July 13, 1955

LIB

Ralph Osborne Campney (Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Mr. Campney:

Mr. Chairman, I do not propose-and I am sure the hon. member will not expect me to do so-to discuss production figures. I am not going to enter into that matter at all. I should like to make this one other observation. I do not want to appear reluctant to answer the hon. member, but I am sure he will understand that I am not the Minister of Defence Production.

However, I do not want to give the impression which seems to have been gathered by the hon. member who has just spoken, that the auxiliary squadrons are not now equipped with any aircraft; or that it has been decided

that the auxiliary squadrons will not be equipped with CF-lOO's. There is no decision yet, but we hope to have one in the reasonably near future. We are making very intensive studies for the reasons I gave earlier in the evening.

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PC

Walter Gilbert Dinsdale

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Dinsdale:

I can appreciate the problems, but I think the matter of the suitable use of auxiliary squadrons has been under consideration for some time and the question arises just how long the decision can remain in abeyance.

However, leaving that for the moment I should like to refer again to the return on recruiting for aircrew that was referred to last night. The minister qualified the original return by indicating that the third category, those turned down for other reasons, amounting to 3,729, included 1,207 people who merely made an inquiry and also 1,393 who made a contact and voluntarily withdrew before being examined and enrolled.

That brings us to a figure of some 2,500 who were approaching the net. They had actually made the initial contact or had made inquiry, and I imagine they would be supplied with all the necessary information regarding enlistment for aircrew training. Half of the 2,500 went further than initial inquiry and, as the minister expressed it, made a contact.

There is not much difference between an inquiry and a contact, but it seems to me the fact that 2,500 young Canadians were sufficiently interested to make an initial approach concerning recruitment for aircrew training and then backed away would suggest that perhaps there was something wrong with the initial counselling, if I may use that phrase, that is given to these young men.

It would also seem to me that perhaps the initial information given regarding the aircrew training program must have a discouraging effect to a certain extent. Last night I raised the question of risk pay. I wonder whether the minister would comment as to any possible deterrent effect that pay levels or such factors as risk pay might have in discouraging these 2,500 young men to whom I have referred. Has he any explanation why, after the initial contact, such a large number did not go further with their intention?

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LIB

Ralph Osborne Campney (Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Mr. Campney:

I would only observe that we are dealing now with aircrew, not groundcrew, and we try to be very rigid in our qualifications. If there is any sign that a man will not make a successful pilot we think it is economical to dispense with his services as soon as that is realized. In the second place, those we keep in the service have to be of an extremely high standard.

I mentioned the question of aircrew a moment ago. We need about 900 new applicants to train each year. Last year we had 885, so we are fairly close to the mark.

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?

Milton Neil Campbell

Mr. Campbell:

Can the minister give any indication when the Cold Lake project will be completed and whether, when it is completed, the public will be given ample notice when bombs are going to be dropped in that area?

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LIB

Ralph Osborne Campney (Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Mr. Campney:

The range is in operation now. I am informed that ample notice has been posted throughout the district and given in various other ways, and that it is well known that the range is in operation.

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PC

Howard Charles Green

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Green:

Mr. Chairman, earlier in the evening there was some discussion about the rental of buildings for the Department of National Defence. I should like to have a clarification by the minister of the statement he made last night concerning a building ai i367 Howe street in Vancouver which apparently was rented-

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LIB

Robert Henry Winters (Minister of Public Works)

Liberal

Mr. Winters:

What is the address?

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PC

Howard Charles Green

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Green:

1367 Howe street-for the use of the ground observer corps. This subject was raised by the hon. member for New Westminster. It has come into prominence within the last few days in Vancouver because the owners of the building have made a claim against the city for damages caused by the fact that a ramp leading to a new bridge over water known as False creek has depreciated the value of the property.

In the course of the proceedings to determine the amount of damage it came out that the Department of National Defence has rented this property for the sum of $750 a month, and that the value of the building today, as given by the valuators who appeared for the owners, is $57,256. That means, of course, that at a rental of $750 a month, which is $9,000 a year, the owners will recover the full value of their property in less than seven years.

In the course of the proceedings it was also sworn by the valuators who appeared for the owners that the rentals were too high. I have here a clipping from the Vancouver Sun of July 4, just last week, which reads in part as follows:

Testimony showed that the air force pays currently $750 a month rent for the concrete block building and its penthouse.

I do not know who uses the penthouse, but apparently there is a penthouse.

Two private assessors called by the claimants-

That is, called by the owners.

-thought this too high. Douglas W. Reeve-

Supply-National Defence

The minister will agree with me there is certainly no more experienced or trustworthy valuator in British Columbia than Mr. Reeve.

*-said he would have estimated $550 a month before the ramp was built-

That is $200 less than the government is paying.

-and $400 afterwards. Harold B. Itter also thought $750 "a little high".

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LIB

Robert Henry Winters (Minister of Public Works)

Liberal

Mr. Winters:

What is the date of that

article?

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PC

Howard Charles Green

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Green:

July 4, 1955. Apparently the feature about this which I think requires explanation is that these two owners are two leading Liberals, outstanding Liberal party officials.

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LIB

Robert Henry Winters (Minister of Public Works)

Liberal

Mr. Winters:

Who are the owners?

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PC

Howard Charles Green

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Green:

The owners are Mr. R. Rowe Holland and William Couper. Mr. Holland has been a candidate for the federal house. I do not know how these things happen, but this is not the first time there has been an occurrence of this kind in Vancouver. Not so many years ago the government made a deal with certain people who were prominent Liberals under which a building was constructed called the Alvin building. It is now occupied by the unemployment insurance commission. This building was rented for some years; then a deal was made with the government under which the people who built it got an extremely high rent. Finally the government bought it. In my opinion, and I am sure this is the general opinion in Vancouver, the government lost several hundred thousand dollars in that deal.

Then we have the case of other prominent Liberal party people who rent buildings for postal stations and that sort of thing. I have raised this in the house at more than one session. I am really amazed that now, in 1955, we have another deal of the same kind. I think between the two ministers some explanation should be given of why it is that prominent Liberals are able to rent these buildings to the government at exorbitant rentals. It just is not good enough. I do not know, but this may be another case like the Alvin building. It may be that there was a deal with these people that if they constructed the building the government would then rent it for a certain amount. I would hope the Minister of Public Works would look up his files and find out whether that was what was done.

I have here an editorial from the Vancouver Sun of July 7 which sets out the facts of the deal, and which closes with these paragraphs, which I think sum up the situation:

What is really most important here is a question of the propriety of friends of the party in power doing business with the government in this way.

Supply-National Defence

Even if they were not making too much out of the deal the owners of the building would have been wiser to seek private tenants. And the government would have been wiser to seek other accommodation.

The government would be wise now to permit the matter to be thoroughly aired. Its least duty is to justify that rent.

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LIB

Robert Henry Winters (Minister of Public Works)

Liberal

Mr. Winters:

The hon. member is still

speaking of this building on Howe street?

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PC

Howard Charles Green

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Green:

Yes. Perhaps the Minister of National Defence could explain in what way this building is used. It is supposed to be for the ground observer corps, but within half a mile of the building at the other end of another bridge known as the Burrard street bridge there is an air force supply depot which I believe is just lying idle. Amongst the buildings in that depot it may be there is one that could have been used for this purpose. Then again, there is the British Columbia area command in the city of Vancouver, and I would have thought the ground observer corps could have been found accommodation in one of the buildings at that headquarters.

I should like to find out just how these transactions were handled. Somebody must decide that there has to be a building, and I presume the Department of National Defence makes that decision. Then it goes to the Department of Public Works and the Department of Public Works gets the building. But somewhere in these transactions there is a loophole through which Liberal party supporters are getting, which enables them to make contracts of great advantage to themselves and to the detriment of the country.

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LIB

Robert Henry Winters (Minister of Public Works)

Liberal

Mr. Winters:

That is not true.

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PC

Howard Charles Green

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Green:

Here are the actual facts. The valuators who appeared for these men, not the valuators for the city-

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LIB

Robert Henry Winters (Minister of Public Works)

Liberal

Mr. Winters:

On a point of privilege, I do not think it is either fair or true to say that deals are made which are of value to Liberals and a detriment to the country. I do not think the hon. member intended to say that.

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PC

Howard Charles Green

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Green:

If these deals are unwise-

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LIB

Robert Henry Winters (Minister of Public Works)

Liberal

Mr. Winters:

We must examine the facts before we come to a conclusion.

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PC

Howard Charles Green

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Green:

-and if they are of great value to the people who enter into them, if the owners are getting excessive rents, then it is a detriment to the country.

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July 13, 1955