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 ?