August 12, 1944 (19th Parliament, 5th Session)


Jean-François Pouliot



That is the minister's view about it, and it is most complimentary to the Minister of National Defence, but the hon. gentleman does not touch the grave of the late Sir Sam Hughes, who was busy as Minister of Militia and who was never the perpetual Acting Minister of Finance.
Here is the reason I object to it. I believe that in time of war the job of Minister of National Defence must be a full-time job, and that a member of the cabinet who acts in both capacities must neglect one of them. Either the Minister of National Defence pays no attention to his duties as Acting Minister of Finance or the perpetual Acting Minister of Finance pays no attention to his duties as Minister of National Defence. I am reminded of a world character who has lost some of his popularity-Mussolini, who held five portfolios. The Acting Minister of Finance is the deputy Prime Minister, a fulltime job; he is Minister of National Defence, a full-time job, and he is Acting Minister of

Finance. It is none of my business to decide who is to be Acting Minister of Finance, but I can criticize what has been done. I believe that after the Minister of Finance himself the man best informed in regard to his departs ment is his parliamentary assistant. I do not see why a member of the cabinet should hold three cabinet jobs, while the parliamentary assistant, who is a learned member of the bar and who has done exceptionally well in substituting for the Minister of Finance when he could not attend the meetings of the house or the committee of the whole, should be kept in the kitchen if not in the cellar or the attic. As one of the colleagues of the parliamentary assistant to the Minister of Finance I protest, as it is my right to protest. It is not my business to appoint, but I have the right to protest when an injustice is done. That injustice is made worse because at the present time the international commitments of Canada are not made by the Minister of Finance but by the Acting Minister of Finance. When the perpetual Acting Minister of Finance goes to Great Britain or anywhere else he makes the commitments, and then the Minister of Finance has to defend them. That is the point; that is what I protest against, and I do so because it is commonly and openly felt that Charlie Dunning is still the boss of the Department of Finance, through his friends who are there.

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