May 12, 1942

LIB

Norman Alexander McLarty (Secretary of State of Canada)

Liberal

Hon. N. A. McLARTY (Secretary of State):

The hon. member for Cape Breton South was kind enough to send1 the Minister of Labour notice of his intention to ask this question, which notice was forwarded to me. I am advised that there is to be a meeting between the employers and employees this afternoon at 3.30, at which a representative of the Department of Labour will be present, when it is hoped that the difficulties will be ironed out.

Topic:   LOCKOUT AT KITCHENER, ONTARIO-DUMART PACKING PLANT
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WAR APPROPRIATION BILL

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


The house resumed from Monday, May 11, consideration in committee of a resolution to provide sums not exceeding $2,000,000,000 for the year ending March 31, 1943, for granting to his majesty aid for national defence and security-Mr. Ilsley-Mr. Vien in the chair.


AIR SERVICES

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

Hon. C. G. POWER (Minister of National Defence for Air):

Mr. Chairman, I do not propose to-day to make any formal statement on the affairs of the Department of

National Defence for Air. I hope, following the custom which we have adopted with respect to this department, to cover in a fairly comprehensive way the principal activities of the department.

I may begin by giving approximately the number of men in the Royal Canadian Air Force. When last I spoke to the house, in November, 1941, the strength of the R.C.A.F. was approximately 90,000 men. At the present time it is over 115,000, inclusive of approximately 3,000 women's division, and exclusive of Australians, New Zealanders, Royal Air Force and civilians.

With respect to the man-power situation as it affects the Royal Canadian Air Force I am glad to say that it is what might be described in commercial language as easy. I believe it was in July 1941 we recruited something over 8,000 men, including ground crew and air crew. The figure gradually decreased as our needs for men decreased. At the present time we average something like 4,000 men per month. For instance, in January 1942 the number was 5,052; in February, 2,556; in March, 3,497 and in April, 3,6S3. As time goes on the necessity for raising recruits, other than air crew, will gradually be lessened. At present we have sufficient staff by way of ground crew and mechanics to man, or pretty nearly man, all our schools. We have also a very fair proportion of the number required to man our squadrons overseas, or in the course of preparation. And unless we take on other responsibilities, either arising out of this conference, or arising out of other demands to be made upon us by our partners in the plan, it is not likely that it will be necessary for us to keep up this rate of recruiting-[DOT] for ground crew at any rate.

Perhaps it might be of interest to the committee to know that a portion of these recruits came from the army R recruits. The number is approximately 4,000, and about a quarter of these were air crew. Perhaps my colleague the Minister of National Defence will pardon my being indiscreet' enough to say that he would prefer that we do not go into the army camps to take men away from him. As the committee knows, the arrangement is that up to the end of two months' training the Royal Canadian Air Force may recruit in army training camps. I do not think there will be any further necessity for our drawing upon the army recruits, so far as ground crew is concerned. With respect to air crew, my colleague the Minister of National Defence and myself will, I think, be able to work out a satisfactory arrangement.

War Appropriation-Air Services

It might be of interest to the committee to know something about the average age of the recruits we take into the air force. It has been fairly difficult to get at the ages of ground crew, but with respect to air crew I can say that in the period from August 1941 to January 1942, out of some 18,589 medical examinations, 24 per cent of those who entered as air crew were under 20 years of age, 53 per cent were between 20 and 24 years, 17 per cent were between 25 and 29 years and 4 per cent were 30 years or over.

With respect to our requirements for air crew, I believe it was over a year ago-in March, 1941-that I stated we had six months' supply ahead of us. At that time I expressed the fear that at some time our supply of men having sufficient physical strength and educational qualifications for air crew would dry up. I had before me statistics to indicate that the total potential matriculated high school graduates amounted to only something like 13,000 per annum in Canada. Those figures I gave to the house at that time in good faith. I also stated that there must be some kind of backlog of young men between 18 and 25 years, the ages I considered most desirable for air crew. Well, whether our recruits come from that 'backlog or not, the fact is that a year after my statement we still have a six-months' supply ahead of us, and the schools have not as yet graduated. If the experience of last year is duplicated, thousands of young men who have matriculated will flock into the air force. So that the time has not as yet come when there is any apparent falling off in our potentials, or even in our applications.

While I do not want to paint too rosy a picture, I must point out that in any case for the moment we have another reasonably good supply of air crew in those young men who early in the war, without knowing very much about the difference between air crew, ground crew, mechanics and pilots, joined the air force, almost willy-nilly. We have some thousands of young lads in the air force as mechanics, and some as standard duty men, who have the educational and I assume the physical qualifications to become air crew. As time goes on we are bringing them up and, if they so desire, remustering them in order to take on air duties. So that that is one reserve on which we can draw.

Secondly, there is the process of preenlistment education under the war emergency training programme, a joint enterprise of the Department of Labour and the provincial governments, wherein large numbers of young men who have not attained the required

44561-148 .

standards of education, that is to say the matriculation standard, can be brought up to our educational requirements. Schools with a capacity of 1,265 have been established across Canada. At present the enrolment in these schools total, upwards of 1,300; and to date 900 have graduated and enlisted in the air force as pilots or observers. We have an arrangement with them under which they are medically examined and interviewed by our people, and if selected they agree to enlist in the air force upon graduation.

We are making use of the Canadian legion educational service for candidates within the service. May I say that the air force is extremely grateful to the legion for the efforts which they have put forth in bringing a very large number of men in the service up to the requisite standard so that they could be remustered. We also have university training corps arrangements, to which I referred last year, whereby an opportunity is given to university students to undergo ground training during the period of their career at college, the ground training to be equivalent to the course -which they would take in our initial training school. At the end of their college career they will have attained sufficient knowledge of navigation and kindred air subjects to be allowed) to enter our elementary flying schools. Squadrons have been formed at McGill university, the university of Toronto, Queen's university, the Ontario agricultural college and the university of Western Ontario. Finally, we have as a very important potential source of air crew the air cadets of Canada. The air cadet movement was organized under the auspices of the air cadet league. We have found it advisable, while leaving certain functions to the league itself, to take over most of the training of these air cadets. At the present time we have something like 130 squadrons, with an enrolment of nearly 600 officers and 15,000 air cadets.

So much for the future of our air crew. I cannot give any assurance to the committee that the supply is everlasting. In a small country like ours it must be inevitable that some day sooner or later the field will be so narrowed that we will run short of air crew. But for the present, and with the means which we hope to take, we can look forward to a considerable time during which we will have little difficulty in obtaining the men which we require to make pilots, observers and gunners.

With respect to the estimates themselves, they are divided as follows:

War Appropriation-Air Services

Joint air training plan $344,267,745

Home war 247,139,903

Overseas war 33,905,244

Departmental administration. 150,000

This total would be less the cash payments which we expect to obtain and which we are obtaining from Australia and New Zealand to the extent of approximately $40,000,000. This means that we are asking the house at the present moment for $585,462,892. These estimates were prepared to conform to the limitations provided in the War Appropriation Act. I may say that these are cash requirements, and whether more cash will be required in the fiscal year 1942-43 will depend upon the deliveries of armaments, munitions, equipment, planes and certain parts of our home war building programme. If complete deliveries could be obtained in the fiscal year we would require additional cash up to at least $300,000,000. After consultation with the officers of the Department of Finance and considering the record of deliveries in 1941-42, this extra amount has not been included, but if deliveries can be accelerated we will require from the treasury an additional amount.

For the information of the committee and in accordance with the custom which we have inaugurated, I have had a statement prepared indicating the highlights of the estimated cash requirements of this year as compared with the actual expenditures for the fiscal year 194142. With the consent of the committee, I shall just mention some of these and then have the statement placed on Hansard; it is a lengthy document. For instance, the cash requirements this year for construction and improvements for the joint air training plan and the home war establishment are $54,000,000 odd, while the actual cash expenditures last year were $68,000,000. I may say that to that $54,000,000 must be added an estimated expenditure of something like $42,000,000 for the building of defensive aerodromes in Canada in connection with the new policy of the defence of Canada. I hardly expect that that will all be expended this year.

We expended $87,000,000 last year for aircraft engines and spares and this year we expect to spend $171,000,000. Clothing and necessaries, last year $10,000,000, this year $18,000,000. Miscellaneous stores last year $11,000,000, this year $22,000,000. Rations, last year $6,000,000, this yeaT $16,000,000. Arms and ammunition, last year $4,000,000, this year $17,000,000. Gas and oil, last year $9,000,000, this year $20,000,000. Overhaul of engines, last year $9,000,000, this year $34,000,000. The statement follows:

Topic:   AIR SERVICES
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R.C.A.F.


Estimates 1942-1943 Actual cash Pay and allowances- B.C.A.T.P H.W.E Overseas Estimated cash requirement $106,217,454 25,505,615 26,034,937 expenditure for fiscal year 1941-1942 (not final) $69,222,743 10,861,079 2,050,837Total.... $157,758,006 $82,134,659Construction and improvements-* B.C.A.T.P H.W.E $ 25,966,199 28,877,825 $39,537,408 28,631,324Total.... $ 54,844,024 $68,168,732Aircraft, engines and spares- B.C.A.T.P H.W.E $ 36,785,986 134,969,419 $42,044,147 45,155,671Total.... $171,755,405 $87,199,818Clothing and necessaries- B.C.A.T.P H.W.E Overseas $ 15,081,560 3,322,505 6,240 $10,030,689 491,133 545Total $ 18,410,305 $10,522,367Miscellaneous stores- B.C.A.T.P H.W.E . Overseas $ 12,083,550 10,171,669 3,000 $ 9,191,386 2,457,948 371Total $ 22,258,219 $11,649,705Rations- B.C.A.T.P H.W.E $ 14.008,888 2,782,475 $ 5.251,399 662,946Total.... $ 16,791,363 $ 5,914,345Bombs and ammunition- B.C.A.T.P H.W.E $ 10,843,950 6,363,222 $ 1,962,392 2,165,080Total $ 17,207,172 $ 4,127,472Aero gas and oil- B.C.A.T.P H.W.E $ 16,721,610 3,918,000 $ 8,200,773 948,649Total $ 20,639,610 $ 9,149,422Overhaul of aircraft and engines- B.C.A.T.P $ 27,206,609 HAV.E 7,645,774 $ 8,975,373 500,449Total.... $ 34,852,383 $ 9,475,822 War Appropriation Air Services To revert to the first item in the order in which we have taken up these items, we are asking $247,000,000 for the home war establishment, plus, as I said, $42,000,000 and also plus certain other amounts should we be able to obtain the necessary aircraft. As is well known, the work of the home war establishment consists of guarding the security of Canada. The functions carried out are those of reconnaissance far out to sea to spot the enemy before he approaches our shores, convoy patrol in order to guard our sea lines and the sea lines to the United Kingdom, and anti-submarine patrol. This work has become increasingly difficult and , increasingly important as the enemy comes closer and closer to our shores on the Atlantic coast and is a greater menace on the Pacific. We must see to it so far as we can that we keep enemy ships from possible bombardment of our east and west coasts and keep away from our Pacific and our Atlantic coasts enemy seaborne and airborne forces. If we had been faced this time last year with the situation with which we are faced to-day we would have been almost helpless. It would have been extremely difficult for us at that time to provide increased submarine sweeps, more bomber reconnaissance off Newfoundland and the Atlantic coast and at the same time provide certain protection on the Pacific coast. Fortunately at the present time we have a large number of trained pilots, more than we had last year since at that time they were beginning to go overseas. We have more aircraft not sufficient by any means-than we had, and our construction development of defensive aerodromes has progressed to a much greater degree than it had at that time. I have always, when mentioning the home war establishment, endeavoured to pay my tribute to the pilots and other air crew employed on this most forlorn, most lonely and most unglamorous, if I may use that word, of duties. Day after day they go far out to sea over the Atlantic in all kinds of weather. They go out from Newfoundland, sometimes as far as Greenland. They go out through the fog of the Pacific. There is little glory, little renown and perhaps very little credit given to them, but I think the house and this committee should know that they are carrying on a very important work for the defence of Canada and the empire. In respect to the joint air training plan, so much has been said about it that I hardly think it is necessary for me to go into the details of it here. The full plan is now in operation. Perhaps I might give a very short summary of the situation. The parties to the agreement are the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. The date of the agreement was December 17, 1939. I cannot give the number of the annual output of pupils, but I can say that the original plan, which provided for a "blank" number, has now been enlarged to a plan which provides for the production of 25 per cent more. The date of full production originally planned was April 27, 1942. The date of full production of the present plan, with the 25 per cent increase, was reached by December 15, 1941. We commenced aerodrome construction on April 24, 1940. We commenced training on April 29, 1940, with an intake of 169 pupils. Our first pupils were graduated in November, 1940. I cannot mention the total number of graduates. The estimated cost of the original plan was $642,000,000. The present plan is estimated to cost $824,000,000, with a United Kingdom contribution in kind estimated at $193,000,000, leaving a balance of $630,000,000. The agreed proportion which Australia is to pay is $51,000,000, and New Zealand, $36,000,000, a total of $87,000,000, and the present estimated balance which Canada will pay is $542,000,000, or just short by $100,000,000 of what the total plan was to cost originally. The actual expenditure up to the present, including commitments up to March 31, 1942, is $447,000,000. We are now producing to full capacity. We have our schools built, our aerodromes built, and our establishment built in such a way that the output can be increased if necessary. We have only to add further accommodation. We have sufficient training aeroplanes for our training needs at the present time, and we believe that full provision has been made for future supplies. The technical staff is well trained, and we do not appear to be in any danger of being held up on that score. The Joint Training Plan has now achieved twice its objective, and air crew are being turned out in such numbers that not only are the immediate needs being met but we can absorb a surplus in our home war establishment at the present time. We are now presented with the opportunity of giving additional training in Canada by employing our pilots and wireless operators in a way that, will afford them valuable air operating experience under good weather conditions before sending them overseas. As a result of this experience they will be better fitted to undertake more confidently operational training and active service operations in England.



War Appropriation-Air Services There has been-and I do not think it is any secret-a change in the methods and character of warfare. Originally when we started this plan only three types of student graduates were to come out of our school, namely, pilots, observers and wireless air gunners. Not long ago we added gunners. At the present time we are preparing, so to speak, to change over our plant to some extent, to shift about certain schools and devote them to other specialties. We are now training ten different types of air crews; the single-engine pilot, the twin-engine pilot, the co-pilot, the flight engineer-we are not training any in Canada at the present time -the pilot's mate. All these are new nomenclature in our air training plan. Then there is the air observer-we had him before- navigator, air bomber, wireless operator (air observer), wireless air gunner, air gunner, radio observer. So that there will be considerable of a shift in our training syllabus and in our training schedules, but we hope to be able to meet that situation as we met the situation which confronted us before. The house will ask me where these men are. Some have been ploughed back into the plan as instructors. Some few in the early days were kept for the home war establishment. But the vast majority have gone overseas. Some are in our own twenty-two squadrons, but thousands more are in the Royal Air Force in every quarter of the globe. They are in every raid, in every sortie; they are in every attack on Germany. Wherever the British forces are attacking, there you will find graduates of our joint air training plan. When this summer's air offensive is carried on, it will be found that there will be hardly a squadron in the entire Royal Air Force which will not have its proportion of men who were trained in and graduated from the Canadian schools. It may be interesting to the house to know that Canadians in this air war, that is graduates of the joint air training schools, have won fifty-one awards for gallantry. The total number of awards to Canadians for gallantry, including those won by Canadians in the Royal Air Force, is 166. So far as casualties are concerned, I need hardly mention to this house that not a dhy goes by but there is a list of the dead, or missing, or prisoners of war. Unfortunately there are very few listed simply as wounded. Hardly a day, not one day so far as I know, goes by without a very heavy casualty list of young Canadians serving in the Royal Air Force or in our own squadrons. A casualty list brings distress and tears but it also brings a legitimate pride to the parents of these Canadian boys. The number of casualties to date, including casualties in Canada and overseas, is 2,035. I come now to the discussion of a matter of the utmost importance to all Canadians- the united nations air conference to be held in Ottawa next week, beginning on May 18. On April 16 the press of Canada and the United States carried the following announcement: The Prime Minister of Canada and the President announced to-day that, at the invitation of the Prime Minister, a conference in which all of the united nations with air training programmes under way, either in the United States or Canada, would be invited to participate, would be held in Ottawa early in May. The purpose of the meeting lies along the lines of further united military efforts. The meeting in Ottawa would extend the air programmes to take in the training of personnel to operate the military aircraft to the end that the most effective use will be made of all resources of personnel. Great progress has already been made in pooling the aeroplane production of the united nations. Plans for the conference developed out of the recognition of the desirability of more closely coordinating the British commonwealth (including Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand) air training plan with the greatly extended air training programme undertaken by the United States and others of the allied nations. In addition these would include China, Norway, the Netherlands and several others which are already at war with the axis. The swiftly-moving events of the war- the Coral sea battle, Madagascar, Burma, and our own intense preoccupation with internal affairs-have perhaps served to divert attention from what is an important event in Cana- [DOT] dian history, an event characterized by the Financial Post under the title "Tribute to Canada"-* Malcolm MacDonald told Britishers last week that the only martial exercise in which Canada is not well trained is in "blowing its own trumpet". He referred to our magnificently trained troops; the miraculous growth of our navy and the British commonwealth air training plan whose efficiency had doubled the expected output. Even if Mr. MacDonald had not graciously paved the way, there are three news events bearing on Canada's war effort which deserve more than a trumnet note at this time. One is: 1. The forthcoming united nations air conference at Ottawa on May 18. It is well known that the United States wanted greatly to have the air conference held at Washington. But Canada's outstanding job in pioneering the training of airmen, made Ottawa the logical and inevitable choice. Every nation now recognizes (and will do so increasingly after May 18) that Canada has set the pace in this sphere. There is much more to be done before this war is won. There is little time for selfcongratulation or complacency. Yet proper War Appropriation-Air Services recognition of achievements such as these, by Canadians themselves, by fellow members of the united nations, and indeed by our enemies, is far from amiss. This, to my mind, is the most important conference which has come to Canada since the imperial conference of 1932. It is one of the most important to be held by the United nations since the war started. There will be present representatives on a high level of the United Kingdom, the United States, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, India, Southern Rhodesia, China, Norway, Poland, Belgium, Czechoslovakia, Jugoslavia, Greece, the Netherlands-


NAT
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:

-in fact all the nations now fighting for freedom with the exception of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. They have been invited, but so far I have no news of their acceptance or otherwise of the invitation. The conference meets under the high sponsorship of Roosevelt, Churchill and of our own Prime Minister. It meets here because- and I say it advisedly and without either false modesty or vain boasting-Canada, of all the nations now engaged in fighting this war, has made the greatest progress in training men to conquer the air and to wrest the supremacy of the air from the enemy so as to pave the way to victory.

These delegates come here to observe what has been done, to note the methods followed, to consult with us as to the means to be taken, to endeavour to coordinate our efforts and those of our commonwealth partners into a world-wide united nations programme. This, as the newspaper has said, is indeed a tribute to Canada. And when I say "Canada" I mean, all Canada; for Canada has been the administrator of the greatest undertaking ever instituted within its territory. It has been successfully carried out, may I say in, all frankness and all sincerity, not by the Department of National Defence for Air, not by the government, not even by the Royal Canadian Air Force, but by the people of the whole dominion, every section of which has made its contribution. From the very inception this plan has been non-political and nonsectional, and all parties in this house and the entire press have joined in making it a success. It is unique, I will say, as an instance of a great undertaking which hitherto has escaped political or sectional criticism.

At the very moment when the united nations are meeting here to discuss this great project of our united Canadian nation, we are in the midst of an internal crisis the gravity and seriousness of which I would and should be the last to minimize. When one

has campaigned and marched and bivouacked and fought for twenty-five years with friends, it is a sad wrench indeed to be separated from them, even temporarily. Our own country is apparently torn asunder, not on the question of the war itself but on the methods to be employed by Canada in waging war. There is, I am glad to say, no difference of opinion with respect to the air war, either as to the raising of men or money or the spheres of action. I wonder if, during the time the representatives of all our allies are here, it would be possible to call a truce to our internal dissensions and show by a united front, temporary if you will, our determination to join with them in the defeat of the common enemy.

Topic:   R.C.A.F.
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LIB

Ross Wilfred Gray

Liberal

Mr. GRAY:

We have listened to-day to a report of the progress of the air force under the Minister of National Defence for Air. At the close of his remarks he made an appeal for unity in this country. May I say to him as an old soldier, and speaking I believe for most of us in this chamber, that no matter where we march or where we bivouac we shall find that, under the Minister of National Defence for Air, we shall go forward in the great effort which he is making in furtherance of this project. To-day he has given us concrete evidence of what has been accomplished, beginning as it did in a very small way. To-day, as he has stated, we are on the eve of a conference of the united nations. Under his leadership this enterprise, so soundly based, the British commonwealth air training plan, is certain to develop rapidly and with increasing success.

I have only one or two remarks to add to what has already been said. I wish particularly to refer to the system of air cadet training, which has developed from one of the minister's own policies. Looking at it from the viewpoint of my own province and as I have observed it elsewhere, I feel that, once established by the department, it has been left rather in the position of an orphan. We have been loath to give these organizations the blessing of the department while we have been willing to say to them, "You go out and do it." If we are prepared to accept the air cadets in Canada, as I am sure we are from the minister's remarks and from what has been said; if we are prepared to have them established, then we should establish air cadets as part and parcel of the air scheme of the dominion. We should assist them and give them the support that is necessary and not put them on the basis of some service plan, as has been done. I believe that if the minister will look into the matter he will find that the air cadets proposal, supported by himself and promulgated

War Appropriation-Air Services

by his department, has not been given the support by the government that it should have received. If the air cadets are to be part and parcel of the air force, let us make them so. Do not let us have any half measures whereby we make them cadets for one purpose and not for another. The Minister of National Defence for Air will be the first to admit that they should be made part and parcel of the air force.

The other matter I have to urge is in connection with the air crew, to which the minister has referred. I have watched, as I have no doubt other members have watched, the graduation of air crews from various schools throughout the country. I am told that ninety schools have been established, and day after day we see men walking our streets, pilots, gunners, and observers and other members of the crews to whom the minister has referred. I want to make a plea as a man who served as an ordinary private soldier in the last war, and it is this, that these men who are worthy of wearing wings, whether they be pilots, observers, gunners or whatever they may be, should be commissioned in the air force and should not be put into the ranks as sergeant observers, sergeant pilots, or sergeant gunners, as the case may be. I urge that they be given equal rank and that they be not classed on the basis of 50 per cent of this particular class or that particular class. Those of us who have gone through schools will know that in one particular class there may be 90 per cent who may be worthy of a commission, whereas in some other class there may be only 40 per cent or 30 per cent. It is my opinion that so long as you leave it to the officers commanding the various schools there will be discrepancies that should not exist. If a man is capable of graduating from a school and worthy of his wings, whether he be pilot, observer or gunner, then he is worthy of being commissioned in his majesty's service. I urge upon the minister that this discrepancy be abolished, because I know it must have given him more than one headache. Take two buddies graduating from an air force school about to leave the country. They are on their last leave, arranging to meet at a certain port to go overseas, arranging to occupy the same quarters on the same transport. One receives word while he is at home that he has been commissioned, the other receives no such news and will go over as a sergeant pilot. You cannot expect absolute team-work under those conditions. I know the minister will agree with me that in this great service, the air force, the important thing is team-work, and you cannot get it unless you ensure that two men who are going forth in the same service shall

be in the same rank if they are doing the same job. When they graduate from a particular school they should be on the same level. It is not fair or worthy that some commanding officer should be allowed to say to one, "You shall be a commissioned pilot", and to another "You shall be a sergeant pilot". [DOT]

I urge that this question be given careful consideration at the forthcoming conference of the united nations-the United States, Canada, Great Britain and the other countries who will meet here. They will recognize the lead that Canada has given, and I hope that out of that conference there will emerge the principle of equality with regard to the men who graduate from our schools, whether they be pilots, gunners, observers, or whatever they may be. So long as they are worthy of going into the air and operating planes they should be put on an equality. We see men walking around the streets to-day and we know that this equality does not exist. This has been a source of trouble to the minister, I am sure; it has been one of the headaches from which he has suffered. I say to him that instead of cutting down 50 per cent, or 30 per cent or 20 per cent of the graduates of a class, every man who is worthy to wear the wings should be a commissioned officer in his majesty's services.

Topic:   R.C.A.F.
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PC

Alfred Henry Bence

Progressive Conservative

Mr. BENCE:

There are one or two matters I should like to bring to the attention of the minister, and I want to ask some questions in connection with the statement that he has just made. Before I do so, however, may I congratulate him on the complete and at the same time the concise manner in which he has given us the information which he has put before us this afternoon. The minister painted a glowing picture of the commonwealth air training plan, and I am sure that all hon. members will agree with him that Canada is indeed proud of the contribution it is making in this regard. Certainly to most of us it is our greatest contribution. In any event, it is certainly the most romantic, one of the most interesting, and one which we in Canada are eminently fitted to make. The tragedy of our reverses in the war up to the present time has been unfortuna.tely the result of lack of air strength or air superiority. Unquestionably if we had had that air superiority we would not have suffered the reverses we did in Crete, we would possibly be in command of the situation so far as the far east is concerned, and we would not be faced with the gigantic problem we have in connection with the shortage of rubber and matters of that kind, which I am sorry to say is crippling a part of our war effort.

War Appropriation-Air Services

In the course of his comments the minister made no reference, as he did last year, to the headaches that bothered him at that time. I presume that most of those difficulties have been solved.

Topic:   R.C.A.F.
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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:

No, I was expecting hon. members to tell me. I have new ones.

Topic:   R.C.A.F.
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PC

Alfred Henry Bence

Progressive Conservative

Mr. BENCE:

Last year the minister

referred to certain headaches, as he called them, in the plan, and out of this discussion and the questions that will be asked here, I have no doubt that we shall ascertain how many of these headaches are still there and how many have disappeared. In connection with the commonwealth air training plan itself the minister indicated last year, and I believe he corroborated it in his statement this afternoon, that the new plan had been pretty well completed and we are now in the process referred to last year as being "levelled off". If I am wrong in that regard he will correct me. May I ask him whether or not the S344,000,000 which has been appropriated for the joint commonwealth air training plan is the figure which he estimates will be required annually for the carrying on of this plan, or is there in that figure a sum which has been set aside for the purpose of extending the plan? Has he completed the whole picture with respect to establishments across the country?

Topic:   R.C.A.F.
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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:

Yes.

Topic:   R.C.A.F.
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PC
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:

No new aerodromes, if I can help it. That is a headache.

Topic:   R.C.A.F.
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PC

Alfred Henry Bence

Progressive Conservative

Mr. BENCE:

That was one of the first headaches I was going to refer to. My question is whether or not a part of that $344,000,000 is intended to be used for extension, whether the minister had in contemplation, as a result of the coming conference, any extension of the plan in Canada; whether he had in contemplation setting up any additional schools and aerodromes across the country. I know the minister, as he stated last year, has been greatly concerned over the pressure that has been brought to bear on him and on the department with respect to the establishment of such schools, and that sort of thing, and my thought was that if he did contemplate an extension as a result of this conference which begins next week; if he should decide to build more aerodromes and set up more service training schools and the like in Canada, he might very well state at the outset that matters of representations, and what we might call pressure, will receive

not the slightest regard as far as the selection of these places is concerned. I feel sure the minister has paid very little attention to that sort of thing in the past; but if he should expand the plan I believe that by announcing in the first place that pressure of this kind would have no effect, he might head off this deluge of delegations, representations by boards of trade, members of parliament and that sort of thing, and thereby save himself and probably the country a very great headache.

During the course of his remarks the minister made some statements in connection with recruits and the number of men now being turned out by the air force. Among other things I think he said there were now some 115,000 men in the R.C.A.F. When the minister makes a further statement during this discussion I should like him to indicate, on the same basis that he indicated last year, the proportion of the men in training in Canada who are Canadians and the proportion who come from Australia, New Zealand and Great Britain. At the same time he might indicate, if he will, in greater detail what is being done in connection with this reserve that was set up last year. At that time the minister referred to the fact that there was a six months' reserve on hand. Again this year he has referred to the fact that there is a six months' reserve on hand. What is being done with these men? As I recall it, last year they were being enlisted two or three months ahead of time and being put on guard duty, and that sort of thing. But conditions must have been altered to some extent by the calling up of men under the National Resources Mobilization Act and by the pressure that is being exerted in connection with recruiting for the army. What steps are being taken by the department to ensure that the reserve, which the minister called a "precious" reserve, is maintained, to be called upon as soon as the training facilities are available?

There are so many questions to be asked in connection with the minister's department that I intend to mention only one or two now, hoping later on in the debate to be able to put specific and categorical questions to the minister. In connection with repairs and equipment, the minister stated that at present he had enough planes to meet the requirements. From this statement I presume that the deficit from which he suffered last year, particularly the shortage of twin-engine machines, of which the minister said last year he had only 46 per cent of what was required, has been made up. At the same

War Appropriation-Air Services

time I should like the minister to give us some indication, if he would, of how far his department has advanced toward the objective of 6,000 planes for training purposes, which he said would be required by 1943. At the time the minister spoke last year he said they had 2,400 machines on hand. Now, after a year's progress, and with the passing of half the period mentioned by the minister, I should like to know how many planes he has on hand for training purposes, and whether he anticipates that he will obtain the required number of 6,000 by 1943.

There is another point that seems to me most important. Last year the minister said the matter of repairs, replacements, spare parts and so on, was giving him a great deal of concern. He did not mention that matter this afternoon. In view of the fact that the United States, from whom we obtained a great many of these spares, is now in the war, has its own training plan, and is producing aeroplanes for its own use, has the situation been alleviated or made more difficult than before? If it has become more difficult, what safeguards does the minister anticipate putting into effect in order to make sure that accidents in training, for example, do not occur, and that the men who are training in Canada have the very best of equipment and the very safest facilities, in order that they may complete that training?

With further reference to the matter of recruiting, the minister mentioned that he had obtained a considerable number of men who had been called up; I think he referred to them as R recruits. I presume he meant men who, after they had been called up, in some way had been brought into the air force. Was that as a result of the air force or the [DOT]army going to these men and inquiring whether or not they wanted to join the air force, or was it because after they were called up they indicated a desire to join the air force?

Topic:   R.C.A.F.
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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:

After they were called up.

Topic:   R.C.A.F.
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May 12, 1942