Mr. M. J. COLDWELL (Rosetown-Biggar):
Mr. Speaker, I rise to discuss not the civil service but this bill, one of the most important measures which has been placed before this parliament since it assembled in 1936. The bill in my opinion adopts and commits parliament and the country to a most momentous policy. We are asked by this measure to concur in the principle of the private manufacture of arms. To this principle a very large section of the Canadian people are very thoroughly opposed; and before the house is even asked to adopt the principle laid down by the bill, every opportunity should be given for careful consideration of its provisions.
The resolution foreshadowing this bill was placed on the order paper on January 25. The minister discussed the resolution last Friday, March 10, and the bill was distributed in the usual way to the members on Saturday last. From what I have been able to see of this bill, and because many of the members have been otherwise engaged since the bill was distributed, I submit that hon. members have had insufficient time to go into its details.
The group with which I am associated regrets that the government has felt it necessary to abandon the policy of the manufacture of armaments in publicly-owned plants.
Subtopic: CREATION OP DEFENCE PURCHASING BOARD TO ENTER INTO CONTRACTS FOR MUNITIONS, EQUIPMENT, MATERIALS AND SUPPLIES