more, before that part of it comes in at all.
Mr. Chairman Mr. Hickman's question is when and how was that arbitrary figure of $2,000 arrived at.
Mr. Smallwood Well, sir, I have the act in my pocket.
Mr. Hickman It is not in the act.
Mr. Smallwood No; the act cannot cover everything, so they set up regulations under the act, like all acts of Parliament the very act itself gives the authority, who are going to administer the act, power to make regulations under the act. These regulations must not be different from the act itself. Well, to make these regulations there is this interprovincial authority, made up of all the old age pensions authorities of all the provinces. They make the regulations and they meet once or twice a year for that purpose, and all the provinces are represented in it. Here's the actual memo....
Mr. Hickman Is that binding on every province?
Mr. Smallwood Yes, because all the provinces are represented in the Interprovincial Pensions Authority. If Newfoundland were a province it would be represented in it too, and it is binding on all provinces.
Mr. Vardy I take it, Mr. Smallwood, that the federal government subscribes 75%, and the provincial government 25%?
Mr. Smallwood Yes. If you will allow me - the provincial government can subscribe as much as it likes. For instance in the province of Ontario today the old age pension is $40 a month, but the federal government only contributes $22.50 a month, and the rest is paid by the province. The province could make it $50 a month, but the federal government only gives $22.50. You see? Is that clear?
Mr. Vardy Let's get down to realities now, Mr. November 1947 NATIONAL CONVENTION 823 Smallwood, because I am not anxious at all to paint a gloomy or pessimistic picture, but the position is really this: that in order to qualify the first thing you have to do is literally rent your own home from yourself. You place a value on it of say $20 a month, say $240 a year. That is considered as part of your yearly income. You stated that yourself. Let's accept that as a fact. Now then the pension is valued next — $30 a month, $360 a year—so that gives us the $600. In other words a pensioner can't really have any income outside the home he is living in, and the pension he hopes to receive. That is really the position isn't it? If he has any other income he can't qualify for a pension on that income or be assisted in some way or another. Is there such a thing as a part pension, say $100 a year, or $200 a year?
Mr. Smallwood Yes, of course. If an old age pensioner has a house in Joe Batt's Arm, and it is valued at $240 a year, that is $240 a year income he has — if it is valued at $20 a month, which is pretty high; $20 a month in most outports would be very, very high. It is nearer $5, or $6 or $8 or $10 a month. But if it is valued at $240 a year, $20 a month straight, then he can still make $100 ayear, but that cuts his pension by $100 a year, and instead of getting $360 a year then he gets $260.
Mr. Vardy In other words you may be getting $240 a year from the government towards your pension, and I may be getting $360. Is that it?
Mr. Smallwood Yes, that's right.
Mr. Vardy I never heard it explained that way. I did not know that such a scheme existed. I thought you had to qualify or disqualify for your pension. Let us assume that is the position. There is one undeniable fact, isn't there Mr. Smallwood, in fairness to these people that we owe the whole truth to, it is a fact that they must hold their property while they are drawing the old age pension from the state, and in the end finally the state would take the position that if the sons or daughters refused to assist in any way towards their support, that it would be the state's right, if they accepted the old age pension under these conditions, to step in and take over sufficient of the property to repay the state for the amount they had paid out in old age pension? I take it that's the true position isn't it? Give the people the facts, that's my idea.
Mr. Smallwood That's right. I thought I had said that. Now bearing on that, as I said before the old age pension is only given to people who need it. It is not meant for people who don't need it. But if a person is qualified for the old age pension by age, in other words he is 70 years of age, then they come to figure the income of that person, mother's allowances will not be included as income. You can get mother's allowance of course, but you would be pretty old at 70 to get mother's allowance, but there may be cases of it. Family Allowances again, at 70 if you were a woman you would be pretty old at 70 to have children under 16, but that is not counted as income, cost of living allowances are not counted as income.... If a man gets a military allotment from a son or daughter in active service in time of war that is not counted as income. Direct relief ... is not counted as income. Casual gifts of small value all not counted as income....
Now further, when for the purpose of assessing the value of a man's house, what the yearly value would be in that locality the Pension Auditor says this house in Joe Batt's Arm is worth $9 a month (the same house in St. John's might be worth a lot more), but it's taken $3 a month to keep it up. It gets a coat of paint every four years, or a coat of tar every year or second year. Whatever the average cost of maintaining the house is, that's taken off from the annual rental value. I don't know if there is any other point here. This is the act itself that I am quoting from....
If I may, on this old age pension, I don't want to delay the matter, I am finished now when I make this observation. Here Mr. Starkes could be of a great deal of help if he would be so kind. The question is: "What is the value of the average home in the outports?" Now I know there are places in Newfoundland besides the outports, St. John's is not an outport, but thinking for a minute of the outports. What is the average home worth? Mr. Vardy puts it at $5-800, or $1,200-1,500. He did not get up as far as $2,000. In Admiral's Cove in Mr. Starkes's district there are four persons of 70 and over. No, I have got the wrong district, I mean Mr. Goodridge's district. In Aquaforte, there are four persons. In Bay Bulls 46, in Bear Cove one, Big Pond two, Biscay Bay five, Brigus South one, Calvert five, Cape Broyle 15, Cape Pine 27, Cape Race one, Cappahayden none, Collier's Cove six, Stanleys Point three, Drook 824 NATIONAL CONVENTION November 1947 Point one, Ferryland l6, Goulds 14, Island Cove one, Kingman's Cove 13, La Manche one, Long Beach one, Mobile nine, Northside two, Portugal Cove nine, River Head four, St. Michaels four, St. Shotts five, etc. That's the old district of Ferryland-St. Mary's as it was in the last general election. That is the way they take it in the census. The census district is the same as the House of Assembly district. In those groups where the average house occupied by these people of 70 and over if they died, would these properties run, or would many of them run, up to $2,000 or over?
Mr. Goodridge No, I should not think much more than $4-500.
Mr. Smallwood I think we may take it that both Mr. Vardy and Mr. Goodridge are right, and all of us with our knowledge of Newfoundland, I think that in the average outport it is a rare home that will be worth $2,000 at the death of the pensioner.
Mr. Vardy Mr. Chairman, I feel I should clarify that a little, and qualify my statement there to some extent, in fairness to everyone. I did not say that the average home in the outports would not be worth more than $400.
Mr. Chairman No, I did not understand you to say that. What I understood you to say was that a house that might fetch $3,000 in St. John's would be worth $3-400 in an outport.
Mr. Vardy To give the true position, it is exactly this: I have never yet seen an application for old age pension where they valued their property at more than $2,000. Now the question arises of course, and the question we should ask ourselves in fairness to these people is this: Will the pension authorities under a provincial government place a different value on an applicant's property in the outports or in St. John's from the value placed by the applicant himself? You see we must look at both sides of it. Here is the applicant. Here is the authority. I have many times seen application forms for various kinds of assistance questioned on the grounds that the means test may be perhaps coloured a little. An old age pensioner goes to a clergyman and gets his form filled out and then he goes to a J P and two or three others and gets them to sign it, and someone has to pull a few strings or do a little scratching down in the department in the course of the next six months to get his name on the list. Now I honestly feel that while on a forced sale the average old age pensioner in the outports would not value his property at more than $500 to $1,500, at the same time I fear that under any new set-up the amounts are going to be increased, and the burden would be perhaps increased to such a position that they would have to move cautiously in accepting the various applications, the means test would be more severe. We must be fair to these people and tell them the whole truth, and in doing that we have to show both sides of the picture. The average outport home, as we know the property around them is worth such more than the amount I have stated for the average person who would be applying for an old age pension and submitting to a means test. His property would not be worth more than around $500 to $1,500. That is the real true picture. Let's give the people the facts so that they will understand it right. There's two sides to it. The auditors may value that property at $2,000 or $2,500, and these people would be up against a stone wall in getting the old age pensions. That is the position.
Mr. Northcott Does Mr. Smallwood include in the property, the land, the wharves, stages, outhouses, etc.?
Mr. Smallwood Yes, it is property.
Mr. Crosbie Yes, motor boat and all.
Mr. Chairman No, a motor boat does not mean real property. Real property includes things upon land and things erected upon land, or that may be attached to the farming part of it.
Mr. Northcott The majority of people applying for an old age pension, especially the fishermen, their property is well worth more than $2,000 including their nets, traps, boats, etc.
Mr. Chairman Nets, traps, boats, etc., would not really come in under that.
Mr. Hickman Does the act say "property" or "real property"?
Mr. Chairman Mr. Smallwood is using the term "real property". I think your point is well taken because Mr. Smallwood has been using the term "real property", and I find that the term employed is "estate", in which event it would mean whatever he was possessed of.
Mr. Bailey I have taken up this subject very thoroughly in the rural parts of Nova Scotia, and in the province of New Brunswick, and the people tell me that the Crown — now I don't know who the "Crown" is, I presume that is the government, but whether it is the government of November 1947 NATIONAL CONVENTION 825 the province, or whether it is the federal government of Canada, I don't know — has a lien on all old age pensioners' property. With regard to property being valued at $2,000, a great bulk of the property in my locality could not be replaced at less than $5,000. Whatever value the government would put on it, I do not know. Take this lien. You have to remember we are in the Dominion of Newfoundland, not the Dominion of Canada. Take young boys, six or eight years old; they start carrying rocks off the ground and they work on the land right up to the time they are young men. Sometimes they are on it 40 years before the old man passes out; the property belongs to them just as much as it does to their father. When father married he took over virgin territory; as the sons grew up they helped clear the land, now my sons are on it. I know of some people today who are getting old age pensions and whose sons are absolutely helpless to assist them. One is in hospital and there is no way for that son to help his father out. I have here some findings by legal authorities and in this weekly, The Prairie Farmer, of 1 1/2 million readers, it says that in every question asked those legal authorities, the answer was, "No, you have no right to make over your property on the grounds that the government has a lien on your property."
Mr. Chairman What are you reading from?
Mr. Bailey The Prairie Farmer, a weekly published in Canada.
Mr. Chairman The opinion of that article is simply the author's conception of what the law is; from a lawyer's point of view there is no authority for anything except a previously decided case.
Mr. Bailey We are told we get increased benefits; we cannot hope to get increased benefits without increased responsibilities. One goes hand in hand with the other. I for one would not like us to go into confederation and for someone to turn around and say to me afterwards, "You did not explain this." I want the people to know. All I know is the means test is there....
Mr. Smallwood They cannot take it if it is worth $2,000. If the widow lives, she gets it. If the widow dies, someone in the family or a stranger who has contributed to the support of that person gets it. But in any case, the state can only get back what it gave where the estate is worth over $2,000 net. Then it can only get it back if no one has helped out the old couple. About this lien. There is just a little in what Mr. Bailey says. It's the first time Mr. Bailey and I partially agreed in public since the Convention began. Here is the answer. "No province requires an applicant [for old age pensions] to turn over his property to the provincial government either before or after granting a pension. After a pension is granted a provincial pensions authority may, if authorised by provincial legislation, encumber any real property owned by the pensioner." That means if a province has its own provincial law requiring its pension authority to encumber any real property of the old age pensioner, then that authority can do so. There may be provinces where there is such a provincial law, that is their business. If we became a province, and if the legislature passed a law giving authority to the pensions authority to encumber and take a lien, then it can do so, but there has to be a Newfoundland law to authorise them to do it.... There is no such Newfoundland law now. We are not compelled to pass any such law. If we have a legislature they will be our elected representatives. I doubt very much if an elected House of Assembly in Newfoundland would pass a law to give power to the old age pension authority to encumber the property....
Mr. Chairman Your point is, the lien to which Captain Bailey refers arises under legislation passed by the provincial government, which makes it a purely statutory lien?
Mr. Smallwood Purely provincial.
Mr. Hickman Mr. Smallwood's explanation may point out that the government cannot take the lien. Mr. Bailey is correct, for the simple reason, as I understand the act, you cannot transfer the property while or after you are receiving the pension, can you?
Mr. Smallwood That is right.
Mr. Hickman Read section 3, page 6 of the Pensions Act.... He cannot transfer his property, therefore he must retain it in his own name. The government authority has the first lien. In effect they take back what they gave him. Going on further, you said anybody, whether related or not, who supported the old age pensioner would then be entitled to receive the property.
Mr.Smallwood That is roughly the case, but not exactly.
Mr. Hickman You will find that anybody who has contributed to the support of the pensioner by 826 NATIONAL CONVENTION November 1947 a payment of money or otherwise, must have done so for a period. I think, of three years during which the pension was paid and that contribution must have been a reasonable one within his income.... I do not think you went far enough in explaining it.
Mr. Smallwood Page 9 of the regulations, section 20.... Suppose I am 64 1/2 years old. I know at the age of 70 I am going to get the old age pension of $30 per month; I have my wife too. I am allowed $240 a year private income. I know that they may come and assess my house as being worth $10 a month or $120 a year. Then I would be allowed to earn only $120 a year. So I transfer my house over to my son within five years. or say four years and nine months before I am 70, so that when I apply for the old age pension at 70 I have no income; I do not own the house. To prevent that from happening, if it is worth $500 or more, the government can say — you transferred your house within the last five years. Was that done for the purpose of qualifying for the pension, so that you could meet the means test? In that case they can remedy it. Remember always the old age pension is only for those who need it. They have a scheme coming up in the next two or three years for universal old age pensions for everyone alive in Canada at the age of 65. That is a horse of a different colour.... That is a contributory scheme.
Mr. Hickman You interrupted me to give an answer on the three years' support. You went off on something else. Now that you have got on it, it means that if the old age pensioner wishes to apply for and obtain a pension at the age of 70, he then has to make over his property to his children before he is 65 and has to go on for six years before he receives a pension, with no property in his own name. He would have to make over his property six years before he became pensionable, otherwise he cannot make a transfer under that section of the act?
Mr. Smallwood Yes.
Mr. Bailey Mr. Smallwood spoke about the different provinces. I do not know how many of them have the same act; I have seen nothing to the contrary in the greater bulk of them. I imagine, if we went into confederation with Canada, our laws governing this province have to be along the same lines of the other nine provinces. Pressure would be brought to bear on us if we are getting increased benefits. I cannot see how Mr. Smallwood can justify it — if anyone comes into this House they will have to fall in line with the general charters of the provinces. This is the sore spot in this. Mr. Hickman has put his finger on it. No odds how much we care for our sons and want to help them, I do not think we want to transfer our property until we have finished with it. There are cases where people who transferred their property over, even to their own sons, have had a pretty tough time afterwards. The whole thing does not look good to me. I do not know which way to take it. We have worked hard and done the best we can, and if the country gives us a pension, it should be given with no strings to it....
Mr. Smallwood It is entirely wrong to assume as Mr. Bailey has done that the laws the Province of Newfoundland may pass are the laws other provinces pass. The laws the provinces pass will depend on the kind of legislature and House of Assembly each has. In British Columbia there is a coalition, a House of Assembly made up of Liberals and Tories; there is the Alberta government made up of the Social Credit party; in Saskatchewan they have a CCF legislature; Manitoba has a Liberal legislature; Ontario is Conservative or Tory; the Province of Quebec is nationalistic — Union Nationale; Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and New Brunswick have Liberal legislatures. The kind of laws that the legislature for each province will pass, and the kind of laws the Newfoundland House of Assembly will pass, will depend on the kind of government it has.... Let any other province have any other law it likes, that has nothing to do with us. We make our own laws. Take for instance education, you have not the same laws in all the provinces. Education is an entirely provincial matter; so it is in a hundred other things. Where the province rules it rules. They are not told how to rule by anyone else.
Mr. Bailey I am not interested in the kinds of government in Canada; my point is, whoever is in the government in this country will have to find the money to run it. Those nine provinces have had nearly 100 years of confederation and they ought to know something about it. We are coming into a field we have not been in before. We have to follow some precedent. Whether we are Conservatives or Union Nationale, we have to find the money to do this. I have no doubt that in November 1947 NATIONAL CONVENTION 827 the Province of Manitoba the legislature is not enamoured with the idea of taking the property from the son, but circumstances force them to do it. That is what you have to keep in mind. If it is going to be done, how is it going to be done?.... The only precedent we have to follow is the precedent of the nine provinces.
Mr. Butt Mr. Bailey's point is that no matter what form of government there is in the nine provinces, you must find the money for whatever services you have, and I agree with him. What I would like to know is this, if not after but before a debate on those acts and regulations, would it be not possible to have copies for members so that I, at least, could follow the debate intelligently?
Mr. Chairman The position is that all the documents on the application of the member for Grand Falls have been requested and we are expecting they will be forthcoming shortly. The request was made more than a week ago. We must assume they will be forthcoming before the debate is terminated. I can have another check made to find out if we can get any definite idea when the documents will be made available.
Mr. Butt You will appreciate the difficulty of trying to follow a debate on acts and regulations — it is rather unfair. You cannot take an intelligent part in the debate, unless you have read them....
Mr. Jackman I wonder if it would be possible to find out the number of homes in the Province of Nova Scotia in the past five years on which the government has this lien?
Mr. Hillier Until we receive the necessary literature to enable us to more intelligently follow the debate on this section, would it not be better to defer this part of the debate?
Mr. Chairman We are in a tentative stage at the moment, much like the second reading of a bill. I know that members are at a disadvantage when references are made to acts and regulations, by not having copies before them; but since a request for this information has been forwarded it may be just as well to go along as best we can. Every member has the right to revert back to any clause which has been dealt with.... If you were going to be deprived of the opportunity of studying these acts before we terminated, I would consider your point well taken. In view of the fact that the information will be forthcoming, if it meets with your approval, we could go along.... Mr. Crosbie We should have copies before or at the time Mr. Smallwood reads them.
Mr. Smallwood Speaking from memory, I do not know that I have any or many further documents that are not already in the Black Books. I doubt if I have.
Mr. Crosbie If they are in the Black Books, why not read from the Black Books?
Mr. Smallwood I am not allowed to, except under certain conditions.
Mr. Chairman In conformity with the rules of procedure, I had to rule that Mr. Smallwood was not to revert to the Black Books unless his interpretation of any question was challenged, and it became necessary for him to revert to the Black Books in order to get independent corroboration of the statement.
Mr. Crosbie What is the difference in reading a memorandum that he took out of the Black Books, and reading from the Black Books?
Mr. Smallwood It appears I am the only member of the National Convention who is not permitted to read the Black Books aloud, except upon conditions laid down; any other member may read it aloud except the one piloting the report through and he can do it only if somebody questions him.
Mr. Chairman That is the position.
Mr. Smallwood I have never been lacking in ingenuity. I can always find a way to read what is in the Black Books if there is any point in it.
Mr. Miller Was not that procedure suggested by Mr. Smallwood himself?
Mr. Chairman That was my understanding.... Before we went into committee of the whole the point was raised by Mr. Higgins as to what mode of procedure was going to be employed. To reduce the matter to the simplest framework, it was ultimately agreed that Mr. Smallwood would read the section, and give the interpretation of the section, but that he was not to revert to the Black Books unless any statement that he made was questioned or challenged and the answer was to be found in the Black Books. That may be unfair to Mr. Smallwood; it may be cramping his style; it may be coming between him and the people outside, but I am like Pontius Pilate, I say the responsibility is the Convention's and not mine.... Mr. Smallwood now finds himself in the comparatively unfair position where he cannot, unlike all the rest of the members, revert to the 828 NATIONAL CONVENTION November 1947 Black Books unless his interpretation is questioned. On the next point, I feel that the question raised by Mr. Crosbie is tenable and proper. Insofar as the legislation of the Canadian government or governments is to be referred to by you, Mr. Smallwood, I think some endeavour, some agreement ought to be arrived at between Captain Warren and yourself so that we can list them and know whether the requests for these documents have all gone out, making sure that members will have access to any legislation to which you have already referred or to which in the course of debate you may refer. In that way all concerned are treated alike. Insofar as it is your future intention to refer to any memoranda or any memoranda you have already referred to, then I think and I make the direction now, the memoranda should be mimeographed and copies placed in members' hands.
Mr. Smallwood The decision that I should not read from the Black Books unless my statement on the clause has been challenged, is not my agreement. I remember vividly what I said and I have had the subsequent advantage of listening to the recording and heard it. I said I would read the clause, make a brief explanation and consult the Black Books by way of explanation. When we went into committee of the whole, it was on Mr. Higgins' memory of what I said that you made your ruling....
Mr. Chairman If I unfairly left you with any misapprehensions, I will have the transcript prepared and will go over it.... We went into committee of the whole, and unless I am doing Mr. Higgins some injury, I understood him to say, and I understood members to concur with his suggestion that we were not, in his words, "to wade through these Black Books". There was a compromise position reached between Mr. Smallwood on the one hand and the views of some other members on the other hand, whereby it was agreed that the section should be read, Mr. Smallwood's interpretation would be given, and in conformity with the suggestion made by Mr. Higgins that we should not wade through the Black Books, that Mr. Smallwood would only refer to the Black Books if and when he were required, perhaps under challenge, to supply independent corroboration of what he had stated.... However fair or unfair it may be to Mr. Smallwood or to anyone else, that is the mode of procedure that the Convention decided to adopt.
[After some further debate, the Chairman agreed that Mr. Smallwood could after all refer to the Black Books, but asked him to be as brief as possible. The committee then recessed until 8 pm]
Mr. Hickman Referring to this afternoon's discussion in connection with the property of pensioners after they die. I am not quite satisfied on that $2,000 value of the estate of the deceased pensioner. I cannot find anything here in the act about it....
Mr. Smallwood ....The position is this: ....these provincial old age pensions authorities meet once or twice a year, and at this interprovincial conference they make regulations insofar as they are allowed to under the act itself. They have to be guided by the act. Within the power conferred upon them they make these regulations in such matters of practice as this point — does the government step in and recover the old age pension that was paid to the pensioner after the pensioner dies? Yes and no. That is what they have to decide. Will we get it back no matter what estate is left by the pensioner who dies, or will we fix an amount? ....So they set the amount at $2,000. When the pensioner dies, if his estate is worth less than $2,000 then the government does not bother. If he has an estate valued over $2,000, then under certain conditions the government will get back the pension that it had paid.
Mr. Chairman Do you know whether or not the $2,000 figure is universally accepted by the nine provinces?
Mr. Smallwood Yes, that is a ruling made by the provinces themselves in this interprovincial conference.... I do not know if that is the answer to Mr. Hickman's question.
Mr. Hickman I forget the wording but that is a different interpretation than I saw in it this afternoon. I was under the impression that it was only in cases where the estate or property was over $2,000 that they could take action. Why I ask is, it says here, "the pension authorities would be required to make a claim against an estate where the net value was in excess of $2,000". They would not have any choice. It does not say they cannot make one under $2,000. There is nothing here to say they would not. If it is over $2,000 it is not the choice of the pension authorities, they would be compelled to do it. They have no alter November 1947 NATIONAL CONVENTION 829 native.
Mr. Chairman Your point is where it is over $2,000, then they have no discretion in the matter at all. Where it is under $2,000, if we had a provincial legislature, it would depend upon what comparable legislation had been in the past?
Mr. Hickman I understood the pension authorities had the choice. From reading this, I would say they would be compelled to make a claim against the estate where the estate is in excess of $2,000 and also in the case of less than $2,000 they could make a claim to recover the pension if they so desired. Their optional right is there.
Mr. Chairman I do not want to get into the intricacies of constitutional law, but I want to express a legal opinion. In my judgement the position taken by Mr. Hickman is perfectly justified.... Theoretically it is within the competence of the provincial legislature to deal with estates under $2,000, should that legislature be so minded. Over $2,000 it has no discretion at all.
Mr. Smallwood I was not questioning that.... However, we can easily clean up the matter in this way. I will give notice before the sitting ends of a question to ask the Government of Canada to give us a memorandum showing clearly what the practice is in connection with old age pensions, and it will be beyond all doubt. I can assure you now, pending the receipt of an official reply, that where the value of an estate left by an old age pensioner is under $2,000 nothing is taken out; over $2,000 something is taken out only after the widow who is herself a pensioner has died and only if none of his children or anyone else has contributed regularly to the support of the pensioner....
There is just one point I want to make before I pass on to unemployment insurance.... A man or woman, whose father or mother being 70 years of age, gets the old age pension, who wishes to fall in for his father's or his mother's property, has only one thing to do, that is to help to support the old people and ... contribute regularly for three years. If no person does it and the government has to do it, then the government can get the money back out of the pensioner's estate when he or she dies, if the estate is worth more than $2,000 net.
Mr. Miller Before we move on, when we were dealing with family allowances, we had a known number, 117,000 children in the country, we also had a known amount; when we move into the old age pensions, we move into a field of conjecture. Some suggested we have 12,000 people in Newfoundland over the age of 70; they assume 10,000 of that 12,000 would apply for and receive the old age pension. If that 10,000 did receive it we know it is a known figure; we would have to contribute $7.50 a month for each person and the grand total is given as $750,000. Now that is not even correct; it should be $900,000. That is a matter of only $150,000. I would refer you to Black Book Vol. 2, page 60 — there is an amount there of $510,000— that is what the province would have to pay. That is why the $7.50 is given. There is a difference of $400,000 from our method of calculation....
Mr. Smallwood Bearing on that, Mr. Miller is pointing out that the $510,000 shown is incorrect, and the amount will be corrected when we get around to it further on in the debate.
Mr. Miller It will have the effect of driving up the expenditures, and driving up the amount we will have to collect by $400,000.
Mr. Smallwood That is so. I give notice that I will on tomorrow ask His Excellency the Governor in Commission to lay on the table a statement showing clearly what the practice is in connection with old age pensions in the recovery of the pension paid to a pensioner leaving an estate at death.
Mr. Bailey We can come back to this later on?
Mr. Chairman Definitely....
Mr. Smallwood Clause 4, subsection 3: "Unemployment insurance, as provided by the Unemployment Insurance Act, l940 and amendments".... I may say that the committee of the Ottawa delegation that had to deal with unemployment insurance conferred for some long time with the members of the Unemployment Insurance Commission. I think the members of that committee were Mr. Crummey, Mr. Burry and myself....
Mr. Hollett Could Mr. Smallwood please describe what he means by a "worker" under this plan?
Mr. Smallwood A worker is a person insured under the act.
Mr. Hollett Could you tell us who they are?
Mr. Smallwood I have read out the classes not insured under this act. The others are workers under this act. Page 99, "Cost of administration 830 NATIONAL CONVENTION November 1947 of unemployment insurance is paid by the government. The amount of the Unemployment Insurance fund as of July 31, 1947 was $390,014,908.92...." Turn over the page, and I would direct your attention to July. In that month the fund received from the employer and employee, the whole lot together, $6.5 million, the government itself paid into the fund $1.25 million, making a grand total for that month received into unemployment insurance fund of $8.5 million. They have now approximately $400 million accumulated in the fund, if ever they have any large or small scale unemployment in Canada.
Mr. Hollett I am still a little bit worried. What I want to find out is if a fisherman would be a "worker" under the act?
Mr. Chairman ....Fishermen are not presently eligible for unemployment insurance. They are not "workers" for the purposes of that act...
Mr. Smallwood Not as yet.
Mr. Hollett I wanted that made quite clear.
Mr. Bailey What about mariners' rights? Is there any marine insurance?
Mr. Smallwood I do not think seamen are included as yet, but men working on fish plants will of course get unemployment insurance if they are insured.
Mr. Butt Was this section produced for you by the Government of Canada?
Mr. Smallwood Yes, this is official from the Government of Canada, furthermore, it was prepared by the Unemployment Insurance Commission's Chief Commissioner — they produced it at our request.
Mr. Miller That table ends at $30 per week. I was surprised to note that it started at $7 per week, and to note that people in Canada work for as low as $5.40 a week. Does it go beyond $30 a week? Does it take in incomes higher than that?
Mr. Smallwood I think it reads as follows: "In addition persons earning more than $2,400 on a monthly basis, or $3,120 or more on a weekly basis are not insured, but workers paid by the hour or day, at piece rates or mileage rates are covered regardless of the amount of their annual earnings."
Mr. Harrington One question only I would like to ask Mr. Smallwood in connection with unemployment insurance. He referred to a figure of $400 million. Has he any figures to show whether at the present time there are any large amounts being paid out of that in any part of Canada?
Mr. Smallwood The payments out are utterly insignificant. I do not know if I have the table or not — the benefit payments in July were $2 million. The total amount paid out 1942-47 inclusive to the end of July was $43 million out of a total received in of $400 million....
Mr. Bailey It seems obvious that there were a lot of people in the Maritimes not in on that insurance scheme according to the amount of unemployment insurance paid out.
Mr. Harrington These payments were made during war years, when there was very little unemployment either here or abroad.
Mr. Chairman As a matter of fact if you can look at the schedule, there were payments out consistently from 1942-47 both inclusive, during the war years, as you say.
Mr. Smallwood The explanation is this: Canada is a country of 12.5 million people; there are vast numbers of industries; a certain amount of ups and downs, comings and goings, men getting work and men losing work; you would naturally expect a tremendous shift of population in 12.5 million people. At the present time, the latest figures I read in the Financial Post gave the figure of unemployed in Canada as 80,000 and the Unemployment Insurance Service are seeking 85,000 workers. There are 5,000 jobs more than workers to fill them, although there were 80,000 unemployed...
Mr. Hollett I wonder if Mr. Smallwood could tell me exactly why fishermen are not included in this unemployment scheme?
Mr. Smallwood I cannot tell you exactly why they are not included in that unemployment scheme, in general I would say it is due to the nature of their employment. Many fishermen, not all, are not working for wages and so far they have not been included. They tell us it is their intention to have all workers insured under the act. While we were in Ottawa they were busy getting plans ready to bring in all loggers and longshoremen under the act. The next step will be to bring all workers under the act and have them insured.
Mr. Hollett Who told Mr. Smallwood that?
Mr. Smallwood The Chief Commissioner of the Unemployment Insurance Commission.
Mr. Hollett Have we got that? Is that official?
Mr. Chairman It is their intention to bring in all workers, including stevedores and loggers within the next few months, they say. Beyond that there is nothing official.
Mr. Hollett Is that official?
Mr. Chairman The Black Book is official from the Government of Canada.
Mr. Hollett The Black Book is not from the Government of Canada. A lot of it is from Mr. J.R. Smallwood, one of the members of the National Convention. I believe there are some statements made by that delegation who went to Canada, relative to the public buildings in this country. I believe they made an estimate or value of public buildings in this country. I just happened to run down through the list. I know there is a public building in Springdale, which cost this country $16,000, not listed there; a public building in Grand Falls not listed, a public building in Burin not listed there. So if the Black Book is official, then I want to know who is responsible for making these errors. In my opinion this is not more official than Joseph R. Smallwood. If I can point out just briefly errors in that Black Book, am I going to ask the people of this country to accept that as official? I put that before you, sir, and I say these Black Books are not official and I shall not regard them as official. I shall regard this Grey Book as official from the Government of Canada, nothing else.
Mr. Chairman My position is, these Black Books are to be employed by members, that was settled once and for all this afternoon. It appears, Mr. Hollett, the opinion I had taken on the matter was not universally shared, and it was decided by this House that these Black Books are to be referred to, and whether they are quasi-official or otherwise, it is a matter of indifference to me. If there are misstatements, it will be the right of members to draw the attention of the Chairman to them, and if you do not mind, Mr. Hollett, take your seat, please!.... My ruling is that these Black Books may be referred to. If there is anything in the Black Books that is incorrect for any reason, it is perfectly within the competence of any member to say it is, and to express his reasons.
Mr. Hollett I am sorry, I was not here this afternoon when you made that ruling.
Mr. Chairman The Convention made it.
Mr. Hollett Is it the decision of the Chair that these Black Books are to be regarded as official?
Mr. Chairman I do not know that you want to use that term. It was decided by the Convention that they should be reverted to freely by members, including Mr. Smallwood...
Mr. Hollett Majority of the Convention?
Mr. Chairman Unanimous wish, if I may.... I have concluded and I think quite correctly, that members have tacitly if not expressly consented to the free use of these books. Therefore I am not called upon to rule whether they are official or not...
Mr. Hollett You have not given any decision as to whether or not these books are to be regarded as official?
Mr. Chairman I have not.
Mr. Hollett Thank you. In this connection I would say there are glaring instances of falsifying...
Mr. Chairman Not that.
Mr. Hollett What shall I say?
Mr. Chairman Inaccuracies.
Mr. Hollett Inaccuracies. Look at these books with a certain amount of care. Mr. Smallwood will get up now and say they are official. I tell you if they are official then they lie. Therefore I am asking you to make no decision whatsoever.
Mr. Chairman I am relieved of the responsibility of making the decision. The House has taken the matter out of my hands, therefore I am not compelled to make a pronouncement....
[Short recess]
Mr. Job I was going to ask Mr. Smallwood if he would make it perfectly clear as to whether there is any prospect of including fishermen under the unemployment insurance scheme. It would seem our fishermen are practically all employers themselves, they are not employees. I can see it would be difficult to include fishermen working for themselves, and I can understand that men in a boat under wages could be included, but it would not apply even to sharemen, who we are mainly interested in here.
Mr. Smallwood I feel like Mr. Job. Fishermen, like farmers, will probably be the last, if ever, to be brought under the scheme. They are not working for annual wages, fixed amounts of pay. They are working as small businessmen on their own, and it would be extremely difficult to bring them in, except fishermen definitely working for wages at any time.... Frankly I think it would be many a day yet, if ever, when the average fisher 832 NATIONAL CONVENTION November 1947man in Newfoundland or in Canada will be brought under the unemployment insurance scheme.
Mr. Fogwill I understand this Unemployment Act is compulsory for all those eligible and the maximum benefit is limited to one year, no matter how long they pay into the fund?
Mr. Smallwood It is compulsory, on the first point, for those classes of workers designated by the Unemployment Insurance Commission who, incidentally, have the power to recommend it to cabinet, who in turn have the power to include any new class of workers without amending the act. As to the maximum period during which employees may receive benefits, frankly, I do not know. I do not know if it is limited to a year or if it is not. I will undertake to find it out.
Mr. Fogwill I think it is in one of the books, but I cannot find it at the moment. From the paragraph here, he is allowed one-fifth of his total payment — if he paid in five years he would be allowed benefits for one year, but if a person paid in for 20 years, his maximum benefits would still be confined to one year. If he was out of employment for two years, he would have to start all over again.
Mr. Smallwood Mr. Fogwill may be right or he may be wrong. I will certainly check on it and bring in the authority for the statement.
Mr. Hickman I was wondering if Mr. Smallwood had any figures or estimates of what Newfoundlanders would benefit under this scheme? If it excludes "agriculture and horticulture, fishing, hunting, and trapping, lumbering and logging, stevedoring, private domestic service, employment in hospitals and charitable institutions not carried on for gain, teachers, members of the police forces and permanent federal, provincial and municipal employees," etc. etc., how many would be left in the country who would be able to come in under this scheme?
Mr. Smallwood To begin with, loggers and longshoremen before this year is over will be under this scheme. If you take in Newfoundland all the loggers, longshoremen, mill workers, all factory workers in and out of St. John's, all miners and railroaders, office workers, labourers — you would have possibly 50,000 men brought under unemployment insurance, more brought in than left out. You would have teachers, domestic servants, civil servants, whether provincial or federal. Still you have fishermen left out, and that would account for 25,000 or 30,000 right off. Possibly it would be half and half; we are only guessing, I have not got the figures.
Mr. Fogwill Page 89, Book 1[1] reads, "The amount of benefits which may be paid to an unemployed person depends upon the number of contributions which he has made to the fund, but under no circumstances can an unbroken period of benefit exceed one year."
Mr. Smallwood That makes it clear...
Mr. Fogwill The point I want to make clear is, "One of the conditions of unemployment daily contributions for two years prior to his claim." In the case of a person who is paying into this unemployment fund for 20 years and then becomes unemployed, he would get one year's benefit. If unemployed for another year, he would have to start all over again after paying in for 20 years.
Mr. Smallwood It is a great pity that when the war broke out in Newfoundland they did not introduce unemployment insurance; they could have $5-8 million in Newfoundland today.
Mr. Hollett I would like to have the point raised by Mr. Fogwill clarified properly.
Mr. Chairman Mr. Smallwood accepts, I think, Mr. Fogwill's interpretation....
Mr. Fogwill You would not have to work for two years, you would have to work for a short period. Assuming a man uses up his year's unemployment benefits after that period, he must be employed for a further period; then he would have to start as a new member into the fund.
Mr. Smallwood I do not know whether Mr. Fogwill's interpretation is correct. I will look into the matter and get some confirmation of it.
Mr. Hollett It is not a question of Mr. Smallwood looking into the matter. We want an official statement about that. I would like to raise that issue through you as Chairman of the Convention.
Mr. Chairman I cannot do anything about it unless requested from a member of the Convention; I can then forward the request to a department of government....
Mr. Jackman I would like to ask Mr. Smallwood, is that really correct, sir, is the weekly wage in Canada $5.40 or $7.50 a week?
Mr. Smallwood I think not. That is not supposed scales of pay which are in fact paid. That is a list; if anyone gets such and such a scale, he pays such and such an amount — nowhere does it say these are rates payable in Canada. I am sure Mr. Jackman does not think those are the rates being paid.
Mr. Jackman It is quite possible that the Canadian government would not allow workers to be paid $5.40 a week; but it must be possible, or it would not be here. Would you say there is a possibility employers pay $5.40 a week?
Mr. Smallwood If on the dial of a new motor car — the speed limit is 90 miles — it does not say it goes to 120 because that is on the dial. And for the same reason they must be paid $5.40 because it is in the books. Could we go on?
Mr. Hollett I do not think Mr. Smallwood is going on until we get this properly clarified. Mr. Jackman, being a labour man, has raised this point and Mr. Smallwood wants to evade the whole issue. If somebody is earning such and such he will be taxed this or this. Where did Mr. Smallwood get these figures from? Are they figures for Canada?....
Mr. Smallwood I have no comment to make.
Mr. Chairman He has promised that the information will be sought from official quarters.
Mr. Jackman Mr. Smallwood has no comment to make — apparently he is not quite sure if they will get this amount.
Mr. Chairman He did not say that.
Mr. Jackman I say it. If the Canadian government is satisfied to allow an employer to pay out $5.40 to a human being, I would not consider that under the heading of "wages". I would consider it under the heading of "slaves". That is the slave wages that I object to.
Mr. Hollett I would like to draw your attention to the fact that these books are brought to us, and we are supposed to base our opinion as to whether or not we should like confederation on these books....
Mr. Smallwood Sub-clause (4), "Sick mariners' benefits for merchant seamen and fishermen, as provided under the Canada Shipping Act, 1934, and amendments".... If the members will turn to Volume 2, page 28,[1] they will find further information about the sick mariners' scheme.
Mr. Hollett May I ask who are the officials concerned in this particular division?
Mr. Smallwood They would be the officials in the Department of National Health and Welfare.
Mr. Hollett They would be?
Mr. Smallwood They are.
Mr. Hollett Are the conclusions of these officials to be accepted by this assembly?....
Mr. Job May I ask whether these levies apply to every ship that enters, whether foreign or otherwise?
Mr. Smallwood That applies only to Canadian ships.
Mr. Job Are you quite sure of that?
Mr. Smallwood Quite sure. It would apply to our ships and boats only if we were a province. The scheme very briefly is the skipper of any fishing boat or schooner, by paying at least $2 a year or 6 cents a ton of his registered tonnage, brings himself and his whole crew for a whole year under the scheme. He and his crew are entitled to free hospitalisation and treatment. I am sorry Mr. Higgins is not here at the moment. He was present when we were informed in Ottawa by the Department of Health.... They told us, in connection with fishermen's hospitalisation scheme, that they planned to erect in Newfoundland two or three small TB sanatoria along the coast, because quite a proportion of the sickness that would occur under the scheme would be TB, and treatment would require not an ordinary hospital but rather a sanatorium...
Mr. Hollett Was that for fishermen?
Mr. Smallwood That is for any person coming under this scheme, free hospitalisation, or an almost free scheme for mariners and fishermen.
Mr. Bailey This last section seems to be all up in the air. "The ship to which he belongs." It is customary all my lifetime, if you get a sick man on the Banks, you send the man in, in another vessel. Apparently in this case you would have to come to land yourself to get him hospitalised.
Mr. Smallwood In the case of a fishing vessel it has not left the country at all. She is in coastal waters.
Mr. Hollett I would like to draw to your attention the fact we in this country have a scheme whereby people who contact TB are properly taken care of. It not only applies to fishermen, it applies to the country as a whole. I wonder would Mr. Smallwood tell us about that. Do not tell us 834 NATIONAL CONVENTION November 1947 what they have — tell us about our fund costing $7 million. I would like Mr. Smallwood to tell the country about that.
Mr. Chairman No. If you want to address yourself on the comparable benefits, that is your right. The point is, Mr. Smallwood is endeavouring to explain those terms. Obviously he is explaining how the standpoint would be as it would apply to Newfoundland were it to come into effect. If any member cares to draw comparisons, that is his right.
Mr. Hollett May I ask Mr. Smallwood what happens to a sick mariner who comes into any port, be he a Newfoundlander, in Newfoundland? If he has broken his arm or done anything else, would Mr. Smallwood explain what happens to that man?
Mr. Chairman Can you tell us what the position is, Mr. Smallwood?
Mr. Smallwood If the skipper of the boat has paid $2, that covers the crew.
Mr. Hollett That is in Canada. I am talking about Newfoundland.
Mr. Smallwood I have no comment.
Mr. Hollett He refused to make a statement.
Mr. Chairman I must uphold him. We are not engaged in the interpretation of the situation covering Newfoundland mariners. We are at the moment engaged in the study of this Grey Book.... We are not considering the actual position of Newfoundland....
Mr. Hollett Am I not right in asking Mr. Smallwood to explain the situation as it exists in the country today?
Mr. Chairman He has said he has no comment to make.
Mr. Hollett I am prepared to let it go at that.
Mr. Jackman Mr. Smallwood spoke of the Canadians erecting sanatoria along the coast. I wonder, do they know the condition of personnel in the sanatoria, do they know the shortage of nurses in this country? I happen to know something about it, I am connected with the TB Association. We do not want to put things over the air and paint a rosy picture to persuade people. If they are going to erect sanatoria, they will also have to be responsible for the personnel because there is not sufficient personnel in Newfoundland to look after the sanatoria. That is the reason why so many people suffering from TB cannot be hospitalised. If the Canadians are going to erect sanatoria, you will have to tell them to bring their personnel with them.
[Short recess]
Mr. Chairman When recess was taken, Mr. Jackman had addressed a question to you, Mr. Smallwood, asking how it is proposed to overcome the difficulty of staffing the sanatoria...
Mr. Smallwood It is not my responsibility, as Mr. Jackman will appreciate. It will be the problem of the Canadian government, if they erect sanatoria in Newfoundland for sick mariners, to find the help and to maintain them. I would remind Mr. Jackman we will not be a province of Canada for a year yet; and it will be a year or two after that before the sanatoria are erected.
Mr. Hollett Point of order. Are we going to be a province of Canada a year hence?
Mr. Chairman I must sustain you on that point. The question as to whether or not we are at any time to be a province of Canada is one for the sovereign people of this country to determine. I do not think any predictions or prophecies are in order at this time.
Mr. Smallwood I would not dare prophesy. I think it is a fairly safe statement to make that if we become a province, we could not be a province for about a year and it will take a year or two after that to build the sanatoria.
Mr. Hollett I rise to a point of order. He just said "if we become a province it will not be for a year at least". I want him to withdraw that in relationship to a statement he made on his return trip.
Mr. Chairman I am not interested in what Mr. Smallwood said on his return trip. Kindly take your seat. Mr. Smallwood, you are not entitled to make prognostications as to what our political institutions are to be.
Mr. Miller No mention of sanatoria in the Grey Book, so we might pass on.
Mr. Harrington One point I would like to get cleared up — this sick mariners' benefit comes under public services provided by Canada. Volume 2, page 30-32.[1] The following table shows revenue and expenditure of sick mariners' dues by province for fiscal year 1946-47. Then it gives a table of revenue and expenditure and amount. I cannot reconcile that table of provincial figures with this other public service supposedly collected by the federal government.
Mr. Smallwood I do not follow you.
Mr. Chairman He wants to know what is the exact relation of the figures set forth on page 30 under the caption or heading "Sick Mariners' Dues by Province" and giving a list of provinces. This is supposed to be a public service provided by Canada. Mr. Harrington directs our attention to the fact that on page 30, immediately opposite the various provinces listed, there are various figures; he wants to know in what way these figures relate to or are tied up with the providing of public services by the Government of Canada.
Mr. Smallwood That is easily explained.... That is revenue received by the federal government in these provinces by that scheme; and expenditure made by the federal government in those provinces.
Mr. Jackman Just before recess I put a question to Mr. Smallwood regarding the personnel of sanatoria. I did that for a certain reason. I do not want Mr. Smallwood to put false hopes in the hearts of those suffering from TB, because there is a real problem we are up against regarding personnel.
Mr. Chairman To which he has already replied. He does realise it, but that will be a matter for the Canadian government to worry about.
Mr. Vardy I think Mr. Smallwood will confirm that that statement was nothing more than conjecture on his part. There may or may not be sanatoria erected. I think we must stick to this document as nearly as possible — to the written word we have before us.
Mr. Chairman I quite agree. If we concern ourselves with the contents of this document instead of wandering, it would be better.
Mr. Butt This is not my previous conception of what the sick mariners' service was intended to be. I thought the service was intended to take care of people who should become sick while, say, out on the Banks ... but not to take care of long-term illnesses such as TB. That would be open to tremendous abuse. Suppose I was unfortunate enough to believe I had some serious illness while at home. There is no earthly reason, if I could stand on my feet, why I could not get myself signed on as a cookee, and in that way get myself into a hospital free, although I could jolly well afford to pay for hospitalisation. I would like to think about this and get something more precise on the matter.
Mr. Chairman That is your right.
Mr. Butt I think it is rather late in the evening to start a new section like assistance in housing. I therefore move that the committee rise, report progress and ask leave to sit again tomorrow.
[The committee rose and reported progress. Various items on the order paper were deferred, and the Convention adjourned.]


Newfoundland. The Newfoundland National Convention, 1946-1948 Vol 1: Debates. Edited by J.K. Hiller and M.F. Harrington Montreal: Memorial University of Newfoundland by McGill-Queen's University Press, 1995).



Selection of input documents and completion of metadata: Gordon Lyall.

Notes de bas de page:

  • [1] The Gulf ferry that replaced the S.S. Caribou (sunk in 1942).
  • [2] Mr. Bailey was probably quoting from The Prairie Farmer.
  • [1] The following section was taken from the recording of the proceedings.
  • [2] Mr. Bailey then read the list of exemptions.
  • [1] An expression meaning either a day around Christmas or a day that will never come.
  • [2] In the Black Books.
  • [1] The section taken from the recording ends here.
  • [1] The Black Books.
  • [1] In the Black Books.
  • [1] In the Black Books.

Personnes participantes: