Mr. Chairman, it seems
strange to me that the hon. gentleman who has just taken his seat should consider that these estimates should be dealt with in a perfunctory way. He has suggested that, had the item which he was discussing come up on the main estimates, he would have been prepared to deal with it with greater certainty.
I noticed in looking through the record of the debate that the Minister of Fisheries (Mr. Mayhew), and I believe the Minister of Finance (Mr. Abbott), both had intimated that they were not in a position to answer questions but would be able to give that information when the main estimates are considered. I fail to follow this line of argument. It seems to me that "further supplementary estimates" is almost a misnomer. I am inclined to consider them as expenditures which have been made without authorization. For that reason, I believe they should be scrutinized with even greater care than the ordinary estimates. If a government goes beyond parliament and spends moneys which have not been authorized, it seems to me it can do so only under most extraordinary circumstances of which a complete explanation should be made.
A few days ago the leader of the opposition suggested, when this item was first brought up, that these estimates be submitted to a committee. The Minister of National Defence (Mr. Claxton) speaking at that time made it quite clear that no committee would be set up. He also made it clear that parliament was not to be taken into the confidence of the government. I draw to the attention of the committee that this is a. continuation of the
Supply-National Defence government's attitude, which has been in evidence for ten years now, in its lack of confidence in parliament. The results have been sad. Just a few moments ago I was looking at a speech which I made in the house only a short time before the budget over the air, in which I asked the Minister of Finance to take the house into his confidence that he might have the benefit of the wisdom of the house, and of the guidance and assistance of those who knew something of the problems confronting him.
Topic: DEPARTMENT OF NATIONAL DEFENCE