May 21, 1943

CCF

George Hugh Castleden

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. CASTLEDEN:

Does that include aeroplane engines? ,

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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.

Before I leave the home war establishment, the anti-submarine patrol squadrons on both coasts, particularly on the Atlantic coast, deserve some mention in this house. Theirs is one of the most difficult and thankless jobs of the war-long patrols, in the air ten, twenty to twenty-five hours and more at a time, cold, stormy weather, cramped, uncomfortable quarters, bumped about unsparingly by wind and jveather, constantly on the alert, nerves wracked and eyes strained. They carry 'on knowing well that aircraft are not the complete answer to the submarine menace-I should like to repeat that so that it will be understood by the house-it has never been contended and it is not now contended by the R.C.A.F. that aircraft is the complete answer to the submarine menace, because fog, weather and darkness and other elemental factors frequently prevent them from seeing or locating the enemy. Carrying on, hoping, praying for a sight or an opportunity to attack, and most heart-breaking of all, when a perfect attack is made as many have been made, not in a position completely to verify their success because they cannot stay around long enough, or they cannot come down on the sea to pick up identifying wreckage. But, in spite of this apparent frustration, I should like them to know that we have a deep and sincere appreciation of their work and that we are convinced that more and more as days go by, and as we increase in aircraft strength, as we are doing,

and in anti-submarine technique as they are doing, their success against enemy submarines will be more and more accentuated.

Perhaps I might give a historical review of the anti-submarine patrol work on the east coast. In October 1941, the first enemy U-boats appeared in Canadian waters. During this month, the first R.C.A.F. aircraft attack on an enemy U-boat near the entrance to the straits of Belle isle signalled the arrival of enemy submarines in north American coastal wTaters. Their arrival marked the beginning of a new epoch. Up to this time failure of the enemy to extend his operations into the western Atlantic had allowed for concentration on building and training to an extent that would not otherwise have been possible.

By January,, 1942, the westward movement of U-boat operations had extended to the eastern seaboard of continental North America, and sinkings grew in number. In May 1942, the first aircraft attack on U-boats in the gulf of St. Lawrence occurred and in July the first torpedoing in the St. Lawrence river. Although the period of enemy inactivity prior to October, 1941, had permitted first class training in convoy escort and reconnaissance duties, and the aircraft available were so disposed and had those, qualities which permitted continuous convoy escort through the Canadian coastal waters and' extending some hundreds of miles eastward of Newfoundland, the limited numbers of aircraft available to cover the wide expanses off our eastern seaboard made it impossible for the R.C.A.F. to drive U-boats completely away from our coast. This was because it was necessary to employ the major portion of our strength on direct convoy protection, with the result that few aircraft could be spared for the purely offensive mission of seeking out and destroying U-iboats-the prime means by which U-boats can be driven out to sea. During the year 1942, Eastern Air Command anti-submarine squadrons flew some five million nautical miles while escorting in the vicinity of 12,000 sailings of vessels moving singly and in convoy. Of the number of ships sunk within 300 miles of the Canadian coast, less than 3 per cent were sunk while actually being provided with air escort by the R.C.A.F. Even while carrying out this primarily defensive role, these squadrons were able to make 43 attacks on enemy U-boats, many with apparent success. And, since February 28 of this year, we have made fourteen attacks on enemy U-boats in the Atlantic.

During 1939 and 1940 some 14,300 hours were flown on operational work, and during this period six crashes occurred involving

War Appropriation-Air Services

the death of 11 personnel. In 1941 home war aircraft carried out upwards of 1,900 operational patrols flying some 25,980 hours. During this period there were eight crashes involving fatalities to 28 personnel. In 1942 commitments were further increased and more than 7,530 patrols involving 94,450 flying hours were carried out, or an increase in operational activity of no less than 276 per cent. With this great increase in the number of patrols, crashes increased to 22, with 77 fatalities. It is pointed out that the great majority of the crashes have occurred as a result of the adverse weather conditions encountered over the north Atlantic. On the normal patrols carried out usually more than one aircraft is involved; consequently if the weather deteriorates and aircraft are unable to reach base, the percentage of crashes increases proportionately.

The following decorations have been awarded in Eastern Air Command for meritorious service carried out on antisubmarine patrols since the commencement of hostilities:

A.F.C 10

A. F.M 9

D.F.C 2

O.B.E 1

B. E.M 9

Mentioned in dispatches-

Officers 13

Other ranks 5

The year 1943 is expected to see a very pronounced increase in enemy U-iboat activity in the west Atlantic. To meet this menace, the R.C.A.F. anticipates an over-all increase of nearly 100 per cent in aircraft, aircrew, and hours flown. This is being made possible by deliveries of aircraft manufactured in Canadian factories, acquisition from United States manufacturers, and the supply of aircrew from the combined training establishment. To provide increased coverage in the gulf of St. Lawrence the bases already there are being reinforced and new bases are being opened

The house is no doubt aware that within the past few weeks the R.C.A.F., in conjunction with the Royal Canadian Navy, has undertaken new responsibility in the battle of the Atlantic. The R.C.N. has been charged with the duty of protecting the surface ships convoys in the northwestern Atlantic, and the R.C.A.F. is working in the closest cooperation with it, in providing air cover for convoys, not only within short distances of our coast but, through the instrumentality of very long range aircraft recently acquired, to distances far out in the Atlantic. But it still remains to be seen whether or not the most effective

way of alleviating the submarine menace is to destroy the submarines in their own nest, instead of looking for them all over the Atlantic as one would look for a needle in a haystack. Our bombers, the R.A.F. bombers and the American forces are constantly and continually attacking Hamburg, Emden, Brest, St. Nazaire, and Lorient, are destroying submarines at their home bases and factories building submarines or essential parts thereof. We may not be able to destroy completely concrete pens of 14 to 18 feet in thickness, but we can make the district surrounding these pens, the dockyards, the quays, and the places near unfit to live in, and the various necessary appliances unfit to handle.

There are some authorities who say that anti-submarine work at sea, in the middle of the Atlantic, is of a purely defensive character, whereas one wants to carry on defensive operations and the way to carry them on is as I have already stated, quoting from one of Great Britain's foremost air marshals, to seek the enemy out in his nest and destroy him there.

I can say one more thing with respect to the home war squadrons, that I have advised all concerned overseas, and the united staff planners, that when the day comes to deliver the "coup de grace" in Europe or in Japan, or before, if necessary, all these squadrons are at the disposal of the united nations, collectively, individually, and every individual man in them, to be sent anywhere, at any time, wherever it is thought they can do the best work. The squadrons, particularly the fighters, are mobile and can be sent away at almost any time, having regard to our commitments in dealing with the submarine menace and protecting vulnerable points.

Now I should like to take some time to deal with our overseas squadrons. We have 32 squadrons in operation out of the 38 which it is proposed at the moment to constitute. There is one squadron in Ceylon and another in the middle east. Every squadron, except the one constituted only two or three weeks ago, has been in heavy and constant action. They have flown in operations in April 10,000 hours; they have carried the war to the enemy, meeting him and knocking him out of the skies; they are on the offensive, and they dare the German to leave his concealed dispersal pits to come up to combat. When I was in Britain last year I visited one of our squadrons when they were just about taking off on a scramble to join in an operation over occupied France. I saw there, taking the skies from the various aerodromes surrounding the aerodrome of this Canadian squadron, over 200 fighter aircraft.

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War Appropriation-Air Services

They circled around and attained a great height. I asked the commanding officer of the Canadian squadron why they got up so high and made themselves more open to detection by aircraft detection devices. He said, "We are doing it because we want the Germans to know that we are going over and we want them to come up and fight us." That is the spirit not only of our force, but of the R.A.F., because most of the people on this particular operation were R.A.F.-the spirit of bringing the Germans up to the air to fight. There is no longer any question of the R.A.F. or the air forces of the united nations endeavouring to get away from fighting; they are pressing the fighting home to the enemy day after day and night after night, with the object of making him come out and meet them. Our Canadians have developed, or if they have not developed at least they have taken part in, a new technique of train-busting, shooting up freight cars and, particularly, railway engines, not for fun-though they must enjoy it-but with the deliberate plan of destroying enemy rolling-stock, disrupting his communications, preventing him from transporting munitions and instruments of war, and making it difficult if not impossible for him to effect a rapid concentration of troops through the network of railways which he has constructed and which were already built on the French coast and other occupied coasts, and which concentrations will be essential to him in the event of a continental invasion. Our coastal command squadrons have taken their share of the task allotted to them of destroying enemy shipping and submarines. Our army cooperation squadrons, acting in conjunction with the Canadian army, equipped with the swiftest of machines for reconnaissance photographic work, have, while waiting for action with the invading army, taken on the task of fighter squadrons and gone in for short-range bombing.

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NAT

Gordon Graydon (Leader of the Official Opposition)

National Government

Mr. GRAYDON:

In the British coastal

command are there Royal Canadian Air Force personnel?

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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:

There are Royal Canadian Air Force squadrons and a very large number of Royal Canadian Air Force personnel in Royal Air Force squadrons.

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NAT

Gordon Graydon (Leader of the Official Opposition)

National Government

Mr. GRAYDON:

That is, in the coastal command?

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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. The Canadian bomber group was formed as a group on January 1, 1942, and has taken part in every big raid, either as individual squadrons, before formation into the group, or as a group ever since its formation. As an illustration of the part

played by Canadian squadrons in the present offensive, I may observe that I read in the press about a month ago that the American bombers had made their biggest raid up to that time and that 125 American bombers had been in action and had attacked a target, I forget where, either in Holland or in Germany. I had noticed, through the dispatches and to some extent through the casualty lists, that there had been a heavy combined Royal Air Force-Royal Canadian Air Force raid on that same night, and so I cabled overseas and asked if there was any security objection to my giving the number of Canadian aircraft which had been in this heavy Royal Air Force raid on the very night when the American Fortresses had taken part in their operation. The reply came back that there were 136 Canadian aircraft in that operation on that night. This comparison was not made for the purpose of minimizing the effort of any of our allies, but in order to bring home to our people a realization of the efforts made by Canada overseas, which two years ago had only a small token force and which a month ago was able to put in the air, in operations over Germany, as many aircraft as our very much more powerful neighbour.

These bomber squadrons in the bomber group, I am told, on the very best authority, are among the most effective in Great Britain, but the work performed by our bomber squadrons and by our fighter squadrons and coastal command squadrons as well as our army cooperation squadrons is but a small part of the work which is being carried on by Royal Canadian Air Force personnel overseas. I have said outside, and I will repeat in this house: There are more thousands of Royal Canadian Air Force personnel in Royal Air Force units overseas than there are hundreds in Canadian units. As a matter of fact, it is about eleven to one. I am speaking of aircrew only. There are about eleven Royal Canadian Air Force aircrew in British squadrons to one in Canadian squadrons, and the Canadian squadrons are, to a certain extent, filled up by Canadians. I think that should be made clear to the house and to the country, that the very great proportion of Canadians enlisted in Canada-and this does not take into consideration graduates of the empire training plan who come from other countries, because I am speaking only of Canadians enlisted in Canada -go to a very large extent to Royal Air Force squadrons.

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NAT

Harry Rutherford Jackman

National Government

Mr. JACKMAN:

Will that be so after we get our thirty-two squadrons established out of the thirty-eight which we intend?

War Appropriation-Air Services

28sy

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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:

We have thirty-two now. There are only six more to establish.

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NAT

Harry Rutherford Jackman

National Government

Mr. JACKMAN:

Even with the thirty-two established overseas, there are eleven Canadians in the Royal Air Force as against one Canadian in the Royal Canadian Air Force overseas?

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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:

If we had squadrons established for all the Canadian aircrew which will be sent over next year, let us say, we would need something like 250,000 ground crew to look after them. Ground crew equal in number to the Canadian army overseas would not be enough to look after all the aircrew we are sending over to fight in the Royal Air Force squadrons. My hon. friend speaks of six squadrons, requiring some thousands of men. If they were fighter squadrons they would require 30 or 40 of aircrew, and if they were bomber squadrons they would require some 100 aircrew. When our whole 38 are established we shall still have that same proportion of as many thousands in the Royal Air Force squadrons as there are hundreds in, our own-eleven in the Royal Air Force squadrons to one in the Canadian squadrons. Again, I am speaking only of aircrew, not ground crew.

As illustrating the wide dispersal of Canadians in the Royal Air Force and elsewhere, during the month of January Canadian casualties occurred in 72 different squadrons, and from' February to May there were Canadian casualties in 168 squadrons overseas. We have our men on every front and in every corner of the globe where the British commonwealth is waging war with the axis powers. Berlin, Turin, Genoa, Sicily, Sardinia, Burma, Kiska, the Ruhr dams, have been the melancholy recipients of their bombs and Junkers, Messerschmits, Fiats, Capronis, Zeros have felt the weight of their gun power.

Because Canada is taking such an important part in the air, both in our squadrons and with our individual aircrew in other squadrons. I should like to have the knowledge and experience to discuss in the house some of the strategic aspects of air warfare. I came back from Great Britain last summer more than half convinced that, given enough machines and given enough men capable of manning the machines, as we are turning out men from the air training plan to man the machines, Germany could be knocked out of the war by bombs. In England I met men who are firmly convinced that that theory is the right one. It is no secret, because it has been stated in the public press, and Chief Air Marshal Harris has on many occasions

been quoted, both in the American and the British press, as saying that, given enough men and machines, he could knock Germany out of the war by bombing in six months. They believe that one by one, town by town, city by city, factory by factory, street by street they can destroy' all Germany and knock out every vestige of its economic strength. I do not say I accept that theory. I said I was more than half convinced at the time I returned, but I am sure that some of the proponents of this total air war will get a great deal of comfort from what Mr. Churchill said the day before yesterday in the United States, and his statement will be a rather effective reply at the same time to those who have been saying, both here and in the United States, and probably to some . extent in Great Britain; "What is the use of all this bombing? Is it not futile? Britain was not knocked out by bombing and therefore you cannot knock Germany out." Well, I wish to quote what Mr. Churchill said:

In this air war it is that these guilty nations have already begun to show their first real mortal weakness. The more continuous and severe the air fighting becomes the better for us because we can already replace casualties and machines far more rapidly than the enemy and we can replace them on a scale which increases month by month.

Progress in this sphere is swift and sure, but it must be remembered that the preparation and development of airfields and the movement of the great masses of ground personnel on whom the efficiency of modern air squadrons depends, however earnestly pressed forward, is bound to take time.

Opinion-

And this is where I have to agree with Mr. Churchill.

Opinion, Mr. President, is divided as to whether the use of air power could by itself bring about the collapse in Germany or Italy. The experiment is well worth trying, so long as other measures are not excluded. Well, there is certainly no harm in finding out. But, however that may be, we are all agreed that the damage done to the enemy's war potential is enormous.

The condition to which. the great centres of German war industry, and particularly the Ruhr, are being reduced is one of unparalleled devastation.

And again:

It is our settled policy, the settled policy of our two vast war-making authorities, to make it impossible for Germany to carry on any form of war industry on a large or concentrated scale either in Germany, in Italy or in the enemy occupied countries. Wherever these munitions centres exist or are developed they will be destroyed and the populations will be dispersed. If they do not like what is coming to them, then let them disperse beforehand on their own. And this process will continue cease-

War Appropriation-Air Services

lessly, with ever-increasing weight and intensity, until the German and Italian people abandon or , destroy the monstrous tyrannies which they have incubated and reared in their midst.

He continued further:

Meanwhile our offensive is forcing Germany to withdraw an ever larger portion of its warmaking capacity from the fighting front. In order to provide protection against the air attacks, hundreds of thousands of men, together with a vast share of the output of the war factories, have already been assigned to this 1 purely defensive function.

All this is at the expense of the enemy's power of new aggression or of the enemy's power to resume the initiative. Surveying the whole aspect of the air war we cannot doubt that it is a major factor in the process of victory. That I think is established as solid fact.

Not long ago Sir Archibald Sinclair and Captain Balfour of the Air Ministry painted ; a rather vivid picture of the results obtained by air bombing in relation to its cost in personnel. They pointed to the problem of attacking Cologne with an objective of destroying 250 factories and disorganizing the life of the community so that 25,000 people had to be evacuated. A few years ago the accomplishment of such an objective with the loss of 200 or 250 men would have been regarded as an incredible military feat. Yet these things, and others of even greater ' calibre, are occurring daily and nightly. Operations of such magnitude in the last war would have involved lengthy preparations and bloody battles with heavy losses.

We, and I speak for the R.C.A.F., are taking an extremely important part in this attempt, successful or not as it may be, to knock Germany out of the war economically by air bombing. Our boys more and more are going over in such numbers as will swell the ranks of the attacking squadrons and swell the proportion of Canadians taking part in these aerial combats.

But it is not only in bombing that air power plays a part. Those of us who saw the motion picture "Desert Victory" must have noticed that there was the closest possible collaboration and coordination between Cunningham of the air arm on the one hand and Montgomery of the army on the other. They lived together;, so to speak. The air arm was always at the disposal of the land army, not merely in its old role in the last war, that of reconnaissance and photography, but also to carry on the work which in former wars was usually allotted to the cavalry, to scout, to cut off enemy communi-' cations, to attack the enemy in his rear or

around his flank. In addition they occupied a new role altogether, to keep the enemy from getting reinforcements and supplies, to blast his ships and his troops and his transports far from land, and in the final assault to act as artillery, to wipe out absolutely all vestige of enemy resistance before the army went into Tunis and Bizerte.

Canadians serving overseas who are members of the R.C.A.F. have been awarded 446 decorations for gallantry, included in which were one conspicuous gallantry medal, three George medals, Distinguished Service orders, Distinguished Flying Cross bars, Distinguished Flying Crosses, Distinguished Flying medals and two decorations from the Czechoslovakian government. In addition Canadians who are in the R.A.F. as R.A.F. have been awarded 179 decorations for gallantry, including one George Cross and the Polish Militari Vertuti, equivalent to the Victoria Cross. I should like to read the citation of the award of the George medal to Flight Sergeant, now Pilot Officer, Raoul Jenner of Ottawa. It reads:

One night in September, 1942, Flight Sergeant Jenner was a member of the crew of an aircraft detailed to attack a target at Dusseldorf. The target was bombed successfully but whilst still over the objective the aircraft was repeatedly hit by anti-aircraft fire. The port inner propeller came off and shortly afterwards the port outer engine fell out, the petrol tanks were holed in many places during the return journey. The crew displayed coolness and skill doing all they could to keep the crippled bomber in the air. Shortly after crossing the English coast the aircraft crashed in a field and immediately caught fire. All the crew, with the exception of the rear gunner, managed to extricate themselves. The whole aircraft was soon blazing fiercely. Knowing that the fuel tanks might explode any moment two sergeants reentered the aircraft in an attempt to rescue the rear gunner. They went right forward to reach the place where they thought he would have been thrown but a petrol tank exploded and both were killed. Flight Sergeant Jenner, who had seen his two comrades killed and knew that a further petrol tank might explode, then reentered the burning fuselage; he found the rear gunner who _ was severely burned and succeeded in removing him to safety. Throughout this airman displayed extreme courage, fortitude and devotion to duty in keeping with the highest traditions of the Royal Air Force.

This is one side, a glorious and perhaps glamorous side of the picture, but there is another which we must take into consideration. It is the cost in human sacrifice-the R.CA.F. casualties since the beginning of the war, and the toll increasing, an ever-mounting toll, which is being taken of our human capital. Leaving aside the wounded,

War Appropriation-Air Services

which are not numerous in our operations, total of fatal casualties is 2,977, in additionthe total casualties in Canada from the be- to which 1,816 are currently missing, 614 are ginning of the war to April 30, 1943 were prisoners of war and 15 are interned. I shall 980. of which 116 occurred in flying operations, place this table on Hansard. It indicateswhile 720 were the result of accidents during that the R.C.A.F. casualties, not including training. One hundred and forty-four deaths deaths from disease, from the outbreak ofoccurred from other causes, such as auto- hostilities to April 30, 1943, total 7,050. The mobile accidents, et cetera. The overseas table follows: R.C.A.F. Casualties (not including Deaths by Disease) from the Outbreak of Hostilities to April 30, 1943 Flying Training CANADA Operations Accidents Other TotalKilled 83 666 128 877Died of wounds 6 6Died of injuries 4 22 10 36Presumed dead 29 32 61Total, Fatal and presumed dead 116 720 144 980. Currently missing 31 33 19 83Seriously or dangerously wounded (not fatal) 1 7 8Seriously or dangerously injured (not fatal) 148 148 296Total Casualties in Canada 147 902 318 1,367Flying OVERSEAS Casualties Other TotalKilled 1,541 40 1,581Died of wounds 7 2 9Died of injuries 48 4 52Presumed dead 1,327 8 1,335Total, fatal and presumed dead 2,923 54 2,977Currently missing 1,807 9 1,816Prisoner of war 611 3 614Interned 15 15Seriously or dangerously wounded (not fatal) 14 2 16Seriously or dangerously injured (not fatal) 201 44 245Total Casualties Overseas 5,571 112 5,683GRAND TOTAL 7,050

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NAT

John Ritchie MacNicol

National Government

Mr. MacNICOL:

How many of those were killed?

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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 do not have it in quite that shape. There were 720 killed in training accidents in Canada, and 116 killed in flying operations in the defence of Canada. There were 2,977 killed in overseas operations, in addition to which there are 1,816 missing and 614 prisoners of war. It works out at about four thousand killed, all told.

I should like to say something which is perhaps not fully realized by hon. members of the house and the country: that in the view

of our officers, whether a man crashes and loses his life in training or in operations, it is considered that he died in the performance of his full duty to his king and country. The loss is due to a never-ending battle, whether against the forces of nature, of science or of humanity. Our sympathy goes out to the sorrowing parents, whether their boy was the victim of a training accident or a battle casualty. There are those who sit in this'house whose best and dearest have been taken,'and there are none in this house who have not friends, relatives or close acquaintances who

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War Appropriation-Air Services

have been bereaved. What strikes one in reading the casualty lists, as unfortunately I am obliged to do every day, is the universality of the sacrifice being made by the Canadian people. Small towns in Saskatchewan and tiny hamlets in New Brunswick are conspicuously present in the roll of honour and in the record of sorrow. The almost daily publication of casualty lists in the press must not dull our sense of continuing loss and sacrifice. Each day there is recorded something vital and great that is lost to Canada. We think of the youthful, happy faces of the boys who were normally facing the great adventure of adult life with high heart and hopeful vision. I need not repeat what I have said already in this house and elsewhere, that the loss of these boys is the great tragedy of this most tragic of all wars, not only to Canada but to the whole world. The newest of all services takes the best in our nation, and in its development we pay the heaviest of our penalties. In speaking of these men I can only use the language employed by one of my dearest friends, a former member of this house known and respected by a great many of us, who was so unfortunate as to lose his boy a few weeks ago. When I wrote to advise him of the fatality he replied, saying, "All we ask is that the sacrifice be not in vain."

There is one other point I should like to emphasize. When we read in the press of a raid over Germany or Italy we are apt to visualize this as a brief, precipitate dash, a short, sharp and swift blow, in and out again, something adventurous and glamorous and exciting, something along the line of the trench raids of the last war. It is not so. It is a sustained battle of approach, action and retirement; a battle against the elements, wind, storm, thunder and fog; a battle against the machine, oil leaks, petrol leaks, seizing engines, air pockets and all the miscellaneous ills to which even the best-serviced engines may be subject. It is a battle against the enemy; flak, searchlights, night fighters. Above all it is a battle against one's own self; against the strain of nerves during the long hours of flying across the North sea, over occupied Europe to enemy country and through walls of defensive armour. These are the battles which our boys are fighting and winning through sheer courage and endless, stern devotion to duty, and the highest form of determination and self-dis-

cipline. This is what these boys are doing for Canada. We of the Royal Canadian Air Force are proud of them, and I know the members of this house will be proud and grateful too.

Progress reported.

The house in committee of supply, Mr. Bradette in the chair.

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DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE


Administration service. 1. Departmental administration, $130,406.


NAT

Ernest Edward Perley

National Government

Mr. PERLEY:

When the committee rose last night w'e were asking the minister if he would review the situation in regard to labour conditions on the farms. I understand from what was said this afternoon by the Minister of Labour that such a statement is to be made, and I think it would help to clear up the doubt in regard to the apparent mess w'ith respect to farm labour in Saskatchewan if a statement could be made by the minister now.

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LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Hon. J. G. GARDINER (Minister of Agriculture) :

As I said last night, Mr. Chairman, the matter then under discussion in regard to general labour or man-power conditions throughout Canada is really something that should be handled by the Minister of Labour when his estimates are under consideration. I suppose, however, that in asking me for a statement hon. members have in mind something with regard to the number of men who are now employed on farms as compared with the number who were so employed before the war began. I have before me a statement setting out the figures for each year from March 1, 1939, to the present time. I would add that it is impossible absolutely to prove these figures from any available records. They . are all estimated, based upon the agricultural census of 1941, projected forward and backward on the basis of very incomplete information, including the crop reporters' survey and the -8 per cent sample survey taken by the Department of Agriculture economics branch in the spring of 1942. The number of hired workers on the farms is at a low point in March, while the figure during the summer season in any year would be considerably higher than that for March of the same year. Many of the additional hired workers on farms during the summer are, of course, engaged in other occupations during other periods of the year. These facts should be kept in mind when considering the figures I now place on record:

Supply-Agriculture

Estimated Male Farm Workers March 1, 1939, to March 1, 1943

(Thousands)

March i. 1939..March i, 1940..March i, 1941. .March i. 1942..March i, 1943..

Net reduction in agricultural male labour force

March, 1939-1943

Add natural increase of farm male population during

four years

Equals gross drain into forces and non-agrieultural industry

. (i) (2) (3)

Male family workers Total male

(including Male hired farm labouroperator*) help force1,080 285 1,3651,065 270 1,3351,000 220 1,220910 175 1,085880 140 1,020200 145 34550395

* Number of operators about 670,000 on June 1, 1941.

Then, the following table showing farm placements and unfilled orders:

Farm Placements and Unfilled Orders

Employment and Selective Service Offices March and April, 1943

Placements Unfilled orders

March April April 29Province Male Female Male Female Male FemalePrince Edward Island 1 1 Nova Scotia

18 15 105 New Brunswick

14 13 i 37 Quebec

40 i 50 4 186 2Ontario

582 57 506 52 1,802 83Manitoba 59 90 17 424 44Saskatchewan

115 15 298 16 942 135Alberta

304 39 714 43 576 125British Columbia

93 3 91 33 179 26Canada

1,213 175 1,778 166 4,251 415

That data is taken from the research statistics branch of the Department of Labour, and the other data was taken from the source I mentioned, namely, the agricultural census figures of the year 1941 adjusted to the different years.

Those are the facts with regard to the labour situation, as we know it at the present time.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
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CCF

Thomas Clement (Tommy) Douglas

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. DOUGLAS (Weyburn):

Has the minister any figures to show where the 395,000 men who left the farm went?

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
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LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. GARDINER:

No, I have not a breakdown of those figures. I believe certain figures were given by the Minister of National Defence. They would indicate how many men went into the armed forces. I am not sure whether the figures were broken down to show those who wrnre farmers and those who were not farmers.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
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CCF

Thomas Clement (Tommy) Douglas

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. DOUGLAS (Weyburn):

I do not think so.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
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LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. GARDINER:

I have not the figures

with me, on that basis.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
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May 21, 1943