March 29, 1939

CON

Grote Stirling

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STIRLING:

It appears to me to be most desirable that the board should make use of the technical officers of the Department of National Defence for the purpose of this very examination, and in the wording of section 6 as amended, and in section 8 as it is printed, no such connection is alluded to.

Topic:   NATIONAL DEFENCE
Subtopic:   CREATION OF DEFENCE PURCHASING BOARD TO ENTER INTO CONTRACTS FOR MUNITIONS, EQUIPMENT, MATERIALS AND SUPPLIES
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LIB

Ian Alistair Mackenzie (Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE (Vancouver):

Does my hon. friend still think there should be an addition to section 8, even in view of the amendment to section 6?

Topic:   NATIONAL DEFENCE
Subtopic:   CREATION OF DEFENCE PURCHASING BOARD TO ENTER INTO CONTRACTS FOR MUNITIONS, EQUIPMENT, MATERIALS AND SUPPLIES
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CON

Grote Stirling

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STIRLING:

I simply wish to ensure there shall be a clear understanding that the board shall make use of the services of the technical officers of the department for this very work of supervision. If the minister can assure me that that is the full intention of the government, perhaps the committee will consider that satisfactory.

Topic:   NATIONAL DEFENCE
Subtopic:   CREATION OF DEFENCE PURCHASING BOARD TO ENTER INTO CONTRACTS FOR MUNITIONS, EQUIPMENT, MATERIALS AND SUPPLIES
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LIB

Ian Alistair Mackenzie (Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE (Vancouver):

That is precisely the purpose of the amendment.

Topic:   NATIONAL DEFENCE
Subtopic:   CREATION OF DEFENCE PURCHASING BOARD TO ENTER INTO CONTRACTS FOR MUNITIONS, EQUIPMENT, MATERIALS AND SUPPLIES
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CON

Charles Hazlitt Cahan

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CAHAN:

This board is not independent of the department. It is under the Minister of National Defence and is, in reality, nothing more than an official of the department, and therefore it must be deemed essential, I think, that whatever the department has in the way of technical knowledge and assistance must continue to be utilized to serve the interests of that department and, incidentally, to meet the special requirements of the board. I would certainly oppose this bill entirely if it were intended to set up an independent board or bureau, such as the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, or some others which I might name. We do not wish to repudiate responsible self-government in this country and to preclude ministerial responsibility. I have expressed myself very freely in that regard, and I shall not go into the question to-day. I do not think the Department of National Defence is under competent and qualified administration, and this bill is intended to improve the administration; but I trust that we do not intend to improve the administration by depriving it of all authority and resorting to an independent bureau which is not under the direct supervision of the minister of that department.

Topic:   NATIONAL DEFENCE
Subtopic:   CREATION OF DEFENCE PURCHASING BOARD TO ENTER INTO CONTRACTS FOR MUNITIONS, EQUIPMENT, MATERIALS AND SUPPLIES
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CON

William Allen Walsh

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. WALSH:

I wanted to say a few words along lines similar to those followed by the hon. member for St. Lawrence-St. George. I have watched the progress of this bill and have given it a certain amount of study, and it seems to me that we are transferring powers to a new creation referred to in general terms as the board. To my mind we are departing seriously from democratic government and democratic institutions as we recognize them in this country; we are providing ways and means for a Minister of National Defence and for a government to take refuge behind a certain creation, and members of parliament and others will find it difficult to obtain information and attach responsibility to the people who are really responsible. I know I

Defence Purchasing Board

was rather severe in my criticism of the present Minister of National Defence and of his department, and I was sincere in that criticism, but I do not think the means being adopted in this bill will meet the real objections that I had to procedures that have been followed in the Department of National Defence in the past year or two.

We cherish our democratic institutions, and I submit that this is a decided departure from those institutions. We are creating something here that is not a part of our social and economic fabric as we have endeavoured to develop it during the past fifty or one hundred years. This board is being given certain powers which I think should rest with the Minister of National Defence, with his department and with the *government. I am speaking now as an individual member; I know many of those on my own side of the house will not agree with what I am saying. But I am a firm believer in democratic principles in government, and in the responsibility of ministers of the crown in the administration of their departments, and I feel that to transfer, powers such as these from the minister and his department to this board will make it more difficult for members of parliament effectively to represent their constituencies. I do not know whether I am right or wrong in that, but that is how I feel. I have discussed this matter with other members on both sides of the house, and have found that there are members who feel very much as I do. Probably they will not express themselves as I have, perhaps I am wrong in so doing, but I have had this growing conviction and I feel that I should give utterance to it while the bill is going through. I understand that section 7 has been passed, but if you will refer to it you will notice that one of the powers given to this board-

Topic:   NATIONAL DEFENCE
Subtopic:   CREATION OF DEFENCE PURCHASING BOARD TO ENTER INTO CONTRACTS FOR MUNITIONS, EQUIPMENT, MATERIALS AND SUPPLIES
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LIB

Ian Alistair Mackenzie (Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE (Vancouver):

We are coming back to section 7 later.

Topic:   NATIONAL DEFENCE
Subtopic:   CREATION OF DEFENCE PURCHASING BOARD TO ENTER INTO CONTRACTS FOR MUNITIONS, EQUIPMENT, MATERIALS AND SUPPLIES
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CON

William Allen Walsh

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. WALSH:

I will mention this in passing in order to avoid the necessity of rising later on; I do not like to take part too frequently in the discussion in the house nor do I wish to delay measures which are going through. Section 7 refers to the five per cent profit on the average amount of capital employed in the performance of the contract. That is one responsibility we are placing on this board; it has to decide the amount of capital employed, in connection with which there are bound to be differences of opinion. The board is to be clothed with certain authority to decide. In the first place-I know I will be condemned by many hon.

members for saying this-I do not think the wheels of industry in this country can turn on five per cent per annum. I am thoroughly convinced of that; and I do not think it is fair to ask industry to operate effectively on five per cent per annum.

Topic:   NATIONAL DEFENCE
Subtopic:   CREATION OF DEFENCE PURCHASING BOARD TO ENTER INTO CONTRACTS FOR MUNITIONS, EQUIPMENT, MATERIALS AND SUPPLIES
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CCF

Abraham Albert Heaps

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

Mr. HEAPS:

What should they get?

Topic:   NATIONAL DEFENCE
Subtopic:   CREATION OF DEFENCE PURCHASING BOARD TO ENTER INTO CONTRACTS FOR MUNITIONS, EQUIPMENT, MATERIALS AND SUPPLIES
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CON

William Allen Walsh

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. WALSH:

A reasonable profit.

Topic:   NATIONAL DEFENCE
Subtopic:   CREATION OF DEFENCE PURCHASING BOARD TO ENTER INTO CONTRACTS FOR MUNITIONS, EQUIPMENT, MATERIALS AND SUPPLIES
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CCF

Abraham Albert Heaps

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

Mr. HEAPS:

What is a reasonable profit?

Topic:   NATIONAL DEFENCE
Subtopic:   CREATION OF DEFENCE PURCHASING BOARD TO ENTER INTO CONTRACTS FOR MUNITIONS, EQUIPMENT, MATERIALS AND SUPPLIES
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CON

William Allen Walsh

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. WALSH:

What they are making from day to day in business. If my hon. friend has been in business, or knows anything about business, he knows what is a reasonable profit.

Topic:   NATIONAL DEFENCE
Subtopic:   CREATION OF DEFENCE PURCHASING BOARD TO ENTER INTO CONTRACTS FOR MUNITIONS, EQUIPMENT, MATERIALS AND SUPPLIES
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SC

John Charles Landeryou

Social Credit

Mr. LANDERYOU:

Are the farmers making

five per cent?

Topic:   NATIONAL DEFENCE
Subtopic:   CREATION OF DEFENCE PURCHASING BOARD TO ENTER INTO CONTRACTS FOR MUNITIONS, EQUIPMENT, MATERIALS AND SUPPLIES
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CON

William Allen Walsh

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. WALSH:

The farmers are making five per cent, ten per cent and twenty per cent as and when they can make it, the same as business does.

Topic:   NATIONAL DEFENCE
Subtopic:   CREATION OF DEFENCE PURCHASING BOARD TO ENTER INTO CONTRACTS FOR MUNITIONS, EQUIPMENT, MATERIALS AND SUPPLIES
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?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

No.

Topic:   NATIONAL DEFENCE
Subtopic:   CREATION OF DEFENCE PURCHASING BOARD TO ENTER INTO CONTRACTS FOR MUNITIONS, EQUIPMENT, MATERIALS AND SUPPLIES
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CON

William Allen Walsh

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. WALSH:

If you take the average for a period of ten or fifteen years you will find that the farmer makes as much profit on his investment and his work as business has made during the past ten or fifteen years.

Topic:   NATIONAL DEFENCE
Subtopic:   CREATION OF DEFENCE PURCHASING BOARD TO ENTER INTO CONTRACTS FOR MUNITIONS, EQUIPMENT, MATERIALS AND SUPPLIES
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?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Read the records.

Topic:   NATIONAL DEFENCE
Subtopic:   CREATION OF DEFENCE PURCHASING BOARD TO ENTER INTO CONTRACTS FOR MUNITIONS, EQUIPMENT, MATERIALS AND SUPPLIES
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CON

William Allen Walsh

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. WALSH:

The records are there. We have heard so much in this house about the farmers, particularly the farmers of the west-

Topic:   NATIONAL DEFENCE
Subtopic:   CREATION OF DEFENCE PURCHASING BOARD TO ENTER INTO CONTRACTS FOR MUNITIONS, EQUIPMENT, MATERIALS AND SUPPLIES
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LIB

Frederick George Sanderson (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Liberal

The CHAIRMAN:

I am afraid the hon. member is getting out of order.

Topic:   NATIONAL DEFENCE
Subtopic:   CREATION OF DEFENCE PURCHASING BOARD TO ENTER INTO CONTRACTS FOR MUNITIONS, EQUIPMENT, MATERIALS AND SUPPLIES
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CON

William Allen Walsh

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. WALSH:

I know, Mr. Chairman, I was led out of order. I should like an opportunity to discuss farmers and business some day.

Topic:   NATIONAL DEFENCE
Subtopic:   CREATION OF DEFENCE PURCHASING BOARD TO ENTER INTO CONTRACTS FOR MUNITIONS, EQUIPMENT, MATERIALS AND SUPPLIES
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March 29, 1939