February 28, 1941


On the orders of the day:


CON

Joseph Henry Harris

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. J. H. HARRIS (Danforth):

In 6pite of what the Prime Minister has said, may I ask a question of the Postmaster General or perhaps of the Minister of Transport. I should like to know whether a contract has been entered into between the Department of Transport, who are operating the affairs of Trans-Canada Air Lines, for the carriage of mails; if so, when does it expire, and will the minister responsible for it lay it on the table?

Topic:   TRANS-CANADA AIR LINES CONTRACT FOR CARRIAGE OF MAILS-REVISION OF PRICES
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LIB

Clarence Decatur Howe (Minister of Munitions and Supply)

Liberal

Hon. C. D. HOWE (for the Minister of Transport):

No contraot has been made for the year 1941. The act as at present drawn requires that a new contract be made each year on the basis of the performance of the old year. It has been found that in actual operation this is hardly possible, because figures for the old year are not available when the new year begins. We are asking for legislation, as my hon. friend will note from the order paper, for a revision of the act.

Topic:   TRANS-CANADA AIR LINES CONTRACT FOR CARRIAGE OF MAILS-REVISION OF PRICES
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CON

Joseph Henry Harris

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. HARRIS (Danforth):

No revision of price?

Topic:   TRANS-CANADA AIR LINES CONTRACT FOR CARRIAGE OF MAILS-REVISION OF PRICES
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LIB

Clarence Decatur Howe (Minister of Munitions and Supply)

Liberal

Mr. HOWE:

Yes, there will be a revision of price as well. It is the intention to cut the price on the carriage of air mail from sixty cents to forty cents a mile beginning the first day of April, 1941.

1118 COMMONS

House of Commons-Friday Adjournments

Topic:   TRANS-CANADA AIR LINES CONTRACT FOR CARRIAGE OF MAILS-REVISION OF PRICES
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ADJOURNMENT AT SIX O'CLOCK ON FRIDAYS


On the orders of the day:


LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Right Hon. W. L. MACKENZIE KING (Prime Minister):

The order of the day to-day is No. 4, for the house to go into committee of the whole on the resolution respecting the war appropriation bill. Before the house proceeds to that order, I should like to say a word about evening sittings on Friday. On one or two occasions before, I have mentioned to hon. members that as the time of the house is taken up during the week with the discussion, for the most part, of urgent war matters, and all of us are obliged to concentrate very closely on these particular questions, which are most important, that for the present at least, unless there is some special reason to the contrary it would probably meet the wishes of hon. members generally if it were understood that we would adjourn on Friday at six o'clock instead of continuing sitting during the evening. I have discussed the matter with the leader of the opposition (Mr. Hanson), and he and I hold the view that the house has much to gain and nothing to lose by having it understood that at least for this part of the session unless the government deem it important to have hon. members do otherwise, the house will not sit on either Wednesday or Friday nights. Unless there is some view to the contrary on the part of hon. members, I should like to announce now that we will not sit this Friday evening, and that for the present we will not be sitting on other Friday evenings unless there is some special reason why we should do so.

I would draw attention to the fact that intensity of effort is a factor that has to be taken into account in considering the significance of duration of effort. I imagine that in our discussions at this very critical time we are expending more energy in a few days than at other times we would expend in several days. That is a factor which has been recognized in the British House of Commons, and I think we might equally recognize it here.

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NAT

Richard Burpee Hanson (Leader of the Official Opposition)

National Government

Hon. R. B. HANSON (Leader of the Opposition) :

May I say that I concur entirely

in what the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) has said. Speaking for myself I can say honestly that at the end of the week I feel very tired. It is a tremendous effort to come here in the morning and work continuously from nine o'clock until eleven o'clock at night. I do not think the public will expect men, especially members of the government and others charged with responsibility, including myself, to put in a day as

long as that. I must have some relaxation, and I welcome this release from attendance here on Friday night. I hope other hon. gentlemen will concur in the suggestion that has been made by the Prime Minister.

Topic:   ADJOURNMENT AT SIX O'CLOCK ON FRIDAYS
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CCF

Major James William Coldwell

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. M. J. COLDWELL (Rosetown-Biggar):

Speaking for the small group with

which I am associated, Mr. Speaker, I should say we welcome this suggestion. I agree with the leader of the opposition (Mr. Hanson) that members of the government are working under a very heavy strain which to some extent will be relieved if this suggestion is adopted. I have often thought that the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) might have some hon. members deputize for the members of the government on occasion, because I realize the heavy strain they are under. We in this little group, with our committee work and so on, welcome this change. Though we are a small group in opposition nevertheless we devote a very considerable amount of time to the work of this house. So I say that not only have we no objection to this proposal; we welcome it, and we hope all other hon. members will welcome it also.

Topic:   ADJOURNMENT AT SIX O'CLOCK ON FRIDAYS
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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

I should like

to express my appreciation of the cooperation given in this matter, but there is one thing I should like to say to the hon. member for Rosetown-Biggar (Mr. Coldwell). I hope he will not imagine that members of the government are being relieved of any duties because the house rises at six o'clock. We have in the past reserved Wednesday and Friday evenings, when they were free, for additional meetings of the war committee of the cabinet, so that we will be just as busy with the work of the administration at that time as we would be if we were in the house.

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WAR APPROPRIATION BILL

PROVISION FOR GRANTING TO HIS MAJESTY AID FOR NATIONAL DEFENCE AND SECURITY


The house resumed from Wednesday, February 26, consideration in committee of a resolution to provide sums not exceeding $1,300,000,000, for the year ending March 31, 1942, for the carrying out of measures consequent upon the existence of a state of war-[DOT] Mr. Ilsley-Mr. Bradette in the chair.


NAT

Richard Burpee Hanson (Leader of the Official Opposition)

National Government

Mr. HANSON (York-Sunbury):

Mr. Chairman, when the house adjourned on Wednesday afternoon I had partly completed the statement which I wished to make at that time. I desire now to continue with that statement, and I promise the committee that I shall not take any great length of time. May I express the hope that the heat dis-

War Appropriation Bill

played from time to time on that occasion has been dissipated, and that we may pursue the discussion of this subject in a calm and philosophical manner.

At the time of adjournment on Wednesday I had partly placed on Hansard a statement which I had handed to the press on Thursday, February 20, the opportunity of reading which was denied to me at that time. I had carried the matter down to the point of the various recommendations made by the manufacturers to the acting Minister of Munitions and Supply in January last. I then adverted to the fact that the matter had been given attention by the chairman of the war-time requirements board, who had brought in from the United States a capable executive who was an authority on aircraft production. Apparently there is some little difference of opinion between myself and the Minister of Munitions and Supply with regard to the views of this gentleman. I am informed that his views with respect to Federal Aircraft were in accord with the views of the manufacturers; it has been so stated to me.

Topic:   WAR APPROPRIATION BILL
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR GRANTING TO HIS MAJESTY AID FOR NATIONAL DEFENCE AND SECURITY
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LIB

Clarence Decatur Howe (Minister of Munitions and Supply)

Liberal

Mr. HOWE:

I think it is only fair to

give the source of that information, because the three gentlemen associated with him have told me the exact opposite.

Topic:   WAR APPROPRIATION BILL
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR GRANTING TO HIS MAJESTY AID FOR NATIONAL DEFENCE AND SECURITY
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NAT

Richard Burpee Hanson (Leader of the Official Opposition)

National Government

Mr. HANSON (York-Sunbury):

If the

minister had waited until I concluded I think I could have saved him the necessity of interrupting. I will repeat that statement. I was informed-and I will now say that I was informed by a member of one of the manufacturing concerns

that this gentleman's views as expressed to them were in accord with those of the manufacturers. The minister stated the other day that the gentleman in question had not so expressed himself to the minister, and I accept that statement. There is no printed record of what the gentleman in question said, so I think the matter will just have to be left at that point. Even if he had said one thing or the other it would not settle anything, but in any case, as far as I am concerned I have to leave there the discussion of what his views were.

I was also informed from the same source that as a result of the expression of that gentleman's views the chairman of the board was in accord with and recommended the dissolution of Federal Aircraft. I am bound to say that according to the chairman's report as it appears in the Votes and Proceedings, and from what the minister has said, that information was not well founded. I hasten to say so, and I am sure that is a correct position for me to take. I want to say, however, that with that single exception, everything I said in my statement with regard

to this matter of the production of Anson aircraft is in accord with what the minister has said, and in accord with the facts. So far as I know there is just that one item of misinformation that was given to me.

Topic:   WAR APPROPRIATION BILL
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR GRANTING TO HIS MAJESTY AID FOR NATIONAL DEFENCE AND SECURITY
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LIB

Clarence Decatur Howe (Minister of Munitions and Supply)

Liberal

Mr. HOWE:

I just want to call my hon. friend's attention to the fact that according to my recollection of his statement it said quite definitely that the programme was very much behind schedule. I do not think that is indicated by the record.

Topic:   WAR APPROPRIATION BILL
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR GRANTING TO HIS MAJESTY AID FOR NATIONAL DEFENCE AND SECURITY
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NAT

Richard Burpee Hanson (Leader of the Official Opposition)

National Government

Mr. HANSON (York-Sunbury):

We will just see about that. I think I can demonstrate that myself.

I now wish to place on the record the more important of the concluding portions of the statement, in order that the matter may be fairly complete in Hansard. The statement proceeds:

The matter was delayed to await the return of the minister, but as yet the public is unaware of any steps taken to change the existing Federal set-up. On the 31st of January the minister is reported as having said:

'T can see nothing at the moment to indicate that we would get more planes by upsetting the Federal apple-cart." He went on to make a forecast of production, which is considered by aircraft manufacturers to be little short of fantastic.

I am further advised that after his return from England the minister communicated by letter with the aircraft manufacturers who had signed the original memorandum.

That is, to the acting minister.

He promised that a thorough study of the situation would be made at once, and upbraided some of the firms for being behind in their deliveries. All the firms were requested to answer as quickly as possible three questions:

1. Will the taking of steps you recommend accelerate production of Ansons in Canada, and if so to what extent?

2. On what facts do you base your opinions?

3. What guarantee can you and your group give as to a date when substantial deliveries of Anson planes will be made, provided your recommendations are accepted?

I am advised that a joint reply was made to this request, but I am unaware as to its nature, except that the manufacturers have reiterated the basic theme of the complaint against Federal Aircraft, which is that there can be no guarantee of performance under present or proposed reorganization so long as no schedule can be obtained from Federal Aircraft as to when engineering data, raw materials, parts, proprietary articles, castings, forgings, and finished parts, which are to be supplied by Federal Aircraft, will be available.

I believe that paragraph contains the gist of the defects of Federal Aircraft production. I am not going to allocate the blame to anyone. The minister stated that this was a mushroom industry, something that had never before been attempted on a large scale in Canada, the magnitude of which I

War Appropriation Bill

cannot at all events encompass in my own mind, and which I doubt if many hon. members can encompass.

But to me, the amazing part of it is that while the minister knew of the representations, asked the questions which he did with regard to recommendations for accelerating production of Ansons in Canada, and received the joint reply in which the manufacturers reiterated the basic theme of the complaint against Federal Aircraft, which was that there could be no guarantee of performance under present or proposed reorganization, so long as no schedule could be obtained from Federal Aircraft as to when engineering data, raw materials, parts, proprietary articles, castings, forgings and finished products, which were to be supplied by Federal Aircraft, would be available, he ignored these recommendations-

Topic:   WAR APPROPRIATION BILL
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR GRANTING TO HIS MAJESTY AID FOR NATIONAL DEFENCE AND SECURITY
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LIB

Clarence Decatur Howe (Minister of Munitions and Supply)

Liberal

Mr. HOWE:

I do not like to interrupt my hon. friend, but I think he is reading into the last letter the trade wrote something that is not there. I asked the trade to say when they could guarantee delivery, and they said they could not guarantee delivery until they had that information.

Topic:   WAR APPROPRIATION BILL
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR GRANTING TO HIS MAJESTY AID FOR NATIONAL DEFENCE AND SECURITY
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February 28, 1941