April 19, 1901

LIB

Andrew Thorburn Thompson

Liberal

Mr. A. T. THOMPSON (Haldimand and Monck).

Some days ago I had occasion to make a few remarks upon the subject of a retiring allowance for the officers and men of the permanent militia of Canada, and upon that occasion I said that at some future date I would ask the indulgence of the House while I discussed matters appertaining to the militia of Canada. I do not believe that I need apologize for taking such a course as this to-day. I understand that we are about to go into Committee of Supply, and that the militia estimates are to be taken up, and so, I think, the time is suitable. Now, I have abstained throughout the session from taking any part in the discussion of questions of transportation, of trade and commerce and of many others that have engaged the attention of the House. I have done this designedly, because I knew how little my own knowledge was in connection with these matters. So far as the militia of Canada goes, however, I may claim to know something about that, although I admit not nearly as much as I would like to know. For fourteen years I have been closely connected with the militia of Canada, first, as a full private in the rear rank of a crack city regiment, the Queen's Own Rifles of Toronto, and in the end, in command of a regiment which I may fairly claim is a crack country one, the 37th Haldimand Regiment of Rifles. I have been enabled to gather what are the requirements of a city and a country corps, and so I feel that I will be able * to contribute something to the knowledge of hon. members in connection with matters appertaining to the militia. We have spent a great deal of time and money in developing the various natural resources of Canada, in developing our waterways and railways, and from time to time, we are building up new plaees in this young country. Of what good are all these things unless we have a force able and willing to defend them against the strong hand of aggression which we find in the 20th century, as in centuries gone by, is ready to reach out and grasp the property of those countries whose weakness marks them out as their prey. It is a fact that I think is too little known that the militia of Canada comprises more people than any other organization no matter how great the trust may be in this country. Almost every hon. member of this House is a Canadian militiaman, all from eighteen to sixty years of age are members of the Canadian militia, not of the active force, but of the reserve force, and so a militia debate should be of great interest to the people in general. It is perhaps very little known that should our supply of volunteer militiamen become inadequate there is such a thing as compulsory service by ballot, and many of those who

take but a scant interest in the militia may find themselves under the necessity of joining the colours. In our militia organization there is what is known as the skeleton system. We have in each company a sufficient number of officers to officer a company on a war footing, according to the British army standard, but, as for the rank and file, we are allowed only two-fifths of full strength. Our own force, which is only 3G,000 strong, would have to be immensely increased in time of serious trouble, and the increase would have to come from those very people, who, at present, take far more interest in the price of binder twine, or of coal oil, or in the discovery of the North Pole, which is still as much undiscovered as an efficient militia is undiscovered. The ranks will have to be filled up from those very people, and it is a great pity that hon. members and the people in general do not take a more sympathetic interest in the militia of Canada. Now, passing from generalities to particulars ; let me refer to the subject of increased pay for our militia. At present the militiaman- I speak of the rank and file-has to go into camp at a daily wage of 50 cents, and this at the time of year when labour is plentiful and very well paid indeed. You may readily see the sacrifice that entails. In many cases so inadequate is this pay supplied by the government, that county councils, in their generosity, have supplemented the pay by giving 25 cents a day, and in some cases 50 cents a day increase to each man in the regiment which bears their county name. This is a great mistake. In the first place the county is undertaking a duty which properly belongs to the government of Canada, and in the second place it almost invariably happens that sooner or later the generous county council is superseded by the parsimonious county council which withdraws that pay, and in the end the recipient regiment is far worse off than at first. It is not providing a remedy which will accrue to the benefit of the militia. What is the result of this inadequate pay ? Inadequate physique is the result. It is a matter which anybody can readily appreciate, when I say that on pay like that only very young and undeveloped men can go to the camp. As men grow older it is the history of our people that they take unto themselves partners for life, and having done so, I am sorry to say they generally divorce themselves from the militia of Canada. They cannot afford to go to camp and make this financial sacrifice, when they have become family men, with all the responsibilities which that relation entails, and therefore, our regiments have to be filled up with mere youths who would, on a war footing, be entirely unequal to the exigencies and hardships of the campaign. The Major General in his annual report has spoken of the wastage of our Canadian

militia. By that he means this: every militiaman, when he joins his regiment, is sworn to serve for three years, but many of them go to the first camp, and the first camp only. They receive a certain amount of drill, they become, to a certain extent, efficient, very efficient indeed, for the length of time in which they are in the regiment, but after going back from the first camp they do not come to the second or the third camp. The Major General suggests that some of these men should be made an example of, that they should be arrested and prosecuted for not coming to the second or third camps. Here, most respectfully, I wish to take issue with him. I think, after a great deal of experience in recruiting, which is the main difficulty in the militia, I can assure him that if we adopted such a drastic course as that, we might as well disband the militia. There is, to my mind, a very much better remedy, and it is to increase the pay on a graded scale. My proposition is that the first year a soldier goes to camp he shall receive 50 cents per day, for the second camp he shall receive 65 cents a day, and for the third and subsequent camps he shall receive 75 cents a day. If we had a graded system of that kind, I believe that all the complaints of immaturity on the part of the men and wastage of which the Major General has spoken, would rapidly disappear. Here let me come to a matter which is small perhaps in itself, but it is an injustice, and no injustice is too small to talk about until such time as it is remedied. We are authorized to have, for every corps in Canada, a regimental chaplain, and very many of the regiments have availed themselves of it, and have a regimental chaplain. I may say that no man in camp does more good to the militia than the chaplain. His presence tends to better discipline, clean living, to a lack of riotousness of all kinds, and more especially his presence immensely helps to remove one of those difficulties we have to contend with on the part of parents who have the very erroneous idea that the camp is a wild and wicked place. One of the chief difficulties we have to contend with is on the part of parents who have the very erroneous idea that a militia camp is a wicked and demoralizing place. When we are able to tell them that we have with us a regimental chaplain, that difficulty generally disappears, and we have their consent to enlist their sons. Hon. gentlemen will be surprised when I say that amongst all the militia we have enrolled in Canada, the regimental chaplain is the only man who draws not one cent of pay. He actually has to go to camp and pay his own mess bill. He lias not a single cent from the government with which to defray his actual expenses, or supply uniform. I mentioned this once to a gentleman high in militia circles and he gave me a reply that I thought was very inadequate, namely, that Mr. THOMPSON.

they did not do it in England. That is a very poor excuse. Father O'Leary and his brave brethren of the cloth have demonstrated on the battlefields of South Africa that they can be to the men of great assistance in matters temporal as well as spiritual. It is a disgrace to the generosity of Canada and to the militia system of Canada that the chaplain should go one day longer unpaid. I trust sincerely that the Minister of Militia will take this into consideration and that the next camp we go to, the regimental chaplain will not be asked to give his service gratis.

Closely allied toj the subject of increased pay is that of increased comforts to the men. A very few thousand dollars would provide mess tents for the men in camp. I believe that $200 a regiment would afford suitable marquees. It has been said that this is a strange thing to suggest, that this is making the soldiers too luxurious, that on active service there would be no such thing as mess tents. That I grant you. But, if you increase the comforts of the men you increase the facilities for getting recruits. Would gentlemen go so far as to say that because on active service, very often a soldier has to do without a tent at night, that therefore we should have no tents ? Are we to be asked to inoculate rheumatism, so to speak, simply because on active service the fellows have to sleep out at nights and without tents ? I think not. We in the militia have had enough to put up with in years gone by; we have been subjected to indifference or insult running the gamut from the good-natured shrug to the open sneer. Now; thanks to the service rendered by our brave boys in South Africa, thanks to the service of such men as Ivnisley of my own corps, who, going to South Africa an immature soldier, came back recommended for the Victoria Cross.

Topic:   THE MILITIA.
Permalink
?

Some hon. MEMBERS

Hear, hear.

Topic:   THE MILITIA.
Permalink
LIB

Andrew Thorburn Thompson

Liberal

Mr. THOMPSON.

ment going to South Africa could not act. alone, that the regiinentj would have to he broken up, that each company would have to he attached to a British line regiment until it received its baptism of fire ; and, yet, Sir, that Canadian regiment was not broken up, and I do not think that any British line regiment has made for itself a record more glorious. Conning to the matter of central armouries, I am therefore going to take issue with some high in authority in our permanent forces in Canada. For myself-,1 am speaking now of rural corps-I do not believe In central armouries. I think they are a very great mistake. The old system was to have a small armoury at the headquarters of each company. That has done good in many ways. It has increased the local pride of the militia organization in the neighbourhood, with the result that the local company had better recruiting. But now, with the central armouries, what are we going to have ? I know of onel county in which a central armoury is to be established at the most southern end of it, and it will be eighty miles from that armoury to the furthest outlying company. The arms are all to be kept there. What will be the result ? Three or four days before camp the arms will be issued to the men so that they may handle them a little and march into camp not quite so much like a mob as they otherwise would be. Immediately after camp, on the day of the soldiers home-coming these arms will all be turned back into the central armoury. They will be oiled and put away in glass cases, so to speak, and in ten or fifteen years, if history repeats Itself as history always has done, these arms will be as obsolete as the Snider rifle is to-day, and we will have in Canada thousands upon thousands of rifles which will be of use only as curiosities or for scrap iron. One of' the chief arguments for the central armoury is that the new rifle being of such delicate mechanism it is not safe any longer to trust it to the care of any one except at headquarters. My experience of those in command of companies is that they are careful and reliable men and that they can very well take care of these rifles. Anyway, Mr. Speaker. I think that it would he better that some of these rifles were destroyed in the handling, so long as they be bandied and our men get some familiarity with them, than that the state of things that I have described should come to pass when in a few years these rifles become obsolete and useless, and when in the meantime if some trouble overtake us, we have to send our men to the front without any knowledge whatever of the rifle of the day. I am aware that the establishment of rifle clubs will do something towards obviating this difficulty, but it will not do all. for in many places where there are company headquarters they will not, I think, be able to get the

requisite number of men. If the men had the convenient use of the rifles, then they would at least get accustomed to handling them, which is after all half the battle. There are many, protests against the great expenditure for central armouries in cities. I am not speaking with one bit of malice towards the cities. They have splendid military organizations and I give them all credit for that, but I fail to see why they should have such expensive armouries as many of them have. I know a country corps, the 3tth Regiment, and I speak of it with pleasure, which is soon to have a central armoury at a cost of how much do you think ? $1,GOO. But a city with perhaps two or three regiments requires the erection of an armoury that will cost $100,000. Can you tell me that this is In the interests of the militia ? It is nothing of the kind. It is just simply done to beautify the city or the town in which that expensive public building is put up. I say that in this time when money is so hard to get for the militia of Canada, it would be far better to erect less expensive armouries in the cities and to devote the balance of the money to rifle shooting and to practice in field exercise so that our fellows may be better prepared when the time comes, as it is bound to come, when they will have to go to the front again.

Next, Sir, I come to the question of mounted infantry. I must beg the indulgence of the House because I am afraid I am going to speak at much greater length than I intended.

Topic:   THE MILITIA.
Permalink
?

Some hon. MEMBERS

Go on. You are doing well.

Topic:   THE MILITIA.
Permalink
LIB

Andrew Thorburn Thompson

Liberal

Mr. THOMPSON.

I will next take up the question of mounted infantry. ' The speed of an army is the speed of its slowest man,' is a saying that is centuries older than the Boer war. It is amusing to read newspaper comments about the lessons we have learned from the Boer war. There is nothing new under the sun, and I think we have learned very little that is new from that war. What the Boer war has done for us is this : It has repeated lessons which we were beginning to forget, and therein lies its value to us. It has impressed on us the value of mobility. That was recognized centuries ago. So far back as when the Crusaders went out to fight the Saracens they found that though stronger and more powerful, yet mounted on their heavy armoured horses, they were not able to compete with the light-armed Saracens who moved rapidly. We have in Canada the greatest opportunity for mounted infantry that any country in the world possesses, I believe. Canada to-day is in many respect similar to South Africa. We have an immense territory, we have a boundary line of enormous length, we have a population sparse in comparison

with that area and in its distribution rural rather than urban. We have thousands and thousands of good horses and thousands and thousands of farmers' sons to ride them, and yet up to this time we have not inactive organization a single company or squadron of mounted infantry. Some are authorized, some soon will be in existence, but not one-twentieth part of what we require. Here, again, I take issue with th^ opinion of experts. I believe that a company of mounted infantry should be attached to every infantry regiment in Canada ; every rural corps at least. And, if it is necessary that this mounted Infantry should practice in greater numbers than in one company at a time, when the rural regiments go to camp let the mounted companies be detached from them for drill purposes in that camp and then after the camp rejoin their regiments. I can tell you that we would put only the picked men in these companies of mounted rifles. It would be a matter of policy to put the best men into the mounted companies, and the result woulcl be emulation and increased efficiency in the dismounted men. The men would thus learn something of mounted work, and in each regiment there would be a lump to leaven the whole, when in war time it might become necessary to Increase our mounted force by converting several corps of infantry into mounted infantry.

On the subject of transport I do not intend to say anything, for X have learned, and with very great pleasure, that something is to be done towards the establishment of a transport. Hitherto we have had practically nothing at all in that direction; but I believe that an officer who is able and experienced, and who served in the South African war with the express purpose of gaining the necessary knowledge, is to be appointed at the head of a Canadian army transport corps, and the minister has moved in the right direction in establishing an army medical staff.

Next, X come to a subject which is equally interesting to that of the mounted rifles, viz., rifle shooting, and first as to the present insufficiency of ammunition. What can we do on an allowance of 40 rounds a year ? In the British army they fire several hundred rounds, and in the United States anywhere from 600 to 1,000 rounds a year. And those 40 rounds we have, too frequently, to fire in camp under the injunction, * Hurry up, boys, or we won't get through before dark ; there is another regiment coming on the ground.' Days are spent at squad drill, when we might have another day at the butts with more advantage. This ammunition is not expensive. It only costs $29 per thousand rounds; so that if you doubled the supply of ammunition in camp, you would only Increase the expenditure by some $40,000, a mere bagatelle in comparison with the increased efficiency it would produce.

Topic:   THE MILITIA.
Permalink
LIB

Andrew Thorburn Thompson

Liberal

Mr. THOMPSON.

Then, we have insufficient ranges. 1 would like to see some of the money now squandered on too luxurious city armouries devoted to the establishment of ranges throughout the country, so that every man might learn to shoot. Something is being done in that direction, and more I hope will, be done. I would like to see the door thrown wide open. Every trained shot is an asset to the country, whether a member of the active militia or not. I have no sympathy with the distinction which is drawn between the active militia and the reserve militia. Switzerland bristles like a porcupine, not simply because it is a country of mountains, but because every man in the country can use his rifle, and the combined armies of Europe to-day would find it difficult to overrun Switzerland; if Canadians could only be trained in time of peace to use their rifles, we would be an awfully hard nut to crack in time of trouble.

We have iu Canada these disadvantages in connection with rifle shooting; but we have natural advantages which very few other countries enjoy. In the first place, the South African war demonstrated that the city men from London or Manchester were no match for the countrymen from the downs of Devon or the Highlands of Scotland. The city man, living among high buildings, where his vision is limited, is likely to be somewhat short-sighted; but the countryman, accustomed to an environment which gives his eyesight a longer range, is more efficient at long range shooting. In Canada we have no greatly congested centres. Our population is a rural population, and has that excellent sight, requisite to good shooting, and that fresh air and exercise which produces an iron constitution, which knows no nerves; for the nervous man will not make a very good rifle shot. In England the country is so crowded that it is very difficult to find places for rifle ranges, except on the sea coast, where there is no danger to life. But in Canada there is no country where we could not find space for a 600 yards range in each township, and I am informed that while a range of this length is not quite all that could be desired, it is nevertheless capable of giving very good training.

I have a word to say with reference to the duty of the citizens of this country generally. While the government can give us cheap ammunition, good and plentiful, and rifle ranges, after that the citizens have to take the burdens on their shoulders. I sometimes think that in Canada we suffer too much from hysterical patriotism. Men who feel downcast when news of a reverse come to us, drape their houses with bunting and cheer wildly when news of success arrives ; but just as soon as the newness of war is over, they backslide, and if you want a son or employee of theirs to go to camp or tlie butts, they will not allow it, because forsooth if he went they would have for a

short time a few hours more work to do. Yet, these men consider themselves patriots. Truly, self-deception is easy, hut it is also as dangerous as easy. We members of parliament have a great deal to do in educating the opinion of the country. Whether we belong to the active or the reserve militia-and I welcome all as brethren in the force who are willing to admit that they are not over sixty years of age-we have a duty to perform. When we go back to our constituencies, let us put our shoulders to the wheel, and encourage our local regiments and the rifle clubs which are to be formed in every part of Canada. I do not want to lecture the House, which I find young members are sometimes accused of doing; but I desire to arouse the interest of hon. members on this question. I have sat in my seat and felt heavy-hearted when I have heard an hon. member making an excellent speech on a militia subject and not ten men in the House listening to him. It would be an impertinence on my part to criticise the members; but I will say, as Green said, speaking of the writings of King James I., that hon. gentlemen are will-ling to discuss anything ranging from predestination to tobacco, except the question of the militia of Canada. But I hope that when such a question is before the House hereafter, every member of the militia, whether belonging to the active or the reserve force, will take the pains to go to the library and read up on it, and give the House the benefit of his brains on that as on every other subject. I do not wish to see fastened on Canada the military burdens of the old land. We do not wish the country to spend on a single regiment, what our government has spent to maintain the garrison at Halifax, $350,000 for a single year. A permanent corps of 10,000 men would cost twice as much as 35,000 active militia and still be too small as a garrison. But we do not want a large permanent force. We want a permanent force just large enough to supply good teachers for the rest, and we must develop in the best possible way our citizen soldiers.

I wish to say something with regard to the relative sacrifices of the city and the country corps. The city men look rather askance at their country brethren, but let me say a word for the boys on the side lines, whose sacrifices are just as great as those of the city men. It is true, the city men draw no pay, but turn what they receive into the regimental fund; but these city men do their drill at night, after they have earned their day's pay at their usual avocations. The countryman on the other hand has to go into camp and become entirely dissociated from his usual business, and he draws 50 cents a day, when he could make at home $1.25 a day. And, therefore, I think I have demonstrated that the sacrifice which he is making is, in dollars and cents, fully equal to that of his brother in the city.

The hon. member for Victoria, B.O., (Hon. Mr. Prior), in a speech made this week, mentioned the fact that in case we should require a large supply of rifles for any emergency, we could not get them from England, because she has no reserve supply. I know that we must not move too quickly, that we must make haste 'slowly in matters of this kind, especially as the campaign has to be largely an educative one, but, I believe that before long we should take up seriously not only the establishment of a second cartridge factory in Canada, but also of a factory for the manufacture of our own rifles. The money would be spent in Canada, and we would not be dependent on the old land at the very time when we needed the arms to be put into the hands of our numerous soldiers.

I know that I have criticised a good deal, but have done so in the best of good spirit. I know, too, that our militia has been improving of late years, and I wish to give to the hon. the Minister of Militia the credit which, I think, is only his due. He has given us an annual instead of bi-annual drill. If there ever was money absolutely thrown into the river, it was the money paid out for the drilling of only one-half the militia each year. To a large extent we had only a militia on paper, something to deceive us, and of little worth. But since we have had an annual camp drill, our militia, though still far from perfect, is fast becoming at least respectable, and no one measure has contributed so much to that change as the annual camp drill. Yet, in conversation with some hon. gentlemen not long ago, the suggestion was made, that possibly we might like to go back to the old system. I do not believe that such an opinion prevails to any extent. and if such a proposal should ever be made, we would have a debate that would be dragged out to the limits of a gerrymander discussion. For I am pretty confident that the members of the militia who have seats in this House, would fight very long before they would submit to the destruction of a system under which our militia is making very considerable progress towards efficiency. The Minister of Militia is also entitled to credit for having established an army medical staff, in which are enrolled some of the best surgeons in the country. Another thing which the South African war has demonstrated is, that the civilian surgeon is a far better man at the front than the army surgeon. The reason is obvious. Nine out of ten army surgeons have nothing to do until the men go into battle, and come pouring in wounded, whereas the civilian is almost always actively engaged in his work, and, consequently, has greater opportunities to perfect himself, and acquires greater skill than the permanent surgeon of the army. In Canada, we have succeeded in enrolling in the medical staff some of the best surgeons in the country, and that is one of the best things

that could be done for the comfort of the men who go Into active service. And, besides the transport corps of which I have spoken, the engineering staff, which is very inadequate in point of numbers, is being increased, and a corps of engineers established in connection with the engineering branches of the McGill and Toronto universities, which will be of very great service also.

One word in conclusion, Mr. Speaker, and I have done. I would appeal to the patriotism of this House against partisanship in militia matters. We glory in the fact that we keep politics, very largely at least, off the bench, and have a pure judiciary in Canada. The only justification for the existence of our militia is the possibility of our requiring them on active service, and, therefore, this is a matter so sacred that we should drop politics from it, and all stand together for the militia force of Canada. I have met many Conservative members opposite. Would it be impertinent for me to say that they are a jolly good lot of fellows, whose patriotism is far ahead of their party-ism, just a's it is on this side of the House. I believe that in the main we are all good Canadians, and I hope that when the Minister of Militia introduces anything which we may conclude, after discussion, is in the interests of the militia, hon. members opposite will support it just as readily as though the motion were not introduced by a minister of the Crown.

Topic:   THE MILITIA.
Permalink

Motion agreed to, and the House went into Committee of Supply. Pay and allowance of militia, $389,609.


?

The MINISTER OF MILITIA AND DEFENCE.

The increase of $8,515 is made up of the following items : The pay of the

headquarters and district staff is increased from $38,094 to $41,609. This is due to the establishment of a school of musketry, witli an inspector of musketry, who will receive a salary of $2,800. Last year there was an item of $3,200 for the officer commanding the Canadian artillery, Col. Stone. His services terminated, and this year it is not necessary to vote that sum. But, as I have just said, there is added an inspector of musketry, who will command the new school of musketry, at a salary of $2,800. Then, the officer who will take charge of the army service corps, which is to be organized, will have a salary of $2,000. There are to be two brigade majors or district staff officers appointed at the usual salary of $1,200 each.

Topic:   THE MILITIA.
Permalink
CON

David Tisdale

Conservative (1867-1942)

Hon. Mr. TISDALE.

Will the hon. gentleman explain this musketry school and army service corps, and what need there is for these two additional brigade majors.

Topic:   THE MILITIA.
Permalink
?

The MINISTER OF MILITIA AND DEFENCE.

The musketry school is to be

Topic:   THE MILITIA.
Permalink
LIB

Andrew Thorburn Thompson

Liberal

Mr. THOMPSON.

organized on the lines of the Hythe school in England. I have here the proposal in detail, placed in my hands by the general officer commanding, of which I suppose I need only give a brief synopsis. It is to be called the Royal Canadian School of Musketry. It is to be located at Ottawa. The staff of the school will consist of a commandant and chief instructor, who shall also be inspector of musketry for the Dominion, with the status and pay of an assistant adjutant general at headquarters. His duties will be not only to take charge of the school, of which there are to be three terms during the year, but, at times when he is not engaged here he is to go through the country and inspect the different regiments and the rifle associations which we expect will be formed and make reports with regard to their efficiency, and see that they are doing their [DOT]work properly. There will also be two sergeant instructors, these will be taken from the permanent force and, therefore, will not entail any additional charge upon the country.

That for the present a class should consist of twelve officers, viz.: Two field officers, four captains and six subalterns, and eighteen noncommissioned officers not below the rank of a corporal; total, thirty. Commanding officers, when recommending candidates to attend the school, must certify that they are thoroughly proficient in the ' firing exercises,' and practically acquainted with all the parts and mechanism of the rifle, Lee-Enfield.

There should be three classes annually, each lasting for about six weeks, the first to commence about the middle of May or as soon afterwards as the range can be used.

A sufficient number of targets on the Rock-liffe ranges shall be placed at the disposal of the musketry school daily up to 12 noon.

It would be necessary to provide two rooms in the Ilockliffe pavilion, one for office and the other for lecture room, with desks and seats for the students (removable), and also to construct a hut to accommodate twenty sergeants, with sleeping and dining rooms and lavatory.

The officer students to receive the usual lodging allowance of their rank. The pavilion has a good kitchen with a range, capable of cooking for any number of men, which would be available if the living hut were constructed close to or as an annex to the existing building.

That is the building now on the Rockliffe range.

Certificates.-There would be two classes of certificates, 'ordinary' and 'extra'; and no subaltern officer should, in the future, be promoted to captain nor captain promoted to major vho is not in possession of an ordinary musketry certificate.

I do not know that there is anything further to say. If further explanations are required, I shall be glad to give them.

Topic:   THE MILITIA.
Permalink
CON

Edward Gawler Prior

Conservative (1867-1942)

Hon. Mr. PRIOR.

According to what the minister has stated, it seems to me the country is going to be put to large expense in starting a musketry establishment. I

do not know that I am competent to give an opinion of this matter, but it seems to me that the result could be gained with a great deal less expense to the country than we shall have under the prox>osed system. There is no need, so far as I can make out from what has been stated to me by officers competent to judge, for a musketry school to be established in this country. It seems to me that if arrangements were made to provide more ammunition for the different regiments, the same results would be secured without having these officers appointed and large salaries paid, with lecture rooms and so on at Rockliffe and other places. I think much can be done by disregarding technical and scientific details, as we see in a school carried on in Montreal. I happened to be there, and saw the school that is being carried on by Col. Peters. A lot of detail is left out which was formerly thought necessary to the training of a soldier, and in two or three days the men were able to perform the movements as well as if they had been trained four months in the old way. I think the same principle obtains in rifle shooting. Instead of giving a lot of scientific details about the trajectory and so on, if the men were shown how to aim at short distances and gradually taken back, being taught how to handle their rifles practically instead of being put through a lot of theoretical work, I think the results would be attained with a great deal less expense than under the system outlined by the hon. minister. I may be wrong, but I venture this opinion ; and I know that it is the opinion of hundreds of other officers in the Dominion. I do not think that such a school as has been set forth by the minister is needed, with an inspector having the salary, if i understood the minister, of an adjutant general

Topic:   THE MILITIA.
Permalink
?

The MINISTER OF MILITIA AND DEFENCE.

Assistant adjutant general.

Topic:   THE MILITIA.
Permalink
CON

Edward Gawler Prior

Conservative (1867-1942)

Hon. Mr. PRIOR.

Would he inspect the different regiments when they are out in camp and the city corps at any time when they could be called upon to appear and shoot on the ranges, or how is he going to inspect them for shooting ? Or is he only to inspect the books showing the results of rifle shooting ? It seems to me, as I said before, that if more ammunition was given to the different regiments, and it was left to the officers to train their own men, it would be better than to have a school of this kind.

Topic:   THE MILITIA.
Permalink
?

The MINISTER OF MILITIA AND DEFENCE.

I think my hon. friend (Hon. Mr. Prior) has drawn somewhat upon his im-magination when lie talks about the very great increased cost. There are no highly paid officers but one. The assistants will be drawn, as I have said, from the permanent force.

Hon. Mr. PRIOR, Will the hon. minister read again what he stated with regard to the number of officers that form the school.

Topic:   THE MILITIA.
Permalink
?

The MINISTER OF MILITIA AND DEFENCE.

These are the students-pupils- who are to be drawn from every part of the active militia to attend this school, and be taught, just as they come to the different depots of the permanent force now.

Topic:   THE MILITIA.
Permalink
CON
?

The MINISTER OF MILITIA AND DEFENCE.

That is the whole object. There will be only one officer-the head of the school. The other officers will be drawn, whenever necessary, from the permanent force.

Topic:   THE MILITIA.
Permalink
CON

Edward Gawler Prior

Conservative (1867-1942)

Hon. Mr. PRIOR.

These officers are supposed to be brought to the schools to be instructed so that they may instruct their men ?

Topic:   THE MILITIA.
Permalink
?

The MINISTER OF MILITIA AND DEFENCE.

Quite so.

Topic:   THE MILITIA.
Permalink

April 19, 1901