June 12, 1905

CON

David Tisdale

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. TISDALE.

As definite as possible, but in figures ; (3) the estimated expenditures of the war office, if they have it, on these men and all other expenses, if they have it, connected with the maintenance of the establishment and the pay, or in any way connected with the garrison ; (4) the estimated expenditures of the cost of the number of men who are to be substituted and their incidentals ; (5) the estimated expenditures of the fortifications themselves for the year. I think we are entitled to this Information and that is all I wish.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   MILITIA ACT AMENDMENT-PERMANENT FORCE.
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LIB

Frederick William Borden (Minister of Militia and Defence)

Liberal

Sir FREDERICK BORDEN.

I wil] give a 'A I can.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   MILITIA ACT AMENDMENT-PERMANENT FORCE.
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CON

David Tisdale

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. TISDALE.

Not only what you can, because I will explain why I want it as fully as possible. It may he a'little trouble but those who with yourself are responsible should figure out what you propose.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   MILITIA ACT AMENDMENT-PERMANENT FORCE.
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LIB

Frederick William Borden (Minister of Militia and Defence)

Liberal

Sir FREDERICK BORDEN.

We are doing that.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   MILITIA ACT AMENDMENT-PERMANENT FORCE.
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CON

David Tisdale

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. TISDALE.

In other words there may be anticipated a very large expenditure. It will all depend on how these fortifications are manned and armed at the present time.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   MILITIA ACT AMENDMENT-PERMANENT FORCE.
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LIB

Frederick William Borden (Minister of Militia and Defence)

Liberal

Sir FREDERICK BORDEN.

My hon. friend will see, if I may interrupt him, that this is something that it is impossible to

give because I do not know and I could not find out, I fancy, without the greatest difficulty, what the nature of the defences of Halifax are. It is known to be one of the most powerful fortresses in the world, but very few people know the number of guns, and it is not desirable that they should know.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   MILITIA ACT AMENDMENT-PERMANENT FORCE.
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CON

David Tisdale

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. TISDALE.

I do not want to know the number of guns. Without the expenditures I am foreshowing it is impossible to determine this important question. This information would have very great weight upon the question of principle which is involved. The hon. minister has assumed that the members on both sides of the House are in favour of this principle, but when the hon. gentleman assumes to believe that the House and the country are in favour of the principle of the government taking over these fortifications and supplying these garrisons I am not prepared at all to agree with him. I am not at ail prepared to agree to the principle in my present state of mind and with the information I have. At all events, I know that there are a great many other people in this country, some of them military who have mentioned it to myself, and others who are not military, who are not in favour of the proposition laid down in this House and in the country that the government should take over these garrisons and these fortifications. It depends on circumstances, so far as I am concerned, before I make up my mind. This country and this House are" in favour of Canada doing more towards defence, but I am not at all satisfied for myself, and I do not believe the country is, until we know more about it, that I should vote in favour of this proposition. I merely say this now because the hon. gentleman assumes that the House is in favour of the proposition and if later on some hon. gentlemen object to it, I do not wish it to appear as if we have assented to it at one time and objected to it afterwards. The care of fortifications is an entirely new work for the Dominion of Canada. We have no experience in regard to it. The hon. minister has made a very grave admission, a most serious admission and possibly it might be well for me to follow that up a little and call his attention to it. He frankly admits he has no idea of the nature of the magnificent defences, preparations and armaments at Halifax. That is what I complain of and what the people object to, if I do not disagree with him. Wfe have no idea of what it is going to cost or of our capabilities of manning and properly handling these defences. This is practically a matter in which we have no experience because as a rule the militia have nothing to do with fortifications and are not capable of manning them because they are not trained to such work. In these modern days it is believed that forts are no good. It is accepted as a gen-231

eral proposition and it is only in exceptional cases where enormous expenditures are being made and where they are always ready to change the equipment as .the evolution of the day indicates the necessity of new styles of arms that a fortress proves effective. It is most important that parliament should know what the government is committing this country to, and that we are capable of maintaining and providing for these defences if the empire is going to rely upon us. The minister has practically admitted to-day that he knows nothing about it.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   MILITIA ACT AMENDMENT-PERMANENT FORCE.
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LIB

Frederick William Borden (Minister of Militia and Defence)

Liberal

Sir FREDERICK BORDEN.

No, I said it was impossible for me to tell what type of guns would be used, but I do not think there is much difficulty in getting the expenditure, not perhaps to a dollar but practically.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   MILITIA ACT AMENDMENT-PERMANENT FORCE.
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CON

David Tisdale

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. TISDALE.

Do you know what it L eans to undertake the defence of two fortifications that ought be second to none in the world so that the fleet of Great Britain, may be safe under the guns of these forts. That is a thing that requires serious consideration. I want to know what the cost will be for five or ten years to come. I will go as far as any one eise to endorse any reasonable expenditure for the defence of Canada and the empire, but I want to be sure that we know what we are undertaking and I want to be certain also that our maintainance of these fortifications so vital to the empire, will be thorough. I would have a great deal of hesitation about committing myself to this proposition without further information. I agree to a certain extent with my hon. friend (Mr. Foster) in regard to a standing army. I suppose there is a distinction between a permanent force and a standing army; the difference may be in the name but a rose by any other name would smell as sweet. So far, our permanent force has been confined to schools of instruction, to aiding the civil power so that the volunteers may not be involved, and as forming a nucleus which we may rely ou in case we want- to call out a large military force. But now you are going to put the permanent force into fortifications, and they must be instructed in the most modern military tactics.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   MILITIA ACT AMENDMENT-PERMANENT FORCE.
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LIB

Frederick William Borden (Minister of Militia and Defence)

Liberal

Sir FREDERICK BORDEN.

Is not that desirable for Canada ?

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   MILITIA ACT AMENDMENT-PERMANENT FORCE.
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CON

David Tisdale

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. TISDALE.

Desirable for Canada if we are to defend these outposts of the empire.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   MILITIA ACT AMENDMENT-PERMANENT FORCE.
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LIB

Frederick William Borden (Minister of Militia and Defence)

Liberal

Sir FREDERICK BORDEN.

We will never acquire that military information unless we begin.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   MILITIA ACT AMENDMENT-PERMANENT FORCE.
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CON

David Tisdale

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. TISDALE.

Don't begin too fast, and don't begin unnecessarily, and don't forget that you are now undertaking not only to defend Canadian interests but imperial interests as well. It is one thing to provide

for the defences of Canada alone, and it is another thing to undertake the defence of the empire.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   MILITIA ACT AMENDMENT-PERMANENT FORCE.
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LIB

Frederick William Borden (Minister of Militia and Defence)

Liberal

Sir FREDERICK BORDEN.

Canada is a part of the empire.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   MILITIA ACT AMENDMENT-PERMANENT FORCE.
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CON

David Tisdale

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. TISDALE.

If these fortifications were only for the defence of Canada it would be an entirely different thing. I do not want to oppose this proposition if I possibly can avoid it, but I certainly must know what we are doing before I support it. Speaking as a Canadian I would be proud to make an expenditure for the joint defence of the empire and of Canada, but it goes past pride and becomes conceit when any one thinks that the defence of Canada is more important than the defence of the empire. I will join with the government in any reasonable expense, but I want first to know what we are about.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   MILITIA ACT AMENDMENT-PERMANENT FORCE.
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CON

Joseph Gédéon Horace Bergeron

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BERGERON.

I wish to ask a few questions so that when we come to the discussion of this measure the minister may be prepared to give me the information. The minister told us that the militia has increased since 1896; is that in number or expense ?

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   MILITIA ACT AMENDMENT-PERMANENT FORCE.
Permalink
LIB

Frederick William Borden (Minister of Militia and Defence)

Liberal

Sir FREDERICK BORDEN.

Both.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   MILITIA ACT AMENDMENT-PERMANENT FORCE.
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CON

Joseph Gédéon Horace Bergeron

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BERGERON.

What is the strength of the militia to-day ?

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   MILITIA ACT AMENDMENT-PERMANENT FORCE.
Permalink
LIB

Frederick William Borden (Minister of Militia and Defence)

Liberal

Sir FREDERICK BORDEN.

48,000.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   MILITIA ACT AMENDMENT-PERMANENT FORCE.
Permalink
CON

Joseph Gédéon Horace Bergeron

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BERGERON.

What is the present cost of the militia as compared with its cost in 1896.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   MILITIA ACT AMENDMENT-PERMANENT FORCE.
Permalink

June 12, 1905