March 3, 1959

LIB

Paul Theodore Hellyer

Liberal

Mr. Hellyer:

The Prime Minister spoke about the terrible situation in which the world finds itself and that is indeed true. All of us, he said, are agreed that an adequate defence is necessary. He went on to say that any disagreement was as to the course we should take to maintain that defence without causing national bankruptcy. Mr. Speaker, the national bankruptcy of this government came before its decision to discontinue the Arrow not because of it.

Topic:   DEFENCE POLICY, DEFENCE PLANNING, DEFENCE PRODUCTION
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PC

Gordon Knapman Fraser

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Fraser:

I thought there was a rule against reading speeches.

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LIB

Paul Theodore Hellyer

Liberal

Mr. Hellyer:

Later on in his speech this afternoon the Prime Minister spoke about production. The best production we have seen since his government took office, unfortunately, is the one he put on in the house this afternoon. One thing the Prime Minister has not learned from the Russians is that you cannot bargain with them unless you are as strong as they are. In this framework I should like to discuss the amendment before us. Our amendment condemns the government for its lack of a defence policy. Nothing that has been said in this debate has been the least bit reassuring to us. On the contrary, the government has by its very contradictory statements affirmed our belief that it does not know in which direction it is headed.

The government has found difficulty in making decisions and in formulating a defence policy. It has made some decisions since it took office however and a brief review of those may be in order. One of the first was to cut out many of the building projects in the summer of 1957, hangars, runway extensions, and so on, particularly affecting the Atlantic provinces. Those were cancelled abruptly. That decision was not made by the chiefs of staff but by the Minister of Finance (Mr. Fleming). The chiefs of staff were not given a chance on that one. Later in the year, when the government realized how badly it had miscalculated the Canadian economy and the bread lines started growing, many of the same projects were reinstated as a crash program in November;

1554 HOUSE OF

Defence Policy, Planning and Production reinstated, I might add, with considerable pomp and ceremony as a part of the great billion dollar vision.

Another early decision was the cancellation of the CF-100 Mark VI, which was an improved version of the Canuck, a more powerful aircraft, to be equipped with an air-to-air missile capable of dealing with some of the more recent Russian bombers. We do not know who made that decision. Probably whoever it was had some help from the Minister of Finance. In any event, the decision not to proceed might have been rationalized at the time on the basis that the Mark VI was soon to be superseded by the Avro Arrow.

Another decision that was made was a very major one, namely to integrate Canadian air defence squadrons with NORAD under NORAD command. From a military standpoint there is no doubt that this decision was the right one. From the standpoint of the supremacy of parliament and of the sovereignty of Canada it was a fateful day. As the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Pearson) said yesterday, that was the time to sit down with the United States and iron out in advance all of the many implications and to determine from them what role Canada could play in the partnership and particularly what our share of mutual defence production requirements should be. We are told that that decision was taken by the Prime Minister and the Minister of National Defence (Mr. Pearkes). We also understand that they did not even refer the matter to cabinet.

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PC

George Randolph Pearkes (Minister of National Defence)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Pearkes:

You know that has been denied in the house.

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LIB

Paul Theodore Hellyer

Liberal

Mr. Hellyer:

I did not know but I will

accept the minister's correction.

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LIB

Paul Joseph James Martin

Liberal

Mr. Martin (Essex East):

No cabinet minute was produced.

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LIB

Lester Bowles Pearson (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Mr. Pearson:

There is no cabinet minute on it.

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LIB

Paul Theodore Hellyer

Liberal

Mr. Hellyer:

They did not discuss the matter with parliament, as they should have on such an important question as placing Canadian squadrons under a United States air force general. That gives us some clue to the manner in which decisions are made by this government.

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PC

Gordon Harvey Aiken

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Aiken:

Mr. Speaker, on a point of order-

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PC

Charles Edward Rea (Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole)

Progressive Conservative

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Rea):

Order. I

understand the hon. member for Parry Sound-Muskoka is rising on a point of order.

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PC

Gordon Harvey Aiken

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Aiken:

It has been mentioned several times since the hon. member for Trinity has

risen that he is reading his speech. I think you should ask him, sir, not to read his speech verbatim.

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LIB

Paul Joseph James Martin

Liberal

Mr. Martin (Essex East):

Mr. Speaker, I am sure that on reflection the hon. gentleman will realize that the Prime Minister has just made a very important statement, in many parts of which, as the house knows, the Prime Minister followed a text very closely.

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?

Some hon. Members:

No, he did not.

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LIB

Paul Joseph James Martin

Liberal

Mr. Martin (Essex East):

Now the hon.

member for Trinity is speaking on behalf of the opposition immediately after the Prime Minister. He is following his notes with great care, as under the circumstances he should. I am sure that in the light of the fact that he is now following the Prime Minister no one would want to disturb the method used by the hon. member for Trinity in making his reply.

Mr. Pallet!: Who wrote the speech?

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LIB

Paul Theodore Hellyer

Liberal

Mr. Hellyer:

Mr. Speaker, I can assure you of one thing. If you would care to read my notes after I have finished you would find that what Hansard is recording is not nearly as close to what I have in those notes as what Hansard recorded yesterday of the statement of the Minister of Defence Production (Mr. O'Hurley) was to his.

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LIB

Lester Bowles Pearson (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Mr. Pearson:

Every word of which was read.

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PC

Charles Edward Rea (Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole)

Progressive Conservative

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Rea):

Order. Just to clear this matter up, as hon. members know the Chair only interprets the rules; it does not make them. The hon. member for Trinity has referred to the fact that he is referring to notes. The Chair will assume that he is not reading his speech.

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LIB

Paul Theodore Hellyer

Liberal

Mr. Hellyer:

Mr. Speaker, last Friday the Prime Minister announced another very important decision. He stood in his place in the house and announced that the contract with Avro had been cancelled forthwith. He did not, as he told us last September he would, wait until March 31 to make his decision.

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PC

Douglas Scott Harkness (Minister of Agriculture)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Harkness:

He never said that.

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PC

Howard Charles Green (Minister of Public Works; Leader of the Government in the House of Commons; Progressive Conservative Party House Leader)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Green:

That is not correct.

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March 3, 1959