Brooke Claxton (Minister of National Defence)
The table follows:
Consolidation of Main and Supplementary Estimates 1950-1951
Defence Services Cash 1950-51 Years
Supplementary ... 82,000,000 29,536,130 14,895,696 35,984,000 61,050,125111,536,130 14,895,696 97,034,125Army Main estimate
Supplementary ... 130,000,000 54,171,233 13,000,000 24,205,000 62,640,773184,171,233 13,000,000 86,845,733Air Main estimate .... Supplementary ... 169,000,000 58,492,837 25,350,000 80,924,670 285,566,923227,492,837 25,350,000 366,491,593Administration Main estimate .... Supplementary ... 3,932,304 10,0003,932,304 - 10,000Summary Defence Services Main estimate .... Supplementary ... 384,932,304 142,200,200 53,245,696 141,123,670 409,257,821527,132,504 53,245,696 550,381,491
Main estimate ... Supplementary .. . 23,925,361 1,000,000 2.700.000 5.310.00023,925,361 1,000,000 8,010,000Other votes Main estimate ... Supplementary .. . 16,142,335 16,142,335 Total D.N.D
567,200,200 54,245,696 558,391,491
As hon. members will understand, we have further details of the estimates making up the $142 million. I can assure hon. members that the treasury board and ourselves have been giving the most active consideration to the possibility of presenting the estimates in a way which will help hon. members better to appreciate them. The present form grew out of the wartime form which was simplified because of the difficulty of making accurate estimates and since the end of the war they have been expanded. I agree with hon. members that we should endeavour to break them down further and make them more understandable without any breach of security. That is being worked on and had the session not come on so suddenly it would perhaps have been possible to have worked it out and presented these estimates in a new form at this session.
I do not think hon. members want me to go over any of the statements I made or the discussion that took place during the debate on the address in reply to the speech from the throne. There is no excuse for anyone not knowing what the role of the armed forces of Canada has been since the second world war. As I said last week, it was no part of that role to provide a professional police force to deal with affairs that might occur in other countries.
It has been suggested by some hon. members that we knew or should have known that active aggression by North Korea was going to take place. That is very flattering indeed to Canada when it is perfectly obvious from the record that the United States did not know that. When it was suggested that we should have prepared for this it was also being suggested that in the absence of consultation by the United States and members of the United Nations we should have taken it on ourselves to prepare for this particular operation. I suggest that that is not looking realistically at the situation.
The role of our defence force has been explained and stated time after time to parliament. It was to be a force, which in the opinion of our advisers would be sufficient to deal with the kind of attack that we thought
at the time might be made on Canada and also to provide the organizational, administrative and training machinery on which to build so that we could make the greatest possible effort in a total war. I think everyone realizes that no country anticipated this Korean situation breaking the way it did. In consequence of that we have accelerated our program, but even before that it was being pressed just as much as possible with the money available.
The hon. member for Peace River suggested that as a standard we should endeavour to make Canada as nearly secure as our resources and manpower can make it. That is the objective. That is the right kind of standard. But everyone knows that we are not in a full, all-out war economy. If we expected war this year we could further accelerate the aircraft production program and devote a larger share of the national income to these purposes; we could put on three shifts and do everything else like that. That may be necessary.
We are moving along with the operation of producing aircraft of the type we believe to be necessary. We are producing ships of the kind we believe to be desirable. We are adding to our supplies of army equipment, ammunition, radar, wireless, motor vehicles, anti-tank armaments and are generally pressing on just as fast as it can be done. However, I think it would be wrong to indicate to this committee that we are going to be in a state of full preparedness next month. No one believes that.
Hon. members have charged us with complacency and sometimes we have had to meet criticism and charges which did not seem to be justified in the circumstances. I can assure you that I have found nothing complacent about the Department of National Defence since I have been there and there has been nothing complacent about the attitude of the government. This is an operation involving the interest and welfare and security of the whole people of Canada and it is being undertaken in that spirit.