August 5, 1960

PC

Joseph Pierre Albert Sévigny (Associate Minister of National Defence)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Sevigny:

Mr. Chairman, I accept the withdrawal of the hon. member for Trinity. I appreciate the fact that he also accepted my withdrawal, and I shall continue. As I was saying, it seems that hon. members opposite were inadvertently deluded into the belief that they had a constructive policy, and they actually raised a great hue and cry over this great policy that they were going to offer. I confess that I for one was quite anxious to hear what this great policy was going to be. I must say that I read with interest yesterday what appeared in the Citizen and which the hon. member repeated afterwards in the house most eloquently.

But I was shocked to see that this so-called bold, illuminating defence policy which was being offered to the committee contained almost nothing except some suggestions that we possibly could carry on with a course that we had already explained to the house we were trying to follow. It seems to me, that to criticize when actually it is almost admitted that there is not much to criticize, to put before the country the view that everything is wrong, that everything is just going to pot, that we are defenceless, that we have nothing-

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LIB
PC

Joseph Pierre Albert Sévigny (Associate Minister of National Defence)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Sevigny:

-that the leaders of the government and the service chiefs and so on do not know anything; to say that they and their advisers know it all and will eventually come forward with a great Liberal policy and then to produce nothing is, I must frankly say, a shameful waste of the time of the committee and is certainly not the way to serve the Canadian people who must have confidence in those who are entrusted with

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the responsibility for defence and who certainly deserve better than the rather inane and inept suggestions we have heard in this defence policy. (Translation): Mr. Chairman, closing my remarks in French, may I recall an old saying to the effect that when one has nothing to say and nothing to suggest, it is better not to say anything. In other words, one should not waste the time of the House of Commons of the Canadian parliament, and it is certainly better, on such an important subject as national defence, to keep a respectful silence with regard to the able and efficient work done by those who are responsible for protecting the Canadian nation, rather than to waste the time of so many people with inept statements such as those we heard in the speeches made by the members of the official opposition since we began consideration of the Department of National Defence estimates. (Text):


LIB

Paul Theodore Hellyer

Liberal

Mr. Hellyer:

Mr. Chairman, this debate seems to have accomplished a great deal so far by introducing a positive, constructive alternative to the government's waffling and lack of policy in defence matters. We have at least provoked a debate on the subject of national defence and 1 think that in itself is very worth while. Not only that, we have brought out of the closet the Associate Minister of National Defence and this we welcome. This is a development of some importance.

The minister, who until now has been in relative obscurity, has come forward at last, stood on his feet and said something about national defence. For a long while we heard nothing at all from him. The special committee on defence expenditures met for 27 days, but where was the Associate Minister of National Defence during all that time? Why was he not at the side of the Minister of National Defence during those meetings? Where was he? Was he closeted somewhere? What was he doing? Why was he not there to answer questions and to listen to and take part in the discussion so that he would be as familiar with these matters as other hon. members are? We could never figure out what had happened to the Associate Minister of National Defence.

On the second last day of the committee's meetings the Minister of National Defence could not be there and a very able departmental official answered questions for us. But the Associate Minister of National Defence could have been there to substitute for the minister on that occasion and we regret that he was not able to take the time to do so. Up to now all we had heard about

Supply-National Defence him was that he had gone to the city of Toronto and had taken a prepared speech with him about the Avro Arrow which he read to a Progressive Conservative businessmen's group. What did he say? He started off by saying that he had prepared the speech. The same speech had been made a few days before to the defence expenditures committee by the Minister of National Defence who also said that he had prepared the speech. One of them had had a lapse of memory. I do not know which one it was but obviously they both could not have prepared the same speech.

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LIB

Paul Theodore Hellyer

Liberal

Mr. Hellyer:

The speech he has made today was not the same. It was longer but at least it was not the same. We welcome this emergence of the butterfly from the cocoon. Now the Associate Minister of National Defence has come forward in the house and has begun to make himself heard. This is a worth-while development and we hope we will hear a great deal more from him in the days and weeks that lie ahead. However, he still has not learned about some of the fine points. I appreciate the difficulty he has but this is really no excuse. With reference to NORAD, for instance, he has said that the military officers of NORAD are pre-eminent. They are excellent officers who do their jobs in a most efficient fashion.

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PC

Joseph Pierre Albert Sévigny (Associate Minister of National Defence)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Sevigny:

It is high time you said so.

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LIB

Paul Theodore Hellyer

Liberal

Mr. Hellyer:

They are first-class officers, but I feel sorry for them in the environment in which they are working. They have not been given a chance either by the Canadian or the United States governments. The future that faces them, in view of the lack of effective defence against intercontinental ballistic missiles, is a bleak one and puts them under the difficulties which that situation creates. The Minister of National Defence has said that we should listen to their advice. He and his government did not listen to their advice. They advised the Canadian government to go ahead with the Avro Arrow.

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Paul Theodore Hellyer

Liberal

Mr. Hellyer:

They said we should have defence interceptor squadrons. They came to Ottawa to try to persuade the Canadian government to go ahead with the production in Canada of long range interceptors. What did the Canadian government do about it? They did absolutely nothing. Why then, if you value this advice so much, do you not take it, or do you not believe it? Do you feel your judgment is better than theirs? If you do, why do you question anyone else who differs with them?

Supply-National Dejence

Even within military circles there is no unanimity. This is inevitable when you reach a state of change in military atfairs such as we presently have before us. You are not going to get complete agreement amongst all people. How would you expect to do that? There is even disagreement amongst the United States forces themselves. The air force in the Pentagon does not agree completely with the NORAD commander in chief. If the hon. gentleman had taken the trouble to read the evidence presented before the house and senate committees of the United States he would know that. NORAD has asked for all sorts of things, and the chief of the air force said, we cannot give it to you; we do not feel it is a justifiable expenditure of the public funds of the United States under these circumstances. Surely the hon. gentleman recognizes, then, that it is not unreasonable for someone else to stand up and question any other recommendations made by the same command in respect of the expenditure of the public funds of Canada.

This is especially true, after this program was knocked out by congress, in its wisdom. Congress had no confidence in it. They listened not only to General White, the chief of the air force, but they listened to General Kuter. They were so interested in what General White has said about the Bomarc-SAGE system, and that created so many questions in their minds, that they wanted to call General Kuter in order to get his personal views. They got General Kuter to come to Washington and present his case, present the problems of his command and put forward his requests. They listened to those views, but they did not accept them. General Kuter did not get anything like what he asked for before the house and senatorial committees. The associate minister should at least know that. So, obviously the senate, congress, the air force, the joint chiefs of staff in the United States and the president disagreed with what the NORAD chief had requested. They all thought that under the existing circumstances and the available amount of public funds there were uses to which the money could be put which would be more in the public interest than fulfilling the total requirements of that command. Yet the minister has the audacity to come in here this afternoon and suggest that anyone who differs with a military commander is out of order.

This is a strange policy and a strange suggestion now on the part of the associate minister. Then, Mr. Chairman, the piece de resistance, is that the associate minister says that for five years at least the threat of the bomber is the great thing.

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PC

Joseph Pierre Albert Sévigny (Associate Minister of National Defence)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Sevigny:

Can you deny it?

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LIB

Paul Theodore Hellyer

Liberal

Mr. Hellyer:

We are going to hear something about the great unanimity on the other side of the house now. This is not what the Minister of National Defence said in this committee last year on July 2, 1959 when defence estimates were being considered. As reported at page 5350 of Hansard for that date, the minister said:

In the early 1960's it is expected that the ballistic missiles will have reached a stage of reliability whereby such missiles will replace the bombers as the primary means of delivering nuclear weapons on North America.

In the early 1960's the minister said that missiles would replace the bombers as the primary means of delivering nuclear weapons on North America.

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PC

Joseph Pierre Albert Sévigny (Associate Minister of National Defence)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Sevigny:

That does not mean there is no threat from bombers.

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LIB

Paul Theodore Hellyer

Liberal

Mr. Hellyer:

I continue the quotation:

However, if an attack on this continent is made in the early 1960's it is considered quite probable that a variety of weapons would be used in an effort to saturate the defences and thus deliver a devastating attack.

This kind of attack would include ballistic missiles, both long and short range, land based or from submarines, as well as other nuclear weapons delivered by aircraft. As most of the major strategic targets are situated in the United States it is more than likely that certain targets in Canada would be attacked by bombers, although the primary threat would be from the ICBM's.

This is the Minister of National Defence saying that in the early 1960's the primary threat will shift from the manned bomber to the intercontinental ballistic missiles and other missiles. Does the associate minister disagree with the view expressed by the Minister of National Defence on that occasion?

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PC

Egan Chambers (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Chambers:

There is no difference in what he said.

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LIB

Paul Theodore Hellyer

Liberal

Mr. Hellyer:

Does he deny that two or three years hence this will be much more so, that the total capacity at that time of intercontinental ballistic missiles will be three, four -I do not know how many times-what it is at present? Does the minister deny this? Does he deny that under those circumstances, in the event of an all-out war in which Russia chooses to attack, first, that all the major targets on the North American continent-yes, even all the major cities and all the Bomarc sites could be obliterated with the first blow. Does he deny that? If he does, let him rise in his place and say so.

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LIB

Paul Theodore Hellyer

Liberal

Mr. Hellyer:

If he does not deny it, then why does he say a couple of Bomarc squadrons will make any difference by the mid-1960's and beyond?

Furthermore, he said the interceptors we had recommended for the identification role would not be effective without the SAGE system. Can the minister tell us if the SAGE system is presently in operation, and if this is necessary for the CF-lOO's? If it is, why has the minister these nine squadrons in existence at the present time? Does the minister deny that aircraft can carry its own radar? Does the minister deny that an aircraft can work independently of SAGE under any circumstances? Even if he should deny that, what possible use, under some circumstances at least with an all-out attack, which is what we are considering, would the SAGE system be when it is soft, when it has a whole mass of electronic equipment on top of the ground which could be knocked out with one grenade or one missile.

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August 5, 1960