February 28, 1941

LIB

Clarence Decatur Howe (Minister of Munitions and Supply)

Liberal

Mr. HOWE:

That is not true.

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):

That is the statement as made 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 never in my life discussed Federal Aircraft with the industry.

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):

All right; I shall have to leave it at that. I am informed that, as a result, many promises were made by the minister, but that no action was taken by him in spite of the fact that many individuals in his own department, in the Department of National Defence for Air, in the industry, and even in Federal Aircraft itself, wanted a change. That is the statement which was made to me by a responsible member of the industry.

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:

My hon. friend is reporting what I did and I must say-

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):

It is what the minister did not do.

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 never discussed Federal

Aircraft with the industry. I have discussed it casually with individual members of the industry, but Federal Aircraft were handling their own affairs. I have discussed Federal Aircraft with the president and directors of Federal Aircraft, but that is the only serious discussion I had with anybody.

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):

I am informed the minister did have a discussion. If the minister says he did not, by the rules of the house I am bound to accept his statement.

I come now to January of this year when the industry, through the Air Transport association, wrote asking for a meeting with the government to discuss the problems of aircraft production. As has already been stated, the acting minister invited six of the main contractors in the Anson programme to describe the situation to him individually and later to produce collective recommendations. This was done on January 7, and among other

things they called for the dissolution of Federal Aircraft. The acting minister himself left the impression with the representatives of the industry that he was fully persuaded that they were advocating the proper policy and, it is stated, cabled the minister, who was then in England, asking permission to act, but this was refused.

Then the chairman of the war-time requirements board arranged, through Mr. Carmichael, for a report by Mr. Breech. I shall not go over this again. This is what the industry thinks ought to be done. The industry has represented that the war-time requirement is for an aircraft production head *with complete authority, with its own finances, and particularly encompassing the engineering division of the Royal Canadian Air Force.

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:

Does my hon. friend recommend that?

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):

I am saying what the industry recommends.

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:

What about parliamentary

control?

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):

That is another point. There was a falling off of production of aircraft in England, but Lord Beaverbrook was taken into the ministry for the purpose of getting results in production. He broke through every tradition with regard to parliamentary control; he is now a dictator in effect with respect to aircraft production, but he got results.

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

James Layton Ralston (Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Mr. RALSTON:

I think my hon. friend has made entirely too wide a statement when he says that Lord Beaverbrook broke through every tradition with regard to parliamentary control. That is exactly the point my colleague was making, that you could not break through parliamentary control.

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):

I realize the difficulty and I pointed it out. I realize there is the matter of parliamentary responsibility, and at the moment I am not advocating that Mr. Bell, or whoever may be appointed, should be made a dictator.

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

James Layton Ralston (Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Mr. RALSTON:

Or Lord Beaverbrook.

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):

He has

pretty wide powers.

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

James Layton Ralston (Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Mr. RALSTON:

But he has not the power to supersede parliamentary control.

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):

What he says goes with the British government. Someone should be put on the job. He could be made responsible to the minister-I agree that that ought to be done-but he should

War Appropriation Bill

get results. I do not think we can go as far as the industry has suggested we could, and I have told them so. To sum up, the industry still recommends that Federal Aircraft should be dealt with as indicated in the aircraft manufacturers' joint memorandum of January 7, 1941.

It is hoped, and in order to attain economical and rapid large-scale production it is fundamentally necessary, that orders be placed with the industry for at least a year ahead. This has not been done and most of the aircraft manufacturers have not yet been fully occupied. It will be apparent, I think, that on all orders for 200 aircraft or more the manufacturers have made good deliveries-I think the minister himself demonstrated that the other day-in some instances being a year ahead of schedule.

In his anxiety to throw up a smoke screen to hide or obscure certain established facts, the minister used harsh and bitter words, especially toward certain of the press of this country. But I want to say to him and to the committee that those harsh and bitter words will not prevent us from analysing the situation objectively, or from searching out every fact that may bear upon the situation. I was pained to hear the minister use language which created the impression that everyone who differed from him or who criticized him was a saboteur. That was the impression created in my mind. Too easily has he concluded that Canada's war effort and this government are coterminous. May I suggest to him that he should understand that criticism of the government may help, not hinder, the government's war effort. One of our objectives is to demonstrate any weaknesses that may exist so that inefficiency shall not honeycomb our war effort, in order that we may have the planes and more planes so urgently requested.

There seems to be an inconsistency between some of the minister's declarations. May I point out that possibly he has a short memory? In a speech on Wednesday last, he said this, as reported at page 1053 of Hansard:

In our most optimistic moments we never expected that we would get any substantial production of Avro-Anson planes until March.

That is what the minister said two days ago. On February 21, in reply to the hon. member for Cumberland, who suggested that production of Ansons was months behind' schedule, the minister said, as reported in Hansard, page 922:

No. There was never the slightest thought in anyone's mind that we would get the first Avro-Anson plane before the end of February,

1941. . . . All I will say now is that we never anticipated having Avro-Anson planes of Canadian manufacture delivered at this date.

But what did the minister say on the 30th July last? He may check me if he wants to; I have Hansard here, page 2116 of last session :

It is anticipated that Canadian production of Ansons will commence before the end of this year.

This was after Federal Aircraft was set up. No doubt the minister had some reason for making that statement. Why does he not have his secretary or somebody check up on his previous statements?

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:

Well, Mr. Chairman,-

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):

All right,

now.

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