June 26, 1951

PC

George Alexander Drew (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Drew:

It is difficult within parliamentary rules to use words that properly describe the answers that we are receiving. We are dealing with figures running into enormous sums of money; we are dealing with one item that is equal to almost half the total amount that this parliament is called upon to vote during the current year. Here we have a figure of $329 million, which is a deduction from the over-all total. Obviously that must be computed by some process of arithmetic. Any child at school would be expected, when he was arriving at some total figure, to be able to explain the process by which he arrived at that figure, and I do not think that the Minister of National Defence who is asking this house for the approval of a figure of $1,490,000,000 on this particular item should ask us to accept these figures unless he can at least give us the simple arithmetical process by which the figure of $329 million is arrived at.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF NATIONAL DEFENCE
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LIB

Brooke Claxton (Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Mr. Claxlon:

I do not want to repeat myself more often than necessary. I think I have explained this very thoroughly, but on page 269 there is an item "Acquisition and construction of buildings and works, including acquisition of land." That is the sub-item under discussion. We agreed to discuss these by sub-items. No. 13 in the categories set out by the Auditor General is for $3,350,000. Of that, $3 million is for national defence headquarters. I have explained the situation regarding that. I have said that of that amount $1,900,000 is not contemplated to be spent this year. I have said that that $1,900,000 is included in the total of $329 million odd which appears at the end of the estimates of this department at page 275. I have also said that I can give the way in which the $329 million is made up, divided under administration, navy, army, air force and defence research. Then under each appropriate item I can say how the figure is arrived at, and I think that is a full answer.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF NATIONAL DEFENCE
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PC

James MacKerras Macdonnell

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Macdonnell (Greenwood):

I refer the minister to page 275 again, and to the other item which I think has not been mentioned yet, and which has also been deducted from the figure of $1,900 million. I refer to the amount of $183,050,000, which is described as the estimated amount to be provided from section 3 of the Defence Appropriation Act, 1950, as supplemented by item 246. Am I correct in understanding that $183 million is an amount voted but not expended during the past year?

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF NATIONAL DEFENCE
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LIB

Brooke Claxton (Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Mr. Claxton:

Appropriated by act of parliament, and under that act put into the consolidated revenue fund for the purpose of replacing equipment which we have transferred to other countries.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF NATIONAL DEFENCE
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LIB

Louis-René Beaudoin (Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole)

Liberal

The Deputy Chairman:

May I point out that item 245 is the item that is now under discussion. The hon. member, by referring to $183,050,000, which appears on page 275, is referring to an amount that is in relation to item 246, which is the next item. Does the sub-item carry?

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF NATIONAL DEFENCE
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PC

George Alexander Drew (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Drew:

No, Mr. Chairman. The Minister of National Defence has said that as we go through these items he can give us the figures. Now, he first told us a few minutes ago that he could not give us a list of the figures. He tells us on the other hand that as we go through this item he can give us the figures. It is one or the other. Either the minister knows and has the list of figures or he has not. If he has the list of figures then he would greatly facilitate the consideration of this item if he would furnish us

Supply-National Defence with the figures so that we could examine them in advance. The minister is making this house try to get the facts that it should have as a matter of right by the painful process of cross-examination, which he could completely avoid if he would give us the figures which should be in our possession, and that he certainly has in his possession if he is in a position to answer the questions that are now being asked. If the minister is not prepared to give us that list I can only suggest that he is treating this house with complete contempt and trying to get through these estimates without giving us information.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF NATIONAL DEFENCE
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PC

James MacKerras Macdonnell

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Macdonnell (Greenwood):

As I understand, Mr. Chairman, you are suggesting that this inquiry with regard to the figure of $183 million, which I thought was relevant since it all bears on the minister's explanation of the total figure of $512 million deducted and relates back to the question that was originally asked, should not be made at this time. I suggest with deference that in order to get the full understanding of this net figure on page 275 we should know a little more about the total figures deducted, the two figures deducted, including the $183 million. If you would permit it, I think the minister was just about to say something about that $183 million. As I understand it, that $183 million was appropriated last year, was available but was not spent. I would be interested if the minister could indicate to us without going into undue detail how it was that $183 million provided last year was not required.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF NATIONAL DEFENCE
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LIB

Brooke Claxton (Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Mr. Claxlon:

Parliament at the last session voted $300 million for aid to other countries. It was provided that this aid might be furnished in the way either of new equipment or of transfers of equipment; and that in the event of money being needed to replace the equipment that was transferred abroad, that money would be kept in the consolidated revenue fund for the use of the department to replace that equipment.

Hon. members will recall that in November we offered to the North Atlantic treaty nations the equipment for a division. On the recommendation of the standing group that was transferred to the Netherlands. At once we placed an order with the United States for the replacement of that equipment with equipment of United States type. Then the next month we offered the equipment for another division, and on the recommendation of the standing group we transferred that to Belgium. We placed an order for another division's equipment with the United States, and then we offered the equipment for a third division. On the recommendation of the standing group of NATO it was decided

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Supply-National Defence to transfer this to Italy, and we placed an order with the United States. This $183,050,000 is largely made up of these three items.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF NATIONAL DEFENCE
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PC

James MacKerras Macdonnell

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Macdonnell (Greenwood):

Does that really mean that we carried out our intention of supplying $300 million of equipment to the extent of $117 million; that is, the difference between $183 million and $300 million in cash, and the rest by giving equipment that we already had, or do we consider that we have given the whole $300 million both in -cash and in kind?

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF NATIONAL DEFENCE
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LIB

Brooke Claxton (Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Mr. Claxlon:

No; this provides on balance for the transfer of equipment to the value of $183,050,000. The total amount so far voted for mutual aid to North Atlantic treaty nations is $300,000,000. That was voted last session and we seek an additional $61,383,108 this session which will cover the equipment for the three divisions, other new equipment and in part the cost of air training.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF NATIONAL DEFENCE
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PC

George Randolph Pearkes

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Pearkes:

Before we get too far away from this particular item and start to deal with equipment and so forth for other countries, may I ask why in a period when there is a great shortage of steel and other building materials, when there is a great demand for private homes all across the country, it should be considered necessary to even consider building a new headquarters for the defence forces? They have substantial buildings not so far from here which were considered ample during the war from which to administer large bodies of troops in all the three services, there being something like 1,000,000 men under arms at that time. Although these buildings are called temporary buildings they are quite substantial as far as I can see, and I pass them almost every day. Why is it necessary to even give consideration to building new national defence headquarters? It seems to me that if there is a shortage of steel what steel might be available should be put in another direction. We know that there is a definite shortage of homes and housing all across the country. Is it really necessary to provide new headquarters for the armed forces?

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF NATIONAL DEFENCE
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LIB

Brooke Claxton (Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Mr. Claxton:

I can assure the hon. member that his views will receive the most serious consideration. It is necessary that at some future * indefinite date we move from where we are. What that date will be will depend on the need, the availability of materials, labour and so on. At the time these estimates were prepared it was considered that we might prepare plans, get the property and possibly begin the excavation. It was

IMr. Claxton.]

not intended to go any further. Whether or not that will be possible this year remains to be seen.

Sub-item stands.

Progress reported.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF NATIONAL DEFENCE
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TRUST AND LOAN COMPANY OF CANADA

MOTION FOR SECOND READING AND REFERENCE TO STANDING COMMITTEE ON BANKING AND COMMERCE

LIB

Hughes Cleaver

Liberal

Mr. Hughes Cleaver (Halion):

Mr. Speaker, by leave of the house I should like to revert to motions.

Topic:   TRUST AND LOAN COMPANY OF CANADA
Subtopic:   MOTION FOR SECOND READING AND REFERENCE TO STANDING COMMITTEE ON BANKING AND COMMERCE
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LIB

Elie Beauregard (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. Speaker:

Has the hon. member leave?

Topic:   TRUST AND LOAN COMPANY OF CANADA
Subtopic:   MOTION FOR SECOND READING AND REFERENCE TO STANDING COMMITTEE ON BANKING AND COMMERCE
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?

Some hon. Members:

Agreed.

Topic:   TRUST AND LOAN COMPANY OF CANADA
Subtopic:   MOTION FOR SECOND READING AND REFERENCE TO STANDING COMMITTEE ON BANKING AND COMMERCE
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LIB

Hughes Cleaver

Liberal

Mr. Cleaver:

By leave of the house I move:

That Bill 398, respecting the Trust and Loan Company of Canada, be now read the second time and referred to the standing committee on banking and commerce.

Motion agreed to -and bill read the second1 time.

Topic:   TRUST AND LOAN COMPANY OF CANADA
Subtopic:   MOTION FOR SECOND READING AND REFERENCE TO STANDING COMMITTEE ON BANKING AND COMMERCE
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BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

LIB

Alphonse Fournier (Minister of Public Works; Leader of the Government in the House of Commons; Liberal Party House Leader)

Liberal

Mr. Fournier (Hull):

Tomorrow we will proceed with Bill No. 404, to amend the Dominion Elections Act, 1938; Bill No. 405, to amend the Judges Act, 1946; then we will go into supply and consider estimates of national defence, public works, resources and development, post office, citizenship and immigration, national revenue and secretary of state.

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
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June 26, 1951