July 22, 1942 (19th Parliament, 3rd Session)


Thomas Langton Church

National Government


I see no necessity for any of these vast expenditures on external affairs, especially when there is a war on. This committee passed a draft estimate, and after it was passed a very large sum of money was run up by the government and the Minister of External Affairs in opening many of these new agencies which were already covered by trade commissioners.
We should have some economy in these matters connected with the Department of External Affairs. Many of these are only amateur diplomats who have had no training for their work. So far as this department is concerned, they are not functioning in the way they should be. I have in mind the one in Eire, and several others. It is bad enough in a time of peace to have divisions within the empire, but in a time of war it is even more fatal.
Some of these envoys and ministers plenipotentiary are causing untold strife among the dominions, and in addition to that they are interfering with the conduct of the war. Let us consider Washington, for example; we have a small expeditionary force there, in which there are representatives of the army, the navy, the air force, and even the women's army. They put on all the airs and manners of a nation of 75,000,000 people. Australia and New Zealand have not gone to that extent. Those people are here to-day and away to-morrow, because they will be changed with every change of government. So far as I can see, they have done little or nothing in Washington compared with what they should have done.
I am absolutely opposed to the extension of the principle of envoys and ambassadors, and the disregard of the fact that we are a nation of only around 11,000,000 people. I am opposed to this extension of the application of superannuation to these diplomats. This matter should be considered when the estimates are before the committee, and should not be put through in this form. There should be a vote before the committee of supply, and yet we' have not had a dollar voted by that committee. This is the 114th day of the session, and yet we have not considered one item in the Department of External Affairs.
Out of respect for the Prime Minister I do not wish to delay the progress of the resolution. I believe, however, we should pay heed to the handwriting on the wall and try to reduce our expenditures, because after all is said and done a man cannot learn to be an
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