I have said that we are discussing the defence of Canada. This sovereign parliament is charged by the people of Canada with providing adequate measures to secure this defence. This is our prime responsibility. The safety of our country is entrusted to us. This parliament has to judge the plans made by the military authorities and presented through the executive committee of this house, namely, the cabinet. We have to approve or disapprove the expenditures proposed and the degree of defence provided. We are called 55704-71
upon to decide matters entailing our very survival as free men. It is a fierce but sacred duty.
We must accept this duty as individuals, because there can be no collective security without individual responsibility. Last year the Minister of National Defence (Mr. Claxton) said: It is not my responsibility to see to the security of my constituents. If it is not "my" responsibility, whose is it? We as members of this house represent the people in the different constituencies throughout Canada. The house is charged with national defence. It is wholly wrong if we as individuals relegate our individual and collective responsibility to the cabinet, more particularly to one member of that cabinet, the Minister of National Defence. The executive power is with the government, but the responsibility for the use of that executive power is with parliament, and it is still with parliament.
This has been forgotten as ministers have adopted a course which is fast becoming a habit of coming to parliament with a prepared statement, reading it into the record, and then leaving and not caring what the opinion of the house was on the statement so made because they had sitting behind them a large government majority. That is only one thing, contempt of parliament.
Yesterday the minister made a speech full of what we might call happy generalities.
Apparently there are some people in this house who cannot even read.
We have heard before from the minister these happy generalities and hopeful thoughts for defence, but what we heard yesterday contained very little real assurance or practical information that we were really preparing a defence force which is capable of entering military action on the 1952 level.
In other words, apparently we are prepared to engage in a war of the 1939 type. We are making the same mistakes that we made in 1939 when we were prepared to fight a war on the 1914-18 scale.
We have two things to consider with regard to the present situation. The war as it is today is in the political stage. We may hope that if we are successful in carrying out the political stage of the war we shall not have
to enter the fighting stage. It seems to me that very little has been done or said with regard to our action in this regard.
Discussion on the infrastructure took place yesterday when the minister referred to the construction of aerodromes and other matters on the continent of Europe. As a matter of fact, the minister was chairman of the committee concerned. May I suggest that part of the infrastructure must be built to take care of the political side of the present situation. I hope, for example, that some steps have been taken with regard to the use of propaganda by short wave radio beamed from the continent of Europe to both the satellite countries and the Soviet heartland. I trust that we have taken adequate steps to see that those expelled from the satellites are accepted and also those who have been able to escape from behind the iron curtain, and that our intelligence service is up to the highest degree of efficiency. Those are things that are part of the non-fighting war.
The fact that our 27th brigade is in Europe, not as an occupying power but as a NATO force, has largely a political significance. It shows to the peoples of Europe that Canada, at any rate, is behind NATO, and the countries of the North American continent are as one with regard to the defence of Europe. That is important, and is a side of our defence effort which cannot be overlooked. I do not know whether or not it was Clausewitz, but someone has said that fighting starts when politicians stop talking, and that politics is merely warfare without shooting. It seems to me that we should do everything possible to carry out and to intensify the political effort in connection with our military organization.
Let us go to the military effort. What sort of a war are we likely to face? What sort of action has always been successful in western Europe? The actions in western Europe which have been successful have been the actions carried out by comparatively small forces with enormous mobility and tremendous striking power. The first world war was nearly lost in the first few months owing to the use of cavalry mobile artillery and the great speed with which the German army was able to move. The second world war was more nearly lost, and might have been lost a dozen times during the course of the war, had Hitler not interfered with his general staff and had General Guderian been allowed to push right through to the seacoast instead of being held up outside Dunkirk. It might have been impossible to evacuate any of the British expeditionary force. The same thing holds true about Moscow and the
oil fields near the Caspian. Political control by Hitler stopped his general staff from achieving a great victory.
Now, the forces that made that victory were armoured forces, very mobile and powerful striking panzer divisions. In the case of the battle of France I think in the neighbourhood of only 100,000 made the break-through, and that is a number only slightly larger than the forces we have in being now in all three services, according to the minister's statement. This is not, therefore, a question of manpower so much as it is a question of machines and weapons. The slogan of the royal tank corps in 1939, to which no attention was paid, was "steel saves blood". May I suggest, Mr. Speaker, that the slogan today should be "science stops the horde", because we can never match the manpower of those behind the iron curtain, particularly the Asiatics, who are pitted against us. To say, therefore, that an infantry brigade, desirable in many ways though it may be, can be regarded as the proper use of the comparatively small number of men available in this country is, I think, open to question.
We Canadians pride ourselves on our adaptability, on our ability to make rapid movements and our ability to use all the techniques of new machinery, both in peace and in war. I believe it is questionable whether this 27th brigade should not, as soon as possible, become an armoured brigade. It is armour that we will have to stop, and armour will stop any mass movement of troops. This fact has been proven over and over again.
We have another problem in that we have the siege of Moscow in reverse. In other words should war break out, this time the problem of logistics and the movement of troops will be a problem which our enemy has to solve. The long starvation road from Moscow to Warsaw, with its comparatively low efficiency, and the inability of the railroad to handle anything like the necessary amount of equipment in order to keep a major fighting force in the field, will be a problem the Kremlin will have to solve. This long, barren stretch of country is an element in our favour, and we should be prepared to take advantage of it to destroy troops moving en masse across it. Yet I see no provision for bombers, no provision for troops especially trained and equipped to cut rail lines and destroy communications.
These are matters I believe should come before a defence committee. They are being discussed on every hand, and the Canadian people deserve information about them. They are matters on which I believe the opinions of the general staff and others should be obtained. Where it is a case of security
the matter might be dealt with in secret or the information withheld; but the general, over-all plan for a war in the second half of the twentieth century is the responsibility of those who sit here in this house. As I have said before we cannot delegate that responsibility to a committee of the cabinet or to the cabinet themselves and accept their say-so that everything in the world is comparatively rosy. We certainly cannot leave it to the Minister of National Defence. The role of Dr. Pangloss is too dangerous here.
I believe it would help the government if such a committee were set up. It would assist the deliberations of this house, and would let the country know whether or not it was secure, and the degree of security arrived at. Here we are making an expenditure of over $2 billion. That is a severe and heavy burden on every Canadian, and each Canadian is anxious to know how that money is being spent. At the present time there is a great deal of questioning about the wisdom of this or that; and our support of NATO and other international obligations are being brought into question, as they were in this house the other day for the first time. That is dangerous, because once even a small body of opinion in Canada questions our expenditures for defence the morale of the country deteriorates. So if for no other reason the setting up of a defence committee would be an advantage.
As an example of this we have the position of the Canadian navy. During the last war our navy, essentially made up of small ships, undertook to provide and I think until the last year of the war did provide escorts for more than fifty per cent of the convoys across the Atlantic. That was a staggering job for a country with so small a population. We were able to do that with a small-ship navy because there were no German capital ships abroad, with the exception of two which were bottled up by the British navy after one had got loose in the north Atlantic, the Bismarck, and done a great amount of damage. With capital ships in operation, a small-ship navy is not adequate as a convoy instrument. Without the capital ships of our allies in the last war, our navy would have been of little use if the large German capital ships had got loose.
Today the Soviet navy has grown to such an extent that it is rapidly becoming the second navy in the world in regard to capital ships, no less than three of which have been built or are building on the Baltic. It has some 14 to 16 first-class cruisers and nearly 100 destroyers, a formidable surface force. Compare that with the navy of the United Kingdom, which has some five capital ships, 24 cruisers and 106 destroyers, and you will see how the surface strength of the Soviet
navy has grown since the war. They also have, as far as we know, one of the most modern aircraft carriers in the Graf Zeppelin, which under the treaty they were supposed to dismantle but of course have not done so. In addition they have the tremendous technical assets of all eastern Germany. It was very largely in eastern Germany, particularly at Konigsberg, now Kaliningrad, that the submarine strength of the German navy was created. So we have an entirely different type of navy to fight than we had the last time. We have not merely a submarine navy, and I am coming to that in a minute; we have a force which in surface units is extremely powerful and dangerous.
We also know that the Russian navy has a submarine fleet as large as any existing in the word today. We also know that they have the advice, the skill, the design, and in many cases the actual ships that were used so effectively by the third Reich. Are we being realistic in providing the same type of navy- that is, a small-ship navy-which did such wonderful work in the last war? Are we not providing a navy which is preparing to fight with the 1939-1944 techniques? I think that those are questions which should properly come before a defence committee.
In closing, Mr. Speaker, let me say this. The importance of morale in relation to the physical is as three is to one; at least, that was Napoleon's dictum. Today there is in this country and in the other western nations the beginning of a questioning as to whether the tremendous amount of our economy which we are putting into the war effort is justified. That situation is dangerous, Mr. Speaker, because once you get that feeling in the country, you get a sense of resistance to the effort which we must put forward. Once you get resistance, you get complacency; and with complacency you get halfhearted effort. You become oblivious of the real dangers that we face.
That sort of thing will destroy us, Mr. Speaker. Time may not yet be on our side. Unless we can keep our effort unflagging and completely efficient, we cannot survive in the ruthless days that lie ahead. For that reason I suggest that the defence committee bring out more information. To treat the Canadian people with complete frankness is one of the most important things that this government can do for the country at this time.
Mr. Speaker, I listened with a great deal of interest when the minister made his statement on the subject of our defence. The figures that he gave are so huge that we cannot grasp them all of a sudden, but time will gradually help us to assimilate the information given. We were
given a outline, and one had to appreciate the fact that the defence of Canada is not the defence of this dominion alone. Our frontiers now have reached to Korea, to Germany, to other parts of Europe and to Asia; and the defence of those countries is definitely tied up wi.h the defence of Canada, for the time being at least.
I do not believe that Canada, of itself, offers a good target. It is not a very good target for the potential enemy that we all fear at the moment, because of our comparatively small and scattered population and the vast distances that have to be traversed in order to reach our centres of population. But our situation possibly calls for a different type of defence. I refer to radar and air defence. Al.hough the greater part of our defence expenditure is devoted to the air force, I am not yet satisfied that the proportion should not be still greater. I may be wrong, but that is my impression. I should like to see the air force part of our defence strengthened as well as the radar part.
Another matter that I should like to touch upon briefly is that of civil defence. In the estimates I notice that only one per cent of the total expenditures has been devoted to civil defence. I do not know what the experiences of other members are, but, speaking generally, my experience in the towns that I have visited is that civil defence is very much a patchwork system. It is a starved branch of our defence system. We all know the story. We all know that the municipalities cannot and will not help financially. We know that the provincial governments are looking to Ottawa to do that work. We know how Ottawa has been lacking funds. This year the amount has been increased to $6 million, but it is still far too small an amount to give adequate civil defence for 14 million Canadians in the various parts of Canada.
We in this group approve of the defence plans in general. That is quite natural, because the basic instinct of all human beings is to defend and to protect their homes and their land. We are just human beings, like all members of other parties; once the danger is known, to me defence ceases to be a political issue. It becomes the concern of all parties and of all individuals throughout the nation. Whether they be Conservatives, Liberals, Social Credit or C.C.F. or no matter what are their religious beliefs it makes no difference. On that basis we are therefore involved up to our necks in the defence of Canada. While we support the present defence plans in general-and as our leader said yesterday, no group of people are infallible-we criticize the division of our defence expenditures. We
still feel that economic aid is a vital part of any defence scheme, and we shall continue to urge the government to extend this angle of operations. I am pleased to be able to give further proof of our stand on this matter; and as I am coupling it with the economic defence of Canada, I should like to quote briefly from a statement made by a lady who is well known in Canada; she is one who knows Canada well, who knows the United States well, and more important still, is familiar with Europe as she lives in the heart of the danger zone of Europe. I refer to Queen Juliana of Holland. She has this to say, in part, as quoted in the Ottawa Journal of yesterday:
Major emphasis of the Queen's address, delivered in English, was on technical assistance. She said her country is helping to the best of its ability by exporting skills and experts to less developed countries.
"It is my earnest hope that one memorable day the enormous increase of production now demanded by rearmament will be converted to meet the needs of these enormous development projects.
"The circle of countries around the North Atlantic ocean should avoid imitating the example set by the countries behind the iron curtain, which have focused their minds so much on their defence, that they forget to focus as much attention on their economic, social and cultural well-being.
"If they do neglect these aspects, some day they might find themselves isolated around their ocean before, for instance, technical assistance could get under way properly, and link them with the world at large."
She ended by saying:
"Mankind in its distress has to trust largely to your good judgment for its deliverance."
I take it that last statement included Canada and its government, because they are looking to the western world for guidance and assistance and I hope that we are willing to give it and will give it wherever we can. I feel that if Europe collapses economically then all our defence plans, however elaborate they may be, are useless. The people of Europe will become very easily victims of the march of communism, and the blame will largely lie with us. That is why I personally, and the party to which I belong, stress the greater need of economic aid.
In his speech the minister referred to the total strength of the army as 95,300 all forces, the officers averaging one to seven other ranks. But he also mentioned 40,000 civilians against men in all services of 81,100. I could not understand, and I still cannot understand, why we need one civilian for every two men in the three forces. I should like to have a breakdown of their work, the type of work they do. I should like it for several reasons. I believe in the principle of civilians, where they can be used, being employed, because they relieve active combat men for other work; but to employ civilians to the extent of one for every two serving men seems to
me rather ridiculous. But anyway, as I pointed out, the principle of civilian employment is sound.
I should like to suggest that possibly we have a great deal of waste of manpower. I know we cannot stop all waste, but I feel there is a waste of manpower among the
40.000 civilians, because much of the work that you would expect the civilians to be doing around the camp or around the barracks is still being done by soldiers. The fatigue work and other work that was always done by soldiers is still being done by soldiers, so that for the life of me I cannot see where
40.000 civilians are called upon to look after
81.000 men. But not only that; we still have men of high rank holding down jobs in the city of Ottawa that could be done by civilians. We have men tied up in barracks, officers all over the country in combat form doing work that could be done as well by veterans. It is true in practically every unit that I know of. I have spoken to several servicemen, and they tell me that such is the case; that there is a lot of waste in the office and a lot of waste around the bookkeeping jobs that have attached themselves to the various services of the country.
I believe that here in Ottawa, as I pointed out before, we have several high-ranking officers, from lieutenants up to colonels, doing work that a low-grade civil servant could very well carry on and do as well. I cannot see why we should be paying that high salary for that type of work. Records could be simplified, easing the job. Many of the forms which are now used in the various services could be simplified and abbreviated. Many of them could be dispensed with entirely, because a lot of them are sheer red tape. They are useless when filled out. I suggest to the minister that a survey be made by a competent committee of this house or of the civil service, or that efficiency experts be employed to delve into the present clerical system and general office work of all the three services, to find out where the waste is, find out whether the suggestions I am making are correct, and they have been repeated to me several times.
I would also ask this committee to assess the various jobs, check up on the work and assess their value and the type of person needed, whether a woman or a low-grade clerk could do the job or whether it calls for a high-ranking officer. Then, wherever possible, civilian veterans should be employed. If this were done I feel sure that a great many officers and men, probably running into a thousand or two, could be transferred to combatant duties.
I point out that among our ex-servicemen we have men just as capable of carrying on
any job in any office in connection with any of the services as those who now hold them. They have the actual experience. They are handicapped and cannot continue in civilian work, but they are ideal for this particular job. I feel that the red tape that created this empire of non-fighting men, or swivel-chair soldiers, should be broken. I think that red tape must be broken and discarded. I would ask the minister seriously to consider whether he does not think that 40,000 civilians, plus another 10,000 or 20,000 army personnel, tied up in swivel-chair jobs is not an overburdened defence system. It is not fair to the taxpayers of Canada if we are to continue this heavy burden of operation and administration.
Following my determination to speak on this point I happened to read the Journal of yesterday, and I found an editorial bearing on the same subject, and dealing with the minister's statement on personnel. It says in part: -
We have heard a good deal of talk from Ottawa about the need for economy. To what extent is the government economizing on its own payroll? Repeated assertions have been made that the civil service was to be pared. But there has been no real reduction. As fast as one department lets them out, another one takes them in. Ottawa has thousands more employees today than it had at the peak of the war-120,000 against 112,000. It has close to three times as many as it had before the war.
Over the years, it has been suggested that there should be some adequate, practical method of measuring the size and efficiency of the civil service. With federal taxes running between four and five billion dollars a year, this is no longer merely desirable; it is essential. A parliamentary budget committee could very well start from this point. But the first thing to be done is to set up such a committee.
There is one other little point I should like to mention. Before very long most of our camps in Canada will be opened up for practice. Ranges will again be in use, and live shells and other ammunition will lie around or be thrown about, as it always has been. I believe there is tremendous waste on our ammunition supply that is dropped around on ranges and lost in general. You have only to read the papers here and there in Canada and see, as happened in Hull recently, where a little child is killed by an unexploded shell they had in the home. Two or three years ago we had two or three youngsters killed in Vernon after finding some shells that had lain on the ground for a long time undetected. I feel that intensified range training is about to take place. Therefore a qualified officer should sign for every bit of ammunition taken out of stores. That qualified officer should be held personally responsible for seeing that all ammunition taken out is either used or returned. I know
National Defence that in theory they do; but in practice they do not. That is why shells have been left around the range at Vernon, to my knowledge, and they are still there and constitute a danger to the people living in the vicinity.
I would go farther and insist upon a ruling whereby all firing should be supervised by a qualified expert. He should be there to check on each discharge, and to determine whether a shell exploded or not. If a shell was a dud, and did not explode, it should be his duty to mark the spot and to take steps to find it, by one of the modern methods, and to demolish or to remove it as a source of danger.
I suggest this because it is something that could very well slip up, as it has over the last several years. I would urge the minister to send an order to all those units going to camp that such precautions must be taken before any live ammunition is taken out on a range.
Mr. Speaker, I shall first make a few comments on the speech delivered yesterday by the Minister of National Defence (Mr. Claxton). I was greatly disappointed' in his speech from a number of points of view, which I believe will become apparent as I go along.
I was disappointed with the emphasis he placed upon the different points he covered, and the length of time he devoted to the various subjects upon which he touched. I shall discuss that in further detail in a moment. He spent twenty-five minutes of his time in discussing NATO, and our brigade in Korea, something in the nature of a travelogue. He spent about thirteen minutes discussing General Eisenhower's statement. The fifteen minutes following were devoted to our NATO contribution, and infrastructure. Then the following twenty-two minutes, if one were writing a military appreciation, would come under the head of "own forces". In other words he was referring to our own military set-up, and the type of thing to which most of us expected he would devote most of his time. That was followed by another five minutes in which he discussed NATO and what might be called his high hopes.
I do not think the division of time allocated to each subject in his speech was calculated to give the house or people throughout the country a very clear indication of our general defence picture. As a matter of fact a great deal of it was at least to some extent a repetition of what went on in the foreign affairs debate, as related to NATO.
points made by the minister in his speech: He concluded with a statement I should like to read. At that point he made what I would call his yes-but statement, and it appears in these words at page 1088 of Hansard:
But as the full cost begins to appear in lives and manpower and money-yes, and in things we have to do without-there also begin to appear qualifications in that support. There are the people who say "yes, but." We begin to see emerging the cautious tribe of "yes, but'ers. Yes, but something more of this, something less of that, something sooner, something later, something else instead."
What a statement, that! The whole implication of it, as it would appear to me, is that any criticism we make of anything done by the minister or his department is bad, and that we have no right to make such criticism and no right to suggest that there should be more of this or less of that.
The minister appears to show by that statement that he has what I would describe as an Olympian complex, that everything he does comes from on high, and that we lesser mortals below should not dare to question it. His attitude reminds me of the cartoons we saw during the first war in which the Kaiser was always depicted as referring to "Me und Gott." It is the same sort of complex. I was amazed to hear the minister come out with a statement of that kind. It is that type of thing which makes one wonder how much respect the present government has for parliament or parliamentary processes.
Then, to return to some of the specific points I mentioned, I would deal first with the remarks he made concerning our brigade in Korea. I think all hon. members will agree with what he said in that connection, and we were glad to hear something about that brigade. We are all proud of the way our men have conducted themselves in Korea, and we were glad to hear something about them. It was proper for the minister to make some comments along that line. I doubt however whether it was necessary to take up roughly a third of his time speaking about NATO and his trip to Korea or, in other words, to deliver a travelogue on the subject.
Then, so far as General Eisenhower's statement was concerned, I believe it will be agreed that in many respects it was a heartening document. However, it is something all hon. members can read for themselves. It was not a matter which at this time needed to be expounded to us by the minister. As one hon. member has said, it was just padding.
The minister referred to the statement made by General Eisenhower that the Russians have 170 line divisions and 20,000 aircraft. I made a statement which, I think, may possibly have prompted the minister to emphasize this point. Of course it may not have prompted him. My statement in the debate on external affairs was that the Russians probably have upwards of 300 divisions. If they have 170 line divisions, I would say that they dispose of more than 300 divisions at the present time, because the number of reserve divisions required to support 170 line divisions, plus the satellite divisions, would bring the total up to well over 300. As the minister indicated, that is a formidable force.
Then, so far as our NATO contribution is concerned, I was glad that to some extent the minister did stress the $600 million worth of contributions we have made to NATO, in addition to the brigade group and 12 squadrons we are going to supply. I was sorry however to hear him use the word infrastructure. I should think it would be possible for us to talk about these things without making use of words which most people cannot understand. I am not any too sure even yet as to the meaning of infrastructure. As is suggested to me by the hon. member for Medicine Hat (Mr. Wylie), I think most of the people throughout the country have not the foggiest idea what it means. It seems to me we could discuss this matter without making use of these horrible words.
The minister had something to say about our own forces, and I shall deal with that as I go along. Yesterday the hon. member for Nanaimo (Mr. Pearkes) gave an outline of this party's general position in the matter of defence. 1 do not think it is necessary for me to go into that again, so I shall turn to specific matters.
As is indicated in the white paper of June 30, 1951, the strength of our armed forces at the end of 1953, or early in 1954, is planned to be 115,000 men. The minister gave the strengths as at the end of March. The strength at March 31, 1951, a year ago, was 68,000. At March 31, 1952, it was 95,300 men. If the rate of increase shown last year can be maintained it would appear that the goal of 115,000 men would be met. The minister indicated that this would be the case, but that it would be met much earlier.
However, it must be remembered that a special form of recruitment was used to raise the brigade for service in Europe by making use of reserve force units. In addition to that, it was a form of service which was attractive
to a large number of young men. I would be doubtful whether the same expedient for raising men, that is, to get them from reserve force units, could be used again.
One thing which has disturbed me is the rate of wastage. On March 7 I received a return which showed the total number of enlistments and the total number of discharges under the heading of increases and decreases, including desertions, deaths and so forth. This showed that last year the increases or enlistments numbered 41,757 men in all three services while there were decreases of 15,279. That indicates a rate of wastage of 36-5 per cent, which seems to me to be very high. I would submit that steps should be taken in order to cut down that rate of wastage.
The point I want to make particularly is that the enlistment cost per man runs to about $200 or $300.
The public accounts show that back in 1948-49 the advertising cost alone was more than $85; in 1949-50 it was $116.10 per man; and in 1950-51 it was $125 per recruit. It is going up quite rapidly every year, and I imagine that this year it will probably be considerably more. In addition to that there is the cost represented by the manpower in the services employed, office space and all that type of thing. Then there is the medical examination, outfitting and so on. I think the cost of enlistment would be from $200 to $300 a man.
The more frequently these men are turned over, the greater the overhead cost. The cost of training and maintaining a man runs to several thousand dollars a year. The minister told us in 1950, and I can quote this if necessary, that for the previous year it cost $2,600 per man just to pay him, feed him, house him and provide other things along that line. That did not include the cost of his training or anything else of that nature. When the rate of inflation is considered, we arrive at a total of several thousand dollars a year as the cost of maintaining and housing a soldier, sailor or airman.
It is quite clear that the more frequent your turnover, the greater the per man per day cost will be. The more we can cut down on the turnover, the cheaper will be the cost of getting people for our services. A rapid turnover in the personnel of a unit greatly impairs its efficiency. You need to have your men in a unit a fairly long time for them to get to know each other and be able to work efficiently together. This wastage which is taking place is deserving of considerable attention by the department and every effort should be made to reduce it.
The defence estimate this year is just over $2,000 million, a very large sum. There is danger that its very size will deceive us as to the defence effort we are making and what are the actual accomplishments. There is a general misconception that the money voted for defence by any nation represents the effort being made, but this is not necessarily true. Unless the money is spent wisely and used without waste, large sums can be expended without obtaining an efficient defence set-up. That the amount expended for defence does not reflect accurately the nation's defence is shown by many examples in the past. At the present moment the Swiss army is the most efficient for the defence of that country. Of course, it is a defensive army. However, it costs very little money, much less per man than any other army in Europe and tremendously less per man than our cost. The same thing is true to quite an extent of the Turkish army. The amount of money you spend for defence does not necessarily say that the defences are efficient.
The hon. member is making the point that money expended for defence does not necessarily show in the defence set-up you may have. Our defence expenditures are running to enormous sums. In addition we have the cost of defence production, civil defence and items in other departments that are related to defence. The result is that something like half, or perhaps even more than' half, of the total expenditures this year is on defence or related matters. Under the circumstances the close scrutiny of these expenditures is perhaps the most important duty of parliament at the present time. I think the attitude of the Canadian people to defence spending is well summed up by an editorial which appeared in the Montreal Gazette of March 21, one short paragraph of which reads:
Canadians really want to spend all that is needful on their own defence-the ultimate form of social security. But they are serving both themselves and their country if they make sure that every dollar will count.
That is what we in this house should be doing, making sure that every dollar spent on defence'counts. The article continues:
There is more room for waste and loss in defence spending than anywhere else. There is no real check ' upon efficiency. '
That is extremely true. One of the difficulties as. far as defence is concerned is to check on- efficiency, on unnecessary expenditures and things of that sort. The most effective way of keeping down these costs is to give carefql scrutiny to expenditures such as can be done by a defence expenditures
committee. I am glad to know that this committee is being set up and I hope that it meets quite frequently. During the time it was in operation last year it met only a few times. Requests were made, and motions were moved, asking for more frequent meetings, but they were voted down. I hope that that will not happen again and that this committee's work will not be what I might call obstructed or hampered.
I have maintained for several years that we have not been getting good value for our defence dollar. I am more convinced than ever that we waste a considerable proportion of the money voted. The number of units in a state of readiness to fight and the amount of modern armaments which we possess are quite small, particularly in relation to the amounts that have been spent on defence. I feel certain that by eliminating waste and unproductive expenditures of all kinds many hundreds of millions of dollars could be lopped off our defence cost. Not only would we maintain efficiency, but I contend that we would actually increase efficiency in some ways.
I do not believe that the idea of economy in defence matters is ever really seriously considered. Perhaps it is natural that it should not be considered. Most of the officers in our defence department are products of the last war, of the fighting part of that war, and they were not concerned with expenditures. Probably it is only natural that they would not be unduly concerned with those things now. As a matter of fact, as pointed out by the member for Nanaimo, no military man is going to concern himself unduly with expends itures unless he is forced to do so.
This matter of economy would become important in the minds of our defence people only as the result of constant pressure from the minister, and so far as I know there is no indication of that pressure being exerted. To begin with, it is necessary for the government to set a good example. I do not think that a good example has been set either by the government or by the minister. I have a return here which came down on June 3, 1950, showing expenses of various members of the cabinet so far as moving about the country in R.C.A.F. planes is concerned. I shall just read a few of the items here and you can see that a bad example has been set for the services. Here is the total cost, estimated, to the R.C.A.F. of moving these various cabinet ministers about the country: $42,450. The total cost of transporting the Minister of National Defence (Mr. Claxton) was $18,598. Those are not vast sums, but in my opinion they set a bad example.
We find here that the first item relates to taking the Minister of National Defence from Rockcliffe to Montreal, $154.10. The next item is the same thing, and the next trip is to West Point, $385.25 between Rockcliffe and Dorval, $154.10; Rockcliffe to Toronto, $231.15; between Rockcliffe and Torbay, $616.40; between Yarmouth and Rockcliffe, $462.30; between Lethbridge, Suffield and Rockcliffe, $924.60; and so on. There were other people who went along on some of these trips and probably that was the most economical way in which to transport them, but on a large number of these trips to Montreal no one went with the minister according to this return. I cannot see that he would save any appreciable amount of time by going in an R.C.A.F. plane. He could have travelled on a commercial air line to Montreal for $7.15. I cite that as an instance of the fact that, as I believe, examples of economy are not being set for the services. I do not suppose there is any pressure on the services to economize, and unless there is that pressure you will certainly not get economy.
In the last three years I have complained in almost every debate we have had on defence about the overblown staff at defence headquarters, at area and command headquarters. These are outstanding examples of the waste of manpower, due probably to the bureaucratic empire building which is so prevalent. To show the state of affairs at national headquarters we have only to look at the telephone directory which is supplied to every member. I am going to take as an example the directorate of training and staff duties. We look at this telephone directory and find that the director of military training is a colonel; the director of staff duties, a colonel; the director of Royal Canadian Artillery, a colonel-these are all full colonels, of course; office of the chief engineer, a full colonel; director of Royal Canadian Corps of Signals, another colonel; director of the Royal Canadian Infantry Corps, another colonel. In addition to that, I think there was also a director of the armoured corps, but I do not see him listed.
Perhaps he is located elsewhere, but he is not listed in the telephone directory. Without him there are six directors, and if he is hidden away some place that makes seven, concerned with military training and staff duties. Each of these men has a staff of officers, a major, a captain or two and a lieutenant or so, depending on what the particular job is. In addition there are a number of O.R.'s and a number of civilian personnel, about which the member for Yale 55704-72
(Mr. Jones) was speaking. How many people are concerned, I do not know, but it is considerable in senior officers alone.
I should like to compare that with what the situation was before the war. Before the war we had one full colonel as a director of military training and staff duties. To assist him he had three majors, and he had about twelve other ranks. He did all the work with those few officers and other ranks, that is all the work that is done now by these six colonels, numerous captains, majors, the many O.R.'s and others. It is quite true that since the war the size of our permanent army has increased from about 3,000 to about 50,000, but before the war the reserve force was greater than it is today. There is just as much work to do in laying down a training program for 10,000 men as for 100,000 men. You have to do as much work in preparing pamphlets, training precis and all that sort of thing for 10,000 as for 100,000. The fact that the size of the force is increased does not necessarily mean there should be a great increase in the staff required. There is no question about it, down at headquarters there are majors, captains and so on doing the work that was done before the war by privates, corporals, sergeants and sergeant-majors. These people are falling over each other. The same situation with regard to multiplication of staff exists at command and area headquarters. What all these officers and their O.R.'s do, I find it difficult to understand. One thing I do know, and that is that the operations at headquarters are delayed and efficiency is cut down by the vast amount of paper which these people have to pass from one to the other. Things have to go through so many channels that it takes a great deal longer than it should. Each man looks these papers over, and what really happens is that these people keep each other busy by passing this paper around. I do not think there is any question whatever but that is one place where a considerable amount of money could be saved.
I shall give another example of the same thing with which I am personally familiar. In the city of Calgary about two years ago there was set up what was known as a garrison commandant. He was a full colonel and had on his staff a major, a captain and I do not know how many other ranks. They have been there ever since. These people have done a very good job, and I would compliment them on the way they have carried out their duties; but my point is that there was no necessity for this set-up. I do not know what it costs, but including housing for the staff and so on I would not doubt that this garrison commandant and his staff
would cost the country at least $50,000 a year. The work done by those people was formerly done by the senior reserve officer in Calgary, assisted to some extent by the senior permanent force officer there. That was the case until less than two years ago, and there are no more troops in Calgary now than there were then. This has just been a duplication of staff, as far as I can see, serving no useful purpose. I suppose when the work was done under the previous set-up it cost at the most $300 or $400, as against at least $50,000 under the present set-up. That is one instance of the sort of thing you find all over this country. If you multiply that time after time it is easy to see why our defence expenditures have soared as they have, and why we have so few fighting units and so little modern equipment as a result of these expenditures.
Another point I would mention along this line is this business of public relations staffs. I brought this matter up last year in the public accounts committee but did not get very far with it. When the complaint was made about the number of people on these public relations staffs the only reply was that they were doing a useful job, that they were fine fellows and so on. Undoubtedly they are, but I do not think there is any real necessity for all these public relations officers both here and at command headquarters scattered across the country. As far as I can see the newspapers are quite capable of carrying on most of the activities of these public relations people, and are ready to do so. Whatever -could not be done in that way could be done in his otherwise spare time by a staff captain or some other junior staff officer at headquarters. I notice that the United States air force have recognized that all these public relations officers are not necessary. Here is a press dispatch dated March 17, which says:
The air force disclosed today it is cutting its public relations staff at headquarters 65 per cent.
The cut will reduce the air force information staff at headquarters to 19 officers and 15 civilians. The currently authorized staff permits 52 officers and 34 civilians.
I certainly believe we should do the same thing. The minister or someone may say this is another small matter, but there are so many of these small matters. If you could get the total that might be saved by cutting out unnecessary and in many cases useless expenditures, I believe it would astound everyone in this house.
Another example of the wasteful expenditure I believe is going on is a case that came to my attention in connection with housing at Claresholm, where there is a flying training school. Apparently the housing situation was bad; houses were needed, so they sent
in a whole bunch of metal prefabricated units. They came in and were put on a siding before the contracts had been let for their erection or for the plumbing, wiring and so on. As a result there was no one to unload them, so special people had to be hired to do that job. Then I believe it was discovered -that these houses were going to cost more than what might be called normal construction, by the time contracts were let for erection, plumbing and all the rest of it, so they decided they would go into normal construction. So they sent a bunch of people to load these prefabricated houses on railway cars and ship them out; then they started all over again. I do not know where those houses have gone, but I have been led to believe I would not be far wrong if I said they may be in England at the present time. How much money was lost in that deal I do not know, but it must have been many thousands of dollars.
I thought the minister's speech was remarkable because of three important omissions. He made no mention of our reserve forces: he did not refer to the CF-100 and the Orenda engine, and he made practically no mention of equipment matters generally. I should like to deal briefly with each of those points. One of the basic conceptions of our defence policy is and has been for a long time that in the event of war the mobilization of our forces must be based upon the reserves. In that connection last year we had a statement by the conference of defence associations, composed of the senior officers of the reserve forces. Their evidence was that the reserve was not in a good and efficient state. I have heard nothing from any source to indicate that conditions are better now than they were last year. I should like to read just one short sentence from the submission made last year by that conference to the minister:
It is our considered and unanimous opinion that proper value is not being received for much, of the public moneys now being spent on the reserve force.
This is the very thing I have just been talking about; proper value is not being received for the money being expended, according to the men most closely associated with the reserve forces.