George Randolph PEARKES

PEARKES, The Hon. George Randolph, V.C., P.C., C.C., D.S.O., M.C., C.D.

Personal Data

Party
Progressive Conservative
Constituency
Esquimalt--Saanich (British Columbia)
Birth Date
February 26, 1888
Deceased Date
May 30, 1984
Website
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Pearkes
PARLINFO
http://www.parl.gc.ca/parlinfo/Files/Parliamentarian.aspx?Item=a5d20b47-6869-470c-8621-982e467cd0dd&Language=E&Section=ALL
Profession
soldier

Parliamentary Career

June 11, 1945 - April 30, 1949
PC
  Nanaimo (British Columbia)
June 27, 1949 - June 13, 1953
PC
  Nanaimo (British Columbia)
August 10, 1953 - April 12, 1957
PC
  Esquimalt--Saanich (British Columbia)
June 10, 1957 - February 1, 1958
PC
  Esquimalt--Saanich (British Columbia)
  • Minister of National Defence (June 21, 1957 - October 10, 1960)
March 31, 1958 - April 19, 1962
PC
  Esquimalt--Saanich (British Columbia)
  • Minister of National Defence (June 21, 1957 - October 10, 1960)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 1 of 790)


August 6, 1960

Hon. G. R. Pearkes (Minister of National Defence):

Both those investigations have been proceedings, Mr. Speaker, and the final reports have not yet been submitted.

Topic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   NATIONAL DEFENCE
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August 6, 1960

Hon. G. R. Pearkes (Minister of National Defence):

Mr. Speaker, when the Pepperrell air base is brought to care and maintenance standards by the United States air force some of the buildings will be vacated. My department has been carrying out a survey to see whether we can use any of those buildings which will be vacated.

Topic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   NEWFOUNDLAND
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August 5, 1960

Mr. Pearkes:

The immediate amount of warning would be approximately 30 minutes but there might be several days of warning. It does not necessarily follow that the first missile would be fired against the Canadian target. It is quite likely or it is quite possible, shall I say, that the first missiles might fall in the United States, thereby giving us, perhaps, hours of warning. It is inconceivable in the present stage of the development of missilry that all the Russian missiles could be fired off simultaneously. So when I say the minimum amount of warning would be 30 minutes, there might be considerably more warning than that.

That, I hope, explains the present position. There are these discussions going on. We have not got the launchers yet. We do not expect the launchers until some time next year, and I am quite certain that the Secretary of State for External Affairs will be able to complete the negotiations by that date so that as the Prime Minister has said these weapons will be available if and when required. But, as the Leader of the Opposition knows full well, there are negotiations; at least there are vigorous demands being made by numerous countries to ban the use of nuclear weapons altogether. If these are successful, and if it is generally agreed that nuclear weapons shall not be used, then, thank God, we shall not have to have them. I hope that answers your question. I think that is all I had on continental defence.

Now we come to the question of mobile forces of conventional arms. Great stress was made by the Liberal spokesmen on the importance of having a mobile force capable of being transported by air to practically any part of the world where it might be necessary for Canadian forces to operate in support of some United Nations project. I heartily agree,

and I said very definitely in my opening remarks that we attach importance to the provision of additional air transport for that very purpose. As a matter of fact, there is part of the total of $170 million included in this year's estimates for the purpose of acquiring additional air transport. I have already mentioned the types of air transport there are- the CC-106, the CC-109 and the 130-B. The most recent order we have placed is for the Caribou to operate in the Congo. Thus I do feel we have during the last three years built up the air transport command, and certainly before the end of this financial year the majority of these aircraft will have been delivered and we shall be in a position to move three or four times the number of troops, together with their equipment. The aircraft known as 130-B move a very great quantity of equipment, much heavier equipment than it has ever been possible for us to move before, and with this combination of air transport in air transport command we shall be by the end of this fiscal year in a very strong position to move troops as required.

I have repeatedly mentioned the stand-by battalion. Yes, there is a battalion composed of approximately 1,000 men ready to move at any time. It is not the fault of Canada that in the particular situation arising in the Congo a different type of troops were required, emphasis being laid on staff officers, signal communication troops and what is usually referred to as logistic troops, supply personnel and so on. Some of these troops were already immunized and could have been moved into the Congo earlier than they actually were, but the difficulty was for the Congo United Nations force to decide exactly what type of personnel were required.

Canada supplied the first staff officers to the Congo force. We have ten trained staff officers in the Congo now providing a very essential element to the commander, including his chief of staff. Less than half an hour ago I signed an order for six more officers to join that force. Canada is ready to meet the modest requests that have been made to her.

It is suggested we should have a brigade instead of a battalion. That is just a question of emphasis. I doubt whether it will be practical for us to have and maintain an air transport force capable of moving a full brigade in a very short time. I am doubtful whether a situation would arise whereby the United Nations would call upon Canada to make such a large contribution, and if they did we have three brigades here in Canada of trained, regular soldiers who in a short time could be made available for any further United Nations operations.

79951-0-483J

Supply-National Defence

The suggestion was made by the hon. member for Trinity that we should have a troopcarrying supply ship to go to distant places where air transport could not take troops. I find it rather difficult to visualize such territory where it would be more expeditious to put a large number of troops into a ship to move quickly to some point, where you could not reach that point, or near that point, with air transport. I cannot help feeling that it would be preferable to continue what we are doing and to maintain a strong transport command. Therefore, I feel in principle we are not widely distant; it is just a question of degree in that respect.

The Leader of the Opposition and the hon. member for Trinity both emphasized the importance of increasing the mobility of the brigade in Europe. As hon. members know, we have a brigade group there. Last year we entirely motorized that brigade. We provided enough motor vehicles, adding 41 motor vehicles to each battalion, so the whole force could be moved in motor vehicles. I know that these are not amphibian vehicles but there is not a brigade in Europe, unless perhaps some of the United States brigades so equipped, and I do not know that they are equipped with carriers. We have been in the forefront of the development of an armoured amphibian motor vehicle for the carrying of personnel. That vehicle is in its final stages of testing. Actually the last information that I received indicates that the final complete tests will be finished next month, and when we get these final tests, if the vehicle comes up to expectation, it is the intention to go into production of that vehicle so that it will to a very large extent meet the requirements which were suggested by the Leader of the Opposition and others.

He did suggest helicopters. Yes, helicopters would be useful, but helicopters are not generally detailed down to brigade formation. While we have some helicopters with the air division in Europe which, if necessity arose, could be allocated to the brigade group, and I believe have taken part in some of the exercises which have been conducted by that brigade group, we have not yet seen our way clear to providing the helicopters which are necessary. To be quite frank with the committee, we have been investigating the very knotty problem as to what type of helicopter should be used. We would like to have one type of helicopter which could be used by all the three forces, the navy, the army and the air force. It does not seem quite practical that we can do that. If we could get all the forces to accept one type of helicopter and could have enough orders to justify that helicopter being manufactured in Canada that would be the ideal situation.

Supply-National Defence Failing that we may have to purchase helicopters from the United States. There is a small air element attached to the brigade for artillery reconnaissance and for intercommunication between the various units of the brigade for commanders, and so forth.

Now, I must absolutely refute the suggestion that the brigade is equipped with obsolescent weapons and that it is not well equipped. I do not believe that there is one weapon in the brigade which an infantry brigade of the Canadian forces used during world war II. They have all been replaced by more modern and more up to date types. The primary weapon, the rifle, has been completely changed. They have the C-l, the C-2 the FN rifle. There are new mortars, new wireless equipment and so forth. My parliamentary secretary put on the record last night a list of the new equipment that is being used, and I would emphasize the fact that the centurion tanks which they now have are being fitted up with armour-protected gasoline tanks, and their armament is being increased with a heavier and more up-to-date gun. Therefore, I feel that it is not fair, it is not a just criticism and not fair to the troops to say that they are not equipped with up to date weapons.

A question was asked yesterday regarding research. We have been able to spend only a limited amount of money on research, but our research programs have been as extensive as the staff of scientists of the defence research board could cope with. As one hon. member said yesterday, one of the big troubles has been the pay of the scientists in the government service.

There has been a tremendous demand for scientists in industry, and unless they are dedicated men, many have found it much more profitable to take positions in industry. But I think hon. members know-at least those who were on the committee do know -that there was an increase in the salaries of scientists in the defence research board authorized last June. Previously the minimum wage for scientists was $5,000; that has been increased to $5,240. The maximum was $14,500; that has been increased to $16,500. We hope that this will go some way toward stabilizing in their positions the scientists that we now have. There is a slight increase in the vote for research and I hope it will be possible to expend the full amount.

A question was asked about navigational aids and infra-red equipment which would enable tanks and vehicles to operate at night. The defence research board and the army have been working together on what are known as the navigational aid and infra-red projects. The navigational aids are under unit test now and have been lent to the

United States and to the United Kingdom. We have recommended to the NATO organization that these weapons be included in the likely projects which all countries of NATO were asked to submit in the expectation that they would be accepted by all the nations. Therefore I feel that in that respect we are making progress and I hope this information will be of interest to the hon. member who asked the question.

A question was asked by the Leader of the Opposition, I believe, regarding the use of nuclear weapons by NATO. He asked whether it was the policy of NATO to use nuclear weapons in what would be mainly a land war in Europe. While, as the hon. member knows full well, it is not possible to disclose all details regarding the use of equipment by NATO forces because the information is classified by NATO, I have a quotation from a speech made by General Norstad, the supreme allied commander, at the University of Southern California on December 6 in which he said:

The forces which are assigned to the NATO mission are after all largely organized around nuclear weapons; the defence of Europe against a serious attack depends on these weapons.

The suggestion has been made that we should not use nuclear weapons in Europe if enemy forces start an invasion of western Europe and that we should rely on conventional arms to repulse such an invasion. It is my opinion that NATO does not have sufficient strength in personnel and conventional arms to be able to resist an attack by Russian forces which would be supported by their conventional arms and, as we know, the Russian army is equipped with tactical nuclear weapons. If our soldiers are to have a fighting chance should they be attacked I feel it is imperative that they should have the use of nuclear weapons in the same way that the soldiers of the other allied countries will have nuclear weapons released to them through the NATO commander.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF NATIONAL DEFENCE
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August 5, 1960

Hon. G. R. Pearkes (Minister of National Defence):

We will be pleased to consider that. I cannot say offhand exactly how far the site is outside the town of Gypsumville, but I will look into the matter.

Topic:   HOUSING
Subtopic:   GYPSUMVILLE MAN. ACCOMMODATION FOR RADAR STATION PERSONNEL
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August 5, 1960

Mr. Pearkes:

If the vote for administration, which covers all the activities of national defence hearquarters and the administration of the forces, were to be reduced to $1, there would be complete chaos in the administration of the department. Surely if the hon. gentleman wishes to move for a reduction in the spending on Bomarc he should do so under the vote dealing with the Royal Canadian Air Force, vote 225 for the construction or acquisition of buildings and major equipment. This vote provides the funds for the acquisition of the Bomarc sites and the construction of the Bomarc installations. If this amendment were to carry it would remove all the machinery for providing what the hon. member himself says is required in connection with our contributions to the United Nations effort.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF NATIONAL DEFENCE
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