February 20, 1941

NAT

Percy Chapman Black

National Government

Mr. BLACK (Cumberland):

Will it

appear in some return submitted to parliament, or shall we have to ask for information with regard to each one of these undertakings?

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NAT

Richard Burpee Hanson (Leader of the Official Opposition)

National Government

Mr. HANSON (York-Sunbury):

If the

question is asked here, the information should be given, provided the minister has it available.

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LIB

Charles Gavan Power (Associate Minister of National Defence; Minister of National Defence for Air; Minister of National Defence for Air and Associate Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Mr. POWER:

We shall be only too glad

to give any information asked for. Eventually this would appear in the public accounts, but it might be hard to find the information in connection with a military camp like the one at Debert. I do not know whether there are, but it is quite possible that there have been roads constructed in connection with this camp and there might be a dozen different items throughout the public accounts. It would take one who was accustomed to perusing the public accounts to find everything relating to the Debert military camp. If my hon. friend wants the expenditures to date, there would be no trick in getting them.

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NAT

Percy Chapman Black

National Government

Mr. BLACK (Cumberland):

I should like

the total expenditures and the total commitments made with regard to the Debert military camp and airport. Would the Minister of Finance advise the committee the practice with regard to payments? I have had a number of complaints, and I know the minister has had many more, in connection with delay in the payment of accounts. Sometimes these commitments involve the total capital or the total credit of a company.

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LIB

James Lorimer Ilsley (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. ILSLEY:

The comptroller of the

treasury must verify the facts, and when the facts are verified the account is paid. What

the specific steps are that are taken for the purpose of verifying the account, I cannot say at the moment, but I can get that information if it is of interest to the hon. gentleman. It is a matter of detail.

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NAT

Richard Burpee Hanson (Leader of the Official Opposition)

National Government

Mr. HANSON (York-Sunbury):

The principles are laid down in the statute, are they not?

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LIB
NAT

Karl Kenneth Homuth

National Government

Mr. HOMUTH:

Months and months have gone by after the delivery of goods, but firms have received no payment yet, and they have been very much embarrassed. The banks will no longer advance them money, and that is a very serious matter for some of them. I cannot understand why, two or three or four months after the goods have been delivered, no payment has yet been made.

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LIB

James Lorimer Ilsley (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. ILSLEY:

There is often a reason which is not the fault of the comptroller's staff. Sometimes delays may take place because the comptroller's staff is understaffed or something of that kind. There has been a continuous increase in the number of appointments of accountants, auditors, clerks and others working for the comptroller of the treasury, trying to keep up with the great increase in the work of the office. I know that in many instances it has not been the fault of the comptroller or the fault of his staff that delays have taken place.

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NAT

John Ritchie MacNicol

National Government

Mr. MacNICOL:

I should like to ask the Minister of Munitions and Supply one more question. If company "A" desires to buy a steel shearing machine, must it obtain permission to buy that machine from the Citadel company vphich has been set up by the government and to which the minister has referred?

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LIB

Clarence Decatur Howe (Minister of Munitions and Supply)

Liberal

Mr. HOWE:

If company "A" is buying a shearing machine with its own money, it does not need to refer to Citadel at all, except of course at the present time, to buy a tool from the United States, there must be a clearance from the United States government. As my hon. friend knows, the export of machines is by special permit, and usually in such a case Citadel is asked to get the release, but Citadel does not handle the account in any way if it is a transaction between two private firms.

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NAT

Richard Burpee Hanson (Leader of the Official Opposition)

National Government

Mr. HANSON (York-Sunbury):

In other words, Citadel is given priority.

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LIB

Clarence Decatur Howe (Minister of Munitions and Supply)

Liberal

Mr. HOWE:

Yes. Usually as a matter of convenience, priority is obtained through Citadel, which keeps its own officer in Washington for that purpose. In that way it may

Railway Act-Rates on Grain

be interested in the transaction, although the money is paid direct from one company to the other.

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NAT

John Ritchie MacNicol

National Government

Mr. MacNICOL:

Citadel does not direct company "A" to the company from which it must buy the machine?

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NAT
LIB

Clarence Decatur Howe (Minister of Munitions and Supply)

Liberal

Mr. HOWE:

No. Perhaps I had better qualify that. Citadel buys machines which the government will own, and which it sometimes installs for a private plant. My hon. friend will understand that we sometimes equip a private plant to do work for the government, but the tools will remain the property of the government.

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NAT

Richard Burpee Hanson (Leader of the Official Opposition)

National Government

Mr. HANSON (York-Sunbury):

I -would ask the Minister of Finance to bring down to-morrow or as soon as convenient a statement of the expenditures and commitments up to the latest date for which the information is conveniently available with regard to the cost of the thirty-day training plan. I was in communication with the Minister of National Defence (Mr. Ralston) about the matter and he undertook to get me these figures, but they have not yet been made available.

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LIB

Charles Gavan Power (Associate Minister of National Defence; Minister of National Defence for Air; Minister of National Defence for Air and Associate Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Mr. POWER:

They will certainly be available to-morrow. I saw the letter here to-night.

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NAT

Richard Burpee Hanson (Leader of the Official Opposition)

National Government

Mr. HANSON (York-Sunbury):

I would think they are available and I would like them spread on the record, with the breakdown, if the department has it, showing the amount that was allocated for the scheme out of the 1940 appropriation to be spent (a) by National Defence, and (b) by War Services; also how far the activities of War Services go, and the expenditure in that respect before these men are handed over to National Defence for training. My understanding is that under the present practice War Services calls the men up, pays for their preliminary medical examination and gives them their transportation, all of which of course is charged up to this vote. Then, at the training centre these men are delivered over to National Defence, and from then on the expense in respect of these men is for the account of National Defence until they are paid off, when they are re-delivered, so to speak, to War Services, which transports them back to their homes. I think that is the modus operandi. The deputy minister of war services gave me an item, on request, but it did not include expenses for transportation either way, on the theory that the bills had not come in. I can hardly understand that. I am not doubting his word for a moment, but these men were called up in October.

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LIB

Charles Gavan Power (Associate Minister of National Defence; Minister of National Defence for Air; Minister of National Defence for Air and Associate Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Mr. POWER:

I am not sure about their transportation home. I imagine they would go home at the expense of National Defence. I am not clear on that, but certainly War Services pays transportation to the camp.

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February 20, 1941