On that account I think it might be better to do it subject by subject after the general discussion. But if there is any disposition or feeling that it is preferable to treat it service by service, I would be quite prepared to meet the wishes of hon. members with regard to that. If the course is acceptable to my hon. friend, during the adjournment I can meet with him and representatives of the other parties and the chairman of the committee, to decide on a course of action. I might now take up some of the other points he raised.
I want to make it quite clear that when I referred to one set of armed forces, I had in mind the continuation of the three services. In our plans for consolidation and cooperation we want to ensure that they work together as a team in one department and under one national defence headquarters, so that they carry into peace time the reality of combined operations which was an essential ingredient of victory in time of war. As has already been pointed out in this house, the reason why one minister of defence was appointed instead of three, was to bring about that result. But it would be quite wrong to suggest that we have in mind anything in the nature of a complete wiping-out of the differences which result from 83166-337$
the different functions and are useful in maintaining the traditions of the armed forces.
The hon. member has had an interest in the Royal Canadian Navy which we all know and appreciate. No doubt it began because his father had a distinguished career in the Royal Navy. That interest grew because he himself was once minister of national defence, and now it has flowered because as hon members know, he has a son who is serving in the Royal Canadian Navy. It was my great pleasure and privilege to take the first trip I had on a Canadian naval vessel in H.M.C.S. Nootka, which was under the command of Lieut.-Commander Michael Stirling, who was captain of that fine and happy Canadian ship. As to the adequacy of the living quarters, all I can say is that the captain was good enough, while he was occupying his deck cabin, to give up to me his day cabin, and those quarters were adequate indeed.
The plan is to have all Canadian vessels equipped so that they can operate in our northern waters. That is one of the main reasons why the Warrior is being exchanged for the Magnificent. The Magnificent will be winterized. The Warrior was not. All the Canadiian-built tribal destroyers are winterized; and the Ontario, when it puts to sea, will also be winterized. The hope is that our ships will all be winterized and made as comfortable as possible for the fine young officers and men in our Canadian navy, of whom we are exceedingly proud. Conditions will be found to be very different from those at the time when the father of the hon. member for Yale served in the Royal Navy-served I believe as a captain in that splendid service.
With regard to the part played by the navy during the war, its major part of course was in the work of escort. As hon. members will recall, that was referred to in an editorial in the Saturday Evening Post as a miracle of the war. But reference could be made to the fact that ships and crew of the Royal Canadian Navy were in every one of the seven seas, and :hat no less than 10,000 took part in the land-ngs in Normandy, when they supplied over 100 ships.
As the time for the recess has come, I move that the committee rise, report progress and ask leave to sit again this day.
As you will perhaps notice, Mr. Speaker, it is now 11.30, but the motion, as it is worded in the Votes and Proceedings, refers to 11.45. However, I moved that 11.30 would be the time for adjournment and that motion was carried; so perhaps you could see that it is now 11.45 by the clock.
At 11.45 a.m. the house took recess.
The house resumed at two o'clock.
The house in committee of supply, Mr. Macdonald (Brantford City) in the chair.
DEPARTMENT OF NATIONAL DEFENCE Demobilization and reconversion-[DOT]
551. To provide for the orderly establishment and organization of the defence forces of the army, navy and air services on a peace-time basis and to authorize commitments against future years in the .amount of $29,833,648, $226,709,381.
adjourned I was endeavouring to answer some of the questions asked by the hon. member for Yale, and particularly to deal with his inquiry as to the order that should be followed in this discussion. I have not had an opportunity of discussing the matter with other hon. members but I think it would meet the convenience of the committee if on the general discussion of these estimates we followed as well as we could the order of navy, army and air force; then later, when we come to details, we might follow the order of those details on page 275 of the estimates. It is recognized, however, that some hon. members may wish to speak on more than one aspect of these matters and of course they should have full opportunity to do so as well as to deal with the work of the department in general. I would suggest that probably the work of the committee would be expedited and the discussion more orderly if as far as possible we followed the order I have indicated in the general discussion, and took up the details under the eight heads listed on page 275. If that is agreeable I shall proceed now to deal with the rest of the questions raised by the hon. member for Yale.
If one wished to discuss the matter of the cadet corps, would he have to deal with naval cadets under the navy, with army cadets under the army and air force cadets under the air force, or where should one discuss the cadet questions?
chooses to discuss navy cadets exclusively then I should think it might be convenient to do so in the early part of the discussion. However, I am sure the committee will accommodate itself to the discussion as we go along. If that is the general understanding I shall proceed to answer the rest of the questions put by the hon. member for Yale.
by the hon. member for Yale was with regard to the strength of the navy. As at June 15 the strength of the active navy was 6,621 officers and men, which figure is included in the total of 32,610 for the three active forces which I mentioned this morning. In addition there is on the strength of the navy at the present time, until September 30, in interim and "hostilities only" personnel some 820, making a total strength of 7,441 for the naval forces of Canada, active, interim and "hostilities only".
The hon. member asked about recruiting, and what measures were being taken to obtain recruits. I should say the recruits have been coming in at a satisfactory rate. In toto the navy is nearly up to the ceiling of 75 per cent of the ceiling as announced last year. As has been announced from time to time in the press, there have been vacancies for various trades and ratings, and men have been responding to those announcements. We would like to see more men coming in as tradesmen. We would like to see a steady flow to replace the men who are going out of the navy as ratings in practically all groups; and it is proposed that at the end of the summer, possibly in the months of August and September, a campaign will be conducted to enlist recruits for the active and reserve forces of all three services. Our belief is that when the advantages and opportunities are presented to the young men of Canada we should be able to secure through the instrumentality of a campaign, not on a very large scale, sufficient recruits not only to fill up the vacancies but to provide a fairly steady flow to offset the wastage which always occurs.
Then the hon. member referred to his own remarks last year in regard to the proportions of men at sea and od land. I think it is still
too early in the organization of our post-war forces to say exactly what that proportion is likely to settle down at, because it depends to a large extent upon what proportion of the armed forces is fully trained. If there is a rapid flow of men in and out of the armed forces then the number undergoing training at the outset of their service career will be high, and that will reduce the number at sea. However, I would not be surprised if the proportion stated by the hon. member is not far off the mark, and it may settle down to something like that figure.
He also asked about ships in the navy at the present time. I do not think hon. members would wish us on all occasions and in every year to give the strength in ships commissioned and in reserve, but at the present time I certainly have no objection to doing that. Based on the east coast there will be the Warrior, and when she is replaced by the Magnificent, the Magnificent, an aircraft carrier. There will also be the destroyers: the Nootka, the Micmac, the Haida, plus two destroyers in reserve; the algerine, the New Liskeard; three frigates and four algerines in reserve. On the west coast in addition to the Ontario there would be the other cruiser, the Uganda, in reserve when she is decommissioned this month; also three destroyers, the Crescent, the Cayuga and the Athabaskan in commission, as well as three destroyers, two frigates and four algerines in reserve.
He asked next with respect to the distribution of civilians in the navy. The present distribution is as follows: On the east coast at H.M.C. Dockyard, Halifax and Dartmouth, 1,718; at the armament depot at Renous, 192, and at Sydney 143. On the west coast at H.M.C. Dockyard, Esquimalt, 1,285; armament depot, Kamloops, 143; Vancouver, 110. At headquarters, including the joint liaison officers at London and the joint staff at Washington, 776; armament depot, St. Hubert, 61; Montreal, 83; attached to the sea cadets, 4; attached to the royal naval military college at Royal Roads, 84; or a total of 4,602.
The next question was with regard to the reserve force. That is organized in twenty divisions. At the time of the last return that was made in the house it had a strength of 2,693. It is expected that there will be no great difficulty in bringing that number up to the present ceiling of 4,300 by the beginning of the autumn and winter training period.
I have had the opportunity of visiting eleven out of the twenty naval reserve divisions and I must say that with very few exceptions they are in an advanced state of organization, with
their establishments of officers and petty officers well up to what one would expect at a period like this, and with a nucleus of some very good men as ratings. All the divisions are being equipped with the most modern equipment, and with the exception of two or three they have admirable buildings well suited for the purpose, located in twenty of the principal cities of Canada. At this time after the first great war the number of officers and men in the royal Canadian volunteer reserve was about 500.
With regard to housing the hon. member said that he had heard that the navy was not doing as well relatively as the other armed services. I think the only principal places where the navy requires married quarters are at Halifax and Esquimalt.
At Esquimalt the situation is generally speaking better than it is in comparison with the army and air force at most establishments, and even at Halifax it compares favourably with the other two services. There is I think a very acute need for additional married quarters, particularly for the members of the naval air arm centred at Dartmouth. Steps are being taken to convert all possible houses there so as to meet this need as well as we can as soon as possible.
The final suggestion made by the hon. member was with regard to some allowance for transportation on leave. As he said, when the rates of pay were established in 1946 at the new scale it was the feeling of the interdepartmental and inter-service committee that dealt with them, as well as of the departments and the government, that the rates of pay had been fixed sufficiently high to put the officers and men of the armed forces on an equivalent basis with that of civilians. Since then, however, there have been a considerable number of movements of officers and men between the two coasts, which I think put a considerable amount of hardship on them, and the question of its being possible to arrive at some allowance for transportation, at least for this interim period of organization, is being very carefully examined. My information is that neither in the United States nor now in the United Kingdom is any allowance made for transportation on leave. That is my information and I am verifying that. However in view of the very special circumstances in connection with this period of organization the matter is being very carefully considered.
I listened attentively to the remarks of the minister but I heard him make no mention whatsoever of the Royal Military College at Kingston. Can he inform the
committee of the disposition of the department at this time as to the Royal Military College, why it was closed, when it is to be opened, and the type of personnel that will be permitted to enter the college? I would like the last question answered first.
College was closed as a cadet college in 1940, long before I had anything to do with this department. I think the answer to the hon. member's question was given in the discussion on the estimates in 1945-46, if I recall correctly. At that time the need was for very iarge numbers of officers who would not be trained on the same basis as officer candidates were being trained at the Royal Military College before the war but who would be trained to meet particularly the urgent demands of war, and for that purpose a school was established at Brockville. I think the graduates of Royal Military College would have been the first to object had the college being used in the same way as before the war, as exclusively a college for training officer candidates. It was not possible to devote three years to that process, and totally different methods and a totally different curriculum were applied. Consequently special cadet colleges were established at Brockville, on the west coast and at St. Jerome. That was the reason why it was not continued as a cadet college. As hon. members know, it was continued to give company officers' courses, senior and junior staff courses and courses in allied military government.
Since the end of the war we have been looking into the question whether Royal Military College should be reopened and, if so, upon what basis. Hon. members know that a committee was set up under the able chairmanship of Brigadier Lett and a report was made. Since that time we have been looking into ways and means whereby the college might be reopened. I have announced on more than one occasion that the present proposal is to have Royal Roads operate as a joint Royal Canadian Navy and Royal Canadian Air Force college, beginning in September, 1947. In September, 1948, Royal Roads may be extended to include army cadets as well. R.M.C. would be reopened in September, 1948, as a cadet college on a triservice basis. The curriculum, entrance requirements, conditions of service, pay, clothing and so on have not yet been worked out. It is not an easy programme, as I think hon. members will appreciate when they examine developments in other countries.
Our aim is to do everything possible to see that as far as it can be managed officer cadets of the three services are subject to the same
training and environment and achieve much the same educational standards during their formative years. Our belief is that we must have the highest standards possible. Senior matriculation or the equivalent will be required for entrance, and the curriculum will be such that as far as possible year by year the course will be equivalent to that of the Canadian universities. I have been in close communication of the R.M.C. clubs of Canada who have been most constructive and cooperative. They also have been regarding this problem from the standpoint of the development in Canada of the best possible type of officer. We put that almost first in the priorities for our three services.
I should not close without mentioning the other two plans, namely, the university officers' training corps and the university naval training division, and the university flying cadet arrangements under which undergraduates of the 22 universities of Canada, with all of which we have made satisfactory arrangements, will during their four year courses at the universities take work in addition to the regular academic work and probably sixteen weeks during each of three summer vacations at practical work with pay. Our belief is that in this way we will develop a large group of highly qualified, well educated officers who will have had at the end of. their university courses additional military and practical work. We have some 2,700 officer candidates at the universities under this plan.
Finally, there is the third means of becoming an officer, through the lower decks or from the ranks. We are working on a plan whereby other ranks showing the required educational qualifications, promise and capacity for leadership will be fitted into one of these three plans. In that way we believe that we will have a group of officers second to none.
I should like to thank the minister for the information he has given with regard to the Royal Military College at Kingston. I am not placing any onus on him, but I do place it on his predecessor. I think I am speaking the mind of a great many people across Canada, ex-cadets and others, when I say that the Royal Military College should never have been closed. West Point was not closed, nor were the schools in the old country. Royal Roads was kept open, and at that time there was nothing in Canada for the training of R.C.A.F. officers. I hope nothing will be left undone to see the Royal Military College is opened in 1948. It should have been opened in 1947. The minister has not told the house the number of cadets who enter the college, whether it will
be 50 or 250. I say that advisedly because usually about 50 or 60 enter each year. It is only my judgment, but I say that if you let 1946 and 1947 go by you are losing the opportunity of getting many young men into the service at the ages of seventeen, eighteen and nineteen years. If you wait until 1948 you will have lost this opportunity. There are many young boys who would like to enter the service and who have just received their senior matriculation. You cannot have young men of nineteen, twenty or twenty-one years enter the Royal Military College.
I want to say as forcefully as I can that the department made a mistake and it is making a mistake today. I thank the minister for the information he has given the committee. This is the first time we have been able to get information of this kind. I tried to get it last year from the Minister of National Defence but I could not accomplish anything. I think I am justified in offering a little constructive criticism. I tried last year and also in 1945, but what did the minister's predecessor do? He journeyed off to Cornwall and addressed a service club there and made more or less a public statement in order to get the reaction of the press across Canada. He got it. I asked him to make the same speech the following afternoon at three o'clock but he said jokingly that members of the house would not want to hear a political speech.
I want to thank the minister and I hope that nothing will be left undone to see that the college is opened in 1948. Since 1916 and world war I, I have seen many cadets graduate from the college. Whoever advised the minister's predecessor erred in his judgment in having the Royal Military College closed. It is part of the life of Canada and we cannot get along without it. The sooner it is opened, the better.
The minister has placed on Hansard a carefully prepared brief on what Canada has done as far as 'the war is concerned, but I think that statement is two years late. Last year we tried to get the Minister of National Defence to make a similar statement when his estimates were brought down, but he said, "There are the estimates; shoot your questions at me and I will do my best when the questions come along." As compliments are in order, I must compliment the minister upon his statement. He paid a compliment to nearly every branch of the service, but there is one branch to which he did not refer. He did not refer to the boys who went overseas and joined the R.A.F. before war was declared in 1939. He paid a compliment to nearly everyone else. There is
hardly a constituency represented in the house that did not have in it some boys who went over at that time. Everyone knew in 1939 that war was coming. Some of them went over in 1938. These boys offered their services to various branches of the Department of National Defence, and what happened? They did not want them; they had no place for them. Establishments were made up to a certain size. What did these men do? They were the best flyers in Canada. They were mixed up with the civilian airfields. They went over in cattle boats to the old country. They paid their own transportation and joined the R.A.F. I wish to pay a compliment to them. They fought for Canada andi made a name for Canada. Most of them joined the R.A.F. before Canada was organized for war. Many of them paid the supreme sacrifice. They should not be forgotten.
There is one further comment I should like to make. The minister referred to the permanent force quarters. I brought it to the attention of the minister last year, and what did I get from him? He said: We are paying them well; they can find their own quarters. I appeal to the minister, who is the employer of the permanent force. I should like to see him throw back his shoulders so far as the permanent force is concerned, whether it is army, navy or air, and to say that everything will be done as far as possible for these men. I appealed' to the minister last year to find married quarters for these men. He did not do it. He said that we were paying these men and that they were getting separation allowance. I know that at Barriefield and in every district across Canada there were huts which these men could use for married quarters.
I wish to refer to one other thing. A man may be in the army one day and out the next. I notice that the Minister of Veterans Affairs is just leaving the chamber. The Minister of Reconstruction and Supply was here some time ago. There are men in Canada who are discharged soldiers and who bought homes for themselves but cannot get possession of them. I shall give an instance. I know of a young man who was a junior civil servant.
I quite agree with your ruling, sir. I will put it this way. I am going to appeal to you and to the minister because I think it is the minister's job to fight for the man who has been employed by him. Here is the case of a young man who in 1939 enlisted and served overseas for five years. He came hack after five years' service. Do not forget that there was an election in 1940 and another one in 1945.