February 13, 1939

LIB

Norman McLeod Rogers (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. ROGERS:

What are we to understand from that? Is the money voted by parliament for unemployment purposes to be used to satisfy contractors, or is it to be used in the most economical way for the purpose intended? I find it difficult to understand the reasoning of my hon. friend on that point.

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LIB
LIB

Norman McLeod Rogers (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. ROGERS:

Surely the question of the substance of this contract is one that can be considered far more effectively, not behind the closed doors of the public accounts committee but in the clear, open light of the public accounts committee and under conditions which will permit hon. members to obtain all the information they may desire from the officials of the Department of National Defence. One of the recommendations contained in the report of the royal commission has some relation to the matter I have just been discussing. That recommendation is that there should be set up a national defence purchasing board to be responsible directly to the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) or the Minister of Finance (Mr. Dunning). That question was one which had been considered by the Minister of National Defence before the inquiry by Mr. Justice Davis. The minister has already stated in the house the reason why he did not think it wise to make that suggestion while giving his evidence before the commission. mere certainly has been no delay on the part of the government in accepting that one specific recommendation by Mr. Justice Davis. Certainly, so far as the future is con-

Bren Gun-Mr. McLean (Meljort)

cerned, the setting up of a board as recommended by the commission would remove to a large degree any suggestion of patronage in connection with the awarding of munitions contracts.

Despite what he said a few moments ago I doubt very much if the leader of the opposition (Mr. Manion) would lend himself to the view that with the present state of world affairs and with the present urgency connected with the manufacture of armaments it would be feasible for this country to enter upon the manufacture of armaments in government factories exclusively. Mind you, when I speak of armaments I refer not merely to guns but to shells and aircraft. He knows perfectly well that just recently the British government let large contracts to private companies in Canada for the manufacture of aircraft. No one would believe for a moment that it would have been possible for those contracts to have come to this country if we had been entirely dependent upon government factories for the manufacture of our own aircraft.

These questions are questions of policy referred by Mr. Justice Davis to this parliament for consideration. They have rereceived some consideration during the course of this debate. They can be investigated further by the public accounts committee, and they can be discussed again when the report of that committe comes before this house. But I suggest that there has been nothing said either during the early course of this debate or to-day by the leader of the opposition which justifies the cancellation of the Bren gun contract, either on the basis of its having been tainted with fraud or corruption or on the basis of its not being a good contract in substance.

May I suggest this finally? From the outset this government has recognized the danger, not merely to the Department of National Defence but to our democratic institutions of government, of permitting suspicion to surround the administration of any of our great public departments. The suspicion caused by the article written by Colonel George Drew, if it had been allowed to continue without immediate inquiry, would have undermined the usefulness of the Department of National Defence. And believe me, what one might describe as the poisonous smoke fumes of rumour and suspicion have done more to impair democratic institutions in this country than any consuming flames of corruption or malfeasance in high places. We owe it to ourselves as a parliament and as a government to see that there is no cause for suspicion; that charges, when made in good faith, are

given immediate investigation; and that if fraud or corruption should be found, it should be dealt with summarily and completely.

This government, I suggest, in the course of what has happened with respect to this inquiry, has given evidence of its good faith. We have done everything possible to facilitate investigation and remove suspicion, and I suggest that the tactics adopted by the opposition at least point to this, that they have been ready to delay further investigation and preserve suspicion. In the long run I have no doubt whatever as to the verdict of the country upon the propriety of the two alternative courses that have been followed, on the one hand by the government and on the other by the opposition.

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LIB

Malcolm McLean

Liberal

Mr. MALCOLM McLEAN (Melfort):

Mr. Speaker, the debate on the motion concerning the Bren gun contract has been before this house now for ten days, and during most of that time I have tried to listen carefully in order to understand, if possible, the motives behind the speeches and demands being made from various parts of this chamber. I am glad to have heard from the leader of the opposition (Mr. Manion) to-day the issues at stake, as he described it; but I am sorry that he read so quickly that it was impossible for me to take down what he called the real issue. I think, however, after all my listening during the past few days I have arrived at an understanding of the real issue as it is seen by the official opposition.

I am going to deal with that later on, but I am sure I have an understanding of the real issue as it is seen by my socialist friends, because the hon. member for Vancouver North (Mr. MacNeil) put it very clearly when he said that the real issue, in a nutshell, was whether munitions or guns should be supplied by privately owned or government-owned factories. That is quite clear and I want to deal with those two points. In doing so, I should like to go back to other statements made by hon. members on both wings of the opposition, in order to see what they thought about munitions, Bren guns and other matters two or three years ago. In the meantime I want to convey to the house my impression of the genesis of the row that has been before us for ten days and to give my opinions as they have been clarified by reading, thinking and much listening. I want to thank my good friend the hon. member for Vancouver-Burrard (Mr. McGeer) for the advice he gave the house the other day, that one can never listen himself into trouble, because I have been doing a great deal of listening.

Bren Gun-Mr. McLean (Meljort)

I think it is well known and understood that the real cause of this discussion arose when an ambitious politician in the province of Ontario found it necessary to earn some kudos. A convention was to be held at which a permanent leader was to be chosen for his party. It was charged by many that the then leader of the party was too matter of fact and lacked colour. We all know that the leader of the provincial party at that time, who has sat in this house for many years, was a man whose word was reliable and who described conditions as he saw them. He was not a lawyer-writer or a pamphleteer; he was a farmer, in touch with realities and with the soil that kept him sane. But this aspirant to that post wanted to displace him, and to do so he had to stir up something sensational. There was not much use in talking against the government of Ontario, because it had been endorsed by the people of that province only recently, so the natural thing to do was to turn to the dominion government, then in office for three years, which in the natural course of events would within a year or two have to go to the country for re-election. But he did see in Ontario one example, after which he patterned his conduct. He saw the young, brilliant, aggressive, successful premier of that province, who had captured the imagination of the people of Ontario as probably no other leader had since confederation, so he thought he would follow that pattern as far as possible. But he forgot that the successful premier of Ontario, with all the audacity of his sensationalism and all his brilliancy, had one thing that was not possessed by this aspirant to public office. That was the ability to gather facts which he could present against a moribund government, and evidence that would stand up under any investigation which might be held. But this political writer got in touch with a magazine that has always been opposed, in a greater or lesser degree, to Liberal parties and Liberal policies, and sold this article containing these insinuations.

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CON

Frank Exton Lennard

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LENNARD:

That shows their good sense.

Mr. McLEAN (Melfort); Well, possibly it does. I am not going to prejudge the contract at the present time. A little while ago the leader of the opposition said that hon. members on this side had not defended the contract. The issue is not the defence of the contract; the issue is and has been whether or not this contract should be referred to the public accounts committee for further study in regard to points with which the commissioner

himself said he would not deal because they were matters for the goverment and parliament to consider.

Circumstances as well as time furthered the ambition of Mr. Drew. From 1920 until about 1933 the minds of people in Canada and elsewhere were filled with visions of collective security. The people of this country, together with the people of all the democracies, wanted to be sure that peace would reign in our time. Defence expenditures and preparations were reduced to a minimum. Until 1930 not much money was spent by the defence department of Canada, and from 1930 to 1935 still less. That suited most Canadians who were sincere lovers of peace, as we all are, who thought they could safely afford to trust to the goodwill of other nations and spend no money on our defence. So, at a time when social services were costing hundreds of millions of dollars, defence was being neglected; and because the Canadian people were not defence conscious and were in a state of apathy, little was said about the matter.

But what happened in 1935? A young and brilliant man was appointed Minister of National Defence (Mr. Mackenzie). He knew something of the realities of war. He knew it was not sufficient for the people of Canada to be peace-minded or to want to live at peace with their neighbours, in order to ensure peace. He knew that in common decency and in the exercise of common sense the government and parliament must do something, even if it were only to compel respect for Canada's neutrality, were such desirable.

In 1936 the Department of National Defence asked for and secured additional grants. We thought at one time and we have heard hon. members from the far corner say-from my socialist friend's comer, I would tell the hon. member of the social credit party who queries me; I would not confuse him with any others- that we have the British navy and the power of the United States to defend us. That situation has changed very greatly in the past three or four years. We have seen that Great Britain's naval power has sufficient to do to defend her own interests, without being handicapped by defending Canada. While we know the United States will do everything it is possible for one friendly country to do for another, in the event of aggression, yet there are some things Canada must do for herself, if she is going to retain her self-respect, and if she is going to help the United States, if we were allied with them in the event of any difficulty.

What other changes have come about? We have seen fleets of aircraft flying the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. Soviet fliers flew across the

Bren Gun-Mr. McLean (Meljort)

north pole, en route from Moscow to California. Our boasted defence by three oceans, one on each side of us and one to the north, has been made less secure through inventions and developments of the past few years.

Canada has had to face a change. All right. Three years ago an increase was asked in the estimates for the Department of National Defence. A further increase was asked two years ago; there was one a year ago and this year another increase is requested from the people of Canada and we find this debate arising out of these facts. This is natural, because we have it on the best authority in the world that where expenditures of that kind are being made there will the critics seek to find trouble; for wherever the carcass is, there shall the vultures be gathered together.

In this department, which was beginning to rebuild outside mere routine organization, it was thought there might be the possibility of finding something out of place. No one thinks of looking for much trouble in the Post Office Department, because it has been operating for many years, handling the same matters on a large scale throughout the country. The routine is set and established. We had the case of the Department of National Defence following a new procedure when it began to take steps in connection with the purchase of aeroplanes, the appointing and training of the personnel for aircraft, the buying of artillery, machine guns and ammunition of different types. There is the possibility, despite the highest qualifications, of honest mistakes being made and of judgment, even when quite honest, not being very sound. That is where the public is more easily led to believe that there might be something wrong.

Not only in the article published in Maclean's magazine has suspicion of that kind been stirred up. Three years ago my hon. friends of the Cooperative Commonwealth Federation kept asking hon. members on this side of the house: "Against whom are you arming?"-indicating there was no need for arming. But the minister went on with his job. Shortly after he commenced we found opposition to his efforts-and of course the leader of the opposition of to-day is not responsible for that. But we heard his predecessor in the house uttering veiled charges, making insinuations, throwing around innuendoes, and using expressions which led some of my friends in the social credit party who had more recently come to parliament to rise in their places and ask when the charges made by the right hon. gentleman who then led the opposition would be dealt with.

As a matter of fact, he made no charges. He was too skilled a politician, lawyer and

parliamentarian to make any charges concerning which he did not have evidence. But he misled hon. members into thinking that he had charges up his sleeve. Suspicion grew, because it found food to feed on in the minds of two classes of people, namely those who could not expect a Grit government or the Liberal party to do anything rightly, and those who are so constituted that they could see no good which could come from spending money on the national defence of Canada, believing that we should trust to collective action for our defence. Those two types of individuals have been glad to hear aspersions cast upon the personnel of the department and upon the principle of spending money for enlarged defence. The Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) took the right course-every hon. member agrees that he did-in appointing a royal commission, so that the whole matter might be sifted out.

One of the other circumstances in connection with the charge was that the Bren gun, the contract concerning which was to be investigated, was a new weapon. People in Canada did not know about it. For five years it had been under trial. It had been improved and modified after invention and before it was sold to the British authorities. It was adopted by Great Britain, and it was later decided that Canada should acquire 7,000 of those guns. I need not say more about that, because it is agreed by the commissioner, and those qualified to judge, that the Bren gun is going to fill the bill. Before I take my seat I shall have a few words to say about the attempt made by the hon. member for Vancouver North (Mr. MacNeil) to question the assurance of the British government and war office on the value of the Bren gun. I am not very much surprised, because it is part and parcel of this same kind of balderdash, as the leader of the opposition calls it, that is talked about defence in Canada. But I do say it is going too far to say that this government has been deceived by the British government, which is in a much better position to judge than we are, and I say an attempt should not be made to stir up suspicion in the minds of the Canadian people in that connection.

Major Hahn came to Ottawa and saw a sample of the gun. He thought it would be a good thing for himself, or for any other man, to secure the right to make that gun in Canada. I am quite sure he also thought, in view of the very high testimonial given to him by hon. members directly opposite, that it would be, as well, a patriotic thing to do. I know there are some people who sneer at

Bren Gun-Mr. McLean (Meljort)

patriotism and who like Johnson describe it as the last refuge or the last resort of a scoundrel. But in Canada there are many patriotic industrialists, just as there are patriotic people in the primary industries. Major Hahn decided that he would equip himself with knowledge, and fit himself by investigation.

At six o'clock the house took recess.

After Recess

The house resumed at eight o'clock.

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LIB

Malcolm McLean

Liberal

Mr. McLEAN (Melfort):

Mr. Speaker,

before six o'clock I was pointing out how Major Hahn went to London and by means of an introduction to the war office secured permission to visit the Enfield factory and was there able to gather a certain amount of information. The leader of the opposition (Mr. Manion), just before he finished speaking, dealt with the necessity of having a pass for entering the Inglis plant at Toronto, but I think that is exactly in line with what happened to Major Hahn in England. He could not get into the Enfield plant without first securing an introduction to the war office, and if you or I, Mr. Speaker, were to seek to enter that plant we would rightfully be told to show our credentials before we could go through it. We in this country do take a little exception to a thing like that because we have not been accustomed to it, but anybody who knows what is going on in Europe must realize the necessity that exists there, and the increasing necessity there will be here, for these precautions. One point that is evident is that Major Hahn undoubtedly sold himself, as the phrase is, to the British authorities as a man who could be useful to them in securing a secondary supply of munitions in Canada.

In reply to the leader of the opposition, who said that it was months after the Canadian contract was signed before the British contract was signed, which is true, I would point out that according to the report:

It was on November 9, 1937, that the war office had informed the department by cable that the British government was then "ready to negotiate" for the purchase of five thousand Bren guns to be manufactured by the John Inglis Company subject to some substantial reduction in cost.

That agreement was made and is now being carried out in the new part of a plant that had been arranged for by the new Inglis

company long before there was any expectation that they would be manufacturing Bren guns.

I am going to deal very briefly with a few items in the report, some of which have already been discussed, and some of which have been emphasized, but others not.

On page 49 of the report we are told that there was a saving of something like $1,300,000 by the Canadian government going into a joint contract. It is true the contract is on a cost-plus basis, and that no one knows what it is going to cost us. No one in North America has ever yet made such a gun, and at the time of making the contract the British war office was not able to state its costs. The Enfield factory was just going into production. So no blame should be attached to the government at Ottawa for giving the contract on - a cost-plus basis.

Second, the commissioner points out:

The estimated profit to be made, according to evidence before the commission, will not exceed 7-76 per cent.

Many of my Conservative friends admit that this is not an unreasonble profit. The hon. member for Mount Royal (Mr. Walsh), speaking in the house the other night, said that it is a reasonable profit. He went on to say:

It is a small profit considering the work they intend to do.

As a matter of fact, unless these guns are manufactured with the greatest possible care and in a most efficient manner the company is liable to find itself with very severe losses under the terms of the contract.

The commissioner, among other things, says in his report, and this is worth while emphasizing to the house:

Everyone who it was thought might be able to throw' light on the subject of the inquiry gave testimony voluntarily. It was not necessary to issue a single subpoena to enforce the attendance of any witness. Your commissioner is satisfied that all available documents in any way relevant and material to the subject matter of the inquiry were presented to the commission.

The suitability of the said machine gun and the urgency of its purchase or production for the use of the defence forces of Canada was common ground with all parties represented before the commission.

I think it is extremely desirable that we should have that knowledge. Again he says:

The facts are all in evidence; and as said by government counsel in opening their argument, "So far as the facts are concerned, there are very few which are even in dispute."

I cannot myself recall at the moment any fact to which direct proof was adduced that is in dispute.

Bren Gun-Mr. McLean (Meljort)

To quote again from the commissioner's report:

Mr. Elliott said that the chairman (the deputy minister of national defence) pointed out that "his department had followed the practice of the British government where competition is not always obtainable, and they unhesitatingly go into non-competitive contracts in order to secure their requirements. In this particular case the British government had picked the firm to manufacture its guns."

And apparently that fact was not in dispute.

I am going to pass over the remarks of the commissioner in dealing with the fourth and last meeting of the interdepartmental committee which prepared the contract and finished its work just before three o'clock in the morning of March 17, 1938. But

from November 9, 1937, the British war office put pressure on the department here to get the contract signed and to get it under way.

A good deal has been heard about pressure being applied by the Department of National Defence of Canada on the war office, but that pressure was in regard to one thing only, as I read in the report. The war office authorities were queried time and again whether or not they were going to place orders for guns in Canada, not urging them to place orders in Canada, but asking them whether they intended to do so or not, following negotiations with respect to the matter at an earlier date.

I quote again from page 49 of the report:

On the question whether tenders should have been called for, government counsel argued that there was ample evidence on which it could be found that a specialty of this kind (i.e., the Bren gun), a new art in Canada, is not a subject for the calling of tenders from manufacturers; that it has to be dealt with on a cost-plus basis, at least in the initial stages.

Evidence was offered by government counsel to that effect, and the commissioner in his wisdom thought it was not necessary to receive it. He says at page 50:

The more I think of it, the more I can see the almost endless scope of such a line of evidence-one manufacturer saying one thing, and another manufacturer saying something else, one manufacturer actuated by one set of considerations and another manufacturer actuated by different considerations. Where am I going to stop? This may land me in a hopeless and endless controversy.

What is obvious, of course, is this: that if the government has an article to be manufactured for which by its very nature it is not practicable to call for tenders and the policy of private manufacture is to be adopted, then at once the heaviest sort of responsibility falls upon those charged with the duty of selecting the individual, firm or corporation to manufacture the article.

Again he says:

There is no evidence that any member ofthe Senate or of the House of Commons of

Canada was admitted to any share or part of the contract, or to any benefits to arise therefrom.

The commissioner says that apart from the member for Trinity (Mr. Plaxton), and, of course, the Minister of National Defence:

There is no evidence that any member ofthe Senate or of the House of Commons of

Canada had any connection with or took any part in the discussions or negotiations leading up to the contract.

There is no evidence that any senator or member had any connection with or took any part in the affairs of the company or in the sale of shares or securities of the company.

I think it right to say that there is no evidence (nor is there in the evidence any ground for suspicion) that the minister or the deputy minister or any officer or official of the Department of National Defence was guilty of any act of corruption or anything in the nature of corruption.

The commissioner also says on page 35:

No charge of misconduct, however, were formulated against any particular person.

When you read the insinuations contained in the original charge, and then read the judge's statement that no charges of misconduct were formulated against any particular person; that there is no evidence, nor is there in the evidence any ground for suspicion that any member of parliament or senator or officer or official of the Department of National Defence was guilty of any act of corruption or anything in the nature of corruption, it makes it still more amazing, Mr. Speaker, that there should be such a fuss cooked up over this matter.

Time is passing rapidly and I must leave out many of the items with which I was going to deal.

As I understood the speech of the leader of the opposition to-day, it was-I could not write it down as fast as he read it-that the contract was unfair because it had been given to Major Hahn and not given to somebody else; that it placed other industrialists at a disadvantage in not getting a share of the contract; furthermore that Major Hahn or his company might make a profit of a million dollars through the transaction in addition to the real profits, and it was unfair that this should be done. I can quite understand the indignation of someone waking up and finding that another has got ahead of him. There is an old proverb that it is the early bird that catches the worm.

Bren Gun-Mr. McLean (Meljort)

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CON
LIB

Malcolm McLean

Liberal

Mr. McLEAN (Melfort):

The hon. member for Danforth I think will agree with me that any man who has shown himself to be the kind of man my Conservative friends say Major Hahn is, with the courage, faith, initiative, energy and those other qualities that make a go-getting salesman, the type of man who has helped build up industry in Canada and who, long before the task comes along, prepares himself for a task that may have to be done, is the type of man who is entitled to a reward when the opportunity offers. I say further that if we had more of that enterprise in Canada to-day that we had forty, fifty and a hundred years ago we should be the better off for it. I notice that my Conservative friends-and I do not want to quote the statements of many of them because it would take too long-were very moderate indeed in the last few days in dealing with these matters regarding Major Hahn.

In connection with the sale of stock I want to quote a few words of the attorney general of Ontario. In a speech made by him on January 31, he said:

Shares representing more than 73 per cent of the authorized capital stock of the John Inglis Company, Toronto, are held in escrow in the Bank of Montreal and cannot be dealt with without consent of the Ontario securities commission, Attorney General Gordon Conant said to-day.

"Obviously these 184,000 shares are an ample guarantee that the control of the company will never pass to any foreign interests," he said....

Mr. Conant said Colonel George Drew, Ontario Conservative leader, was "very bold and extravagant" in his statements on his recent northern Ontario tour in connection with the Inglis company, holder of a federal contract for the manufacture of Bren machine guns.

The Inglis company treasury received approximately $246,000 for 41,000 shares, said Air. Conant. Only 4,000 of these shares were sold to the general public and none at more than $7.50 a share "which clearly indicates there has been no high pressure salesmanship."

Mr. Conant said the Inglis company has 150 workers and expects to engage 600 by fall, "thus making a substantial contribution to the solution of our unemployment problem."

Our Conservative friends have complained about the transactions and have charged that the Inglis company is organized for no other purpose than to make guns and munitions. They also said that neither Hahn nor Inglis had made Bren guns before. But neither had anyone else in Canada or on the American continent. I have here an advertisement showing that the Inglis company-

-are designers, engineers and manufacturers of machinery and equipment for mine, mill, power plant and factory.

Our skilled staff of experienced technicians is at your service. We invite particulars of your requirements.

So that, after all, the making of Bren guns is going to be part of their business and not by any means all of it.

I must hurry on as quickly as I can in order to do what I promised at the beginning of my address-to discuss the real issue as given to this house by another group of members of parliament. I find that two years ago, when we were discussing a small increase of defence, the leader of the Cooperative Commonwealth Federation party (Mr. Woods-worth), opposing those armaments, said this:

We are to repel attacks from without, we are told. I am sometimes accused of being an idealist, but to-night I should like for a few minutes to be very practical indeed. I would ask the minister and the house whether we expect any European country to attack us. Would Germany attack us? Would Italy attack us? I do not think for a moment that the great United States to the south of us, with its Monroe doctrine, would permit anything of the kind. You may say: Well, but you are simply depending upon another nation. I am not particularly concerned with what the implications of all that kind of thing may be, but I submit that if we are thinking about some foe from Europe we are putting up a hypothesis which has no basis in fact.

I shall now refer to a speech by the hon. member for Vancouver North (Mr. MacNeil), based on another article of the same George Drew, in Maclean's magazine, entitled "Our Bow-and-Arrow Army," wherein he spoke of the poor equipment of the Canadian militia, the hollow-chested youths; and how ill-fitting the uniform was, as if that was a matter of any importance. Then the hon. member quotes an article by Mr. Way ling under the heading, "We are too fat to fight." He was not referring to some of my hon. friends or myself.

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CCF

Abraham Albert Heaps

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

Mr. HEAPS:

Or to the leader of the group!

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LIB

Malcolm McLean

Liberal

Mr. McLEAN (Melfort):

Hon. members

know the amazing basis of his story: that during the war we had no more than 300 units and they were all engaged in battle overseas or training to go over, while in peace time we had five or six to eight hundred Units, and it was because we had so many units we were too fat and we were not getting our value out of them. Of course in peace time, with units scattered all over Canada in order to appeal to local patriotism and local convenience, we are bound to have a fairly large number of units, but that does not mean that we are handicapped. Mr. Wayling, however, provided part of the inspiration which the hon. member for Vancouver North had at that time. .

Bren Gun-Mr. McLean (Melfort)

Let me now quote what the leader of the Cooperative Commonwealth Federation said in 1936, as reported at page 3197 of Hansard:

We alone are not in position to hold off any and all comers. On the other hand ... I think we are secure in our position on this continent . . . We are a great deal safer without an army than with an army ... I oppose military expenditure.

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CCF

Abraham Albert Heaps

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

Mr. HEAPS:

What has that to do with the motion?

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LIB

Malcolm McLean

Liberal

Mr. McLEAN (Melfort):

I am leading up to the reason for the attack on the contract.

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CCF

Abraham Albert Heaps

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

Mr. HEAPS:

What has all this to do with the motion to refer the matter to the public accounts committee?

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LIB

Malcolm McLean

Liberal

Mr. McLEAN (Melfort):

A little later the hon. member for Rosetown-Biggar (Mr. Cold-well) stated:

I am in agreement with Mr. Woodsworth that Canada's best defence at the present time is its defencelessuess ... A country the size of Canada with its diverse peoples and small population is best defended if we rely on our weakness physically and our good will as a good world neighbour rather than attempt to ape the military powers of the European countries.

A little later on the hon. member for Wey-burn (Mr. Douglas) said, in answer to someone on this side or a member of the opposition, that the people of Rosetown-Biggar knew their member to be a confirmed pacifist. That is quite all right; it is a proper attitude for him to take if he sees fit. But at the same time these extracts indicate that there was much objection to any increased expenditure for armaments. The leader of the Cooperative Commonwealth Federation party, on February 19, 1937, said:

That is the position we take. I do not need to reiterate. I think it is simple nonsense to be spending as much as we are.

Mr. Mackenzie King: If dangers increase,

hon. members who support this amendment will say: Oh, we never opposed the amount of money that the government was proposing to spend for defence.

Mr. Woodsworth: You will see when we

come to it.

And that, mark you, was at a time when Canada was spending S1.41 per capita for defence; Sweden, of which we hear so much, $4.95; Switzerland, which has not had a war for a century, $7.56; the United Kingdom, $14.14; and France, $16.79.

The hon. member for Weyburn said, as reported at page 1059 of Hansard, February 19, 1937:

It-

The amendment.

-states two things clearly, first that this group is opposed to increased expenditure for military purposes.

71492-56J

The hon. member for Macleod (Mr. Han-sell), in taking his stand, namely the stand that he could not, at that time of crisis, oppose the estimates, drew from the hon. member for Weyburn the statement that it was only the increased estimates he was opposing, not the regular estimates. The hon. member for Macleod was not quite satisfied with the economic policies of the government, but he would not assume the responsibility of voting against that measure of increase.

On February 10 of this year the hon. member for Vancouver North said:

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.

I went to the dictionary to find what a "racketeer" was, and I read as follows:

Racketeer. One who singly or in combination with others extorts money or advantages by threats of violence or of unlawful interference with business (variously defined in recent legislation in various states of the United States of America).

How, in view of the fact that the judge declared there was no evidence or suspicion of corruption in the evidence received before him, hon. members of this house can say these things, and many more I should like to quote if time permitted, passes my imagination! Every time we talk like that, it makes it more difficult to come to a proper understanding of what is really important. One of the worst speeches, from that standpoint, which has been made in this chamber for some time was that of the hon. member for Athabaska (Mr. Rowe). Speaking a little earlier in the session I said I regretted I could not compliment him upon having gone to a better place than he had been in, but I feared he had gone to a poorer one instead. My statement was verified by what happened, because he spoke as follows:

The Minister of National Defence expresses great confidence in the ability of the British government. At page 2389 of the evidence, in reply to a question from Mr. Hellmuth, the minister is reported as saying:

"I think too highly of the British to think that they would take anybody else's viewpoint but their own; they are pretty canny over there."

I agree with the minister, that they are indeed "canny"; for they are even more zealous than he appears to be in the interest of the armament manufacturers. May I tell the minister that over in Great Britain they go in for armament profiteering in a really big way.

Later on he quotes from a speech made by Gerald P. Nye in the United States senate in which that gentleman mentioned-

-that among the prominent shareholders of Vickers or allied concerns in 1932 were the

Bren Gun-Mr. McLean (Meljort)

Right Hon. Neville Chamberlain, then Chancellor of the Exchequer, Sir Austen Chamberlain, M.P., winner of the Nobel peace prize in 1925, Sir John Simon, Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs and a long list of politicians, clergy, and members of the aristocracy.

May I say that the British people have not yet reached the stage where they will condemn anyone for trying to do his part to make it possible for the country to defend itself in time of danger. In reply to my Conservative friends' contention that Major Hahn or the John Inglis Company should not have been given the contract because they had never manufactured arms before, I would point out that in an earlier day in the history of Canada if the government had taken that view, the Canadian Pacific railway would not have been built. If they had said that there was an objection to the fact that an ex-Hudson Bay Company trader and a bank manager were organizing the company, Canada would have suffered in consequence. If no progress is to be made except by those who are already engaged in a particular line of endeavour, then the future of the country will never be assured. The progress that this dominion has made has been as a result of the enterprise of pioneers and those who were prepared to undertake ventures other than those with which they were already familiar.

Let me say this in conclusion. On a certain day in September last year, as I listened in Saskatoon to the voice of the tyrant of Berlin as he addressed his people, stirring up their feelings against the democracies of the world, I could not help reflecting upon what had taken place in this house for two years and the opposition that had been brought to bear upon the government because, as the hon. member for Vancouver North said, the real issue was whether this armament should be made in a private or a government-owned factory. When I thought of such a reason, not a matter of importance, even though it is opposed to Marxian socialist ideas; when I thought of all that opposition that was thrown up in the path of the minister because a slight increase in armaments was asked for; when I thought of the helpless position of the people in Czechoslovakia after the defection of Austria, I was thankful that I had put no hindrance in the way of the minister but had given him what help I could in the house. Czechoslovakia would not have been in the situation in which she finds herself to-day had the line between her and Austria been defended.

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CCF

Angus MacInnis

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

Mr. MacINNIS:

Are we armed to take part in any European war?

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?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Sit down.

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LIB
?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Order. Time.

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CCF

Angus MacInnis

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

Mr. MacINNIS:

May I ask the hon.

member a question?

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LIB

Walter Edward Foster (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER:

The hon. member for

Melfort (Mr. McLean) has exhausted his time.

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February 13, 1939