Thank you very much.
I'll come to the second question first: what kind of frustration do we see? I can cite a living example, whom, in the interests of secrecy, I would not like to name. There is a gentlemen who migrated from India. He retired as a school headmaster, which we call a principal in our country here. He emigrated to this country in 1959, and went to work on farms. He was paying all of his Revenue Canada taxes right up until 1964.
In 1964 he was hurt at work, so disability payments kicked in. He received those payments for one year. At 65 years of age, they were cut off. The retired headmaster was looking after his family and giving educational advice to the young children, the grandchildren, and the neighbourhood children. At age 65, he had not been 10 years in the country and couldn't get anything—though he had already been working here. He was hard-pressed.
I saw that gentleman with real tears in his eyes, saying, “I have given my life to mankind.” He was not talking only of Canada or India. He said, “I have been teaching students, 1,500 to 2,000 people, and I worked with my hands when I came to this country, but now I am left alone.”
These are the circumstances that are happening. I would not like to experience that.
Now, the Old Age Benefits Forum was founded in 1994. Now it's been 14 years, which is a long enough period. We have knocked on every door possible. All the parliamentarians have files and files from us after we talked with them. We presented this to the Honourable Paul Martin at the time, when he was the finance minister. He agreed with us, but nothing happened.
A Supreme Court challenge was launched. But we are a voluntary body with no finances—nothing. We didn't have the finances to go there. And I will again say, it is not whether it is legal or not. You can say it's legal, but is it just? Is it fair? That's what I am asking.
If there are 10 people sitting in the room and we have money for 9, and we tell the person left, “Gentleman, you don't deserve it”, what kind of message are we sending? Is it a message of dignity and respect for the gentlemen? We are appealing for that. That is what a country like Canada....
And that's why I brought up the Komagata Maru issue. Let's not apologize after 94 years. This is an issue where I can say, with all due respect, that if parliamentarians don't do anything, you will see coming generations apologize one day that it was not the correct thing to do. We did that with the Chinese head tax, and let's not do it with this.