April 4, 1967 (27th Parliament, 1st Session)


Sidney Earle Smith

Mr. Smilh:

Mr. Chairman, the fact that the last speaker and some of those who preceded him have been so worried about the length of time this debate is going to take and have started to talk about closure, when we are not quite through the second day of discussion of the bill in committee, makes me wonder what they are trying to conceal. It seems a shame that so much of the debate and so many of the pages to which the hon. member who preceded me referred have been filled with ir-relevancies, in so far as the problem of unification is concerned. Indeed, the professional staff, Air Marshal Miller and others who gave evidence and helped fill up the record, confronted us with a great many irrelevancies. For example, in a list in one of the briefs submitted to the committee there was included as one of the benefits of integration and unification the acquisition of the fan jet Falcon, that nice little, executive jet that cabinet ministers are getting to whizz them around the country. That aircraft was listed as one of the pieces of equipment we were acquiring because of the savings from unification.
A great deal of the argument put forward in support of unification has had nothing at all to do with unification; it has dealt with integration and the benefits of integration. Indeed, most of the witnesses who appeared before us, and I think most of the committee members, realize that there is a great deal of good to come from the integration of command, of certain supply services, and so on. But that is irrelevant in so far as this bill is concerned.
My friend the hon. member for Greenwood, with whom I often find myself in agreement, has also introduced irrelevancies into this discussion. He talked about unification in the light of a new role for the Canadian forces. I should like to suggest that while it may be very desirable that we increase our intervention role and build up our mobile force, whether or not our forces are unified will not make that intervention force or peacekeeping force any more or less efficient. In so far as this bill is concerned, that is an irrelevant argument.
However, I do agree with the hon. member for Greenwood that what we need is a new statement of defence policy, a statement indicating the priorities that we are attaching to our defence roles; because unless you know what you are doing or why you are doing it,
April 4, 1967

National Defence Act Amendment you cannot organize your forces to meet those commitments.
I do not propose to quote at great length any of the witnesses who appeared before the committee. I should like to read two or three passages from the evidence of Air Marshal Miller, and for a particular reason. The reason is that he is the serving officer who very strongly supported integration; he had more to do than anyone else with the initial planning of integration, and until just six months ago he was the chief of staff. His definitions of integration and unification impressed me very much.
[DOT] (9:10 p.m.)
I think it would not be a bad idea if we had them in the record in close proximity. His definition of integration appears at page 2290 of his evidence, as follows:
By that I mean the operating of the three services under a single-what I would call-management. A single defence staff, a single planning organization, an d single budgeting arrangement.
That I think, sir, is a fine definition of integration.
His definition of unification appears at page 2311 of the committee's proceedings, where he said the following:
Unification is the formation of a single force, single rank structure, single administrative chain, the wearing of a common uniform and calling trades and ranks by common names. In other words, a single force instead of three forces.
What does Air Chief Marshal Miller say about the advantages and disadvantages of unification, always bearing in mind that he is a very strong supporter of integration? At page 2291 he said:
The area of unification is a very sensitive one, as you well know. It strikes at the traditions and the feelings of a lot of people. I did not see, up until the time I left, that the return from pressing the unification sign was commensurate with the disruption and the great concern to the man in uniform that would result from it.
The following exchange appears at page 2297 of the proceedings:

Subtopic:   SITTING RESUMED The committee resumed at 8 p.m.
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