Mr. A. D. Hales (Wellington South):
Mr. Speaker, there are many reasons for my participation in this debate on unification. One is, and I hope I will not be considered presumptuous in stating, that I represent the riding of Wellington South, and the new name of the riding will be Wellington. It is named after that great general, the Duke of Wellington, who defeated Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo. I must remind the minister that the man who won that battle did not know about unification, nor has the country for which he fought ever brought about unification. Although they have considered it, they have never brought it about. Wellington won that battle with an army and a navy, but I think we can say that the man he defeated had unified forces because he fought a one-man battle.
There are, as I say, many reasons, of which the above is only one, for my speaking on this subject. That portion of Ontario from which I come has a great military history and a great tradition in the military field. As far back as 1837 we had a volunteer unit called the Wellington Rifles. In 1866 we had the 11th Field Regiment which celebrated its 100th anniversary just last year, and of which Hon. George Drew is honorary colonel. We have the 34th Battalion which was mobilized in 1915. As I say, this area has a great tradition and these units along with many others have brought honour and glory not only to themselves and to our county, but to the world in general.
When I think of unification I am reminded that all of this tradition will disappear. I am one of those who realize that we cannot live on tradition; we must have change. However, here is tradition that has been tried and tested down through the years by all the great military nations; yet here we are, a young nation, wanting to throw overboard this tried and tested tradition. I want to state at the outset that I believe in integration. I believe integration is very necessary in order to bring about efficiency of operations and curtailment of expenditures. We have proven the success of this approach in the medical field. As a matter of fact, it was the Conservative party that integrated the defence medical services. The padre services were integrated, and there has been integration in the purchasing and other branches of the Department of National Defence.
National Defence Act Amendment
However, the fact that we have made a success of integration does not mean we should go one step further and go into unification by bringing all the forces into one unit. I am sure there are many who agree with me that there is only one answer, and that is an emphatic no. In my opinion there are many valid reasons for continuing to maintain separate units of the army, air force and navy. There have been many excellent reasons given, and wonderful speeches have been made on this very point.
Four reasons come to my mind, why we should keep the tri-services and I do not think they have been dwelt upon, at least not to any great extent in this debate. I would list them, Mr. Speaker. First, the constantly increasing need for military professionalism; second, the value of competition and a system of checks and balances; third, efficiency of management and, fourth, the intangible but real value of esprit de corps.
[DOT] (9:10 p.m.)
Let us look at them one by one. First, the question of professionalism. There was a time not too long ago when a soldier could move from infantry to artillery to calvary, and even to aviation, with a minimum of training. An airman could transfer quite readily from pursuit to observation to bombardment duty. Machines of war were relatively simple. Peacetime forces were small, and wide oceans provided time for mobilization in the event of an emergency.
All this has now changed, Mr. Speaker. We need professionals today. We have to maintain large and instantly readied combat forces which can be moved swiftly to any trouble spot on the globe, or meet an attack against this country with no more than a few minutes warning.
May I cite a little practical example where I think professionalism has proven its worth. In the medical field years ago there was the family practitioner, the general practitioner, who was able to handle all phases of sickness and disorder. As medicine and science progressed and drugs became more varied and more difficult to administer, there developed the professional, the specialist. Since the arrival of the specialist in the field of medicine we have been able to give better service to mankind.
So I think it is with the Department of National Defence. They need specialists, those who can look after this section or that section. I am sure that by unification we will not promote professionalism.
Subtopic: AMALGAMATION OF NAVY, ARMY AND AIR FORCE