Item agreed to.
Demobilization and reconversion-
552. Defence research and development, subject to allocation by the treasury board, and to authorize commitments against future years in the amount of $2,005,000, $13,0-31,834.
This item deals with research. I think it is one of the most important items in the defence estimates, because quite often in the past we have blamed- our defence on the basis of the last- war we fought, instead, of looking ahead to the one which might occur in the future. I do not think our own military men were any worse ini this respect than- the military authorities of any
other country. I believe, however, that we have learned a great deal from the last war with regard to the importance of research. The minister should give us some idea of how our research is being carried on. Is it being carried on in conjunction with, the universities in Canada? Are they given certain problems to solve for the department? Is it being carried on through our national research council? What coordination is there between civilian and national defence research? In all research work, when men are seeking the solution of a certain problem, they quite often stumble on other things which are of value but which may not be of any value to them. To what'extent are our research people making any information which they obtain and which may not be of interest to them, available to the industry and to the scientists of this country? The minister should give us some explanation.
In response to the interest expressed by the hon. member for Melfort, I am indeed glad to make a brief statement on the subject of defence research. The Department of National Defence Act was amended on April 1 of this year to provide for the establishment of a defence research board as a permanent part of the department. The board consists of five ex officio and six appointed members serving under a full-time chairman, Doctor O. M. Solandt. The ex officio members are the chiefs of staff of the three armed forces, the president of the national research council and the deputy minister of national defence. The appointed members are Professor C. H. Best of the university of Toronto; Professor Paul Gagnon of Laval university; Colonel R. D. Harkness of the Northern Electric Company; Professor J. H. L. Johnstone of Dalhousie university; Professor Otto Maass of McGill university and Professor G. M. Shrum of the university of British Columbia. The country is most fortunate in obtaining the advice and guidance of such a distinguished group. Each one of them is not only an outstanding leader in his own field, but has also made an important contribution to the defence of Canada in the past war.
LTnder the guidance of this board, good progress has been made in setting up a permanent organization for defence research. This organization is already beginning to take its place as an essential part of the defence of Canada. It can be regarded as a fourth service, and there is every reason to believe that it will play an increasingly important part in military affairs in the future.
The organization under the defence research board will consist of a headquarters staff, advisory committees and a few research establishments. The ultimate aim of the whole organization will be to make available to the armed forces of Canada all the scientific resources of Canada and of other countries. The headquarters staff will be the main link with the armed forces, getting from them their research requirements and conveying to them the latest results of scientific research. The advisory committees will serve to make available to the armed forces the best scientific advice that is available in Canadian government, university and industrial research laboratories. They will also help to keep the whole scientific community of the country in touch with the problems of defence to facilitate rapid mobilization in time of need. In order to avoid any unnecessary duplication of research facilities, the research stations of the board will deal only with those problems of the armed forces which have little or no civilian interest. In other fields, such as electronics and aeronautics, it will make use of existing research laboratories, especially those of the national research council. In all its work, the board will give priority to problems in which Canada, has some special interests for which our facilities are specially suited. Experience has already shown that well-directed defence research produces many results that are of considerable direct and indirect value to the civilian economy.
In planning this organization, the government has had clearly in mind the vital need for continuity in research. This new organization is no mere temporary addition to our armed forces. It is a fully integrated part, of the defences of the country. It must be staffed and equipped, to take a long term view of the scientific requirements of defence, and it must continue in being as long as there is a need for defence forces. Further, to ensure that research receives adequate consideration of the highest level, the director general of defence research has been given the status of a chief of staff, is a member of the chiefs of staff committee and defence council and attends meetings of the defence committee of the cabinet.
Coordination with civilian research and industry is effected through a number of committees. I can assure the hon. member that the important problem to which he has directed attention is being given the utmost consideration, and that the organization is already in being to deal with it in a way which I am sure he would approve.
I am certainly pleased that the minister has made this statement, and particularly pleased that there is cooperation with industry and our educational institutions in this respect.
There is just one further question. During the war we were able to get much further in our research work through cooperation with the United States and with Great Britain. I am just wondering to what extent we are continuing that cooperation in this line today.
$25,263,748 for personnel supplies, food supplies, medical and dental stores, clothing and personnel equipment, barrack, camp, hospital equipment and so on. I should like to ask the minister if they are using the supplies left over from the last war. It would seem to me that, as far as clothing, dental stores and supplies for barracks, camps and so on are concerned, there should be sufficient supplies on hand to meet the needs of the armed forces. In that connection also, I should like to ask if uniforms for the soldiers are still being manufactured. I understand that is being done in certain parts of Canada, and it seems to me a ridiculous situation that, with the thousands of uniforms which must have been on hand at the end of the war, we should be still manufacturing uniforms.
The situation is that at the end of the war we had very large supplies of various types of uniforms, but we did not have all the sizes to meet all the needs. Since then, we have just purchased what has been necessary. For example, quite a lot of cloth was to be declared surplus to War Assets Corporation by the Reconstruction and Supply pool, and we purchased from that corporation quite a considerable quantity of this cloth for the making of uniforms during the next three or four years. We have endeavoured to economize our resources in every possible way. As far as I know, we have not wasted any money. We have used what we had; but in order to supply a force as large as we now have, with some thirty-four or thirty-five thousand in the three armed services, it has been necessary to supply continuously such things as uniforms of different sizes, and that has been done only to' the extent necessary. We have used up every possible piece of equipment we had on hand, and all the clothing we had on hand, and have obtained additional supplies only where necessary.
I am sorry I cannot give the answer yet. The question was raised for the first time. It has been referred to the judge advocate general and the law officers, and as soon as I get the answer I shall be glad to communicate with the hon. member.
The hon. member asked about the age limits at which other ranks and officers must be compulsorily retired. The age group of other ranks in administrative and training staffs is forty-five, and for sergeants and above it is forty-five. In static units of headquarters establishments for the rank and file it is fifty, and for sergeants and up it is fifty-five. The discharge of certain specialists and tradesmen may be deferred for a period not exceeding five years beyond the age limit, but each of these cases has to be decided by army headquarters. All personnel is to be discharged on thirty-five years' active force service or at the age limit, whichever is the earlier. In respect of officers the age limit for brigadiers and above is fifty-five; for colonels, fifty-three; for lieutenant-colonels, fifty-one; for majors, forty-nine; for captains, forty-seven; and for lieutenants, forty-five.
May I make two brief announcements, one of which has to do with civil service leave, and a matter which is of great concern for the reserves. I am happy to say that order in council P.C. 1/2728 covering leave for civil servants attending camp was adopted today, and I shall place it on the table, expressing the hope that the example set by the federal government in this field will be copied by provincial governments and industries throughout the length and breadth of Canada so as to permit members of the reserve forces to attend camp without monetary loss.