Mr. Chairman, the resolution provides for the granting of SIOO.OOO.OOO to his majesty for certain general purposes in connection with the prosecution of war activities. Perhaps the committee will want not a detailed but rather a general statement of the purposes for which the money is being granted, and the reason for fixing upon the amount of $100,000,000.
The cost of a war effort by Canada does not lend itself to precise calculations in advance. Fortunately, we lack experience as to the costs involved in mobilizing large numbers of men, and the task of fortifying our sea frontiers is, to a great degree, without precedent. Therefore the financial process must take a form permitting financial decisions to be made as need arises, and not by settling now a fixed plan which must be rigidly observed, irrespective of what the necessities may involve.
The Appropriation Act for the current fiscal year provides, in round figures, $65,000,000 for the services which come within the field of the Department of National Defence. As will be recalled, the votes were, to a great extent, for the acquisition of armaments and machines of war. A large number of contracts have been entered into since April 1, and deliveries are being made. But, broadly speaking, the majority of the contracts are still in process of being performed, with the result that approximately $50,000,000 of the regular appropriations remain undisbursed, and that expenditures for armaments in the next few months will be, in the main, for those for which provision is already made.
It is not desirable, and the reason is obvious, that I be too specific in particularizing the nature of the steps which the general staffs of the three defence services recommend should be taken. I trust therefore that the committee will bear with me if my explanation takes the form of broad generalizations.
First, as to the naval service:
The existence of a state of war, as it is now prosecuted on the high seas, demands that all reasonable precautions be taken to safeguard our ports and sea lanes. The Minister of National Defence is of the opinion that this can be achieved through the acquisition of certain classes of craft, by the equipping of other craft with necessary apparatus and by the provision of various forms of protective works on each seaboard. There will be, also, expansions in the service to permit the navy to give the service expected of it at a time such as the present.
Next, as to the militia service:
The permanent force and the non-permanent units of the militia have been placed on active service status and the establishments of the units are being filled out by recruiting activities. Therefore, with respect to the militia, the major costs in the next few months will be for pay and allowances and for clothing, shelter, subsistence and training provided to the men on active service status.
A problem to be faced is that of housing the members of the forces, because the winter season is not far distant. Again, in a country as large as Canada, the question of transport is neither a simple nor an inexpensive one to solve. It is felt that we should make such provision that the Canadian militia activity at the moment could take the form of mobilizing at least forty thousand men for general purposes, plus a further number for special and coast defence purposes. The acquisition of large quantities of materials is also necessary, but immediate disbursements will be mainly on account of those in training.
War Appropriation Bill
Now, as to the requirements of the air force:
The air force's needs pivot on the acquisition of stores, and equipment, mainly aircraft. It is idle to discuss what one might want, because aircraft cannot be acquired by simply placing an order as one does for an automobile. Therefore, while an expenditure in the vicinity of $40,000,000 would bring the air force to full peace time establishment, both in equipment and in personnel, it is not anticipated such an amount will be disbursed in the next few months.
In addition to expenditure on equipment, an immediate expenditure on the training and dispatch of pilots and airmen overseas will be necessary. Enlistments are now taking place, a substantial number of pilots and airmen are already trained or completing their training, and there will be no delay in proceeding with this effective form of cooperation with Great Britain. It is essential that there be ample funds to meet any emergency which may arise in the needs of this service.
The next department which has material additions to its costs is the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. The force has been expanded by a call going out to five hundred former members to report for duty and by engagement of special constables up to a total of 2,500. The pay and allowances for these, and the cost of moving the members of the force to where they will be required, are the major new items of expenditure to be incurred by the force. In all, if the precautionary recommendations are fully implemented, about $3,000,000 may be involved.
The Departments of Public Works and of Transport visualize new activities devolving upon them. In the case of Public Works, these will be in connection with housing for expanded services, particularly those of national defence, while the new costs of the Department of Transport will be mainly with respect to adding to the facilities for ocean shipping, and for landing fields for aircraft. In neither case can the amounts be estimated with exactness, but neither will be for large amounts at any one point. Perhaps $3,000,000 is an outside estimate.
Other departments will need financial assistance for new or expanded services, but, collectively, it is hoped that, in total, these new disbursements may be kept within $1,000,000.
The various departments of the government visualize a possible new outlay of about S125,000,000. It does not necessarily follow that the government will approve all these proposals. Nor, in fairness to all concerned,
should it be said that the submitted estimates represent the most conservative estimate which might be made; for, as pointed out before, an exact forecast of events into the months to come is not possible. Further, while certain costs can and will come due for payment within the period, many contract orders will remain uncompleted by the end of January and therefore unpaid. Likewise, as already pointed out, deliveries of aircraft are not secured forthwith by simply placing an order. For all of these reasons, and bearing in mind the provision already made by parliament for the public services, this bill has for its purpose that of appropriating $100,000,000, and it is believed that this amount will permit Canada to perform the duties resting on the dominion until further consideration may be given by parliament to our national effort.
Subtopic: PROVISION FOR GRANTING TO HIS MAJESTY AID FOR NATIONAL DEFENCE AND SECURITY