I do not want to occupy the time of the committee more than is absolutely necessary, but I feel bound to impress again on the Minister of Public Works and the Minister of Militia the absolute necessity of giving additional accommodation to the military forces of Toronto in the drill shed. This is not the first time that matter has been drawn to the attention of the hon. minister. I shall not dilate on the subject, but will content myself with reading half a dozen lines from the report of the proceedings of this House on April 16th last. In that report, I quoted a letter from the commanding officer of military district No. 2, Colonel Otter, to the corporation of the city of Toronto. On the 22nd March last, Colonel Otter wrote from Stanley barracks to the chairman of the property committee.
Sir,-I have the honour to make application, on behalf of a portion of the local militia force, for the temporary use of the 'Arcade,' St. Andrew's market, for the purpose of storing guns, wagons and harness.
With the present strength of the city corps, it is impossible to find enough accommodation in the armouries, and pending the providing of such, I am compelled to appeal to the municipal authorities as no place adapted for the purpose in view can be obtained.
I cannot make a stronger appeal to the hon. minister than to read this request from the district officer commanding to the municipal authorities in Toronto for temporary 281
accommodation of guns, stores and ammunition in one of the municipal buildings. Of course the municipal corporation are always very pleased to give accommodation, if they can, to the militia forces and meet the wishes of the officer commanding in that respect, but when I remind the hon. minister that the city of Toronto gave $140,000 for the site, upon which the present drill shed stands, I think it is not unreasonable to ask that the accommodation which has been so loudly demanded by the militia force be provided as soon as possible. I have not sufficient military training to know of the relative value of small armouries erected throughout the country or of a few large ones in cities ; but I do know that in Toronto we have provided a very fine site, as the Minister of Militia knows, and there is a very substantial building on that site, and surely it would be the policy of wisdom, when you have a splendid military organization which is no discredit to the military forces of the Dominion, to provide for it reasonable accommodation. I do not desire to take up the time of the committee pressing this matter. I have done so again and again, but I appeal once more to the Minister of Militia and the Minister of Public Works that, if it be not intended to devote any part of this item, for the purpose of enlarging the drill shed and providing additional accommodation, that a reasonable sum should be provided for that purpose in the supplementaries. I make this appeal as earnestly as I can on behalf of the militia forces in Toronto.
I have already given the names of the places where this money is to be spent. The hou. gentleman has stated that the military forces in Toronto would be very glad to have more accommodation. That is the case, not only in Toronto, but elsewhere. In Montreal the militia require a good deal more accommodation. But all that is a question of money, and my hon. friends often complain that our budget is large, that the public works is a spending department, and spends too much. The facts which my hon. friend has stated to the House are not new. Under the late administration, the position of affairs was just about the same.
The military strength in Toronto is not much greater to-day than it was then, and the demand that is made by my hon. friend was made then. But governments must not spend too much money, even though some of us may be in sympathy with a more expansive policy, the financial position must be considered. The brakes must be applied, and they are often applied by the Finance Minister to-day as they were in the past. The Finance Minister is right, of course, and I cannot complain.
Mr. FRASER, No, the 78th. The Minister of Militia knows all about that regiment. They are recruited from the counties of Cumberland, Colchester and Pictou. They have not a public building and never had.
Mi-. FRASER. But I am willing to come next to the hon. and gallant Colonel (Mr. Hughes, Victoria) who has just spoken. I would commend to the Minister of Militia what the hon. gentleman says, that arms have to be stored in bedrooms. How can one sleep in a room where arms are stored ? But seriously, I hope the hon. minister would take into consideration this splendid regiment and that before all the rnoney for building is voted away, he will do something for this corps, who would be the first in the fray and the last out of it.
I shall not attempt to reply to the jocular remarks of my hon. friend from Guysborough, but I want to say that the 78th is a good regiment, and, in that respect it is like 99 per cent of the rural regiments of Canada. I will appeal to those who saw the review in Toronto, where the 'hay-seed' regiments, without an hour's drill from; the month of June until they paraded in front of their Royal Highnesses, held their own with the regiments of the city who have fine drill halls in which they can drill every evening. When I point out that these rural regiments who keep their arms in bedrooms and over driving sheds, and do not cost the country a dollar for armouries can hold their own on an occasion such as that, they are entitled to some consideration from the people. I have always supported the claim for armouries for the large cities, believing that the city battalions should have a place not only for the storage of arms but for drilling the men. But I do again suggest to the minister whether it is advisable to give these large sums of money for the headquarters of rural battalions, when, as the minister properly points out-I am afraid the hon. Minister of Public Works does not hear what I say. I wish to catch the ear of the hon. gentleman, for I have great faith in him, and always had. I hope he will convert the whole ministry.
In some of our public buildings in Quebec, we have adopted the plan of having a room for the storage of arms. For instance, in Victoriaville, we have an arrangement of that kind, and it is received with great favour.
I do not wish to take up time, but merely to say that the hon. minister was good enough to grant the regiment which I have the honour to command a room in the public building in Lindsay. I do not think it is larger than ten by twelve, and it contains the arms of the entire regiment. That is the only room which we have in the whole county.