different courts of inquiry were held in that case, and I trust that even further measures will be taken to see that final justice is rendered in every individual case in connection with the Winnipeg incident.
The case mentioned by the hon. member for Vancouver North was disposed of in May, 1935, after a very thorough investigation by the chief of the general staff, a board of officers, and the district officer commanding. The case was brought to the attention of my predecessor, the hon. member for Yale (Mr, Stirling), who, this committee will agree, is a gentleman of very fair and very eminent judgment. I perused all the files-I am not going to refer to any confidential documents in connection with this officer; I do not think it is necessary for me to do so-I considered the reasons for dealing with him as he was dealt with, and I am constrained to say with great regret that I agree with the action which was taken with respect to him.
My hon. friend has mentioned charges in connection with a Quebec regiment. A court of inquiry was held. As my hon. friend says, he was denied access to the proceedings of the court of inquiry. He was, however, offered private access to the proceedings of the court. If this house wishes to assert as a matter of principle that, the proceedings of courts of inquiry in the Department of National Defence shall be open to any hon. member of the house, I have not the slightest objection. The principle all through the years has been that these are confidential proceedings, and not producible, but if the house wishes to establish another principle I am entirely willing and even anxious to see that all these proceedings are brought down with reference to any of these troubles which have arisen.
Personally I would have no objection; indeed I rather agree with my right hon. friend with reference to the proceedings of the court of inquiry he has mentioned, and I have not the slightest objection to bringing them down. I agree with the judgment of my predecessor with regard to this case. I want to say nothing reflecting on this officer. It would not be fair to use the privileges of parliament to reflect on any officer. But I do say this, that a court of inquiry was held with reference to the allegations mentioned, and honestly mentioned, by the hon. member for Vancouver North. As I have said, if the committee wishes that the proceedings of courts of inquiry in every case shall be made available, I am not only anxious but willing that these documents shall be brought down. Both these cases were left on my doorstep when I was entrusted with the responsibilities of the department. I endeavoured to do the S1952-2804
best I could in the Winnipeg case; in the Quebec case I sustained the judgment of my predecessor, and I think I was doing justice in so doing.
Were the charges against the principal officers concerned substantiated in any form, particularly with regard to dealing with funds and the misuse of government property? If they were not cleared of these charges, why have they since been granted promotion?
I recall that it was arranged that there should be a conference in October, 1937. I instructed the deputy minister and the adjutant general to be in my office to meet with that officer. The officer, however, never turned out for that investigation or inquiry -
The minister has referred to the fact that action in the Roy case was taken during the time of his predecessor, and as I was that predecessor perhaps I should make a remark or two. As to that portion of the reference which the hon. member for Vancouver North (Mr. MacNeil) has made to the Royal 22nd Regiment, dealing with Captain Roy's case, I have a general recollection of the case. I cannot be expected to remember the details, but I do recall that before making any decision I gave careful study to all the related facts and circumstances, because to take such action against any man is a serious matter. The inquiries were held consequent upon repeated instances of alleged misconduct on the part of the officer in question. That it was not one isolated incident, but a number of incidents reported over the course of years, is my recollection. Not only was the matter reported on by his commanding officer; it went to the district officer commanding, and then to the chief of the general staff. After I had considered all the reports produced by those three officers, I could come to no other conclusion than that the action should be taken which was taken.
There is one further matter to which I wish briefly to refer, in the hope that it may bring forth a statement from the minister as to the policy regarding the construction of armouries across Canada. The people of Canada at this time are making serious sacrifices for the purposes of national defence, and I see no reason why in certain instances armouries should be constructed with a consequent diversion of funds required for purposes of coastal defence. I refer to sessional paper No. 210 of this year. I find that the total cost of armouries and barracks, including lands, and exclusive of maintenance and repairs, has been $20,103,586. That is quite apart from the lands and buildings transferred by the government of the United Kingdom. to the Dominion of Canada free of cost. The annual cost of maintenance of armouries and barracks in Canada is $994,994-approximately SI.000.000-including structural repairs, care of buildings, grounds and equipment; also heating, lighting and water services.
I have in my hand a list of the locations of armouries across Canada. In military district No. 1 there are armouries at places like Chatham, Erin. Galt, Ingersoll, Listowel, Park-hill. St. Thomas, Strathroy, Walkerton, Windsor, Elora. Forest, Guelph. Kincardine, London, Sarnia. Stratford, Watford, Wingham. Woodstock, Port Elgin.
In military district No. 2 there are armouries at places like Aurora, Brantford, Brampton, Cannington, Dundas, Georgetown, Hailey-bury. Markdale, Niagara Falls. Orillia. Paris, Simcoe, Toronto (Fort York), Whitby. Barrie, Burford, Beaverton, Clarksburg, Durham, Hagersville. Hamilton, Meaford, Norval, Oshawa, St. Catharines, Toronto (University avenue), Welland, Milton.
And so it goes on, representing not so much a plan of defence as a first class map of political expenditure. I am concerned because in the estimates just voted for public works there are included a number of items for the purpose of further construction of armouries. For instance, one at Hull, at a cost of something like
-and a similar expenditure in Cornwall. Quite sincerely, I can see no relation in these expenditures to defence. I oppose this expenditure because it is my belief that it is made largely for political purposes. When you consider the use that is made of these armouries, the comparatively small number of men involved, and the fact that they are dark the greater portion of the time, I consider it is a needless expenditure at this time. I urge the minister to abandon
the construction of armouries. I believe that to do so would accord with the opinion of a large number of senior officers interested in sound policies of national defence, and that such funds as may be expended in this connection should be directly related to coastal defence, which is our real problem at this time.
I appreciate very much the point of view expressed by my hon. friend, but I must take issue with him at once in regard to the value of armouries in Canada. Particularly since the reorganization of the militia units and the attempts to complete the mechanization of them, I submit that armouries are absolutely indispensable for the training of our Canadian forces, especially in the winter months when they cannot possibly train outside. The only way these units in the interior and the colder portions of Canada can train throughout the year is in these armouries. As a matter of fact I must express my personal regret that the very obvious necessities for the present year with regard to more armoury accommodation in Canada have not been met, because you cannot possibly have complete training of your militia units unless you have the necessary buildings where such training can be carried on.
As I say, I appreciate my hon friend's point of view, but I must take issue with him. To-day the armouries in Canada are used not only for the training of our militia but also .to a tremendous extent for community purposes in every small community throughout the country. If this year I had been able to meet all the requests, not only of supporters of the government -but of hon. gentlemen in all quarters of this house, with reference to needed armoury accommodation, a further amount of $5,000,000 would have been required for this purpose. That is the actual situation from the defence point of view. I receive wires and letters every day asking for the loan of armouries for public functions, very often charitable functions, and at the present time these armouries are rendering magnificent service in the smaller communities throughout Canada.
There are three matters I should like to bring to the attention of the minister on which I should like an expression of opinion before we rise. The first has to do with supplies. The minister has pointed out that he receives requests for the use of armouries for public purposes, and with what he has said as to the necessity for these buildings I absolutely agree. But we have a rule that militia supplies, with the exception - of rubber carpeting, should not be allowed out
on loan. That rule, of course, has not been observed; I have a list, which was obtained from the proper source, of many of these applications for loans. What I put to the minister is this, that there should be no favouritism with respect to these matters.
For instance, there is an issue of swords under loan. The rule is very, very severe; in fact, as I read it, it is almost prohibitive. There are tents loaned at times, as well as other supplies of the department. I should like the minister to satisfy himself personally as to the impartiality that is exercised in connection with these matters. The second point I desire to raise is much more serious. It has to do with whether or not we should have the private manufacture of arms in this country. The real truth is that the papers brought down, dealing with an agreement in connection with the manufacture of Bren guns, contemplates a profit of ten per cent.