March 2, 1944

UNITY

Dorise Winifred Nielsen

Unity

Mrs. NIELSEN:

Mr. Chairman, I, too, have received information quite similar to that mentioned by the hon. member who has just taken his seat. I have in mind a young boy from my part of the country who went to England at the beginning of the war, and'has been in the Royal Air Force ever since. His parents have been very much alarmed about the situation because they have felt for a long time

War Appropriation-Air Services

that their son, who was a capable boy with university training, should have been eligible for a commission. Owing, however, to the fact that he was in the R.A.F., all his appeals to the R.C.A.F. have been without avail. I thought if I brought this particular case to the minister's attention he might be able to give me some satisfaction to pass on to the parents.

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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. POWER:

I would be very glad to.

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UNITY

Dorise Winifred Nielsen

Unity

Mrs. NIELSEN:

While I am on my feet I should like also to support what was said by the leader of the opposition respecting the question of equal pay for equal work. When this debate was before the chamber last year I made some reference to the need for recognition by the government not only of the splendid work being done by the women in the auxiliary services, but of the fact that they are entitled to the same pay when doing the same work. Knowing that the Minister of National Defence for Air is a man who holds realistic views, who is not afraid of innovation or new ideas, and who has always tackled things in a manner greatly to be admired, I felt that perhaps with him I would be able to press home my point to greater advantage than I might with some of the other ministers.

I do feel that all of us give lip-service to the idea of the wonderful work the women are doing in connection with our war effort. In the marvellous perspective now opening up before the people of the whole world, wherein we can see before us a pathway leading on to greater progress, I am of opinion that if we women do not take upon ourselves the necessary effort to convince you men of our rightful place in the world, and our right to have the same pay if we do the same kind of work, you men are just going to forget about it, the same as you have forgotten about other things in the past. Never was the time more ripe for women to press home their right to earn the same as the men earn, when doing the same kind of work, than it is now in the light of the marvellous and valuable contribution the women have made in the war effort.

Many of these women have in the past helped to support homes. Women, the same as men, have many responsibilities, such as looking after aged parents. And where the woman does the work, surely she is entitled to the pay. I heartily support the leader of the opposition in the plea he made, and I hope the minister will take cognizance of it.

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LIB

Samuel Factor

Liberal

Mr. FACTOR:

I wish to say a word or two about a body of men in the Royal Canadian Air Force of whom no one has yet spoken. I refer to the thousands of administrative officers, who have been part of the scheme-those

penguins, as the minister once called them, sitting in the Jackson building, in the Lisgar building, in command headquarters and in all units.

Perhaps I can speak with some authority on the subject, having been an administrative officer for over three years, and having had experience in units, at command headquarters and at air force headquarters. No one realizes better than I the vast contribution made by aircrew, the boys who fly the aircraft. I understand, too, that contribution made by the groundcrew, the boys who keep them flying. I say, too, that if the Dominion of Canada had done nothing more in this war than make the contribution it has made in the air force, we would have done a wonderful job, as far as our war effort is concerned.

I wish, however, to say a word or two about the forgotten men of the air force, the men whom I heard a flying boy once term the pen-pushers. These men in the different offices are making a contribution to the war effort. They rank from Air Vice-Marshal down to AC2's, and without their contribution this whole scheme would not be possible. Many of these men left lucrative positions in civil life and have made great financial sacrifices in order to do their bit in the great Royal Canadian Air Force. I should like to make one appeal to the minister on their behalf. The aircrew receive twenty-eight days annual leave, to which they are justly entitled; but I submit that men who sit at desks, men who are fighting the so-called paper war day in and day out, week in and week out, are entitled to the same consideration and should be given twenty-eight days leave. Their work is perhaps more tedious and more tiresome than any other; it exacts more in the way of physical strength than that of the boys who fly the planes. . I say that without intending in any way to disparage the hazardous occupation of the boys who fly. But I do ask the minister to give some consideration to these men who are sitting in the offices day in and day out filling out these numerous forms. I would include the women, too, in this plea. They are doing a great job in administrative work.' The occupy the positions of adjutant, assistant adjutant and many other administrative offices.

There are many men in the air force who are reaching the age of retirement, and there are also many men in administrative positions who are anxious to get overseas. We hear the criticism that the men in the Jackson building, in the Lisgar building or at command headquarters have soft jobs, but I would say to those critics that there is not one officer

War Appropriation-Air Services

in an administrative position in the R.C.A.F. who is not anxious to get overseas. Unfortunately, it is impossible to send them all overseas. In conclusion, I want again to pay my tribute to the men and women of the R.C.A.F. who are doing such a real job.

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NAT

John Ritchie MacNicol

National Government

Mr. MacNICOL:

There is one matter I should like to take up with the minister. I have communicated about this matter with the Department of National Defence for Naval Services and the Department of National Defence for Air, but I have not been able to get any satisfaction. Last year a number of men in Toronto who were matriculants about to enter university enlisted, I presume in the R.A.F. They were sent overseas where they received some training in flying off ships; then they were sent back to Canada and then to the United States where they are now being trained. I know quite a number of these boys, and I believe they are to be sent to some city in the southern states where they will complete their training.

This matter may not come under the Minister of National Defence for Naval Services, although I cannot see any difference in the authority of the two departments, that is naval services and air in this connection. I should like to know if the minister who is now before the committee is able to state just what the present status of these boys is. After they are trained they will probably be sent overseas to fly off British aircraft carriers. I should like to know their relationship to the Canadian service and how it was they were enlisted by the Royal Air Force.

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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. POWER:

I do not know.

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NAT

John Ritchie MacNicol

National Government

Mr. MacNICOL:

Somebody must have some control over them. They are some of the brightest boys in the land.

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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:

Were they enlisted last year?

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NAT
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 know why they did not come to the R.C.A.F. recruiting office. Offices were opened all over the place.

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NAT

John Ritchie MacNicol

National Government

Mr. MacNICOL:

I brought the matter up in the house last year, but I have forgotten just what reply the minister made.

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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:

Exactly the same, I take it.

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NAT

John Ritchie MacNicol

National Government

Mr. MacNICOL:

Both the minister for air and the minister for naval services have to do with flying, that is if we either build or purchase aircraft carriers, and somebody should be responsible for the enlistment of these young men. I wish to know how these men

are going to fit into Canadian service, if and when we have our own aircraft carriers. I suppose, when that day comes, they will be brought back from the imperial to the Canadian service. I have spoken to quite a number of them and they told me they would like to fly off Canadian carriers. Apparently somebody came from England to recruit these boys, although I do not know. How was it they got into the British service instead of the Canadian service? They should be given all the rights and privileges of Canadians. They are Canadians, but it just happens that they are engaged in training with the R.A.F. I have not the right term for their service.

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LIB

Angus Lewis Macdonald (Minister of National Defence for Naval Services)

Liberal

Mr. MACDONALD (Kingston City):

The fleet air arm.

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NAT

John Ritchie MacNicol

National Government

Mr. MacNICOL:

This may not be under the minister's jurisdiction-I notice he shakes his head-so that there may not be much use in pursuing this any further now.

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LIB

Angus Lewis Macdonald (Minister of National Defence for Naval Services)

Liberal

Mr. MACDONALD (Kingston City):

I am going to make a statement on that point when my estimates are up.

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NAT

John Ritchie MacNicol

National Government

Mr. MacNICOL:

Thank you very much. This matter is important to the fathers and relatives of these young men. Apparently they have been enlisted in the fleet air arm without the knowledge of our own military officials. They are all young men; I doubt if any were over eighteen years of age. It may be that their university professors or their schoolteachers invited them to do this, but I do not know.

A lot has been said about the affairs of the minister's department. I wish to compliment the minister. I am always amused at the minister. If he is wrong, he is ready to make open confession. When he says "Well, I made a mistake", what can you do with him? When he admits he has made a mistake we just have to pass his estimates. That is one of the things that has enabled the minister to get his estimates through so easily. He is always frank with us. Even if he has not made an error and we think he has, he will rise in his place and say, "I did it". What can you do with a man like that? It is a happy disposition to have, and he deserves a great deal of praise for a disposition like that. He has been an excellent minister. May I also compliment the hon. member for Spadina, the hon. member for Greenwood, and others with whose names or constituencies I am not so familiar, upon the excellent service they have rendered in the positions in which they are placed during the present war. They have denied themselves the splendid company of this house, which they would probably much prefer to the hot

War Appropriation-Air Services

offices they occupy at Trenton and elsewhere. The hon. member for Spadina was generous in his tribute to the various branches of the air service, and I endorse every word he said in praise of the aircrews, groundcrews and all others engaged in the camps throughout the country. I would express my personal appreciation of the services he has rendered to the country, together with the hon. member for Greenwood and others who have given up a good deal to serve the common cause this year.

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LIB

Daniel (Dan) McIvor

Liberal

Mr. McIVOR:

I have another question to ask. As I listened to the minister and to other speakers on this side of the house, I was wondering whether it would not be possible to send copies of Hansard containing their speeches to the men who are doing things "over there". I recognize the necessity of conserving shipping for food, but surely the Hansard which contains this debate can be classed as food for thought, and might very well be distributed to the various officers' and sergeants' messes and the dry canteens.

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CCF

Joseph William Noseworthy

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

Mr. NOSEWORTHY:

When the hon.

member who has just taken his seat was speaking, someone suggested that if Hansard were to be sent overseas the Cooperative Commonwealth Federation should be mentioned in it.

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NAT

John Ritchie MacNicol

National Government

Mr. MacNICOL:

Well, that certainly will not improve Hansard.

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March 2, 1944