June 10, 1908

CON

George William Fowler

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. FOWLER.

But does not the minister think it about time the general community knew what line he proposes to take ? We are getting very close to the time when these people must go.

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LIB

Frederick William Borden (Minister of Militia and Defence)

Liberal

Sir FREDERICK BORDEN.

No doubt that is what will be done-it will be a composite company.

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CON

George William Fowler

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. FOWLER.

If it were known soon what is to be done, it might have some effect upon the men going into camp-it might be an extra inducement for men who have been well drilled to go into camp for that purpose.

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CON

Thomas Simpson Sproule

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPROULE.

Some companies were drilling expecting to be sent to Quebec- whatever the source of their information, that was their understanding. But since then, I understand, they have stopped drilling. It seems to me a matter of great importance that the men should know at as early a date as possible whether they are going or not. As to selection between the city and rural corps, I think there

ought to be a fair opportunity given to the rural corps to share in this celebration. Many of them have been disappointed because of the rumours in circulation lately that they are not to be taken. I know from letters that I have received that they are much disappointed, and very anxious to know how selection is to be made so that it may be known who are to go. It is getting very close to the time, and it seems to me that the Minister of Militia, with the council or whoever makes the arrangements, should reach a decision at the earliest possible moment.

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LIB

Frederick William Borden (Minister of Militia and Defence)

Liberal

Sir FREDERICK BORDEN.

It will be out to-morrow.

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IND

William Findlay Maclean

Independent Conservative

Mr. W. F. MACLEAN.

Would the minister tell us what officer of the general staff is in charge of the transport ?

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LIB

Frederick William Borden (Minister of Militia and Defence)

Liberal

Sir FREDERICK BORDEN.

Brigadier General Macdonald is in charge for the Quarter Master General, but Brigadier General Otter will have charge of the whole mobilization and will command this force at Quebec.

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IND

William Findlay Maclean

Independent Conservative

Mr. W. F. MACLEAN.

The point I want to get at is whether the Department of Militia and the Department of Railways, and the government generally, are satisfied with the capacity of our Canadian railways to mobilize a force of this size. I have been reading some of the statements made on behalf of the railways and it seems, they are rather disappointed. In fact, it does not seem to be so big a proposition as they make it out to be ; or, rather, it may show that their ability and capacity and equipment for handling a thing of this kind are not what they should be, and, from the national point of view, it might be worth some inquiring whether our railways are up to the mark of mobilizing our forces. To put the question in another way, any one attempting to invade this country would select a holiday, when the capacity of the railways was tested to the utmost, and there would be no means of moving o(ur troops. That is a very important question, and I hope the minister will give it some attention. He should see that the railways ol this country have an equipment enabling them to mobilize the troops under any conditions.

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LIB

Frederick William Borden (Minister of Militia and Defence)

Liberal

Sir FREDERICK BORDEN.

There is a great deal in what my hon. friend says. That is a very important point, and it has not escaped the consideration of the militia authorities. It is however only fair to the railways to say that if it were necessary to mobilize a considerable force at Quebec under stress of war or threatened trouble, there would not be much difficulty in doing so. But to undertake to bring to Quebec over 30,000 men, with a proper equipment of horses and artillery, while perhaps 100,000 people are to be brought into Quebec Mr. SPROULE.

and away from it at almost the same moment, is an entirely different proposition. It is something however that is not likely to happen. In time of trouble, under the Militia Act, pasesd a few years ago, the department can take possession of all the railways, and control them absolutely. In such a case the conditions would be entirely different from those which will prevail at the time of the tercentenary which is shortly to take place.

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CON

Haughton Lennox

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LENNOX.

The minister said he had not decided as to the proportion of rural and urban militia that would be taken to Quebec.

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LIB

Frederick William Borden (Minister of Militia and Defence)

Liberal

Sir FREDERICK BORDEN.

Not quite that. I have not made up the figures. We have decided that one company of infantry from each rural battalion shall go to Quebec, or shall be offered the chance, and we have decided that half of the cavalry force shall go, and they are a rural force, and I think a certain amount of field artillery and garrison artillery. But the figures have not been made up yet.

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CON

George Eulas Foster

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. FOSTER.

What is the cost of transporting 12,000 men ?

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LIB

Frederick William Borden (Minister of Militia and Defence)

Liberal

Sir FREDERICK BORDEN.

I think the whole thing will cost, on the basis we have arranged, about $180,000; that includes food as well as transport.

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CON

Haughton Lennox

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LENNOX.

The minister says he proposes to take one company from each rural battalion. Now there is considerable feeling in the country that the rural forces are not being fairly dealt with, that partiality is being shown to the urban forces. I do not say the department is doing that, but it is just as well that the point should be called to the minister's attention. I have a letter from the captain of a regiment calling my attention to this matter, and I will read it to let the minister know the opinion that prevails among some, at least, of the country militia. The letter is dated Bradford, May 25, 1908 :

As a member of the rural corps of the militia of Canada, I would like to see fair play handed out to all, as I think we have been unfairly dealt with in being denied the honour of going to Quebec.

We learn now that is not the case.

The city and permanent corps are only allowed to go, therefore calling out all of the rural corps that have played so important a part in the history of Canada. I need not tell you that the rural militia are the backbone of the country, and it will be a sad day if the rural corps are told to stand aside and make room for the city corps at Quebec.

The Minister of Militia need not tell the people that the railway companies are to blame in the matter, for as a matter of fact the transportation was arranged until the commanding officers of the city corps interviewed the government. We had orders to go

to Quebec fifty per cent strong some time ago, and soldier-like were making arrangements to go without complaint, not like the city corps for they began to howl. . . I am sorry to trouble you so, but as a member of the 36th regiment I want to see my men get fair play, and I am sure so do you, and in standing up for this regiment which is partly in your constituency, you will have the hearty support, not only of the young men who are in it now, but also of the parents and friends of numbers who have been members of the militia in their day.

Kindly take this matter up in the House, and I will await results.

I am, yours very truly,

GEORGE W. STODDART, Captain 36th Regiment.

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?

Mr. J. H.@

Lennox,

House of Commons, Ottawa.

I therefore urge upon the minister to give the rural corps the fullest consideration. I may say, speaking of the militia generally, that there is a strong desire to go to Quebec. a very laudable desire ; so I hope the minister, if he errs at all, will err on the side of enlarging the force he proposed to send.

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CON

David Henderson

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. HENDERSON.

Having come into contact recently with military men, I have to say that there is considerable anxiety among them as to where they stand to-day. They seem to be entirely at a loss to know whether they are going into camp at all, not to speak of going to Quebec. I think the sooner the minister makes a definite announcement on this point the better, so as to settle the matter in the minds of the officers and men throughout the country. X know they are waiting anxiously, and there is a great deal of uncertainty as to what they are going to be called on to do. There is another point on which the men are uncertain. At present everybody is looking for some consideration for their time, and there is a feeling that it will be difficult to get men to go to camp unless reasonable compensation is paid. I do not know what the intention of the minister is, but I think he should not treat the men unfairly in this regard. I think fair compensation should be given them for the time they will spend in the military camps. I trust the minister will make a declaration to-night that may go broadcast to the country, and let every captain of a company know where he is when he asks men to join his company.

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L-C

Samuel Hughes

Liberal-Conservative

Mr. SAM. HUGHES.

The minister is aware that I have urged upon him, publicly and privately, that as many of the rural corps as possible should go to camp. I was not in when he opened his remarks, and did not hear his reason for not taking to Quebec the rural corps to as full an extent as the city corps. I wish to recall the review before the Duke of York in the city of Toronto. The crack regiments of Toronto, Hamilton and almost every other city in Ontario were there. The minister

himself will admit that they took second place to several of the rural corps and one rural corps especially with respect to marching. drill, neatness or in every other way that any one could compare them. There were at least three rural corps from the province of Ontario that surpassed the city corps in everything except the fit of the uniforms and I am free to say that the 43rd Regiment of Ottawa was, in the universal opinion, the best drilled regiment and, like all other city corps they were neatly dressed, but in so far as military movements were concern ed the rural corps held their own -with the best of them, and some of the rural corps surpassed the city regiments. I would like to know why the rural corps should not be recognized in connection with this Quebec review. Why should not the minister adopt the old plan and take a half regiment from each locality to the city of Quebec ? X will give him fair warning that he will not have any military camps of the rural corps if they do not go to Quebec. I do not blame them. The men will not turn out to spend a few days in camp and see their comrades, with no greater claim to recognition, taken to Quebec. I am satisfied that the country would endorse the minister and that the transport could easily be arranged. Eollowr out the original plan, place 27,000 or 30,000 of the boys on the Plains of Abraham in July and the transport can be arranged. The transport can be arranged and I am satisfied that the House and the country will readily stand the cost. All the men want is to have their transport and ration allowance. I am satisfied that they will not ask for drill pay as the city corps are.

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LIB
L-C

Samuel Hughes

Liberal-Conservative

Mr. SAM. HUGHES.

The city corps wall perform their annual drill in the fall and spring and get their pay for it in consideration of which they will go to Quebec. The rural corps w'ill perform their drill and will go to Quebec and all they ask for is their transport and ration allowance.

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LIB

Adam Zimmerman

Liberal

Mr. ZIMMERMAN.

The city corps will do their drill without any consideration at all.

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June 10, 1908