January 4, 1958

PC

Clayton Wesley Hodgson (Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Public Works)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Hodgson:

What he is reading is what the minister has said-

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LIB
PC

Clayton Wesley Hodgson (Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Public Works)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Hodgson:

You come over and try to make me shut up. I would like about two minutes with you-

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PC

Arza Clair Casselman (Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole)

Progressive Conservative

The Deputy Chairman:

Order.

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LIB

Louis Deniset

Liberal

Mr. Deniset:

Mr. Chairman, on October 22 I quoted these remarks in the house, and then I said this-

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?

Some hon. Members:

Oh, oh.

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LIB

Louis Deniset

Liberal

Mr. Deniset:

It would seem that I am hitting below the belt because I can hear noise from the other side. I said this as recorded at page 250 of Hansard for October 22, 1957:

I feel that the thousands of Canadian people who have sacrificed so many evenings, so many weekends and so many vacations during the summer time, purely as a result of devotion to duty to carry out training with the militia, deserve an explanation, and I trust this explanation will be forthcoming sooner than in mere due course.

Now, today we are gradually getting some explanation.

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IND

Donald Cameron

Independent Liberal

Mr. Cameron:

I wonder if the minister had an opportunity during the luncheon recess to look at today's copy of the Ottawa Citizen? If so, did he see in it a letter by Major General W. H. S. Macklin, retired, who is discussing a panel discussion which had taken place on T.V., and said:

My own wish, which wasn't debated either, was for a new and realistic defence policy for 1958.

In pursuit of our present sterile policy we have blown in billions on defence year after year. And yet as of new year's 1958, we are defenceless. We

have no defence whatever against the only direct attack that can be delivered on us-a nuclear attack.

We have only a deterrent, to maintain which we have already sacrificed every vestige of sovereign power to stay neutral as Dr. Whitton suggested we should do. Even the deterrent is now disastrously weakened by the Russian rocket.

For my part, in the absence of a new, and more objective defence policy, I should be delighted to take on the job of keeping Canada in her present helpless state for only nine hundred million per year, instead of the eighteen hundred millions or more that we have been dumping into the quicksands of the defence department year by year in the past.

I imagine, Mr. Chairman, that the minister will have a better estimate than I have of the authority with which General Macklin speaks. Both of them being major generals they should have a fair estimate of each other's ability. I should like to ask the minister if he agrees, in the first place, with General Macklin's statement that:

We have no defence whatever against the only direct attack that can be delivered on us-a nuclear attack.

I should like to ask him if he agrees that is the only sort of attack to which we could be subjected. If so, does he seriously contend that there is any method by which, at the present time, Canada or her allies could have a deterrent which might prevent such an attack. I know this morning he told me that they did have a means of protecting the bases from which deterrent attacks could be launched. I would think that is rather questionable in the light of his further statement that there is no defence against the intercontinental guided missile, no method by which the launching sites for deterrents against them could be protected. I wonder, Mr. Chairman, if the minister would care to comment on General Macklin's rather forthright statement that we have literally no defence, and at the moment we are dumping billions down the drain in pursuit of the same sterile policies?

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PC

George Randolph Pearkes (Minister of National Defence)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Pearkes:

Mr. Chairman, I thought we were dealing with the details of the army estimates. This question gets back again into the realm of general policy. In so far as the statement of General Macklin is concerned, I did not have an opportunity of reading it during the luncheon hour. I have known General Macklin for a period of 30 years or more, and I think I am in a position to assess the reliability of the information that he sometimes gives to the general public through newspaper reports. I disagree entirely with him that we are in a helpless state. The whole tenor of the NATO conference was that we are speaking from a position of strength. NATO, of which Canada is a partner and an important partner,

Supply-National Defence speaks not from weakness, not from craven fear, not with any idea of appeasement, but from strength and in the knowledge that Russia is fully aware of the strength that there is in the powers of retaliation. That is our hope for peace. So long as we keep up that strength I give the Russians sufficient credit for common sense that they are not going to attempt to attack this country. We count, for the preservation of peace, on the knowledge that we are prepared, if necessary and if Russia violates the present peace conditions-the west has no thought of offensive operations-we are yet in a position to strike back in a way that certainly would not make it worth Russia's while to do that.

I admit that we have no direct defence at the present time against the intercontinental missile, nor has Russia got any strength in intercontinental missiles at the present time. Perhaps by the time Russia has developed strength which might make her foolhardy enough to attack this country we shall have the answer to the intercontinental missile. But our hope for peace today rests on the power of our alliance, on the deterrent that that alliance is able to provide, and on the means of retaliation if Russia is so indiscreet as to start a war.

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CCF

Alexander Malcolm Nicholson

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

Mr. Nicholson:

Earlier this morning the minister was kind enough to indicate that our expenditure to maintain the army in Europe was about $30 million and for the air force, $90 million. Again, if I may, I should like to refer him to the speech he delivered in July, 1956 in which he suggested, as recorded at the bottom of page 6207 of Hansard of that year:

I am not suggesting that there should be any cuts or reductions made in this year's estimates, but I think between now and the time the minister presents his estimates a year hence he must review the whole situation in a most thorough and comprehensive manner.

I would remind him that his colleagues the Minister of Veterans Affairs and the Secretary of State supported him two years ago in expressing the hope at least that some relief could be seen in the future toward reducing these very heavy expenditures. Now that the minister has been in charge of the department for six months I wonder if he could indicate whether any effective savings have been made in connection with the retaining of the armed services in Europe. While we are not discussing the air force at the moment, these two items total $120 million. While the minister was very careful two years ago to indicate that no intelligent person would suggest that those who are serving Canada in Europe should have their pay and allowances or other services cut, the whole tenor of the minister's remarks two years ago indicated

Supply

National Defence that $120 million a year was a very heavy drain on the Canadian economy and that something should be done to reduce this amount. Could the minister indicate what has happened in the last 12 months or in the year 1957? Has there been any effective reduction in our expenditure with respect to maintaining the army and the air force in Europe?

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PC

George Randolph Pearkes (Minister of National Defence)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Pearkes:

This applies to the air force. Quite recently arrangements have been made to extend the period of service of the personnel in Europe, thereby eliminating the amount of transportation and the cost of continually changing the personnel. They were on a basis of a two-year term of service. But now, where there is any desire on the part of an individual or if the individual has no objection, his period of service is to be extended to three or four years. We are considering the possibility of introducing a similar sort of rotation with respect to the army. Wherever possible we have been reducing administrative costs, which reductions have enabled us to cover the increases which it was desirable to pay to the troops in the way of pay and allowances. But I admit frankly that it is a heavy drain on the Canadian economy to keep these forces in Europe. However it is an obligation that we have assumed. We believe it is money well spent in order to preserve the peace of the world.

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CCF

Alexander Malcolm Nicholson

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

Mr. Nicholson:

Two years ago the minister, as a private member and as an ex-soldier, expressed the considered opinion that these items should be carefully reviewed.

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PC

George Randolph Pearkes (Minister of National Defence)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Pearkes:

They have been carefully

reviewed.

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CCF

Alexander Malcolm Nicholson

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

Mr. Nicholson:

Can the minister indicate the percentage of the reduction in expenses? He has had six months as minister. He gave us roughly the figure of $120 million a year as what it has been costing. Could he indicate in percentages roughly the savings that are going to be effected as a result of the careful survey to which he has referred? Can he give us the total amount or the percentage of reduction that he anticipates?

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PC

George Randolph Pearkes (Minister of National Defence)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Pearkes:

We have not it in detail yet. The end of the year will reflect what savings we have been able to make. If it is possible to make any savings in that respect, they will be reflected in next year's estimates.

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LIB

John Richard Garland

Liberal

Mr. Garland:

This morning when we were discussing the matter of improving the site at Camp Chippewa the minister indicated he might give me an answer after lunch.

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PC

George Randolph Pearkes (Minister of National Defence)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Pearkes:

Yes. During the luncheon hour I was able to make some inquiries with regard to Chippewa. I understand that

the buildings at that camp, which was established during the Korean crisis, are owned by the Department of National Defence but that the land is owned by the city of North Bay. It has been agreed that the Department of National Defence will return part of the land to the city and will purchase the remainder. It has also been agreed that there will be carried out certain improvements, which I have described this morning more or less as general maintenance, to the buildings and their surroundings. I am informed that the plans have not yet been finalized for these improvements but that as soon as they are finalized the necessary improvements and developments of the surroundings will be undertaken.

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LIB

John Richard Garland

Liberal

Mr. Garland:

I should like to thank the minister for this information. With that thanks I should like also to couple the suggestion that perhaps he and his officials could expedite the matter. At the present time there are over 2,300 unemployed in our city. This figure is comparable to 900 unemployed exactly a year ago. My point in saying that is this. The majority of the people who are unemployed in our area at the present time are from the construction trades. If some of this work could be carried out at an early date I think it might be helpful.

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PC

George Randolph Pearkes (Minister of National Defence)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Pearkes:

I will certainly look into that matter and see whether we can start the work at an early date. We should like to take advantage of any possible opportunity to relieve unemployment.

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CCF

Stanley Howard Knowles

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

Mr. Knowles (Winnipeg North Centre):

At

the bottom of page 330 and at the top of page 331 there are listed a number of positions simply under the title "assistants". The salaries or wages paid to these assistants vary from about $1,100 at Belgrade to over $4,000 at Washington. Can the minister say what kind of assistants these persons are or what sort of work it is which they do for these varying rates of pay?

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January 4, 1958