April 3, 1945 (19th Parliament, 6th Session)


Major James William Coldwell

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

Mr. M. J. COLDWELL (Rosetown-Biggar):

Mr. Speaker, until the members of the house receive the break-down which the Minister of Finance (Mr. Ilsley) has placed upon Hansard this afternoon, it is difficult to discuss these war appropriations in anything like detail. The minister has already stated that the government is asking for five-twelfths of an

annual appropriation based upon the expenditures of last year and the experience of the past few months. In that I think that the minister and the government are wise, because, as the leader of the opposition (Mr. Graydon) has stated, emphasizing the remarks of the minister, while the European war looks to be close to a victorious conclusion, it may nevertheless drag on for some time in guerrilla fashion, if not in an organized way, and consequently Canada's participation in the war may last longer than the period by which many of us dared to hope it might be shortened, if I might put it in that way. Hence it is that the appropriations before the house should receive the support of all the members, reserving as we do our rights to discuss any particular item and to scrutinize the expenditures to be made by the war departments for war purposes.
I should like particularly to emphasize the importance of making ample provision for economic aid. I note that provision is being made for Mutual Aid for the united nations. No matter what we may be called upon to do within the next few months in the actual field of warfare either in Europe or in the Pacific, it is certain that Canada will be called upon to do a great deal in the provision of food and other supplies for the peoples of the United Kingdom and the occupied areas of Europe. Consequently it seems to me that this appropriation, based, as the minister has said, upon the expenditure of last year and the experience of the last few months, i? founded upon an assumption that is fundamentally sound.
This parliament is nearing its close. In ten sitting days its life will have ended, and it is therefore appropriate that in the circumstances in which we meet there is the hope, which has I think been constant throughout the course of this war, in spite of what has just been said, that we would not be engaged in an election controversy in this country during a period of grave fighting overseas. I am hoping that we have now reached the stage when an immediate general election, for such it is that faces this house and country, may be fought on issues that are wider than the single purpose or in that sense the narrower issue of winning the war. For after all, when the budget is brought down by a government newly elected, whatever may be its political complexion, its principal function will be, not as it has been in the past five years-the provision of huge money appropriations and the making available of vast supplies for the conduct of the war-but rather the making available of appropriations for the post-war period. Consequently to the extent that the measures

War Appropriation '
covered by this war appropriation also look to the conversion of Canada to peace-time economy, I think that all members of the house should agree to give them their utmost support.
We shall have, we hope, before another year is past-indeed let us hope even before the first session of the new parliament is called-a number of our men and women returning to us from overseas. We have to make careful plans and adequate appropriations to bring about the rehabilitation of these men and women, who have performed a service to our country which I believe everyone recognizes and which has never been surpassed in our history, in order that we may find useful jobs, useful places, useful opportunities for them all. These appropriations do provide for that to some extent.
Thus there is our own domestic field; a wide field of international relations; the necessities of looking towards the nations beyond the seas and providing Mutual Aid. For let us bear this in mind, Mr. Speaker, that this country has been united for a single purpose, the purpose of winning the war, and so far as we are able we must remain united for the purpose of laying the foundations of an enduring peace. I am of this opinion, that the post-war period upon which we are about to enter will be in many respects a greater challenge to democratic peoples than even the war itself has been, and that the problems which we shall have to face, and which in a measure are dealt with in this appropriation for the next five months, will challenge our finest statesmanship, as it will in every one of the democratic countries.
And so, Mr. Speaker, speaking for this party in this house, we are prepared to facilitate the passage of these estimates in every respect consistent with proper inquiry into the expenditures that are to be made. That is what the country expects of us. That is what we desire to do. We therefore reserve further comments until we receive the breakdown of the expenditures by departments.

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