Mr. T. L. CHURCH (Broadview):
I would ask the Minister of Pensions and National
Health if before the house adjourns he would be prepared to make the statement he said he would make with regard to the blackout situation. I have seen him about it several times. No doubt the air raid wardens have done excellent work, but I suggest it should be extended to work of a more practical nature. These blackouts have been largely discontinued in England because most of the raids occur during the day time. I believe these blackouts have no military value. I appreciate the splendid work that has been done by the air raid wardens, as everyone does, but would it not be better to give them some practical instruction, such as teaching the public to handle a rifle at the miniature ranges, as was done in Finland?
Hon. IAN A. MACKENZIE (Minister of Pensions and National Health): Before the Easter recess we spent the great part of a day in a thorough discussion of the air raid precaution situation throughout the Dominion of Canada. In regard to the blackout system, while authority is vested in the Minister of Pensions and National Health, as a matter of fact in actual practice this authority has been delegated in the various provinces to the provincial premiers or in some cases to the attorneys general, who consult with the three defence services before a blackout is arranged or staged. Actually, therefore, a blackout is not ordered by the Minister of Pensions and National Health, but is authorized by him at the request of the provincial authorities.
In regard to the services of those engaged in air raid precautions work, there are to-day
150,000 of these people in Canada who have volunteered and who have been most zealous in their work. Perhaps in some cases they are a little over-zealous, as my colleague the Minister of Munitions and Supply (Mr. Howe) might testify, but they are doing most excellent work. The question of the relative value of their service, as between this air raid precaution work and the reserve army, has been considered most carefully by the Minister of National Defence and myself, and a very thorough working arrangement has been arrived at between the two departments.
Subtopic: ARRANGEMENTS FOR BLACKOUTS
Sub-subtopic: EXTENSION OF DUTIES OF WARDENS