February 14, 1947

PC

Douglas King Hazen

Progressive Conservative

Mr. HAZEN:

What section?

Topic:   MILITIA ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENTS TO FACILITATE CANADIAN ARMY REORGANIZATION
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LIB

Brooke Claxton (Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Mr. CLAXTON:

He could certainly do it under section 139, the omnibus section at the end.

Section as amended agreed to.

On section 9-Constitution of Canadian army.

Topic:   MILITIA ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENTS TO FACILITATE CANADIAN ARMY REORGANIZATION
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LIB

Brooke Claxton (Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Mr. CLAXTON:

When this was discussed yesterday, members of the opposition raised the question about there not being a limitation on the size of the full-time army. At that time I pointed out that the reason a limitation had not been left in was the difficulty of fixing on a number.

The number that had been in the act before was 10,000. That was the ceiling on the size of the permanent force. That ceiling was never exceeded before the wyar; I do not think the permanent force ever amounted to more than about half that figure. When this amendment was under consideration, serious attention was paid to the points raised by hon. members yesterday, and it was felt it would be difficult to fix a figure which would not be too big or too small, or misleading. Therefore the matter wa$ left within the control of parliament, by means of the appropriations. However, when objection was made yesterday, we at once met it by agreeing to make an amendment. The figure we suggest now to the committee as the ceiling is that of 30,000. That is for the active force army alone. That figure is considerably in excess of the ceilings fixed for planning last year, namely 25,000, and that certainly will more than see us through to the

Militia Act

next session of parliament. In the hope that that will prove generally acceptable, I would ask my colleague to move this amendment.

Topic:   MILITIA ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENTS TO FACILITATE CANADIAN ARMY REORGANIZATION
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LIB

Ian Alistair Mackenzie (Minister of Veterans Affairs; Leader of the Government in the House of Commons; Liberal Party House Leader)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE:

I move:

That section 9 of the bill be amended by replacing subsection (1) of section 2:2 by the following:

"There shall continue to be a portion of the Canadian army on continuous full-time military service which shall be called the active force, and which shall consist of such officers and men voluntarily enrolled for continuous full-time service, not exceeding 30,000, as are from time to time authorized by the governor general in council."

Topic:   MILITIA ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENTS TO FACILITATE CANADIAN ARMY REORGANIZATION
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Amendment agreed to. Section as amended agreed to. On section 10-Repeal.


PC

Charles Cecil Ingersoll Merritt

Progressive Conservative

Mr. MERRITT:

I have something to say on this section. I want to refer to the proper division between political responsibility and military responsibility in such matters, for instance, as the Calgary incident, the disbanding of units and the difficulty the minister would have in bringing his military duties as commander and his political duties as a member of the government in harmony with each other.

It seems to me that on these points the repeal of section 27 is important. The section to be repealed gives power to the governor in council to appoint a general officer commanding the Canadian militia. It is proposed to take away that power. The command of the military forces in Canada would then be left, as I understand it, to some extent in the hands of the governor general in council- I have in mind matters such as the designation, formation and general organization of the army, and the fixation of command areas-and for the rest in the hands of the minister.

I would point out to the committee that there is no military commander of the Canadian armed forces. There is in the procedure for command a defence council set up by order in council under the Department of National Defence Act. That defence council consists of the deputy ministers of the three service departments, and the chiefs of staff of those three services, with the minister, of course, as chairman. But that defence council, which appears to be copied to some extent from the set-up of the army council in Great Britain, is different from the army council, in that it has no power in itself, but has only power to advise the minister.

I have here the king's regulations of Great Britain, 1940 edition, and I find that section 6 on page 2 says this:

The government of the army is vested in the crown. The command of the army is placed in the hands of the army council, who are also responsible for the administration of the regular forces.

I think in those words there is laid down clearly the proper distinction between the political control and military control of our armed forces. The government of the army is in the crown or, in other words, in the governor general in council; and the command of the army is in the hands of the army council.

The set-up of the army council in Great Britain is similar to that of our defence council. It consists of the Secretary of State for War, who corresponds, of course, to the minister; the parliamentary under-secretary of state; three military members: the chief of general staff, the adjutant general and the quartermaster general; a financial member of the army council, who is financial secretary at the war office, and the permanent undersecretary of state for war.

The duties of all those members are laid down in the orders in council. The important feature, from the point of view of this discussion, is that the army council commands the army, and the Secretary of State for War delegates to the army council such parts of his whole authority to govern the army as he thinks are properly only military matters, and are not matters in which the political head of the army should intervene.

It seems to me that many of the difficulties we have had in considering these sections, and many of the doubts we have had, such as the one as to whether the decision not to recruit up to 100 per cent was dictated by political or military considerations, would be resolved if there were that line of demarcation, which apparently they have in Great Britain, where the political head does not lose any control of the army because the government of the army remains in the crown, but the purely military side of command is delegated to the army council and is exercised by them. Orders go out in the name of the army council, rather than in the name of the various branches.

I am not bringing this up now to suggest a present amendment, but in view of the fact that the minister is going to bring in a new army act I commend to his serious consideration the question of whether purely military matters should not be placed in the hands of a military commander or an army council, the minister retaining all control he feels he needs over the whole set-up of the army. I hope that will be taken into consideration, and I wonder if this section which gives the

Militia Act

power to appoint a general officer commanding, if necessary, should not come out until a decision of that kind is made.

Now for the first time we are to have more than a permanent force, which existed to provide schools and garrisons for fortifications. We are to have the beginning of a field force which, as the country grows bigger and stronger, will become an army of considerable size, a fit army for a country which is beginning to play a greater and greater part in the councils of the world. Therefore I think, when we start out on this period of certain growth, we should have a procedure for the command of the army which is the best we can devise. I ask the minister to take this into consideration during the next year and before the new army act is brought in.

Topic:   MILITIA ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENTS TO FACILITATE CANADIAN ARMY REORGANIZATION
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PC

Douglas Scott Harkness

Progressive Conservative

Mr. HARKNESS:

I spoke at some length last night on this matter of command in the army and I do not intend to repeat what I said at that time. I wish to add my voice to that of the hon. member for Vancouver-Burrard, particularly in this regard. I hope, when the government brings in the new army act, it will make a real effort to put an end to the ambiguous situation which has existed in this country in the past whereby no one is known to be in command of the army. In many respects the minister appears to be in actual command of the army; at least a large number of the functions which he is given the power to exercise are actually military functions and in some cases ministers have exercised those functions really as commanders without having the military responsibility which should follow.

That situation has undermined confidence in our command. Of course this has been coupled with what might be called the divisions of interest under the minister owing to the fact that no one is actually in command and there have been consequent confusions and difficulties of all kinds. When the new army act is being considered I think this condition should be ended and we should know definitely who commands the army. My view is that it should not be political, that the minister should not command the army, but if it is desired to have it in that way it should be plainly stated so that we would know. In view of that fact, I should much prefer to have the present section 27 left in the act rather than being repealed, as is provided for by' section 10 of the bill.

Topic:   MILITIA ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENTS TO FACILITATE CANADIAN ARMY REORGANIZATION
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LIB

Brooke Claxton (Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Mr. CLAXTON:

It is suggested that this section should be abolished because we have not had a general officer commanding in Canada for a great many years. They have not had one in England for a great many 83166-30j

years nor have they had one in the United States. It is no longer the practice in peace time to have a general officer commanding and consequently we do not believe that this section is necessary. But if it were ever desired to have a general officer commanding he could be appointed under section 139 which gives the governor in council the power to do things that are necessary for the good government and so on of the army. We have that power anyway and to leave it in the form in which it was in the existing section 27 was believed to be misleading and unnecessary.

Just a final word about this question of military command and responsibility. I do not admit for a second that there has been any chaotic condition. Perhaps it is inevitable that the complications of the relationships between the political administration and the military command should give rise to some difficulty on the part of some people. As I understand it, the chain of command is a separate thing from responsibility. The chain of command is derived from the king through the king's commission. That gives authority to give a legal order. The minister does not give legal orders. The minister does not exercise military authority. However, he is responsible by statute and under our constitution. He is responsible under everything that everyone would wish to see in our constitutional practice to parliament and to the people for the administration of the department.

To sum it up briefly; the chain of command comes from the king in the right of Canada through the king's commission and that enables an officer to give a legal command. The minister does not give a command, but he is responsible and his approval is required in a number of cases. I have stated it as briefly as I could. If it is possible to state this in clear terms when we come to revise the act, we will certainly do so.

Topic:   MILITIA ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENTS TO FACILITATE CANADIAN ARMY REORGANIZATION
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Section agreed to. Sections 11 to 15 inclusive agreed to. On section 16-Annual drill.


BPC

René Hamel

Bloc populaire canadien

Mr. HAMEL:

Section 16 of the bill refers to the Canadian army, and section 2, paragraph (b) defines "Canadian army" to mean all the military forces of Canada other than the Royal Canadian Navy and the Royal Canadian Air Force and the reserves thereof. "All the military forces" would include, first, those who are in active service and, second, those who are not in active service but who can be called upon for military service. That would mean every male citizen from the ages

Militia Act

of eighteen to sixty years. My understanding of this section-if I am not correct in my understanding I should like the minister to correct me-is that the governor in council may order not only the active army tout all men from the ages of eighteen to sixty years to take military training each year for such period of time as may be prescribed. In order to have this matter absolutely clear in my mind, I would be grateful if the minister would state whether or not this section gives power to the governor in council to establish obligatory' military training in peace time.

Topic:   MILITIA ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENTS TO FACILITATE CANADIAN ARMY REORGANIZATION
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LIB

Brooke Claxton (Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Mr. CLAXTON:

No.

Topic:   MILITIA ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENTS TO FACILITATE CANADIAN ARMY REORGANIZATION
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Section agreed to. On section 17-Pay of active force.


PC

Andrew Ernest Robinson

Progressive Conservative

Mr. ROBINSON (Bruce):

Mr. Chairman, this clause reads:

Officers, warrant officers and non-commissioned officers of the active force shall be entitled to daily pay and allowances at rates to be prescribed by the governor in council.

It was said by a famous United States general that war is hell, and since he made that statement the tempo of war has changed considerably. War, in fact, has become industrialized; it is big business. Wars are fought a lot lifferently today from the time of Wellington ind Napoleon. At that time there was some romance in war, but there is none left in it today'. War today is big business. As we look over the balance sheets of companies during the last five years we realize that war is big business. Is it not time that we put the soldier's pay on a business basis also? We cannot say that his pay is on a business basis today. The rate of pay he gets is very small, and if he comes out of the war wounded, we know there is a lot of bickering in the veterans" affairs committee as to whether he shall be allowed to earn a little money in addition to his pension.

Again, speaking of big business, we know that insurance companies are good business people. I have nothing against insurance companies. Indeed I happen to be an agent for an insurance company. But when a soldier enlisted to go overseas, in order to keep his insurance policy in force he was compelled to pay a premium ten times higher than the amount previously paid. What did that mean? It meant that the soldier was taking ten times more risk in war than he was taking in his previous occupation. But he was not paid for the risk he was taking. I say in all seriousness that if we put the soldier's pay on a business basis and paid him ten times as much as a soldier as he earned as a civilian, he would be able to save a little

[Mr. Hamel.)

money and be independent after the war was over. That would work as a peace measure, for civilians have to pay for the war and if all countries adopted this policy people would think twice before declaring war upon another country. In- that way it would help the cause of peace. I should like to add that when I get to be Prime Minister I shall arrange to have all my ministers' assistants ventriloquists.

Topic:   MILITIA ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENTS TO FACILITATE CANADIAN ARMY REORGANIZATION
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PC

George Randolph Pearkes

Progressive Conservative

Mr. PEARKES:

I would ask the minister when the military forces of the regular army handed over the fortresses of Esquimalt and Halifax to the Canadian army?

Topic:   MILITIA ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENTS TO FACILITATE CANADIAN ARMY REORGANIZATION
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PC

Howard Charles Green

Progressive Conservative

Air. GREEN:

A long time ago.

Topic:   MILITIA ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENTS TO FACILITATE CANADIAN ARMY REORGANIZATION
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LIB

Brooke Claxton (Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Mr. CLAXTON:

Did the hon. member

ask when?

Topic:   MILITIA ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENTS TO FACILITATE CANADIAN ARMY REORGANIZATION
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PC

George Randolph Pearkes

Progressive Conservative

Mr. PEARKES:

Yes. I am dealing with

subsection 3 of this section. I asked the date.

Topic:   MILITIA ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENTS TO FACILITATE CANADIAN ARMY REORGANIZATION
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LIB

Brooke Claxton (Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Mr. CLAXTON:

It -was some time before the first great war.

Topic:   MILITIA ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENTS TO FACILITATE CANADIAN ARMY REORGANIZATION
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PC

George Randolph Pearkes

Progressive Conservative

Mr. PEARKES:

Is there any likelihood

of any of those ex-regular soldiers of the British regular army' being enlisted now into the active force?

Topic:   MILITIA ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENTS TO FACILITATE CANADIAN ARMY REORGANIZATION
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LIB

Brooke Claxton (Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Mr. CLAXTON:

It is certain none of

them will be enlisted but there may be still one in the force, although I doubt it.

Topic:   MILITIA ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENTS TO FACILITATE CANADIAN ARMY REORGANIZATION
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February 14, 1947