July 13, 1955

?

An hon. Member:

They have no Liberal government there.

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SC

John Horne Blackmore

Social Credit

Mr. Blackmore:

I have an idea the explanation is that they have much better sense than to have a Liberal government. What are they doing? How are they doing it? Are they using their national credit? Who is to say that they are not? I do not know. Would you tell us how it is that Norway is able to do what she is doing in respect of paying her farmers, not to mention France? They are doing it. I understand that the government is entering into the picture and paying the farmers a subsidy out of government revenue in order to make up the price of wheat which they deem necessary in

[Mr. Blackmore.1

order to keep their farmers in a good healthy condition financially and economically.

It would therefore seem to me to be logical to conclude that there is unsoundness in the attitude of Canada as expressed in the Liberal party, and perhaps in the Conservative party, to the effect that it is wrong or it is bad policy or it is not sound for the government to enter into the picture and pay the farmers a little bit of a subsidy out of national revenue funds. It seems to me that attitude must obviously be unsound, because Switzerland and these other countries expect to carry on. They have been carrying on for several generations, and apparently they have been coming through all right. Their economy as well as that of practically every other country I have mentioned is undoubtedly weaker than Canada's.

Now we come to another aspect which I think certainly ought to impress every hon. member of the house, namely the gross unfairness of Canada's present method of making the farmers wait, pay storage and borrow into debt. I wonder how any member of this house would feel if he went into a year's work with $10,000 promised to him and then, when he had put in one month and expected his first pay cheque, he were told, "We cannot pay you yet; you will have to wait. Maybe we will be able to pay you next month", and so it went on until the year was up and still they said, "We cannot pay you yet; you will have to manage to get along". That is exactly the condition the farmers are in in my constituency, and it must be so in many other constituencies.

After the farmer has gone through all the risks, the work, the sweat, the anxiety and the expense of producing his year's crop, he has done his job. He has earned his pay. Then he cannot have his pay because he cannot sell his grain. If he puts the grain in an elevator he still cannot have his pay, because it is not sold. If it stays there two or three years and accumulates a great deal of expense in storage, he pays the shot although it is none of his fault in any way.

How can you justify that situation? I honestly believe that if you heard of that kind of thing being done in Russia you would take it as good evidence against communism. That is a situation which is obviously unreasonable. The farmers must live. Surely anybody can see that. Nowadays, every bit of travelling for instance the farmers do must be done with the use of gasoline, for which they must pay money. The situation is not as it used to be in the days when they drove horses that could feed on the grass. The situation is much worse today.

Some people act as though they were not living in the world of reality at all when they think about the farmers. Then when the farmers have no money they have to go into debt, when there is no assurance that they are going to be able to pay off the debt; and finally when it looks as though they will probably lose their farms, many of us apparently have just about as much interest in that procedure as we have in what occurs on Mars. It does not make a bit of difference to us what happens to them! It seems to me it is high time we did a little bit of realistic and human thinking about our farmers.

The next question is this. What shall we do about the situation if we get too much wheat? Suppose we get all the wheat we can sell, then all the wheat that we feel it is wise to store on the farms under the system I have suggested, and still we are getting too much wheat? I have an idea that some such system can be used ultimately as that which is used by the sugar factories in my constituency. Before the season begins the sugar factories enter into contracts with the sugar beet producers, and they say to them, "We will take all the sugar beets you can raise on say 20 acres; we will not take any more, but we will take that many. We will guarantee you a certain price at certain stipulated times, and we will guarantee to discharge several different kinds of responsibility in connection with the crop. All you can raise on 20 acres" or 10 acres or 30 acres, as the case may be, "will be contracted for". I see no reason why, in the ultimate, we in Canada should not adopt some such method as that in order to curtail the amount of wheat produced.

We would not thereby be holding control over the farmers or being dictatorial. No beet grower feels that he is being regimented. He feels that he has had an opportunity or has had the privilege to produce so many acres of beets. It seems to me that a similar thing could be done in respect of every commodity as to which we deem it advisable in the national interest to limit production.

The time may come when we shall feel just that way with regard to a good many commodities. We may feel that it is not good policy to take the nutrients out of our soil beyond a certain point. We may desire to keep some of the richness in the soil for the children to come. I would suggest that ultimately some such method of limiting production can be used without trying to squeeze the farmers out of production by lowering prices. That seems to be a sort of method of torture. Why not go about it in a different way?

Mr. Speaker, I think I will vote for this amendment. I think it is high time something

Agriculture

was done to help improve the condition of the farmers across this country. I do not think any of them are being treated nearly as well as they have a right to be treated and as we have a duty to treat them.

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SC

Solon Earl Low

Social Credit

Mr. Solon E. Low (Peace River):

Mr. Speaker, just before the vote is taken I think I should take a few minutes of the time of the house to make a statement with respect to the amendment moved by the hon. member for Humboldt-Melfort, which amendment reads as follows:

That the motion be amended by deleting therefrom all the words after the word "That" and by substituting therefor the following words:

"the government should give consideration to the advisability of establishing a system of parity prices for agricultural products."

Members of the house, Mr. Speaker, will note that the amendment specifically states that the government should give consideration to the advisability of establishing "a" system of parity prices for agricultural products, and does not at all suggest a particular type of parity price set-up. It does indicate that there should be some latitude for the government, and I imagine I am interpreting the amendment correctly when I say that the mover and those who are supporting him mean that they want a system of prices for farm products that will guarantee farmers their fair share of the national income. If the farmers of Canada make up, let us say, 16 per cent of the total population, then we would expect that the price system for their products would yield them something like 16 per cent of the national income.

That is the attitude we take toward the amendment. That is the objective we hope we can reach; and how the government does that is not too important as far as we are concerned provided, of course, they do not clamp on us a completely controlled economy. May I point out, Mr. Speaker, that we are living in an economy that is partly controlled, in which there are guarantees given to almost every section of society except the farmers. When I say "guarantees", one needs only to remind himself of the protection that is afforded to the industrialists of the country by way of tariffs. One only needs to remind himself of the protection afforded by the government to the workers of the country through such things as the Unemployment Insurance Act provisions.

All these things, and I could name many more, indicate that we are living in an economy which does much for many sections but little, if anything, for the farmer by way of guaranteeing that his income will remain at a level comparable with the level of income of other sections of our economy. The minister says that parity prices will result in

Agriculture

conditions which will make farmers worse off rather than better off. I took down his words pretty carefully, so I would not make any mistake. I can remember not so long ago when the minister favoured a pricing system for farm products, the object of which would be to keep the prices of these products in fair relationship to the prices of other products based upon the relationship that prevailed between them in the years 1943, 1944 and 1945. I am wondering what has happened to the minister since that time.

It seems only a very few years ago that he was expressing that idea in the house, and quite clearly, but evidently something or somebody has had an adverse effect upon his mind because he is not talking that way now. How can the minister say that parity prices will result in conditions that will make the farmers worse off rather than better off in the light of what has happened in the United States of America, just next door? Can he say that farmers in the United States are worse off today than they were five, six, seven, eight or ten years ago because of the fact that the government of the United States has maintained all during that period a parity price system, and a pretty rigid one at that?

I think it can be shown that farmers in the United States of America are much better off than they are in Canada, and certainly the position of the United States farmer has not declined as a result of the parity price system the government of the United States has maintained for about 10 years and which was based, by the way, upon the period 1909 to 1914. In the United States it can be said with assurance that the government has stood by the farmers.

We will probably have a chance to get at the minister again on this matter on his estimates, and I should like him to tell the house just how he and the government propose going about the very important task of ensuring farmers their fair, proportionate share of the national income in an economy that provides guarantees for nearly every other section of society except farmers. I should like him to tell us that.

I once asked one of the leading officers of the department of agriculture of the United States the same question. In a group I was in he was expressing the view that he could not quite go along with the farmers' demand for a parity price system, but when I asked him the question, how else are you going to guarantee the farmer his fair share of the national income, he threw up his hands and said "I don't know." Neither does anybody else. I think it is about time the minister

began to lay before the house some plan by which he can guarantee the farmer his fair share of the national income and see to it that farm cash income is kept at a high level.

I have already placed before members of the house facts and figures relative to the important business of keeping farm cash income at a high enough level so there can be a balance between agriculture and industry in this country. I draw attention to the fact that when a dollar paid to a farmer for any one of his products starts the circuit from the farmer, it immediately creates a dollar in wages and salaries to a worker or workers in industry, and at the same time as it goes through the circuit from the farmer to all the service centres surrounding the farming areas it creates no less than $7 of national income. That is the kind of thing that keeps the economy going. If the farmer is denied that dollar of income, what happens? There will be a denial of at least a dollar of income in the form of wages and salaries to the workers in factories and industries in our country, and also in the service circuit through which these dollars inevitably have to travel somebody will be denied at least $7 of national income.

I draw to the attention of hon. members that one of the biggest reasons we had 600,000 unemployed in the country during the past winter was the very serious decline in farm income. When one thinks about the terrific decline in farm income, how it affected the farmers' ability to buy the products of the factories and how the service people in between the farmers and the industrialists suffered in income, one can readily understand why the economy came very close to a bad recession. Keeping farm cash income at a high level is one of the most important and pivotal things the government can do, and members of the government should begin to take the matter seriously instead of standing up here and trying to defend an outworn and decadent system. I do not see why in the world we should go on thinking that the farmers will look after themselves irrespective of the protection afforded to other parts of our economy.

I believe, Mr. Speaker, the minister owes it to this house to give us an explanation of the kind of thing that he and his government think would be possible to keep the farmers' cash income at a high level, in order that the farmers of Canada may buy the goods that are coming out of our industrial plants.

At the end of his speech the minister warned members of the house to be careful how they voted on the amendment. He suggested that those who support the amendment calling for support prices may have to spend

considerable time in the next few months explaining their stand. I am going to say this, Mr. Speaker. If I do not vote for the amendment I shall have to spend a very long time explaining my stand, and at the end of the explanation I might find that I was out on my ear.

I represent a farming community, and they expect me to say a word on their behalf concerning their requirements. I want to draw to the attention of the minister this very important fact, and he should know it. All he needs to do is look around him and see the few Liberals there are from western Canada to realize how the farmers of this country have regarded the policies of the Liberal government toward the adoption of parity prices for farmers.

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William Melville Martin

Mr. Martin:

As the hon. member knows, a great many of the western members are busy outside of the house.

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SC

Solon Earl Low

Social Credit

Mr. Low:

I am not counting those who are in the house. I know some members are busy with other things. I am speaking of those who are elected to represent the people of Canada. One of the best bits of evidence as to the way the farmers of western Canada regard this whole question of parity prices and farm income is found in the fact we were able this morning to introduce into this house a young man who stood, all throughout the by-election campaign, for parity prices. He was elected in spite of the fact we had ministers out there falling over themselves in an attempt to show the people how foolish these Social Crediters were. They were wearing ten-gallon hats; they were making smart retorts and doing everything they possibly could, including holding tea parties, to influence those people to vote Liberal.

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An hon. Member:

What was his majority?

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Solon Earl Low

Social Credit

Mr. Low:

That is all right. In spite of that, I just advise the Minister of Agriculture to take a better look at this situation and he will discover that the farmers of western Canada are anxious to have an agricultural policy established in this country that will return to them their fair share of the national income. I support them in that, and I shall continue to support them because I know it is right. It is the only way the economy of Canada can be kept strong and vital.

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CCF

Thomas Speakman Barnett

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. T. S. Barnett (Comox-Alberni):

Like the hon. member for Peace River I was much more impressed by the fervor of the Minister of Agriculture when he spoke earlier today than I was by his logic. I must say that so far as I could see the minister made no attempt whatever to meet the position which has been stated by some of my

Agriculture

colleagues concerning the situation in which the farm producers of this country find themselves so far as the share of the national product which they receive today is concerned. For that reason I felt I should like to speak for a few minutes in support of the motion moved by my colleague, the hon. member for Humboldt-Melfort.

Some members may wonder why I would take part in this debate, because certainly I do not represent a constituency which ordinarily is considered to be agricultural, though of course there are a number of farmers living in that area who are as much concerned about their situation as farmers anywhere else in Canada. However, the bulk of the population of the constituency which I represent are dependent for their livelihood upon the forest products industry.

I recognize that that industry is somewhat different from agriculture, inasmuch as by and large the production is not carried on by an owner-producer as is the case in the field of agriculture. I suppose that at the present time the situation in the forest products industry could be considered good. The last quarterly statement of the lumber products corporations showed a rise in their net profits, and the workers in that industry have recently come to an agreement with the operators and signed a two-year contract which, amongst other things, provides for an increase of 5 cents an hour in their wage rates this year and another increase of 5 cents an hour effective in June next year. Therefore, by and large, I could safely say, there is no cry in the forest products industry of British Columbia today that they are not receiving their fair share of the national income.

As I listened to the situation in the agricultural industry, as outlined by my colleagues, I could not help but feel that "there, but for the grace of God, go I." We must recognize that there are other economic interests in this country that are as vulnerable to the situation in which the farmers find themselves today as are the farmers. If certain conditions developed in world markets in respect to forest products, and if there were a fall-off in some other sections of the economy in regard to their purchasing power for these products of the forest industries of British Columbia, this industry could find itself in exactly the same plight as the farmers find themselves today, that they were not receiving their fair share of the national product.

I feel, therefore, that if the citizens of this country are to be able to lead prosperous and happy lives we have to come to a recognition that as to the different economic groupings in this country, we must be prepared

Agriculture

to help one another. I feel, for that reason, that this motion sets forth something that is for the good of a large section of the Canadian people.

I take it that should the people who depend upon the forest products industry find themselves in the same position as the farmers, the movers of this motion would be prepared to sponsor the same type of action to enable the woodworkers to enjoy their proper share of the national income. It is because I feel we must recognize that we are, in effect, our brother's keeper, regardless of what part of Canada we happen to live in or come from, or to what economic group within our society we may belong, that I believe this motion should be supported.

It is the type of action we can and should expect our government to undertake. Certainly as I listened to the minister this morning he gave no indication whatever that he was prepared to suggest a positive program to meet the situation which has been outlined by some of my colleagues, and which has not been challenged. Therefore, Mr. Speaker, I take great pleasure in saying these few words in support of the motion before the house.

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David George Hahn

Mr. Hahn:

I was paired with the hon. member for Burnaby-Richmond (Mr. Goode). Had I voted I would have voted for the amendment.

Motion agreed to and the house went into committee, Mr. Robinson (Simcoe East) in the chair.

DEPARTMENT OF NATIONAL DEFENCE Defence services-

236. To provide for the Canadian forces, the defence research board and other expenditures relating to defence, including contributions toward the military costs of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization; to authorize expenditures in the

current year out of the amount hereby provided, not exceeding $175,000,000, under the provisions of section 3 of the Defence Appropriation Act, 1950, and to provide that, notwithstanding subsection (3) of that section, where equipment or supplies acquired by the Canadian forces after March 31, 1950, are transferred, the estimated present value thereof shall, if the governor in council so directs, be credited to this vote instead of being paid into the special account mentioned in the said subsection (3), and when so credited may be expended for the purposes of the Canadian forces; and notwithstanding section 30 of the Financial Administration Act to authorize total commitments for the foregoing purposes of $4,269,726,540 regardless of the year in which such commitments will come In course of payment (of which it is estimated that $2,443,441,346 will come due for payment in future years), $1,729,285,194.

At six o'clock the committee took recess.

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AFTER RECESS The committee resumed at eight o'clock.


LIB

William Alfred Robinson (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Liberal

The Chairman:

Have we completed the discussion under the heading Royal Canadian Air Force?

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PC

John Borden Hamilton

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Hamilton (York West):

Mr. Chairman, I must say that I am completely baffled by the minister's white paper dealing with the equipment situation in so far as the air force is concerned, and his comparison with what appear to be the actual facts. I might say that some of the statements made in the white paper itself are almost impossible to reconcile with others in the same document. First of all let us read from page 43 of the white paper. Paragraph 163 begins with these words:

Production and delivery of the CF-100 Mk 4 is now well under way at Avro Aircraft Limited.

Later in the same paragraph it says:

As deliveries increase, the CF-100 Mk IV will gradually replace the CF-100 Mk III in all-weather fighter squadrons.

Later on in paragraph 201 on page 51 of the same book we find these words:

In 1954-55 expenditures on aircraft are expected to be about $97 million less than estimated. Notwithstanding this decrease in expenditures, aircraft production schedules have been maintained substantially as planned.

On page 52 the second line begins in this way:

The trend to lower costs resulting from-

I am skipping some words here dealing with increased efficiency.

-somewhat lower rates of production planned for the CF-100.

I think we are entitled to know exactly what the situation is. I am wondering which is really the more dangerous attitude to take in matters of this kind. Are we better

Supply-National Defence off to refuse complete disclosure of information in connection with production facilities and plans for manning our air force because of fear that we may be allowing an enemy to have information which might be of some benefit to him, or is it really not more dangerous to keep a public such as the Canadian public not completely informed of the true situation in connection with aircraft equipment requirements? There is little doubt that although the first paragraph I read indicated a continuing line of production to equip our squadrons with CF-100 all-weather interceptors, there has been a definite slowdown. I might refer at this time to an editorial in the Toronto Globe and Mail of Thursday, March 31, 1955:

The reduction has hit hardest at Avro, which produces the CF-100 jet fighter, and is currently developing the CF-105 supersonic, at its huge Malton plant. Early in January, Avro got orders from the defence department to slow down CF-100 production, and in consequence laid off 1,000 men. A further slow-down has now been ordered, which means the lay-off of another 1,000 men. This year, Avro will produce fewer than half as many CF-lOO's as it did last year. And 2,000 members of the skilled production team it built up with such great effort and expense will be lost to it, probably for good.

If we need any additional information as to the slow-down in the production of this plane, I might refer to the Ottawa Journal of May 12 of this year. Under the dateline May 12 from Renfrew, it states:

Attributed to curtailment in Orenda jet engine schedules, 61 men were laid off today by Light Alloys Ltd., at Haley's.

In addition, it is common knowledge in Toronto that suppliers to Avro, such as Lucas-Rotax, have made lay-offs, and lay-offs are to continue in the future. As a matter of fact the indication here that 2,000 men have been involved at Avro may be on the light side, not the heavy side. With one paragraph of the white paper indicating a continuing effort to equip our home defence squadrons with CF-100 planes, this cut-back comes apparently in the face of information that not more than three or four squadrons are completely equipped with this plane for home defence.

When we talk about three or four squadrons we are talking about 50 to 75 planes. The minister has indicated that it is the intention to completely equip the balance of nine squadrons this year. I say to him that we should have definite information which indicates the possibility that this will be done, even in view of the apparent slow-down in the production rate of these aircraft.

The minister has apparently indicated to us that 10 auxiliary squadrons which it had been formerly planned to equip with these aircraft will not now obtain them.

6084 HOUSE OF

Supply-National Defence The question may be academic at this time as to what type of plane those auxiliary squadrons will have, but the main factor is that when the defence of this country was planned based upon the use of the CF-100, it was obvious that 10 auxiliary squadrons were going to fill a very definite need in the total defence structure. Surely then, if it is now the intention to scrap those plans, the only alternative to such a move would be to add at least another five or six squadrons to our active force.

The minister owes an explanation to this house as to what plans are going to be followed to ensure that the 10 auxiliary squadrons which very definitely must have filled a very useful purpose in our previous plans will be replaced in some other way in connection with our defences. It is most difficult to understand the situation in connection with this plane. I think we are entitled to know it.

It seems to me there is some indication that perhaps not even the nine original squadrons will be completely equipped, notwithstanding the fact that in connection with this program the minister has said-and I think I took some notes at the time he was speaking indicating this-that it would serve a very useful purpose for some time to come, and programs were being outlined to carry out that purpose. At the same time it was indicated as has been stated in the past and is indicated in the white paper-that this country has been called upon through mutual aid to supply certain types of help to foreign countries. At page 19 of the white book, paragraph 62, we find these words:

bJ ProducIt>g in excess of thesi requirements, Canada agreed to assist in meetim the equipment requirements of allied countries b' program the Canadian mutual aii

Going on to paragraph 63:

While the emphasis in Canada's earlier programs was on transfers of equipment from service stocks, since around 1953 programs have contained an increasing proportion of materials and equipments supplied from current Canadian production.

Is this not the plane as well that was indicated as being very desirable for service overseas? I notice that, as reported at page 628 of Hansard, the minister had this to say:

Increased emphasis, too, is being placed on the air arm, but as hon. members are well aware this increased emphasis on air power is and has been for some years past a feature of our own Canadian defence program.

In this regard the military committee of NATO has been continually stressing for some time past the need for increased air defence in Europe, particularly in the field of all-weather fighters. We have been pressed for some time past to assist in this regard by reason of the fact that we in Canada are producing, in the CF-100, what is generally regarded as one of the very best all-weather fighters in NATO.

This particular quotation from Hansard was referred to in the Globe and Mail of April 4 of this year under the heading "Left Hand, Right Hand". The editorial quoted part of the excerpt which I just read, and following that said:

-Hon. Ralph Campney, Minister of National Defence, in House of Commons, January 28, 1955.

Then it goes on to say this:

''There is certainly no indication that any member of NATO is not interested in any piece of Canadian equipment which would aid in the collective defence."-Hon. L. B. Pearson, Secretary of State for External Affairs, in House of Commons, March 31, 1955.

It further goes on to say:

"I know of no orders (for CF-100's) from any nation other than Canada."-Right Hon. C. D. Howe. Minister of Defence Production, in House of Commons, March 31, 1955.

These last two answers were given to questions which I myself placed before these ministers. Apparently it is not because we cannot sell jet fighters, because I see in the Globe and Mail of this morning, July 13, under the heading "Canadian Jets are purchased by South Africa", an article which indicates this:

South Africa has placed an order for an undisclosed number of Canadian-produced mark VI Sabre jet fighters, it was announced today.

The South African high commissioner's office said deliveries of the swept-wing fighter by Cana-dair Limited, Montreal are scheduled to start April 1, 1956.

What is the true situation in connection with this production? We would all like to know. Surely we have not reached the stage where we are going to base Canada's home defence, as far as the air force is concerned, upon three or four squadrons of CF-lOO's.

I am sure everyone is impressed by the tremendous amount of publicity we are now reading concerning the establishment of the various radar warning lines. But if we are anticipating the type of attack that has been experienced in other wars, just having the radar warning line without the defensive planes to do the job will never help defend this country.

Perhaps I might suggest to the minister that while we are assisting in building the warning lines, we appear to be depending on the United States for the air defence. I do not think anyone expects that we can always have our squadrons equipped with the latest, up to date planes. We are told that no sooner has a plane come off the drawing board than it is out of date. But surely it is necessary at various stages to call a halt and produce the planes to man the squadrons we require and, while doing that, to go on with our engineering and processing work to put a new type on the production fine.

I suggest that we apparently are failing in both respects, but not because of any failure in the productive capacity of our plants. I believe it is of much interest to all of us, not just to those who may be in the area where these plants are located, to see that these plants are at the ready, that they are always in a position to produce. But if we are going to cut their staffs by 2,000 and

3,000 it will be impossible to obtain the necessary wartime volume of production.

Reference is made to the radar defences. I was amazed to read in the Telegram of Thursday, July 7, an article headed "Canada Far Behind U.S. on D.E.W." and reading in part as follows:

The Americans have proven themselves faster than Canadians when it comes to building radar warning lines in Canada's north.

The United States started later, is flying farther and is expected to finish sooner than Canada. The Americans are also spending more than the Canadians.

At least with that sentence I think we would all agree. That is one place we would expect them to lead. The article continues:

A competent source said all sites for the D.E.W. (distant early warning) line being erected by the U.S. along the Arctic coast-roughly the 70th parallel-have been selected and that 40 per cent of the buildings on the sites have been put up. Peak of the huge airlift for the D.E.W. fence has been passed.

Work was started first on the mid-Canada chain, which this country is building along the 55th parallel, and according to the original schedule it was to have been completed ahead of the D.E.W.

But informants said work on the more complicated D.E.W. line is far ahead.

If this is our major contribution to Canadian defence, surely we should be able to ensure that our share of the work is completed ahead of the much more difficult job which has been undertaken far to the north.

The hon. member for Brandon-Souris referred to the recruiting situation. Is it possible that failure to obtain the necessary personnel is the whole trouble in connection with manning the squadrons for Canadian defence? A return made to the house this year indicated that of some 5,500 people making application, over 4,000 were turned down. It seems to me we are entitled to know whether the failure to obtain the necessary manpower to man the aircraft may be one of the contributing causes of the failure to put the squadrons in the air.

It has been suggested that the use of intercontinental ballistic weapons may do away with this ordinary type of attack altogether. But if progress in development in all countries keeps pace we may expect to have what might be termed an ordinary war. Radar defences may be dangerous in that they may leave us with a Maginot line complex. I think that was referred to as well by the

Supply-National Defence previous speaker. The only way to do the job is to get the squadrons in the air. To date, so far as our domestic defences are concerned, we have failed in that purpose.

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PC

William McLean Hamilton

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Hamillon (Notre Dame de Grace):

Mr. Chairman, there is one point I should like to draw to the minister's attention, because I think it illustrates the tendency on occasion for the national defence department and the armed services to make expenditures in excess of that which is necessary to accomplish a specific purpose, and to utilize facilities far beyond those required for a specific end.

I want to make it quite plain that money which is well spent on national defence, spent with due respect for economy, is properly spent and certainly has my support. However, the spending of money which is poured down the drain without regard for economy can no more be justified because it is wasted on behalf of national defence than if it were wasted on any other purpose.

I refer to the facilities now being used for air force recruiting in the centre of the city of Montreal. This matter was drawn to my attention some little time ago, and before taking it up in the house I made a point of personally visiting the particular locale, 680 St. Catherine street west. I was greeted very nicely and shown through the building by one of the officers there when I identified myself. I emphasize that because what I am about to tell the minister is not hearsay. It is factual. The building now being used is an old post office vacated several years ago. It is located in one of the highest priced sections of Montreal on one of the busiest streets at one of the busiest intersections, in the midst of other real estate which is used at very high rentals primarily for stores, office space or by clubs for entertainment purposes, by restaurants and so on.

On the ground floor of the three-storey building now being used are facilities for the reception of inquirers regarding air force registration and extensive office facilities, including private offices for a number of the officers, examination rooms for giving tests and the like. The second floor is entirely devoted to officers' mess facilities for units in the area. To give an example of the lack of use of these premises, I may say that these messes are completely closed down for the summer.

The top floor is devoted to the commanding officer's office and a number of other rooms used for medical examinations, X-rays and the like. There might be justification for such extensive facilities if the volume of applicants coming to the office indicated a need for them, but we had a return filed

Supply-National Defence earlier this year which indicated that the total number of applicants for the air force in all Canada was 5,570. Yesterday the minister qualified the return, and may I say here that I wish the government would qualify their returns before giving them to the house rather than afterwards. I give the minister credit for having found out the mistake and bringing it to the attention of the house, but I do feel such information would be better if we got it correctly in the first instance.

However, the remarks the minister made yesterday in connection with the return indicated that of the 5,570 applicants in 1954, approximately half were serious in that they got beyond making an inquiry and got beyond their first examination for enrolment. Even if we take the larger figure, that means that for all Canada there were only about 22 applicants per day for the air force or about three per hour. If we limit that to Montreal we have at the most an average of one person an hour, and I am informed by people who know something about these premises that this is a reasonably accurate figure as to how many people go in and out the door.

We know from the minister's statement yesterday that many of these people never get beyond walking in and asking for a little information. Therefore we finally come to a situation in which we have a three-storey building with thousands of square feet of space being utilized for the handling of three or four people a day. That is wrong in the first place; it is doubly wrong in the second place because, as I have pointed out, the building is, in respect of its location, one of the most valuable in the city of Montreal.

Pressure has been put on the Department of Public Works on a number of occasions for the release of the building, because office space is at a tremendous premium and there are many organizations and individuals who would like to utilize these premises more efficiently and effectively than the recruiting office is now doing. I ask myself and I ask the government why it is necessary to have the officers' mess in that particular location. On either side of the building within a block or two there are commercial clubs. They are spending $400 or $500 a month for similar space on the second floor of buildings just because that is a suitable location for a commercial club.

An officers' mess could operate, I would think, quite as successfully a block or two away in premises which would be far less costly and far less valuable but undoubtedly equally satisfactory from the point of view of the officers' mess. I ask the government

[Mr. Hamilton (Notre Dame de Grace) .1

why it is necessary to set up a medical examination centre, which is used only occasionally, on another floor of this expensive piece of real estate, when it could be set up with equal effectiveness and equal efficiency a block or two away in real estate that would be perhaps not one-fifth or one-quarter the value.

In order to give some idea of the valuation of this property, I may say that the current city valuation on land and buildings is some $275,000. The experts who are currently revaluing property in preparation for another assessment roll at the end of this year estimate roughly that on the new roll the value of this property will be some $350,000. The government is using it simply for the purpose of handling a handful, three, four or five applicants per day for the air force.

Let this not be construed by any manner of means as a criticism of recruitment for the air force. It is good that we recruit people, and it is necessary that we recruit them. But I suggest it is not necessary to set up the office in such a spot as they have, and I recommend to the minister most urgently that he have somebody look at this location and come to the only sensible conclusion to which he could come, that the operation be moved to a spot where it could be operated with equal efficiency but with far less drain upon the taxpayers.

I suggest, Mr. Chairman, it may very well be that the minister will rise and say the Department of Public Works owns the building and therefore it is not costing us anything to use it. Of course the answer is that if the air force will get out we will not own the building but we will have some $400,000 or $500,000 which could be put into the consolidated fund and used for any one of a great many purposes, most of which-because we have seen some uses of government moneys-would be very definitely beneficial to the Canadian public.

I believe if the defence department would vacate this building, and if the government has no further sensible use for it because this is not a sensible use to make of it, they could sell the building and the taxpayers of this country would be substantially ahead of the game.

Seme hon. Members: Carried.

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PC

John Borden Hamilton

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Hamilton (York West):

I think we are entitled to an answer to some of these things.

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LIB

Ralph Osborne Campney (Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Mr. Campney:

I should like to deal with some of the observations of the hon. member for York West. First I would point out that this department is not concerned, as such, with the production of aeroplanes. We are

concerned, of course, with our requirements being met, but the fact that employees have been laid off or production has been cut is really the concern of the Department of Defence Production. However, we are responsible, of course, for taking such reasonable steps as are necessary to have our requirements met.

The sale of planes abroad is another function into which we do not enter, except that we have to give consent to classified types of equipment which may be included. As the hon. member mentioned in passing, the sale of Sabre jets to South Africa was a purely commercial transaction within the terms of Canadair's agreement with the parent North American company. While we are instrumental in having the release of classified instruments and weapons cleared with the United States company, there is no other action we need to take.

Now, as to our own needs and as to our own position, I will deal first with our position in Europe. We of course had a commitment to NATO to produce an air division of Sabre jets. We have succeeded in meeting that commitment on time, and we have continually improved the type of Sabre jets that are being used. This country can be justifiably proud and take considerable credit for that. Without wishing to boast, I think we have done a splendid job.

As I said in my statement at the opening of my estimates, the question of CF-lOO's for Europe has been mooted on a number of occasions in Europe, not with a view to European countries purchasing CF-lOO's but with a view to having some of them made available in Europe. We undertook that next year we will provide four squadrons of CF-lOO's in our air division in Europe. We intend to keep that commitment.

I regret as much as the hon. member does that considerations of security do not make it possible to be as completely frank and detailed as one would wish, but they are real considerations. The hon. member will realize what our opponents might gain by way of knowledge of our activities and plans, if I were to make certain statements of fact. They would certainly have excellent confirmation of the value of their sources of information. It is for this reason that the security regulations have been established. I can assure the hon. member that the nine squadrons for our defence forces in Canada will be equipped by the end of this year, which is the undertaking I gave to the house.

Another point mentioned by the hon. member had to do with the D.E.W. line. In support of his argument he read an excerpt from

Supply-National Defence a newspaper, which I dealt with in the house on July 7, at page 5804 of Hansard. It was a speculative newspaper story, and as I said in the house on that occasion, it was not in all respects accurate. Both the D.E.W. line and the mid-Canada line are proceeding, and they are proceeding on schedule. The mid-Canada line, which Canada is building solely at its own expense, was not started ahead of the D.E.W. line. The planning for the D.E.W. line started three years ago and the planning for the mid-Canada line, which is our responsibility, started two years ago.

Nevertheless the fact is that both these lines, which are tied in together, are going along very well indeed. It is anticipated that both will be operational on schedule.

The suggestion of the hon. member that we are depending solely on the United States for our defence is entirely in error. What we are doing is co-operating with the United States and carrying out our plans in conjunction with them. The permanent joint defence board meets frequently and matters affecting our joint defence projects on this continent are considered carefully. Our chiefs of staff work together, and there is excellent co-operation between them.

Only the other day our chairman of the chiefs of staff committee received a letter from Admiral Radford, his opposite number in the United States, in which he said:

"As you know, both Mr. Wilson-

That is the defence secretary of the United States.

"[DOT]-and the U.S. joint chiefs of staff are really very pleased and satisfied with the arrangements made between our continental air defence command and your Canadian headquarters."

I can assure the hon. member that many hours of intensive effort are being expended by both sides in co-operation, in the hope and expectation-and I think thus far that expectation has been realized-that jointly we shall work together, each carrying his own share, to provide the best possible defence for all of us.

The hon. member for Notre Dame de Grace has referred to a building we occupy in Montreal. I can only say-and I am sure he will readily appreciate this-that I am not familiar with the building and I am not in a position tonight to comment in detail on his observations. Certainly I shall have the matter looked into.

However, I would like to correct the hon. member on two or three matters. He spoke about a return dealing with the number of persons who were successful in examinations for aircrew. I would point out that at the recruiting centre in the building to which

Supply-National Defence he referred not only do we recruit aircrew, but also groundcrew. In the last year throughout Canada we recruited some 10,000 ground-crew or about 800 each month.

The headquarters for our auxiliary squadrons is also in that building. Whether our accommodation is better or more extensive than it should be, I am not in a position to say. But in this, as in nearly all cases, when we wish to rent accommodation we inform the Department of Public Works of our requirements and that department uses its best endeavours to obtain a suitable place as cheaply as possible. We do not rent areas or buildings ourselves. We utilize the service provided by the Department of Public Works. My understanding is that in this instance that department was consulted and the only suitable place it could find in the area was the building to which the hon. member referred. I am not familiar with all the facts, of course. However, we try to get what we need and get it at reasonable rates, and in doing so we operate through the Department of Public Works.

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PC

John Borden Hamilton

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Hamilton (York West):

From what the minister has said it would appear that in a considerable length of time we have equipped three or four squadrons with CF-lOO's. The minister indicates that the balance of nine squadrons will be equipped this year. We have another six months to go.

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LIB

Ralph Osborne Campney (Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Mr. Campney:

I do not confirm that we have equipped only three or four squadrons.

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PC

John Borden Hamilton

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Hamilton (York West):

You have not denied it, either. In addition we are told we have four squadrons slated for overseas work. The only reason I mentioned the layoffs at the plant was to confirm the suggestion of a slow-down in production. How does the minister reconcile the slowing down of production of these aircraft with the responsibility still placed on him of equipping the nine squadrons for Canada and four squadrons for overseas in the following 12 months?

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LIB

Ralph Osborne Campney (Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Mr. Campney:

We expect to begin to equip the four squadrons for overseas next year. The nine squadrons for the defence of this country here in Canada are to be completed this year.

I should mention one other matter mentioned by the hon. member for York West. I can assure him that the matter of auxiliary squadrons is receiving intensive and earnest consideration. I am entirely mindful of the problems that consideration raises; but it appears that the limited amount of training an auxiliary squadron, made up of persons who are bound to spend most of their time making their living in other activities, can

obtain in a year, makes the effective use of the CF-100 by auxiliary squadrons situation very doubtful. We are of course making an intensive study of it; but it does appear doubtful. The British have found in similar cases that the powerful jet aircraft equipped with a great amount of complex equipment, cannot be operated effectively by auxiliary squadrons.

The second observation by the hon. member follows naturally. If we come to that conclusion here, then certainly we will have to look at the defence picture from that angle. All these points are being carefully considered, and I expect that in the not too distant future we will be able to outline a policy in that regard. But as Minister of National Defence I would not want to equip auxiliary squadrons with CF-lOO's if I felt, after receiving advice from my experts and those who are familiar with all the circumstances obtaining in regard to these aircraft, that the degree of difficulty or danger to the aircrew would be such that it overstepped the bounds of reasonableness and care.

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PC

John Borden Hamilton

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Hamilton (York West):

Is there no urgency in connection with the finalization of the equipment program in connection with the nine squadrons here or the four squadrons for overseas; or do I understand that it is quite possible for us to slow down our production and still meet the needs of our defence program both in Canada and in Europe?

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July 13, 1955