May 18, 1939 (18th Parliament, 4th Session)

CON

Henry Herbert Stevens

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEVENS:

In considering these estimates at this time I find myself under a considerable handicap-I might say, a self-imposed handicap. It has been my view since being a member of the House of Commons that discussions of defence and militia matters and matters of external affairs should be conducted as far as possible on a nonpolitical basis. I think that view is particularly applicable under the present circumstances. If the minister were to answer all the questions I should like to ask it would probably be most unfair to the officers in charge of the active militia and defence forces, and not in the interests of the country generally. But to the extent that such a reserve of discussion is observed the government must assume complete responsibility for whatever is done and whatever results or lack of results flow from their efforts and action. I agree with the leader of the opposition (Mr. Manion) that there should be set up a committee of the House of Commons, possibly of the two houses of parliament, which might hear in secret from the officers in charge of our various units and branches of defence full explanation of the matters before parliament and before the defence department. I believe that would be a sound thing to do, because we are entitled to much information-

Topic:   STATEMENT IN DEBATE ON DEFENCE ESTIMATES RESPECTING ROYAL MILITARY COLLEGE
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