April 25, 1901

CON

Edward Gawler Prior

Conservative (1867-1942)

Hon. Mr. PRIOR.

How does the hon. minister obtain these-by tender ?

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The MINISTER OF MILITIA AND DEFENCE.

Yes, in all cases.

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CON
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The MINISTER OF MILITIA AND DEFENCE.

Yes, publicly advertised in the newspapers.

Militia-Chargeable to Income-Transport and freight, $40,000.

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The MINISTER OF MILITIA AND DEFENCE.

The details of this item include : Transport of officers of headquarters and district staff and the permanent coips to staff duties, annual drill excepted, and for the transport officers and men of the active militia and permanent force attending schools of instruction, also the transport of a permanent corps to and from the different military stations-that Is when exchanges are made of officers between the different depots-also charges of expressage and truckage on stores. The first item is $12,000, the second $10,000 and the third $18,-000-mmking a total of $40,000. This is the same item as we have had for several years.

Grants to associations, $38,000.

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The MINISTER OF MILITIA AND DEFENCE.

This is for rifle associations.

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CON

Edward Gawler Prior

Conservative (1867-1942)

Hon. Mr. PRIOR.

This has nothing to do with the new rifle clubs ?

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The MINISTER OF MILITIA AND DEFENCE.

Nothing at all. This includes : Dominion Rifle Association $10,000, Dominion Artillery Association $5,000, Provincial Rifle Association $8,300. And then there is an allowance for bands for the active militia $7,900, and militia institutes $300.

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CON

William Humphrey Bennett

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT.

In this connection I would like to call the attention of the minister to what I think is a manifest injustice to companies which may be stationed outside of county towns-and I will draw the attention of the minister to the circumstances existing in the county of Sirncoe. At the town of Barrie there is a very fine armoury. As I am informed the new issue of rifles-the Lee-Enfield 1 believe they are called-for the whole battalion are kept in store in the armoury at Barrie. Now, in the town of Orillia, which is in the constituency I have the honour to represent, and which is a town of upwards of 6,000 inhabitants, there are stationed two companies. In that town there is, I am pleased to say a good deal of martial spirit, so much so that I think there is no town of its size in the whole province-or in the whole Dominion for that matter-from which so many young men went to the recent troubles in South Africa. Now, I aon informed by the gentlemen who have charge of the two local companies that they have made application to the colonel of the battalion that the rifles for the two companies may be placed in some safe place of deposit in the town of Orillia. At an interview with the colonel the request was refused, on the ground that he had instructions-as I am advised, from the department-not to hand over to these two companies or the officers in charge of them their allotment of rifles. I brought the matter to the attention of the hon. minister's department, and a letter was written from the department pointing out that these rifles, under instructions, as had been before stated, were retained at the central armoury in the town of Barrie. I think that that is a great hardship. If there is not to be, at the places where these respec tive companies have their headquarters, a supply of arms for the men, the officers in charge will have great difficulty in interesting young men in the militia force. In the town of Orillia there has been a great deal of rivalry in rifle shooting. This was due to the fact that there was a civilian rifle team there and also the two rifle teams connected with the local militia companies.

I would also call the attention of the Minister of Militia to the fact that in the town of Orillia there is a large public building used for the purpose of post office, customhouse and other official uses. There is a large room in the rear and on the ground floor of that building that would be safe, so far as fire is concerned, for the storage of these rifles. And I would ask the Minister of Militia, in consideration of that fact to be pleased to direct the colonel of the 35th Battalion to hand over to the safe keeping of the captains of the two local companies the rifles intended for those companies. It is very difficult, as I am informed by the gentlemen connected with the militia, to keep those companies togeth-

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LIB

Frederick William Borden (Minister of Militia and Defence)

Liberal

Mr. BORDEN (King's).

er. One great fact about the militia, as I am informed, is that there is considerable rivalry between the civilians and those connected with the force in the matter of "rifle shooting ; and, if men who are connected with the force are not to have access to the rifles except when they have drill, they will not be able to handle the rifles in the same manner as they would if the arms were entrusted to their keeping throughout the year. The same remarks are equally applicable to the local company at Penetangui-shene which also is in East Sirncoe.' I understand that there they have a safe place for the storing of the arms. I do not know whether it is the experience of other hon. gentlemen in the House that there are complaints on this subject; but, I hope the Minister of Militia, having regard to the circumstances of Orillia and Penetangui-shene will instruct the colonel of the 35th Battalion, after having taken the proper guarantees, which, I suppose, are usually taken, from the captains, for the safe keeping of the arms, to hand the arms over to the captains of the local companies in Orillia and Penetanguishene.

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The MINISTER OF MILITIA AND DEFENCE.

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CON

William Humphrey Bennett

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT.

I understand the minister to say that instructions have been given or will lie given, that the captain of each company, on making application, shall have handed over to him at least ten rifles for his own company-that is for the purpose of practice, I presume, and to enable the men to fit themselves for the proper handling of the rifles. I may say that will meet with a certain amount of favour at the hands of the men. But there is one trouble 1 see if you are only going to allow ten to each company. There will be on the part of the captain a selection of ten men to whom they are to be allowed, and that will produce, 1 fear, bad feeling among those who have not been selected, and who have not been permitted to have a rifle for their use.

THE MINISTER OF MILITIA AND DEFENCE. There are only forty men in the company, and it is not often that more than ten, generally less than ten, have any special desire to take up rifle shooting for the purpose of going to rifle matches. Furthermore, it is found quite possible for two men to use one rifle. That is done frequently without any inconvenience.

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CON

William Humphrey Bennett

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT.

Then, on making application now there is a direction that ten rifles will be allowed each company ?

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The MINISTER OF MILITIA AND DEFENCE.

No, that is not what was in my mind. We are organizing rifle associations under regulations which have just been printed, I have a copy of them now ; and under those regulations we propose to issue rifles. The exact terms have not been settled upon, so I would not like to make any positive announcement beyond saying that it is the intention to issue rifles and to offer every possible facility to militiamen and to others who become members of these associations to learn to shoot and to perfect themselves in the art.

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CON

Matthew Henry Cochrane

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. COCHRANE.

Will that regulation *also apply to the riding that I have the honour to represent ?

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The MINISTER OF MILITIA AND DEFENCE.

My remarks are general.

Mr. COdHRANE. It appears to me that if they could take care of ten they could take care of forty. How does the hon. gentleman arrive at the conclusion that where men are capable of taking care of old rifles they cannot take care of the new ?

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The MINISTER OF MILITIA AND DEFENCE.

I can only say that this is a much more delicate weapon. Furthermore, as regards taking care of ten, I said up to ten, it might be five. A man who is fond of rifle shooting takes good care of his rifle, *but it is another thing if you put a careless man who knows nothing about rifles in charge of a delicate weapon such as this.

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CON

Matthew Henry Cochrane

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. COCHRANE.

What is the use of giving rifles to men if they are not permitted to use them ? I thought that the war in South Africa proved conclusively that the best shots were the men who did the best service. It appears to me that if you want men to do practical work, you must let them possess and take care of their rifles, so that they can become proficient in their use and able to handle them in time of need.

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The MINISTER OF MILITIA AND DEFENCE.

I may say that the whole militia now is turned out every year in camp, and in camp every man fires a certain number of rounds, and gets a certain amount of training with the new rifle.

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CON

George William Fowler

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. FOWLER.

My idea is that both systems advocated by the minister are wrong.

I think that all the equipments should go into the company store instead of into the regimental store. It used to be that the company captains had charge of the stores. If a man is not fit to have charge of the stores of the company of which he has command, then he is not fit to have command of the company. I think this difficulty would be obviated if the stores were put in charge of the company commanders. As for the rifle being a very delicate arm, and for that reason ought not to be placed in the hands of the company commanders, It seems to me that is a very slim reason. That rifle is not kept for exhibition purposes. Although it is a delicate piece of mechanism, it has to be sometimes placed in the hands of these men. They get but a small amount of use during the camp, because, as it has been pointed out already, there is only one day of shooting in camp, and when you consider the number of men who shoot in one day, each man can do but very little shooting. Therefore, particularly in the case of city corps, they should have a chance to use this arm, and to my mind the proper way would be to

issue tlae full quota of rifles to each company, and let the company commander take care of them. He 'will then give these men an opportunity to use them. The objection that the arm is a delicate weapon and should not therefore be put into the hands of the men, is so absurd that we need not consider it. The same in regard to the regiments of cavalry. I think the equipment for each troop should be in charge of the commander instead of lying in the regimental stores. It is sufficient to keep the reserve equipment in the regimental stores.

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April 25, 1901