March 2, 1944 (19th Parliament, 5th Session)


Clarence Gillis

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)


I appreciate the course followed by the minister. He quite frankly placed the matter in the hands of those who might have suggestions to offer.
I appreciate also his remarks with respect to the question of repatriation or rehabilitation, whichever one likes to call it, or demobilization. There are many questions that people will have to ask themselves and a great deal of serious thinking to be done. Two things struck me with regard to the minister's address. The first was his very frank approach to the question of what the boys should expect from Canada when the war is over. He emphasized, and rightly so, the fact that the war is not an end in itself. I, along with many others, hope that it is the end of something. I hope it is the end of unemployment, exploitation and misery such as we had in the years preceding the war. I hope it is the beginning, when the war is over, by the people of Canada, along with those who are overseas in the fighting forces, of building a better world on this continent. I trust that some members of the government are thinking along the lines of the expression of the minister with regard to that particular angle. I think he very rightly wound up his address on a note stressing the seriousness of the situation and the necessity for serious thinking.
When the estimates of the Minister of National Defence were up I expressed my opinions rather fully on matters pertaining to demobilization and rehabilitation. The mechanics that I outlined for the army would apply equally to the air force, and I am not going to take up the time of the committee by repeating them. I was pleased to hear the minister for air announce that the young Canadian personnel in the R.A.F. were to be given an opportunity of transferring to the R.C.A.F. He did not say how that was to be done or what one would have to go through in order to make that transfer possible. I suppose he will do so during the question period; but there is an angle to that particular group in the service to which no one has referred up to date, and I should like to focus the minister's attention on it. I think he stated that there were approximately 2,000 Canadian personnel in the R.A.F.

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