Hon. C. D. HOWE (Minister of Munitions and Supply):
Mr. Speaker, the purpose of this report is to set out in general terms the scope of the work of the Department of Munitions and Supply in providing the equipment and munitions required for Canada's service branches and by our allies overseas. I will attempt to avoid detail and statistics other than those required to indicate the magnitude of certain projects. In a general way, I hope to give hon. members a fair estimate of what has been, is now being accomplished, and our plans for future development.
The nature of our problems is changing, now that many of our industries are finding their capacity fully utilized. In the days of the defence purchasing board and the war supply board, the problem was largely that of placing orders at reasonable prices. The problems recently have become more in the nature of organizing and initiating sources of production. Secondary industries, that is manufactured products to be incorporated in a finished article, now present great difficulties. At the outset the only primary product difficult to obtain was wool, but we now have serious problems in obtaining steel, lumber, 95826-134
copper, aluminum, and various other minerals to fill requirements for Canada and Great Britain.
The problem has changed materially in another respect. At the outset, Britain appeared to believe that there would be time to build her own munitions industry, without calling on North America in a large way. Within the last few weeks, Britain has been asking Canada for practically anything that can be supplied in the way of munitions and war materials.
The point of view of Canada's armed forces toward this supply problem has also changed. Formerly, it was almost automatic to order naval supplies, coast defence guns and the more intricate electrical devices from Great Britain. It has become all too evident that Canada requires to be self-contained in the production of all such war material, and we are proceeding as rapidly as possible to bring this about.
I find it difficult to convey an appreciation of the magnitude of Canada's present industrial effort in the production of war materials and supplies. All of us are aware that Canada's industrial tempo is at the highest peak in our history. Even this tempo will increase rapidly as factories now under construction go into operation and as plants now tooling for new production begin to produce. During the past few months we have been buying machine tools in the United States and in Canada in a volume that challenges the imagination, all for the purpose of creating new manufacturing capacity for our industry. As I have said, our production to-day of manufactured goods is the largest in our history, but even it is small when compared with what our productive capacity will be six months hence. To illustrate, plants now under construction, involving a capital cost of some 120 million dollars, will have a productive capacity of 500 million dollars of goods per annum.
Our problem of supply deals with three stages: first, the raw material; second, the components or manufactured articles entering into the finished product; and third, the finished product. In the following discussion I shall not attempt to differentiate between Canadian orders and those placed either directly or through this department by the British and other empire governments. All represent an equal demand on our resources of raw materials and manufacturing capacity. While our Canadian demands represent much more than half our programme, the requirements of Great Britain are becoming increasingly important.
I will deal first with the finished products, which are in themselves the munitions of war.
Canada's War Effort
Shipbuilding.-Since last addressing the house on the development of the naval service, I am able to report that very satisfactory progress is being made in the fifty million dollar ship construction programme. Operations continue to be maintained well ahead of schedule.
Sixteen shipyards, located on the east and west coasts, on the St. Lawrence river, and on the great lakes, are carrying out our construction programme for larger warships.
The major naval programme engaging the attention of these yards includes 54 corvettes for the Royal Canadian Navy, to the amount of $29,400,000; 10 corvettes for the Royal Navy, amounting to $5,500,000; and 28 minesweepers for the Royal Canadian Navy, amounting to $16,500,000. The foregoing include 10 minesweepers of a new type, for which the construction details have recently been completed, and on which work has also begun. Of the corvettes, formerly called patrol vessels, several have already been launched and 10 more will be launched within the next five weeks. The machinery and other equipment required to complete these vessels are being delivered as required, and will be ready for installation on launching dates.
It is anticipated that before the end of the year 28 corvettes and 5 modern minesweepers will have been delivered to the naval service.
In addition to the sixteen shipyards engaged in large boat production, there are eighteen other shipyards working to capacity on a small boat programme. Included in this work are refuelling gasoline scows for the use of the Royal Canadian Air Force, rescue boats, numerous aircraft tenders, bomb loading tenders, 84-foot wooden salvage boats, and many pieces of floating equipment such as scows and supply boats.
Also to be included in Canada's naval force are trawlers requisitioned from their trade which have been converted into minesweepers, and highspeed motor torpedo boats, rescue vessels, and target boats for bombing practice, now under construction. Many merchant vessels have been fitted out with guns and armament to defend themselves at sea. Three fast passenger vessels are being converted into armed merchant cruisers, at a cost of $1,700,000.
Existing shipbuilding yards have been used almost exclusively in the construction programme, and facilities have been developed to permit enlarged operations where shipbuilding workers and technicians are available.
It is of interest to note that some 14,000 men are now employed in Canada's shipyards and allied industries on the ship construction programme. The number of men so employed has trebled itself in the last three months.
Aerodromes and Training Schools.-In October 1939, the responsibility for the selection of suitable sites for the aerodromes required for the training plan, and the preparation of these sites for use, was placed on the civil aviation branch. This branch was then completing a ten-year programme of similar work on the trans-Canada airways during which a wide experience had been acquired.
In the original programme aerodromes were required for 26 elementary training schools;
10 air observers schools; 10 bombing and gunnery schools; 16 service flying training schools; and 2 air navigation schools. Since for each of the service flying training schools 3 aerodromes are required, this means in all 96 projects.
The construction season was already over when the air training programme appeared, and it was only possible during the fall of . 1939, to select the aerodrome sites and have complete surveys made of them. This work was pressed with energy and before the end of the year suitable sites had been selected and surveys put in hand for about 80 per cent of the programme. This saved at least six months in the execution of the programme as satisfactory selections and surveys could not have been made with snow on the ground. All winter, work went on in the office, laying out the aerodromes on the surveyed sites to the best advantage, and preparing plans and specifications so that tenders could be called for, and contracts let in time to take advantage of the whole working season of 1&40.
Selection of aerodrome sites, even on the prairies and in good agricultural land, is not an easy task. Good drainage is an essential; also approaches to the airport site clear of obstructions. The ordinary amenities of civilization are very necessary near these schools. They must, therefore, be easy of access by road or rail and it is desirable that they should be located near some centre of population. This limits the choice considerably.
The selection procedure was as follows: Mountainous and thickly wooded areas were avoided for obvious reasons. A study was made of topographical maps available to determine the areas where approximately a square mile of level, accessible country could be obtained. Geographical distribution across the dominion was desirable, though some sections naturally lent themselves to easier and less costly development than others. After selections had been made from maps in the office, the sites were observed from the air and, if apparently suitable, in greater detail on the ground where observations were made of roads, telephone lines, railways, power and drainage and water supply. Reports of these surveys were then studied in detail and,
Canada's War Effort-Mr. Howe
if approved for development by the headquarters of the Royal Canadian Air Force and by the civil aviation division, a detailed survey plan of the aerodrome site and its surroundings was then ordered. The highway departments of the various provinces lent valuable assistance in this work and the majority of the surveys were carried out with the greatest efficiency by their parties. The engineering plans, showing the contour of the land, were then studied by experienced officers, and the aerodrome laid out to take the best advantage of the site. Plans and specifications for the grading, drainage, hard surfacing and lighting were then put in hand. At the same time, full information was made available to the Royal Canadian Air Force so that their buildings might be planned to fit in with the general development. Rapid progress was made on this work with the result that as soon as the frost was out of the ground, contractors were put to work in all sections of the country. Wet weather in May and June impeded progress to a certain extent % but, in spite of this, satisfactory progress has been made on all projects. Some are already complete and many others nearing completion.
It was found possible on some of the larger aerodromes to accommodate an elementary school on the same airport with one of the air observers schools so that the number of separate aerodromes required has been reduced accordingly.
The original schedule for opening these schools contemplated construction over a period of two and a half years. Recent events have made it necessary to expedite the completion of the whole scheme and accordingly construction on 90 per cent of these projects will have been completed by November of this year.
Extensions of the original programme are now under consideration. Eight additional service flying training schools, each requiring three aerodromes, are now required as well as several aerodromes for active service operation of the Royal Canadian Air Force. This will increase the programme to some 120 separate projects. Of these 77 are already in hand, calling for 47 entirely new aerodromes and the extension of 30 of the existing airports.
The 26 elementary flying training schools where the pupils are taught to fly light aircraft call for all-way fields, that is fields that can be used in any direction. A turf surface is preferable for this class of school, but in special cases hard surfaced runways will be necessary to take care of spring and fall conditions while on some existing aerodromes being used for the schools hard surfaces are already available. The acreage required for this type of school is from 200 acres upwards with clear 9582ft-1344
approaches from all directions. No field lighting is required at the elementary schools and the buildings consist of a hangar, living and messing quarters, storehouses, lecture rooms, and a small hospital, costing on an average of $100,000 for the buildings, with another $100,000 for the aerodrome.
The other classes of schools require much larger aerodromes with hard surfaced runways to provide for all weather flying, lighting for night flying and more elaborate buildings. The average size of such airports will exceed 500 acres. The number and cost of the buildings and cost of the aerodromes for the different types of schools are as follows:-
1. An air navigation school costs on the average about $300,000 for the aerodrome proper and $500,000 for the buildings;
2. An air observers school costs $350,000 for the aerodrome and $200,000 for the buildings;
3. A bombing and gunnery school costs $350,000 for the aerodrome and $800,000 for the buildings;
4. The service flying training schools, which include three aerodromes-one main aerodrome with a large area of hard surfaced runways and taxiways and on which hangars, workshops, living and messing quarters are concentrated; No. 1 relief aerodrome with a less elaborate system of hard surfaced runways and No. 2 relief aerodrome, with a turf surface for use in fine weather only-will cost for three fields approximately $800,000, and the six hangars plus 31 other buildings on the airport cost $900,000.
These figures include the cost of supplying a system of roads and taxiways inside the aerodromes, provision of power and light, water supply and sewage, and communication services, such as telephones, teletype, etc.
Eight of the elementary training schools are already in full operation, as well as one air observer and one service flying training school. Others will be opened in quick succession. By the close of the year about 40 schools will be in operation and the remainder will follow as quickly as aircraft and teaching personnel are available.
It will be understood that as the aerodrome construction season ends with the commencement of winter, all airports required during the first six months of 1941 must be finished before the snow flies this fall. The progress so far made indicates that this will be possible. The anticipated completion dates of airports in 1940, by months are as follows:-
Canada's War Effort-Mr. Howe
The anticipated cost of aerodrome construction on the 77 projects now approved for construction is $15,500,000. Up to the present it has involved the purchase of 30,000 acres of land at a cost of approximately $2,000,000. The grading of these aerodromes will involve the moving of 14,500,000 cubic yards of earth and the paving programme amounts to 8,500,000 square yards of pavement, equivalent to nearly 700 miles of standard highway 21 feet wide.
Aircraft.-From small beginnings, the aircraft industry of Canada is being developed to sizable proportions. Last week our factories delivered 25 finished aircraft, and, as new plants come into production, these deliveries will increase rapidly. Eight Canadian aircraft companies have in hand orders totalling some 3,200 planes, of which 257 have been delivered. Contracts in hand involve approximately 110 million dollars. Early in 1941, we expect to have a production of 360 planes per month, or about 12 planes per day, Sundays and holidays included, on the basis of production now arranged for. A further production programme is now being discussed between Great Britain and ourselves which promises to materially increase this output.
We are still dependent on importation of aeroplane engines, propellers (except wooden propellors), and instruments. An exhaustive study of. the aeroplane engine situation has not convinced us as yet that the production of aeroplane engines in Canada is warranted, having in mind the very large capital involved, and the drain on our resources of machine tools and skilled mechanics. Sources of supply of aeroplane instruments in Canada are being developed, and the production of metal propellors is under consideration.
As to types of planes, the present production includes Fleet primary trainer, Tiger Moth trainer, Fleet 60 advanced trainer, Norseman, Harvard trainer, Anson twin-engine trainer; and for fighting planes, Lysander, Hurricane fighter, Bolingbroke bomber, Hampden bomber, and the Stranraer flying boat.
The British commonwealth air training plan had involved the supply from Great Britain of some 1,500 Anson twin-engined trainers, as well as other training aeroplanes. Some two months ago, we were advised that the present emergency situation there had made it necessary for Britain to suspend shipments for a time, and immediate arrangements were made to manufacture substitute planes here. Some 5,000 aeroplane engines were purchased in the United States on this account, and nine Canadian firms have been put in production on components and assemblies of the Canadian Anson programme. In order to coordinate the work of these nine firms and to
ensure a supply of raw materials, engines, and instruments, as required, a wholly government-owned company, Federal Aircraft Limited, has been formed to take over the responsibility of the government for the production of aircraft of this type. It is anticipated that Canadian production of Ansons will commence before the end of this year. In the meantime the gap in the training programme is being filled partly by the purchase of new or used aeroplanes in the United States, and partly by Britain resuming shipment of the minimum number of training planes that will be required until Canadian production can supply the needs.
The supply of skilled labour for the aircraft industry is coming chiefly from our universities and technical schools, many of which have special summer courses directed toward increasing the supply. That is, of course, in addition to the winter courses. The extent to which our aircraft industry can be expanded will depend on how rapidly this trained personnel can be built up. At present the department is negotiating for the production of the . latest types of long-range bombers, fast fighters and modern flying boats, all of United States design, and with components obtainable on this continent.
Building Construction.-Our engineering division has, in addition to its work on buildings for the British commonwealth air training plan, placed large contracts for hutments for the troops, coast defence fortifications, aeroplane overhaul depots, buildings for new industrial plants, and a wide variety of less important projects. The building industry of Canada is working at the highest rate in its history, to meet our requirements for new construction. During the month of July the department awarded 72 contracts for building construction, totalling 11 million dollars.
Automotive Equipment.-Perhaps no country in the world is producing automotive equipment in the volume that now obtains in Canada. At present about 600 mechanized units per day are being produced, and in another month or two this figure will be substantially increased. Canadian government orders now placed for mechanical transport alone amount to S54.500.000, and Great Britain, South Africa, India, and other parts of the British empire are also large buyers in this market. The types of equipment being manufactured include several types of service trucks, gun towing vehicles, ambulances, station wagons, and service motor cars. Canadian motor transport is acknowledged to be the best that has been produced in this war.
The production of universal carriers is well advanced, and deliveries will begin before the
Canada's War Effort-Mr. Howe
end of this year. Six Canadian firms are cooperating in this production, and a high rate of output will be realized. The Ford Motor Company of Canada will be responsible for the assembly of these units, and this company is now building a large factory especially for that purpose. These universal carriers will be of Canadian manufacture throughout.
The Canadian Pacific Angus shops have undertaken the production of British "Mark III" tanks and have associated a number of other firms with them in that project. Production is being planned at the rate of 30 tanks per month. Tanks ordered by Canada will be furnished of complete Canadian manufacture except for engines, which will be imported from the United States until Canadian production can be organized. The "Mark III" tank project has involved the creation of new types of Canadian industry, and all are well underway. British and Canadian orders are in hand for "Mark III" infantry tanks to a total value of 63 million dollars.
Munitions.-Canada's munition programme involves the manufacture of Lee-Enfield rifles, Bren machine guns, Colt-Browning aircraft machine guns, sub-machine guns, 2-pounder anti-aircraft guns and carriages, 25-pounder quick-firing guns and carriages, 40 mm. Bofors anti-aircraft guns, 3-7 anti-aircraft guns and mountings, anti-tank rifles, and 20 mm. Hispano-Suiza aircraft cannon. This programme of gun manufacture has in most cases involved the building of a new plant. Our largest gun plant is for the manufacture of 25-pounder, quick-firing, guns and carriages and heavy naval guns, and represents a capital investment of 10 million dollars. This plant will be in production before the end of the current year, and will be one of the largest and most modern gun plants in the British empire. The Bren gun plant has been placed in operation and is delivering guns in substantial quantity. The capacity of this plant is being doubled by building an addition, now underway.
In the matter of shells and ammunition, our programme is a large one, and demands for still larger quantities continue to be received. We now have 14 plants producing shells, which include 4 mm. shells, 18-pounder, 25-pounder, 3-7-inch, 4'5-inch, 6-inch and 9-2-inch. In addition, Canada is filling large orders for fuses, games, traces, primers, cartridge cases, copper tubes for driving bands, brass and cupro nickel strip, and, in fact, everything necessary to complete all types of shells.
Total orders placed for ammunition of all types, including component parts such as fuses, primers, and cartridge cases, amount to
69 million dollars, of which 9 million dollars represents capital expenditures to increase plant capacities. In the immediate future, these orders will be increased by some 33 million dollars, involving the production, amongst other items, of several million shells.
The production of small arms ammunition is being expanded rapidly. The capacity of the Quebec arsenal for the production of this material is being multiplied by six. Privately owned plants are being enlarged and two new plants are being designed. Definite orders for small arms ammunition placed to date total some 19 million dollars, and the ceiling will be our productive capacity.
Canada is building two large new explosive plants-one of which will be in production in September next. These plants produce TNT, nitro-cellulose powder and rifle cordite. Existing explosive plants are being expanded largely. The total capital investment in explosive plants at present in hand will amount to some 30 million dollars. Just to show how rapidly these matters move, may I point out that a cable was received this morning which will have the effect of doubling that programme, and will involve an explosives programme of 160,000,000 instead of $30,000,000.