April 21, 1944


On the orders of the day:


LIB

James Layton Ralston (Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Hon. J. L. RALSTON (Minister of National Defence):

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the hon. member for Lake Centre (Mr. Diefenbaker) referred to the matter of spring leave. He mentioned two points. One, he suggested that there was some lack of uniformity in administration and, two, that more promptness might be exercised in dealing with applications. With regard to the matter of uniformity, I should like to say what I said at the time the present method of granting spring leave was put into effect. There is bound to be a certain lack of uniformity when applications are being dealt with by the different district officers commanding instead of being sent to national defence headquarters. That method was adopted deliberately because it was felt that there would be considerable delay in having everything sent down here. There were some complaints last year in that regard, and so the new order was put into effect. I do not think hon. members or the country generally would want us to revert back to the other method whereby everything had to come to national defence headquarters. It was decided that instead of referring these applications to national defence headquarters, which might ensure uniformity, they would be referred to the general officers commanding in chief and the district officers commanding. It was felt that these officers, being on the ground and having had some experience in connection with requests for agricultural leave, would be in position to appraise the applications and deal with them more quickly.

I think generally speaking that that has proved to be true.

Now, regarding the time taken to handle these applications, there were some complaints that sworn declarations were being required to substantiate particular cases. To meet that situation, instructions were sent out on April

II to this effect:

Complaints have been received that applicants for spring leave are required to submit with the applications supporting evidence in greater amount than might reasonably be con-

sidered necessary or of requiring such supporting evidence to be in the form of a sworn declaration.

While it is not desired to restrict in any way the discretion given to G.O.'s and D.O.'s C. in satisfying themselves that applications for spring leave are meritorious, it is pointed out that no particular form of evidence is required.

It will be appreciated that in many rural areas difficulties are experienced in securing declarations under oath and it is therefore suggested that except where doubt exists this should not be insisted upon especially when the supporting statements are made by responsible municipal or other officials or are those of persons of known standing in the community.

And! then there was this paragraph, and this in regard to the matter of speed:

It was intended by the order authorizing spring leave to make available all soldiers eligible under the terms of the order for this type of leave who could possibly be spared, and it is desirable in order to meet urgent labour requirements that applications be disposed of as expeditiously as possible.

I could refer the house also to what was said in the previous order, but I think that that is sufficient to indicate that headquarters are doing everything they possibly can in this respect.

I just want to say this further, that if there are any specific cases my hon. friend has in mind, and he will refer them to me, I will have them looked into immediately.

Topic:   CANADIAN ARMY
Subtopic:   FARM LEAVE-HOUSING-WELCOME TO RETURNING MEN
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PC

John George Diefenbaker

Progressive Conservative

Mr. DIEFENBAKER:

If I might be

allowed a question-and I wish to thank the minister for his statement on a matter that is of great importance-do men of the active army who have enlisted for overseas service have the right to apply for spring leave as well as the men under N.R.M.A.?

Topic:   CANADIAN ARMY
Subtopic:   FARM LEAVE-HOUSING-WELCOME TO RETURNING MEN
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LIB

James Layton Ralston (Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Mr. RALSTON:

It depends on what employment they are engaged in in the army. My hon. friend will find on Hansard at page 1641 the full statement that was made by the parliamentary assistant setting out exactly the terms on which men are granted spring leave. There are instances in which general service men are entitled to apply for leave just the same as N.R.M.A. personnel.

The hon. member for Broadview (Mr. Church) spoke of some requirements which he thought might be needed in the city of Toronto with respect to handling the housing situation there. I want to say to him that I have had no requests so far from the city of Toronto with respect to these requirements, but I understand that the city's representatives will be in Ottawa on Monday. I regret that on account of an imperative previous appointment I shall not be able to attend the conference, to which I was invited, but at the same time I am seeing to it that inquiries are

Army-Farm Leave

made with regard to the matters he has mentioned in so far as they affect the army, so that information will be made available.

The leader of the opposition (Mr. Graydon) asked yesterday with regard to the arrangements made by the department for the reception of members of the armed forces returning from overseas. The welcoming of our men from overseas is a very live question and we are sincerely making every effort to inform the public of their return, commensurate with security.

I indicated yesterday that the men return home either on a hospital ship or -troop transport. The hospital ships carry only invalid personnel and in that case there is no question of security. The names of all such personnel are received in Canada well in advance, of the arrival of the ships. Copies of these nominal rolls are then sent to each military district and others concerned, together with the names and addresses of the next of kin. In every case the next of kin are notified promptly by letter from national defence headquarters of the expected early arrival.

On the day the hospital ship docks, -that information is given to the local -press of the districts. Any inquiries are dealt with at district headquarters. When the hospital ship docks, the information is given to the press, and when the trains leave the port each military district is notified and kept informed periodically as to the progress of the train and the expected time of arrival at the various districts along the route. The same information- is given by public relations officers who are on the train and who give press releases from time to time. Then at the districts the public relations officers assist the press with regard to details of the -personnel aboard. In addition to that, in some districts radio broadcasts are given- to indicate the time when the train will arrive. That is so far as the hospital ships are concerned.

With regard to troop transports, the procedure manifestly must be different. There the next of kin are not notified in advance, for security reasons. As I indicated yesterday no information can- be -published in the press for at least twenty-four hours after the transport docks and then the name of the ship and port of entry cannot be mentioned.

Arrangements, however, have been made whereby representatives of the telegraph companies can go on board and take telegrams from the returned soldiers to their relatives and friends advising them of their safe arrival in Canada. These telegrams are held by the postal censor until the necessary time has elap-sed, and then they are dispatched to the 100-1414

next of kin all over Canada. That does not give information as to when the soldier is going to arrive in his home town. All that is said there is that he has arrived in Canada.

Topic:   CANADIAN ARMY
Subtopic:   FARM LEAVE-HOUSING-WELCOME TO RETURNING MEN
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NAT

Gordon Graydon (Leader of the Official Opposition)

National Government

Mr. GRAYDON:

Does the man have to pay for the telegram himself, or is that taken, care of by the government?

Topic:   CANADIAN ARMY
Subtopic:   FARM LEAVE-HOUSING-WELCOME TO RETURNING MEN
Permalink
LIB

James Layton Ralston (Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Mr. RALSTON:

I gave instructions that the department will pay for the telegrams.

Topic:   CANADIAN ARMY
Subtopic:   FARM LEAVE-HOUSING-WELCOME TO RETURNING MEN
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NAT

Gordon Graydon (Leader of the Official Opposition)

National Government

Mr. GRAYDON:

I think that would be much more satisfactory.

Topic:   CANADIAN ARMY
Subtopic:   FARM LEAVE-HOUSING-WELCOME TO RETURNING MEN
Permalink
LIB

James Layton Ralston (Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Mr. RALSTON:

Again, as in the case of the hospital trains, the districts are kept informed periodically as to the time of arrival of the trains at the city or town where the district headquarters are located, and all assistance is given to the press there.

With regard to comforts on the trains-and this a-pplies -to both hospital and troop trains -there is a representative of a voluntary organization on the train who distributes newspapers, -magazines, fruit, games, et cetera. Then other voluntary organizations from what might be called Welcome Home committees welcome the boys at the port of entry and at the larger centres through which they pass and on arrival in each military district, distributing fruit, coffee, cigarettes, et cetera. I know many cases in which arrangements are made whereby returning soldiers are transported to the homes of citizens if they have to stay over any time, particularly at divisional headquarters.

The difficulty comes with regard to the particular point raised by my hon. friend, and that is notice to the relatives in the home town as to what train the soldier is coming on and what the time of this arrival will be. Here I pause for a moment to make this explanation.

Men have to go to the district headquarters first before they go home in order that their documentation may be completed and that they may be paid, their ration books issued and a great many other details attended to. Then the man is given leave, and he is on his own. He is entitled to select the train he wants to go home -on. Therefore it is manifestly very difficult in a city like Toronto for instance, where there are many attractions, to know just exactly what train the soldier will decide to go on if he is going to stay over there for a few hours. What we are doing is having the officers at the depot get from the soldier the train on which he proposes to go home. The officer gives him the time of departure of the trains which go to his particular locality, and when the

Army-Farm Leave

soldier indicates what train, he is going on a wire is sent to his home. That I am afraid is the best that can be done. I have discussed it thoroughly with the officers and it has been considered to be about all we can do to give notice to the folks at home as to the time at which the soldier may be arriving. We have had the greatest help from the Legion in that respect. They are anxious to get the nominal rolls and we give them to them, and they assist us materially in looking after the soldier in the particular town where the district headquarters is situated. Often they see the soldier on the train and help him to give notice to those at home of the time of his arrival.

As the numbers increase, I think there will be greater opportunity for voluntary organizations to assist in this welcome. The department is giving constant and unremitting attention to every possible method whereby we can improve the cordiality, the warmth and the spontaneity of the reception given to soldiers coming home. Of course it is not in every instance that soldiers want welcoming committees at the train. Sometimes I find .that towns arrange if they . have a number of soldiers coming home, one on one train and others on other trains, to wait for a civic reception until everybody is there, so that they may have perhaps a somewhat more orderly and 'more comfortable arrangement than would be possible by simply going and meeting the men at the train.

What we are trying to do is to give the best information we can, having regard to the situation which exists, whereby the soldier himself has the right to select his train, inasmuch as he has the transportation warrant and is entitled to go on the train of his choice. That does not apply to the same extent to casualties who are still needing treatment, because so far as they are concerned they generally go to a hospital or rest home, and wait until a particular train leaves, and then they are seen to the train by -military personnel.

Topic:   CANADIAN ARMY
Subtopic:   FARM LEAVE-HOUSING-WELCOME TO RETURNING MEN
Permalink
PC

George Russell Boucher

Progressive Conservative

Mr. BOUCHER:

I was talking to some members of the Legion in Ottawa and they felt that some improvement could be made in notifying them rather more accurately of the times when trains will arrive. I understand it has frequently happened locally that the notice received indicates that a train will arrive in Ottawa at a certain time and when that time comes it is found that the train has not yet reached Montreal and those concerned have not been notified. I do believe that some little checking up could be done to ensure more specific and up-to-the-minute

notice being given parents and others concerned in that regard.

With reference to what the minister has said regarding spring leave, I should like to ask one further question. Where farm helpers on leave are being called back to military headquarters for examination, I find locally that there has been some complaint for a considerable time about the men being detained. I believe that when the farm boy calls for examination there is some delay in examining him physically, and after that examination his plea for extension for spring leave is dealt with. I have known of several instances in which a boy very much needed at home has been kept two weeks longer for that very reason. I would ask the minister to look into this matter and see whether the process cannot be somewhat expedited.

Topic:   CANADIAN ARMY
Subtopic:   FARM LEAVE-HOUSING-WELCOME TO RETURNING MEN
Permalink
LIB

James Layton Ralston (Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Mr. RALSTON:

I will.

Topic:   CANADIAN ARMY
Subtopic:   FARM LEAVE-HOUSING-WELCOME TO RETURNING MEN
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CITY OF OTTAWA AGREEMENT

AUTHORIZATION OP PAYMENT OF $100,000 FOR THE YEAR ENDING JULY 1, 1944


Hon. ALPHONSE FOURNIER (Minister . of Public Works) moved that the house go into committee to consider the following resolution: Resolved, that it is expedient to introduce a measure to authorize the Minister of Public Works on behalf of His Majesty to enter into an agreement to pay to the corporation of the city of Ottawa the sum of $100,000 for the year ending July 1, 1944. Mr. G. J. MelLRAITH (Ottawa West): The grant to the city of Ottawa has come up for a number of years now in the form of an annual bill. In going back over the debates it seems clear that a great many hon. members feel that they have not sufficient information, or at any rate all the information they would like to have in order to form an opinion on this subject, and that therefore they are not able to judge the adequacy or the inadequacy of the amount granted. As representative of Ottawa West constituency, which is situate wholly within the limits of the corporation and comprises about two-thirds of the area of the corporation, I have had occasion to examine in detail all the various items that must be considered in arriving at a proper amount. As a result of that examination I have felt that the amount provided is wholly inadequate. An unfair burden is being placed on the real property owners, the taxpayers of the city of Ottawa. In each of the last three sessions I have pointed out the inadequacy of the amount provided, and in 1942, on the second reading of the bill, I gave the house extended details of the various items and factors hav- City of Ottawa Agreement ing a bearing on the relationship between the city and the dominion. I take it that the matter of details as to these items is not a proper one for discussion in the resolution stage. The data up to that time will be found at page 2683 of Hansard for the year 1942. In addition to emphasizing the inadequacy of the amount I urged that the method of providing the sum by an annual bill was not wholly satisfactory. I urged the setting up of a special committee of the House of Commons to consider the whole matter. There are certain relative factors entering into consideration of the matter, upon which I am sure hon. members would desire to have information. I am sure they would desire to have the matter dealt with in a way which would permit the summoning of witnesses before the committee and the production of evidence and relevant documents as they see fit. I am sure that the procedure of having an annual bill rather than a bill covering a longer period of time is not satisfactory. The city of Ottawa as the capital of the nation, is the concern and the interest of all parts of the nation. I feel confident that hon. members will look at this measure from that point of view. The city can no longer be expected to provide services on the scale expected by the dominion, which services must come out of the taxpayers of the city. At the same time the rest of the country cannot afford to have the development of the nation's capital impaired by the inadequacy of the city's revenue. It is the desire of all Canada to have a capital developed in a manner worthy of the ideals of the nation, and I am sure that is the desire of all hon. members. Yet by permitting this annual injustice to go on from year to year we are impairing the development we all so much desire. I quite agree with the point of view that the energies of the House of Commons must continue to be directed first and above all to the prosecution of the war, but I do suggest that we have now reached the stage in the development of the war where we can properly have regard to post-war measures and developments, and that we must look to these matters at this time. As part of this larger question of development, the city of Ottawa, the capital of Canada, must have its proper place. I therefore again urge, as I have done repeatedly in the past, and particularly in the last two sessions, the setting up of a special committee of the House of Commons to look into the whole matter. I ask that it be done at this time.


PC

George Russell Boucher

Progressive Conservative

Mr. G. RUSSELL BOUCHER (Carleton):

thing that will go a long way to meet the services that are given by the city to the government. I hope to see an investigation made by a committee, which will go into all the facts and circumstances, and will bring into this house a thorough and fair explanation of the relationship between the government and the city, and that as a result the members of this house will see that justice is done.

Topic:   CITY OF OTTAWA AGREEMENT
Subtopic:   AUTHORIZATION OP PAYMENT OF $100,000 FOR THE YEAR ENDING JULY 1, 1944
Permalink
LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Right Hon. W. L. MACKENZIE KING (Prime Minister):

The hon. member who has just taken his seat has referred to an interview which His Worship the Mayor had with me recently. Perhaps I should place on record the communication that came from His Worship a little earlier in the month and my reply thereto. I received the following communication some days ago:

Office of the Mayor

Ottawa,

4th April, 1944.

Rt. Hon. W. L. Mackenzie King, P.C.,

Prime Minister of Canada,

Ottawa.

Dear Mr. Prime Minister:

The following motion was unanimously adopted by our city council last night at its regular meeting:

''That His Worship the Mayor of Ottawa, be, and hereby is, authorized by council to request the Right Honourable the Prime Minister to appoint a committee representative of the federal government and parliament of Canada to meet in conference with a committee of council to be appointed by His Worship the Mayor, for the purpose of discussing the relationship and financial agreements existing between the Dominion of Canada and the municipal corporation of the city of Ottawa, with a view to formulating and recommending a revised agreement which will be mutually equitable as between the Dominion of Canada and the city of Ottawa."

On behalf of city council I beg to urge, Mr. Prime Minister, that the government take action immediately to set up a committee so that the whole matter may be gone into during this present session of parliament. We are prepared to meet with a government committee at once.

Sincerely yours,

S. Lewis,

Mayor.

I replied to that communication as follows:

Office of the Prime Minister Canada

His Worship,

Mayor Stanley Lewis, Ottawa, Ontario.

Ottawa, April 4, 1944.

My dear Mr. Mayor:

I wish to acknowledge your letter of to-day's date, setting out a motion adopted at last night's regular meeting of the city council, with regard to a conference between a committee of the city council and members of the government of Canada.

council's request will be brought before the cabinet at an early meeting, in order that arrangements may be made for a meeting with the city representatives for the discussion of the relationship between the municipal corporation and the government. Thereafter, I shall be glad to see that arrangements are made, through your office, for a mutually convenient [DOT]time for the meeting.

Yours sincerely,

W. L. Mackenzie King.

On Tuesday last, the 18th, I had a brief interview in my office with His Worship the Mayor, at which time, among other reasons mentioned by His Worship for the meeting referred to, was that he and the members of the city council have the responsibility of the future development of Ottawa as a city. His Worship spoke of the greater Ottawa as a city. The council feel that it would be of assistance to them if they knew in a more definite way than is possible at present what the future relations between the government and the city in connection with financial and other matters are likely to be. I mentioned to His Worship that the government felt, of course, a special interest in the development of a greater Ottawa as the capital of Canada, and that we too were very much concerned that the development made in the creation of a greater city should be such as would take into full account the future of Ottawa as the capital of Canada.

I subsequently drew the representations of the mayor to the attention of my colleagues in the cabinet. We discussed the matter fully; and it was thought that, instead of a meeting of the government with the mayor and his colleagues, it would be preferable to have a committee of this house, or a joint committee of both houses, meet with the mayor and his colleagues and have them go carefully into the whole question of the relations of the city and the government, allowing the council to make its own representations to the committee, and the committee to gather such information as would be helpful to the government in reaching a decision on financial and other matters which it would be necessary to make. As it is uncertain how long the work of a committee may take, what the extent of the representations may be, and as it is obviously desirable that the city should be immediately secured in the matter of an agreement between the corporation and the government, it was thought both by the mayor and myself that it would be advisable that a bill based on the resolution which appears on the order paper should be proceeded with by both houses forthwith, but that if passed it should be without prejudice to any action which the government might wish to take as a result of the representations which might be considered

City of Ottawa Agreement

between the city officials and the parliamentary representatives appointed on a committee to meet them.

My hon. friend the member for Ottawa West (Mr. Mcllraith), who has spoken, suggested a committee of the members of the House of Commons. He has done so before. I am not sure that it might not be advisable to have a committee representative of both houses of parliament. One advantage of such a committee would be that it would enable hon. members from other parts of Canada to appreciate some of the considerations of which the corporation of Ottawa has to take account as a consequence of Ottawa being the capital of Canada. It would, too, I believe, be regarded throughout the country as helpful to have the views, not merely of the government and the council, both of which are located in Ottawa, but to have as well that larger and possibly more impartial consideration which might be expected1 to be given by representatives of both houses of this parliament, from all parts of Canada, meeting with the mayor and his officials. Both the city officials and the government would bring before such a committee their own experts and officials, presenting all aspects of the relationship between the two which it might be desirable to have taken into account.

I do not know how many years it is that a measure similar to the one foreshadowed in the resolution has been passed.

Topic:   CITY OF OTTAWA AGREEMENT
Subtopic:   AUTHORIZATION OP PAYMENT OF $100,000 FOR THE YEAR ENDING JULY 1, 1944
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PC

George Russell Boucher

Progressive Conservative

Mr. BOUCHER:

Since 1928.

Topic:   CITY OF OTTAWA AGREEMENT
Subtopic:   AUTHORIZATION OP PAYMENT OF $100,000 FOR THE YEAR ENDING JULY 1, 1944
Permalink
LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

Yes. Well, since 1928 there have been a good many changes in this city, and for that reason among others it would seem advisable that the whole situation should be carefully reviewed in the interests alike of the government and of the city. It has been understood' that this measure would be regarded as a temporary one. I remember some years ago giving an undertaking to the city that the situation would be carefully reviewed, and that review, it would now appear, might well take place in the manner suggested.

Topic:   CITY OF OTTAWA AGREEMENT
Subtopic:   AUTHORIZATION OP PAYMENT OF $100,000 FOR THE YEAR ENDING JULY 1, 1944
Permalink
NAT

Gordon Graydon (Leader of the Official Opposition)

National Government

Mr. GRAYDON:

May I point out to the Prime Minister that in any event it is only for the period ending July 1, 1944.

Topic:   CITY OF OTTAWA AGREEMENT
Subtopic:   AUTHORIZATION OP PAYMENT OF $100,000 FOR THE YEAR ENDING JULY 1, 1944
Permalink
LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

This measure?

Topic:   CITY OF OTTAWA AGREEMENT
Subtopic:   AUTHORIZATION OP PAYMENT OF $100,000 FOR THE YEAR ENDING JULY 1, 1944
Permalink
NAT

Gordon Graydon (Leader of the Official Opposition)

National Government

Mr. GRAYDON:

Yes; it is just for one year.

Topic:   CITY OF OTTAWA AGREEMENT
Subtopic:   AUTHORIZATION OP PAYMENT OF $100,000 FOR THE YEAR ENDING JULY 1, 1944
Permalink

April 21, 1944