February 28, 1944

LIB

Frederick William Gershaw

Liberal

Mr. GERSHAW:

I should like to ask a few questions with regard to the Suffield experimental station. In the first place, it is presumed to be a permanent station, and the question of building a few cottages as homes for the officers has come up from time to time, but nothing has been done. Then there is a rather more serious problem, in that the block takes in quite an area where the grass is fairly good, while the grass outside that area has been eaten off. A large part of this area is not being used for experimental purposes, according to my information, and those on the borders of the block who are so short of grass find it very exasperating, when they cannot get grass, to see that the grass within this field is not being used. There is also a more serious problem agitating the minds of the people of that locality, that is, the two prairie fires which were started within the area and which spread far beyond it. I personally saw a fire over a distance of forty miles, at least twelve to fifteen miles deep, which burned a lot of valuable grass. These people feel that they should be compensated for the loss of this grass, but month after month goes by and no compensation is given. I should like the minister to offer some indication as to whether their case is in good standing and whether they can hope to get any compensation for their loss.

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LIB

James Layton Ralston (Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Mr. RALSTON:

My hon. friend has spoken of two things. I shall look into the matter of cottages. In point of fact I have not been near Suffield for nearly nine months at least, perhaps longer, but I shall look into that question. When he speaks of compensation on account of fire I presume he means fire which started within the area?

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LIB
LIB

James Layton Ralston (Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Mr. RALSTON:

That matter has not been brought to my attention previously. Certainly it sounds as if it had some merit, but I do not want to say anything definite. I shall look into it personally.

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LIB

Frederick William Gershaw

Liberal

Mr. GERSHAW:

It has been before the officers of the department.

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LIB

James Layton Ralston (Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Mr. RALSTON:

There must be some "catch" in it that I do not know about, but I shall look into it personally.

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NAT

James Arthur Ross

National Government

Mr. ROSS (Souris):

What would be covered in the last item of 83,500,000 for the dependents' supplementary grant fund?

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LIB

Joseph-Arthur Bradette (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Liberal

The CHAIRMAN:

I asked the minister and the committee whether these subdivisions

of the last item should be discussed separately or all together.

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LIB

James Layton Ralston (Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Mr. RALSTON:

I have read all the items and, as I understand it, hon. members are asking questions about them. I am perfectly satisfied with that procedure. The item of

83,500,000 is to provide for the amounts to be paid out by the dependents' board of trustees by way of supplementary grants. As I said, this is a round figure. The amount paid out last year was $1,285,000.

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NAT

James Arthur Ross

National Government

Mr. ROSS (Souris):

I just wondered if it came under the trustees.

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LIB
PC

Norman James Macdonald Lockhart

Progressive Conservative

Mr. LOCKHART:

Under what section

could I discuss the matter of proving ranges? I have been trying to find the appropriate item, though I suppose I could have asked the question at almost any time.

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LIB

James Layton Ralston (Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Mr. RALSTON:

I think that would come under the inspection board, which is included in this item.

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PC

Norman James Macdonald Lockhart

Progressive Conservative

Mr. LOCKHART:

Then what will be done in cases where damage is being done to property in close proximity to these ranges? Has any policy been laid down? There is a matter I want to take up seriously in that connection, and I should like a little guidance on it.

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LIB

James Layton Ralston (Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Mr. RALSTON:

Another hon. member

asked me the same thing. Is my hon. friend talking about the proving range near Hamilton?

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PC

Norman James Macdonald Lockhart

Progressive Conservative

Mr. LOCKHART:

No, it is near St, Catharines.

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LIB

James Layton Ralston (Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Mr. RALSTON:

If my hon. friend will take it up with me I shall be very glad to look into it. As a matter of fact, I have not dealt with any of these cases at all; they have been dealt with by the inspection board. Any case that is thought necessary to be referred to the department comes to the deputy minister, but I shall look into anything my hon. friend cares to take up with me. Damage has been done by what; by concussion?

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PC

Norman James Macdonald Lockhart

Progressive Conservative

Mr. LOCKHART:

Yes, damage to nearby property by the concussion.

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LIB
NAT

Gordon Graydon (Leader of the Official Opposition)

National Government

Mr. GRAYDON:

I think the minister will agree that we have made pretty good progress

Northwest Staging Route

on his estimates to-night. A number of questions may arise to-morrow, as we finish with his department, but I should like to make a suggestion which may facilitate the discussion and bring it to an end more quickly. Would he mind giving a statement in a simplified form as to how many N.R.M.A. men there are in the Canadian army. I have listened to my hon. friend give details of the duties performed by these men, but I am not just clear as to the actual total.

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February 28, 1944