April 6, 1903

SOUTH AFRICAN WAR-GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES AS VOLUNTEERS.

L-C

Mr. HUGHES (Victoria) asked :

Liberal-Conservative

1. What servants of the government, in permanent or temporary employ, went to South Africa in any of the 3rd, 4th, 5th, or 6th Canadian Mounted Rifles ?

2. Were the places of all these kept for them on their return ?

3. What ones were not reinstated ?

4. Who received Canadian pay while in service in South Africa, viz., the pay, or any pay for their office as member or employee in the Canadian civil service ?

5. Will those not yet reinstated in their positions be reinstated forthwith ?

102S

6. Did any minister promise those in government service that their places would be retained for them 7

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   SOUTH AFRICAN WAR-GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES AS VOLUNTEERS.
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The MINISTER OF MILITIA AND DEFENCE (Hon. Sir Frederick Borden).

I would ask that the first four questions be put in the form of a motion. If the hon. gentleman will make a motion I will be very glad to bring down the information, which it is difficult to do in the form of an answer to a question. With regard to question No. <>. 1 am informed that no minister promised those in the government service who went to South Africa that their places would be retained for them.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   SOUTH AFRICAN WAR-GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES AS VOLUNTEERS.
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CON

Edward Frederick Clarke

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CLARKE.

What about question No.

5.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
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The MINISTER OF MILITIA AND DEFENCE.

I cannot answer that.

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SOUTH AFRICAN CONSTABULARY.

L-C

Andrew B. Ingram

Liberal-Conservative

Mr. INGRAM asked :

1 Have any documents been received by the Department of Militia and Defence, complaining of the treatment the Canadians received in the South African Constabulary 7

2. If so, has the department taken any action; or does the government intend to take any action in the matter; and if so, what action ?

3. Has the attention of the hon. Minister of Militia, or any officer of his department, been called to the following article, which appeared in the Montreal * Star,' Monday, March 30, 3003 7

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CONSTABULARY BACK. TELL OF GRIEV-VANCES.


Allege That They Were not Well Treated in South Africa. Reasons for Leaving. When seen to-day by a ' Star ' reporter, they somewhat reluctantly discussed their reasons for leaving the South African Constabulary. Some of the Grievances. The following are a few of their grievances. They allege : That the British officers, in carrying out the government's order to reduce the strength of the constabulary from 10,000 to 6,000 men, attempted, without just cause, to dismiss most of the Canadians ; That if a Canadian whom they wanted to get rid of, failed to purchase his discharge, he was dismissed from the service on the pretext of being unfit for duty in the constabulary ; That such dismissal carried with it a certain odium, to the great disadvantage and injury of those thus summarily dismissed ; That is virtually amounted to a bad conduct dismissal ; That a person so dismissed was obliged to pay his own expenses back to Canada ; That, when it was determined to dispense with the services of a Canadian, and when the Canadian refused to purchase his discharge, charges were trumped up against that individual. leaving him no alternative but to get out of the service ; That, in the appointment of non-commissioned officers in the Canadian squadron of the Mr. HUGHES (Victoria). constabulary, the Canadians were needlessly discriminated against, English sergeants invariably being appointed to the vacancies on the non-commissioned staff as they occurred ; That, in some cases, Dutch officers and noncommissioned officers were given the preference over Canadians by the British officers in the matter of promotions ; That, while the other British troops received their issues of clothing regularly, the Canadians were not so favoured ; That, in many cases, the Canadians were obliged to either purchase certain articles of clothing, which the government should have supplied, out of their private funds, or suffer hardships and inconvenience ; That, on an average, each Canadian was obliged to disburse out of his private purse upwards of £1 10s. each month in order to secure the actual necessaries of life ; That attempts were made to convert the Canadians into mere military machines ; That a show of independence on their part was regarded by the British officers as an act of insubordination ; That the most trivial breaches of discipline on the part of the Canadians were rigorously punished, while similar infractions on the part of the troops belonging to the British columns were not noticed. In discussing these grievances with a ' Star ' reporter to-day, the men emphatically declared that nothing in the world would tempt them to return to the life they had but recently left in South Africa. Only One Blanket Each. Some of the men had received only one blanket each during the whole of their sojourn in South Africa. In order to sleep with any degree of comfort during the cold nights of the South African winter, they were obliged to fall back on the blankets-two per man-which they had brought with them from Canada. Matter of Uniform. In the matter of uniforms, bandolier equipment, belts and other accoutrements, the men allege that the Canadians were shabbily treated in comparison with the British Tommy. When they left the constabulary, they each received a ticket to Durban. From Durban they had to pay their passage to England out of their own pocket money. The trip cost $60, or 15 guineas, per man. The expenses of their passage from England to Canada were borne by Lord Strathcona. 4. If so, what course of action, if any, does the department, or the government, propose to take regarding these alleged serious grievances ?


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The MINISTER OF MILITIA AND DEFENCE (Hon. Sir Frederick Borden).

To the first question the answer is ' none ' and that answer will apply to the second question as well. To the third question the answer is : not until I read the article as quoted in the hon. gentleman's question. In this connection, I think it would be proper in further answer to the questions to say that extracts from an article published in the ' Mail and Empire,' two days after the article quoted here, might appear in the ' Hansard ' alongside of the quotation in question. That article reads as follows :

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CANADIAN TROOPERS.


Letters received from Canadians in the South African Constabulary indicate that there are those who are well satisfied with their treatment. One correspondent who signs himself : ' A Canadian Trooper ' is quite indignant at the stories brought home by discharged men. He suggests that many of these have been * kicked out as unfit for service.' Without expressing an opinion on this phase of the subject, it must be said that the correspondent speaks with apparent authority on other points. He explains that when the war ended the corps was twice as strong numerically as was necessary in times of peace. However, there was no effort made to reduce it immediately for obvious reasons. Now that the whole country has settled down the order has gone forth that many of the troopers are to be discharged. Our correspondent conveys the impression, complimentary to himself, that the very best men are being retained and the inefficient and dissatisfied discharged. As proof that all is well, he says, in effect. ' Behold me; I remain.' Canadians who have protested against the way they were treated, say, in effect, ' Behold us; we could not stay.' The public has little other evidence before it. The truth lies somewhere between the extreme statements : * They illtreat us because we are Canadians, and they are good to us because we hail from Canada.' It is hard to believe that any British officer would annoy a colonial trooper because he was a Canadian. The probability is that the opposite would be the case. The trouble is that many officers treat Canadians just as they would treat denizens of London, E.C. Londoners are used to it ; Canadians are not, nor does the public opinion of this country demand that Canadians become lackeys for English officers. A Canadian trooper is a fighting man; he is not a soldier.' Our correspondent does not touch on the question of the ' haw-haw ' ways of the officers. He does, however, find fauli with the men who complain that they were turned adrift penniless. Ho intimates that the card game and the canteen are responsible for this, and that the men have only themselves to blame. If there is truth in this suggestion it should silence the unmanly whining of the victims of the bobtailed flush. This journal does not sympathize with this complaint. The troopers had their pay; that all have not arrived home peLniless is evidence that this is sufficient, under certain circumstances. If they did not save it, no one will find fault, as long as they do not begin to lament. Thus the case stands. The final verdict will depend largely on the future conduct of the ex-constables themselves. If they acquit_ themselves like men in the new life that lies before them, they will be believed when they criticise the army. If not they will be discredited. In reply to question No. 4 I may say : There does not appear to be anything for the government to do. The government is in no way responsible even if it were true that members of the South African Constabulary had been harshly treated.


COMMISSION FOR REVISION OF STATUTES.

CON

Mr. SPROULE asked :

Conservative (1867-1942)

1. Of whom is the commission for the revision of the statutes composed ?

2. When did the commission begin its work ?

3. What progress has been made in the work of the revision 1

4. At what date is it expected that the commission will complete its work ?

5. Has the rate of remuneration to the members and officers of the commission been fixed; and if so, what is it ?

6. What is the estimated cost of the proposed revision, when completed ?

The SOLICITOR GENERAL (Hon. H. G. Carroll)

1. The Minister of Justice and Solicitor General, members ex officio, the Right Honourable Sir Henry Strong, President; Edmund Leslie Neweombe, K. C., Deputy Minister of Justice ; Wentworth E. Roscoe, K.C., of Kentville, Nova Scotia ; Augustus Power, K.C., of the Department of Justice; Edward R. Cameron, K.C., Registrar of the Supreme Court of Canada; Henry Robertson, K.C., of Collngwood, Ontario, Barrister; and Louis Philippe Sirois, of Quebec, Notary Public; Hon. R. J. Ritchie, of St. John, and Horace St. Louis, of Montreal, Advocate, Secretaries of the Commission.

2. The commission began its work on 21st November, 3902.

3. The commissioners have held two meetings at Ottawa and a number of the statutes have been revised and printed by the individual commissioners. It is hoped to have all the work already printed passed by the commission about the end of this month.

4. It is too early to mention a date for completion of the work.

5. The following rates of renumeration have been fixed :

per an.

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The Right Hon. S@

Mr. Neweombe

1,500 00Mr. Power

1,200 00Mr. Cameron

1,200 00

The remuneration of the other commissioners and the secretaries has not been fixed.

0. No estimate has been made of the cost.

Topic:   COMMISSION FOR REVISION OF STATUTES.
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THE DOUKHOBORS.

CON

Mr. BLAIN asked :

Conservative (1867-1942)

1. Has the government any information as to the alleged pilgrimage or expedition of the persons known as Doukhobors. during the months of November and December, 1902, in the North-west Territories and the province of Manitoba ? If so, what is the information ?

2. How many persons were engaged in such pilgrimage or expedition ?

3. What was the alleged object of such pilgrimage or expedition ?

4. Did the government take any steps to interfere with, or prevent the completion of such pilgrimage or expedition; and if so, what were such steps, and what were the means employed by the government for the purpose ?

5. Under what law, or by what authority, did the government so interfere, and take such steps and measures, if any ?

6. If the government seized and sold any horses, sheep and cattle, of the Doukhobors, in November and December last, by what au-

thority, or under what provision of the law, was such action taken ?

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The POSTMASTER GENERAL (Hon. Sir William Mulock).

1. The government received information from its officers that a number of Doukho-bors intended to and did make a pilgrimage in the months of October and November last year.

2. Of the total of about 8,000 Doukho-bors in the west about 1,800 men, women and children engaged in the pilgrimage as far as Yorlcton. There were about 450 men and boys in it and these continued as far as Minnedosa.

3. Conducting a religious crusade.

4. The government through its officers advised the Doukhobors not to start on this pilgrimage and after they had started persuaded them to return. The women and children were taken back by special train and wagons or sleighs, the men partly by special train and the rest of the way by foot.

5. Under no specific law, as the action of the government did not require such.

6. No horses, sheep or cattle of the Doukhobors were seized and sold by the government in November or December, but in the month of October some cattle and horses which had been turned loose by the Doukhobors were, with their consent, sold by the government by public auction.

Topic:   THE DOUKHOBORS.
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TRANSCONTINENTAL RAILWAY.


Mr. MONK-by Mr. Clarke-asked : 1. Until what date is the government prepared to receive proposals in connection with the construction of a transcontinental railway 1 2. Is the government willing to recommend that financial aid he granted by parliament to those who are ready to execute such construction ? 3. Will the government entertain a proposal for a land grant in favour of such enterprise ? 4. What are the principal conditions which the government will impose upon those who are prepared to undertake such construction ? The MINISTER OF RAILWAYS AND CANALS (Hon. A. G. Blair)). It is impossible to answer any of these questions at present. The House has already been informed that communications, largely verbal, have taken place between the government and other parties, but it would be premature to make any announcements now. As soon as this can be done in the public interests, parliament will be informed fully.


April 6, 1903