April 19, 1901

CON

Charles Edwin Kaulbach

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. KATJLBACH.

I would like to ask the hon. Minister of Militia if he has made any estimate in regard to the probable cost that will be entailed in connection with this proposed school of musketry instruction, including the salary of the instructor, the building, the transport of the soldiers to and fro, and their pay per year ?

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The MINISTER OF MILITIA AND DEFENCE.

The only increase we are considering now is to one officer. The men who will assist him will be drawn from the permanent force, and, therefore, no additional vote will be required, and the transport will also be paid out of the vote for the permanent force. It is true that may interfere to some extent with the number of officers going to the permanent schools, but the additional vote we are asking, so far as I remember at the present moment, is only $2,800.

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CON

George William Fowler

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. FOWLER.

Before we pass from this point, I wish to say a word or two in respect to the matter which has been brought up by the hon. gentleman who has just spoken. I think the hon. minister has missed the point, which is not in connection with the supplying to the militia corps of officers, but the difficulty of getting officers to qualify on account of the very great expense. There is too much gold lace in connection with our militia. There is too much expense, so that persons in rural communities, farmers' sons, who would make excellent officers, who are excellent fighters, who are men of good education, are not able, from the financial point of view, to take the necessary time to go for three or four months to the schools and undergo the expense of procuring the necessary uniform, which is a very expensive matter, and which is necessary if they mess with the officers. I think something should be done by the

hon. minister along these lines, so as to simplify the expense necessary to enable a man to qualify. I was, for a number of years, an officer in a cavalry regiment, and, therefore, I think I am qualified to speak with some force in respect to that. The expense of an officer fitting himself out in a hussar regiment is very great. It will cost him, if he gets anything like a decent uniform, $300 at the very least. That, for a rich man's son, is a mere bagatelle, it does not amount to anything, but, it is not always rich men's sons who make the best officers to command regiments, and, I think, in order to give men in the rural districts an opportunity to qualify, this expense should be simplified. I know in connection With my own regiment, the Stli Regiment of Cavalry, and one of the best regiments in the Dominion of Canada, the expense of an officer supplying himself with his uniform has gone up to such an extent that it is almost impossible in the rural districts from which that regiment is drawn to get officers to fill the places, and the result is, that officers are taken from the cities, which is an unfair thing to men in the country who desire to qualify themselves for officers, and it is not always the best thing for the regiment itself. I trust that the hon. minister will take some steps along these lines, and I think if he takes such steps as will cheapen the expense of the uniform, it will be a move in the right direction. I believe that officers should be well qualified. I believe that subaltern officers should understand musketry instruction as well as captains and field officers. The subaltern officers should be grounded in musketry instruction just as any other officer is. I do not believe that you will find that the plan will work well unless you go to the officers with the instructions when you cannot get them to come to these schools. It is better to go to them, because we want to have them thoroughly instructed. I believe the hon. minister is in earnest in tips matter, and is desirous that the militia of Canada shall be a properly drilled and equipped force, and I trust he will take these suggestions into consideration.

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The MINISTER OF MILITIA AND DEFENCE.

I quite sympathize with the views expressed by my hon. friend from King's. N.B., (Mr. Fowler). As an officer myself, I have been through it as he has, and I know what it means when you want an expensive uniform not to have the money to buy one. At the same time, I think it is not absolutely compulsory at the depots that officers going through school instruction, should have a mess uniform or a dress uniform. If it is compulsory, the rule should be changed, I agree it is a point well worth considering, whether something cannot be done towards cheapening the very heavy expense for the necessary uniform, in order that no one in Canada may be excluded from joining the

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CON

George William Fowler

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. FOWLER.

militia. I quite understand that it is of first importance that officers should possess a knowledge of musketry, but what was in my mind was, that if the field officers, including adjutant, were competent they might be able to instruct their company officers at the camps or headquarters of the regiment.

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CON

George William Fowler

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. FOWLER.

That might be done, but I think some arrangement should be made whereby a school-not a regular school as at Fredericton or Kingston-but that some temporary school should be established. That was done years ago. I know there was a cavalry instructor employed for the 8th Cavalry, and the officers met for drill some three nights a week.

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The MINISTER OF MILITIA AND DEFENCE.

There was one in St. John some three years ago.

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CON

George William Fowler

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. FOWLER.

That was simply a school in equitation, and that is not of so much importance, because in the country almost all the boys know how to ride a horse. I think the difficulty with our drill is that there is altogether too much parade movement, and not enough of practical work. We do not want all this fuss and feathers, because that is not the sort of thing that counts. In a picture of a Boer commando you cannot tell the officers from the privates, and yet these officers did their duty fairly well, I think, and showed considerable knowledge of generalship. The uniform does not make the officer, and I trust some changes will be made in that respect.

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CON

Edward Gawler Prior

Conservative (1867-1942)

Hon. Mr. PRIOR.

I agree with the hon. gentleman (Mr. Fowler), that the high cost of the uniform should be put a stop to. It is very true that it is not compulsory for a young officer going to camp or to a school to have a full kit, or even a mess jacket, as that regulation was changed, some years ago, but we do know that when officers meet together, if some of the older officers or some of the young ones with money have gay uniforms, the other young men do not like to appear unless they can dress just as well as the others, and it is not right to ask them to, either.

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Some hon. MEMBERS

Hear, hear.

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CON

Edward Gawler Prior

Conservative (1867-1942)

Hon. Mr. PRIOR.

I am strongly in favour of the minister trying to secure some distinctive uniform for the Canadian militia.

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Some hon. MEMBERS

Hear, hear.

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CON

Edward Gawler Prior

Conservative (1867-1942)

Hon. Mr. PRIOR.

It is not necessary that we should have the same expensive uniforms as the British soldiers. We are only called out once in a while, whereas the Imperial troops are on service all the time, and they need good uniforms. Nothing is nicer than the uniform of the Strathconas

or the Australians, and if we adopted something picturesque without being expensive we would get as many young fellows willing to put on that uniform as we do at present. I jnade some remarks some time ago that I am now rather sorry for, although I meant them. I find the general commanding says in his report to the minister :

I consider that as a whole the musketry efficiency of our troops is very far below the standard required by the conditions of modern warfare.

And he submits a proposal for the appointment of a qualified officer as instructor general of musketry. He believes that would be the best way to get our militia into an efficient state of marksmanship. We know that whoever is general officer commanding is an expert, and as he is sent here to advise the government as to all these matters, it would be very wrong, indeed, for any officer like myself to set himself up against the general's opinion. If the major general commanding believes that this is the best thing for the militia, I for one would be very sorry to gainsay him. At the same time, I have my own opinion as to how it will work out. However, as the minister said, let us give it a fair trial for a year or two, and it will not cost much. I hope the experiment will turn out as well as the general thinks it will.

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CON

Charles Edwin Kaulbach

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. KATJLBACH.

I endorse the remarks made by the member for King's (Mr. Fowler) as to the position in which we should place the volunteers of this country. Our main object should be to make the conditions as favourable as possible for the cadets attending our schools. The hon. gentleman (Mr. Fowler) referred to the old system of bringing the instruction to the men, and not the men to the instruction, and that is an idea that I have always strongly advocated. It will be a great service to many of our cadets who are unable to attend the schools for want of the needful -money. Experience has shown that the question of uniform has been one of great inconvenience. I have been in schools where numbers of cadets were not dressed in the same rich garb as their neighbours, and young men who have not got the money to dress as well as others, do not care to be conspicuous. If it could be arranged that each cadet should have the same description of uniform and have it at a moderate cost, it would be a great improvement on the present system and give general satisfaction. It would be a very great advantage if the instructor were to go to the regimental centres where men could be found in numbers who were willing and anxious to attend the instructions. Most of the regiments have a drill shed, and very often the men could put in their time there in the evenings in order to obtain that instruction which they could not acquire if they were called upon to 107

attend during the day or working hours. Most of those in the rural battalions are farmers' sons, and although their martial spirit is everything that can be desired, still their means will not permit of them in many cases devoting all their time and attention to military matters which they naturally desire, but unable to afford it.

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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BORDEN (Halifax).

I would like to bring to the attention of the hon. Minister of Militia (Mr. Borden) the claim of Capt. Thomas Mackenzie, who is caretaker of the drill hall armouries of the 71st Regiment of Fredericton, N.B. It seems, Capt Mackenzie came here at the time of the Trent affair, in 1861, and since then for a period of forty years he has been engaged in the militia service of Canada. I believe he has a perfect record, both before and after he came to this country. He says he is now over seventy years of age, that he has been in twenty-two engagements, and has a service of nearly sixty years altogether, including the forty years during which he has filled one position or other in the militia of Canada. He says :

An equal length of time in the civil service would have brought an increased salary and a retiring allowance. To remain in the militia service of Canada I allowed the opportunity to pass of obtaining the many positions that are open to discharged non-commissioned officers of the British service, most of which carry with them, after long and faithful service, a retiring allowance. The Customs, Post Office and War Departments of the Empire are largely filled with discharged soldiers of good character and ability, and positions like quartermaster, barrack-master, &c., in the many depots and camps in Great Britain are all filled with deserving soldiers, to any of which, I might say without egotism, J was eligible ; but I considered that Canada would eventually offer as good opportunities, but so far they have never come my way; and now, when over seventy years of age, I realize the fact that at any time a younger man than myself may be appointed to the position I now hold, as caretaker of the drill hall.

Further on, he says :

Although relieved, but never for inefficiency, from positions of trust and responsibility I held where these carried higher salary and position, I never made those removals a subject of complaint, and may further state that I applied three different times to be put on the superannuation list.

A request which of course under the law could not be complied with. He has referred me to Colonels Tucker and Prior, both members of this House, and to the hon. Minister of Militia himself, with regard to his character and capability. I do not suppose this case would be affected by the Act respecting pensions, which the hon. minister is about to introduce; but I think it is a case which deserves consideration at the hands of the government and the country. Forty years' service of that kind surely should not pass without recognition. There-

fore, I have a great deal of confidence in appealing on Capt. Mackenzie's behalf to the Minister of Militia, iii case it becomes necessary to appoint some one to the place he has tilled for so many years.

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The MINISTER OF MILITIA AND DEFENCE.

I know Capt. Mackenzie very well, and I know him favourably; I know nothing of him but what is deserving. Unfortunately, however, like many others, perhaps equally good men, his position is such that under our law we are not able to do anything for him in the way of a pension at the present time, nor do I think we shall be able to do anything under the Pension Bill which 1 am about to propose, and which I hope will become law. We have, however, been in the habit of keeping many deserving old men in certain posts connected with the stores, the caretaking of public buildings, &e., who are really not able to do the work, but who are kept because of what they have done, without being expected to do a great deal of work. I may say, so far as Capt. Mackenzie is concerned, that instead of dispensing with his services, it was only the other day that we increased his pay by a quarter of a dollar a day. I may say too, what perhaps Capt. Mackenzie has not informed the hou. leader of the opposition

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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BORDEN (Halifax).

I may say that it was in February last, he wrote to me.

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The MINISTER OF MILITIA AND DEFENCE.

He is an Imperial pensioner, and is now in receipt of a pension of 40 cents or 50 cents every day of his life, and has been during the forty years he has been in Canada; and I am told, what I am glad to believe, that he is not in pecuniary difficulties, but is very comfortably off indeed. So I do not think his case is a bad one, and when we have increased his pay, I think we have treated him pretty well.

Hon. Mr. PRIOR, I am glad to hear the very good account the minister gives of Capt. Mackenzie, for I intended to bring up his case if my hon. friend the leader of the opposition had not done so. It seems a pretty hard case. He has served -in Persia and in the Indian Mutiny, and he says he did not come here on his own account, but was ordered here by the Horse Guards in 1866, and he is receiving now less than he did then. If the minister finds that he is in any pecuniary need, I hope he will take his case into consideration.

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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BORDEN (Halifax).

I would like also to bring to the attention of the hon. Minister of Militia the case of the pay owing to Private Zong, a son of William Zong, of 29 Richmond street. Halifax, a member of the first contingent. He died, I think of enteric fever, in South Africa, and his father says that his pay from the 25th of October, Mr. BORDEN (Halifax).

1899, until the time of his death was never paid.

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The MINISTER OF MILITIA AND DEFENCE.

Does that mean the Imperial pay or the difference of pay ?

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April 19, 1901