May 4, 1942

NAT

Grote Stirling

National Government

Mr. STIRLING:

A four months' menace.

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

Robert Wellington Mayhew

Liberal

Mr. MAYHEW:

Yes.

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

Jean-François Pouliot

Liberal

Mr. POULIOT:

Has the minister some information to give regarding E 615180, a soldier who had six months' leave from the Department of National War Services at the beginning of April but was never notified of it, and instead of that was sent to Nanaimo, British Columbia?

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 have not the last report, but what I find is that the soldier was recommended for postponement, that the postponement was approved at national defence headquarters, that the approval went to the district, and that the young man was in a unit which, as I remember, was ordered to the west. He was sent in the unit to the west, but there was a mistake of some sort or another which I am having investigated.

The recommendation was not held up. It was accepted as recommended.

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

Jean-François Pouliot

Liberal

Mr. POULIOT:

Mr. Chairman-

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:

If I may be permitted, I am giving my hon. friend all the information I have from memory, and I shall probably have to report tomorrow fully what occurred.

I want to go on to deal with one or two other points, if my hon. friend will permit me. I wish to finish two other points made by the hon. member for Hastings-Peter-borough. One was regarding pay and allowances. He asked what yardstick was used whereby pay in this war was fixed at $1.30 whereas it was $1.10 in the last war. I am sorry I cannot tell my hon. friend. As far as the purchasing power of the dollar is concerned, that probably was higher in 1914 than in 1939. Why the increase was made to $1.30, I cannot tell at the moment.

With regard to troops on leave he asked that some consideration be given to the fact that troops travelling a long distance have their leave cut into by the time taken in travelling. I am advised that no official allowance on account of distance is made to troops going on ordinary leave, but there is frequently an unofficial allowance made by the officer commanding the unit, who perhaps lets a man go on Friday night and gives him the week-end extra to his leave.

With regard to embarkation leave, two clear days at home are provided for and expected.

With regard to steel helmets, that matter has had and is having particular attention. My hon. friend will understand that it is something we cannot change until we are sure we have a better pattern. Patterns are being examined in Great Britain as well as here, and as soon as something is arrived at under proper tests which seems better, we certainly shall do our part in seeing that consideration is given to its adoption. The question of material of course enters into the manufacture of large numbers of these articles.

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

George Stanley White

National Government

Mr. WHITE:

When I asked the minister about the yardstick used in raising the rate of pay from $1.10 to $1.30, the point is that last November the Minister of Finance (Mr. Ilsley) in his statement said the question of this increased pay for the soldiers and cost of living bonus was under consideration. I take it from what the minister said that it is still under consideration. I would think that the first thing we should know is how

War Appropriation

they arrived at the $1.30 and the $35 a month, on what standard it was based; that would be the first thing in deciding whether or not there should be an increase. Perhaps before the minister is finished with the committee he could give some further information on that point.

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:

All I can say is that both the pay and the allowances were the subject of study by a committee supposed to be familiar with the matter, from the point of view not only of finance but of the services as well and some outside agencies, and the regulations were just completed, as I remember, shortly before the war broke out. The basis on which the differences were arrived at I am not in a position to say. But I understood my friend to say that the Minister of Finance last November intimated that the cost of living bonus for dependents was under consideration. I think the Minister of

Finance is of opinion that the result of that consideration was given when he announced the appointment of the dependents' allowance board of trustees and the special provisions there. I have indicated that those questions are never closed as far as consideration is concerned, and it is I who am saying that matter is under consideration in view of representations made. However, this consideration is not a continuation of the consideration given by the Minister of Finance. I think he considered it was dealt with when the conclusion was arrived at which he announced on that occasion.

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

George Stanley White

National Government

Mr. WHITE:

Would the minister care to give his own opinion on the question of increased allowance and cost of living bonus? Would he 'tell us what he thinks as an old soldier?

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 am afraid I would not care to. My hon. friend will understand it is a government matter.

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

George Stanley White

National Government

Mr. WHITE:

But I have heard the minister speak about his own old battalion. Would he not tell us his views as an old soldier?

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 am not going to give any opinions without prejudice to-night.

The hon. member for Victoria (Mr. Mayhew) mentioned several matters in regard to the Pacific coast. I think I have said all I can about that. I appreciate his remarks about my having been out there. I certainly felt that the trip was worth while from the point of view of learning more of the job, as well as meeting many citizens whom it was a pleasure to meet and from whom I got a great deal of information and, if I may say

so, some advice. My hon. friend intimated that I was satisfied. Perhaps he did me an injustice there. I did not say I was satisfied; I said the situation was better than I expected, but not as good as I desired. A good deal has been done since that time as to plans for the defence of the Pacific coast. The statement made here to-night, particularly with regard to anti-aircraft protection, brings to my mind that a great deal has been done and is being done in that respect, quite apart from the disposition of large numbers of troops at what we regard as strategic points.

The hon. member mentioned the reserve army. I appreciate what he as an employer says about the interest employers are taking in that organization. Without them it cannot succeed; with them it can be made a great success. I do not know of any employer who sets a better example than my hon. friend, if he will permit me to say so, in the way of interest in matters of that kind.

He has spoken about having the attendance at camps staggered. He did not use that expression, but he suggested that we have it so that all men who are employees in one industry would not have to go at one time. That is a matter now under study by the district officers commanding; it has to be arranged by them, and I shall see that General Alexander has his attention called to it from headquarters, as no doubt it has been by those who are interested in the reserve units out there. I am sure some way could be arranged so that the largest possible number of men can be got to camp.

With regard to voluntary groups and the organization on the Pacific coast the hon. member embarks on another field. I want to repeat what I said earlier in the evening, that the Department of National Defence can only take on so much. I do not want to evade responsibility. There may be some responsibility on the government, particularly in connection with the matter of fire fighing battalions to which the hon. member gave most attention. That matter is under consideration at the present time; but it is not the Department of National Defence that has to do with it; it is a civilian undertaking, and must be done, I think, under civilian auspices. Without attempting to "pass the buck," I know the Minister of Pensions and National Health has the matter actively under consideration in connection with air raid precautions.

With respect to the unification or coordination of civilian efforts on the Pacific coast, there again it is a matter for civilian authorities and not the military, although I tried to do my share by seeing that General Alexander

C ensorship

was given full authority under defence of Canada regulation 32 to act for me in connection with any matters in which the Minister of National Defence is given authority. I agree with my hon. friend thoroughly that there must be organization, there must be coordination, there must be one head, to be ready for an emergency. But I believe there can be got together, if there is not already, and as a matter of fact I think there was among the civilian bodies out there a definite organization which knows what there is to be done and what to do if an emergency comes. I can assure my hon. friend that the general officer commanding in chief of the Pacific command has authority, interest, sympathy and, I am sure, has the cooperative spirit to have the army do its full share in connection with any emergency of that kind.

Progress reported.

Topic:   WAR APPROPRIATION BILL
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR GRANTING TO HIS MAJESTY AID FOR NATIONAL DEFENCE AND SECURITY
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At eleven o'clock the house adjourned without question put, pursuant to standing order. Tuesday, May 5, 1942


May 4, 1942