Léo Alphonse Joseph Cadieux (Associate Minister of National Defence)
Mr. Cadieux (Terrebonne):
There is no contradiction. I said that efficiency came first and then economy.
Mr. Cadieux (Terrebonne):
There is no contradiction. I said that efficiency came first and then economy.
That is not what you said a while ago.
Mr. Cadieux (Terrebonne):
And we have accomplished both, namely greater efficiency and, at the same time, savings of more than $100 million already.
In my opinion, we also have a much more flexible administrative formula by which we can study an over-all budget for a five-year period. This permits us to project the administration and this, I think, is the modern way to administer because an important service is involved. I remember it was one of my first reactions, 25 years ago, when I came in contact with the Department of National Defence for the first time. I met an old brigadier of my acquaintance who told me: "This is big business". When we are handling a budget of $1J billion and when we administer a service involving nearly 135,000 people, I think that it is logical to hope for modern administration, management and control
[Mr. Langlois (Megantic).l
DEBATES February 18, 1966
methods, and with the integration we are now trying to implement, we are getting good results. I think the whole house should rejoice that the efforts made up to now have-met with such great success.
Mr. Chairman, two years: have elapsed since we had a debate on defence. It is high time that we examined this-department and examined it thoroughly with regard to policy, and with regard to the statements and promises which have been made, to see if there has been any fulfilment of those. It is rather interesting to look back at May 8, 1964, to page 3086, when I said' this:
Then, the minister did as he did in December, he-praised his associate minister. The associate minister will get up and praise the Minister of National Defence. This is what was done last December. They pat each other on the back and say, "My, how hard my colleague is working." They are the gold dust twins working together.
We have that again. We have the associate minister, and he gets pulled into this Hellyer complex and pats the minister on the back and gets a return pat on his back.
That is part of his job.
I was disappointed in the associate minister. I thought he would stand up on his own feet and establish himself, as the former associate minister suggested, on an equal basis with the Minister of National Defence, and not just tag along behind this great, self-appointed commander in chief of the Canadian forces. The associate minister in his opening remarks said that he was going to-tell us-and this is what I heard through the translation system-about the experience he had lived through during the last year. It has been pretty terrible living through experience with the Minister of National Defence. I have-some sympathy for the associate minister- but not very much, because he has disappointed me today. He said that the armed forces are not conceived with 50 years of the past in mind, but with the future in mind. Two years ago the Minister of National Defence introducing a bill into this house did: not go back 50 years. He went back 60 years to introduce a system which was discarded by the British 60 years ago.
[DOT] (3:40 p.m.)
I think the word to describe the situation today as we enter upon a discussion on national defence after a two years lapse is "disillusionment". That is the impression I
February 18. 1966 COMMONS
received while listening to some very able people speaking this afternoon-people who are not necessarily more able than some others who spoke, but they have been around here for a long time and they are or have -been members of the committee on defence. I *am thinking of the hon. member for Calgary North, the hon. member for Vancouver East, the hon. member for Megantic and the hon. member for Greenwood. They are all familiar with the Minister of National Defence and they all expressed disillusionment. This is what has happened after almost three years of this minister being in office. I was disillusioned with him before he ever took office, because I listened to him when he was sitting on the opposition benches and I heard his extravagant and irresponsible statements with regard to national defence. I will read out some of them to the committee this afternoon if I have time. When I was on the standing committee on defence in 1963 I was profoundly disappointed because one could get no information from the minister at all. The other members I have mentioned have reached the stage of complete disillusionment with this minister and the policy of his *department.
Yet I do not know of any minister in the present government who has carried on a more extended campaign of grandiloquent praise. Everything, according to him, is better. Everything is more efficient. Everything is saving money. Whoever is working for him in public relations must be getting an annual bonus, because the minister is paraded across this country on radio, on television and in the press as being the wonder boy of the Liberal party.
Wait till the Minister of Finance and some of those other people who are interested in the leadership hear that. There was quite a bit of applause this afternoon from those benches for this man.
It has been a great build-up. There has been a lot of talk about all the wonderful things which have been done in the department of defence. But today we have had an analysis of the failure of this minister. The balloon has been pricked. I will deal with that in a few moments.
There has been far too much propaganda across this country with regard to our national defence. People have been bemused. I *doubt whether there is one person in a thousand who understands what is meant by
Supply-National Defence integration and unification. We have had no explanation today from the associate minister. He said this was all in the White Paper. I have the White Paper in front of me. We shall see whether it is explained in that document. We were told about the great saving of money which would be realized. Well, the minister will have an opportunity to put the facts in front of this committee before we finish examining these estimates. Let us have the facts and the figures, not a general statement.
The hon. member for Calgary North said the saving of money which had been effected for diversion to the acquisition of military equipment or, to use a colloquialism in which the minister indulges, hardware, is lower than it was seven years ago. It is down to 12 per cent. Yet a few years ago the minister was complaining, in opposition, that insufficient money was available for the purchase of military equipment.
Look at the White Paper. This is what hon. members will find on page 19: "Sufficient savings should accrue from unification to permit a goal of 25 per cent of the budget to be devoted to capital equipment." Let the minister put the facts and the figures in front of us, instead of propaganda which is going out in this country, building him up. I say it is not true. If it is true, the minister can disclose to this committee by giving us actual figures whether he has reached this figure of 25 per cent or not.
The minister's speech yesterday was a soporific speech. As the member for Calgary North said, the hon. gentleman seems to have lost all his vitality. He was worn out. Perhaps he should be shifted to some other portfolio. There was no drive or vitality in his speech yesterday-or perhaps he was trying to drag it out so that the hon. member for Calgary North could not take the floor to reply to him.
What was contained in that speech of the minister's last night? It was just a rehash of administrative action, to use an expression which the hon. gentleman himself has used. And there were some mistakes in it. I will point out two mistakes right now. I presume the minister wrote his own speech. In any case he has to take responsibility for it. On page 1419 of Hansard he is reported as saying "-from the very first days of our air division in Europe; first flying Sabre jets and then CF-lOO's-". He has put them in that order. But the CF-lOO's were retired to make way
February lb. 1966
Supply-National Defence for the Sabre jets. It is not a serious mistake, but it is an obvious one.
Then, as reported at page 1418, he speaks about the personnel carrier. I will read the hon. gentleman's words:
The introduction of the M.113 armoured personnel carrier to our NATO brigade group in Europe is now nearly complete. This has given the brigade group a greatly enhanced operational capability and, for the first time the armoured protection it would need in the face of a fully mechanized opponent.
I agree it gives them greater operational capability. But it is simply ignorance on the part of the minister, or whoever wrote this for him, to say that it would for the first time provide the armoured protection needed "in the face of a fully mechanized opponent". Incidentally, the word "mechanized" as applied to these units dropped out about 25 years ago. Today we speak of "armoured formations" and "armour". It is completely wrong. An armoured personnel carrier gives the infantry inside it protection against small arms fire, mortar fire and small fragments of shells but it does not give them any protection at all against tanks and the missiles which come from tanks. These will go through an armoured personnel carrier like a knife through butter. For the minister to indicate that this carrier gives troops protection in the face of a fully mechanized opponent is completely wrong and misleading. It shows gross ignorance and I am surprised he should have introduced such a sentence in a description of an armoured personnel carrier. The armoured personnel carrier used in the second world war was a much heavier machine and a German 88 millimeter shell would pierce it as easily as one would tear a piece of paper.
[DOT] (3:50 p.m.)
Why the minister should be responsible for that I do not know, except that most of the time he does not know what he is talking about.
This morning at the question period I asked the Prime Minister what progress was being made about negotiating out of the nuclear role, something which he promised three years ago. In his reply, and I quote his words, he said:
As my hon. friend, the Minister of National Defence indicated last night .... we are at present doing just that.
But there was nothing in the minister's speech last night to indicate there is any attempt whatsoever to negotiate out of the
nuclear role. That was the promise made by the Prime Minister prior to the 1963 election, but nothing has been done in the three years that have followed. If something had been done we would have heard from the Prime Minister, the Secretary of State for External Affairs, or the Minister of National Defence. I have been asking that question in one form or another for the last three years, and I have been brushed off. That promise is just another one of the unfulfilled promises of the Prime Minister.
Let me draw attention to the Minister of National Defence and his position in 1961. He was then sitting in opposition and was very critical of the then minister, the hon. member of Calgary North. He was critical about the equipment that should be bought for the Canadian forces, and you will find these words of his recorded at page 8230 of Hansard of September 12, 1961:
It is interesting to note that in the long list of priority items presented by President Kennedy to Congress on March 28 last there did not appear one of the major items on which the Canadian government is relying. Not one American penny for the Voodoo, the F-104, the Bomarc or the Honest John. The Canadian defence department has become a pawnshop for second hand American hardware.
That was the minister in 1961. He has retained all this second hand American hardware ever since, and he has been acquiring more.
Quite a bit has been said about this plane, the Super F-5, or whatever it is called. Let us see what is said about that by James Eayrs, professor of political economy at the University of Toronto, author of a book "In Defence of Canada," who wrote in an article in The Globe Magazine on October 23, 1965:
The Canadian government has recently contracted to purchase for the R.C.A.F. more than 100 Northrop Freedom Fighters, the Super F-5. A recruiting advertisement of the Department of National Defence describes it thusly:
"The Super F-5 is just one of the many new exciting things that's happening in the air, on the ground and at sea in the Canadian forces. Fast, versatile, and rugged, the Super F-5 is an ideal partner for our ground forces. Operating from sod fields, it's deployed right up front where the action is, ready to step in and back up Canadian troops- with authority."
It is obvious that this description of a strategic role for an extensive new weapons system is a complete fantasy. I don't doubt for a moment that the aircraft can take off from sod fields and the rest of it; but there is nothing in Canada's military position to suggest that it will ever be called upon to do so.
A few weeks ago, I chanced to meet a senior official of the Northrop Corporation, who told me that there was joy and amazement in Beverly Hills
February 18, 1966 COMMONS
in about equal proportions-joy that the Canadians had bought the F-5 in such large quantities, amazement that we would have any useful purpose for it.
We will let the minister and the associate minister think that one over. Other evidence has been produced this afternoon with regard to that machine. I wonder will the minister tell us on Monday, using his words, that, "the Canadian defence department has become a pawnshop for second hand American hardware."
I said a junkyard, not a pawnshop.
I was using a more polished phrase.
This morning the hon. member for Calgary North exposed the weakness of the minister's position when he talked about low morale, loss of manpower, shortage of equipment, disruptions in the lines of communication under the new organization system, the ineffectiveness of the naval program, the great mistake with regard to the F-5, and the corresponding error with regard to the simulator which apparently the Department of National Defence ordered through the Department of Defence Production, and they are having their own internal war to decide who did what, and when, and why.
Is it not correct that it was never ordered?
Perhaps the minister will clear this up for us when he has a chance to speak. But with all the study groups that are operating in the department, with all the slide rules and computers available, you would think no mistake would be made. Whenever anything crops up the minister or the associate minister says, "Let's set up a study group." I would like to have a return showing the number of study groups set up in the department over the last three years. I wonder whether the officers, non-commissioned officers and men have been doing anything else except working on study groups and in seminars. I wonder do they ever do any training. They must be terribly unfit physically if they are sitting around studying all the time. Apparently there was no study group to deal with the simulator, and so they messed it up.
Two years ago, when the minister was changing the set-up and arranging to have a commander in chief, a supremo as we called
Supply-National Defence him, who would operate with an advisory council, I drew attention to the trouble that would be encountered. Now I understand the minister has set himself up as commander in chief of the Canadian forces. If the information I have is accurate, and I think it is because it comes from a very responsible source, the minister is taking upon himself to retire very senior officers against the advice of other senior officers, to make promotions against the advice or without the advice of his advisers, and generally to act as a commander in chief.
Where does this put the chief of staff? On July 6, 1964, I drew attention to the trouble that might arise under such circumstances. I said:
If the supreme commander is adamant, what does the minister do? On the one hand, the minister becomes just a satellite of the supreme commander and has to take his word for everything. On the other hand, if the minister enforces his will on the supreme commander and tries to get him to do something contrary to his military experience, the supreme commander either becomes a tool or puppet of the minister or he resigns and you have an upset in the system.
[DOT] (4:00 p.m.)
Are we reaching that stage where there is a conflict of interest between the chief of staff and the Minister of National Defence? What is going to happen? This is a weakness of the present system that the minister has set up, and these weaknesses are beginning to show. Who is the satellite and who is the puppet as between these two men?
I mention in passing that the minister has given no report whatsoever with regard to the NATO conferences that have been held during the two years when we have not had an opportunity to receive a report in this house. As the hon. member for Greenwood has asked, what commitments were made at the last NATO conference, and what are we committed to for the next several years? The minister should report in that regard.
I shall conclude my remarks on this occasion, if I have some time left, by dealing with the brigade in Europe and the question of its mobility. When the minister was here on the opposition side he talked about the mobility of that brigade in Europe. I talked about it years before that when we were formerly in opposition. I wonder what he has done about it. The only mobility that he appears to have applied to that brigade in the three years he has been in office relates to the addition of the armoured personnel carriers. I raised the question about armoured personnel carriers
February 18, 1966
Supply-National Defence back in 1951 when I first came to this house. It has taken a long time to get that type of proven assistance for the fighting infantry soldiers incorporated into our army. However, we have reached that stage finally.
There were a few helicopters being used by the brigade in Europe when I was there three years ago for the purpose of reconnaissance. What further work has been done in this regard to improve the mobility of that brigade? Is its supply column still a wheeled column tied to the roads of Belgium and France? We have gone through two world wars with our supply columns tied to those roads. Where is the plan that the minister should have to make this brigade completely mobile by the use of tracked supply vehicles or an air lift? We have not heard from the minister in that regard, yet he would give the impression that because armoured personnel carriers have been provided for that brigade it is now completely mobile. It is not and will not be completely mobile, from the point of view of a supply column, until it is furnished with either tracked vehicles or an air lift for that purpose.
Some years ago the minister talked about the fact that we were not purchasing Otters, Beavers or Caribou from de Havilland but we were getting planes from the United States. Would any of those or other types made by that company be available for an air lift? What about the helicopter; is it being used as it is being used in Viet Nam, or is it being used for just reconnaissance purposes as it was when I was over there three years ago? Why do we not make the brigade in Europe completely mobile and extend that mobility to other formations we are training here in Canada? Are we just going to go on fighting the last war over again with wheeled vehicles tied to roads providing supplies of ammunition, food and other materials?
The minister should get active on this and live up to some of the things he suggested when he was sitting here on the opposition side. He does not even need a study group in this regard because there is plenty of experience available. If he thinks he needs more experience and advice why does he not send military observers to South Viet Nam to see how the United States airborne cavalry division operates in action?
The minister should find out the type of helicopter used in Viet Nam and how the chain of command is operated. When I suggested that he do this the other day he shielded himself behind the fact that we have
membership in the international joint commission in South Viet Nam. That is not a good enough excuse.
It has been pointed out, and the minister mentioned this in his speech last night, that the experienced officers and men who are survivors of the second world war are reaching retirement age and will be leaving the armed services soon. That is all the more reason for training younger men who have had no experience in warfare, other than those who were in Korea. They should be given the chance to see what warfare is like in South Viet Nam. Let them hear the sound of bursting shells and the whine of machine gun bullets. They could be kept safely out of the way in fox-holes or behind some kind of protection, but they should see what happens in battle and the effect of fire under battle conditions. Let them see how an army is supported under battle conditions.
In a very few years there will be virtually no one in our armed services who has had experience in actual warfare; yet it is essential, if lives are to be saved, that we have men with this experience. If our forces are committed to other than peace keeping duties, which perhaps involves little risk, it is essential that our officers and senior N.C.O.'s at least have some knowledge of how to look after troops under war conditions. That is why we should have observers to see what is being done in South Viet Nam. I do not suggest they risk their lives, but they should find out what is being done in South Viet Nam and bring that advice and experience back to our forces in training. Our forces must be kept to peak efficiency in the event of war.
There is no point in talking about national defence with the idea that there will not be a war. We all hope there will be no war, but I know of no period in the world's history when there has not been some kind of struggle taking place in which lives have been lost. Canada has had a long and difficult time in the 100 years of its history, with men of each generation engaged somewhere or other in warfare. I see no possibility of that situation being changed in the immediate future. This is unfortunate, but let us make sure that our forces are efficient. There is no point in telling us here that they are efficient, because they cannot be efficient unless there are senior officers and N.C.O.'s in our forces experienced in warfare. Under present-day circumstances we must have not only good and effective field training with good, effective modem
February 18, 1966
equipment, but we must keep abreast of developments in warfare taking place elsewhere in the world.
Mr. Chairman, I am certainly not going to take up more than two or three minutes of the time of this committee because I want to see the estimates passed. I will have plenty of opportunity to speak on matters of defence when this year's estimates come before the committee. I do wish to make a few remarks because of the very interesting words that have been said in the house today. We are speaking of matters of broad policy concerning defence when we speak on this section of the estimates. We have heard a lot of talk today about the morale of the armed forces, but we have heard a lot which is in my opinion nothing but hot air.
[DOT] (4:10 p.m.)
As far as morale in the armed forces is concerned, I like to think I am still able to keep in touch with some of the services and their activities. In my own riding there is a large naval base and I have many naval friends. We also have a fairly significant army base in Victoria. From the discussions I have had with servicemen in recent years I realize they are unquestionably going through a very difficult time. But I do not believe this is by any means all due to the minister or the policies he has introduced since becoming minister. Of course, some of the policies the minister has introduced have contributed to these difficulties, because change always does, particularly change within the armed forces.
However, Mr. Chairman, I believe most servicemen agree that the time had come when change was necessary. I also believe most servicemen agree that these changes are in the best interests of our nation. To begin with, what the minister has done in recent years by these changes is that he has given a sense of purpose to the personnel of the three services, and they appreciate this. When we are talking about morale we must remember that it is not made up of just one thing, and I believe it is wrong to claim that all the troubles besetting the services today are due to integration. This is part of the difficulty but only a small part.
I wanted to recommend to the government that they pay re-engagement bonuses because I think the lack of re-engagement bonus was contributing to the difficulties of re-engagement. I was very pleased to hear what the associate minister had to say just now about 23033-94
Supply-National Defence re-engagement bonuses. I think this step will be received very well by the armed forces. 1 might say I would have preferred the reengagement bonuses to have been larger because I believe the savings will be out of all proportion to the cost involved. The saving is not just in dollars, but in the effort that has been spent in training persons who would have stayed in the forces had they been given a little more financial encouragement to do so.
This financial encouragement is now being offered to them to remain in the services. The financial outlay and expenditure of effort in training a serviceman is far higher than the average member of this house visualizes. In my humble opinion the cost of training any serviceman in his first three-year engagement would be well in excess of $15,000. Therefore to offer him $1,000 to re-engage for another five years will constitute a great saving and I think this step will be very much welcomed by the men in the armed forces.
I said I would only speak for two or three minutes, Mr. Chairman, and I intend to keep my word. In conclusion I should like to urge the minister and this government to press on with their plans for integration. For reasons of adventure and patriotism, young men today are just as keen to serve as they ever were. I want the minister to press on to conclusion with his plans for integration and then to stabilize the situation so we will no longer be faced with continuous change and the unsettling effect this has upon service personnel. I should like to assure the minister that the service personnel in my part of the country are behind him in what he is doing.
Mr. Chairman, last night I listened carefully to the statement made by the Minister of National Defence (Mr. Hellyer). He made a point of describing the policies of his department and the efforts made to complete the integration of our armed forces.
On the latter score, according to the minister, integration has produced satisfactory results up to now. We will wait until this unification program is completed before passing a definite judgment on its value and effectiveness.
But I will deal today with the military role of Canada and what would be a more realistic Canadian policy in this regard.
Indeed, what must be Canada's military role? Last night, at the beginning of his speech, the minister laid down two principles
February 18, 1966
Supply-National Defence according to which this country aimed first at defending Canada and second, at helping to maintain peace throughout the world.
I think those are two very commendable objectives, but they are expressed in terms that are too general. I expected the minister to set forth, in this important speech at the beginning of consideration of the estimates of that very important department of our country-[DOT]
Mr. Chairman, I rise on a question of privilege. The simultaneous translation system is not working. I am sure many members who cannot understand the very fluent French of the hon. member for Sherbrooke have difficulty without the simultaneous translation, and I am sure they do not want to miss the hon. member's very excellent words.
Order. The Chair has already noticed that there is no simultaneous translation and steps are being taken to have it restored. Perhaps the hon. member would proceed for a moment or two without the simultaneous translation.
[DOT] (4:20 p.m.)
Mr. Chairman, I was saying that yesterday I expected the Minister of National Defence to take the opportunity, at the very start of consideration of the estimates of his department, to set forth in this house and for all Canadians, a well-defined policy.
We find that in the physical organization, the minister and the officials of his department have shown great concern in the past few years, they have obtained some success, up to now, in the physical organization as concerns integration of the armed forces. Very well, I grant that.
But what Canadians want to know is the short term and long term policies of the government and of the Department of National Defence.
It seems that they are acting blindly. "Marlbrough is going to war", but where is he going, when will he be coming back, and how far does he want to go?
You often get the impression, when considering the estimates of national defence, that you are somewhat like a Don Quixote swinging his blade in the wind. One does not know, one does not feel and one is not told in this house what is involved, on an efficient basis,
in most of those expenses or at least in the more substantial amounts.
Obviously, the principles laid down by the minister were too general. They do not take fully into account the Canadian reality, the wishes of this country, and that is why the Canadian people, who have a lot of common sense, made their position known by returning three minority governments in the last three elections. The Canadian people do not know where the administration of National Defence is going.
National defence is a very important matter in this country. One feels that the ordinary citizen, the worker, the farmer, the white-collar worker as well as the ordinary member like me is treading on dangerous ground when it comes to national defence policy.
Well, Mr. Chairman, this afternoon I want to point out very humbly to the minister and his colleagues a few facts, a few principles on which a Canadian military policy should be based.
The first principle is that Canada must organize its own defence and co-operate with its allies according to its means and a reasonable proportion of its national budget.
No useful purpose is served-because too often we feel tempted to forget our limitations-by wanting, in the concert of nations, not only in the peaceful field of external affairs but also in international military circles, to take and participate in initiatives which are beyond our capacity from the standpoint of defence or even financial means.
At the present time, there is no immediate crisis or impending world conflict which is inciting our country to spend too much for military purposes. Far from it, because the minister said in his speech last night that, on the international horizon, the situation did not look alarming and that relations between the communist block and the allies seemed much improved.
We should, therefore, take advantage of this period of relaxation, this period of conciliation to reduce our military expenditures and devise a true long-term military policy for Canada. A greater part of our resources and revenues should be used to fight poverty first in Canada and then abroad. We should reduce our military expenditures and increase family allowances, old age pensions and our help to famine-ridden countries.
That is what Canada should do, Mr. Chairman, but it does the opposite.
February 18, 1966 COMMONS
The present government-and that is nothing new, previous governments did it too -increases military expenditures year after year, reduces help to foreign countries, as can be seen from the estimates tabled recently, and postpones increases in family allowances and old age pensions.
Compared to other countries, the share of our national budget earmarked for defence is much too large. I should like to call the minister's attention briefly to a few statistics. Even though I have previously referred to this matter, in order to define a national policy, one must necessarily proceed by comparison and study other countries whose aims, whether national or international, are similar to Canada's, to find how much of their budget they earmark for defence purposes compared to their total budget.
Allow me to quote a few statistics I obtained in the library of parliament, and in case the minister should want further details,
I could give them to him.
For the fiscal year 1964-65, Canada spent 24.7 of the national budget potential on National Defence. New Zealand spent 8 per cent; Australia, 18 percent; Belgium, 12 per cent; Norway, 17 per cent; Sweden, 17 per cent; Italy, 15 per cent; Japan, 8 per cent; Czechoslovakia, 8 per cent and France, which is a large country and a major power with the United States, Great Britain and a few others, earmarks only 23 per cent for the fiscal year 1964-65.
And we, in Canada, are pipe-dreaming. We go off to war and get involved in all types of military adventures to spend 24.7 per cent of our national budget solely on National Defense.
Well, Mr. Chairman, I say we are not being realistic in our policies when we spend beyond our means in this area of national administration.
The second principle which a Canadian national defence policy should follow deals with the question of effectiveness.
Everything produced for our national defence should be for effective use and not as a symbolic or empty gesture.
The hon. members for Vancouver East (Mr. Winch), Winnipeg South Centre (Mr. Churchill) and Red Deer (Mr. Thompson) have very aptly pointed out the problem of the Bomarc missiles, obsolete according to many experts, and which the United States has discarded.
Well, this was accepted and there was, at the time, talk of an agreement of which we 23033-941
Supply-National Defence Canadians know nothing. We would like the hon. minister to give us some specific information on the subject: when will this agreement expire; what is the precise nature of our participation with the United States?
Also, are there conditions in case we withdraw? What efforts are made at present and, it seems, for the last two years, to repatriate our point of view on this question and to get rid of something which perhaps had to be accepted under the terms of an agreement about which we Canadians know nothing?
Mr. Chairman, I am saying simply that this Bomarc characteristic is precisely a criterion which proves there is a lack of efficiency, in many respects, with regard to the Department of National Defence expenditures.
If the Department of National Defence endeavoured to spend every cent of the taxpayers' money with maximum efficiency, keeping in mind the practical Canadian realities, we would not have this kind of budget. I feel that our policy would then be more profitable for Canada itself as well as for our relations with foreign countries.
At any rate, that agreement or participation with regard to the Bomarc is greatly detrimental to Canada's role as a peace maker, and to our sincerity with regard to nuclear disarmament.
Mr. Chairman, how can our representatives on disarmament commissions in Geneva, at the United Nations or elsewhere succeed, by means of high-sounding statements, in preventing the extension of the nuclear club if, at the same time, they advocate with an impressive eagerness the dissemination of nuclear weapons throughout the world?
If our own country accepts such weapons and if we are unable to define to the Canadian people or other countries our policy on this matter, then do we have a nuclear or anti-nuclear policy?
I am sure Canada is highly esteemed by all. One only has to travel throughout the world to feel that Canadians are welcome everywhere. Our role is one of pacifier and mediator, and we shall only succeed in playing that part fully if we give other countries, through our actions and our stand, the assurance that we are a peace making country, that we are not part of the nuclear club, and that we do not promote the dissemination of nuclear weapons throughout the world.
The hon. minister is to give us details on this point and also indicate clearly when our
February 18, 1966
Supply-National Defence troops will put aside the nuclear warheads within NATO framework.
To a question I raised during the session I was told-the replies are always vague-we do not know where we are going-in brief: The warheads will be recalled as the planes are taken out of service. Truisms, Mr. Chairman. What is the Canadian policy, the national defence department policy on this difficult, important and national issue of nuclear weapons? I do not know. Other members of different parties do not know. Canadian taxpayers, who pay for them do not know. This is why I often repeat it and say to the minister-the people, undecided about many areas of federal affairs, have elected three minority governments in the last three elections.
There seems to be a lack of firmness in the administration of the Department of National Defence. This point must be stressed because a lot is expected from the minister in whom we have confidence, for he seems to be a most sympathetic fellow.
The third principle which should guide our Canadian policy is that, as far as our military expenditures are concerned, extravagance and costly ventures should be avoided. In both cases, the minister could show much more firmness and caution.
[DOT] (4:30 p.m.)
The recent report of the Auditor General contained some unpleasant and disquieting surprises for all Canadian taxpayers.
For the fiscal year 1964-65, this report showed unauthorized expenses totalling about $23 million in the Department of National Defence. There is particular emphasis on unproductive expenses on a bombing computer and the Bobcat armoured carrier. But now someone with an objective and searching mind-I refer to the public accounts auditor-shows to the Canadian population that $23 million has been wasted.
Mr. Chairman, do you know what that means for the taxpayer, for the father who has an annual income of $2,500, $3,000, $3,500, for the unemployed, for the Quebec farmer whose income does not even reach $3,000 per year and who has a large family when they find that their country's government has wasted $23 million? That is why I suggest that the minister should establish in his department an organization for the control of expenditures and experiments.
I know too well that the minister, with his heavy responsibilities, cannot see to everything, from coast to coast, 365 days a year. But it seems that there has been a lack of control for a very long time.
I remember that about 20 years ago, horses were put on the military pay list at Petawawa. There is nothing new in this way of wasting the taxpayers' money. Therefore, because of this waste, the minister should personally set up a control agency within his own department.
And the fourth principle is that the Departments of National Defence and External Affairs should work to build a sovereign, more independent Canada. They should try to give Canada a definite identity, avoid putting our country at the service of foreign countries, thus furthering their military purposes and economic ambitions.
What are the enemies of Canada, Mr. Chairman? Tell me. Personally, I do not know any. If we minded our own business more often, would we have enemies?
There we are with the United States, with England, in other countries.
Economic interests are often a source of conflict. Will Canada get involved in such things? If we minded our own business more, it Would help Canada's identity and sovereignty. Moreover, it would enable us to keep more money for our people.
The fifth and last principle I want to mention is that the activities and extension of our national defence should not hinder the great role of mediator and peace maker that Canada is called upon to play in the world.
Thus a budget of $1,559,300,193 is excessive considering Canada's means and role. In the future, the government should consider a 40 per cent reduction of military expenditure and use these savings to fight poverty. That is the battle we should really be fighting, for indignation and rebellion will vanish along with poverty.
I wish to draw the attention of the Minister of National Defence to a certain matter in the county of Sherbrooke. In 1964, the minister closed the Sherbrooke university division of naval instruction which I had managed to establish in 1960. I must tell the minister that this was a great disappointment for the people of the county of Sherbrooke, the eastern townships and the province of Quebec.
The minister should consider re-establishing this training unit at the university for a
February 18, 1966 COMMONS
number of reasons; for one, it had a useful purpose.
When the minister reduced the strength of that reserve unit at the University of Sherbrooke, he should also have considered the strength of reserve units in the other provinces. Money had been expended on this unit and it should have been maintained in Quebec. It had the effect of encouraging Quebecers, particularly French Canadian students, to participate in the defence of their country. There were complaints in the past to the effect that French Canadians were losing interest in the defence of their country and were not doing their share. A great deal of efforts went into obtaining a naval reserve unit at the University of Sherbrooke, and now we are dealt this back-handed blow. Re-establishment of this reserve unit at the University of Sherbrooke would mean that French Canadian students would get their fair share.
Mr. Cameron (Nanaimo-Cowichan-The Islands):
Mr. Chairman, earlier this afternoon the hon. member for Winnipeg South Centre made an appeal to history, always a very rash and dangerous thing to do. The hon. member's appeal to history was to prove what I suppose all of us know, that the history of mankind has been painfully bloody ever since it was first recorded.
But history can be appealed to in another way also, and I would suggest to the hon. member and to those who think like him that you cannot pick up the thread of history at this point and say that this is the end, that it is at this point that you will make your appeal. Because history will now tell us that never before in human existence have great powers had at their disposal such tremendous powers of destruction by which they may eliminate not merely civilization but mankind itself. This, I submit, Mr. Chairman, is the supreme fact of today, and it is a fact which is entirely overlooked by those who propose plans for military expenditures and those who criticize them on specific points.
It appears to me that this great fact of history renders virtually all this debate quite senseless, without value. It is sometimes imagined that science has placed tremendous power in the hands of the war makers, whereas I think we have already had historic evidence that, so far from doing this, the juggernaut of science and technology has overwhelmed war and military planners and
Supply-National Defence renders and rendered them, helpless and impotent. Consequently we must get the idea through our heads, and the sooner we do so the better, that we must devise a reasonable and practicable method of dealing with our neighbours in this troubled world.
[DOT] (4:40 p.m.)
Let us examine for a moment, Mr. Chairman, the arguments that are advanced for Canada's so-called defence expenditures. I think they have to be divided quite sharply into two categories. One with which I propose to deal more extensively later is the category which concerns our commitments under the United Nations for peace keeping services throughout the world, and the other is as a contribution to the power of the great neighbour to the south, the United States of America, to aid it to contain communism and to protect the west from the evils of communism. Let us boil it down to real facts, because we talk about alliances, and so on. I suggest to you, Mr. Chairman, that this breaks down into a contribution to the power of the United States to protect the free world, and to another part where we should actually contribute forces which will be actually deployed in combat against communist areas of the world. I suggest that this is a very feeble argument, because any contribution that we can make on that score would be so minuscule as to be derisory.
We have passed the era in history where nations such as Canada can make a measurable contribution to the waging of war. Let us get that straight through our heads. Let us not look at the first or the second world wars, when things were different, because that is not the situation today. The argument is produced that the growth of armaments in the present world is due to their deterrent power. This may be true. Again, I suggest that Canada is in no position whatever to add to the deterrent power of the United States. In fact, it is ridiculous to suggest that we are in that position. The only occasion upon which that deterrent power has actually been deployed was during the Cuban crisis some two years ago when Canada was not even informed, let alone consulted. Our neighbour to the south realized that we could contribute nothing. Their deterrent power was the only power they had, and the only power with which they could accomplish what they sought to accomplish. Any contribution of ours would have been completely pointless and meaningless. I suggest it is in this context that we ought to be considering these defence expenditures.
February 18, 1966
1 now want to return to the category I mentioned when I began speaking, the category of our contributions under our commitments to the United Nations. These, I think, are extremely important. I have had the opportunity of observing some of the forces we have deployed throughout the world in this work and have been impressed, as I am sure most members of parliament who have had that opportunity must have been impressed, by the manner in which the Canadian armed forces are carrying out their extremely difficult task. Nor would I suggest for a moment, sir, that we should consider reducing our role in this field. Rather I would suggest that these contributions should be made much more effective than they are at the present time. It distressed me when I was on the Gaza strip last year, or the year before last, to see that after eight years we were in precisely the same position we had been in at the beginning. There had been no advance. We had been acting as policemen to keep two possible combatants apart.
We have the same situation in Cyprus. I hear from reports which have come from Cyprus that the Canadian forces have played an outstanding role in keeping the potential combatants apart. However, in neither instance have any steps been taken to try to solve the political problem which has lain at the back of the military problem we have been trying to cope with.
I feel that this is the era in which Canada can play an important and decisive role in the world of today. I think it is a role that the men in our armed forces would welcome. We have heard a lot of talk about the low morale of the men in the Canadian armed forces. I do not know whether it is low, but I know this: I know that those with whom I have talked are very concerned as to what their role is going to be in the years to come, not merely from the point of view of whether they are going to have a job, or whether their careers are going to come to a satisfactory conclusion, but as to whether the work they will be engaged in is going to be of value.
I have taken the occasion whenever I have been overseas and have come in contact with men in our armed forces to try, if I can, to get some fairly high ranking air force officers to one side. I have succeeded in doing that on a number of occasions, and I have always put one question in which I have asked: "What do you think is the future for the Canadian armed forces?" Always, Mr. Chairman, I have had the same reaction. Always there is
first of all a rather perfunctory genuflection toward our military commitments in NATO and NORAD, but always they have eventually come out of the bushes and said something like this: "We should be doing something that we do superbly well, and better than anybody else in the world. We should be concentrating entirely on supplying transportation, communications, and delivery of goods and materials to the forces of the United Nations throughout the world." Our armed forces are doing that today, and are extremely proud of the role they are playing.
Not long ago I was speaking to a number of students of the University of Victoria. I must say I was somewhat dumbfounded when I got to where I was to speak to have the young man who had asked me there tell me, in a rather embarrassed way, that 50 sailors from HMCS Naden, the Royal Canadian Naval Base outside Victoria, had come to hear my talk on Canada's foreign policy. They marched in shortly afterwards, took their seats, and I proceeded to outline what I thought should be Canada's role in the world of today. During the course of my speech I outlined particularly the role that the men in our armed forces should play in that regard, and I said to them that there was a very great part that they should play, if they were equipped to do so. I pointed out to them that one of the most important aspects of our foreign policy, and one which must be given more and more importance as the years go on, is the provision of technical and material assistance to the areas of the world that are now beginning to emerge into the twentieth century, and I could see no reason why the men in our armed forces should not be getting the extra technical and administrative training that would permit them to play an important role in the development of skills, financed and aided by our external aid program.
[DOT] (4:50 p.m.)
It seemed at that time that the sailors accepted this as something worth while. It was a relief to know that there might be some positive, worth-while role in the world, not merely a role of standing by out of fear that a catastrophe might overcome us, in which they might be the first victims. This would strike me, Mr. Chairman, as being a much more realistic defence program than one which is based on the outmoded idea that war is today a feasible or practical means by which to promote national policy. I think this is one of the things we must get through our
February 18, 1966
heads: War is no longer feasible; science and technology have overcome the war planners and rendered them impotent.
But science and technology have placed other weapons in our hands and there are innumerable places in the world where these weapons should be employed today. Sometimes we forget that there are more than two nations in North America. A month or two ago ago I visited the third, the nation of Mexico, a country upon which some of us have been inclined to look patronizingly perhaps, as one which has not been well developed and where there are vast differences between wealth and poverty. However, when I was there the Mexican budget for the current year was presented-and 80 per cent of that budget is being devoted to education.
I would suggest that on any scale of civilized values a nation which devotes 80 per cent of its budget to education is vastly superior intellectually and morally to a nation which devotes 25 per cent of its budget to a war which will never take place, or if it does, to a war which the contribution of that country would be pointless.
I would recommend to the Minister of National Defence-and I know he has done something along these lines-to set up a program of training the men in our armed forces to undertake such tasks as this. And I would suggest that he return to the treasury of Canada the vast bulk of the sums which have been provided in respect of what are useless expenditures, expenditures which can provide us with no real defence. Further, I suggest the establishment, for one thing, of a comprehensive program of administrative training for people in those areas of the world which are now emerging into the twentieth century. This could be merged with the role the men in our armed forces might well play in the world of tomorrow. If we could achieve this, we would have less antedeluvian talk about whether this weapon is better than that weapon. In the world of today no weapon is of any value at all in the face of the enormous, the devastating advances in science and technology.
It has been some considerable time since I had an opportunity to take part in a discussion of defence. Unfortunately, in the limited time at my disposal this afternoon I shall be able to make only a few introductory remarks before we reach the hour of five o'clock.
It is not that my interest in defence matters has diminished over the years. I think my
Supply-National Defence interest in the operations of the Department of National Defence has increased rather than diminished. The reason I have been less active in recent years is because of other responsibilities and because I personally got out of touch with the activities of the armed forces, having myself become obsolete in 1957. Up to that point I was active in the excellent MATP program as a reservist. But the year 1957 was the beginning of the streamlining process, which had become necessary within the armed forces of Canada by reason of the crash program launched in the early fifties consequent upon Canada's participation in the Korean conflict.
Immediately after the war we scaled down our armed forces to an irreducible minimum, as seems to be typical of the approach Canada has taken over the years in defence matters. As a result, by the mid-fifties we had built up a defence force of a comparatively large size upon the basis of what the minister of that day, Hon. Brooke Claxton, referred to as a crash program. Then it became necessary in 1957 to carry out some streamlining.
Since there have been bouquets handed around the chamber this afternoon, and the name of the present Minister of National Defence has been mentioned, together with that of the associate minister, I think I should pass a bouquet to a former minister of national defence, Hon. George Pearkes, who is really the man who began the streamlining process designed to increase efficiency in the armed forces. We are all aware of some of the strange anomalies which occurred during the early fifties as a result of the crash program. The situation produced errors of huge proportions, as well as humourous aspects. I refer of course to the Avro fiasco which was debated furiously in the house at one time, and also to the lighter incident, the famous "horses on the payroll" episode which the minister will remember so well.
The first point I wish to make is that Canada has had this "on again, off again" attitude toward defence matters for most of its history; we can look back over the history of the past 20 or 30 years and find this to be the case. While integration is important, and while it was initiated by the former administration, particularly by the minister to whom I have referred, I wish to point out that under the present minister there has been frantic haste and frantic public relations in the spirit of the 60 days of decision-an approach which has created
February 18, 1966
Supply-National Defence difficulties to which I will refer when this discussion resumes.
May I call it five o'clock?
[DOT] (5:00 p.m.)