July 28, 1942 (19th Parliament, 3rd Session)


James Arthur Ross

National Government

Mr. ROSS (Souris):

I said it was in a note I had received from a mother of one of the boys. Now I quote from page 45:
On the whole matter I find that there was no dereliction of duty or error in judgment from the mere fact that approximately 120 men were included in the expedition before they had completed their prescribed periods of training.
I have already found that the addition of these men did not impair the efficiency of the expedition nor did it constitute an injustice to these men themselves.
I ask any ex-service man whether he agrees with that statement. It does not make sense to ex-service men.
It is beyond question that it is better practice to send fully trained men overseas than it is to send men who are only partly trained.
I am sorry that time does not permit me to deal in more detail with the report. I have made reference to the controller of transport, and that question is discussed on page 51. The statement is there made that he stopped shipment on October 15. In my opinion that was a very serious blunder, which undoubtedly proves that we have not an efficient organization in this respect, even to-day.
I quote from the bottom of page 55:
Colonel Spearing did not correct the information given Mr. Connor, and a letter was sent at a later day by Mr. Connor addressed to the "Ordnance Transit Officer". After some travels, it reached Lieutenant Winter, -who had been sent out from Ottawa to assist in superintending the loading of the ship. Perhaps any delay in the delivery of the letter may not have produced any result so far as the getting of any of the vehicles on the Awatea is concerned, but the incident is one which a little more care *would have prevented.
That was very careless. On page 59 the commissioner deals with the evidence of Mr. Lockwood, the controller of transport. He says:
Mr. Lockwood is a man of immense experience in the shipping business before the war as well as in his present office.
On page 60 he says:
I accept Mr. Lockwood's evidence. I do not accept Sir. Cooke's evidence that it was a simple matter to load these vehicles and that all could have been loaded.
Mr. Cooke's evidence was not accepted, notwithstanding the fact that he headed the company that owned the boat. He had had a vast shipping experience, extending over a period of thirty-five years. Why should not his evidence have been considered as well as that of the transport controller?
On page 61 the statement is made that the soldiers had to carry a tremendous load and how impossible it would have been if they had not had proper transport. I am satisfied
that if certain members of this government wished to go through the country at the present time the question of transportation would not present any difficulties, and yet when it comes to the shipment of the materials for that expedition there was a difficulty. I suggest that the minister should make a change in this respect so as to assure our troops, together with their equipment, of more satisfactory transportation. I am satisfied also that if all the evidence had been produced before parliament, some dereliction or error would have been found on the part of the war cabinet, of which the Prime Minister is chairman, or on the part of the members of the joint defence board of the United States and Canada, or probably both, and certainly of a number of high ranking officers.

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