April 21, 1967

NDP

Herbert Wilfred Herridge

New Democratic Party

Mr. Herridge:

Mr. Chairman, I rise on a point of order. Is not this type of discussion in respect of the crown and Her Majesty entirely out of place during this debate?

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PC

Almonte Douglas Alkenbrack

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Alkenbrack:

That is the exact and succinct reason I referred to the crown rather than Her Majesty. To me the bearer of the crown is not at issue. The crown itself is significant of the guarantees made to Canada in the past which exist today. I was referring to the erosion of Anglo-Saxon traditions in our forces and I think I have made my point clear. The hoots of derision by those who care nothing about these traditions mean nothing to me.

DEBATES April 21. 1967

I submit that the Anglo-Saxon traditions which have been carried on by the armed forces down through the years and centuries ought not to be allowed to be eroded. For that reason I should like to move that clause 5, which stamps out the individual names of the three branches of our armed services, the Royal Canadian Navy, the Canadian Army, and the Royal Canadian Air Force, be struck from the bill.

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LIB

Maurice Rinfret (Chief Government Whip's assistant; Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole)

Liberal

The Deputy Chairman:

Let me remind the hon. member that our procedure requires that he submit his proposed amendment to the Chair in writing in the proper form. In any event, I suggest to the hon. member that his intended purpose will be served in another way. He may obtain the same result by voting against the adoption of this clause.

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LIB

John Whitney Pickersgill (Minister of Transport)

Liberal

Mr. Picliersgill:

According to our traditions we should have a copy of this amendment.

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PC

J. Michael Forrestall

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Forresfall:

Why do hon. members want a copy of the amendment? They have not been interested in this debate up till now?

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PC

Almonte Douglas Alkenbrack

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Alkenbrack:

I submit that clause 5 should not be included in this bill. I will write out my proposed amendment and submit it to the Chair forthwith.

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LIB

Maurice Rinfret (Chief Government Whip's assistant; Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole)

Liberal

The Deputy Chairman:

May I suggest to hon. members that the proper course of action would be to vote in favour or against the clause.

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PC

Gordon Minto Churchill

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Churchill:

We want to speak in reference to this clause.

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PC

J. Michael Forrestall

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Forreslall:

Mr. Chairman, while the amendment is being prepared in the proper form, perhaps I as one member for Halifax would be remiss if I did not remind hon. members and Canadians as a whole of the history of the Royal Canadian Navy. Let me remind hon. members of the great contribution the Royal Canadian Navy has made to the Canadian way of life.

[DOT] (3:50 p.m.)

I have in front of me some notes prepared on the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of the R.C.N. which occurred some seven years ago in 1960. The Royal Canadian Navy came into being in 1910 as a result of the promulgation of the Naval Service Act on May 4 of that year. It was a natural step in our evolution and progress from the wilderness to full nationhood and the acceptance of our responsibility not only in terms of our own nation but in terms of the common safety of man everywhere.

April 21, 1967 COMMONS

The year 1910 was a fairly meaningful one for the R.C.N. I am not going back into the past but am simply giving a young man's appreciation of the contribution made by our naval service over the last 57 years and what this contribution has meant to the world. I should like to recall some dates to hon. members, such as June 1, June 3, June 19 and August 4. They were all milestones. On August 4, H.M.C.S. Rainbow was commissioned at Portsmouth. It may be recalled that H.M.C.S. Rainbow was the first ship to enter the Royal Canadian Navy. H.M.C.S. Niobe followed on September 6. Again, I am sure all hon. members are very much aware, or at least they should be, of the very gallant record of the Niobe.

In so far as things historical are concerned, a few minutes ago the minister told us that what he was doing was laying before the Canadian people the role of our armed forces for the next 50 years. He knows better than that, and I think we all know better than that. We are all aware of the fact that no matter what we do with our armed forces today they will be obsolete in three years' time, so rapid are the technological changes which are taking place. We are all aware of this.

I remind the minister that on October 1, 1910, Atlantic command was established-in other words, maritime command. There is nothing new about it at all because 57 years ago we had a maritime command. On October 13 of that same year dockyard and Admiralty House in Halifax were transferred to Canadian ownership. This was a very meaningful event in terms of the economic and social life of Atlantic Canada. These are very real things and are not passed over easily.

On November 8, still in that year, Rainbow arrived in Vancouver. These things should not be treated lightly. On May 4 of that year dockyard at Esquimalt was formally transferred. On May 18, 1914, the Royal Canadian Naval Vounteer Reserve was established by order in council and on August 4 war was declared. His Majesty's Canadian ships were placed under admiralty operational control. On that date Rainbow sailed to seek S.M.S. Leipzig, and to protect H.M. ships Algerine and Shearwater, other great Canadian names.

On August 5 two submarines built at Seattle for Chile and purchased by the premier of British Columbia were delivered to the R.C.N. off Trial Island. H.M.C.S. Niobe sailed from Halifax in September of that year to complete her complement at St. John's, Newfoundland. Again, we find evidence of the

National Defence Act Amendment expansion of this Canadian contribution to the world. On November 1 the first four Canadian casualties were suffered by our Canadian naval service. H.M.S. Good Hope took part in this battle and was carrying four Canadians in her crew.

There are other dates that are very significant in terms of the Royal Canadian Navy. There was the explosion in 1917 at Halifax. In connection with all of these things the Royal Canadian Navy has been geared to give comfort to man in an hour of crisis or disaster. After the war, in 1920, naval demobilization was completed. In 1921 we got some more submarines for training purposes and our fleet began to grow. On June 16 the Royal Naval College disappeared and became something a little bit more identifiable with our own Canadian needs. In 1923 the Royal Canadian Naval Reserve and the Royal Canadian Naval Volunteer Reserve were established.

On July 1, 1923, H.M.C.S. Stadacona was commissioned in Halifax. This was one of the most significant events that happened in the 218 years of history the city of Halifax has enjoyed. Its role has been immeasurable in many respects, Mr. Chairman. On March 1, 1928, we added more ships, the Champlain and the Vancouver which were to replace the old Patriot and the Patrician. On February 27, 1939, we lost H.M.C.S. Thiepval in

Barkley Sound, British Columbia. On May 22, 1931, H.M.C.S. Saguenay was commissioned, followed by H.M.C.S. Skeena. These two ships are very significant in terms of our Canadian navy. These were the first two ships to be commissioned in Canada on the basis of Canadian design, engineering and talent.

On July 1, 1934, Commodore P. W. Nelles became our chief of naval staff, the first Canadian trained officer to receive this appointment. We see here the evolution and development which has taken 57 years to bring about. On July 26, 1936-I was four years old at the time-a royal guard from H.M.C.S. Saguenay paraded at Vimy Ridge for the unveiling of the Canadian memorial by King Edward VIII. This was the first royal guard provided by the R.C.N. for the person of the monarch. These are milestones in our development.

I see one hon. member opposite paying some attention and that is the chairman of the defence committee who must be very familiar with these facts. He must indeed feel some sadness in his heart today at what is taking place. I am not old fashioned. I am in favour of progress. These things all happened

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National Defence Act Amendment long before I became an adult. However, I am very proud of them.

[DOT] (4:00 p.m.)

On May 31, 1939, Kang George VI presented his colour to the R.C.N. in Beacon Hill Park, Victoria, B.C. The hon. member is probably familiar with that and in all likelihood was present. Perhaps I should repeat it for him. On May 31, 1939, King George VI presented his colour to the R.C.N. in Beacon Hill Park, Victoria, B.C. We started the building of our fleet and the Fraser and St. Laurent sailed in those early months before the war. On September 1 the R.C.N., the R.C.N.R. and the R.C.N.V.R. were placed on active service. On September 10 Canada entered the war by declaring war against Germany. On September 16 convoy HX-1 sailed from Halifax to the United Kingdom; the local escort were H.M.C.S. St. Laurent and Saguenay. Again we have these two very famous names of ships that made a very great contribution to the war effort. On December 10 the first Canadian troop convoy sailed for Britain, escorted out of Halifax by H.M.C.S. Ottawa, Restigouche, Fraser and St. Laurent. These are the things we are throwing away, that we are casually brushing aside because they are not right for the next 50 years.

On May 24, 1940 H.M.C.S. St. Laurent, Restigouche and Skeena sailed to reinforce the naval defences of the British Isles in repayment, in part, of our great debt to the past that some people would like to brush aside casually.

There are a lot of significant dates in 1940, such as June 25 and July 31 These are dates which remain in the memories of a lot of people, and they are not ashamed of that fact. On September 24 of that year the Annapolis, Columbia, Niagara, St. Clair, St. Croix and St. Francis ex-U.S.N. destroyers which were part of the 50 or 60 given to the British naval strength at that time, were taken over, if I remember correctly, by the British and handed over in turn to the Canadian authorities to man.

On October 22, H.M.C.S. Margaree was lost in collision with the Port Fairy in the north Atlantic. On October 25 H.M.C.S. Bras D'or foundered in the St. Lawrence. On December 4 the Prince Henry was commissioned as an armed merchant cruiser, followed by the Prince David on December 28, again extending our capability to contribute to the defence of the free world.

On March 25, 1941 the Otter burned and sank in the approaches to Halifax harbour.

DEBATES April 21, 1967

On May 25 the first Canadian corvettes arrived in St. John's to establish the Newfoundland escort force. On June 14, three weeks later, the first group of ships of this Newfoundland escort force sailed to protect a convoy of merchant ships along that treacherous trek from Halifax and St. John's to the United Kingdom and up to Murmansk.

The war is full of records of glorious dates. Those who want to brush them aside casually are the less enriched for it. It is records such as these that build some spirit of Canadianism. Certainly the loss of them is not going to build that spirit. We should be able to look back with pride at a distinguishable force, an identifiable element of our armed forces. Men should be able to say that they joined a particular force, that this is their heritage, that it is what they are interested in. This, Mr. Chairman, is what we are throwing away. It is what we are being chided about. What is wrong with having some feeling of deep seated pride in our history?

I could go on for an hour reciting dates such as these. If we keep on as we are we will not have enough ships left to constitute a Royal Canadian Navy even if the government wanted to retain that force.

I have one or two other remarks to make on this particular clause before it passes. I understand that the amendment has now been withdrawn so I will be brief. My remarks have essentially to do with the point made earlier, by the hon. member for Winnipeg South Centre, at which time he likened what is happening here to clause 2 and to the intent and content of clause 6, namely the compulsory aspect of this bill.

I am sure that the decision to do this is the minister's alone and nobody else's. No recourse has been had to any of the arguments that we advanced, either in committee or in this chamber during the last 12 or 14 months. Indeed at times it has been so frustrating that we wondered whether there was any point in continuing to ask questions, because in most instances it was extremely difficult to get straightforward and clear-cut answers.

In this connection I would remind the minister that compulsory action of this sort will not result in any meaningful implementation of his plans or this bill. The men will accept it because it is compulsory and they are loyal. Every officer and serving man is loyal first of all to Canada. But they have had no part in this whatever. Their best advice has been brushed aside. It may have been considered but we have not been told it has been duly

April 21, 1967 COMMONS

considered, even though we have inquired. The minister has simply gone ahead arbitrarily and said that this will be their new role, their new look. I suggest to the minister that what he will wind up with is a lot of men and officers who will work from nine till five or from eight till four and then return home and do some gardening.

In the old days a job was a job and a task was a task, and they were performed by men who had some pride in what they were doing. One day next week those days will disappear. There will be a quiet transition. But in the implementation of the regulations and in the meaningful day by day detail that is implied in this bill, the minister and those responsible for the furtherance of this measure will find a lot of disinterest on the part of the middle ranking officers and men. He will find a lot of nine to five men who will return home at the end of the working day and forget about their work until the following day.

I suggest to the minister that there is an opportunity for him here. We should not have to ask him to withdraw a clause such as this. We should not have to ask him to relax the compulsory aspects of this measure at all. The minister should see the dangers of such a provision. I am sorry that the amendment will not be introduced, because I would have supported it vigorously.

[DOT] (4:10 p.m.)

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PC

Almonte Douglas Alkenbrack

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Alkenbrack:

Mr. Chairman, I had undertaken to move an amendment to clause 5, which seeks to abolish the word "Royal" from "Royal Canadian Navy" and "Royal Canadian Air Force." The three forces, the Royal Canadian Navy, the Canadian Army and the Royal Canadian Air Force are to become known as the Canadian Forces. The point is that as my amendment was not procedurally sound, I beg leave to withdraw it. I shall be content to vote against the clause at the appropriate time.

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PC

Wallace Bickford (Wally) Nesbitt

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Nesbitt:

Mr. Chairman, I have a few remarks to make on this clause. Having served in the Royal Canadian Navy for over four years and being still in the reserve ranks, I feel on this unhappy occasion that a few remarks might be in order.

It has been said that a nation with no past has no future. The real meaning of that expression is that a nation does not live by bread and resources alone, but that it builds its history on its traditions, and the events which have taken place to build it. To forget all these traditions and events is to forget that we have a country.

National Defence Act Amendment

The government has done a quite commendable job through its parks branch in commemorating historical events, and with the centennial celebrations. For that reason I am puzzled why there is this attempt to remove some of our background and traditions, and particularly those of our armed services. It is particularly necessary for the armed services to have traditions. Traditions are not tangible; yet they build something known as morale, which the psychologists have a difficult time explaining. Without morale-and I expect the hon. member for Victoria (B.C.) knows what I mean-you can have all the ships, aircraft and tanks in the world and they will not be worth their metal. If the people in the forces have no will to fight or have no fighting spirit, they may as well have no weapons.

Factors other than tradition contribute to fighting morale, of course; but one of the most important factors in building morale is tradition. That is why the services emphasize the background of a regiment, or of a ship particularly if the ship has been in service for some time. The navy is proud of naval traditions and naval battles; and the same applies to the air force. Psychologists tell us that people joining a service associate themselves with the traditions of their service. Those traditions are not to be let down. That is why one of the most important elements of fighting spirit is morale.

I hope the minister and some of his bright eyed, bushy tailed flannel suited computer experts remember my words. The minister may acquire fine equipment; he may obtain his answers from computers, but he will not have a fighting service that is fit even for peace keeping operations for the United Nations. I hope he bears that in mind.

Does the hon. member for Victoria (B.C.) wish to ask a question?

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LIB
PC

Wallace Bickford (Wally) Nesbitt

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Nesbitt:

I am always interested in the hon. member's remarks.

Removing the word "Royal" from "Royal Canadian Navy" and "Royal Canadian Air Force" will not save the taxpayers any money. That will not accomplish anything except to destroy the morale that is necessary for any fighting force. One wonders why the minister and his colleagues are so dead set on abolishing the word "Royal". It has been suggested by other members that this is part of the government's plan to destroy Anglo-Saxon traditions. I do not know whether that

April 21. 1967

National Defence Act Amendment suggestion is correct, but it looks as if it may be. I hope it is not, but future events will show whether it is or whether it is not.

In conclusion may I say this: The Royal Canadian Navy has had a long and great tradition. The hon. member for Halifax dealt with it and I will not repeat what he said. For some of us in this house who see the navy being obliterated this is a sad moment. I never thought, during the years I served in that force, that I should see the day when this parliament would destroy it, wiping out its traditions and record. I am sorry to have to be here at this time, and I can only hope that the future may bring some changes.

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NDP

Harold Edward Winch

New Democratic Party

Mr. Winch:

My remarks on clause 5 will be brief. I spoke on this clause during the debate on second reading, in the defence committee hearings, and subsequently when the bill was referred back to the committee of the whole house. Because of the implications contained in clause 5 I find it necessary to emphasize something to which the minister has not paid proper attention.

Let me say at the outset that I have no objection basically, after planning, testing and readjustment, to integration culminating, in unification of the three services. If we do amalgamate our three services into a single service, surely no one will argue that in that single service we shall not have an army, a navy and an air force. I cannot conceive of any form of Canadian armed service not containing an army, a navy and an air force.

[DOT] (4:20 p.m.)

With integration going forward toward a single service, can the minister explain to me why, without destroying the single service concept, it is not possible to retain the Royal Canadian Navy as a unit of the single service, the Royal Canadian Air Force as a unit or element of the single service, and the Army as a unit or element of the single service? I have used those terms "unit" and "element" because they appear in clause 5.

To my way of thinking, preservation of the names "Royal Canadian Navy", "Royal Canadian Air Force" and "Army" would in no way prevent a reasonable minister arriving at an efficient realization of the principle of integration or its culmination in a single service. It would not even interfere with his computers.

Because the maintenance of a name means so much and because the traditions and the honours and victories mean so much, why is it necessary to be so adamant in saying that

the name will have to go. It does not make sense. It certainly is not common sense for a minister who wishes to get so complex and far-reaching a bill as this through the House of Commons.

I have been a member of the defence committee ever since it was established. As far as possible I have attended every meeting of that committee. I think it would be reasonable, just and commendable for the minister of defence to consider the principle which I am trying to espouse and expand. You can have your principle of a single service-but without wiping out and destroying that which means so much to thousands of our people who have served and who are serving in the navy, in the air force and in the army.

If the minister can assure me that the meaning of the words in the third line of the first subclause of clause 5, namely, "are embodied in the Canadian Forces" is that we can have, as units or elements, the Royal Canadian Navy, the Royal Canadian Air Force and the Army, I shall vote for clause 5. But if I do not receive this assurance I shall have no hesitation about voting against clause 5 as it is now.

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PC

John (Jack) McIntosh

Progressive Conservative

Mr. McIntosh:

I hope the minister will pay some heed to the plea just made by the hon. member for Vancouver East. However, I doubt very much whether notice will be taken of any plea made by a member of the opposition. This was clearly demonstrated a few minutes ago when we asked for the deletion of a certain word, "indefinite", which the judge advocate general said was inconsequential and without great importance. The plea made by the hon. member will almost certainly fall upon deaf ears. Indeed I doubt very much whether the minister even heard it.

We in the opposition refer to clause 5 as the compulsory transfer clause. When members of the present armed forces joined that force, they joined either the navy, the army or the air force. That was the agreement they made. The hon. member for Queens has referred to the contract entered into by members of the present forces. They joined a particular service. By a stroke of the pen this government intends to wipe out that service. I am not a lawyer so I am not prepared to say whether this clause is ultra vires. The passing of the bill will mean that those who have entered into a contract to serve in the army, the navy or the air force are now compelled to serve in

April 21, 1967

the Canadian Forces. This is in any case a change in terminology, but it may also be a change o f a much more substantial kind.

We suggest that the minister should consider the feelings of those who do not wish to continue to serve as members of a Canadian armed force. The contract into which they entered has been terminated by the abolition of the three services: There is no contract in existence. I do not object to those now in the services volunteering to enter the new force, but I plead on behalf of those who feel they will no longer be able to serve Canada as army, naval or air force men.

I should like to place on record some of the questions which were asked on this subject by a member of the defence committee and the replies given to him, because I am sure this evidence will strengthen the point I am making. The judge advocate general is the witness being questioned, and I am quoting from pages 2082 and 2083 of Minutes of Proceedings and Evidence, No. 32.

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PC

Donald MacInnis

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Maclnnis (Cape Breton South):

If I, as a serviceman in any one of the three services decided, when this act was about to come into force, that I would dispute the legality of it, under what law could I be proven guilty?

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?

Edward M. Lawson

Mr. Lawson:

Well, I suppose you would desert and you would be tried as a deserter.

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PC

Donald MacInnis

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Maclnnis (Cape Breton South) :

A deserter from what?

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?

Edward M. Lawson

Mr. Lawson:

From the Canadian forces.

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PC

Donald MacInnis

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Maclnnis (Cape Breton South) :

On what basis would I be considered a deserter, if I had signed to serve in, say, the army?

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April 21, 1967