This would be a good time to say it is obvious there is considerable confusion about the whole matter of defence. Over the week-end a most important statement was made by General Crerar, and another one by General Marshall. We have this subject of defence, in all its aspects, directly before us today. In view of the changed circumstances in which Canada finds herself, I suggest to the minister, and through him to the government, that a defence committee of the house be established. We are no longer a colonial power. In force of arms we probably rank third among the democracies. The defence committee of the United States congress and that of the United Kingdom
parliament at Westminster take up matters which are frequently not the subject of debate in those respective assemblies. If a committee of this house were set up it could have power to call people such as General Crerar or Doctor Solandt, and other experts and instead of defence matters becoming the subject of controversy, in the house, political and otherwise, they could be studied as scientific and vital matters, as indeed they are.
I would ask the government to consider my suggestion. Our status has changed. Despite our relatively small population, we are now an important nation. We may become a buffer state, and in a future war might find ourselves in the front line. Therefore in all seriousness I suggest that the government set up a defence committee of the house so that this whole matter of defence may be considered from that point of view.
In my opinion the bringing down of the estimates of the Department of National Defence in the last days of the session, so that they must be hurried through in hot weather, does not afford sufficient opportunity for discussion by parliament of these vital matters.
Subtopic: EXTENSION OF PROVISIONS OF ACT TO CERTAIN GROUPS