Since the minister has informed me that the army area headquarters have not been moved from Fredericton, can he explain why army camps in other areas a long distance from Gagetown have been closed? I am informed that the camp at Fredericton has a very high maintenance cost. It is located in a very beautiful part of the city which perhaps could be used to much better advantage. Those working at the army area headquarters in Fredericton would be inconvenienced very little by a move of 12 or 14 miles to Gagetown.
Can the minister explain why a camp such as Camp Utopia in Charlotte county would be closed and a camp in the city of Fredericton would be maintained? I have been asked this question by many people, and I can assure the minister that there is a great interest in the province of New Brunswick concerning this matter as it is felt that army headquarters in Fredericton could have been moved and the Utopia camp maintained at very little cost to the government.
As the hon. member knows. Camp Gagetown has been under construction for a number of years. The intention was that the training of all the units in the Atlantic provinces would take place at Gagetown, and that the regular army units would be stationed there as soon as the accommodation was completed.
The hon. member asked me whether the headquarters were still at Fredericton. My answer was that the headquarters are still at Fredericton. There is no camp at Fredericton, but at the present moment there is no spare accommodation at Gagetown. Units are moving into Gagetown as soon as accommodation is made available. It is under consideration whether at some future date, when the accommodation question is adjusted, the headquarters for that area might not be moved from Fredericton to Gagetown, but the accommodation is not available at the present time.
Mr. Chairman, the answer the minister gave to my last question was completely unsatisfactory and thoroughly disheartening. The only reason I excuse him is that, as he said and probably legitimately so, he was not dealing with his own department and this was really a matter for defence production. Nevertheless, when the Minister of National Defence tells me that the degree of co-ordination we have achieved after all these years is limited to the exchange of visits, the setting up of a group of advisers and frequent consultations, I should like to know what is the meaning of the word "co-ordination". However, I will ask him another question which I think he possibly can answer in view of the fact that we have in Europe a brigade and an air division. This arises again out of this awful communique from Paris.
Recognizing the rapidly growing interdependence of the nations of the free world-
These cliches are not mine, Mr. Chairman.
-we have, in organizing our forces, decided to bring about closer co-ordination with a view to ensuring that each NATO member country makes its most effective contribution . . .
Will the minister please translate those words into something tangible? Will he tell us what is actually happening in the way of co-ordination of the armed forces of NATO?
Co-ordination of the armed forces of NATO will be discussed in detail when the meeting of the defence ministers of the NATO countries takes place next March. The communique to which the hon. member refers was really an outline of the principles agreed upon by the heads of states. The details will have to be worked
Supply-National Defence out at the subsequent meeting which, as I have said, has been called for early in the year, March or April, I believe.
There is one point on which the hon. member misunderstood my remarks. I did not say that this was a matter for defence production. I referred to the defence research board, which is a later item in this estimate.
accept the minister's statement that despite the many speeches that have been made by ministers since NATO was founded, we are only going to start to co-ordinate our forces this year? Has there been no attempt at coordination in the past, or have we been deceived throughout all these years by these vague and pious statements emanating from men whose minds are still in the Maginot era?
That is a most ridiculous statement. Long before the present government came into power meetings were held. Ever since the NATO organization was established there have been meetings of the defence ministers every year, and there is a very high measure of co-ordination now among the NATO countries. That co-ordination will continue, and the next meeting of the defence ministers is in March.
In that case why is this particular paragraph included in the communique? Second, when I asked for some information about co-ordination why did the minister tell me that this would be decided at the next meeting of defence ministers? On that basis one can assume legitimately that nothing much had been done about it before. What I want to know is not about the next meeting of ministers and the hopes that may be raised as a result of that meeting, but what has actually happened in the field of co-ordination up to the present. How efficiently co-ordinated are the forces or, indeed, is there co-ordination in any sense of the word?
Unfortunately I was not here yesterday, but I noticed in Hansard that there was an exchange between the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre and the minister with regard to the apparent conflict between statements made by the minister before the NATO conference and statements made by the Prime Minister after the conference, in that the minister had indicated earlier that it was the hope of the government to be able to curtail and economize on defence expenditures and the Prime Minister indicated that colossal further spending would be necessary.
I quite understand the logic of the minister's suggestion that he cannot discuss next
year's estimates while we are still discussing the current estimates, but I would suggest that the defence expenditures we are making today cannot be considered in a vacuum and as purely concerned with the year that ends on March 31, 1958. Surely they must have some relationship to future plans of the government with regard to defence spending.
Therefore I think we are entitled to at least some indication from the minister with respect to whether or not the government is still of the mind which he expressed earlier, that it will be possible to reduce the colossal spendings that are going on at the present time; or do we have to contemplate even greater ones as suggested by the Prime Minister? It seems to me that the government should tell us quite frankly whether or not they are still of the opinion that in the present circumstances the type of defence spending that has been going on in Canada is really of any relevance in the world of modern warfare.
All these expenditures have been very carefully considered, and we believe that the amount of money allocated for defence as reflected in these estimates is very definitely related to the commitments we have to make both for the defence of this country and our obligations under our NATO and United Nations commitments. It is impossible at this time to give any indication as to the extent of next year's estimates.
Can the minister inform the house whether, as a result of the annual review of the NATO authorities which must have been discussed at the last council meeting, any requests were made of the Canadian government which would require any modification of our military contribution to NATO?
As the hon. member knows, there is an annual review which is submitted to the different countries and which will be discussed at the March meeting. My recollection is that no substantial change in the size of the forces Canada is contributing has been recommended.