National Defence for Air is one minister who invariably commands the attention of the house and of the committee because when he refers to what is being done in the air he invariably says "Canada" is doing this or that, for which "Canada" should1 be proud, instead of referring to the great efforts that have been made as if they were a party or partisan affair. As I listened1 to his magnificent peroration this afternoon, to his outline of activities of his department and to his plea to the members of this house for an armistice on political partisanship during the period in which the united nations air conference is to meet in Ottawa, it seemed to me that the arguments he advanced in that behalf were equally applicable to times when the air conference is not meeting, and they constituted a very fine commendation of the necessity for a national effort in Canada to-day by a government divorced from political or partisan considerations whose one aim would be victory on behalf of the empire.
There are two or three matters I would bring to the minister's attention. He very frankly agreed with the contention of the hon. member for Lambton West that airmen who have won their wings in the air force should receive commissions. I think that would do very much toward improving the attitude of the men serving to-day in the air force. A few days ago en route to Ottawa I talked with a number of Australians. They have the same system, of course, under the British commonwealth scheme that we have. They mentioned an instance such as was portrayed in the house this afternoon, of the return, of our men after flying over Germany, and then the sergeants going to their mess and the officers to theirs. They said that a new scheme had
War Appropriation-Air Services
been adopted in the Royal Australian Air Force in the east whereby,, instead of having an officers' mess and a non-commissioned officers' mess, officers and men met together in what is known as an air crew mess. I think _ the adoption here of such a scheme would do much to improve morale. It is hard sometimes to see young men, friends through collegiate, friends through university, taking their courses as airmen to be together, followed on graduation by separation, some becoming officers and others non-commissioned officers.
When officers take to the air they get, I understand, $2 a day flying pay, whereas noncommissioned officers who take to the air receive only SI. Is there any reason why officers and non-commissioned officers over Germany or anywhere else, doing identical wrork, should receive any difference in compensation as flying pay? I suggest that if it is impossible under the British commonwealth scheme to make all the crews who have earned their wings commissioned officers, at least the discrimination, if I may call it such, as far as flying pay is concerned, should be done away with.
There is one other matter to which I should like to refer. The hon. member for Yorkton spoke of elementary training schools, to which the minister replied, and rightly, that there is no profit other than 5 per cent paid to those who contribute as shareholders to the establishment of elementary flying training schools. But that is not the position of affairs in air observer schools, which are set up, managed, and operated in various parts of Canada by civilian companies. The elementary schools, with I believe three exceptions, are sponsored by flying clubs. The distribution of profits earned in the operation of elementary flying training schools is that, after 5 per cent is paid to the shareholders-generally members of flying clubs-the remainder is set aside in a common fund and at the conclusion of the contract or of the war will be turned over to the flying clubs setting up the respective schools. That is not so in the case of the air observer schools.
Under the contracts which were made between the government and the air observer schools there was provision for a profit of SI per flying hour. Recommendations were made by the committee on national war expenditures for a reduction of that profit to 35 cents. Would the minister explain whether when, I believe on April 1 of this year, new contracts were drawn with the air observer schools, an alteration was made in the provision relating to profit as far as profit per flying hour is concerned.
There are at the present time-I speak subject to correction-about ten air observer schools in Canada. These schools, set up and constituted for the purpose of training observers and air crew, are owned by private corporations, and there are no controls on the profits which the private companies operating these schools may earn. The position is that they receive a very large amount per month as management fees, and in addition, at the conclusion of the contract they receive 25 per cent of the saving upon maintenance provided for in the target price as set by the department. Be it also noted that these air observer schools are situate in the most strategic parts of Canada. When this war is over there will necessarily be a tremendous expansion of civilian air transportation. It is of great significance to know in whose control these air observer schools are. To-day, if I understand aright, none of them is owned by the Canadian National Railways, but several are owned by the Canadian Pacific railway or its subsidiaries-
-and I think it is only fair that, if a system of private ownership is to continue, some of these should be turned over to the Canadian National Railways, or that railway should be given an opportunity to operate them, so that when the war is over, control of civil aviation will not be exclusively in the hands of one corporation. I have no criticism to offer of the operation of these six schools by the Canadian Pacific railway, but there should be provision made now that when hostilities end, the entire control and maintenance of civil aviation in Canada should not be vested in one transportation corporation. I wish now to ask a series of questions of the minister which, I trust, will clear up the situation as far as these schools are concerned.
What restriction, if any, is there upon the profits to be earned by air observer schools?
How many air observer schools are there in operation?
Are any of them owned or controlled or operated by the government or by the Royal Canadian Air Force?
What are the names of the companies operating these various schools?
What is the capitalization of each of the companies operating these schools?
How much did each of said companies receive, during every lunar month since it commenced operation, as the management fee?
What expenditures were made by each under the head of management for each lunar month since the commencement to date?
How much did each of said companies receive for each twenty-four hour period since commencement of operations, for operation and maintenance, and what was the disbursement for each of said periods under this head?
I would point out in connection with operations and maintenance that a company operating an air observer school receives 25 per cent of the saving thereon.
What profit per flying hour is now provided in the agreements between the government and each of the said companies?
If a reduction has taken place, when was the reduction made and has it been accepted by all the companies?
I mention the air observer schools because the other evening, and again to-day, there was apparently a misapprehension in so far as the difference is concerned between the operation of elementary training schools and air observer schools. The elementary schools provide for no profit for the shareholders beyond 5 per cent; air observer schools allow unlimited profits.
I also wish to ask whether consideration has been given by the minister, and a decision has yet been arrived at, as to the continuance of air observer schools under private ownership.
I have not the entire list, but in so far as the decision to continue to operate air observer schools under private ownership is concerned, not only will we continue to operate them but we will double their capacity. There are ten air observer schools in Canada. The cost to the crown per graduate pupil is SI,260. The original estimate of
the cost per pupil intake was $1,650 while the actual cost to the crown at the present time is SI,075. The net annual profit remaining to each operating company after making provision for income taxes approximates $5,000. The operating efficiency of all these . schools is of a high standard, both as to training and as to maintenance of property and equipment, as well as from the economical point of view.
As regards the six companies operated by the Canadian Pacific, and the question as to why the Canadian National does not operate any, my hon. friend will remember that when these contracts were given out-if I remember rightly it was in 1940-a large number of these independent companies had not as yet been absorbed by the Canadian Pacific Railway. The Canadian Pacific, as I recollect, came into the airways field only after these companies had obtained their contracts. Some of the companies are the Yukon Southern and Prairie Airways. I do not know whether it has a contract or not. At any rate, there are six such companies, so that in so far as the Royal Canadian Air Force is concerned it is not our fault if the Canadian Pacific happens to be in a strategic position with respect to airline traffic after the war. I do not know, because I was not in the department at the time, whether T.C.A. was offered contracts, but I presume it was not, because most of these companies were at that time independent; these independent companies were naturally anxious to get into this field, and the department was anxious to have them since they had at their disposal at that time a comparatively large number of trained pilots. It is true that since the plan has been expanded, the pilots as a rule are men who are trained by ourselves, so that what we get mostly is management, knowledge of maintenance, knowledge of the way in which to run aircraft, in perhaps a more efficient manner than would be possible if we did it ourselves. So much have the Royal Air Force been impressed with the work done by civilian companies that they have asked many of these companies to take over the proposed R.A.F. schools in Canada on the same basis as the J.A.T.P. are operated at the present time. With respect to the Canadian Pacific, leaving aside the question of strategic position, which could be discussed more properly in the railway committee because it really has not much to do with the R.A.F., Mr. Coleman wired me yesterday, or rather to the financial adviser, to the following effect.