April 7, 1949

LIB

Colin William George Gibson (Minister of Mines and Resources)

Liberal

Hon. Colin Gibson (Acting Secretary of State):

No. I have just returned, and as yet I have not done anything about the matter.

The house in committee of supply, Mr. Golding in the chair.

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DEPARTMENT OF NATIONAL DEFENCE


Demobilization and reconversion- 605. To provide for additional expenditures against the authorized commitment program in connection with the orderly establishment and organization of the defence forces of the navy, army and air services on a peacetime basis and to authorize further commitments for future years of $11,708,000-further amount required, $19,622,583.


PC

Lawrence Wilton Skey

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Skey:

Mr. Chairman, when the house rose last night I was endeavouring to turn the discussion on this item back to the Royal Canadian Air Force and its future commitments, as well as the policies and plans under which it is being governed at the present time. Before I continue with some remarks on that subject, I should like to make this observation. I should like nothing that is being said today by way of recommendations that we might be willing to back as a party to be construed in any shape or form by our political enemies or by the communists in Canada as anything in the nature of aggressive intent. For anyone to consider that Canada might at any time be aggressive or that our defence policies might be so directed would be utterly ridiculous. We are a country of twelve million people. Our peace-loving policies have been followed throughout the entire history of this country. Anything we might have to say, Mr. Chairman, is purely directed-

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?

Some hon. Members:

Order.

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PC

Andrew Ernest Robinson

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Robinson (Bruce):

Mr. Chairman, on a question of privilege, could we have more order?

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LIB

William Henry Golding (Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole)

Liberal

The Deputy Chairman:

Once again I should like to ask all hon. members to deal specif -

ically with the item before the committee. If the item were for administration, there could be a general discussion of the activities of the department, but in dealing with this specific item I hope the members will not go beyond it.

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PC

Lawrence Wilton Skey

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Skey:

In this item there is mention of future commitments for the R.C.A.F.

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LIB

William Henry Golding (Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole)

Liberal

The Deputy Chairman:

But it is only for this amount.

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PC

Lawrence Wilton Skey

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Skey:

It is for $19 million odd. From

the time I first came into this house I have urged that Canada's defence policy should aim at the development of fighter planes capable of meeting any aggressive action that can be taken against our country. I intend to speak on that again today, because the vote involves a future commitment, and we are already aware of the fact that the government has under consideration the manufacture of fighter planes in Canada of a type now manufactured in the United States.

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LIB

William Henry Golding (Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole)

Liberal

The Deputy Chairman:

Is the hon. member going to discuss this matter under the item now before the committee? If it comes within the item, well and good.

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PC

Lawrence Wilton Skey

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Skey:

Mr. Chairman, in item 605 we find the words, "to authorize further commitments for future years." I am talking about future years.

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LIB

William Henry Golding (Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole)

Liberal

The Deputy Chairman:

That is $11,708,000.

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PC

Lawrence Wilton Skey

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Skey:

Yes-future commitments. I am recommending to the government that its policy be so directed that it will develop in Canada a fighter force capable of defending this country and the people in it. Sweden, which is a country about half the size of Canada, has a modern fighter force. The Swedes are a peace-loving people, just as we are. They have no aggressive intent anywhere, but they have a fighter force of 300 modern machines.

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LIB

William Henry Golding (Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole)

Liberal

The Deputy Chairman:

I would ask the hon. member to confine his remarks to the item before the committee. This has nothing to do with Sweden. It is a well-known rule that remarks made in committee must be relevant to the item under discussion, and I would ask hon. members to observe the rule.

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PC

Lawrence Wilton Skey

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Skey:

I was just endeavouring to make a comparison between the defence of Canada and the defence of Sweden. I think it is in order to give to the minister a comparison.

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LIB

William Henry Golding (Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole)

Liberal

The Deputy Chairman:

I want to say this in all kindliness to my hon. friend. It is not in order, in the consideration of a specific item in the estimates of the Department of National Defence, to talk about Sweden or other countries.

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PC

Lawrence Wilton Skey

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Skey:

The last thing I want to do, Mr. Chairman, is to engage in a controversy with you. But I humbly submit to you as chairman of this committee that when the item says "to authorize further commitments for future years", what I am doing is completely in order.

The Depuiy Chairman: Speeches in committee must be strictly relevant to the item under consideration. I should like the hon. member to tell the Chair and the committee what this item has to do with Sweden or any other country.

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PC

Lawrence Wilton Skey

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Skey:

I can tell you, sir, in just a few words. Future commitments with regard to the Royal Canadian Air Force have to do with the type of aircraft used and the type of expenditure made by this department. They have to do with the question whether the people of Canada will be assured of adequate measures for defence. We know at the moment that there are only about seventy-five modern fighting machines in Canada. With the hundreds of millions of dollars that have been spent since the war, our country has only seventy-five Vampires-the only modern fighting machine in Canada. My remarks are directed toward the government to the end that their future commitments will be more intelligent than they have been in the past.

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LIB

William Henry Golding (Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole)

Liberal

The Deputy Chairman:

What has this to do with Sweden or any other place? It is not in order.

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April 7, 1949