With the change-over to diesel engines on the island division of the Canadian National Railways, which includes Prince Edward Island, I would ask the Minister of Transport to keep in mind the understanding that there will be no layoff of men as a result.
Topic: PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND
Subtopic: USE OF DIESEL
I shall be glad to bring the matter to the attention of the Canadian National Railways.
The house in committee of supply, Mr. Dion in the chair.
DEPARTMENT OF NATIONAL DEFENCE Defence forces-
202. To provide for the defence forces of the navy, army and air services, and to authorize total commitments for this purpose of $579,301,670 including authority, notwithstanding section 29 of the Consolidated Revenue and Audit Act, to make commitments for the current year of $438,178,000 and commitments for future years of $141,123,670 against which commitments it is estimated that actual expenditures in 1950-51 will not exceed, $384,932,304.
Topic: PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND
Subtopic: USE OF DIESEL
Mr. Chairman, this covers the bulk of the items of the department. When it was last before the committee a number of questions were asked in regard to certain details. Some time has since elapsed, and in the intervening period events of considerable importance have emphasized the necessity of considering these estimates with due regard to their significance as related to our present situation in a very troubled world.
If there was any atmosphere of unreality surrounding the discussion of defence estimates up to this point, it- must have been removed by the events of the past forty-eight hours.
Mr. Chairman, I shall wait until the various conferences that are taking place in the chamber have resolved themselves to some conclusion.
Topic: PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND
Subtopic: USE OF DIESEL
We now have seen events take place which we hope will have a satisfactory solution. It must be the immediate hope of every member that the action of the United Nations, which has been taken so promptly, will result in the explosive conditions which developed in Korea being remedied, because on the one hand it would protect people who have been attacked without justification, and
on the other hand it would retain and strengthen public opinion behind the United Nations.
One of the things which has been emphasized with the greatest force in the sudden
developments of Saturday last is that those nations which hope to preserve their freedom must have defence forces in being, as was indicated only a few weeks ago by the Secretary of State for External Affairs. There is general agreement that the only hope of preserving peace is that the nations which are joined for the defence of freedom shall be able to act whenever freedom is threatened. Korea is not covered by the Atlantic pact; nevertheless Korea is a direct responsibility of the United Nations, within the framework of which the community of Atlantic nations has been carrying forward its efforts to preserve peace. Today there are no little nations far away. Today Korea is closer to us in terms of transportation time, in terms of information which can be flashed by wireless and by cable, and in terms of direct impact upon our own future, than was Poland in September, 1939. At that time there was no direct access to Poland by the western allies. There was little direct communication; there was in fact no way in which the western nations could exercise any direct and immediate influence upon the course of events in Poland in September, 1939.
Today it is impressed upon all of us that what we are considering when we examine the estimates of the Department of National Defence is survival in a world in which war is becoming a matter of obliteration. Therefore the first consideration that should be in our minds in examining these estimates is the results that are to be produced by these estimates in terms of armed forces in being, ready to go into action, should such a dreadful necessity arise. There is no reason why any hon. member of this house should back away from the recognition of the fact that the only way we can preserve peace, the only way we can prevent such occurrences as are taking place today in Korea and are taking place in so many other countries in the past few years, is for Canada and other nations in the Atlantic community to demonstrate clearly to the aggressors in the Kremlin that we are ready. We should demonstrate that any move on their part against us, or against any one of the member nations, can be dealt with by an armed force that is ready to be used. That is the test, and it is upon that basis that we have expressed our hope that peace can be preserved. The first question that we should ask ourselves in examining these estimates, which are lumped substantially in a single
item, No. 202, is what armed forces in being are to result from the money that is to be spent.
We know that Russia, is working by every device in her power for revolution in countries that are believed to be ripe for revolution, and seeking to pave the way for revolution in countries where that might not seem an immediate prospect, as in Canada, but where it is believed that at some distant date it may become an immediate possibility. The Russians are also working for the destruction of our economic system by such trade arrangements as will undermine our trading arrangements; by the depression of prices which will interfere with the strength of our economy generally, and by the disruption of our economic structure internally through infiltration into particular fields of our economic and social life. We have been seeing a new kind of war. We talk of cold wars and hot wars, but they are all wars of aggression. The Russians have demonstrated that the first stage can be just as effective in reaching their objectives as the second stage. Undoubtedly they will delay the employment of any overt acts within that second stage as long as they are meeting with success in the first stage.
It would appear that the attack in Korea on Saturday does suggest the possibility that they are ready to contemplate entering the second stage. No thoughtful person can be in any doubt that the government of northern Korea did not launch that attack without the full authority of the Kremlin, without the advice of the Kremlin, and without military assistance from their general staff. Therefore we must examine these events, and the implication of the seriousness that they convey to us of possible changes in policy at the Kremlin. The year 1950 may well be the most significant and critical one in the history of modern man; it may well decide whether all the hopes of those who met at San Francisco five years ago this spring are to turn to ashes, or whether they are to reach vigorous and effective fulfilment as a result of action taken by the United Nations at this time.
The estimates before us cover 1950 and the first months of 1951. We therefore examine them in relation to these events and with the perspective which they give to everything that may result from the expenditure of the money we are now being asked to supply to the Department of National Defence. No one should hesitate to examine the present situation in terms of the most exact reality. No one should hesitate to examine our situation in this country, which is one of the
Supply-National Defence signatories to the Atlantic pact, in the perspective we now have as a result of these recent events. What is our position today? It is easy to be beguiled into a feeling of comfortable assurance by impressive demonstrations-and they are impressive-unless one examines them against the broad background of the reality with which we are confronted.
When we see the members of our armed forces, we have reason for pride in the evidence of training, of discipline and of spirit that is shown by every one of these young men and women in the navy, the army and the air force. When we see any of the naval, army or air demonstrations we can only be impressed by the skill, the evidence of training and the high measure of discipline with which the duties assigned to these services are carried out. Nevertheless we must examine each of these demonstrations in proportion to the task that lies before us. When we consider how many active service squadrons we have in being, ready to take their part, we can only form an impression of their ability to share in the joint responsibility which we all now share when we consider how many squadrons of different types there are in the Russian air force and in the air forces of the nations which serve the orders of the Kremlin. When we see displays of the forces of the army, the same question must present itself; and so it is when we see displays of our naval forces, no matter how impressive they must be.
In the very nature of the rigid secrecy which Russia seeks to place around her own country and around all the satellite nations, exact figures are difficult to obtain, even for those with access to all the most secret intelligence information. Nevertheless, in responsible publications there have appeared figures based upon information which can be obtained from time to time and which probably does bear some reasonable relationship to the.reality of the moment. From time to time Russians who have been in all the widely-separated, parts of Russia have found their way out of that country through Berlin, and on other frontiers, and their information does become available. Whether these figures are exact or not, there have been published recently in the United States statements to the effect that at the present time the Russian air force has in being squadrons with some
9.000 jet fighters alone; also squadrons with thousands of bombers, and squadrons with at least 10,000 transports, and probably a great many more. There are also reliable estimates that their production, at a minimum, is
10.000 planes a year and probably far beyond that, with all the satellite areas under their control.
From reliable information made public through the periodical magazines and the press, we have the fact that the Russian army is made up of forces in being with at least
2,600,000 men organized into 130 airborne and infantry divisions at least, and 30 armoured divisions at least. These 160 divisions are the Russian divisions alone. In addition to that are all the divisions organized in Poland, Roumania, Hungary, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, China, and the other satellite nations. As a result of the technical assistance, to say nothing of the capital plant which the Russians were able to obtain by their occupation of eastern Germany, we also know that their submarine production is at a high level; that they probably have at the moment at least 300 of the most modern submarines, and that their production is constantly being accelerated.
It is against the reality of figures such as these that we must consider what is happening here and what is happening in the other free nations. We have seen magnificent demonstrations of aerobatics, of formation flying, and of other air skill carried out with Vampires of the late war type. We have seen demonstrations carried out with other aircraft. But the question that presents itself to each one of us now is this: How many squadrons have we in being equipped with fighters of the most modern kind ready to go into action against any enemy which might present itself? We know the answer. We know that we are still preparing, and that the equipment of our squadrons with the most modern type of fighter aircraft is still some distance away.
Again, in the case of our naval forces, the Minister of National Defence has stated, and stated correctly, that at the present time they are nearer to being on an active service basis than any of our other forces. But again their strength and their capacity to assume our share of the responsibility under the Atlantic pact must be measured in proportion to figures of this kind.
The same is true of our army formations. We have one brigade group and other units of various kinds. Even there we must ask how fully that brigade group is armed to carry out its responsibility as an active force in being.
There can be no question about the training of the men, no question about their skill, no question about the spirit in which they carry out their tasks. The question is, have they the equipment that makes them, by the most modern standards, an active service force in being?
In all this I am not suggesting for one moment that Canada can or should at any
time contemplate the possibility that it alone can meet the onslaught of the one aggressor that threatens our freedom and the freedom of other nations. Nevertheless, under the broad terms of the joint responsibility which is implicit in the Atlantic pact, we must ask ourselves how close we are to having those forces in being which will take their share as part of one combined team whose strength will be such as to deter the Russian aggressors simply by evidence of immediate and effective strength.
We still can be greatly impressed by the efficiency with which these tasks are carried out. Last Thursday many hon. members had the opportunity to see the demonstration of fire power at Petawawa. Petawawa is one of the finest artillery camps in the whole world, if not the finest. In general layout, in area available, in facilities for fire training, it is probably not exceeded by any other artillery camp anywhere. Those who saw that demonstration of fire power saw highly efficient gunners under highly efficient officers showing what can be done with artillery weapons, both in accuracy and in massing of fire power. From speaking to those who saw that demonstration I know that it did convey an impression both of efficiency and of strength. It is certainly no reflection of any kind on the men who carried out those tasks so efficiently to recall that this was a relatively small demonstration with 1945 equipment, and this is 1950. We all know that the equipment of 1945 and the gunpower of 1945 were extremely effective at that time. But today we must examine any demonstration of this kind in terms of the most modern equipment, and we must seek to ascertain whether the very large appropriations we are making are providing our armed forces with the most advanced equipment, with the most advanced instruments, with the most advanced system of communication and air co-operation, so that the force in being is one which is established and equipped in terms of the world conditions and the world realities that we are called upon to face.
I repeat that from the estimates before us we do not know, and there is no way in which we can know, what part of this tremendous expenditure is being devoted to the acquisition of the most modern equipment, how much of it is going to produce armed forces in being on an active service basis with regard to the fact that we must not only be armed and equipped as well as the Russians, but, because of our smaller numbers, that our arms and equipment in every branch of the services must be far beyond theirs and in keeping with the superiority of our industrial technique and our industrial production.
Let us see what we obtain from the estimates. We are dealing with a single item covering $384,932,304 out of a total of $425 million to be voted. A substantial part of that is for pay and allowances, civil salaries and wages, other fixed charges, and a number of details of a strictly administrative character; but the bulk of that figure is not made up of items of that kind. In what are described as details on page 168 of the estimates we find these bulked under such uninformative wording as, under the heading "Navy":
Acquisition, construction, purchase, maintenance, repairs, rentals and operating expenses of properties.
We know of course that many of these properties are service properties which form an essential part of our actual service requirements. Then we have:
Personnel supplies and services; stores and equipment.
There are other general terms after "Stores and equipment." There are similar items under the heading "Army" and similar items under the heading "Air." Instead of giving the details, these items are worded in the most general terms to embrace practically the whole field of our defence requirements, outside of wages, salaries and other fixed charges. These amount to extremely large totals. In the case of the navy, the items under "General," which are described in such all-embracing terms as those which I have mentioned, amount to $58,265,022. The so-called details under the heading of "General" in the case of the army amount to a total of $59,183,144. The general items under air, again in the same broad and general terms, amount to $126,164,221. The total of these general items under the heading of navy, army and air is $243,612,387. That is a huge sum.
That amount will not be challenged by the people of Canada, nor do I think it will be challenged by any member of this house. But what should be sought by the members of this house and by the people of Canada is a great deal more information than they now have as to what lies behind these broad and general terms and what we may expect in the way of military forces being ready to play their part under the terms implicit in the Atlantic pact. We have been told by the Secretary of State for External Affairs, who was only repeating in this house what had been said by the representatives of other governments ocupying similar positions, that no longer can any nation which hopes to preserve its peace expect to be able to prepare behind the ramparts of sacrifices of some other nation.
He was stating a clear and simple proposition that in the reality of warfare that we face today the only way we can hope to preserve the peace is to regard this situation with all the cold reality which it demands and to say to ourselves that we cannot hope to let nuclear forces be developed into larger forces behind the ramparts of the sacrifices of other nations which would bear the first impact of war of the modern type. When one examines the figures we have before us, which I am inclined to think the intelligence branch of the government will say are below rather than above the reality of the Russian strength, he must recognize our position when aircraft can fly thousands of miles and return to their bases after dropping their bomb loads, or, perhaps even more dangerous, dropping their loads of armed men.
I can only repeat the request I have made of the Minister of National Defence on the two earlier occasions when these estimates were before us, that he give us information and, through us, give the people of Canada information so that we may know what our position actually is. The people of this country will support this government in every effective step that is necessary to preserve the peace for which the people have paid so great a price. Having paid that price the people have the right to know, in much more detail than they know today, what armed forces in being will result from the expenditures that are to be made this year, and what we can actually expect our armed forces to be ready to do as one of the members of that great community organized together in the cause of peace, whose preparations are only for the purpose of preserving peace.
It is with that thought in mind, and only with that thought in mind, it is with the knowledge of the dreadful reality with which we are confronted today, that I repeat my request that the Minister of National Defence give us the kind of information that is available to the people of the United States, where secrecy is surely just as important as it is here; to give to us the kind of information which is available in other countries which have joined with us in the great work of preserving freedom for mankind.
Topic: PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND
Subtopic: USE OF DIESEL
Hon. Brooke Claxton (Minister of National Defence):
Mr. Chairman, I am sure that hon. members will agree with a great part of what the leader of the opposition has said. If I may say so, he is going over familiar ground, because much of this has been said before in this house by himself and others, and by other leaders of the democratic countries. He has put fairly and squarely before the committee the great desirability of the North Atlantic treaty nations having the greatest possible
forces in being with which to deter aggression, or, should an emergency arise and aggression take place, to defend themselves and defeat the aggressor. With that objective everyone in this house, and I am sure everyone in the country and all the people of the north Atlantic countries, are in agreement.
The defence ministries of the twelve countries are doing what they can with the resources put at their disposal to secure that result and to make as great progress as they can. But this is by no means an easy task. It is one which cannot be accomplished by means other than the resources which are made available out of the national production of each country and voted by parliament. In our case, as I have said, we are seeking $425 million for defence in the year 1950-51. I do not suggest that this sum will provide us with as much in the way of forces in being as we should like to have.
The question, as I have suggested on every occasion when these estimates have come up, is whether or not the money appropriated is being spent in the right way as between the navy, army, air force, and defence research, and whether or not it is being spent in the right proportions as between personnel, equipment and property. That is the problem of defence planning, and it is by no means an easy problem, here or anywhere else.
I appreciate the generous references made by the leader of the opposition to the officers and men of the armed forces. As he said, we have reason to be proud of them and to be impressed by their skill and the evidence of training and high level of discipline. I have probably seen more of our armed forces than anyone else in this country since the war, and I must say it has been impressive to see the progress that has been made in all directions since 1946.
The leader of the opposition asks whether that progress is being made along sound lines. I can only express my opinion based on information and advice I have, not only from the chiefs of staff and other advisers of the government, but also from my discussions with my opposite numbers in other countries, and with many of their chiefs of staff. It is my opinion that, given our geographical position, our role in defence and the resources put at our disposal, we are spending the money on sound lines.
If I may go over old ground again for a minute or two, I should like to refer to what the positions and roles of the services are. Taking the navy first, its role is obviously antisubmarine work-the protection of our coasts and shipping against submarines and mines. We have as large a number of vessels in commission as we can operate with the
$82 million made available for the navy, and at the same time do the essential work of constructing the nine new vessels which are now under way. There are 41-5 per cent of our naval personnel at sea. That is a very high proportion, higher than we had during wartime. I believe it is higher than any other country, and possibly it is too high because in a sense we may be too operational for the strength and resources of the navy. Nevertheless, because of the way in which the post-war organization of the navy has been proceeded with, we have managed to attain that result.
As evidence of what I have said, there is the fact that it is planned that six vessels are to take part in the largest peacetime cruise ever to be undertaken by the navy. The Canso, Sioux and Athabaskan will leave from Esquimalt on the 11th of July, 1950, and the Magnificent, Huron and Micmac from Halifax on the 23rd of August, 1950. They will first visit Londonderry, where they will engage in extensive antisubmarine and other operations in co-operation with ships and aircraft of the Royal Navy. In this voyage will be involved 195 officers and 1,875 men, and on the Magnificent there will be three squadrons of her aircraft. In the course of the voyage the ships will visit several of the North Atlantic treaty nations. The object of the voyage is first to obtain extensive training in an extended sea voyage; second, to familiarize officers and men with the waters and ports of the friendly nations with which we are co-operating; and third, to co-operate with the fleets and ships of several of these nations, including the United Kingdom particularly.
Therefore the exercise will be a marked demonstration of the capacity of the ships and men of the Royal Canadian Navy to operate under realistic conditions involving extensive operations of the type which they would have to undertake if there should be another emergency.
Again I join the leader of the opposition and the Secretary of State for External Affairs in emphasizing that our ships and other forces will never be used for any purpose other than to deter aggression and to defend ourselves and our allies.
If we are to have more ships operational, it can only be done by making more money available, and that can only be done by taking it from the air force, the army, what is allotted for defence research, or from other sources of revenue of the government as a whole. We do not know any other way of doing it. The same thing applies to the other services.
Turning to the air force, our object is to build towards an operational force of over
Supply-National Defence twenty active and auxiliary squadrons. As hon. members know, at the present time we have two squadrons equipped with Vampire Mark Ill's in the active force, and several in the auxiliary force. As the leader of the opposition quite properly points out, the Vampire Mark III is a very good operational aircraft of a type which came into active operation after the end of the second world war. They are still one of the best aircraft for army co-operation that there are anywhere, but they have not the speed and the armament of some later types. They are still front line service aircraft, however, in the countries which use them.
To supplement and replace them as they are used, we have been working on the production of the CF-100 and the F-86. Each of these is of its type the leading aircraft of any we know of having corresponding characteristics. We were not able to produce them before because they did not exist. We are pressing on with the production of the F-86, and with the development and production of the CF-100, as rapidly as that can be done. The primary role of our air force is to assist in the defence of North America. We believe our air force is adequate for that purpose at the present time, in co-operation with forces of the United States that would be properly employed in that task, particularly in Alaska in the northwest and in Newfoundland in the northeast. We do not suggest it will be adequate for that purpose if it remains at its present size. Therefore we are developing it as fast as we can to make it constantly more operational.
In this connection, as I have announced before, though I do not think I have mentioned it in the house, toward that end we expect to have a squadron of our air force undergoing operational training in the United Kingdom early in 1951, and further squadrons successively engaged in training there and possibly in other North Atlantic treaty nations in rotation for periods of several months at a time. That will be the supplement or complement of the training we provide on this side for North Atlantic treaty nations in aircrew and army. In our case, however, we shall be sending squadrons of officers and men, and probably ground crew as well as aircrew, who are fully trained operationally, and who will be sent over there for further training in larger formations, in working in co-operation with United Kingdom forces and in familiarization with the terrain on the other side of the Atlantic. We expect that as time goes on this will become a very important branch of our air force activity.
Topic: PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND
Subtopic: USE OF DIESEL
Fighter squadrons at present. We are already having training flights of transport aircraft to the other side whenever the opportunity presents itself, so that quite a good proportion of our transport command not only have wartime experience of flying in all parts of the world, but also a great deal of peacetime experience, and they have shown a really first-class record of transport and performance. As I pointed out before, about the only test in connection with the operational work of an air force is the number of man-hours per month flown in comparison with other forces, and I am glad to say that our record compares very favourably, in proportion to total strength, with those of the United Kingdom and the United States.
With regard to the army the position is perfectly plain. At the present time we have not, and are not aiming immediately to get, any greater forces actually ready to fight at the dirop of the hat than the brigade group. That is perfectly evident from everything that has been, said and from the state of training of the reserve forces. Should the need for anything additional develop, then again it must be done either at the expense of some other service or by the provision of more money from the treasury of Canada, which in view of the demands of other government departments I suggest can only come out of the pockets of the Canadian people. That brigade group, we estimate-and it is only an estimate on the basis of all the information available-is adequate to deal with the type of attack that might be made on Canada in the foreseeable future, again having regard to what we know of the possible forces of both enemies and friends and how those forces would have to be employed.
Topic: PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND
Subtopic: USE OF DIESEL
As I explained when the house was in committee before-and, perhaps I should not have given the information, but I did-it is at about eighty per cent of strength. We do not expect that it will ever be right up to war strength, because there is a constant flow of men from it, either through discharge or through appointment to other units such as courses, schools and so on; and there is a constant flow in from the courses and schools. In addition to the brigade group there are in training in the courses and schools enough men, if put immediately and directly into the brigade group, to bring it up to strength; but there will never be a time when it is
completely up to strength. I do not suppose any unit is ever up to strength in that sense, just as no unit is ever fully trained in the strict sense of the word. Training is continuously going on; there is no moment at which training does not go on.
In addition to the brigade group, as hon. members know we have a very considerable administrative and training staff. The last time these estimates were under consideration I was asked as to the personnel employed at national defence headquarters, and today was about to rise and give the information when the leader of the opposition rose. There the total as at May 31, 1950, was 4,029, broken down into a total of 972 officers, 991 men and 2,066 civilians, including 184 who are members of the defence research board. In addition there are considerable staffs at command and area headquarters. I am trying all the time to reduce the proportion of our forces employed in that way, just as similar efforts are being made in other countries. Their experience is exactly the same as ours. We have tried to compare our figures and our results with those of the United States and the United Kingdom, and we find that we have about the same proportion of civilians to service personnel, a rather smaller proportion of officers, and about the same proportion of what might be called overhead to operational troops. We are never satisfied with the proportion of overhead, and are constantly endeavouring to reduce it. In that connection I might add that the establishments of all types of units in the three services were reviewed over the past two years by teams representing the department, the service concerned, the civil service commission, and the treasury board. That did not result in any considerable reduction, despite the efforts of the agencies of governments concerned. Frequently when we have had reviews of establishments by experts, either from outside the government or from within, it has not resulted in a reduction.
As to the employment of other [personnel, I should like to give all the information possible to hon. members; but of course here I am faced with the fact that, as the leader of the opposition has said, the Soviet union surrounds itself and its armed forces with rigid secrecy. In these debates and in statements outside the house I have tried to give information which would not affect the national security but would correspond closely to that given in other countries. I have followed this matter with the closest possible attention, and I wish hon. members could see the kind of debates that take place on defence in the United Kingdom, There they had four days on defence estimates out of twenty-three. This is our fourth day
Over there in their debates detailed information is seldom sought or given. The debate is of a general character, and as a rule the minister concerned speaks only once or twice giving general replies to the questions that are put.
Reference has been made to the committee on estimates in the United Kingdom. A subcommittee is set up to deal with defence estimates, but it has not made a report this year. The House of Commons passed the appropriation with respect to defence without having before it any report from the committee on estimates. As hon. members who are familiar with it know, the committee on estimates deals largely with the form of the estimates and matters of that kind, never with policy; in fact consideration of questions of policy is expressly excluded in the terms of reference of the committee. Now let me tell hon. members in a general way that we have in the administrative and training staff across Canada the personnel necessary to administer and train, first of all the active forces, then the reserve forces, and particularly the officers for the active and reserve forces.
At the moment we have in training for the army alone a total of 3,090, of whom 374 are undergoing general military training; 1,143 are for active force units; 18 are for reserve corps-these figures were given before summer training for the reserve forces had begun-124 are for command contingent officers training corps, and 1,431 for university officers training corps.
We have in the various schools and static units across Canada a total of approximately 16,000 officers and men. This group is necessary because it has the most important job of training the reserve army as well as the active army. Altogether there are 255 active units and 524 reserve units. If the details of the estimates are examined, it will be found there are relatively small amounts of money set down for the reserve army. This is because these items cover only pay and allowances of personnel, transportation of personnel and repairs and maintenance of armouries carried out locally. Those figures do not include any amount for the active forces or for equipment; yet a large part of the role of the active forces is the training and equipping of the reserve units.
I was asked by the leader of the opposition on this and other occasions if we could not give greater details of the defence estimates than we are giving. We shall be very glad indeed to give any details that can possibly be given. As has been intimated on other occasions, the Department of Finance, the treasury officials and the Auditor General have had the form of the estimates under consid-
Supply-National Defence eration, as has this department. I should like to point out that the details given for the defence estimates on page 168 are much more complete than those given in the year 1947-48, when all the details appeared on something less than a page. At that time we were developing the post-war organization, and it was exceedingly difficult to estimate accurately for the following year. The details for this year will be found at pages 168 to 174 of the estimates. Those details are, I believe, more complete than those given for the last year before the war, 1938-39, subject to one exception, that for 1938-39 details are given concerning the civilian employees involved. There are several pages covering civilian employees in the different categories. It did not seem to the officers of the Department of Finance, treasury, and ourselves that that had any significance or usefulness; therefore the details were not given this year. They are, however, available if any hon. member wants them at any time. Subject only to this qualification, the form of the estimates and details given is much more complete than for the estimates of 1938-39. If we can properly give more information that will be useful, then we shall try to work in that direction.
In this connection I should like to say that I do not know of any information given about defence in the United Kingdom or Australia or any countries of the commonwealth which is more complete than that given in this house. From my examination of the statements, and from my following of the debates in other parliaments, I believe we give much more information than any of those countries. With regard to the United States I believe that if hon. members will follow the matter closely they will see that in the actual debates in congress, as in the proceedings before congressional committees, no more detailed information is given than is given here. What creates the impression of more information being given there is information which comes from sources outside of congress, which frequently has no official authority accredited to it, though it may come from some authoritative sources. I suggest in all sincerity that when we are charged with not giving information comparable to that given in other countries, an examination of the facts will show we give just as much as any other country, except possibly the United States and I believe that even in that case we are in a position to compare favourably.
We have had three days of general discussion, including a fourth day when defence matters came up on a motion to set up a committee; therefore this is really the fifth day upon which we have been dealing with defence. Throughout that period I have been
Supply-National Defence ready to answer questions, and I shall be only too happy to do so if hon. members will put them.
Topic: PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND
Subtopic: USE OF DIESEL
Mr. Chairman, as a member of the active reserve of the armed forces, and having attended Petawawa military camp for the last three years, I agree with everything the minister and the leader of the opposition have said about the excellence of the training which is given the militia branch of our armed forces. It could not be improved upon. But something the minister said I believe is of vital importance to this house, and that is that the funds which this house is willing to vote for defence for the coming year will not make us as well prepared for any eventuality as we should like to be. The minister said that if we desire more preparation for the army, shall we say, we have to rob the air force and the navy; and if we want more preparedness or more equipment for the air force, we have to rob the other branches of the service. What this committee and this country want to hear from the Minister of National Defence is an indication as to how much money is needed to bring the forces of this country into such a position that we shall be able to deal with aggression from outside and take our place as a member of the North Atlantic alliance.
After hostilities have started-if they do- in which we find ourselves involved, if we are not sufficiently prepared either to defend ourselves adequately or to take an honourable position as a member of the north Atlantic alliance, as we have pledged ourselves to do, the minister cannot come to us and say: If you had voted me the funds, I would have been able to see to it that you were properly prepared. He and his department and this government are the people who have the knowledge on which to say what we require, on June 26, 1950, to prepare ourselves for attack from outside or to take our proper place in the north Atlantic alliance. I say to the minister that what this committee wants to hear before this session is over, in order to make these estimates mean anything, is not what it will cost to give us semi-preparedness, but what, in his greater knowledge than is available to the members of this committee and to the people of this country, he thinks are the appropriations that are needed to give us the preparedness that we require today to fulfil our duties, as a party to the North Atlantic pact, in defending this country or in quelling aggression wherever it may take place.
The minister should bring these figures before the committee and let this parliament decide, on behalf of the people of Canada, whether or not the people are willing to
foot the bill to give this country the kind of preparedness which the Minister of National Defence has implied should be considerably greater than the estimates now before us provides for the armed forces of Canada. I am asking the minister to let this committee know, today, or certainly before parliament closes, what funds are necessary to give us the preparedness which, as of June 26, 1950, in the light of the latest developments in international affairs, this country is entitled to with respect to its armed forces.
Topic: PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND
Subtopic: USE OF DIESEL
I am sure, Mr. Chairman, that I voice the views of all members on this side of the chamber in welcoming the hon. member who has just taken his seat and in congratulating him most heartily on having made his first speech. As we all know, he had a good record of active service with the forces during the war, and also with the reserve forces. I am sure that his contribution to the work of the house in this and other fields will be extremely valuable.
With regard to his question, I may say that it is a fair and proper one, but, in view of the present state of the world, it is one which cannot be answered with a single figure. I can say that if another $200 million were voted by parliament for defence, only a small part of it would go into personnel, and a large part of it would go into equipment. In the first instance that equipment would be an acceleration of our aircraft production program; in the second place, an acceleration of our shipbuilding program, and in the third place, the commencement of a program of replacement of some of the armour and armaments of the army. But possibly more useful than spending the whole of any such sum of money on our own equipment would be to spend it on equipment of other North Atlantic treaty countries. If he asked me how much it would cost us to ensure our safety at this time, then I can tell him that the figure would be large; because, as everyone knows, the deficiencies in equipment of the North Atlantic treaty countries are great indeed. If we had a large sum of money added to our estimates at this time we would undoubtedly give most serious consideration to making the best possible defence use of that money by building equipment and giving it or transferring it, on terms of one kind or another, to our allies in the North Atlantic treaty. That having been done, we would be better prepared than we are today in the place where we should be better prepared than we are today. [DOT]
With regard to our own defence, we believe that, given conditions as they are at the present time, we have enough forces to deal with any situation that might arise here. The only other point, then, is this: Is the amount of $425 million that we are spending on defence enough to enable us to see that we carry our fair share of the load under the North Atlantic treaty? It is the belief of this government that it is enough, and that it is a proper proportion. In proportion to population, on a per capita basis, it is more than any other country of the British commonwealth is spending, except the United Kingdom; and on a per capita basis I believe it is more than any other country under the North Atlantic treaty is spending, except the United States and the United Kingdom.
On other bases of comparison, it is more than a good many of the countries concerned are spending, either as a proportion of national product or as a percentage of national budget, although some of the countries of Europe are spending more. But when we include with the $425 million some of the other items that might properly be allocated to defence under the accounting systems in force in one or other countries-such as, for example, married quarters built for defence personnel by Central Mortgage and Housing Corporation; some part of the cost of civil aviation and navigational aids; some part of the cost of the R.C.M.P., and one or two other similar matters-the figure can be built up to something over $500 million. The other expenditures to which I have referred are not made in the Department of National Defence; they are made by other departments. The only amount we can spend this year is $425 million. But having regard to our resources, our needs, our capacities and our responsibilities, we believe that on any basis the amount we are spending today represents a fair contribution towards collective security.
Topic: PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND
Subtopic: USE OF DIESEL
There is one question I wish the Minister of National Defence would deal with today, namely, whether he believes the events which are happening now in Korea call for any change in the plans of the Department of National Defence of Canada. From his remarks thus far this morning I take it that he believes these events do not require any change in Canada's policy, and with all my heart I hope that he is correct. But it does seem to me that the potentialities of this unprovoked attack, obviously instigated by the U.S.S.R., are very serious, and that they may well be more serious for Canada than for any other country in the world.
I should like to know whether the minister believes that Canada should take any action, in view of this step taken today, which seems to make the cold war a very hot one. I heard the announcement on the radio this morning at nine o'clock that the United States commander in Alaska had alerted his fighting squadrons there. The report went on to say that this was a routine order, and it may have been; but surely Canada cannot afford to take chances.
I should like to know whether Canada is in a position to put fighter squadrons into action in the northwestern part of our territory on short notice; whether we are in a position to protect our airfields in northwestern Canada, should an attempt be made to seize them; and whether we are in a position to put a coastal patrol over the Pacific coast, to protect that coast against hostile submarines.
In his remarks in the last few minutes the minister emphasized time and again Canada's obligations under the North Atlantic treaty. He said that if we were spending more money for defence it would probably best be spent in providing equipment to other nations who have signed the North Atlantic treaty. Mr. Chairman, the North Atlantic treaty does not apply in any way whatever to this trouble in Korea. I read now from the preamble of the treaty. Referring to the nations who signed the treaty it says:
They seek to promote stability and well-being in the north Atlantic area.
They are resolved to unite their efforts for collective defence and for the preservation of peace and security.
They therefore agree to this North Atlantic treaty.
In article 5 we find that there is no obligation whatever upon any nation party to this treaty to come to the aid of another nation if the attack comes in the Pacific. The article read's:
The parties agree that an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all.
But if trouble comes, if this is the beginning of a hot war that we are having today, then an attack will certainly be made across from Siberia into Alaska and into northwestern Canada, and Edmonton, for example, which is the most exposed city, would almost certainly be bombed without warning if the hostile planes could not be stopped. I am afraid that the minister is placing too much emphasis on the North Atlantic treaty and on the north Atlantic where we have the Russians stopped, and is paying no attention, or very little, to this grave development across the Pacific. I would ask him to let us
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Supply-National Defence know exactly what he thinks should be done, or whether he thinks nothing should be done, about this attack on southern Korea.
One further thing I would ask him to explain is what co-operation there is today between Canada and Australia and New Zealand with regard to defence questions. We have co-operation, and I think it is to be praised, with the United Kingdom and the United States; but our sister nations of Australia and New Zealand are not parties to the North Atlantic treaty. They were not allowed to join because they are not in the north Atlantic area. If trouble comes in the Pacific we shall certainly need their help, and I believe there should be the closest military co-operation now with both of these nations. Both of their peoples are fighting peoples. They have stood beside us in two world wars, and there are no finer fighters on earth. Canada should be working in the closest co-operation with Australia and New Zealand. I should like to know whether any attempt is being made by Canada to bring about that co-operation. I am confident that Australia and New Zealand would be only too glad on their part to co-operate. They have been pressing for a Pacific defence pact similar to the North Atlantic treaty. So far their pleas have gone unheeded, and today the Secretary of State for External Affairs said that Canada did not feel that the development in Korea made it any more necessary than before for her to take the lead in advocating a Pacific defence pact. That was a great disappointment to me, because I think the situation is such that we need a Pacific defence pact, and we need it quickly, primarily because Canada is the nation that is going to suffer most if this becomes a world war. We are going to be attacked over our northwestern frontier, and probably the northeastern as well, and certainly our shores on the Pacific are apt to be under attack from submarines.
We are facing a very grave situation. I hope this afternoon the Minister of National Defence will give us the assurance that he realizes the danger to Canada.
At one o'clock the committee took recess.
The committee resumed at three o'clock.
Topic: PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND
Subtopic: USE OF DIESEL