February 10, 1939

STANDING ORDERS


Mr. W. II. GOLDING (Huron-Perth) presented the first and second reports of the standing committee on standing orders, and moved that the reports be concurred in. Motion agreed to.


DEATH OF POPE PIUS XI

EXPRESSION OF SYMPATHY OF GOVERNMENT OF CANADA AND HIS MAJESTY'S LOYAL OPPOSITION


On the order for motions:


LIB

Ernest Lapointe (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Liberal

Right Hon. ERNEST LAPOINTE (Minister of Justice):

Mr. Speaker, in the absence of the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) and on his behalf, I desire to communicate to the house the contents of a cablegram which was sent this morning by the Secretary of State for External Affairs, Ottawa, to His Britannic Majesty's minister, Vatican City. It reads *

Ottawa, February 10, 1939.

Will you kindly convey to His Excellency the Secretary of State of the Holy See the following expression of sympathy of the government of Canada, in the bereavement occasioned the Vatican City and the Roman Catholic church by the death of His Holiness Pope Pius XI.

"The government of Canada desires to associate itself with the governments of other countries in expressing its sense of the loss sustained in the death of His Holiness Pope Pius XI. The profound sorrow felt by members of the Roman Catholic church in all parts of the world will be shared throughout Canada where the devotion of Pope Pius to the spiritual progress of mankind had gained for His Holiness nation-wide admiration and esteem."

To these words of the leader of the nation I desire to add my own personal tribute to the memory of the great pontiff who died yesterday.

In the hours of great crises His Holiness Pius XI has always been a fine model, a powerful personality.

Amidst the disorders generated by war, misery and unemployment, he has preached the crusade of public salvation, defending the family institution, defending order, labour and social peace, fighting all that leads to anarchy, hatred and the domination of blind force. He has consistently defended those who were persecuted and oppressed.

A friend of social progress and modem institutions, he has published pastoral letters and encylicals which are monuments to economic and social reform based on justice, charity and human brotherhood.

He was a great religious leader. He will be remembered as the Pope of Peace, of the poor, and of working men.

I am sure I am reflecting the views of all the members of this house in expressing our sorrow and our deep regret at his demise.

Topic:   DEATH OF POPE PIUS XI
Subtopic:   EXPRESSION OF SYMPATHY OF GOVERNMENT OF CANADA AND HIS MAJESTY'S LOYAL OPPOSITION
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CON

Charles Hazlitt Cahan

Conservative (1867-1942)

Hon. C. H. CAHAN (St. Lawrence-St. George):

Mr. Speaker, in the unavoidable

absence of the leader of the official opposition (Mr. Manion), I wish to express on his behalf and on behalf of my colleagues and myself, our profound emotion upon learning this morning of the passing from this life of Pope Pius XI. His holiness was a great churchman and a brilliant scholar, who was preeminent in his devotion to the welfare of all classes and conditions of our fellowmen.

As the sovereign pontiff of Vatican City, his influence was ever exerted with the political leaders of all nations for the preservation of peace. As the ecclesiastical head of over 350,000,000 of peoples of all the races of the world, every important movement for the spiritual, moral and social improvement of all classes and conditions of mankind, enlisted his sincere sympathy and his earnest support.

As a prelate of fervent, personal piety and devotion, his compassion was ever extended to the poor, the sick and the afflicted.

818 COMMONS

Bren Gun- Privilege, Mr. Gardiner

As an eminent Christian gentleman, he showed us all an example of steadfast faith and fortitude under physical suffering that continued for several years until there was granted to him a peaceful release late last evening. We unite with all other Christian peoples in our expression of sympathy for all adherents of the Roman Catholic church in their grievous sorrow, and in our gratitude for his personal example of devotion to duty amid the manifold turmoils that have beset this world during recent years.

Topic:   DEATH OF POPE PIUS XI
Subtopic:   EXPRESSION OF SYMPATHY OF GOVERNMENT OF CANADA AND HIS MAJESTY'S LOYAL OPPOSITION
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BREN MACHINE GUN CONTRACT


The house resumed from Thursday, February' 9, consideration of the motion of Mr. MacNeil: That the agreement between the government and the John Inglis Company, of Toronto, for the manufacture of Bren machine guns, the report of the royal commission dealing with said agreement, and all related documents, evidence, vouchers and exhibits, be referred to the standing committee on public accounts; and the amendment thereto of Mr. Stevens.


PRIVILEGE, MR. GARDINER-NEWS ARTICLE IN REGINA LEADER-POST OF FEBRUARY 7


Hon. J. C. GARDINER (Minister of Agriculture); On a question of privilege, Mr. Speaker, I have in my hand a news article which appeared in the Regina Leader-Post of February 7, purporting to be an account of my speech delivered in this house as reported in Hansard of February 6. It says in part: Mr. Gardiner attempted to pour ridicule on a report made by Major General E. C. Ashton, chief of the general staff, for proposing a small arms government factory at Valcartier. That statement is absolutely false. I pointed out that Major General E. C. Ashton's proposal, made after this government took office, for the purpose of reestablishing defence in Canada, would involve an expenditure of at least §200,000,000. I further indicated that those now attempting to delay this expenditure had opposed even the small estimates of two and three years ago. I referred to the Ross rifle incident to indicate that even good machinery was not sufficient to guarantee production of Bren guns that would work. You require management, designers, and engineers who know their job. At no time and in no word did I ridicule or attempt to ridicule a report made by Major General E. C. Ashton. [Mr. Cahan.J This newspaper report is on a par with most of the misrepresentation which has been peddled to the west regarding discussion of this contract.


?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Order.

Topic:   PRIVILEGE, MR. GARDINER-NEWS ARTICLE IN REGINA LEADER-POST OF FEBRUARY 7
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CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON MOTION FOR REFERENCE TO PUBLIC ACCOUNTS COMMITTEE

CCF

Charles Grant MacNeil

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

Mr. C. G. MacNEIL (Vancouver North):

Mr. Speaker, I was about to say when the house adjourned last evening that the most disturbing feature of this debate has been the attitude taken by government supporters. We have met with nothing but evasion with respect to the issues presented to parliament by the commissioner. In the hectoring language employed by the minister (Mr. Mackenzie) last evening we recognize the old technique of abusing critics instead of answering criticism. The issues originally stated by the commissioner, and by many members on this side of the house, are still before parliament without any adequate explanation by the government. No criticism could be more destructive of confidence in the defence establishment of this country than the demeanour. and words of the minister last evening. He cannot prove to the country that he is right by the threat to knock off heads, although I notice that his unparliamentary language is not reported in Hansard.

The hon. member for Vancouver-Burrard (Mr. McGeer) stated last evening that in his opinion it was extraordinary that members on this side of the house did not accept the findings of the royal commission. It is his misapprehension on this point that undermines his argument. We do accept the findings of the commissioner. It is because of those findings that we may legitimately ask for further inquiry into the matter, and direct criticism against government policy.

The commissioner made findings on two points. He found that there was no evidence of personal corruption. We accept that finding and have stated so over and over again in this house. We now marvel that government supporters have laboured this point. They must be uneasy about the transactions reported.

The commissioner also found that there was the necessity to recommend the appointment of a defence purchasing board, to provide for a drastic change in the system of awarding contracts of this nature. We accept that finding, and point to the fact that by such finding he condemned the system now in vogue.

Bren Gun-Mr. MacNeil

The remainder of his report is mainly a citation of facts of which direct proof was given, and with regard to which he reported there was no dispute. He pointed to the responsibility of parliament to pass judgment based on the evidence, and because of that I moved the motion which is now before the house.

I again direct attention to the main issues at stake. Whatever may be said for or against the contract, in its substance or form, we must concern ourselves, as the commissioner did, with administrative faults and government policies disclosed during the negotiations leading up to the execution of the contract during the period prior to March 31. 1938. The real issue is whether this country should have established public or private manufacture of the primary implements of warfare, and not all the blustering eloquence of the minister can conceal the fact that he has reversed his policy in this regard. In his remarks last evening he condoned the making of profits in the manufacture of armaments for this country.

Topic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON MOTION FOR REFERENCE TO PUBLIC ACCOUNTS COMMITTEE
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?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

No.

Topic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON MOTION FOR REFERENCE TO PUBLIC ACCOUNTS COMMITTEE
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CCF

Charles Grant MacNeil

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

Mr. MacNEIL:

As he shook his fist in this direction and alleged attempts to destroy defence measures, I might remind him now that nothing will wreck defence more certainly than profiteering in war supplies. Nothing will do more to lower the morale of those who may be required to risk their lives in the defence of the country than the knowledge we now have that his department is in alliance with armament racketeers. He has given a plain indication that so far as he is concerned he will make no attempt to establish equality of duty and sacrifice in the event of war.

Topic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON MOTION FOR REFERENCE TO PUBLIC ACCOUNTS COMMITTEE
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LIB

Ian Alistair Mackenzie (Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE (Vancouver):

It is not

correct; that is all.

Topic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON MOTION FOR REFERENCE TO PUBLIC ACCOUNTS COMMITTEE
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CCF

Charles Grant MacNeil

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

Mr. MacNEIL:

He expressed resentment that this discussion has delayed the plans of the department with regard to deliveries of Bren guns. He omitted to mention that this is the first opportunity we have had to discuss the matter with all the facts before us.

Topic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON MOTION FOR REFERENCE TO PUBLIC ACCOUNTS COMMITTEE
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LIB

Ian Alistair Mackenzie (Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE (Vancouver):

Why?

Topic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON MOTION FOR REFERENCE TO PUBLIC ACCOUNTS COMMITTEE
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CCF

Charles Grant MacNeil

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

Mr. MacNEIL:

The delay of which he complains actually occurred between July, 1936, and March, 1938, when the house was without knowledge of these negotiations, and because of the determination to place this contract to the best political advantage. Members of this house are in no way responsible for the fact that deliveries of the assembled guns will not be made until the latter part of 1940.

I will go a step farther. We will ask the minister in the public accounts committee to confirm or deny the reports that even now the Bren gun is regarded as an obsolescent weapon.

Topic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON MOTION FOR REFERENCE TO PUBLIC ACCOUNTS COMMITTEE
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February 10, 1939