February 13, 1939

LIB

Ian Alistair Mackenzie (Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE (Vancouver):

Will the hon. leader of the opposition please read from the evidence.

Topic:   BREN MACHINE GUN CONTRACT
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CON

Robert James Manion (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MANION:

I have no objection, but I have not the evidence before me,

Topic:   BREN MACHINE GUN CONTRACT
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LIB

Gerald Grattan McGeer

Liberal

Mr. McGEER:

There are some things that are not open to argument; there are other things that it is not necessary to argue. What I want to put before the house and read into the record are the reports that were made to the minister and to the government from the interdepartmental committee and filed as exhibits before the commissioner.

Topic:   BREN MACHINE GUN CONTRACT
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LIB

Ian Alistair Mackenzie (Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE (Vancouver):

And

printed in the evidence, and filed as exhibits at the minister's request.

Topic:   BREN MACHINE GUN CONTRACT
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LIB

Gerald Grattan McGeer

Liberal

Mr. McGEER:

At the minister's request. I come first to exhibit 243. It is a report to the hon. minister from the interdepartmental committee under date of March 21, 1938, which was the day before the governor in council passed the order in council authorizing the execution of the contract, which was not executed until March 31. Here is exhibit 243, on file before the commission. The interdepartmental committee is reporting to the hon. Minister of National Defence:

The interdepartmental committee on the control of profits on government armament contracts has, during the last three months, at numerous meetings, considered in minutest detail all the aspects and factors leading up to the manufacture in Canada o'f Bren guns including the various methods possible which, with their advantages and disadvantages were fully weighed. In view of the experience of the war office in these matters and the position it took, the committee reached the conclusion that the placing of a contract on a cost-plus basis with a selected firm whose capabilities in the opinion of the war office and of the department are satisfactory, was the most practical course of action to be adopted in the circumstances.

The draft contract now before privy council represents the views expressed by the committee which considered it clause by clause in meticulous detail. The committee, after exhaustive examination of the financial aspects as reflected in the draft unanimously expressed the opinion that they are fair and reasonable.

Topic:   BREN MACHINE GUN CONTRACT
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L. R. L.


Deputy Minister. The initials are those of Colonel LaFleehe, deputy minister, and chairman of the interdepartmental committee.


CON

Robert James Manion (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MANION:

What is my hon. friend

reading from, may I ask?

Topic:   L. R. L.
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LIB

Gerald Grattan McGeer

Liberal

Mr. McGEER:

From an exhibit that was

filed before the commission, exhibit 243. Now does any hon. member on the other side of the house rise to say that the deputy minister and chairman of the interdepartmental committee misrepresented the conclusions of that committee to the minister, because we have it from a great many hon. members on the other side of the chamber that the deputy minister is a man of honour whose word is to be believed?

Topic:   L. R. L.
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CON
LIB
CON
LIB
CON

Edgard Jules Wermenlinger

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. WERMENLINGER:

I refer to the

deputy minister. .

Bren Gun-Mr. McGeer

Topic:   L. R. L.
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LIB

Gerald Grattan McGeer

Liberal

Mr. McGEER:

-because that must place the report before the minister in such a light that the Minister of National Defence was justified in acting upon it.

Topic:   L. R. L.
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CON
LIB
CON
LIB

Gerald Grattan McGeer

Liberal

Mr. McGEER:

Just a minute. I want

to put this on record without interruption, and when I have finished, if there are any questions, I shall be glad to answer them. I am not now making a speech; I am merely putting on record some facts which need neither speech nor argument to make them worth while and valid.

But the minister was not satisfied with that synoptic report. He went back to the deputy minister and said that he wanted a report in detail. I wish now to read in detail the report upon which the Prime Minister and his colleagues in the cabinet acted: it went before the commissioner and was filed as exhibit 244. The evidence is that it was the report upon which the Prime Minister and his colleagues advised the governor general to pass the order in council authorizing the execution of the contract.

As desired by you, a report on the Bren-

Topic:   L. R. L.
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LIB

Ian Alistair Mackenzie (Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE (Vancouver):

Will the hon. member please repeat those words: "As desired by you"?

Topic:   L. R. L.
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February 13, 1939