February 29, 1944

NAT

Harry Rutherford Jackman

National Government

Mr. JACKMAN:

Will the minister tell the committee how many officers have graduated from the allied military school at Kingston, how many are being trained there at the present time, what the purpose of it is, and where these officers are to be sent afterwards?

War Appropriation-Air Services

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LIB

James Layton Ralston (Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Mr. RALSTON:

The school is being conducted in collaboration with the British war office. I think there have been three classes so far. I am speaking from memory. As I indicated to the committee the other night I think there were twenty-four in the first class. The purpose of the training of these officers is in connection with the occupation of enemy countries. I know of some officers who are already engaged in connection with that work in Italy, and who were in Sicily. My hon. friend wants to know the type of officers. I can tell him generally speaking they are of the sort who would have some knowledge of municipal government or the management of municipal public utilities. They are men who would be engineers, people of that class. Linguistic requirements are not so much a necessity. There are also some teachers, as I understand it, in connection with some special lines. Their use, generally speaking, is in connection with occupied territories.

Topic:   M.D. No. 7
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NAT

Harry Rutherford Jackman

National Government

Mr. JACKMAN:

How many officers does

the minister- intend to train in that school altogether?

Topic:   M.D. No. 7
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LIB

James Layton Ralston (Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Mr. RALSTON:

I w-as in error a moment ago in my reference to these classes; the first group has just graduated and the second is just going in now.

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NAT
LIB

James Layton Ralston (Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Mr. RALSTON:

There is a school in England, a school in Canada and a school in the United States.

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NAT

Harry Rutherford Jackman

National Government

Mr. JACKMAN:

But how many men does the minister intend to put through this school?

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LIB

James Layton Ralston (Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Mr. RALSTON:

It depends upon the

supply in England. Our officers are going from the Canadian army in England to the school over there, and it will depend upon how many are required altogether. We are collaborating with the British in that respect. I cannot tell

my hon. friend ; it may be that this school will not continue. It just depends upon how many are needed, for all we know the school in England can take all that we have available.

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PC
LIB

Item agreed to.


DEPARTMENT OP NATIONAL DEFENCE FOR AIR

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

Hon. C. G. POWER (Minister of National Defence for Air):

Mr. Chairman, I propose to-night to give perhaps a more detailed and comprehensive statement of the affairs of the Royal Canadian Air Force than has been my custom in past years. That is for two reasons. AVe have reached a phase in our war-time existence, as far as the air force is concerned, which marks the end of one part, and an important part, of our work, namely the air training, and we . are on the threshold of beginning the more important part of the work, the fruition, the fulfilment of what has been going on for the past three years, namely the -well prepared attempt-and I am almost sure the successful attempt-finally to wrest air supremacy over Europe from our enemies.

I have certain financial statements here. I do not wish to trouble the committee 'by reading them; if I have consent I will place them on Hansard and see to it that the members of the groups opposite receive copies at once. The first statement deals with the cash estimates for 1944-45, and shows that the total cash requirement of the Royal Canadian Air Force for the fiscal year 1944-45 is

81,090,000,000.

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NAT

Richard Burpee Hanson

National Government

Mr. HANSON (York-Sunbury):

Is it broken down?

Mr. POAArER: Yes, very much. The statement is as follows: ,

Royal Canadian Air Force

Cash Estimates 1944-1945

1. Total Requirements.-Total estimated cash requirements of the Royal Canadian Air Force

for the fiscal year 1944-1945, is: $1,090,000,000.

2. Probable expenditure for the fiscal year 1943-1944 is: $1,189,402,327.

3. Detailed requirements for 1944-1945, compared with probable expenditure for 1943-1944, are:

British commonwealth air training

plan $ 474,200,502

Western hemisphere operations ... 309,900,000

Overseas 405,301,825

War Appropriation-Air Services

I also have a statement indicating the manpower strength of the Royal Canadian Air Force each year since the beginning of the war, as follows:

Man-power Strength

Strength

Royal Canadian Air Force strength for each of the following years on the dates stated, were,-

31st August, 1939 4,061

2nd April, 1940 10,598

31st March, 1941 47,920

31st March, 1942 112.759

2nd April, 1943 170,366

18th February, 1944 206,548

Man-power requirements for the next year, that is April 1, 1944, to March 31, 1945, are

26,000.

This reduction from requirements of previous years, is largely due to the fact that groundcrew requirements have been stabilized *and we have again this year, owing largely to the intensive recruiting campaign of last October, a substantial aircrew reserve in hand. In addition remustering to aircrew trades from groundcrew will yield a considerable number of aircrew. Last year 6,192 groundcrew were remustered to aircrew. This, together with the fact that there will be a reduction during the course of the year of entrants into training, lowers our aircrew requirements for the year.

Now I propose to divide this review of last year's operations into three parts:

Part 1. British commonwealth joint air training plan,

Part 2. Western hemisphere operations,

Part 3. Overseas operations.

With regard to the British commonwealth air training plan, the cash expenditures from inception are:

Fiscal year 1939-1940

$ 3,298,747Fiscal year-1940-1941

124,354,624Fiscal year 1941-1942

244,060,067Fiscal year 1942-1943

401.556,818(9 months) Fiscal year 1943-1944 339,521,105Total for above period

$1,112,791,361Estimated additional to March 31, 1944 !... 134,679,397

Total estimated expenditure from

inception to March 31, 1944.... 1,247,470,758

Estimated cash 1944-1945 387,937,507

Total estimated expenditure from

inception to March 31, 1945.... $1,635,408,265

These figures represent the cash which has been found and estimated still to be found by the Canadian government and are additional to contributions in kind by the United Kingdom government.

fMr. Power.]

The decrease in estimated cash requirements during 1944-45, for the British commonwealth air training plan from the anticipated 1943-44 expenditures amounting to approximately

886,000,000, is chiefly attributable to reductions in capital expenditures and pay and allowances. The plan has now passed its ultimate and capital expenditures have been reduced to the practical minimum.

Certain reductions in the scope of the training organization were anticipated and these estimates give effect to these reductions. Since preparation of the estimates, however, decisions have been made which will ultimately reduce the plan still further. These further reductions cannot have an early effect on recurring expenditure as training establishments must keep in operation for the completion of the training of aircrew and groundcrew now in training. It may be noted that most aircrew courses are of approximately twelve months' duration and it is obvious that the better part of the fiscal year 1944-45 will elapse before curtailment to any worthwhile extent can be accomplished in the operation of advanced schools, which, besides being the most numerous, are also the most costly to operate.

The British commonwealth air training plan has this year reached the zenith of its development, and its effect has been felt around the world. Wherever our allied airmen fly, will be found graduates of this plan: from the antipodes to the bleak wastes of Greenland, from India to Alaska, our Canadian-trained aviators perform their daily tasks as they were so well taught to do by the thousands of men in the instructional, technical and administrative staffs of our training plan.

The spectacular and more publicized part of this plan, the production of our fighting aircrew, lias continued at full flow. No demands for men of the various flying categories have been unheeded, and the continuous development of this plan has kept abreast of the requirements of the fighting fronts.

The original agreement for the British commonwealth joint air training plan entered into December 13, 1939, has been amended by supplementary agreements in June, 1942, and April, 1943. A further change was made in the agreement in December, 1943, and again in February, 1944. These changes were announced to the house in a statement made on February 16, appearing at page 535 of Hansard. I quote:

At the present time we have the capital and the necessary immediate replacements.

Our long-term war plans entail certain reductions in the numbers of entrants to aircrew training.

Consequent upon the reduction in intake of trainees, there will be a gradual and progressive

War Appropriation-Air Services

closing of a certain number of training units, and schools in Canada, beginning with the Royal Air Force transferred schools. The process will be deliberate and extended over many months, and the reduction of training facilities will be geared to the requisite flow of pupils through the plan.

These changes indicate that we have reached the end of our air training expansion.

To quote General George Marshall, chief of staff of the United States army, in his report to the secretary of war, in his explanation of somewhat similar changes made in the United States army organization-

Another factor is now operating to our advantage. We are reaching the end of the expansion; already it has been possible to reduce many training installations to a purely maintenance basis to furnish replacements for the present strength of the army. It also has been practicable, and it is highly desirable to lengthen the basic training period for soldiers and to extend the period of training for officer candidates; and most important of all, it is no longer necessary to drain units of their best officers and men to furnish trained cadres for new organizations or students for the officer candidates and technical schools.

This quotation refers to the United States army generally, but perhaps more particularly to the United States army air force, which has only recently closed seventy air training establishments.

The partners in the joint air training plan have agreed to modify our training programme so as to bring the greatest possible weight of air strength to bear on the German enemy during the critical year of the war.

Let it be well understood the expansion of training has been completed, but the expansion of the forces on the fighting fronts is still going on. That expansion will be provided for by the thousands now in the training scheme, the reduced training capacity being amply sufficient to look after the replacements when the front line cadre is filled.

We are not proposing a winding-up of the air training plan, even progressively, on the contrary we are providing, and have agreed with the United Kingdom for a continuation of the plan after March, 1945, the date on which the 1942 agreement expires, but a continuation with a reduced output, which reduced output will not be noticeable or in effect before eighteen months hence.

We are rolling up our training forces as we would a carpet. By this process of rolling from the rear, personnel will be automatically massed forward to increase the striking power of the fighting front.

Now, I certainly will be asked as to what schools will be closed and when. I have already stated that the Royal Air Force transferred schools will be the first to close,

beginning about midsummer and running well into next year. With respect to others, there are many factors to be taken into consideration. Whether the property is leased or owned. Whether it is required for civilian purposes. A school in Quebec city, located in a leased property, for instance, will be closed this month. Another school located in an institution kindly placed at our disposal by the government of Ontario, and now required for agricultural purposes, will be returned as soon as possible.

Other factors to be considered will be travelling expense between types of schools; costs of operation, disturbance to civilian economy, geographical location; air training conditions, fog area or obscure visibility, air congestion, etc.

There are two methods which might be followed in bringing about this reduction. We might reduce our production by simply cutting down the number of trainees in each school and so keeping them all or nearly all open. On the other hand we might close and place on a care and maintenance basis a certain number of schools. The first course only brings about a postponement and besides is far more costly and less effective in our war effort. It keeps up overhead, staff, instructors, travelling expenses, etc., and holds people in Canada who would be better employed overseas. We have chosen the second alternative as being honest and efficient, even if, for the moment, less popular.

As to the use to which these can be put in the future, four government agencies are interested,-

(1) The post-war civil aviation committee, and from the standpoint of the public it is the most interested because the first question to be asked will be what use can be made of these expensive facilities in the development of postwar civil aviation. This committee, under the cabinet war committee, has already been charged with the study of possible post-war civilian utilization of aerodromes constructed for service purposes, when they are no longer required by the service.

(21 The second government agency is the Department of Labour, which has on several occasions written to ask that it be notified when any schools or institutions become vacant so that it may plan their use for vocational training and accommodation of trainees, and other purposes.

(3) Then there is the Department of Pensions and National Health, which may require accommodation for vocational training and perhaps for convalescent homes or rehabilitation purposes generally.

War Appropriation-Air Services

(4) Further, there is the crown assets allocation committee and the War Assets Corporation, Limited, charged with the disposal of assets, including lands and buildings no longer required by the sendees. As soon as a decision is reached as to the closing of individual schools, these various agencies will be notified.

During the past year, and since I made my last report to this house concerning these matters, a considerable change has taken place in the requirements of the flying services at the fighting fronts. We have now achieved a position of air superiority in men and machines, and are carrying the war to the enemy by way of our heavy bombers. This has caused the Germans to emphasize the defensive, and accordingly our ratio of losses in the lighter aircraft categories such as fighters, fighter-bombers, and medium bombers, has dropped. This has reflected itself in a change in the requirements for the production of different types of aircrew, in that an increasing proportion of our aircrew is now being diverted into the heavier types of aircraft, where they will make their blows on Hitler's Europe felt in the most effective way. '

Last year, when making my report, I told you that we had already trained over 50,000 aircrew in Canada. I can tell you now that this number has risen to over 86,000. Similarly, the number trained in ground trades is now above 114,000 men and we have practically reached saturation in our requirements for ground trades, both for training establishments and for operational requirements in the western hemisphere of operations. In addition to the men required by the Royal Canadian Air Force, we have enlisted and trained over 15,000 in the women's division. Here again we have reached our peak and no further personnel are needed to bring our establishments to full strength beyond what have already been enlisted and are awaiting training, and accordingly, enlistment for the women's division of the Royal Canadian Air Force has been curtailed to the comparatively small numbers required for replacements.

We have had less trouble in the past year obtaining training aircraft than in any time in the past. In elementary trainers we have all we need and the same applies for the training aircraft used in our service schools. Operational aircraft used in training, are still in relatively scarce supply due to the requirements of the various operational theatres of war and the demands from our ever-increasing overseas participation.

There has been a practical completion of all construction necessary for the continuance of the plan, and from now on, relatively little in

the way of further construction is to be expected. The requirements for repair and storage continue to increase and as the aircraft get larger, these requirements will continue to grow. This tells the story of the point the air training plan has reached to-day.

Now that the air training plan has reached its peak, I think I should say a word of thanks to all those who have contributed to its undoubted success. To officer and airman, to staff and trainees, to service and civilian personnel, and to the people of Canada who supported it. It was a truly national effort. Its fulfilment was the expression of the nation's will.

I now come to another phase of our operations, namely, western hemisphere operations; and again I ask consent of the committee to lay on the table of the house a statement of cash expenditures on western hemisphere operations since the outbreak of the war, indicating that the total estimated expenditures from September, 1939, to March 31, 1945, will be 8963,053,377, and I would also explain how the reduction in expenditures of $71,000,000 this year as compared with last year is being brought about. The table and the explanation are as follows:

Western Hemisphere Operations

Cash expenditures from the outbreak of war are,

Fiscal year 1939-1940

Fiscal year 1940-1941

Fiscal year 1941-1942

Fiscal year 1942-1943

(9 months) Fiscal year 1943-1944

Total for above period $655,862,762

Estimated additional to March 31,

1944 68,285.264

Total estimated expenditure from September, 1939, to March 31,

1944 $724,148,026

Estimated cash 1944-1945 238,905,351

Total estimated expenditure September, 1939 to March 31, 1945.

This decrease in estimated cash requirements for 1944-1945 for western hemisphere operations from anticipated expenditures for 1943-1944 amounting to approximately $71,000,000, is also mainly due to reductions in capital expenditures. The improved strategic situation has already permitted the transfer overseas of operational squadrons previously considered an essential part of the air defence of Canada. Furthermore, all major construction projects have been reviewed and, where economically feasible, they have been reduced or brought to a halt. Also, where operational possibilities warrant, certain units have been placed on a care and maintenance basis. Such curtailment in operations will eventually release man-power for overseas operations, either direct or through the training facilities of the British commonwealth air training plan.

FEBRUARY 20, 1944 K>31

War Appropriation-Air Services

Since I last reported to the house in May of last year the situation with respect to western hemisphere air operations have undergone considerable change. The enemy has been driven, or has been forced to withdraw his forces, to a more comfortable distance from our shores. The Japanese have been chased out of the Aleutian islands on our western flank, and a greater concentration of naval and air strength, together with new and improved weapons have forced the withdrawal of German submarine raiders to a considerable distance from our Atlantic coast line and from the gulf of St. Lawrence.

I have already explained on various occasions that the Royal Canadian Air Force engaged actively in operations against the enemy in the western hemisphere theatre is a complete and separate entity distinct from the Royal Canadian Air Force overseas and the British commonwealth air training plan.

It is history now that Royal Canadian Air Force squadrons composed of British commonwealth air training plan graduates and commanded by air veterans of the battle of Britain and the battle of Europe, operated under American command in the Aleutians coastal shipping and watching for Japanese foothold on our Pacific approaches. Blinded by the eternal fog and buffeted by the fierce and whimsical gales of that bleak comer of the continent, Royal Canadian Air Force fighter bomber pilots, with their American air' comrades, developed new technique in blasting the Japanese on Attu and Iviska so that United States and Canadian naval and ground forces could move in and take over those barren bits of rock away out in the Pacific.

The successful air operation in the Aleutians was pressed to a conclusion in the face of great difficulties, not only of weather but of supply and communication. Living conditions were, of necessity rather primitive and our boys suffered at times, considerable physical discomfort. A point which is not generally realized is that the personnel of our Aleutians squadrons, were more than 2,000 miles from their home bases, in other words as far from home as if they had been serving in the European or Mediterranean theatre, and the facilities of communication and supply were nothing like those connecting the home front with the latter theatre of war.

The units in the Aleutians were the only ones in the western air command who were fortunate enough to get in their own personal punch at the Japanese but there were thousands backing them up in less glamourous activities. There were squadrons patrolling the sea lanes of the Pacific coast protecting coastal shipping and watching for Japanese

raiders. There were fighter squadrons poised to repel air attacks. There was a vast construction organization, very often composed exclusively of service personnel, engaged in building new air bases in British Columbia and in the Yukon. Behind this again was a vastly improved communication and administration organization. Land line and radio communications were installed on a large scale. The Royal Canadian Air Force took over the control of all flying, civil as well as military, in the entire western region as well as throughout the busy northwest staging route north and west from Edmonton to Canol and on to Whitehorse and Alaska.

Probably hon. members and the public are more familiar with our Atlantic operations, particularly those concerned with the protection of troops and supplies moving to European theatres of war and with the unrelenting hunt for enemy submarines.

From the first Royal Canadian Air Force attack on a U-boat in October of 1941 up to the end of the calendar year, 1943, Royal Canadian Air Force operational aircraft have made a total of sixty-three attacks on enemy submarines in the Atlantic including one machine gun attack by a fighter aircraft. Of the sixty-three attacks, one half were made in 1943. _

Through the acquisition of 4-engine Liberator long-range bombers, we have been able to extend the radius of air-cover from Canadian bases by something more than 200 miles. Of course, it will be understood that the primary purpose of our long-range squadrons in eastern air command is to protect the valuable convoys traversing the Atlantic.

The monotony of flying protection for convoys and hunting for submarines is indicated by some figures compiled by our research office. They tell us that late in 1942 the average flying time productive of a U-boat sighting was 840 hours and that our aircrew sighted a submarine on an average of once in 140 sorties. In the first half of 1943 the average remained about the same but in the last six months of the year it took an average of 1,700 hours of flying time for a U-boat sighted or an average of 230 sorties per sighting. Of course, the U-boats may still be there, but at least they keep submerged and thereby reducing their effectiveness.

Our increasing success on the anti-U-boat campaign is due in part to improved weapons, more modern aircraft and the greater experience of our aircrews. We are constantly improving our aircraft. For instance we have now the 4-engine Liberator and we have quite a number of Vega Ventura reconnaissance

War Appropriation-Air Services

bombers which the United States Navy call the PVI. Then there are of course, the Catalinas and Canso long range flying boats and still a few of the old faithful and almost obsolescent Lockheed Hudsons.

All in all, we had engaged in western hemisphere operations almost as many squadrons as we have Royal Canadian Air Force squadrons overseas. The departure of the Japanese from the Aleutians and the improvement in the U-boat war situation in the Atlantic have so improved the general situation that we have been able to release a number of western hemisphere operations squadrons for service overseas. On the west and east coasts our western hemisphere operational squadrons, during 1942 flew 62,500 operational hours compared with 86,000 hours in 1943. This flying time is equivalent to something like 7,500,000 nautical miles in 1942, compared with 10,000,000 nautical miles in 1943. In 1942 our aircraft flew 3,579 sorties escorting shipping compared with 2,097 sorties in 1943, but of course the aircraft range was greater. In addition to this, there were 9,649 miscellaneous sorties in 1942, such as sub hunts, reconnaissance, etcetera, as compared with 21,874 miscellaneous sorties in 1943.

In order to round out still more our Atlantic coverage, one of our anti-submarine patrol squadrons has been detached from the east coast and is now operating from a base in Iceland. It can be recalled should the enemy return to his attacks on shipping or close proximity to our coasts. Whilst we rejoice in the fact that no enemy submarine was sighted from our coast line during 1943, and no attacks were made in Canadian territorial waters, we do not propose to neglect our defences. The submarines may find it more profitable to return to narrow waters, there may be a recurrence of the intensive activity near our coasts as in 1942, when they attacked convoys leaving our shores rather than in mid-Atlantic, as they did in 1943. For that reason we cannot afford to denude ourselves of convoy protection and anti-submarine patrols in home waters. Our job is to hunt submarines wherever they are to be found, and we will hunt them, whether close in shore or far out to sea.

I now come to a discussion of the overseas operations of the Royal Canadian Air Force units, and again I would ask the consent of the committee to place on Hansard a statement of the expenditure since the outbreak of the war on overseas operations. The total estimated expenditure September, 1939, to March 31, 1945, is $910,819,643. There is also an explanation attached to the statement

showing how there has been a substantial increase in the expenditure overseas as compared with last year's expenditure. The statement is as follows:

Overseas Operations Overseas War Establishment:

Cash expenditures from the outbreak of

war, are:

Fiscal year 1939-1940 Nil

Fiscal year 1940-1941 $ 4,995,360

Fiscal year 1941-1942

13,699,336Fiscal year 1942-1943

23,665,980(9 months) Fiscal year 1943-1944 252,351,727Total for above period

$294,712,403

Estimated additional to March 31,

1944 152,950,098

Total estimated expenditure, September, 1939, to March 31, 1944. $447,662,501

Estimated cash 1944-1945 463,157,142

Total estimated expenditure, September, 1939, to March 31, 1945. $910,819,643

The increase in estimated overseas cash requirements for 1944-1945 over estimated expenditures for 1943-1944 of approximately $58,000,000 is attributable to the increase in maintenance of overseas squadrons and increased personnel costs. Capital expenditure for overseas squadrons will continue as our squadrons are reequipped and rearmed with more up-to-date and more costly equipment. Provision has *been made for the maintenance of forty-four Canadian squadrons overseas as against thirty-eight in the previous year.

The continued posting of aircrew and ground-crew graduates overseas, together with promotions, will continue to reflect increases in overseas pay and allowances and this item alone accounts for approximately $39,000,000 of the increase over 1943-1944.

Overseas Operations. Before speaking of the record of the Royal Canadian Air Force overseas, I shall endeavour to make a cleat distinction between the various classes of Canadian air representations overseas. There has, I find, been a great deal of confusion in the minds not only of Canadians generally but also of members of this house as to just what classes of Canadians come under the jurisdiction of the Royal Canadian Air Force.

First in chronological order, though small in numerical importance, are Canadian nationals who are members of the Royal Air Force. There are men and some few women who joined the Royal Air Force in the years before the war, or in the months immediately after the outbreak of the war. Most of them were enlisted in England. A few are Canadians who have remained with the Royal Air Force in the years since the last war. None of these men whose numbers are not available but who at a rough guess might be about 2,000 have any connection with the Royal

War Appropriation-Air Services

Canadian Air Force. We exercise no authority over them, we do not pay them. They are not identified in any way as Canadians. They belong to a different service from the Royal Canadian Air Force.

It is in connection with these personnel that there has been a demand that they be permitted to transfer to the Royal Canadian Air Force. I promised last year to take it up with the air ministry, and after long negotiations, air ministry has consented to the transfer to our forces if these men and women so desire. Instructions have recently been issued by us covering such transfers.

Since they are not identified with the Royal Canadian Air Force, I do not refer to them when reviewing our overseas operations.

Another and the most important class from the standpoint of numbers, and from the standpoint of Canada generally, are the thousands of Canadians, mostly aircrew, but with a goodly number of radio mechanics who were enlisted, trained and are paid by Canada, but are now on loan to the Royal Air Force and are serving with Royal Air Force units or formations.

Let me make myself perfectly clear. These personnel to whom I referred a moment ago joined the Royal Canadian Air Force in Canada, were trained by us and are entirely paid for by us. They still retain their Canadian identity. They wear Canadian shoulder badges, and as I said before, are paid by Canada. Their welfare, promotion, repatriation, and their interests are our duty and responsibility for they are only temporarily attached to Royal Air Force. They are located all over the world. They are not in Royal Canadian Air Force squadrons because with respect to radio mechanics they are specialists and do not by the nature of their occupation readily form themselves into units of any size. These radio mechanics are spread all over southeastern Asia, Africa and the United Kingdom individually or in small detachments. My information is that they compose 45 per cent of the strength of the Royal Air Force mechanics establishment.

With respect to the other category of Royal Canadian Air Force airmen attached to the Royal Air Force, namely aircrew, they are not in Royal Canadian Air Force squadrons because there are not now, nor likely ever will be, enough Royal Canadian Air Force squadrons to fit them into. These aircrew, flying men, are widely dispersed throughout Royal Air Force squadrons. It is because they are so widely scattered, in so many different units, that we meet with some difficulty in carrying out our responsibilities and duties towards them. Nevertheless' by means of

liaison officers, and during the past year through pay officers, through more elaborate records, even though in some cases it means duplicating Royal Air'Force records, through Royal Canadian Air Force sub-headquarters in various sections of the United Kingdom, in Italy, and in the middle east, and in India, we endeavour to keep in touch and to the best of our ability to keep track of their commissioning, rights to repatriation, and tours of duty.

The recent agreements, and better understandings with the air ministry, and more particularly with the more subordinate officers of the Royal Air Force, will go a long way to improving the situation of both aircrew and ground radio mechanics.

I believe it is better understood now that we undertake our responsibilities to these men, not with any desire to interfere with Royal Air Force organization, but because the parents of these boys, and the people of Canada generally, expect us to do so. Canadian parents have neither the channels open, nor the desire to approach the Royal Air Force and air ministry, with respect to the matters in which their boys are interested. Canadian people look to the Royal Canadian Air Force and the Royal Canadian Air Force must be organized to meet their demands.

Thirdly, and finally, we come to our own men in our own Canadian Royal Canadian Air Force squadrons. Originally there were three Canadian squadrons which went overseas as units. The number has now risen to forty-two in actual operations overseas. There are bomber squadrons, fighter squadrons, reconnaissance squadrons, coastal command squadrons, night fighter and intruder squadrons. In these forty-two squadrons identified as Canadian squadrons nearly all the aircrew are Canadian, the commanding officers are Canadian, the groundcrew are Canadian. The entire cost of the squadrons, including aeroplanes is borne by Canada, and their upkeep as Canadian units makes up a goodly part of our overseas expenditure. There are not nearly so many Canadian aircrew in Royal Canadian Air Force squadrons as there are scattered throughout the Royal Air Force. I have been asked many times why all Canadians are not in Canadian squadrons. The answer is that if all Canadian flying men were in Canadian squadrons we would require not thousands, as we have, but well over a hundred thousand groundcrew for the maintenance and service of these squadrons and their equipment. You cannot properly call a squadron a Canadian squadron, even though the majority of the aircrew were Canadians, if the ground-

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crew necessary to oare for, repair and maintain the aircraft were other than Canadians, for normally these groundcrew number many times more than the aircrew who actually fly the machines.

There is a story told by a newspaper correspondent of having visited a Royal Air Force squadron in Africa, and on entering the officers' mess he found a placard posted up with these words, "Canadian spoken here; English understood."

Besides, the joint air training plan was intended only for the purpose of. producing aircrew. It was never intended under the original agreement that we should send any groundcrew over to the United Kingdom. It was considered that if Canada set up the ground establishment in Canada to train flyers, and that meant employment of over 150,000 people on the ground, it would have done its share in the air war effort by sending the trained flying personnel overseas to fight as member of the commonwealth air forces in any of the commonwealth units anywhere. But, because we desired further identification of our forces, and because we had some of the best mechanics and groundcrews in the world, eager and ready to proceed overseas, we set up these overseas air squadrons, and personally I am exceedingly proud of the action we did take.

To judge by the paucity of public information carried in the British and American press, and in official statements and communiques with respect to the thousands of our men in the Royal Air Force, I should judge that if we had not had these squadrons of our own, even the people of Canada, not to speak of our allies and partners, would have been almost totally ignorant of the large and important part Canada is playing in the air war and the defeat of Germany.

I am often asked, when I speak of Cana-adians in the Royal Air Force, what proportion of our men compose the Royal Air Force strength. In groundcrew our proportion is small since we have only, supplied groundcrew for our own squadrons, the remainder of Canadian groundcrew being kept in Canada for the purposes of the joint air training plan which trains flyers for all the allies and the commonwealth forces.

With regard to aircrew, that is men who fly, the situation is different, and our proportionate strength to that of the Royal Air Force is very much higher. I have not the exact figures for overseas. I know, however, that Canada is now, and has been for many months, the largest and principal producer of aircrew for all the commonwealth forces. I know that, of the aircrew of all the partners produced in Canada, Royal Canadian Air Force graduates

[Mr. Power.!

make up considerably more than one-half of the total. All others combined, including Aus-aralian, New Zealand and British, and all the peoples who make up the Royal Air Force quota of trainees, make up less than half the graduates.

I know how many thousands of pilots, observers bombaimers, wireless operators and air gunners we have overseas. I am fully informed as to the number of such aircrew there are at any given moment in Royal Canadian Air Force squadrons. I have not figures of the numbers of these graduates in Royal Air Force squadrons at any given time. They vary with commands, with postings, with casualties, with sickness, with leave and numerous other factors.

But with the best information I can obtain, I should say that from 22 per cent to 25 per cent of all the aircrew in the European and Mediterranean areas under British tactical command-and this includes British, New Zealanders, Australians, Poles, Czechs, Norwegians, Belgians and Free French-are Canadian boys, enlisted in Canada, trained in Canada, paid for by Canadians. That proportion will tend to increase rather than decrease as the men whom we have overseas proceed through their final courses to the operational squadrons, until Canadians comprise about one-third of the total content of these British-Dominion-allied aircrew strength.

I have deliberately omitted reference to the Indian theatre of operations; I know how many Canadians are there, but I do not know their relative strength compared to other allied forces. I have also omitted reference to the south Pacific where we have practically no representation, but where Australia and New Zealand, with very little publicity on this continent, are heroically bearing the burden on land, sea and air, along with United States forces.

Necessarily I have not the details of the operations to which Canadians loaned to Royal Air Force squadrons took part. Suffice to say that they are in almost every formation of the Royal Air Force and have been in every sortie, every raid, every operation undertaken by the Royal Air Force. I have, however, the details of the work of our men who are grouped together in Royal Canadian Air Force squadrons and this work I now propose to review.

Operations of Royal Canadian Air Force units overseas. The Royal Canadian Air Force entered the year 1944 with forty-two squadrons overseas, operating under the direction of the Royal Air Force bomber command, coastal command, fighter command, allied

War Appropriation-Air Services

expeditionary air force, Mediterranean command and India command. During the year 1943 we grouped these squadrons together [DOT]within each command as far as their operational role permitted. As a result of this move we have a bomber group, fighter wings, reconnaissance wing, and a number of auxiliary units.

The following statistics will give you a general idea of the Royal Canadian Air Force squadrons' participation overseas in the war against the enemy during 1943 and to the middle of February, 1944:

Sorties flown 38,544

Operational hours flown 129,461

Tons of bombs dropped 21,990

Enemy aircraft destroyed 208

Enemy aircraft probably destroyed

and damaged 162

Locomotives destroyed 150

To which must be added enemy U-boats,

merchant vessels, tugs, barges, military installations, motor vehicles, transports of all kinds, et cetera.

A very large number of operational sorties were flown and a large tonnage of bombs dropped, bearing in mind that seventeen squadrons were converted from obsolescent to modern aircraft during the year, during which period they were of necessity out of the line. For example, at the beginning of 1943 the majority of our bomber squadrons were equipped with two-engined medium bombers of the Wellington class and before the end of the year had been converted to heavy four-engine aircraft. You will readily appreciate that it is a considerable undertaking to convert a squadron from Wellington to Halifaxes or Lancasters, involving as it does additional crew members and the necessity of making old crews conversant with and competent on the new equipment. Due to these conversions to larger aircraft a substantial increase in the tonnage dropped was shown during the later months of 1943. An increase which is each month being exceeded as the Royal Canadian Air Force's participation with the Royal Air Force in the round the clock attack on Germany is speeded up.

Fighter squadrons. Our day fighter and fighter reconnaissance squadrons, operating from bases in the United Kingdom under the command of the allied expeditionary air force and fighter command, are grouped together into Royal Canadian Air Force fighter wings and a Royal Canadian Air Force reconnaissance wing.

These wings are employed on offensive sweeps over the continent against the enemy. They provide protection to bombers of the air forces of the British empire and of the

United States army air force on daylight

attacks against continental targets. They also undertake close escort duties, convoy patrols, air-sea rescue flights, interception patrols and general reconnaissance flights.

During the period 1st January, 1943, to 11th February, 1944, these wings and squadrons flew 21,965 operational sorties, destroyed 158 enemy aircraft and probably destroyed or damaged 135 others. In addition to these successful attacks on enemy aircraft, many locomotives, railway yards, enemy ships, motor vehicles, military installations, trains, et cetera, were damaged.

Intruder and night fighter squadrons. Royal Canadian Air Force intruder and night fighter squadrons are operating under the operational control of the Royal Air Force fighter command. These squadrons are employed on offensive duties against enemy targets on the Continent and on the defensive protection of Great Britain against enemy day and night raiders.

These squadrons have carried out 2,056 operational sorties, during which they have destroyed forty-two enemy aircraft and probably destroyed or damaged twenty-four others, to say nothing of some eighty-one locomotives.

Bomber squadrons. At 0001 hours, 1st January, 1943, the Royal Canadian Air Force assumed responsibility for a bomber group within the Royal Air Force bomber command. As I have already mentioned, the majority of these squadrons were equipped with medium twin-engined aircraft at this time, and during the year converted to and are now operating on heavy four-engined aircraft.

Shortly after the formation of the Royal Air Force pathfinder force, the Royal Canadian Air Force assumed its share of responsibility in this group. The purpose of the pathfinders, is to mark the route of the main body and then to indicate the target with special flares to enable the main force to drop its bombs in the correct spot. This particular work is highly specialized and the Royal Canadian Air Force is making a name for itself in this field.

Some idea of the extent to which the Royal Canadian Air Force bomber group has participated in bomber command's devastating offensive against the enemy's vital centres of war industry may be gathered from a list of the main targets attacked during the first thirteen months of the group's existence. The effect of the high explosive and incendiary loads released by its aircraft was felt by more than forty important manufacturing and communications centres, seaports, shipbuilding yards, submarine bases, et cetera, in Germany, Italy and occupied France.

convoys and we hunted the submarine. We have stretched our coverage far beyond our own shores, and in conjunction with our Canadian navy have assumed responsibility for the northwest Atlantic. Our land planes and amphibians and flying boats sweep the north Atlantic from Labrador to Greenland and beyond. And lastly, farther overseas we have contributed thousands of our men to the global war. We are in Iceland. We are in the Hebrides. We are in Burma. We are in India. We are in Egypt. We are in Italy. We are nightly over Europe. We are attacking and beating Germany in the very heart of nazi might. This is what Canada is doing in the air war.

Canada is doing her share equal to that of any nation of the commonwealth, and in proportion to its population, equal to that of any of its allies.

That is what the world should realize.

That is what the people of Canada should know.

Canada has a right to be proud of its air war.

Item stands.

Progress reported.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OP NATIONAL DEFENCE FOR AIR
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SUSPENSION OP RATIONING-STATEMENT OF PARLIAMENTARY ASSISTANT TO THE MINISTER OF FINANCE

LIB

Douglas Charles Abbott (Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Finance)

Liberal

Mr. D. C. ABBOTT (Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Finance):

Mr. Speaker, with the permission of the house I should like to make a statement with respect to meat rationing.

Three weeks ago the question of the need for continuing meat rationing was raised in the House of Commons and the Minister of Finance (Mr. Ilsley) stated that the whole question would be reviewed in the light of current conditions.

The basic reasons for meat rationing in Canada should be clearly understood. Our production of meat has always been ample for our domestic requirements. The reasons for meat rationing were to create an increased exportable surplus to meet the urgent and essential requirements of the United Kingdom and to ensure equitable distribution of the supplies remaining in Canada. May I point out that our purpose is not only to help to feed the population of the United Kingdom but also the total armed forces supplied through the United Kingdom which include all the Canadian forces overseas. We intend to continue to meet these urgent and essential requirements.

During recent weeks, however, unusually large surpluses of meat have been developing in Canada. The mere existence of such surpluses would not be a good reason for suspending rationing provided that such surpluses could be moved to seaboard and overseas.

A careful review of the present position has satisfied the government that for the time being the excess supply of meat coming to market, over and above the amount needed to meet domestic requirements at the present rate of consumption, is in excess of our physical capacity to move it into export channels, and that the sensible and proper course to take is temporarily to suspend meat rationing.

The facts can be summarized briefly, as follows:

1. There have been unusually heavy marketings of all types of live stock during recent months, and it is expected that heavy marketings will continue for the next two or three months. During the first eight weeks of 1944 the inspected packing plants in Canada have slaughtered 780,000 more hogs, 50,000 more cattle, 10,000 more calves and 30,000 more sheep and lambs than in the corresponding weeks of 1943. These figures represent an increase over 1943 of eighty per cent in hogs, fifty per cent in cattle, twenty per cent in calves and thirty-five per cent in sheep and lambs. It has been only with the greatest difficulty that the packing plants have been able physically to handle this great increase in volume.

2. As a result of these very heavy runs of live stock j.he storage and transportation facilities have become acutely congested. The latest available statistics indicate that there are over 102,000,000 pounds of meat in cold storage which is nearly twice as much as at this time a year ago and 65 per cent greater than is normal at this time of year. In addition to meat storage we have to provide for the cold storage of other important products. There is at present no reserve of cold storage space to take care of any unforeseen backing up due to unpreventable delays in shipping.

3. Not only are we having a continuance of heavy live stock marketings and an acute congestion of storage space, but we are also faced with limitations on our physical capacity to move meat to seaboard and overseas. During the past eight weeks we have moved record quantities overseas-more than we have ever moved in a similar two-month period. If everything moved with clock-like precision we believe we might just be able to handle the present volume of product, but with no reserve of storage space and with a continued

Unemployment in Alberta Coal Mining Areas

heavy flow of marketings we are in a position where any serious accident or delay whether caused by weather or by the exigencies of war would put us in a very difficult position. The shipping authorities have been able to schedule sufficient tonnage to move the present supplies, but there is always the risk of accidents or other delays upsetting these schedules. But even if sufficient tonnage is put into our ports, there are physical and human limitations on the rate of loading at these ports and there is a very definite limitation on the total available supply of refrigerator cars.

Three weeks ago the whole situation was difficult and congested. Every department of this government and of other governments concerned have done their utmost to improve the position but, while not seriously worse, the position is definitely not improved and there are very real dangers of a backing up of supplies and movement to a point where actual spoilage of meat might occur.

For these reasons it has been decided to suspend meat rationing, including meatless Tuesdays, until the congestion in both storage and transportation is cleared up. However, the government is fully determined that to the extent of our ability the essential requirements of the United Kingdom and our overseas forces shall be met and it is, therefore, intended that meat rationing be resumed as soon as such a course will be helpful. I want to make it perfectly clear that meat rationing is being suspended, not abandoned.

In this connection I should emphasize that in order to facilitate the resumption of meat rationing the system of slaughter permits and the requirement that all carcasses be stamped with the permit holder's licence number will remain in full effect. It is proposed, however, for the duration of the suspension of rationing to permit individual farmers to slaughter their own live stock for sale directly to consumers without the necessity of their getting a permit or stamping the meat so sold.

Topic:   SUSPENSION OP RATIONING-STATEMENT OF PARLIAMENTARY ASSISTANT TO THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
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NAT

Gordon Graydon (Leader of the Official Opposition)

National Government

Mr. GRAYDON:

If I may ask one question, having in mind the information which must be available to the government alone, has the parliamentary assistant any idea as to how long we may expect this suspension to continue in operation?

Topic:   SUSPENSION OP RATIONING-STATEMENT OF PARLIAMENTARY ASSISTANT TO THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
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LIB

Douglas Charles Abbott (Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Finance)

Liberal

Mr. ABBOTT:

No; I am afraid I cannot give any indication as to how long it may be. That will depend upon any changes in the conditions which I indicated in my statement.

Topic:   SUSPENSION OP RATIONING-STATEMENT OF PARLIAMENTARY ASSISTANT TO THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
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CCF

Major James William Coldwell

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

Mr. COLDWELL:

May I ask if the present price structure is to remain?

Topic:   SUSPENSION OP RATIONING-STATEMENT OF PARLIAMENTARY ASSISTANT TO THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
Permalink
LIB

Douglas Charles Abbott (Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Finance)

Liberal

Mr. ABBOTT:

There is no change in the price ceiling.

Topic:   SUSPENSION OP RATIONING-STATEMENT OF PARLIAMENTARY ASSISTANT TO THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
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February 29, 1944