Speaking last night briefly to the committee, I introduced a subject which I feel is of importance such as to warrant my pursuing it a little further this evening. The matter I was referring to was the plans that must be made fairly soon to bring back the men and women who are serving in Europe. I said last night, and I emphasize it again, that it is a quite apparent fact that the one abiding desire of the men serving in Europe, once the war is over or their particular task is terminated, will be to return to Canada, to their homes and to the familiar scenes they have been away from for so long.
I have been delighted to note that in this debate the great majority of the questions directed to the parliamentary assistant has been in connection with the welfare and rehabilitation of these men about whom I am speaking. All these matters are of great importance, and when they come back and are settled in civilian life these matters will be the things they will be most concerned
with. But upon the conclusion of the war these men will have an immediate and a natural desire to get home as quickly as possible.
In the conduct of our war effort we have profited greatly by the experiences of the past, and I am hopeful the government will display the same vision in dealing with the task of bringing home these men and women. This is something in the nature of an inter-allied problem. The problem facing the United States will be much larger than our own and perhaps the general problem will have to be approached on the basis of cooperation among the allies.
We have to keep in mind that the war with Japan may continue and that there will be a great demand for world shipping. We know there is a shortage of shipping even now to provide for the movement of men and supplies. Even when these ships are not needed to carry materials of war they will be needed to carry supplies, foods and other necessaries to the liberated countries of Europe. So that we may have to search elsewhere for a solution of this problem.
The thought has struck me that if we have not ships and crews to bring back these men we have planes and aircrew quite capable of doing a goodly portion of this particular job. The science of aviation has found it possible in this war to move great numbers of troops by air. Air-borne troops have played an important part and in all likelihood they will be called upon to play an increasingly important part in this war. But on the cessation of organized hostilities we shall probably find we have a great surplus of planes. It is quite true these will not all be suited for the transport of human beings, but at least some of them could be fitted up and made suitable to assist in the task of bringing back our men from Europe.
Let me make another suggestion. Of all countries in the world Germany has perhaps developed the transport plane to the greatest extent and of the largest possible size. Upon the cessation of hostilities there should be great numbers of these transport planes formerly owned by Germany available to the allies. It seems to me that the Canadian government in cooperation with other allied governments should see to it that these planes are made available to Canada, to the United States and perhaps to other allies for the purpose of assisting in relieving the shipping shortage and getting our men back as soon as possible.
The Canadian makes a remarkable soldier. In the face of danger or in the face of the
War Appropriation-The Army
enemy he accepts discipline because his mind tells him that discipline is necessary for the achievement of the task he has to do. But when the task is done, when there is no clear-cut purpose in sight, he shakes off that necessity for discipline; he becomes restless and inclined to resent having to take orders, much more so than the soldier of those countries where the war tradition is stronger. We may have the same problem we had in the last war if we delay too long in bringing home those who are not needed to complete the job in Europe.
I hope that not only the Department of National Defence as represented by the parliamentary assistant, but the Department of National Defence for Air, the Department of National Defence for Naval Services, the Department of Reconstruction and any other department that has to do with this problem will see to it that plans are carefully laid for the bringing back of the greatest number of our men from Europe as speedily as possible after the task there is done.
Topic: DEPARTMENT OF NATIONAL DEFENCE