August 12, 1944

LIB

James Layton Ralston (Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Mr. RALSTON:

I was trying to get the

same thing exactly. I had the same anxiety that you had.

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NAT

Gordon Knapman Fraser

National Government

Mr. FRASER (Peterborough West):

Do

you think, General McNaughton, it is wise to send men back into the front Line after they have been wounded three times? I know you will say that you have a rule in connection with that which reads something like this, that a man may apply for leave if he has been wounded three times but not trivially. A man may be wounded a half a dozen times or more and- I have noticed in the casualty lists boys in my own riding some of whom have been wounded more than three times. I do not think it is good for them. Many of them have written me and said: "For God's sake, get us out of the line; we have had enough."

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Alan Aylesworth Macnaughton

Mr. McNAUGHTON:

I share the view

that the hon. member has expressed, and I shall make it my business to go into that scheme so that people who have been wounded the number of times he indicates will not be sent forward. They undoubtedly have played their part in this conflict. You will find some of them that you cannot hold back. They are wanting to go forward again.

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NAT

Gordon Knapman Fraser

National Government

Mr. FRASER (Peterborough West):

Has

there been any definition of the word "trivially"? I understand that "trivially" may mean one or two toes off or a few fingers off. Is there any definition of the word?

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Alan Aylesworth Macnaughton

Mr. McNAUGHTON:

I am not aware of the definition, but I shall have it checked up right away and let the hon. member know.

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NAT

Gordon Knapman Fraser

National Government

Mr. FRASER (Peterborough West):

Is it not true that these pools of reserves or support overseas that you say are sufficient include men who are in hospital? You count them as your reserves and support.

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Alan Aylesworth Macnaughton

Mr. McNAUGHTON:

No, sir. Let me say very definitely to the hon. member that the numbers on which we are working and to which I have referred as adequate reserves are people who are immediately available to go into the units in replacement or people who would be able to come in in the early part of the following month. There is a pool. We are breaking it down now for purposes of calculation into blocks of a month's length, setting

Reinforcements

the casualties not day by day but month by month, and therefore we have to put on the available side a double figure; that is, those who are available at the beginning of the month and those who are becoming available. Therefore the two come together. The staffs are satisfied as to the adequacy of those figures. That is, the units can be kept fully up to strength.

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NAT

Gordon Knapman Fraser

National Government

Mr. FRASER (Peterborough West):

The reason I asked the question is that two or three letters have come to me which I believe I have on my desk. In those letters the boys have mentioned that they have to go back into the front line within the next week. They say they know they are not ready for the front line. They say they have the jitters and their wounds are not healed, but they are classed as men. who must go into the front line. Is that right?

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Alan Aylesworth Macnaughton

Mr. McNAUGHTON:

There may well have been some doubt on that subject. The statement has been that the periods have not been too short. I am putting in some extra figures on these numbers. There is provision for both periods of rest and recuperation being extended for those. I wish to thank the hon. member for bringing up that point, because we must be abundantly careful to see that these men are not asked to take up the load again until they are fully fit so to do.

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LIB

James Layton Ralston (Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Mr. RALSTON:

May I ask one more question as to the need, without giving figures at all? You described the position of prospective shortage late in January or February, and then further down late in the spring or early summer. In between, as I remember it, the position was gradually worsening, was it not?

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Alan Aylesworth Macnaughton

Mr. McNAUGHTON:

Yes.

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LIB

James Layton Ralston (Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Mr. RALSTON:

You described it as being deep in the red when you got to May.

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Alan Aylesworth Macnaughton

Mr. McNAUGHTON:

Yes.

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NAT

Richard Burpee Hanson

National Government

Mr. HANSON (York-Sunbury):

I should like to ask a question of the Minister of Labour. Is there not already in respect of young airmen a policy to the effect that those who have been in the service less than two years are automatically placed under the Department of National Defence and are callable?

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LIB

Humphrey Mitchell (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. MITCHELL:

This afternoon I forwarded to the Minister of National Defence a communication referring to the point raised by the hon. member. It is still a subject of discussion between him and me. It will be appreciated that under present circumstances it is very difficult for him and me to get

together. He is of course busily engaged in *this chamber in connection with the matter now before us.

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NAT

Richard Burpee Hanson

National Government

Mr. HANSON (York-Sunbury):

The position is that there is a policy in effect under which young men who have not had two years in the service are automatically notified by national selective service .that they are draft-able by National Defence. It is my understanding that that position is being reviewed. Is that correct?

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LIB
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Mr. M. J. COLD WELL@Rosetown-Biggar

When are wTe to have answers to the questions which the minister stated he could not answer in public session? It seems to me, particularly after the examination by the former minister of the present Minister of National Defence, and the replies to the questions asked, that we are leaving this house without getting all the information we ought to have. I know there has been objection. But I notice this, that on the part of those who objected to a secret session there has been no attempt to press for replies. I do not know why this is; but the fact is that there has been no pressure by the official opposition for replies in connection with vital information. I have asked on a number of occasions that we be given an opportunity to get that information. Of course there has been opposition to it. However if wTe are to rise at six o'clock, until Monday afternoon we shall enter upon the debate on the motion of the Prime Minister without having the vital information which the former minister of national defence and the present one have together indicated we should have.

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NAT

Gordon Graydon (Leader of the Official Opposition)

National Government

Mr. GRAYDON:

Before the Prime Minister rises may I remove what is obviously a misconstruction of the whole situation in the mind of the leader of the C.C.F. One of the reasons we did not want a secret session was the very reason he has suggested. He says he wants to use the information in debate, but he must know he cannot use it.

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LIB

Paul Joseph James Martin (Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. MARTIN:

He did not say that.

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August 12, 1944