The Leader of the Opposition indicated that our forces should be armed with modern weapons, but there was no suggestion as to the cost or to what extent this should be done. If it is assumed that we are going to keep the defence budget at the same level, I suggest there are two ways of buying more weapons. Either there will have to be a reduction of personnel or a saving of money in pay and allowances. After all, in the past year it took approximately $700 million to cover pay and allowances. In fact, pay and allowances and operations and maintenance represent 70 per cent of the defence budget at the present time, and that proportion is increasing yearly. As I said, there will either have to be a reduction of personnel or a reduction in pay and allowances, what I call the housekeeping costs of national defence.
So far as new equipment is concerned, have members of the opposition stopped for one moment to figure out just what the cost would be of all the equipment they have advocated should be obtained? The Minister of National Defence would be a most happy man to be able to obtain every necessary piece of new, efficient equipment, but are the Canadian taxpayers prepared to assume that burden, having in mind the cost of maintaining our forces? We can speak pretty glibly about this whole matter, but the conclusions are there. If you are going to have all these weapons, if you are going to have our forces fulfil so many roles, and people are pretty glib about that, then the Canadian people are going to have to pay for it. There is no other conclusion. The Leader of the Opposition spoke about an integration of the forces under one chief of staff, and suggested that the administrative staffs should be combined. However, he did not indicate whether this would effect a reduction in manpower, which is the only way you are going to save money.
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There are a lot of other remarks I should have liked to make, but I feel that some of my colleagues and certainly the minister will desire an opportunity to answer the other points that have arisen.
Mr. Chairman, I listened with a great deal of interest to the remarks made by the previous speaker. I do not know how long the discussion of item 217, the first item, will continue. I think it is understood that as the salary of the Minister of National Defence is statutory the only possibility of discussing policy comes under this vote.
I should like to make my position very clear. As I explained yesterday, I do not agree with the principle of the Bomarc expenditures. I do not agree with the principle of continuing the NORAD alliance. I do not believe our defence policy is such as to indicate an understanding of the difference between wars of the past and our present situation, in which we face the possibility of a thermonuclear conflict. I put forward my belief last night that we require a defence force in Canada, and that expenditures are necessary under the Department of National Defence. However, I do not agree with the present policies. You will understand, Mr. Chairman, that I am in a difficult position, in that I believe that a member of the House of Commons should have the courage of his convictions, as I hope I always will have. It is almost impossible to put forward a separate motion to make my position clear that I want to maintain the army, navy and air force under certain policies and that at the same time I object to present government policy as it is generally applied and with particular reference to the Bomarc project and NORAD.
I am going to take what I think is the only proper course I can take in order to make it absolutely clear, as I tried to do last night, that I feel that Canadian armed forces can make a major contribution to NATO and to the United Nations as a police force and also, God help us, in the eventuality of a thermonuclear attack on Canada. I believe I made my position quite clear in the special committee, and what I have done in that committee I certainly will follow up in the house today. I only ask that members of the house will understand and that the press will also understand, because they report the proceedings of the house to the people of Canada. I cannot see any other way of expressing my support for certain requirements of the Canadian armed forces and Canadian defence, but I must object somehow, very definitely, to what I think is wrong in the government's defence policy. I refer to my objection to Bomarc and my
objection to NORAD. I find, after much study, that the only way we can express an objection to policy is under the administration item, vote 217.
I am therefore going to move, as a policy position and to express my objection to Bomarc and NORAD-I know the minister will understand what I am saying and why I put it this way-and to show that I have the courage of my convictions:
That vote 217, departmental administration, be reduced from $3,212,477 to the sum of $1.
If the vote for administration, which covers all the activities of national defence hearquarters and the administration of the forces, were to be reduced to $1, there would be complete chaos in the administration of the department. Surely if the hon. gentleman wishes to move for a reduction in the spending on Bomarc he should do so under the vote dealing with the Royal Canadian Air Force, vote 225 for the construction or acquisition of buildings and major equipment. This vote provides the funds for the acquisition of the Bomarc sites and the construction of the Bomarc installations. If this amendment were to carry it would remove all the machinery for providing what the hon. member himself says is required in connection with our contributions to the United Nations effort.
I am most sorry that the Minister of National Defence spoke on the amendment in this way. I thought I made it very clear what my position was. I have known the minister for so many years and have the highest regard for him. I shall never forget those terrible days when he was the G.O.C., western command, and I was leader of the opposition in British Columbia. We, I think, came to respect each other. Why the minister now completely misinterprets what I said, I cannot understand. I thought, Mr. Chairman, I made it very clear, but apparently I have to repeat what I said.
Did you expect him to accept the motion?
No, but I did expect a distinguished soldier with whom I had worked for so many years to know my sincerity in connection with these matters. I said, and I want to repeat that only under the administration item can you register your opposition to defence policy. Defence policy includes the Bomarc. I am fully aware of the fact that there is an item relating to the Bomarc, and in the special committee on defence expenditure I moved the reduction of that amount. That motion was defeated by 4 to 3 or 5 to 4, I cannot remember which. The minister knows that in that committee I
wanted to move to wipe out NORAD, and it was the minister himself who pointed out that there was no special part of the defence estimates under which that could be done.
As I said, I thought I made myself completely clear. I must say I am almost heartbroken after hearing the minister say what he did, because in moving this amendment I did not want to wipe out what I think is the responsibility of the defence department toward the army, navy and air force of Canada. Last night I made it clear that I believe there is a definite responsibility, and I dealt with it, point by point, under 11 headings.
I have said that I want to move to reduce this administration item to $1 to register my objection to the policy of the government, to Bomarc and to NORAD. Am I asking too much, Mr. Chairman, to have the Minister of National Defence accept the manner in which I am trying to present my objection and understand the basis upon which it is made, as well as the fact that I recognized last night the position and responsibility of Canada in so far as the armed forces are concerned? Please, sir, do not misunderstand this amendment; it is a policy amendment.
I should like to assure the hon. member that in no way do I question his sincerity in connection with this particular amendment. While there has always been a lot of leeway under the first item for discussion in committee, when it comes to a question of how the money which is in this vote is allotted, you have only to turn to page 290 where the details of this vote are given to see the personnel employed under this particular vote and to realize that this amendment would mean the complete disruption of the whole of national defence headquarters. It would be impossible for the department to carry on if this vote were reduced to $1. If the hon. gentleman wishes to deal with Bomarc particularly-
-the correct place to do that is under vote 225 which, as I pointed out, is related to the construction and acquisition of buildings and works.
What about NORAD?
It is quite impossible for us to accept this amendment, and we shall oppose it.
Where, under the minister's estimates would one vote against the principle of NORAD? I asked that of you, sir, in committee and you said there was no place
Supply-National Defence where one could vote against NORAD because it is spread over so many things, so the only way I can do it is under the administration item. [DOT]
I wonder if the hon. member would move such an amendment if there were any chance of it being accepted.
I have been asked a question, and I will tell the hon. member this. I moved this identical amendment in the committee on defence expenditures. I am not concerned with whether it goes through or is defeated. I am concerned with a conviction on principle, and any time I do not stand up for a principle, then I should no longer be a member of this house.
The question I put to the hon. member has not been answered.
The Deputy Chairman:
Order; the Chair cannot make any member answer a question.
As the hon. member for Vancouver East has stated, this identical amendment was moved in the committee on defence expenditures. We did not support it at that time for reasons similar to those we have now. It is true that we in this party do not have any confidence in the policies being followed in respect of defence matters by the present government. We have made that very clear during the session, and particularly yesterday and today. We think there should be a complete re-examination and reorientation of Canada's defence strategy. We think we should cease following the present policy of building a defence against thermonuclear war, when those limited defences will be completely and utterly useless once that war has started. We should concentrate on the type of defence effort which is more realistic, toward preventing an all-out war breaking out.
We have made these suggestions to the minister; we have told him what our views are. We hope he will examine them when this debate is over, in retrospect, and find that they commend themselves to him, in order to put into effect a new look on defence administration in the very near future. The minister of course will continue to need the assistance of those advisers he has at present, who are paid for out of this vote.
In addition to that, the hon. member for Vancouver East has said this is not only a motion of want of confidence in the government's defence policy, but it is also a repudiation of the NORAD agreement. We said in our statements yesterday, and again today, that we are not prepared to do this under present circumstances, unless it could be
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Supply-National Defence clearly shown that there would be no diminution whatsoever in the liaison between our forces and those of the United States in that case, and this has not been demonstrated up to the present time.
For that reason, Mr. Chairman, we would not be able to support the motion put forward by the hon. member for Vancouver Fast.
Amendment (Mr. Winch) negatived: Yeas, 4; nays, 39.
I declare the amendment lost.
We have given the minister another chance.