The house resumed from Friday, February 10, 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.
Mr. JEAN-FRANCOIS POULIOT (Temis-couata): Mr. Speaker, to say a few more words about the Bren gun contract required inspiration, so I went home and spent yesterday in that loveliest spot in all Canada, at Riviere du Loup. I met there scores of good Liberals, and they asked me to convey a message of kind remembrance and best wishes to our revered chief, the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King), and also to our beloved Quebec leader (Mr. Lapointe), who is celebrating to-day the thirty-fifth anniversary of his entrance into parliament.
There is nothing so interesting, Mr. Speaker, as to talk with good old Canadians who are full of wisdom, well informed on Canadian problems, and who follow politics very closely. A few of them asked me this question: How is it that Judge Davis during the first thirty sittings of the Bren gun probe was so suspicious of the Plaxton family and so hard on General LaFleche, and then afterwards seemed to change his mind, and declared that there had been nothing corrupt in the Bren gun matter, and that he could blame no official of the Department of National Defence for corruption? I find the answer in the official report of the thirty-second day, November
8. I quote from page 4039;
The Commissioner: .... My feelings are
really not in connection with the details at all. The picture is so changed. However-that is a matter for argument.
What I am very much surprised at is that learned counsel who appeared for the different parties at the probe did not call earlier for the evidence of one man who was responsible for the drafting not only of the Canadian contract but also of the British contract. At page 3948 the commissioner said:
I do not know yet, from the evidence, who was the solicitor really acting for the government, the Department of National Defence.
That was left in the shade, probably because every counsel was afraid of the kind of evidence which was to be given by the one who is not a judge or an advocate or a general, but who is the judge advocate general.
At page 800 of Hansard of February 9 the hon. member for St. Lawrence-St. George (Mr. Cahan) said this:
Then there is another young officer, with whom I am not acquainted, Colonel Orde, judge-advocate general of the Department of National Defence, who was called upon without any expert assistance to draft a very important contract.
Then, speaking for himself:
I have drawn more contracts dealing with munitions than almost any number of other lawyers in Canada.
But I had the good fortune, having so insisted, to have at my elbow some ol the best expert advice, and to that expert advice is due the fact that those tens of millions ot dollars worth of contracts, although some of them appeared in the courts, were never seriously brought into issue in the ^ courts. Therefore I know something of the position of Colonel Orde, who I judge by his evidence to be a young lawyer-
An hon. Member: Not so very young.
Mr. Cahan: I do not know how old he is,
but I understand he is a young gentleman.
Mr. Power: Aged forty-five perhaps.
An hon. Member: Or fifty.
Mr. Cahan: Well, even that is young. I am grateful that they have these young men who are growing up and developing, for the performance of essential duties in that branch of Canada's service.
At pages 3950 and 3951 of the record of the evidence appears this statement by Colonel Orde:
Mr. Ralston: How long have you held the
position of judge advocate general?
A. Since February 1, 1920.
What are the functions of this official?
Mr. Ralston: What are your duties as judge advocate general?
Listen, Mr. Speaker:
Colonel Orde: Generally, the superintendence of the administration of naval, military and air force law, and reviewing and recording proceedings of court martials, and advising and performing duties in relation to matters of a general civilian and legal nature in the department, as they arise. ... I took that from the king's regulations.
By the Commissioner:
Q. It is quite an undertaking, is it not, for one man?
A. It is a fair sized job. However, I have assistants. I have help in the office.
What is that help? According to a chart which was tabled in the civil service committee last year, on July 1, 1938, his staff was one clerk, grade 4, and one stenographer, grade 3.
What is the staff of the office of judge advocate general in England? There is in the first place the judge advocate general, Sir Henry MacGeagh; a deputy judge advocate
Bren Gun-Mr. Pouliot
general. C. L. Stirling; deputy judge advocates, first, 0. C. Barnett; second, Hon. T. D. Free-man-Mitford, and an officer in charge, military deputy of the judge advocate general, Colonel H. S. Barrett. That is for the army. In the admiralty there is a judge advocate general for the fleet, who lives at Greenwich, J. G. Trapnell, K.C., and a deputy judge advocate, Paymaster Captain A. F. Cooper, O.B.E., R.N. Who is Colonel MacGeagh? I quote the following particulars:
MacGeagh, Colonel Sir Henry Foster, K.B.E., cr. 1930; C.B.E. 1919; Iv.C. 1924; T.D.; Judge Advocate General, H.M.'s Forces (Army and Royal Air Force), since 1934; b. 21 Oct. 1883; o.s. of Foster MacGeagh, late of Hadlow Castle, Kent; m. 1917, Rita, o.d. of late William Kiddle of Walbundrie, New South Wales. Educ.: St. Paul's, Magdalen College, Oxford; rowed in Magdalen College eight, head of the river; honours degree history, B.A. 1905. Barrister-at-law of the Middle Temple, 1906; South Eastern circuit; member of the Council of Legal Education; bencher of the Middle Temple, 1931; held commission in territorial army (London Rifle Brigade), 1909-23; regular commission in the rank of colonel, 1923-34, when retired from army on appointment as Judge Advocate General; served European war, France and Flanders, 1914-15 (Bt. Major,
C. B.E., 1914 star and clasp); military assistant to the Judge Advocate General, 1916-23;
D. A.A.G., 1917; assistant adjutant-general, war office, 1918-23; Deputy Judge Advocate General British Forces in China (Shanghai Defence Force), 1927; military deputy of the Judge Advocate General (war office and air ministry) and in charge of the military and air force department of his office, 1923-34. Address: 33 Dover Street, W.l; 2 Barden Court, Temple,
E. C. Clubs: Carlton, Conservative, Leander.
Barrett, Colonel Hugh Scott, C.B.E., 1937;
T.D.; military deputy of Judge Advocate General of the Forces, and officer in charge of military and air force department of his office since 1934; b. 3 March 1887; y.s. of late Sir William Scott Barrett and Julia Louisa Colville; m. 1916, Dorothy, d. of late Rev. A. E. Farrar; three s. one d. Educ.: Aldenham School; St. John's College, Cambridge (scholar). Called to bar, Inner Temple, 1911; Northern circuit; commission in 6th (Rifle) Battn. The King's Regiment (Liverpool), T.A. 1910-23; regular commission, 1923; served European war, France, 1915-18 (O.B.E., despatches twice); D.A.A.G. 1919: Deputy Judge Advocate General, Army of the Rhine, 1920-23. China 1927-28, Egypt 1935, Palestine 1936. Address: St. Nicholas, Kings-wood, Surrey. T.: Burgh Heath 451. Club: United University.
Trapnell, John Graham, K.C. 1931; Barrister-at-law; Recorder of Plymouth since 1932; Judge Advocate of the fleet since 1933; b. 25 May 1875; s. of Caleb Trapnell. Stoke Bishop, Bristol; m. Ethel, d. of Thomas Chappel Gardiner; two s. Educ.: Harrogate college;
King's college, Cambridge. Called to bar, 1903; joined the Western circuit; naval service, European war, lieutenant, R.N.V.R. Address: 1 Temple Gardens, E.C.4. T.: Central 8557; 25 Holland Park, W.ll. T.: Park 6951. Clubs: Royal Air Force; Hampshire County, Winchester; Royal Yacht, Southampton; Royal Western Yacht, Plymouth.
In the Royal Air Force there are thirty-two officers of high rank who are in charge of contracts, and especially there are fifteen senior contract officers. In Canada we have the judge advocate general, one clerk grade 4 and one stenographer grade 3. I hope that the house will have no objection to my placing upon Hansard the few lines which contain the details of the officers of the directorate of contracts under the air ministry.