July 2, 1940 (19th Parliament, 1st Session)

LIB

Charles Gavan Power (Minister of National Defence; Minister of National Defence for Air; Minister of National Defence for Air and Associate Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Mr. POWER:

Very well; I shall do so.
I should like to take this opportunity to give a brief account of the present position of recruiting for the Royal Canadian Air Force. As the house knows, the requirements of the Royal Canadian Air Force for recruits can be divided broadly into two classes. First, there are the air crews, that is, those who actually will fly either as pilots, air gunners or observers, and, second, there is the maintenance personnel, both trained and untrained, using the word "maintenance" in its broadest sense as including all those whose duties are necessary to the operation of active service squadrons or training establishments. Both of these groups require training, the extent of which depends upon the qualifications necessary to perform the task to which they will be assigned. The problem of recruiting is, therefore, in large part a training problem and the rate at which recruiting can properly proceed is conditioned by the rate at which the capacity of existing training facilities can be enlarged and extended. It is obvious that recruits ought not to be called up and withdrawn from their civil occupations until we are in a position to train them to perform their duties in accordance with the plans that have been made. It is simply not possible to call them all up at once.
Nevertheless, the house will recall that, in conformity with our determination to accelerate our training effort in every way, we determined some time ago to enlist immediately 5,000 recruits who otherwise would not have been called up until some future date. I am happy to report that these enlistments have been proceeding at the rate of about
1,000 per week-a rate which, under the circumstances, must be regarded as satisfactory. .Some idea of the amount of work involved

can be gained from the fact that since September 15 last over 115,000 men have requested and obtained information from us relative to enlistment in the Royal Canadian Air Force. This is in addition to a great many informal inquiries of which no record is kept. Of course, not all who receive papers complete them and actually offer their services, but a very large number have done so and over 26,000 have passed the medical examination and been trade tested. Of these over 13,000 officers and men have been already enlisted and, as I have said, the balance are being called up as rapidly as circumstances permit. Of the 13,000 who have not been enlisted, 1,433 have made application to be trained as crew men; 7,962 desire to be trained tradesmen, while 4,000 are unskilled. With respect to the 4,000 who are unskilled, they may at any time join any other force or unit of the expeditionary forces. However, we would like to keep on the strength those men who provide good material for air or ground crews. A reserve of 1,400 is not too large for our requirements of air crew men. As a matter of fact, it is a rather low reserve to have, considering the number of future pilots, gunners and observers who will be needed very shortly for training.
So far as the selection of individual recruits is concerned, this is determined by priority of application except to the extent that there may be a special need for those with special qualifications. In the nature of things some trades are needed in greater numbers than others and thus it often happens that of two candidates volunteering at the same time, one will be called before the other. This is sometimes rather hard for the individual to understand, but the house, I am sure, will realize why it must be so. The procedure on application for enlistment is that every applicant is interviewed personally with a view to ascertaining in a general way whether he posseses the educational and other qualifications necessary. Once this is done, the applicant is assisted in filling out an application form and advised as to how he should obtain certain necessary documents, such as proof of age and education. Arrangements are then made for the applicant to present these documents and be medically examined. Once these requirements are met there is nothing further to be done until we are in a position to take him on our strength for training and he is called up accordingly.
It must be pointed out that by submitting his application and being medically examined, a recruit in no sense commits himself or prevents himself from enlisting in some other branch of the service. Until actually called

The Budget-Mr. Hanson (
to report for duty, those who have offered their services are perfectly free to withdraw their applications,-

Topic:   ROYAL CANADIAN AIR FORCE
Subtopic:   STATEMENT AS TO PRESENT POSITION WITH RESPECT TO RECRUITING
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