May 1, 1944

CAPE TORMENTINE-P.E.I. STEAMSHIP SERVICE


Mr. BLACK (Cumberland: For a copy of the contract entered into ''by the government for the construction of a ferry steamer to operate between Cape Tormentine and Prince Edward Island; also copy of contract or sub-contract for diesel oil engine and equipment to operate same.


LIB

AERONAUTICS ACT

CIVIL AVIATION AND COMMERCIAL AIR SERVICES'- AIR TRANSPORT BOARD


Hon. C. D. HOWE (Minister of Munitions and Supply) moved that the house go into committee at the next sitting to consider the following resolution: That it is expedient to introduce a measure to amend the Aeronautics Act to provide for the establishment of an air transport board to perform the functions of a licensing and regulatory body in respect of commercial air services and to advise the minister on matters connected therewith. Provision will be made by the said measure for the payment for services of the members of the board and the employment of necessary officers, clerks and employees. He said: His Excellency the Governor General, having been made acquainted with the subject matter of this resolution, recommends it to the consideration of the house. Motion agreed to.


NAVAL SERVICE

LOSS OF H.M.C.S. "ATHABASKAN" IN THE ENGLISH CHANNEL


On the orders of the day:


NAT

Gordon Graydon (Leader of the Official Opposition)

National Government

Mr. GORDON GRAYDON (Leader of the Opposition):

I should like to make an inquiry of the Minister of National Defence for Naval Services, notice of which I have given him.

We all read with mingled feelings of pride, admiration and sorrow of the naval action which was fought in the English channel off the French coast in the early hours of last Saturday morning. It was with pride that we learned that His Majesty's Canadian Ship Athabaskan fought back, and gave as good as she got until she was split in two by an enemy torpedo, and sank.

Our admiration was roused by the brave unselfishness of Lieutenant Commander Stubbs, D.S.O., of Victoria, B.C., who gallantly chose to risk death himself in order to save the crew of the Alhabaskan's sister ship, H.M.C.S. Haida, which later exacted quick revenge by driving one of the German destroyers ashore in flames. Coupled with the name of Lieutenant Commander Stubbs must be mentioned Commander H. G. De Wolf, of the Royal Canadian-Navy, of Halifax, commander of the Haida, whose coolness and daring was responsible for the rescue of many of the Athabaskan's crew. I have learned since that on the Haida was the son of the late lamented Hugh B. McKinnon, who was such an honoured member of the present House of Commons.

Canadian people heard with sorrow in their hearts the news of the brave lads who lost their lives in this further bright page in the valorous narrative of our new but powerful navy, of which every citizen in Canada is so justly proud.

I have taken the liberty of making these observations as a preliminary to a question which I desire to direct to the Minister of National Defence for Naval Services. Is the minister in a position, within the limits of security, to give the house any further details of this action beyond those which have appeared up to the present in the press?

2492'

Loss of H.M.C.S. Athabaskan

Hon. ANGUS L. MACDONALD (Minister of National Defence for Naval Services): Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. friend the leader of the opposition for his references, which I am sure are concurred in by every hon. member of this house. Certainly I myself share most genuinely his pride in the conduct of the Athabaskan's officers and men and his sorrow for those -who have given their lives.

We do not know and we shall not know for some time how many men have been lost and how many have been made prisoners of war. The direct question which my hon. friend put to me as to further details of the action beyond those which have appeared already in the press is one that perhaps I cannot answer properly at the moment, because I am not sure that I have anything to add to what has already been given to the public either in the press or on the radio. I can however give to the house a summary of the dispatches received at naval service headquarters.

During an offensive sweep in the English channel early on Saturday, April 29, 1944, licht forces of the Royal Canadian Navy encountered two enemy destroyers of the Elbing class in the vicinity of the He de Vierge near TJshant. The Canadian ships were: His

Majesty's Canadian Ship Haida, under Commander H. G. de Wolf, R.C.N., and His Majesty's Canadian Ship Athabaskan, under Lieutenant-Commander J. H. Stubbs, D.S.O., R.C.N. Our ships immediately opened fire, to which the enemy replied with heavy and accurate fire. The Athabaskan w'as hit twice by shells, but continued firing until she was .struck by an enemy torpedo and sunk.

Repeated hits were obtained by our ships on the enemy, and one of the enemy shipsw'as driven ashore in flames. The remaining enemy destroyer escaped in the smoke and darkness. The action was continued to within close distance of enemy-occupied territory.

As to survivors: One officer and thirteen

ratings, .whose injuries are not serious, are at present in the Royal Naval hospital, Plymouth, England. Six ratings, whose injuries are also not considered to be serious, are in the West Cornwall hospital, Penzance, Cornwall, England. One rating, slightly injured, is in the Royal Naval barracks, Devenport, England. Twenty-five ratings are also in the Royal Naval barracks at Devenport. That makes a total of forty-six of the Athabaskan complement that we know to be in England. Of that number one officer and thirty-nine ratings were picked up by the Canadian ship Haida, and the remaining six ratings made their way to the south coast of England in a motor boat dropped by the Haida before leaving the scene. The Haida [DOT]dropped other boats and rafts. It is reported

by the German radio that eighty-five prisoners, including six officers, were taken from the water and are now in German hands.

The next-of-kin of casualties are being informed as soon as possible. I am glad to say that there were no casualties whatever in the Canadian ship Haida, which returned safely *to port.

Topic:   NAVAL SERVICE
Subtopic:   LOSS OF H.M.C.S. "ATHABASKAN" IN THE ENGLISH CHANNEL
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CCF

Major James William Coldwell

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

Mr. COLDWELL:

We associate ourselves with the remarks of the leader of the opposition. Does the procedure that has been followed in this case mean that a new policy has been adopted and that the loss of ships and so on will be announced before the relatives have.been informed as to casualties? I am sure we all sympathize with the relatives of the men in their period of anxiety and uncertainty. I thought the policy was that the announcement of losses would be made after the relatives had been notified of casualties. It seems to me that is the policy that should be pursued. When I heard the announcement on the air at noon yesterday I felt much disturbed because of the anxiety that I knew would prevail in a large number of Canadian homes.

Topic:   NAVAL SERVICE
Subtopic:   LOSS OF H.M.C.S. "ATHABASKAN" IN THE ENGLISH CHANNEL
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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. MACDONALD (Kingston City):

Yes, Mr. Speaker, the policy has been and still is to inform the next of kin of any casualties before any public announcement is made. But in this case, as I am sure many hon. members of the house know', announcements began to come over the German radio as early as Saturday to the effect that they had sunk a ship and that they had a certain number of prisoners; consequently it was felt that the only thing that could be done here and in Britain was that an announcement should be made by ourselves, giving such information as we had, meagre and sketchy though it might be. Furthermore, as to these men who are prisoners of war, my hon. friend will realize that it will be some time before those names are available. Often it takes as long as three months for this government to be informed of the identity of war prisoners. As my hon. friend undoubtedly knows, this information comes from the Red Cross. It would be necessary for us to make some announcement before the end of three months in any event, and our announcement would consequently have to be made before we had full particulars as to survivors.

Topic:   NAVAL SERVICE
Subtopic:   LOSS OF H.M.C.S. "ATHABASKAN" IN THE ENGLISH CHANNEL
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RATIONING-UNITED STATES ALLOTMENT FOR CANNING PURPOSES-FRUIT JAR RINGS


On the orders of the day:


LIB

James Lorimer Ilsley (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Hon. J. L. ILSLEY (Minister of Finance):

The hon. member for Lethbridge (Mr. Black-more) asked me on Friday to make a state-

War Appropriation-Labour

ment on the difference between the amount of sugar allowed for home canning in the United States and in Canada.

I understand that in the United States consumers may apply to their local ration boards for an allowance of twenty-five pounds per person for canning purposes. In Canada this year consumers will be entitled to obtain ten pounds of sugar for canning purposes by special coupons issued for that purpose. In addition twenty-six preserve coupons will be available each of which can be used either for the purchase of one-half pound of sugar or varying quantities of sweet spreads or canned fruit. It is possible therefore for a Canadian housewife wishing to put up her own preserves to obtain a maximum of twenty-three pounds of sugar for canning purposes in respect of each member of her household in addition to the ordinary weekly ration.

I want to make it clear that whereas in the United States the twenty-five pound allowance is granted only on application, in Canada application will not be necessary all consumers being entitled to the same amount of sugar for canning purposes.

Mr. BLACIvMORE: Could the minister

tell us whether or not there is any limit on the amount of sugar which can be used for preserves, jams and jellies in the United States in addition to the twenty-five pounds?

Topic:   RATIONING-UNITED STATES ALLOTMENT FOR CANNING PURPOSES-FRUIT JAR RINGS
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LIB

James Lorimer Ilsley (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. ILSLEY:

I cannot tell the hon. member.

Topic:   RATIONING-UNITED STATES ALLOTMENT FOR CANNING PURPOSES-FRUIT JAR RINGS
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SC

John Horne Blackmore

Social Credit

Mr. BLACKMORE:

I think it will be

found there is no limit.

Topic:   RATIONING-UNITED STATES ALLOTMENT FOR CANNING PURPOSES-FRUIT JAR RINGS
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NAT

Gordon Graydon (Leader of the Official Opposition)

National Government

Mr. GRAYDON:

May I bring to the attention of the Minister of Finance, and also of the Minister of Munitions and Supply, a matter which is related to the one just mentioned? It may seem like a small matter, but it apparently is a big issue with the housewives of Canada, because many organizations have sent word to me asking me to plead the case in the house. I have not had an opportunity to do it and I would not do it now except that the matter has been mentioned by the minister. Apparently the quality of the fruit jar rings used in preserving last year was such that a great deal of loss resulted. Will the government consider that matter? I make no apology for bringing it to the attention of the government because of the pleas that those organizations have made to me.

Topic:   RATIONING-UNITED STATES ALLOTMENT FOR CANNING PURPOSES-FRUIT JAR RINGS
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LIB

James Lorimer Ilsley (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. ILSLEY:

I shall take note of the representation. I do not know that there is anything I can do about it, but I shall see if I can do something.

Topic:   RATIONING-UNITED STATES ALLOTMENT FOR CANNING PURPOSES-FRUIT JAR RINGS
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NAT

Gordon Graydon (Leader of the Official Opposition)

National Government

Mr. GRAYDON:

It seems too bad if because of the quality of the rings some of the sugar now allotted for canning purposes should be lost by those who are making use of it.

Topic:   RATIONING-UNITED STATES ALLOTMENT FOR CANNING PURPOSES-FRUIT JAR RINGS
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May 1, 1944