March 14, 1944

LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. MACDONALD (Kingston City):

That is the number given me up to date. In addition, as I told my hon. friend, some others have gone in from the Canadian navy. We have a full record of those men; we know who they are and we know the number we are to furnish. We are to supply some seventy-two in all. They pass through our own divisions and establishments, and we know all about them.

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NAT

John Ritchie MacNicol

National Government

Mr. MacNICOL:

I shall obtain more particulars and give the minister the information. Then he may be able to tell me what I am trying to find out, for I am afraid I have not secured the information in what I have been told so far.

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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. MACDONALD (Kingston City):

Very well.

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NAT

George James Tustin

National Government

Mr. TUSTIN:

Are these young men who are enlisted in the fleet air arm trained in Canada or sent to England for training? I believe a number of these men are being trained in this country, though I am not sure whether they are Canadian or English boys.

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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. MACDONALD (Kingston City):

I think there is some preliminary training done here for the fleet air arm. Kingston is one place where it is carried on, I think, and Aylmer is another; but the advanced training would have to be done outside Canada, some in England and some in the United States.

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NAT

George James Tustin

National Government

Mr. TUSTIN:

Then any Canadian boys who enlist in the fleet air arm would be partly trained in Canada before leaving?

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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. MACDONALD (Kingston City):

Yes, they may be trained here; it would depend upon where the British would want to send them. Probably most of them would be trained here.

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NAT

Howard Charles Green

National Government

Mr. GREEN:

Would the minister explain why Canada is not acquiring the two aircraft carriers, just as she is acquiring the two cruisers? Apparently we are merely manning the two aircraft carriers, and the ships and planes will still belong to Great Britain, while the pilots who fly those planes are to come from Great Britain, according to the minister's statement of March 9. Would he explain why we are not acquiring the ships and why we cannot man them completely?

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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. MACDONALD (Kingston City):

The question of acquiring the ships is bound up

with the whole question of lend-lease. That is a complicated and intricate business which would take a long time to explain. That is why we have not acquired the ships outright. The cruisers we are acquiring are British ships, built in Great Britain and controlled by the admiralty. They can do what they wish with them, but the aircraft carriers in question are not in that position. They were built in the United States and acquired by Great Britain, and then they were turned over to us. As I say, it is a matter in which the three countries are involved, and at the time this seemed to be the only arrangement we could make. However, the matter is still under consideration and it. is possible that some change may yet be made in that arrangement.

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NAT

Howard Charles Green

National Government

Mr. GREEN:

Is it hoped that eventually Canada will acquire the two aircraft carriers?

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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. MACDONALD (Kingston City):

I would hope that we might, but, as I say, we cannot acquire them without the consent of the other parties to the bargain; we have to secure that first,.

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NAT

Howard Charles Green

National Government

Mr. GREEN:

Why can we not supply the pilots?

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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. MACDONALD (Kingston City):

I do not think we have enough Canadian pilots to operate those two carriers. We might, by scouring the whole British fleet air arm, get enough. But I hope that some of the pilots which the British will put on those ships will be Canadians serving with that branch who, I am sure, would be glad to serve alongside Canadian naval officers.

The hon. member for Vancouver North (Mr. Sinclair) raised a question about the acoustic torpedo, and recent developments in German methods of attack. He praised the admiralty for the speed with which they had instituted counter measures against the acoustic torpedo. May I tell the committee that the Canadian navy has a scientific research branch which has been most active in this very field, andi which had anticipated and had begun studies before the attacks were made by the acoustic torpedo. Although this is the sort of subject which one cannot discuss in complete detail, I think I can say that the information given by our scientists to the admiralty was of considerable value in the establishment of these counter measures. I might say, too, that immediately the attack by the acoustic torpedo was made, an officer was flown from Canada to England to ensure that there would be a complete interchange of information between our department here and the admiralty. The result of this cooperation has been highly gratifying.

War Appropriation-Naval Services

The hon. member for Peterborough West (Mr. Fraser) asked if we were going to build carriers in this country for our navy. The answer to that is that there is no intention at the present time of doing so.

The leader of the opposition (Mr. Graydon) raised the question as to why the pay for women in the services was not equal to the pay for men, and ventured the hope that I would be able to be more generous than my colleagues in the two other services had been. The arrangements in the services are the same, namely the basic pay of women is eighty per cent of that of men. But the trades pay is the same. In the United States I understand the basic pay for women is exactly the same, while in Great Britain I believe it is two-thirds of that received by the men. So that we are in between the American and British systems.

My hon. friend wants to know why there is not equal pay for women. I do not know whether my colleagues have given these reasons, but the chief reason assigned for the difference in pay is that normally women are not employed in active combatant positions, nor are they trained for combat. In the strict sense, therefore, women cannot be said completely to replace fighting men.

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NAT

Gordon Graydon (Leader of the Official Opposition)

National Government

Mr. GRAYDON:

But of course there are some men who are not fighting men.

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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. MACDONALD (Kingston City):

That is true, and that is the argument made against what I have said. But the point is that every man is liable to go on active service. Even such men as paymasters, while employed at one point in one week, may in the next week be aboard ships on active service. The same applies to doctors, special branch officers and so on. Everyone is on active service and liable to be placed in a zone of danger. It would be difficult to divide the men to a point where we could say that one man is combatant-and another is not. I am giving the reasons which have been given to me.

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NAT

Gordon Graydon (Leader of the Official Opposition)

National Government

Mr. GRAYDON:

I imagine the minister is like me in that respect; probably he is pretty hard to convince.

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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. MACDONALD (Kingston City):

It might have been simpler from the beginning to have given them all the same rate of pay.

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NAT

Gordon Graydon (Leader of the Official Opposition)

National Government

Mr. GRAYDON:

I think they should have it, really.

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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. MACDONALD (Kingston City):

But there it stands, in that position. I do not wholly defend the discrimination against women, because there are many women working for us in clerical positions, women doing the work of coders, cipherers, signallers, and the like, who are certainly doing their work

just as well as it would be done by men. They are quite equal to men, and it is a hardship on them that they do not receive the same pay as do men working opposite them.

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NAT

Gordon Graydon (Leader of the Official Opposition)

National Government

Mr. GRAYDON:

Has there been a conference between the army, air force and navy officials respecting this matter? I think I see a more sympathetic glint in the minister's eye than I found in the case of the two other ministers who have charge of the other defence departments.

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March 14, 1944