March 2, 1944

LIB
PC

Agar Rodney Adamson

Progressive Conservative

Mr. ADAMSON:

Merely this, that the individual looks after himself and is not interested in the welfare of the state. A purely selfish outlook was preached and practised after the end of the last war, and it led us into the greatest possible amount of difficulty. The old army saying, "So-and-so you, George, I'm all right," became almost the national spirit. We must be careful to avoid similar disillusionment after this war is over; because if at the end of this war we are at the opening of a better era of peace and good order among all nations, yet because we have preached the philosophy of selfishness our men will come out looking for something to get rather than something to serve, and we shall enter into another cycle which may go down into another war, a new depression and chaos even worse than the two we have already seen.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF NATIONAL DEFENCE FOR AIR
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LIB

John Ewen Sinclair

Liberal

Mr. SINCLAIR:

Mr. Chairman, in rising to speak on the estimates of the Department of National Defence for Air, I wish first to touch on the propriety of a member in uniform speaking on estimates of the department in which he serves.

In the British House of Commons the sharpest criticism and the most helpful suggestions on service matters have come from those who are in uniform. Members of parliament, of course, are expected to speak on subjects of which they have extensive knowledge; and who in this parliament have better

opportunities of acquiring extensive knowledge of the services than those in uniform? In this country, however, there seems to be a desire to restrain or, as I believe the legal word is, to proscribe a member of parliament in uniform from speaking on service matters in this chamber. Actually the very delicate position of a member of parliament in uniform is covered by P.C. 3205, which in the air force becomes air force general order No. 21. The hon. member for Lake Centre, the hon. member for Weyburn, and the hon. member for York-Sunbury at the last sitting of the house discussed to some extent this order as it affects men who hope to be candidates in the next election. I would say that in this respect this order is more generous than the corresponding British order. It is rather with the effect of this order on a member of parliament that I am concerned. Provision is made for adequate and, indeed, very generous leave to attend parliament, provided^ of course, the exigencies of the service permit. If the man is in uniform his first responsibility still must be to the service; otherwise he should resign his commission and return to parliament, if he finds that he has to put parliament ahead of his service when he is in the service. However, a member of parliament who is given this leave is subject to the following restriction, that a person granted leave for this purpose shall not disclose any information of a service nature which he has acquired in the course of his duties as a member of the armed forces. Well, quite frankly I will tell the committee that everything I know about the air force I have learned during the course of my duties in the air force. Quite frankly also I will say that as a member of parliament I do not intend to be restrained or proscribed by anyone outside the walls of this chamber. Therefore, despite this air force general order No. 21, I now propose to discuss the Department of National Defence for Air on the basis of things which I have learned while in the service.

I do not propose to speak on any operational matter in the service. After all, I am a very junior officer and am not qualified to discuss the purpose and the value of strategy which has been planned by the leaders of the service. I know that in this respect I am very much different from the hon. member for Weyburn. I got Hansard all the time I was overseas. Last year's Hansard I got in Sicily. I read it with interest because I was a member. The members of my squadron read it because there was nothing else to read. All of us, however, read with both,

War Appropriation-Air Services

I may say, amazement and amusement the fact that the hon. member for Weyburn criticized the Dieppe operation on the geographical knowledge which he had acquired in a one-day Cook's tour of Dieppe in 1936 and the military knowledge he had acquired through an honorary chaplain's commission in the militia in peace time. Everyone in the squadron I was with had waded ashore in the invasion of Sicily. None of us felt prepared to discuss even the invasion of Sicily with that operational background, so that the committee will understand what I mean when I say that we were amused and amazed.

I propose, however, to discuss certain of the administrative policies of the Royal Canadian Air Force, because that force is simply another branch of government as far as administration is concerned, and a member of parliament who can criticize, for example, the Department of Labour, as I have done, can criticize or praise the administration of the Royal Canadian Air Force or any other branch of the service.

First of all, I should like to commend the minister. I think I can truthfully say that the minister is the favourite minister of this house, because we know that he has been the driving power behind Canada's greatest single contribution to this war, the joint air training scheme. It is not only for his interest and activity in the operation of the R.C.A.F. that I commend him, but for the very intense personal interest which he takes in the welfare of every single man in the R.C.A.F. I cannot give a better example of that than the speech he has just made on the demobilization and rehabilitation of the men of his service.

The war is of course far from won, but planning ahead to give these young men in the R.C.A.F. some feeling of confidence in what is going to happen to them when the war does end is a very fine thing and most encouraging.

Since my return I have raised a number of 'ssues with the minister and have not always met with success, naturally, but have always met with every consideration.

A week ago in this house I asked a question about the retirement of quite a number of very senior air officers. The minister made a forthright reply, in which he said that the retirement was in no way a slur on any of these officers, but merely to remove what he called a "bottle-neck" or ceiling on promotion for those who had fought in this war and, to use his own words, "who should shortly assume command if the air force is to be the young and virile force which Canada wishes it to be." I am quite sure we all agree with that sentiment. Most of these senior leaders of the air force, however, are veterans of the last war, with distinguished records, who belong to what 100-68

is called the permanent force. The air force is their career. There are also senior officers who belong not to the permanent force but to the auxiliary force, which is the air force militia in peace time, and to the special reserve, citizen soldiers, as most of the air force are. I feel that if retirements are in order these men should be the first to be retired. They should be retired before those in the permanent force, and I say that for two reasons. The permanent force men have no civilian jobs to which they can go. The air force has been their career, whereas the special reserve senior officers must have left very good jobs to qualify for such a high rank at the beginning of the war.

The second reason is a monetary one. When you retire senior air force officers you retire them at a substantial pension, whereas the auxiliary officers go back to civilian life and civilian jobs, without pensions but with a generous gratuity, in their case, of one month's pay.

There is another point about retirements. Just under the ceiling of senior air officers who fought in the last war and have given wonderful leadership to the air force in this war is a layer of officers who were too young for the last war and whose rank was too high to justify sending them overseas in this war. In the rapidly expanding air force their ability and administrative training were of great use in this country. It will be a pity if the retirement of the veterans of the last war results in these men coming to the top. Tens of thousands of aircrew fighting overseas want to be led by men with real operational experience, if not experience in the last war, then experience gained in this one. To my knowledge, there is not an R.C.A.F. airman who has done a tour of operations overseas in this war who has yet achieved a rank higher than group captain. Generally we think of the air force as a keen, young, progressive service and the army is sometimes regarded as Tory-I withdraw that word; I will say as the slower or more reactionary of the services. However, I read with tremendous pride the statement by the Minister of National Defence (Mr. Ralston) on the recent appointment of men leading combatant soldiers overseas, and I wish to put this list on the record:

Age

Major-General Hatching, D.S.0 33

Brigadier Walsh, D.S.0 34

Ziegler 34

Lane 34

Booth 37

Suttie 34

That is one of the finest tributes that can be paid to the army, to say that they are led

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by men who are making it a "young, virile and dynamic force". I served with the desert air force for about a year, and I believe, as most people overseas believe, that it is the most efficient fighting force in this war. No little part of its success is due to the leadership of Air Vice-Marshal Broadhurst, D.S.O., D.F.C., aged thirty-seven, who has done two full operational tours in this war. Not only has he directed the air force from the control room, but he has led them in battle. He was the first pilot to land in Sicily and the first pilot to land in Italy.

With this in mind I again urge that when those veterans with distinguished records in the last war are retired they be succeeded by men who have done at least one operational tour in this war.

Unlike the army, the air force is an entirely voluntary service. Unlike the army, we do not have a horrid word bandied around in the house but never appearing in Hansard. Every man who joined the air force joined for the duration, to serve wherever the country's enemies are to be found. Every one of them when he enlisted thought he would get overseas and many are disappointed, because of the enormous training establishment which we had set up in the country to bring into fruition the empire air training plan. The minister has announced that the plan is pretty well stabilized, and I should think there is a better chance to get many of these men overseas. Those who have been overseas for a long time would also have a better opportunity to return home.

I commend the minister for the fact that he has kept the Canada badge of the airmen as a symbol of overseas service. Most airmen are prouder to wear "Canada" on their shoulders than the service decoration on their chest, and I hope that at the end of the war every man in the air force will be carrying the name of his country on his shoulder.

May I speak shortly on behalf of Canadians in the Royal Air Force. The minister explained the other night what their status was. These are Canadians who could not get into the R.C.A.F. in peace time because we were so small, and hon. members to the left were obstructing the present Minister of Pensions and National Health when he was trying to expand the war services. These men could not get in just after the war began because our rapidly expanding service set a very high standard. These are the men who went to England on cattle-boats, working their way there in order to join the R.A.F. No single group of Canadians in this war have so gallant a record. Whereas most of the R.C-A.F. did

not start fighting in Europe until 1941, these men started on September 4, 1939, and they have fought in every battle in which the R.A.F. has been engaged-in France, Norway, Britain, Malta, the middle east and the far east. They have paid a very heavy price in casualties and have won great honour for our country.

The minister pointed out that Canada had no connection with them as far as finances are concerned. He went farther and stated that we were not identified with them in any other way. I think we are identified in another way. The early Canadian squadrons overseas were led by these Canadians in the R.A.F., because we did not possess men with that training at that time. The minister two years ago put on record the names of twenty-one men leading the Canadian squadrons. To my knowledge, ten of those twenty-one were Canadians in the R.A.F. I would remind him that his own son in Italy, serves in a Canadian squadron until recently led by one of the most gallant and dauntless of Canadians in the R.A.F., Wing Commander Stan Turner, D.F.C. and bar, of Toronto.

Very distinguished service has also been given to the R.C.A.F. by their present chief of air staff who for a long time served the R.C.A.F. as a Canadian in the R.A.F.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF NATIONAL DEFENCE FOR AIR
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LIB

Charles Gavan Power (Associate Minister of National Defence; Minister of National Defence for Air; Minister of National Defence for Air and Associate Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Mr. POWER:

May I add to what my hon. friend has said. The first squadron that fought as a Canadian squadron, 406 squadron, was composed entirely of Canadians in the R.A.F. and it was called the Canadian R.A.F. squadron in the battle of Britain.

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LIB

John Ewen Sinclair

Liberal

Mr. SINCLAIR:

I thank the minister for his observation. These men are still Canadians, proud of Canada, and most of them want to serve in the air force of their country. I raised this matter with the minister immediately upon my return. At that time I told him that every Canadian in the IR.C.A.F. wanted his brothers in the R.A.F. back in the R.C.A.F. He pointed out the difficulty to me and it was understandable. The RA.F. did not want to lose these very brave and experienced pilots. I was pleased when he announced in the house that the transfer of Canadians in the R.A.F. back to the R.C.A.F. has now been arranged.

I can tell the committee, however, that not all these Canadians will choose to transfer back. A Canadian in the R.A.F. who has a permanent commission can naturally see a little bigger future after the war in the R.A.F. than in the smaller R.CA.F., and there are other Canadians who will want to stay with the RA.F. for sentimental reasons, because of

War Appropriation-Air Services

attachments formed, just as many gallant Americans who joined our R.C.A.F. before the war have chosen to stay with their comrades in the R,C.A.F.

This brings me to the matter of members of the R.C.A.F. attached to the R.A.F. squadrons. The minister brought out clearly that a man who joins the R.C.A.F. in Canada is always a member of the R.C.A.F., irrespective of whether he serves with the R.A.F., with the United States air force, the Australian air force or the South African air force, as some did. He is looked after by this country, promoted by this country and paid by this country. There is, however, a feeling throughout the dominion that the R.C.A.F. Canadians with the R.A.F. squadrons are not getting quite as good a deal as if they were in R.C.A.F. squadrons. That may be owing to'the fact that the R.C.A.F. squadrons naturally have had a little more publicity in this country than the R.A.F. squadrons. However, it is very far from the case, I can assure the committee. I have served in both the R.C.A.F. and the R.A.F., and I think I do know a little about this. The young Canadian who is attached to an R.A.F. squadron does at first feel a little at a loss, perhaps a little strange, and he wishes he were with his own countrymen. If I may be permitted to use a parallel, they are very like the young Canadians who went across to Oxford in peace time as Rhodes scholars. The first year they held together in little groups, did not like the climate, or the English, very much, and were not at all backward about saying so. By the third year, however, they had grown to know and like the English. They yielded to none in their devotion to Oxford. The same is true with respect to these Canadians ini the R.A.F. squadrons. Most of them have a very deep devotion for their squadrons, and I can tell hon. members of an incident that will prove it. The Canadian squadron I was with in Tunisia at one time had several casualties. There were no Canadians immediately available in the reserve pool. We were told we could get Canadians from the adjacent R.A.F. squadrons. It was only with the greatest difficulty that we could get those Canadians to come to the one Canadian squadron out there. I tell the committee and through the committee the mothers of the boys who are with R.A.F. squadrons that they are in the very best of hands.

Another point I should like to mention is the status of R.A.F. airmen in R.C.A.F. squadrons. We have heard all about the R.C.A.F. airmen in the R.A.F. squadrons, but the reverse situation also occurs. There are R.A.F. airmen, Englishmen, Scotsmen and Irishmen, in Canadian squadrons overseas. The reason 100-684

for that is a simple one. Those hon. members who are soldiers from the last war know that the sergeant and the sergeant-major are the real backbone of the fighting forces. We undoubtedly had good men in these ranks in peace time, men with long experience; but with the great expansion that took place these men were naturally commissioned in Canada as officers, and therefore we are very short of long-experienced- and tried senior noncommissioned officers and warrant officers. Such is not the case in the R.A.F., for in the R.A.F. many a good warrant officer cannot afford to take a commission. In the R.C.A.F. a man who takes a commission is financially better off. That is as it should be. In the R.A.F. he drops in financial status, and therefore they have a great number of very experienced senior non-commissioned officers and warrant officers who stay in those ranks. The Canadian squadrons overseas needed men like that. In the squadron I have just left there were two R.A.F. warrant officers, an armourer and a fitter, both with fifteen years in the service. They had served in Britain, in the middle east, and in the far east. One of them had gone to Russia with the Hurricane wing. These men were invaluable. They served with Canadian squadrons and they liked serving with Canadian squadrons, but they serve at R.A.F. rates of pay. In the case of a warrant officer that amounts to the pay of a Canadian corporal.

In the Canadian navy I think they do things better than that. They have the same situation. They have key men of the Royal Navy in our destroyers and corvettes, but they pay them Canadian rates of pay. I may be on the wrong wicket here because I notice the minister said that we pay the full cost of the R.C.A.F. squadrons. Does that include R.C.A.F. pay for those R.A.F. men serving in Canadian squadrons?

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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:

Frankly, I do not know; I do not think so, because at the time there were R.A.F. commanding officers with our squadrons, I know they were receiving lower pay than officers of a much lower rank.

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LIB
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 think the non-commissioned officers are paid Canadian rates.

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LIB

John Ewen Sinclair

Liberal

Mr. SINCLAIR:

I certainly recommend that to him. The number is not large. There are only a few key men in each squadron.

Nothing in the air force has caused more heart-burning and misunderstanding than the commissioning of aircrew. Every member of the committee has heard from his constituents about the commissioning of aircrew. There

War Appropriation-Air Services

are many who believe that, because of the hazards involved, all aircrew should be commissioned. If you carry that to its logical conclusion then every man in a tank, every man in a submarine, every man in a destroyer, should be commissioned, if the hazard of the occupation is to be the governing factor. If it is to be on what might be called technical skill as a pilot, then every infantryman who is a good marksman should be commissioned. Actually, in the air force as in the navy or the army, the qualifications for commissioned rank are the same-the capacity for leadership and technical knowledge. The young pilot officer of to-day is the potential flight commander, the man who is going to lead a flight or a squadron or a wing, to lead the squadron or wing in battle and be responsible for the lives and the welfare of the fighting men under him.

The one objection of the Canadian air force has never been to commissioning on the basis of a difference of rank; it is rather the Canadian objection to a caste system. Let me explain. Two Lancasters fly side by side to Berlin, one captained by a sergeant-pilot, the other captained by an officer-pilot. They undergo the same hazards, the same strains and they return to the aerodrome. The sergeant-pilot goes to the sergeants' mess; the officer pilot goes to the officers' mess; to use an English cricket expression, a gentlemen's and players' arrangement. In the officers' mess the officer gets better food, better quarters, better opportunity for rest and recreation. There lies the injustice. These boys who are subject to the same strains and the same hazards are entitled to the same opportunities for rest, recreation and food. This was the feeling of Air-Marshal Sir Arthur Coningham, the distinguished New Zealander who led the air forces in the desert. Despite the objection of the British air ministry and, of course, the cult of the old school tie, he turned his officers' messes in the desert air force into aircrew messes, where all members of the aircrew lived. Not only did this break down the caste system, but it had the most helpful effect on the junior aircrew. The sergeant-pilot was not only fighting with the senior officer pilots but living with them and saw every day an example of how he should comport himself, what responsibility he should accept if he expected to be an officer. The best proof I can give of Low successful it is, is the fact that of all but one of the N.C.O. pilots we had in our squadron when we left Egypt had been commissioned by the time /ve reached Tunis. That very high percentage

simply goes to show that these boys learned in an aircrew mess what was expected of them as officers.

I would, therefore, most strongly urge on the minister that he institute a system of aircrew messes in the Canadian squadrons overseas in England and - on the Canadian flying stations. I am not criticizing the wonderful job he has done in the commissioning of aircrews. I tell the committee that the Canadian aircrews have a higher percentage of commissioned men than the R.A.F., the United States air force, the Australian air force or the New Zealand air force. Every Canadian, of course, starts at the rank of sergeant. The aircrews of other countries start at much lower ranks. In Germany, they start in as privates or corporals. I would say, however, that the institution of aircrew messes would break down the last resentment against this caste system, and let every man subject to the strain and hazards of flying have the same opportunities for rest and recreation.

I intend to speak next on overseas leave. The minister has fairly well covered this. While members of the air force join for the duration of the war none of them wants to spend all his time overseas fighting the war without a break. The R.A.F. men do get to their homes between operational tours of flying. The minister announced last fall that after one operational tour and one tour of instruction aircrew would get one month's leave at home. It is not as easy as that. In the R.C.A.F. there is a tremendous backlog of men who have qualified on one tour of operational duty and one tour of instruction, and so the initial load is heavy. The plan is working well. There is a constant flow through Ottawa of men who have done their tour of instruction and are home on a month's leave. I would suggest, however, that the time has come when a tour should be laid down for groundcrew. A year or so ago it was suggested that this tour should be for two years, but that was later cancelled. I believe the groundcrew are entitled to some break in their service overseas, and a chance to come home for a month's furlough. Of all the groundcrew I think the most deserving are those mentioned by my hon. friend, the radio mechanics working in radio location stations in every part of the world; lonely little stations on headlands along the coast, three or four or five men. with a dull routine broken only by occasional attacks by enemy aircraft. These men have lost almost every association with Canada, and certainly they are deserving of the same opportunity for furlough at home as the ordinary groundcrew with R.C.A.F, squadrons.

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I do not propose at this time to deal with

the various suggestions in regard to the rehabilitation of aircrew. The minister has outlined very well to this committee some' of the problems in that connection, and of course the problem of emotional adjustment is the greatest difficulty to be faced in connection with these men. I have, however, one or two suggestions to offer in regard to the employment of aircrew. There is no doubt that a large proportion of the aircrew want to remain in the R.C.A.F. To most of them it is the only job they have ever known. They like flying; they are keen about the air force, and they would like to stay in it. They know, however, that there is not very much hope for a career for many of them in the peace-time R.CA..F. I think we all agree that our permanent force after the war will be at least as large as it was before the war, when it was very small indeed. Since the beginning of the war a number of vacancies have occurred in the permanent force through death, casualties and the retirements which have been instituted by the minister. I feel that these vacancies now should be filled, that our permanent force at least should be kept up to the peace-time strength of about 450 officers, and that vacancies should be filled from the ranks of those brave young men who have had one or two tours of operation overseas. That would relieve some of those young men of their anxiety as to what they are going to do, and would help to keep our permanent force the virile, dynamic unit the minister wants it to be.

My next suggestion has to do with the T.C.A. We have a civil service preference for overseas veterans. I believe that at present there should be a leading preference for employment with T.C.A., both in the air and on the ground, and further that the moment the war ends the preference should be complete, that only men who have flown overseas or served on the ground may qualify as pilots and ground-crew with T.C.A. There is, of course, the suggestion, which is carefully fostered, that these bomber boys are not qualified to be T.C.A. pilots. The T.C.A. pilot takes a twin-engined machine, with a good safe load, off a good safe aerodrome fully equipped with lights and all other aids to flying, with every meteorological aid and help, and lands it on another nicely laid out aerodrome, complete with lights, radio beams and all the rest of it. The bomber boy takes a heavily laden four-engine bomber off a dimly lit field, without any of the aids to be found on the fields in this country; the moment he crosses the Dutch coast he Hies through zones of flak and rockets and searchlights and enemy fighters. He has almost no artificial navigation aids, no radio

beam, no lights or anything else. He takes his aircraft to the target and returns, perhaps with his craft crippled and with injured crewmen; he fights every mile of the long way there and back again, finds that dimly lit aerodrome in England and lands his plane. Comparison of a T.C.A. pilot with a bomber boy puts the T.C.A. pilot pretty much on the level of a bus driver. My point is that those who carry the bombs in this war can carry the mail in peace time. I might go a little farther than that. After the war most of our first-class mail wall be carried by air; and the private companies which get mail contracts should be bound by the same conditions, that their pilots and groundcrew, for at least a good period after the war, shall be men of the R.C.A.F.

I mentioned the preference given to overseas veterans as far as civil service employment is concerned. With regard to the women in our armed services, very few of them will have the chance to serve overseas, but they left comfortable lives and good homes to undergo barrack-room life in the services in order to relieve men for fighting jobs, and certainly these girls are deserving of civil service preference. I urge the minister to use his influence with the civil service commission to see that the women of the R.C.A.F. receive the civil service preference after the war, whether or not they served outside Canada.

In the course of a previous speech in this house I mentioned the special problems of rehabilitation in connection with aircrew, getting them to settle down after the intense excitement and hardship and to return to the dull and often monotonous civilian life in Canada. There is one group of aircrew, however, who deserve special consideration; I refer to those who are now prisoners of war in Germany. Of course the greatest percentage of all our prisoners are aircrew boys, shot down in bombers and fighters over Europe. These men were catapulted from a life of extreme excitement into one of deadliest monotony. The very dreariness of their present lives, the shortage of food and recreation, is undoubtedly deeply affecting them. Their hopes are kept alive by two things: first, by letters and parcels from home and, second, by the fact that to-night, and every night, in prison camps across Germany, in tents and in barracks, our Canadians are listening for just one thing, the distant thunder of our bombers coming back to blast Germany and speed their day of liberation. While Canadian airmen overseas know that the problem of rehabilitation is going to be difficult for aircrew, every man overseas feels that his comrades in the prison camps are entitled to the very best break this country can give them. Certainly they are a very special class.

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I think every hon. member swelled with pride when the minister recounted in detail the very great achievements of our lads in the R.C.A.F. overseas. Our objective in this house should be to see to it that when these lads return they will swell with as much pride because of what we have done for the country in their absence.

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IND

Frédéric Dorion

Independent

Mr. FREDERIC DORION (Charlevoix-Saguenay):

Of the three armed services the air force is the one in which I am particularly interested, because I have always had the keenest memories of my stay in that corps, in which I served overseas in 1918. At that time aviation was in its infancy, but even then the spirit of adventure, the companionship and the fine esprit de corps which existed among the men made it the finest corps in which one could serve. To-day, when I am asked to advise young people as to the choice they should make when they decide to enlist, I always recommend the air force.

While listening last evening with a great deal of interest to the speech delivered by the minister I was particularly impressed with the development of this service in the last three years. I could not refrain, however, from deploring the fact that notwithstanding such a brilliant achievement we as Canadians unfortunately cannot be too proud of the actual situation in regard to our air force overseas. We learn that thousands of our airmen are mingled in the great British melting-pot with Czechs, Poles, Belgians, Free French and so on. I quote from page 1034 of Hansard of last night:

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.

And further:

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 Capa-dian 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.

What is the reason given by the minister for such a state of affairs? What is the explanation for not having all our airmen serving in the R.C.A.F. under a Canadian command and in Canadian squadrons? We find

[Mr- Sinclair.]

the answer in the minister's speech as it appears at page 1033 of Hansard as follows:

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.

And then, further on:

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 grounderew for the maintenance and service of these squadrons and their equipment.

And here comes the most amazing, and, I believe, the most important question the minister will have to answer to the people of Canada. If we have not as many squadrons as we could or should have, because of a lack of grounderew, why is it the government has decided to stop the recruitment of ground-crew? This is what the minister is reported to have said at page 1027 of Hansard!

We 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 again at page 1028

This reduction from requirements of previous years, is largely due to the fact that ground-crew requirements have been stabilized.

And yet, Mr. Chairman, we see by some of the minister's words that he had to fight to get the forty-two squadrons we have overseas. Then, quoting again from page 1034 of Hansard:

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 grounderew 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 ground-crews 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.

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And I quite agree with the minister when

he says this:

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.

But why not continue the same Canadian policy? Why stop sending groundcrew overseas? Why not endeavour to form as many Canadian squadrons as possible? Must we deduce that the government is satisfied with this situation? Must we believe that some new unknown agreement has taken place in virtue of which the British, air force must keep its standing at the expense of Canadian airmen? Why always have Canadians in all the services performed the most difficult task, when others keep to their fireplaces? Why must we furnish the men to do the real fighting, when every day, from press dispatches throughout the world, we are told that it is the Britishers who do the job?

Why not incorporate British groundcrews in Canadian squadrons, instead of training Canadian airmen to form British squadrons? Does the answer not reside in the fact that we are always, and must always be the colonials, useful only to pay tribute to the mother country? Is this not the best evidence that we are coming back to the status of a colony, and that notwithstanding the many declarations made lately by members of the government, we are accomplishing exactly the wishes of those who, like Lord Halifax, want the dominions to disappear as independent units? Every Canadian is proud of being a Canadian, but I urge the government not to deceive the people, because I am afraid of the reactions which may follow.

(Translation): Mr. Chairman, I have but

one word to add to what I have just said. I should like the Minister of National Defence for Air to explain how it is, and I deplore the fact-that Quebec has been chosen as the first city where air force training schools are to be closed. It is often reported in the press, and unfortunately all too often and unfairly in this house, that enlistments are not as numerous as they should be in the province of Quebec. But if young French Canadians are not afforded the opportunity to enlist in those services which they might like to enter-and as I said at the outset, the air force is the one which our young men prefer-if they are

deprived of facilities for enlistment in that air force through the closing of schools operated in our province, there may still be more reasons for deploring the fact that voluntary enlistments are not as numerous as they should be. That is why I ask the Minister of National Defence for Air, before any decision is taken, whether some action might not be taken to prevent the closing of those schools and keep them open for the benefit of the people who live in the Quebec district.

(Text) Mr. BRUCE: I wish first of all .to congratulate the Minister of National Defence for Air upon the brilliant presentation of his report respecting the activities of the air force both overseas and in Canada in this time of war. Hon. members will agree that the minister had a wonderful subject, but it will also be realized that he has taken full advantage of that subject to give us an extraordinarily interesting account of the exploits of our young men overseas, exploits which have filled all of us with pride and gratification.

For a moment I should like to speak about the medical service which he has established for the airmen. All hon. members will appreciate the fact that there are many conditions affecting airmen which are quite different from those which affect the ordinary soldier on the ground. Therefore it has been necessary to have men specially trained in the problems and requirements peculiar to our aircrew by work in laboratories and by taking special medical courses in universities in England and Canada. We know that Sir Frederick Banting did a great deal of valuable experimental work in the Banting institute in Toronto to determine the effect of high altitudes on the heart and blood pressure. The result of his investigations has proven of great advantage to members of the air force.

I disagree with the hon. member for Renfrew South who advocated having one medical service for the three branches of defence. I think it was a wise decision as far as the air force was concerned to have a medical service separate from the general medical service responsible for our army. The same comment could be made in connection with the naval medical service.

The minister was very fortunate in his selection some years ago of a head for his medical service. Perhaps I should not say that he was fortunate but rather that he showed a good deal of judgment and wisdom by selecting a gentleman by the name of Ryan to head that service here. I do not know what his rank was when he was serving in England,

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Where he had a large experience in the special problems associated with flying, but he was made an air commodore when he was put in charge of the air medical service in Canada. He laid the foundation for a medical service in Canada which is unsurpassed, if equalled in any part of the world.

He was followed by Doctor Tice who had been associated with him in the air medical service for some years. Air Commodore Tice, as he is now known, has continued the work and has given equally good service as head of the air medical department. I want to commend the minister also for a recent appointment he has made. I refer to Wing Commander or Group Captain Clark Noble. This gentleman served in the air establishments in Montreal, in the west and in other places. He has had a considerable experience in this work which has been superimposed upon an excellent education in medicine. He was one of the leading physicians in our city for some years after completing a distinguished postgraduate course in England. I commend the minister for his selection of Group Captain Noble as head of the air force medical service in England.

The minister referred to {he desirability of having somebody to advise officers and men as to what their future work should be. He referred to these men as personnel consultants, and I am going to suggest that in selecting a head of this organization he could not do better than to pick out a medical man. The whole training in medicine is such as to-qualify a man for such a post. The other evening we heard that there are sixty-three psychiatrists in the army, and I do not know how many there are in the air force. I suggest that one of these psychiatrists would do very well as an adviser to these young men as to their future professions or activities.

Some years ago I visited the dean of the medical faculty of Columbia university in New York city. I found him engaged in a job very similar to that which the minister indicates will have to be done on demobilization. The dean was interviewing prospective students. No matter how high his examination rating had been, each student was interrogated carefully by the dean of the medical faculty to see whether he should enter the profession of medicine. Everyone who thinks he would like to be a doctor is not qualified by training or aptitude for that profession, and I assume the same may be said of law and the other professions. It is quite clear that these young men will need advice, and I think the minister is quite wise in suggesting that there should be somebody to direct them on demobilization.

During the long period of waiting in England or elsewhere for demobilization will provision be made to educate these young men along the lines they hope to follow as their life work?

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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.

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NAT

Herbert Alexander Bruce

National Government

Mr. BRUCE:

That is very important. I have nothing but praise for the wonderful work of the air force. I should like also to say a word of praise for the admirable way in which the minister has presented the work of the Royal Canadian Air Force to this committee.

I have just one other word to say arising out of the report given a couple of nights ago by the Postmaster General (Mr. Mulock) as to the time it takes to get letters overseas. I have received a considerable number of letters from parents and others complaining about the length of time it takes a letter to get across to our forces in England and the Mediterranean. As a consequence, I went to the base post office to make my own investigation of how the mail was handled and whether they were doing their work properly. After a careful inspection lasting an hour and a half I concluded that the service was entirely efficient and that any delay in the mails was not the fault of the base post office in Ottawa.

I recollected having seen an item in the press on this subject some time before Christmas, and upon looking it up found that on December 4 the minister stated that it was planned to operate two flights a week from Ottawa to the United Kingdom and as many each week as might be necessary from the United Kingdom to the Mediterranean area or wherever routes might be justified. The minister stated:

The service was set up because of the length of time it took ordinary mail to reach men on the active fronts. Mail to soldiers iif Italy and the middle east was running as much as two months behind time. Realizing that letters from home provided the biggest kind of boost to morale, the R.C.A.F. undertook to get the service going.

I appreciate the difficulties faced by the minister, and I bring this up now simply to give him an opportunity of reassuring us that that service will soon be established.

At six o'clock the committee took recess.

After Recess

The committee resumed at eight o'clock.

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NAT

Thomas Langton Church

National Government

Mr. CHURCH:

The statement which was made last Tuesday by the minister is one of the most comprehensive that we have had. I come here from the Toronto district, the most air-minded city, in two wars, in the

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dominion. The minister has had a long connection with that city, covering two wars. I do not know whether he is looking for a seat, but I know that many airmen up there are with him. I wish also to compliment his desk-mate and parliamentary assistant (Mr. Macmillan), who has shown great efficiency and has rendered splendid service, when the minister has been overseas, to private members of the house.

Starting from scratch on land, sea and in the air, after complete disarmament, Canada, with the air training plan and especially with lease-lend, has made a very real contribution in this *war. There is no doubt about that. Many mistakes have been made, but they are made in every war. I was glad to hear the gracious reference to members of this house who have suffered the loss of their sons. In the British House of Commons fifty-six memebrs of parliament have made the supreme sacrifice so far in this war, and also many of their sons with them. What saved the world in 1940 were those glorious young men, some from Canada, who went up in the air in the battle of Britain by night and by day, from dawn to dusk, and sometimes for twenty-four hours a day. They saved the mother country, and we owe our very existence as an empire to those young airmen. Had it not been for them the war would have been over a few months afterwards, and for all we know both the United States and Canada would have been compelled to make peace with the axis powers. Not only were the losses of the air force in the battle of Britain very heavy in deaths, but those who are wounded will never be the same. How many of them will live tolerable lives again? It is the duty of the country to fulfil its obligations to these young men and not to allow a repetition of what happened after the last war.

In the period between the two wars that I have been a member of this house I have consistently supported, I am glad to say, rearmament on land, on sea, and in the air. In March, 1938, I pointed out to the house the very grave danger which this country, especially Quebec, the maritime provinces and the Pacific province, would be in if war came. We had ample notice of what was likely to happen. Speaking in this chamber on March 24, 1938, in support of an increased vote for air *defence, I said, as reported in Hansard on pages 1662 and 1663:

There is not only the possibility but a great probability that air raids will occur in the next war in which Canada is involved. The defence of our population from air raids should be considered. These raids will be the chief source of danger in all future wars, and we shall be living in a false paradise if we do not adopt 100-69

measures to protect ourselves. Abyssinia was recently a theatre of war, and we all know the destruction of civilian population that occurred through this means of attack. Abyssinia is an open country with only a small density of population as compared with what there is on the island of Montreal and in other parts of Canada, and yet great damage resulted.

Air. raids can work great havoc in time of war, and the menace will be a very real one in Canada, especially to the people of Quebec, the maritimes and British Columbia.

. . . An aerial bombardment is one of the dangers most to be apprehended in time of war, particularly in large cities with their dense populations; the protection of cities from aerial bombardment should be one of the chief objectives of the national defence department, and proper equipment for defence against this menace should be provided. . . .

Large quantities of poisonous gas could easily be spread over a large area as was done in Abyssinia, and incendiary bombs dropped on our large cities, with great destruction and slaughter, and the enemy aircraft could get back to their base in practically no time. These attacks would not only bring ruin to our cities and towns but break the morale of our people and prevent us from developing a proper defence and mobilizing our man-power and armaments.

That happened to be true in this war in relation to the people of Canada. Since the minister this session presented his comprehensive statement last Tuesday there is very little which needs be said. It is a splendid statement, in respect of those who have enlisted, the tabulations which have been given, and the estimates for the coming year. We all realize that since the statement of last year there has been a vast improvement in the war situation. True it is that during the battle of the Atlantic a year ago we faced some critical periods, and the result wavered in the balance until we had the union of sea power, air power, and land forces. Sea power alone can never bring us victory. Sea power means the power to use the seas and to deny their use to our enemies. I do not suppose that commerce will ever entirely leave the sea and take to the air. The balance of power will continue to be a necessary policy, as it has been in Europe for the past three or four centuries. It is just as essential to our future well-being as it was in the days of Philip of Spain, of Napoleon; and in our generation, twice, under the menace of Emperor William and Hitler, it remains of supreme importance.

There are some principles which I think should be considered in connection with our air policy in the near future. The war is far from being won. We have not yet penetrated Germany's defences. There has been an improvement in the Mediterranean situation, thanks to the glorious advance across the desert for nearly three thousand miles

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which was made under those great generals, Alexander and Montgomery, when air power came to the support of the army and helped to restore the supremacy of sea power in the Mediterranean. In the advance through Italy sea transport is needed and sea power is as necessary as ever, but sea power, which Britain has maintained since the time of Napoleon, cannot alone win the present war. The part taken by airmen and the army in the Mediterranean has been most important and gratifying and has given new courage and heart to the peoples of the world.

Since the minister presented his estimates last year we have seen not only on the Atlantic ocean but in the Mediterranean the union of sea and air power and land forces. Remember that the land forces are just as essential as they were in the first two or three years of the war, when all over the United States they were ridiculing the British Tommy in the early days of the war; but the British'army saved the situation, not only in Africa, in the Mediterranean and in Italy but by taking possession of Iceland and other bases in the Atlantic, because there is no doubt that had Germany gained supremacy in the battle of the Atlantic, before we got some control over the U-boats, before we had an umbrella in the air over our sea power, the consequences would have been most disastrous to America. Thanks, however, to the glorious achievements of our airmen in aiding sea power and convoys, the battle of the Atlantic has turned in our favour and the U-boat has practically retired. Neither ships nor aeroplanes can operate without the possession of air bases, and these must be held by land forces. Their possession was a very fortunate circumstance for us during the Atlantic operations.

Air power cannot be a substitute for sea power until the air can replace the sea as a medium for the conveyance of the world's commerce. Air forces, like sea and land forces, are instruments of sea power, and so each finds its proper use.

I wish to refer in conclusion to one or two other matters. The last one is ini regard to the necessity of utilizing the lessons of this war and applying them in the coming d!ays of peace. If we do not, this magnificent body of young men of the air will suffer from unemployment after the war.

I wish to call the attention of the committee to the situation in the Pacific. I have here a map which I will send to the minister, showing the danger to which the empire is exposed, which danger will continue even after the German war is over. That danger lies in the

Pacific. I find an interesting article and map in the National Review of February, 1944, in connection with air travel. It is pointed out that the war with Japan may go on for four years after hostilities have been concluded with Germany. The Japanese are hopping from island to island, and the Japanese fleet and air force are as yet an unknown quantity in this war.

There is one phase of the situation to which I should like to refer as I did on July 15 last. It may come only partly under the minister's department, but I submit that it is necessary to have an empire air policy after the war if we are not to surrender our privileges to our brave allies, friends and kinsmen to the south. There has been a long debate in the British House of Commons on the question of air travel and an all-red empire air policy, and the matter is also receiving close attention in New Zealand and Australia. On January 19 last, Mr. Curtin and Mr. Fraser, the two great prime ministers in the southern Pacific, representing the sister dominions of Australia and New Zealand, who met on a union defence screen policy in the air in the Pacific, made an appeal to Canada, and I suggest that it should not go unnoticed. I quote what Mr. Courtenay, special correspondent of the Sunday Times, said in his dispatch from Canberra on January 16 last:

It is not generally realized at home that America has a Pacific air route which is marvellously well organized. On the day after war ends the same pilots, planes, aircrews, ground organization, wireless and meteorological services will be available to begin commercial air services between Canada, America, Australia, and New Zealand.

The British empire will not be in this lucrative traffic because nowhere on the Pacific route during war is there one British plane, pilot, meteorological expert or radio operator. Unless Britain places aircrews on this route in 1944 she will be left at the post as far as experience and good will of services go, if peace comes in 1945.

The Americans have not got this tremendous hold over Pacific air routes by accident. They have got it by enterprise and drive at a time when we were fighting for our lives against huge odds. They are backed by their government in this and in all other commercial expansion. They make every concession to would-be travellers on their air routes even to carrying them free.

He goes on to refer to the meeting on January 13 between the prime ministers of Australia and New Zealand on the question of defence in the Pacific, and the necessity of Canada also and Britain doing something immediately to solve this great problem of our era, not only for the benefit of the British empire but for the peace and security of the world.

War Appropriation-Air Services

The minister for the army last Tuesday brought down for me certain tables with regard to pay in the army, the navy and the air force. I would point out that there are many air inequalities in these tables, reading right across the list, from those at the top down to aircraftsmen or privates, in connection with subsistence allowance, dependents' allowance for wife and one child, quarters and so on. I appeal for better treatment of these low paid men in the air force and the navy. The cost of living is just as high for them and their families as it is for people in the higher brackets and something should be done to alleviate their condition. Nothing has been done for them, however, in the past twelve months except to move them from $1.30 to $1.50, and they did not dll get that. The time has come when some committee should take this matter into consideration. There should be equality of pay, putting these people on an equal footing with those of corresponding status in the forces of the United States. Questions in regard to cost of living bonus for dependents and other matters of that kind-holidays and so on-will be discussed later on. In the meantime, I regret to see that nothing is being done with regard to a national system of soldier insurance I have been advocating since this war began.

We have heard a great deal about the wonderful bank that is being set up. Every one, I suppose, will get some assistance from it, but it seems that a great deal more has been said about this bank since some industrial ridings went against the government in August last in the Ontario elections. Heretofore these industrial workers were forgotten; now they are being considered. I would remind the government that a large number of these young air people come from the industrial ridings. They have joined the army, the air force and the navy, and they should, I submit to the minister, be given some consideration in the form of a national insurance policy for all soldiers and their dependents, and to provide for them for three years after the war. It was shown in the last war, so far as the United States is concerned, that large sums of money can be saved in pensions and other aids to soldiers by a national system of insurance for soldiers. I have referred to this matter, and to other questions such as cost of living bonus, for four or five years, but little progress has been made.

I wish to compliment the minister upon the wonderful record of achievement of our air force overseas. I am sorry to see the casualties it has suffered. Sometimes I think in Canada in training camps a civilian inquest would do a great deal of good in some of the 100-69J

cities and towns, because it would tend to clear up the inequalities that exist and to check the carelessness, if any, that now prevails. The Canadian army on land, on sea and in the air is a citizen's army, and I contend that when men join the forces they should not lose all their civilian status as' a result of enlisting. Every man who enlists should retain all the rights and privileges which he enjoys as a citizen. For that reason I hope the minister will see his way clear next year, in urgent cases, to allow a civilian inquest to be held as in the past.

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IND

Liguori Lacombe

Independent Liberal

Mr. LACOMBE (Translation):

Mr. Chairman, in his remarks the Minister of National Defence for Air (Mr. Power) has said how greatly important he considers the rehabilitation of our airmen. When the conflict comes to an end, our air heroes will have to be given the full measure of justice and assistance to which they, together with the members of our army and navy, shall be entitled. Canada, having been able to find money to train them for war, could not shirk the duty devolved upon her to equip those young men for civilian life. It is said that foresight is the essence of government. Let us foresee the post-war period, when countless difficulties will arise on all sides. We shall then have to find for the members of our armed forces occupations worthy of them. There are some who wish that demobilization might be held up until several months after the armistice. I am against such a suggestion. Any delay would be fatal to the spirit of enterprise and reconstruction which will have to be greatly stimulated. The future of Canada and her vital interests will then be our best guide. I wish to quote the following excerpt which I find in the February, 1944, issue of "Canada at War", page 23:

So impressive has been the success of the plan that Canada has been referred to as "the airdrome of democracy". The R.C.A.F. is responsible for administration of the B.C.A.T.P. and for provision of its instructors.

There were only 169 pupils in the first classes 50 pilots, 44 observers and 75 wireless operators. However, air schools and flying stations sprang up all over Canada until 154 were in operation, more than twice as many as the 74 originally estimated as being required for the programme.

Ten thousand training planes flew an average of 2,000,000 miles daily to produce the still expanding force of 50,000 aircrew graduates- enough to man 15,000 combat aircraft. More than 80,000 men have had special training in grounderew trades.

Mr. Chairman, is it not obvious that I was right in stating a few moments ago, that the demobilization of our army should be undergone as carefully and speedily as possible as

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soon as the war is over. For that purpose, the government should immediately order the holding of an investigation about the equipment of our three armed services, the value and the capacity of the buildings taken over by them, the buildings used by war industries, so as to protect the nation's economy which is already threatened by war and its aftermath.

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LIB

Daniel (Dan) McIvor

Liberal

Mr. McIVOR:

I am sure we were thrilled at hearing the narration which was given by the minister Tuesday night and to-day, tellmg us of the exploits of the airmen, not only in the air and over the sea, but in the training centres as well. We learned that they were capable of going up high and coming down heavy; that they were capable of doing the dangerous thing and the hard thing.

I should like to tell the minister to-night that I received a commission from two aunts to tell him that they were also capable of doing the kind thing in helping to bind up the broken spirit. Twice last year I asked that the silver cross be given to the next of kin; that when a young single man's mother died the next of kin should receive the silver cross. These relatives received the silver cross and they asked me to thank the minister and those associated with him for that.

I should also like to tell the minister that a number of young pilots from the head of the lakes asked me-they did not call him the minister, or the Hon. C. G.; they just called him plain Chubby Power-to tell him that we can trust him; that he is doing a great job, and let him take the bumps with the calms and we shall see that he gets a great ride after the war.

I have a question to ask with respect to the giving of the silver cross. How are they distributed; how are they sent out? If the minister cannot answer that, perhaps his parliamentary assistant can. On behalf of the recipients of these crosses I thank the minister for sending them out.

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NAT

Gordon Graydon (Leader of the Official Opposition)

National Government

Mr. GRAYDON:

I have no desire to take up much of the time of the committee at the moment, but one or two matters arising out of the minister's statement I think deserve an observation or two. One of the matters which struck me most forcibly in connection with his lucid and clear exposition with regard to the air force was that in his remarks he was very frank and very fair. I wish to say to the committee, to the minister and to the government that it is an indication of how a government can cooperate with an opposition. It is not a very easy thing-and I think most people recognize it- to carry on government in war time. On the other hand, it is not a very easy thing to carry on opposition in war time

either, because both of them have difficulties, which the minister only too well knows. But cooperation, so far as governments and opposition are concerned, cannot be just a one-way street. In his frank and open statement the minister has shown a spirit of cooperation so far as the opposition is concerned. I think he has made it a little easier for us, because, after all, we are anxious to do a job for the people of Canada within the confines of our duty and obligation in this house.

The minister's clear references and frank statement have been of considerable help to us. His statement was, shall I say, not too long, but it was filled with the usual simplicity of language and clarity of expression that one associates with him. Having said that about the minister, I think perhaps that is all he can expect, and he may feel that is all he deserves.

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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:

It is a little more.

' Mr. GRAYDON: In any event the story of the Royal Canadian Air Force, their daring exploits and the great successes which he chronicled in his statement on Tuesday night and to-day indicate, I think, that the young generation of Canada, as was the case with the previous war-time generations, is living up to the very best traditions of Canada. We used to hear it said that the new generation was not quite as good as the old. I think the minister's statement of Tuesday and to-day would indicate that if we of the previous generation, if you like to call us that, had measured up to the standards which those of the present generation are setting overseas and in every theatre of war we could look back with perhaps more pride and perhaps deserve more tributes than we have received.

When we speak of Canada's future in aviation and in the air generally, if the achievements to which the minister referred can be accomplished in time of war it would appear to me and to the members of the committee generally that when the war has been concluded there is no reason why, if Canada is standing on the top rung of the ladder in the air in war, she should not turn the tremendous assets that she has in man-power and material to achieving similar success on the air routes of the world in civil aviation in peace time. By the utilization of the man-power, both aircrew and groundcrew, we have seen what accomplishments we can bring about in war time. Those achievements indicate to us what is possible in time of peace. The transition from war to peace in so far as the air force is concerned constitutes an entirely different problem from that of the other two branches of the service, for this reason, that the utilization of the men and women, if you like, in

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the air force by civil aviation will follow along perhaps with less interruption in many instances than the change from war to peace in the other two branches. I think we should utilize to the fullest possible degree the men who have been trained in aviation, the men who have by virtue of their experience in war so much to contribute to this nation in the development of our position in so far as civilization in an international way is concerned. Therefore I hope that during this discussion the minister may indicate the policy of the government in making that change from war to peace in regard to at least a good proportion of those who have accomplished so much in the air during this war-time period.

I should like to mention a matter which was dealt with also by the hon. member for Vancouver North, and which I bring up again only because perhaps it needs some emphasis. I hope the chairman of the committee will not ask me to lay on the table the document I propose to read, because I shall read it only in order to bring to the minister's attention one point. I am referring to a letter I received just the day before yesterday from a fine boy who lived in my constituency and whom I have watched grow up until now he is a mature man. He has been in the air force for a considerable time and has been overseas for I am not sure how long but at least for a good many months. This letter is dated February 17, and in it he says that he had hoped to get home some time this summer on the month's le'ave that aircrew are supposed to get after completing a tour of operations and six months of instructional duties. However, he says the system does not seem to be operating as well as it should and that this is causing quite a lot of dissatisfaction among the men. He says also that most of the boys feel that instead of doing their instructional work in England they should be allowed to perform that work in the schools at home. The letter concludes with a reference which makes me feel very proud. This boy speaks of his pride in belonging to an organization which in spite of terrific handicaps has conquered the air lanes of this war, and whose members have marked "paid" on many outstanding nazi accounts. I have referred to this letter particularly to bring to the minister's attention this matter in regard to leave, which was so well put by the hon. member for Vancouver North this afternoon.

I also want to bring to the minister's attention the position of the women's division of the Royal Canadian Air Force. I have had brought to my attention on many occasions, particularly in correspondence both from this country and from overseas, the question of equality of pay for women in the services. I

raised this question with regard to the Canadian Women's Army Corps when the army appropriations were under consideration, and I raise it again now in the hope that the minister, who has a full knowledge of the situation, will give the matter his serious consideration, so that in the air force, and perhaps in the other branches of the services as well, eventually we may have that equality to which people seem to render lip-service as far as civilian life is concerned, but which somehow never seems to quite materialize as far as our women go.

I do not wish to be unduly critical of the *minister, but I should like to have him give the situation his most careful attention so that we may have an approach to equality of pay.

There is another matter I should like to mention which I think peculiarly affects the air force and perhaps does not apply in the same way to the other branches of the armed services. I am told by members of the air force that in this branch, unlike some of the other services, allowance is not made for travelling time when leave is granted. To give an example, an airman in British Columbia is given leave for two or three weeks to visit his home in Ontario. Out of that leave he must spend four days coming and four days returning, making a total of eight days which should not be taken out of his three weeks' leave. It may be that there are reasons for this practice being followed, but I think this is one of the little things which might be corrected by the minister, who is so good at looking after details of this kind. I should like to leave that thought with him, together with the whole question of free transportation for our troops, which I mentioned when the Minister of National Defence had his estimates before the committee. I do not wish to urge that unduly year after year, but I mention it now for this reason. I fancy that the minister and most hon. members feel that we as civilians seem to make such a puny little contribution to the war effort. It may be that our contribution is greater than perhaps we realize, but still I think there is a feeling among civilians generally that unless one is in uniform one does not seem to be doing anything like the job the boys and girls are doing who have actually donned that uniform; and I think that is a proper feeling for us to have.

Having that in mind, it seems to me that as civilians we should try to do more for those who are in uniform, even if it means spending more money. After all, we are in this war to win it; and any little convenience or comfort, or anything which will advance the position of the men and women in our armed forces, should be the deep concern of each of

War Appropriation-Air Services

us. In connection with matters such as the cost of transportation, the allowance for travelling time in connection with leave and matters of that kind, if we are to err at all I think we should err on the side of generosity toward those in the armed forces.

At this time I do not desire to make any lengthy statement in connection with the air force appropriation, but I should like to say that I believe this committee might properly spend some considerable time-I am not suggesting this for the purpose of delaying the estimates-on the matters which the minister laid frankly before this committee this afternoon in connection with post-war and demobilization problems. These are matters to which I think we are in duty bound to give serious consideration and attention. These are not entirely government matters; they affect the life of this whole nation in the years that lie ahead. The manner in which we as a country receive back into civil life the men who have made the continuance of that civil life possible during these perilous and dangerous years will, in the final analysis, determine whether or not we as a people are able to meet the challenge which is squarely before us now. I want to say to the minister that as far as our party is concerned we are anxious to. give every possible assistance in 1 the solution of these very difficult and trj'ing problems which from time to time come up for solution.

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SC

John Horne Blackmore

Social Credit

Mr. BLACKMORE:

All hon. members are proud of the achievements of the air force, and all are thankful that our boys have risen so splendidly to the occasion thrust suddenly upon them. I do not purpose speaking at length at this time, but rise merely to place before the minister one question in connection with which I believe more can be done than is now being done. I refer to those men from Canada who have joined the R.A.F. and have desired to be transferred to the R.C.A.F., but who thus far have been unable to accomplish their object.

I hold in my hand a letter which reached me only to-day, an excerpt from which I believe the minister would be pleased to hear. These are the words in the letter:

Whilst serving in France at the beginning of the war we were asked if we would transfer to a Canadian squadron, with the possible opportunity of transferring to the R.C.A.F. I put my name forward immediately, but that was the last we heard about the matter, partly I expect because of the turn of events at that time.

After my return from France I tried almost every conceivable way of being transferred to the R.C.A.F. I have been to Canada House and also to the R.C.A.F. headquarters in

London, but without receiving any satisfaction. Have put in application after application at every station where I have been, but the answer is always the same, that it is impossible. Have even finished my term of service with the R A F., but even that does not seem to matter.

Since my return from France I was married to an English girl who is now a serving member of the Canadian Women's Army Corps. As you know my wife in the service receives Canadian status as regards pay, etc., and myself being a Canadian citizen will have to carry on in the R.A.F. never being able to receive the equivalent pay or promotion as members of the Canadian services enjoy, unless there is some remedy which I have not had brought to my notice.

Should be very pleased if you could enlighten me as to a possible solution to my case.

This boy lives in an. Ontario city, and states:

My intentions are to return there after the war. My classification in the Royal Air Force is corporal, fitter II engines, group 1.

I believe no comment is necessary. The minister has already indicated that he is keenly aware of the existence of this problem, and in his remarks this afternoon he indicated that he has taken measures to. deal with the matter. But I gather not only from the words but from the tone of his remarks that he is meeting with some sort of very difficult opposition.

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LIB

Charles Gavan Power (Associate Minister of National Defence; Minister of National Defence for Air; Minister of National Defence for Air and Associate Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Mr. POWER:

No. I was hoping to allow the asking of a number of questions before undertaking to make a reply. May I say to my hon. friend, however, that the matter is now settled, in that we have reached an agreement with the air ministry, notification of which was given the house on. February 16. The R.A.F. no longer has any objection to the transfer of their personnel to the R.C.A.F.

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SC

John Horne Blackmore

Social Credit

Mr. BLACKMORE:

I shall have to get

the details from the minister to-morrow, and I shall be happy to pass them on to this young man. He is about the third one in this predicament who has brought his case to my attention. There seem to be many of them. I was going to suggest that even if there are any difficulties in the way of actually transferring these splendid boys to the R.C.A.F., at least this parliament should make provision for making up to them the difference between the rate of pay in the R.A.F. and the rate in the R.C.A.F.

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March 2, 1944