May 21, 1943

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, but I am prepared at any time during the debate, or at any time any member wishes me to do so, to discuss such matters as Canadianization and commissioning, and to discuss, if necessary, the shortcomings, great and small, of the minister and the faults of his administration. For the moment, however, I think that perhaps, particularly because I should like to give the house some idea, if I can, of the work which is being performed by the men in the Royal Canadian Air Force themselves, it would be better for me to make a factual statement dealing with finances, and operations and activities of the air force, leaving until later, when my appropriations come up again, any debate which may arise with regard to the administration.

Not that there has not been sufficient publicity, but I feel that there has been a certain casualness in the manner in which we look upon the activities of our Royal Canadian Air Force. That is due, perhaps, to the constant repetition of the headlines, "The R.A.F. and the R.C.A.F. have been busy bombing Germany." To a nation such as ours, which concerns itself more with the headlines than with

War Appropriation-Air Services

what is actually in the reading matter under them, there may come the feeling that this is the same story over and over again. I have the greatest admiration for these boys of ours who are carrying on operations overseas, and I feel that perhaps we have not realized to the full-I say this without meaning to criticize anybody-the extent and importance of the work which has been carried on by the air power generally in this war and, secondly, the great part which is being played by the Royal Canadian Air Force personnel in the war over Europe and in every other part of the globe.

I should like to tell the story in more adequate fashion and in some way commensurate with the deeds of these gallant youths, but in any case I feel that the story should be told, and should be told without any attempt on the part of anyone in this house to take credit for the deeds of those people who are operating overseas. It is for that reason, as I said before, that I propose to make the statement as factual as it can be made and to refrain from any controversy whatsoever. Before doing so, however, I should like to give some idea of the strength of the Royal Canadian Air Force as it is at present, and perhaps the house will pardon me, in this regard, for giving information which I have been asked on many occasions not to give. I give it for this reason-and I hope that those who feel that I should not give it will understand. Through an arrangement made with the parties in this house, it was understood that there would be a break-down of the financial commitments of the different armed forces; and, among other items, the Minister of Finance (Mr. Ilsley) gave a statement calling for a certain amount of money, which I have not before me at the moment, to provide for the pay and allowances of members of the Royal Canadian Air Force. It would be impossible for me to justify that amount unless I gave the house some idea of the number of men in the Royal Canadian Air * 1 2 3

Force, and therefore I am giving them now.

The present strength of the Royal Canadian Air Force, as on May 14 of this year, is 180,172 all ranks, comprising 168,782 men and -11,390 women. This represents the net result of the enlistments or appointments of 200.290 men of all ranks. The difference is accounted for by discharges, retirements and resignations to a total of 13,224. The rest is made up of casualties, a detailed statement of which I will give later. If we were to add the strength of the United Kingdom, New Zealand and Australian airmen attached to and administered by the Royal Canadian Air Force, together with civilian, employees, the number of people on the payroll of the British commonwealth air training plan and of the Royal Canadian Air Force would be in excess of a quarter of a million.

I have here also cash estimates for 1943-44, indicating a total requirement of $1,129,421,414. The probable expenditures for the last fiscal year, that is 1942-43, which figures are not as yet fully made up, will be S603T19,838. I have also the detailed requirements for 1943-44 as compared with the probable expenditures for 1942-43, and I have also a statement indicating the significance of the increases and changes in expenditure of the combined training organization, the home war establishment and the overseas war establishment. This statement also contains details of the additional obligations overseas as from April 1. 1943, when the new agreement was signed with Great Britain providing for the payment by Canada of all her personnel overseas. If the house will consent I should be glad to place this statement on Hansard without having to read it. I can assure the leader of the opposition that there is nothing in it to which he could take exception. It is a pure statement of the facts.

Topic:   NATIONAL DEFENCE FOR AIR
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LIB

Thomas Vien (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER:

Does the minister have the consent of the house?

Topic:   NATIONAL DEFENCE FOR AIR
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?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Yes.

Topic:   NATIONAL DEFENCE FOR AIR
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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:

The statement is as follows:

Topic:   NATIONAL DEFENCE FOR AIR
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ROYAL CANADIAN AIR FORCE


Cash Estimates 1943-1944 1. Total requirement. Total estimated cash requirement of the Royal Canadian Air Force for the fiscal year 1943-1944 is $1,129,421,414. 2. Probable expenditure for the fiscal year 1942-1943 is $603,119,838. 3. Detailed requirements 1943-1944, compared with probable expenditure for 1942-1943, are: Combined Training Organization Western Hemisphere Operations Overseas War Establishment...



Increases $ 34,510,845 128.784.644 363,006,087 Totals


$603,119,838 $1,129,421,414 $526,301,576 COMMONS


War Appropriation-Air Services Significance of increases and changes in expenditures. 4. The combined training organization increase. merits no particular observation other than that increases naturally prevail in most classes of expenditure of a recurring nature such as pay, operating costs, maintenance, etc. These are partially offset by declines in construction and clothing. The C.T.E. has grown and is still growing. The strength (all ranks) at July 1, 1942, was over 109,000 and at May 1, 1943, was over 150,000. These figures represent net effective strength and do not include personnel on leave without pay. It must be noted that the expenditures for 1942-1943 relate to the old British commonwealth air training plan for three months and to the combined training organization (which is the new nomenclature for the training organization which had its inception on July 1, 1942, as a result of the agreement of 5th June, 1942, between Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand) for nine months only, whereas the cash requirement for 1943-1944 represents the combined training organization for a full twelvemonth period. C.T.E. expenditures are running currently at about $40,000,000 per month. On this basis, without making any allowance for further expansion, cash requirement for 19431944 would be approximately $480,000,000. The amount of cash requirement for 1943-1944 is stated as $445,335,845, it being considered that Canada will stand to benefit by United Kingdom contribution to a somewhat greater extent than heretofore because of greater deliveries of aircraft and supplies for British account being expected in 1943-1944 from the United States and from Great Britain. Also, capital expenditures are expected to decline in 1943-1944. 5. Western hemisphere operations. This increase, amounting to approximately $128,000,000, may be attributed, generally, to the effects of the expansion programme which was embarked upon in the middle of 1942. This expansion has had the effect of just about doubling the present strength of all ranks in the western hemisphere operations. It may be noted that the strength of all ranks in western hemisphere operations, between April 1, 1942, and May 1, 1943, showed a very substantial increase. The expansion has involved an extensive construction programme of aerodromes and buildings and the procurement of large numbers of additional aircraft, mechanical transport, bombs, wireless and other major equipment. Much of this, already contracted for, remains to be paid for and the year 1943-1944 will see deliveries off contracts presently outstanding. 6. Overseas war establishment. The increase under this heading amounts to approximately $363,000,000. This amount includes the effect of the additional obligations assumed by Canada as of April 1, 1943. This increase is accounted, generally, to the following: Capital cost of 35 squadrons $ 74,112,600 Maintenance cost (excluding pay and allowances and clothing and necessaries) of 35 squadrons.... 213,339,393 Capital cost of ancillary units.... 344,500 Maintenance cost (excluding pay and allowances and clothing and necesaries) of the ancillary units 8,790,536 Pay and allowances (adjusted to R.C.A.F. rates) and clothing and necessaries of all R.C.A.F. personnel overseas 66,414,444 Total $363,001,473 Provision has to be made for the ever-increasing numbers of R.C.A.F. personnel overseas. This increase will continue quite apart from the obligation upon Canada to assume, as from April 1, 1943, the pay of the personnel previously the responsibility of the R.A.F. Without divulging exact figures, it may be stated that over 40,000 R.C.A.F. personnel have been sent overseas, which number includes both aircrew and groundcrew. 7. Additional obligations overseas as from April 1, 1943. On April 20, 1943, an Agreement was entered into between the government of the United Kingdom and the government of Canada, effective April 1, 1943. This agreement is supplementary to the agreement of June 5, 1942, about the training of pilots and aircraft crews in Canada and their subsequent service. Under the terms of this supplementary agreement, the government of Canada assumes financial liability for the following costs and expenses connected with R.C.A.F. personnel who are made available for service with or in conjunction with the Royal Air Force: (a) Pay and allowances. (b) Clothing and necessaries. (c) Transportation to and from overseas. (d) Insurance contributions (employers1 share) necessary to insure benefits under Canadian schemes. (e) The excess (if any) of pensions and other non-effective benefits admissable under Canadian regulations over the corresponding benefits admissable under United Kingdom regulations for personnel entered for the duration of the war. (f) All costs of the R.C.A.F. squadron overseas (excepting the three squadrons for which Canada had assumed liability) and of the formations and units formed overseas for their administration and maintenance. Usually when dealing with these estimates we divide them into three headings. In former years they were divided into home war, British commonwealth joint air training plan and overseas operations. On this occasion I propose to change the order, but to retain the same headings. My reason for this is that up to this year the joint air training plan was an infant which was being fed, in so far as personnel, instructors and all persons who went into it were concerned, by the R.C.A.F. prewar establishment or by such new persons as had come in since. But this child has now grown up to a lusty parent and the British commonwealth joint air training plan is now the feeder of the former services, that is to War Appropriation-Air Services say, the home war establishment and the overseas establishment. They draw their personnel from those who have been trained in the Training plan. It is for that reason that I intend to mention it first. It is a small matter, but perhaps I should refer to the fact that some confusion has arisen in the public mind and in our own minds with respect to the name of this particular organization. During the training conference the financial people found that owing to the fact that new commitments were being undertaken, that is that there was to be a kind of financial pool as well as a training pool as between the Royal Air Force transferred schools and our own schools, and wishing to make a cut-off date for financial as well as administrative purposes, they invented the name "Combined Training Organization" to indicate that which would happen after July 1 when the two organizations were merged together. It became the common custom within the department to call what was formerly the British commonwealth joint air training plan, the Combined Training Organization. Strangely enough I mentioned this name in a speech which I made in Toronto, and the protests were so strong that we decided that the name "Combined Training Organization" did not give much inspiration and did not mean very much. Therefore, with the agility which characterizes the air force, we promptly changed the name back again and I can assure the house that it will be known as the British Commonwealth Joint Air Training Plan for the duration. I come now to the financial aspect of the joint air training plan particularly as it developed after the agreement made in June of this year. Important and far-reaching changes in the financing of this project were made as a result of the air training conference held in June, 1942. The financial arrangements under the British commonwealth air training plan, under the agreement signed in 1939 were: 1. Canada paid for the recruiting, manning and all training of R.C.A.F. aircrew up to the stage of advanced training, these same costs being borne by New Zealand and Australia in respect to the aircrew of those dominions, who subsequent to such training were sent to Canada for advanced training. 2. United Kingdom supplied all twin engine aircraft, except Anson wings, a certain number of single engine aircraft and one-half of the engines for the elementary training aircraft. 3. The total costs of the plan excluding (1) and (2) were to be borne by- Canada 80-64 Australia 11-28 New Zealand 8-08 Subsequent to these arrangements and owing to exigencies of war, the United Kingdom was unable to provide from the United Kingdom all the aircraft and parts when required as called for by the contract and subsequent expansions and Canada as agent for the United Kingdom purchased on their behalf the necessary aircraft, engines, parts and supplies. The cost to- the United Kingdom in this respect was approximately $98,000,000. As a matter of administrative convenience and to effect economy in the administration, supplementary agreements were entered into with Australia and New Zealand whereby the governments of those dominions agreed to pay in the case of Australia a lump sum to March 17,1942, and on a per capita basis thereafter, and in the case of New Zealand a lump sum to the end of the contractj March 31, 1943. In the latter part of 1941 certain RA.F. schools were established in Canada, the entire cost of which, except land, was to be borne by the United Kingdom. A new agreement was entered into on June 5, 1942, to come into effect at July 1, 1942, - and to extend the activities of the training plan to March 31, 1945. At June 30, 1942, the financial situation under the old agreement was substantially as follows: Total expenditures under the plan excluding contribution in kind by the United Kingdom $500,567,000 Of the above there was payable by Australia and New Zealand approximately the following: Australia 43,000,000 New Zealand 35,000,000 The United Kingdom had either furnished in kind or obligated itself to pay for all twin-engine aircraft, excluding Anson wings, which were manufactured in Canada, a certain number of single-engine aircraft and one-half of the engines for elementary training aircraft as well as the capital cost and operating cost of the R.A.F. schools in Canada. The total monetary obligation of the United Kingdom under this arrangement at July 1, 1942, was approximately $279,000,000, of which approximately $66,500,000 had been received and the balance is at present being examined by both governments for final settlement. The value of the contribution in kind- actually delivered from the United Kingdom to July 1, 1942, is not available but would be very substantial and probably in excess of $100,000,000. The present agreement calls for the maintaining of all the R.C.A.F. and R.A.F. schools in existence at June 30, 1942, and the institution of certain additional schools particularly



War Appropriation-Air Services the more advanced training units. The entire cost of all training in Canada of R.A.F., R.C.A.F., R.A.A.F. and R.N.Z.A.F. aircrew, including recruiting, manning and elementary training of R.C.A.F. aircrew previously borne exclusively by Canada and operational training previously borne exclusively by the United Kingdom, was estimated to cost $1,446,000,000 from July 1, 1942, to March 31, 1945, and the agreement called for the United Kingdom to assume a liability for one-half of this amount, $723,000,000, with a proviso that if there were any major changes in the plan which would materially affect the cost of the plan the liability of the United Kingdom would be, adjusted accordingly. The governments of Australia and New Zealand will pay for the training of their personnel in Canada on a per capita basis as arranged between the governments of United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand, and the amounts received for such training will be credited to the United Kingdom against their liability to Canada. There have been changes in the training in that Canada will continue to supply a substantial proportion of the trainees but not the proportion which it supplied under the old agreement because there will foe a much larger number of persons trained. The total number of pupils sent 'Under the United Kingdom quota, which will include, men from various parts of the empire and from the European members of the united nations, will be increased. In all, more men will be trained in Canada under the new agreement than was provided for under the original plan, even as expanded. Under the new agreement there will foe complete coordination of air training in Canada; existing schools of the Royal Air Force will preserve their identity but for purposes of administration will continue to be integrated under the control of the Royal Canadian Air Force. While the liability for providing equipment of certain types rests with the United Kingdom,, the task of determining the nature of the equipment and the quantities required for agreed establishments will be the responsibility of Canada, as administrator of the plan. Including the trainees from the united nations and various parts of the empire, the number of trainees sent to Canada by the United Kingdom will be greatly increased. As to training itself, the first great rush to get people overseas in a hurry is about over. Subsequent developments have been directed more toward improving the quality of training than increasing the number of air crew graduating. The ever-changing methods of modern warfare require continual revision of training methods and the teaching of additional subjects. To meet this condition greater emphasis is being laid on specialist training in navigation, armament and instrument flying. Some new schools have been opened and others will be opened, but the period of large expansion is past. Quality rather than quantity has become the keynote of the training organization, and as a more experienced training organization emerges so the calibre of training improves. It may be well to recall to the house a little of the history of the joint air training plan. The original agreement was signed on December 17, 1939. The first intake of pupils, of whom there were 169-50 pilots, 44 observers and 75 wireless operators-took place on April 29, 1940. These first pupils were graduated on October 28, 1940. The objective of the plan was to train thousands of commonwealth aircrew so as to (1) meet and hold the enemy air strength and prevent it from doing too much damage to Great Britain, the last citadel of freedom in Europe and the springboard for an attack on Hitler; (2) attain air supremacy; (3) destroy enemy air power; and (4) destroy the economic life of Germany and its allies. We can say without false pride that the air training plan has been a mighty factor in the attainment of the first three objectives. It has contributed largely to the local air superiority in Africa and over the continent of Europe, and is an essential element in the realization of the final abjective, that of crushing out of existence Italian and German economic might. I said two years ago in this house that the R.C.A.F. would wish to be judged by the results of the great experiment we had undertaken, and at this time we have no reason to back away from that statement. We have trained in this country in ground trades between 75,000 and 80.000 men, practically all the personnel required in the training establishments, in our operational squadrons on this side of the Atlantic and our operational squadrons overseas. In aircrew, though no definite figures can or should be given, I am allowed to say that some months ago we passed the figure of 50,000 aircrew trained in Canada. These did not all come out of the joint air training plan schools; some of them came out of the Royal Air Force transferred schools. They were not all Canadians, and I should like this to be well understood. Included in these 50,000 were Englishmen, Australians, New Zealanders, Newfoundlanders, Norwegians, Poles, Czechs, Belgians, Americans and Canadians, all capable of manning aircraft produced by the manufacturing facilities of the united nations. I repeat, they are not all War Appropriation-Air Services Canadians, nor are they all overseas at the present moment. A large number had to be retained in Canada to act as instructors or for operations with Canadian home and Operational squadrons. The number, 50,000, would be more than enough to man 15,000 combat planes. We passed that figure several months ago, and even making allowance for the interruption in training that took place this winter owing to unseasonable weather, there is no slackening in our effort to continue to produce aircrew at a rate more accelerated than heretofore. We have not as yet reached peak production on a monthly basis and will not reach that peak production for several months. When we do reach it we will continue to produce trained aircrew for the duration of the war, as long as we can find men in Canada and in the united nations of the calibre, quality and aptitude to make aircrew. This brings me necessarily to the subject of man-power, as far as aircrew is concerned. A few days ago the Minister of National Defence (Mr. Ralston) stated that the air force requires 53,000 recruits during the current year. This provides for our aircrew and male ground crew, but does not take into consideration enlistments required for the women's division. Almost 12,000 women have been enlisted, and although present enlistments in this category are substantial, existing training facilities would enable us to accept an even larger number than those offering at present. The air training plan is now fairly well stabilized, which means that our aircrew requirements henceforth will be fairly constant, and the number required for ground crew will dwindle to a point providing only for normal replacements. The air force has always been in the fortunate position of having a substantial reserve of aircrew recruits awaiting training. Since the beginning of the year, however, this reserve has been considerably reduced. Potential applicants in the upper age brackets are no longer available in any substantial numbers, am} as the war progresses we have to depend more and more upon the group of young men becoming of enlistment age each year. I have stated that our ground crew requirements have been pretty well met. Contingencies may arise which will necessitate the enlistment of additional numbers in this category, but the important thing about which I wish to warn the people of Canada is that as long as this war lasts, we of the Royal Canadian Air Force have an open-ended commitment to our allies and associates for aircrew, requiring a special type of man-power, and these must come in a steady stream every month. While I am on the man-power question, by way of digression, perhaps the house would be interested in something which was pointed out to me just before I came here this afternoon. There is a man living in Odessa, Saskatchewan, a carpenter and contractor, whose name is Mr. R. F. Deutscher. His eldest son, Flying Officer Ralph Deutscher, is a link trainer instructor in a service flying training school at Saskatoon. Another son, Pilot Officer Henry Deutscher, thirty years of age, is a navigator overseas. Another son, LAC Mike Deutscher, is a student navigator at an air observer school at Edmonton. Another son, Sergeant Tony Deutscher, is a link trainer instructor at Weyburn. Flight Sergeant Bert Deutscher, is a wireless air gunner on opera-, tions overseas, and has seen action in Europe and Libya. Corporal Adam is an air engine mechanic overseas. Pilot Officer Joe is an air bomber overseas. LAC John has just arrived at the manning depot. There is an air-minded family eight boys in the air force. This man and his wife came to Canada from central Europe about 1900. He is what might be called a new Canadian. But I would say, judging by his record and that of his children, that he is worthy of the name Canadian, in every sense of the word..


NAT

Gordon Graydon (Leader of the Official Opposition)

National Government

Mr. GRAYDON:

He is showing us what

total war means.

Topic:   $603,119,838 $1,129,421,414 $526,301,576 COMMONS
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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:

He certainly is.

Then, to return to the joint air training plan, I shall deal "with construction. As I said before, expansion is practically completed. New schools, other than those already planned, are not contemplated at the moment. We are, however, planning for additional accommodation for men and machines at certain types of schools, but brought about largely by new and changing requirements in the categories of aircrew and in the methods of training them.

Then, with regard to aircraft, the new combined training organization requires, naturally, more than the old. We have now over 10,009 training aircraft. We will need many more before we are through. And we now' have the assurance that, largely due to Canadian production

in fact, entirely due to Canadian production-these requirements will be met, in so far as certain categories, of training aircraft are concerned. But we need not be complacent about numbers. The aeroplanes are not always serviceable, and though we did not come to the dead end which I feared might be possible some eighteen months ago, when I pointed out to the house that owing to the hard usage and the shortage of spares we might be in a difficult position, there are times when there are delays, and we still have our days of anxiety. And there are certain types of machines for certain special types of schools which are very difficult to obtain.

War Appropriation-Air Services

With regard to the number of schools under the original contract, to produce the number of graduates then envisioned, there were to have been established in Canada a maximum number of seventy-four schools, and other units. A comparison of the original plan with the- actual situation as at March 31, 1943, indicates that we planned seventy-four schools. There are actually in operation to-day-as of March 31, 1943-154 schools. In many cases schools have twice the capacity originally planned, so that these figures do not reflect the development which has taken place.

As to that which is more important, the quality of our output, this can be no military secret. The enemy knows it-the Jap knows it in Alaska and Burma, the Italian knows it in Africa and in his home country, and the German over the channel, in occupied France, and in Germany itself. I expect to develop this point further when dealing with the operation of the Royal Canadian Air Force overseas.

Some officers of my department, Mr. Speaker, who are given to Ripleyism, have given me certain interesting statistics as to the number of miles flown. The average miles flown per day, in the air training plan, is 2,006,626, a distance equal to eighty times around the earth, at the equator, every day. The total miles flown in March, 1943, were 62,205,415, a distance equal to 260 trips to the moon. The miles flown during the first quarter of 1943 were 162,569,510. The cumulative number of miles flown by the joint air training plan from its inception up to March, 1943, totalled 6,588,098,593, which is equal to 71 trips to the sun.

I now come to deal with what has been known as the home war establishment. The amount of money involved in the work of the home war establishment this year, 1943-44, will be 8300,834.000. And we expect to have on the strength of the home war establishment during the fiscal year 1943-44, the average number throughout the year of about 35,000 all ranks. The average strength during 1942-43 was approximately 23,500.

In dealing with home war establishment I should like to correct an impression which is pretty general throughout the country, and even perhaps in our own service, and that is that home war establishment means something like a reserve force. The term "home war establishment" is really a misnomer. It should not be called home war establishment, but should be described as western hemisphere air operations. Our home war units are not reserve units; they are not training units; they are not adjuncts of the joint

empire air training plan, but they are vital components of the offensive and defensive structure of the allied nations. Fighter squadrons in the Aleutians and on the north Pacific coast are seeking out and meeting the enemy in the same way as our fighters are meeting German fliers and the anti-submarine and convoy patrol squadrons on the east coast, are engaged in a Canadian effort comparable to that of the coastal command of Great Britain. They play a vital part in the preservation of the lifeline of supply and transport in the north Atlantic, as well as the protection of our coastal and vulnerable areas from the enemy.

The home war establishment is a separate and distinct organization from the air training plan, and from our overseas service. It has a senior officer at air force headquarters, at its head, and it has a commander-in-chief of air operations on the east coast and on the west coast.

The varied duties and functions which the various squadrons are called upon to perform demand different types of equipment'. There are fighter squadrons equipped with fighter aircraft to meet enemy aircraft should they appear over Canadian skies. There are army cooperation squadrons. There are coast artillery cooperation squadrons. There are bomber reconnaissance squadrons patrolling the coastal waters, and far out into the Atlantic, as convoy escorts and as submarine chasers, and ready to act as a striking force to bomb enemy carriers or other surface vessels should they come to our notice.

Each type of squadron has its particular task to perform. We have some on the St. Lawrence river, some on each coast, far over the Atlantic and the Pacific, and some in the fog-veiled Aleutian islands of Alaska.

The home war squadrons and stations have their own personnel belonging purely to that organization, and engaged upon operational duties only. They are of all the necessary types, all the necessary categories required to carry on warlike operations-ground crew, aircrew, radio men, air gunners, wireless operators, equipment men, and so on, making in all a completely integrated service in itself.

All this personnel is Royal Canadian Air Force personnel, and they are completely interchangeable with the overseas Royal Canadian Air Force. In fact it is a definite policy to ensure that officers and men who have had operational duties overseas should have the opportunity for this important home duty, and the men who begin their operational service on home duty should have, similarly, an opportunity to serve in the more active spheres of operations overseas. As a matter of fact the senior officer air staff at headquarters, Air

War Appropriation-Air Services

Vice-Marshal Anderson, has had experience overseas in this war, having been attached for several months to coastal command in Great Britain. The air officer in chief commanding eastern air command, Air Vice-Marshal Johnston, was also for several months attached te the staff of the Air Ministry overseas. Air Vice-Marshal Stevenson, commanding west coast, was well over a year and a half in England as air officer in charge of Canadian headquarters over there. As a matter of fact all our fighter squadrons in Canada in the home war establishment, so-called, are commanded by officers who have seen active combatant service over Britain, the continent or the middle east in the present war.

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NAT

Gordon Graydon (Leader of the Official Opposition)

National Government

Mr. GRAYDON:

Would the minister permit a question? I understood him to say, in connection with the home war establishment, that a large number of those in the crews who are officers have seen service in overseas theatres of war?

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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:

I am sorry that the policy which we have in mind and propose to carry out as soon as we are in a position to do so has not yet gone to the extent which my hon. friend visualizes. So far the commanding officers and a number of' the crews have seen service overseas but not to anything like the extent I would wish and I am sure my hon. friend would wish.

With respect to aerodromes, there are aerodromes which are offensive and defensive aerodromes designed purely for operations of the home war establishment. The difficulty of siting these aerodromes and building them will be appreciated, I am sure, when one takes a look at our map and sees the deeply indented coasts and realizes the difficulties of building aerodromes in some sites which would be very convenient from the standpoint of defence. But we have aerodromes located and in service anywhere from the eastern tip of Newfoundland through Labrador to the Queen Charlotte islands on the Pacific. All these aerodromes and stations must be equipped with service devices of all kinds for the proper conduct of their allotted operations-from the ordinary living quarters for the personnel to the most intricate mechanism for communications and enemy detection.

With regard to aircraft, the home war establishment has its own aircraft, with each squadron equipped with machines which best suit its purpose. As more of these machines come off the supply lines, either United States or British types from Canadian production and some from United States production, the squadrons will be expanded and 72537-1834

more of them constituted. There is a determination that the squadrons shall be adequately equipped with the most suitable and efficient type of aircraft wherever it is possible to get the appropriate type.

I have been asked in the house and elsewhere if our home war aircraft are of the latest model. The answer is, not always. Another question asked is, are there enough of them? The answer is no. If you ask me why not, I will say that the very latest and up-to-the-minute aircraft and in the largest numbers are required where, in the opinion of the united nations planners, they will do most good, and that is not in Canada, but over Tunisia, Libya, in North Africa, and over the English channel.

If I am asked if our air defence is airtight, I reply in the language of the chief of the air staff, Air Marshal Breadner, wTho said recently in an interview at Vancouver:

There is no one who can say that any force is competent to meet any threat, but it can be said that our forces on the Pacific coast are adequate to meet the presently apprehended scales of enemy operations.

The same thing may be said with respect to the east coast. There is no one in this house, not a member, who cannot get up and make a case for better air defence of his home town or of the region from which he comes or of his province or of his business. If he wished to assure himself that never under any circumstances would his town or his region or his business be attacked or imperilled, he could show that without a curtain of anti-aircraft fire, without a swarm of fighter planes, death and destruction could fall about his town and about himself, if he wanted to be very pathetic about it. And he would be right. My answer to that is that no nation can ever be completely protected from air attack. Britain is not even now, and thank God neither is Germany, nor Italy. We cannot cover every possible contingency, we cannot defend completely and individually every city, town, village and hamlet, but we can give reasonable assurance that there are adequate resources to deal with any broad and general situation. Again I repeat that we of the R.C.A.P. believe that with every enemy plane we knock out of the skies over the English channel, with every piece of aircraft blown to bits in Rostock or Augsburg or Milan or Turin, there is that much less danger of any enemy aeroplanes coming to this country, and we are knocking them out of the skies over the English channel and blasting their factories to bits in Germany and Italy.

War Appropriation-Air Services

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NAT

Gordon Graydon (Leader of the Official Opposition)

National Government

Mr. GRAYDON:

Can the minister give 'he committee an idea of what percentage if the machines now in operation in the home aircraft establishment are of Canadian manufacture?

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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:

I could not offhand.

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NAT

Gordon Graydon (Leader of the Official Opposition)

National Government

Mr. GRAYDON:

Perhaps the minister will give that information later.

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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:

Just thinking it over quickly,

I would say that the percentage is high. It was not high last year, but now a considerable number of aircraft of Canadian manufacture are coming off the production line very rapidly, and a great many of our anti-submarine squadrons will be equipped with these aeroplanes.

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NAT

Gordon Graydon (Leader of the Official Opposition)

National Government

Mr. GRAYDON:

I take it from what the minister says that the rest will be of United States manufacture?

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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 at first thinking in terms of last year. In a matter of a few weeks the balance will be in favour of Canadian production.

Topic:   $603,119,838 $1,129,421,414 $526,301,576 COMMONS
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May 21, 1943