Bren Gun Scandal

Before the Second World War, the British government was anxious to acquire new, secure sources for weapons production. The Canadian government was reluctant to co-operate, fearing isolationist opinion, especially in Québec.

Bren Gun Scandal

Before the Second World War, the British government was anxious to acquire new, secure sources for weapons production. The Canadian government was reluctant to co-operate, fearing isolationist opinion, especially in Québec. In 1938, however, the deputy minister and minister of national defence recommended a Canadian appliance manufacturer, John Inglis, and the British and Canadian governments awarded his firm a contract for production of the Bren light machine gun.

Impropriety was alleged, and a royal commission was appointed. Although it found no evidence of corruption, it recommended that civilian business advice be sought in future. This report helped lead to civilian control over war production in the Second World WAR (see Munitions and Supply, Department of). Bren gun production was very successful: some 200,000 were made in Canada.