February 13, 1939

CON

Robert James Manion (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MANION:

The minister says that he has received a telegram from the editor of the Vancouver Sun saying that these quotations are not from that newspaper. I cannot contradict that, and I accept the minister's word without question. The only thing I can do, after haying cited the quotations-and there is a good deal worse in the clippings than I have mentioned,-is to adopt them as my own, and so I adopt them as my own.

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LIB

Ian Alistair Mackenzie (Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE (Vancouver):

I rise to a point of order, Mr. Speaker, affecting the privileges of this house. Any hon. member referring to any quotation in this house is required by the rules of parliament to produce to the house proof of the authenticity of his quotations, and I ask my hon. friend now to produce to this house evidence of the authenticity of the statements which he quoted in the debate this afternoon.

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CON

Robert James Manion (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MANION:

I have produced the clippings. I have them here, and the minister

can look at them. These editorials were sent to me and it was stated to me that they were from the Vancouver Sun. I accept the statement in the minister's telegram from the editor of the Vancouver Sun that they are not from his paper.

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LIB

Ian Alistair Mackenzie (Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE (Vancouver):

Where are they from?

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CON

Robert James Manion (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MANION:

They are from Vancouver, I understand. I have already stated that I quoted them in good faith as supposedly coming from the Vancouver Sun. The minister says that he has received a telegram from the Vancouver Sun denying that they are from that paper, and I accept that. And to exonerate all the newspapers I accept responsibility myself for all these statements. I do not know what more I could do.

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LIB

Ian Alistair Mackenzie (Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE (Vancouver):

I accept immediately my hon. friend's statement that he quoted the editorials in good faith, but on a point of order I submit that under the rules of this house when an hon. member purports to read editorial comment from any journal he should immediately submit proof of its authenticity to the house or have the quotations expunged from the records of Hansard.

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CON

Robert James Manion (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MANION:

I did not read anything from the papers. I quoted the headlines verbatim. I did not read statements from the press at all.

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LIB

Ian Alistair Mackenzie (Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE (Vancouver):

On the point of order, Mr. Speaker, the record of Hansard, while not yet official, shows that my hon. friend said that he quoted this comment as from the Vancouver Sun, and I submit that it should be expunged from Hansard because the quotation was improperly and inaccurately made to this house. I ask for your ruling, sir.

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LIB

Walter Edward Foster (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER:

Does the hon. leader of the opposition state where the quotations were taken from ?

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CON

Robert James Manion (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MANION:

I have said they come from a friend of mine. I do not choose to give his name. I have them here in my hand now, and I quoted them correctly.

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LIB
CON

Robert James Manion (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MANION:

I do not know. I have them here and the minister can read them. I adopted the statements as my own.

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LIB

Ian Alistair Mackenzie (Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE (Vancouver):

That is enough. Let it go.

Bren Gun-Division

The house divided on the amendment (Mr. Stevens) which was negatived on the following division:

++YEAS

Messrs:

Anderson

Baker

Barber

Black, (Mrs.) (Yukon)

Brooks

Casselman

Church

Esling

Graydon

Harris

Homuth

Hyndman

Lennard

Lockhart

McGregor

MacNicol

Manion

Perley

Ross (St. Paul's)

Senn

Spence

Stewart

Thompson

Tustin

Wermenlinger White-26.

++NAYS

Messrs:

Ahearn

Beaubien

Bertrand (Prescott) Black (Chateauguay-Huntingdon) Blackmore Blair

Blanchette

Bothwell

Bouchard

Boulanger

Bradette

Brunelle

Cardin

Cleaver

Cochrane

Coldwell

Cotd

Crerar

Damude

Davidson

Deaehman

Denis

Deslauriers

Donnelly

Douglas (Queens)

Douglas (Weyburn)

Dubuc

Dupuis

Dussault

Elliott (Kindersley)

Euler

Evans

Fafard

Fair

Farquhar

Ferguson

Ferland

Ferron

Fiset (Sir Eugene) Fleming Fontaine Fournier (Hull) Fournier (Maison-neuve-Rosemount) Franeoeur Furniss Gardiner Gariepy Gladstone Glen Golding

Grant

Hamilton

Hansell

Hanson

Hartigan

Hayhurst

Heaps

Howden

Hurtubise

Ilsley

Isnor

Jaques

Jean

Johnston (Bow River) Johnston __ (Lake Centre) Kennedy King, Mackenzie Kirk Kuhl

Landeryou

Lapointe (Matapedia-Matane)

Lapointe

(Quebec East) Leader Leduc McAvity McCallum McCann McCulloch McDonald (Pontiac) McDonald (Souris) McGeer Maclnnis McIntosh McKenzie

(Lambton-Kent) MacKenzie (Neepawa) Mackenzie

(Vancouver Centre) MacKinnon

(Edmonton West) McKinnon (Kenora-Rainy River)

McLarty

MacLean (Cape Breton North-Victoria) McLean (Melfort) MacLean (Prince) McLean (SimcoeEast) MacLennan

MacMillan Quelch

MacNeil Reid

McNevin Rennie

(Victoria, Ont.) Rheaume

McNiven Rickard

(Regina City) Rinfret

Macphail, (Miss) Robichaud

McPhee Rogers

Mallette Ross

Marshall (Middlesex East)

Matthews Ross (Moose Jaw)

Maybank Rowe (Athabaska)

May hew St-Pere

Michaud Sanderson

Mills Sylvestre

Mulock Telford

Mutch Thorson

Needham Tomlinson

Neill Tremblay

O'Neill Turgeon

Parent (Terrebonne) Turner

Patterson Veniot

Pelletier Ward

Pinard Warren

Poole Weir

Pottier Winkler

Pouliot Wood

Power Woodsworth

Purdy Young-149.

Messrs:

(The list of pairs is furnished by the chief whips.)

Dunning Howe Elliott

(Middlesex West)

Gray Fraser Macdonald

(Brantford City)

Tucker Slaght

Taylor (Norfolk)

Howard

Lacroix (Beauce)

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LIB
CON

Charles Hazlitt Cahan

Conservative (1867-1942)

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

This motion is for the reference to the public accounts committee of the agreement between the government and the new John Inglis Company for the manufacture of Bren guns.

Upon due consideration of the relevant facts, it seems to me that no public interest is likely to be served by such a reference, and indeed such a reference in my opinion will only serve to obscure the real issue which is now before the government and the house.

The public accounts committee is a standing committee of this house, and all relevant expenditures may be fully investigated by that committee without such reference being

Stevens

Stirling

Massey

Lawson

Heon

Walsh

Marsh

Brown

Green

Clarke (Rosedale)

Rowe

(Dufferin-Simcoe)

The question is on the

Bren Gun-Mr. Cahan

made. But, as I shall attempt to show, the real issue is not an issue that can be considered by the standing committee on public accounts. Moreover, such a reference will preclude discussion in this chamber of far more serious issues which arise out of the report of Mr. Justice Davis, the commissioner, who was appointed to inquire fully "into all matters relating to" the Bren gun contract and the steps taken to protect the public interest, and to report upon the same.

The commissioner has reported that all available documents in any way relevant and material to the subject matter of the inquiry were presented to the commission, and he has reported several thousand pages of oral evidence and of argument of counsel. I have already reviewed in an earlier debate the precautions taken by the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) to safeguard the public interest; his appointment of a special committee of which his own deputy, Doctor Skelton, was chairman, and the report of that committee that the problem appeared essentially to be one of administration; that is whether under the present Minister of National Defence (Mr. Mackenzie) an adequate and competent administration was being or was likely to be obtained. The report of that special committee was undoubtedly made known by the Prime Minister to his colleagues in council and more or less thoroughly discussed. Thereupon the government, sitting in council, by order in council P.C. 439 appointed an interdepartmental committee to formulate and advise upon the principles and safeguards, whether general or specific, which should be observed to protect the public interest, and to communicate the same to the Department of National Defence and to any other department concerned. Thus far the Prime Minister and his colleagues appear to have taken reasonable precautions.

The commissioner indicates very fully in his report that that committee earnestly desired to secure competitive bids, and made persistent demands to that effect. The commissioner reports, on page 41, that:

The Minister of National Defence did say that he was informed in a general way, not in great_ detail, of the progress of the discussions in the committee by the deputy minister . . .

It would reasonably have been expected that the Minister of National Defence would have informed himself from day to day of the proceedings of that interdepartmental committee, before which his methods of administration were clearly on trial. But he gave no concern to its proceedings although he had

himself sufficient information to put him upon inquiry. He appears to have been utterly indifferent. The commissioner also reports, at page 42, that:

The minister says he never went over the proposals of Major Hahn in detail.

The minister also states, as reported at page 8 of the commissioner's report, that he never attempted in any method or in any way to comply with the demand of the interdepartmental committee for competitive bids from other well known companies, with skilled labour and skilled mechanics, who had been working in precision steel. He merely answers, without making any personal inquiry whatever, " I do not think it was practical." Again he declared, in answer to a question:

Q. There was never the slightest effort, was there, to interest or invite any of those firms to tender or to make any offer to manufacture the Bren gun?

A. No, I do not think there was. [DOT]

At page 41 the commissioner reports that:

There is not a suggestion that the members of the government ever heard of these difficulties which confronted the committee or of the attitude that was taken by members of it to the proposed contract.

That is, the commissioner expressly states that there is not a suggestion in any of the evidence adduced that the other members of the government ever heard of the difficulties before the interdepartmental committee and the demands of that committee with respect to the placing of these contracts. Certainly in view of all the circumstances leading to the appointment of that committee it was the bounden duty of the Minister of National Defence not only to keep himself fully informed but to have kept the Prime Minister and his colleagues fully informed of the views of that committee. But that duty he entirely ignored, and all the precautions and salutary safeguards taken by the Prime Minister were completely disregarded by the Minister of National Defence, apparently without the knowledge of the Prime Minister or of his colleagues. It is this defiant dereliction of duty on the part of the Minister of National Defence that Mr. Justice Davis sought to bring clearly before the government and before parliament in the report which he has submitted. Therefore the commissioner reports, page 35:

The facts are all in evidence . . .

So far as the facts are concerned, there are very few which are even in dispute.

... It will be for those charged with the responsibility of dealing with the facts, i.e. the government and parliament, to examine and study them and to take such action, if any, thereon as they may see fit.

Bren Gun-Mr. Cahan

That I conceive to be the primary duty which confronts the Prime Minister and the members of his government.

Again at page 49 the commissioner reports:

... I am unable to pass upon the substance as distinct from the form of the contract . . . but what is more important after all is whether the procedure adopted in making the contract was that best calculated to protect the public interest and to secure the confidence of the people of Canada that there would be no improper profiteering in the private manufacture of wrar armaments for the defence of the country.

That is a question upon which the government and parliament, in the light of the evidence brought before the commission, must pass.

So says the commissioner selected by the government and appointed for the purpose of making this inquiry and report. In fact the Prime Minister had previously declared in the House of Commons on April 2, 1937, as reported in Hansard, page 2697, that:

At the present time, in a time of peace, the government is proceeding on the theory of permitting competition with reasonable remuneration. the work to be subject to inspection and audit.

That declaration of government policy is in accord with the report of the special committee appointed by the Prime Minister to consider these matters, that "The problem appeal's to be essentially an administrative one." The interdepartmental committee were therefore fully in accord with the policy announced by the Prime Minister. That policy the Minister of National Defence deliberately disregarded, without ever consulting the Prime Minister and his colleagues in the government. Such action on the part of the Minister of National Defence calls for summary action on the part of the Prime Minister, who should call for the minister's resignation forthwith, or else the Prime Minister, by condoning the minister's conduct, must assume full responsibility before parliament and before the electors of this country.

Mr. Justice Davis on page 50 of his report says:

Your commissioner took the position that-

It is at least a plausible view that the question whether tenders should be called for in such a case is a matter of administrative policy, upon which competent opinion is, or may well be, divided, and one therefore peculiarly for the government and parliament.

That was a matter of public policy, therefore, respecting which the Prime Minister, I believe in good faith, had already made the solemn declaration to parliament which I have already quoted, and in the carrying out of which he would have certainly had my

full support and, I am confident, the support of an overwhelming majority in parliament. But at page 50 the commissioner adds that if- -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. The question is: Were proper and sufficient steps taken in this case to discharge that responsibility? Upon the whole evidence, that is a question for the government and parliament to pass upon.

And in summarizing his views the commissioner continues:

What is plain to me at the end of this long inquiry is this: that if the policy of private manufacture of war munitions and armaments is to be continued in this country (a question of administrative policy for the department and parliament to determine), once the requirements are determined by the Department of National Defence the negotiations leading up to and the making of contracts between the government and private manufacturers either for the purchase or production of such munitions or armaments should be put into the hands of an expert advisory group of competent business men-

Then he adds:

These persons should constitute a board (which might be known as the defence purchasing board) and be made directly accountable to the Prime Minister or to the Minister of Finance.

And the commissioner proceeds:

It is no reflection upon the technical skill and knowledge of the military officers and officials of the Department of National Defence to say this for it is a matter requiring quite a different training and knowledge and quite a different experience from military training and experience.

The appointment of such a board is a matter to be discussed at the proper time. A resolution is already on the order paper with respect to a bill to be introduced, and upon that resolution or upon the bill no doubt ample opportunity will be afforded to discuss this matter. I may say, however, that the appointment of every such board is, in some measure, a blow at responsible, respresenta-tive government and a step in the direction of the adoption of fascist administration and government in this country. But it is clear that the commissioner, having heard and reflected upon all the evidence which was adduced by counsel, has definitely concluded that the present Minister of National Defence is not only incapable but is disqualified from administering his department even with the assistance of such a board. Therefore the minister advises that such a board, if appointed, should report to the Prime Minister or to the Minister of Finance.

8S6

Bren Gun-Mr. Cahan

I urgently protest against the adoption of any such makeshift policy as that suggested. The Prime Minister's duties, as we all know, are not only numerous but ver3' onerous indeed. The Minister of Finance is already overburdened. The real remedy is for the Prime Minister to ask the Minister of National Defence to resign forthwith and to appoint in his stead a minister who is competent to administer the affairs of that department. As I have already stated, the Minister of National Defence has proved inattentive and neglectful of his primary duties, and, on the whole, has shown himself incompetent for the efficient administration of the most important work of his ministerial office. The next step is to fill the vacancy by the appointment of a new minister who will not persistently defy the Prime Minister of the country and his colleagues in the government, but who, in consultation with them, will carry into effect the policies which they have fully considered, adopted and confirmed.

That, it seems to me, is the primary issue which the commissioner, Mr. Justice Davis, has presented to the government, in the first place, and then, if the government fails of action, to the parliament of this country. The Prime Minister will not satisfy public opinion, and I cannot believe that he will full satisfy his colleagues, until he has effectively dealt with a recalcitrant, defiant and incompetent minister. If that minister is really sincere in the professions and protestations which he made to this house on Thursday evening last; if he really, sincerely desires, despite his manifest ineptitude and inefficiency, that proper measures may now be taken, quoting his own words-

-to provide such measures of national defence and security as will preserve the welfare and well being of our Canadian people-

-then he should forthwith place his resignation in the hands of the Prime Minister. Possibly now a less onerous post may be found for him by the Prime Minister. I certainly do not wish him any ill personally.

Some lion. MEMBERS: Oh, oh.

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CON

Charles Hazlitt Cahan

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CAHAN:

Well, laugh. I have seen

something of life; I have had under my administration many thousands of men. I have found in the best of them frailties and I have found in the worst of them many good qualities. I do not say that the present Minister of National Defence may not have some subordinate place in the administration of the affairs of this country, but he certainly has not lived up to the duties and responsibilities of his present office. If he

is retained in that office it will undoubtedly result in this, that the people of Canada will no longer have confidence in the administration of the Department of National Defence.

The Prime Minister and his colleagues, having access to more definite and more reliable information than is available to other members of this house, have declared during recent years that for the adequate defence of Canada large expenditures upon armaments are necessary. We have voted the moneys so far requested. We are now about to be asked for additional appropriations, to a veiy large amount. In the existing conditions of increasing national debt and ever-increasing and now almost intolerable burden of taxation, these additional expenditures upon armaments and munitions are only justified by the prospective imminence of war and by the necessity of our unanimous action in making adequate preparations for the defence and security of Canada. No unity in Canada is possible, and no adequate preparations can be made, unless the government as a whole and the Department of National Defence in particular have the complete confidence of the people of our country.

Any confidence that did formerly exist has been dissipated by the report of Mr. Justice Davis, the commissioner selected by the government, by his impeachment of the conduct of the minister as disclosed in that report, and, further, I may say, by the minister's vituperative address of Thursday evening last, portions of which have been deemed unfit for publication in Hansard of the Commons.

The people of Canada will not be united in making adequate preparations for defence, much less in entering upon a war of defence, while the administration of the Department of Defence is in charge of the present minister. The issue which Mr. Justice Davis has presented is now clear, and the responsibility of dealing with that issue is placed, under our constitutional form of government, primarily upon the Prime Minister. Our people are looking to him, and many are fervently praying that he may now have courage adequate to his responsibility. If he fails to measure up to his responsibilities, then it is that the parliament and people of Canada should take action, as recommended by Mr. Justice Davis.

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LIB

Gerald Grattan McGeer

Liberal

Mr. G. G. McGEER (Vancouver-Burrard):

Mr. Speaker, the course of this debate has taken a rather strange line of procedure, finally to culminate in this extraordinary appeal to parliament to judge the outcome of proceedings which are to be referred or are now being referred to be dealt with by the public accounts committee. Granted everything that

Bren Gun-Mr. McGeer

has been said on the other side of the house, what possible basis can there be for this judgment before the committee's findings are made to parliament?

I want to draw the attention of hon. members to some of the dangers of responding too readily to that type of partisan appeal. On many occasions we have heard references to the report. To-night special reference was made to the report at page 42. I should like to quote the finding of the commissioner with regard to the minister's attitude. That finding is taken from page 2334 of the evidence, and is as follows:

The minister said he never went over the proposals of Major Hahn in detail.

"I had infinite confidence in my technical advisers and also in the final jurisdiction and supervision of the interdepartmental committee which I was largely instrumental in creating myself."

Let me say that this is the conduct of the minister which is being condemned to-night, and the attitude upon which the hon. member for St. Lawrence-St. George (Mr. Cahan) asks the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) to dismiss the Minister of National Defence (Mr. Mackenzie).

Let me put this to hon. members: Here is a highly technical proposal. It is not a matter upon which the minister is supposed to be able to form opinions. The question was: Could a patented gun of a highly technical nature be more advantageously produced by the selection of a contractor and the cooperation of the government with that contractor, than by the old system of public tender? Here was the one exception to the general line of contractual relationships that even the Department of National Defence might enter into which required, not the dictatorial assertion of the authority of the minister, but the untrammeled action of the technical officers of the department, along with the supervision of the interdepartmental committee which was there, not to be told by the minister what to do, but to say whether or not what the technical officers were doing was worthy of their support.

There are some other statements which have been made which are just as far away from reason as this extraordinary demand. Let me put this to hon. members: Supposing the minister had gone in and had dictated the policy of the interdepartmental committee; supposing he had dictated upon technical matters the policy of technical officers-that, I submit, would have been political interference that this whole procedure of interdepartmental committee and technical officer advice was designed to avoid. It was the kind

of conduct which, had it been perpetrated by the minister, would have warranted the very action for which my hon. friends are now asking.

I wish to place before the house some facts which I think are pertinent to this particular issue. The first of these are contained in the letter dated October 29, 1936, of the Minister of National Defence to the Prime Minister, which states:

My dear Prime Minister:

May I suggest that at your earliest convenience we have a short meeting of the defence committee. One of the questions I should like a decision on is in regard to the following: What should our policy be with

reference to the supply of munitions or small arms. The chief of the general staff believes that Canada should be self-sustaining, and that we should proceed with the work at Valeartier. The completion of the ammunition building there will entail an additional $5,500,000. Some members take the view that this money could be better spent in cooperation with private firms. The chief of the general staff believes that our policy should be to have a government factory both in regard to munitions and also in regard to small arms, but to cooperate with industry as far as possible.

It will take from two and a half to three years to complete the ammunition building at \ alcartier. In the meantime, of course, the government could give orders to private firms on the definite understanding that in case of any emergency arising these firms would be taken over and controlled by the government during the time of the emergency.

That letter clearly placed before the government the disagreement in the Department of National Defence as to public ownership of arsenals, as to the practical possibility of public ownership with the funds which were available, and the views of those who wanted to use the available funds to get the best possible results. It was then, I understand, that the Skelton committee came into being. That committee recommended against the development of public ownership of arsenals in Canada.

But there is a document exhibit No. 46, before the commissioner, under date of March 5, 1937, in which the Minister of National Defence secures a policy which is incorporated in an order in council of that date which I should like to read into the record:

Certified to be a true copy. The committee of the privy council have had before them a report, dated March 2, 1937, from the Minister of National Defence stating that an interdepartmental committee formed under the instructions of the right hon. the Prime Minister to consider certain questions pertaining to the control of profits on government armament contracts, has in its report suggested that there be instituted a standing interdepartmental financial committee to assist the officials charged with the placing of contracts under the defence program, and that such a committee "might

Bren Gun-Mr. McGeer

study and classify the requirements of the defence program from the financial point of view, and formulate or advise upon the financial principles or safeguards to be observed in placing contracts of various types, and as to rules of procedure."

That it was also suggested that this committee "might be available for consultation upon the financial aspects of any unusual specific cases or conditions arising from time to time, and that it would be limited to this function of assisting in the prevention of undue profits, that is to say it would not be concerned with other aspects of the defence program."

The minister-

That is the Minister of National Defence: -is of the opinion that a committee whose functions and duties would be generally as set out in the suggestion aforesaid would be in the public interest, and therefore, recommends :

X. That there be formed a committee to be known as the interdepartmental committee on the control of profits on government armament contracts, said committee to consist of one representative from the Departments of Trade and Commerce, Labour, National Revenue (income tax), Finance, and the deputy minister of national defence and one official or officer of the Department of National Defence, with the deputy minister of national defence as chairman of said committee.

2. That the duties of this committee shall be generally to study and classify from the financial point of view the various requirements which the government's defence program involves, and when it is considered by the department concerned that effective competitive tendering cannot be secured in regard to any of its requirements, to formulate or advise upon such principles and safeguards, whether of a general or specific nature, which in this connection the committee considers should be observed, and to communicate to all departments concerned such information in this respect as the committee considers should be in their possession.

3. That such departments of the government as have occasion to make purchases of armament and/or mobilization stores, and/or to arrange for services directly or indirectly connected therewith, be directed to refer to said committee all questions relating to scales of prices, quotations, and similar financial matters whenever it appears or seems to appear that prices quoted for any articles, stores, etc., which are sought to be purchased are not obviously fair and reasonable.

4. That the committee shall be authorized to obtain from any department of the government such information regarding the matters coming within the scope of its duties and functions as it deems necessary, and that it shall have power to call before it any officer, official or employee of the government of Canada or of the naval, military or air forces of Canada, for the purpose of obtaining advice or information with respect to any of the matters wherewith the committee is empowered to deal.

What I want to point out is this, that the members of that committee had unlimited

[Mr. McGeer.}

powers under the order in council. Now I come to the men who formed that committee. They are:

National Defence: Lieutenant Colonel L.

R. LaFleche, deputy minister; Mr. Charles Burns, assistant deputy minister, with wartime experience as director of contracts.

Finance: Doctor W. C. Clark, deputy minister, with Doctor A. K. Eaton as an alternate, in the event of Doctor Clark's absence. Doctor Eaton is one of the senior officials of the finance department and is known as taxation investigator.

National Revenue: Mr. Fraser Elliott, K.C., commissioner of income tax, in addition, Mr. Ronald Sharp, chief inspector of income tax, assisted Mr. Elliott and served on a subcommittee which examined certain contracts, including the Bren gun contract.

Trade and Commerce: Mr. H. Marshall, in charge of internal trade statistics.

Labour: Mr. C. W. Bolton, chief statistician.

There is the strongest possible non-partisan official committee appointed to guard against and prevent in every way abuses from any profiteering or from any untoward action on the part of the Department of National Defence or any other department. The committee's powers were unlimited. It has been said time and time again in this house that this committee never reported to the government.

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?

An hon. MEMBER:

Hear, hear.

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LIB

Gerald Grattan McGeer

Liberal

Mr. McGEER:

My hon. friend says, "hear, hear." I think it is unfortunate that there should have been so many members speaking from the other side of the house who are clearly not conversant with the important facts about which they were speaking.

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CON

Robert James Manion (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MANION:

I am sorry to interrupt the hon. member, and I am not doing it. except for the reason of setting the record right. At page 41 of his report the commissioner states:

The system broke down when the committee failed to report back to the body that had created it.

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February 13, 1939