June 18, 1908

CON

William Humphrey Bennett

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT.

Orillia has two companies of the 35th regiment and a squadron of horse connected with the cavalry corps at Barrie. What are the prospects of Orillia being treated with a little more than cold justice?

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LIB

Frederick William Borden (Minister of Militia and Defence)

Liberal

Sir FREDERICK BORDEN.

The book shows only the 35th regiment.

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CON

William Humphrey Bennett

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT.

Orillia is a town of considerable importance, of some 5,000 or 6,000 people, and with the militia I have spoken of. I see that at the little town of Burford, $13,000 has been expended. I would ask the minister to consider the claims of Orillia.

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LIB

Frederick William Borden (Minister of Militia and Defence)

Liberal

Sir FREDERICK BORDEN.

I certainly think Orillia ought to be considered. There has been some suggestion made that no headquarters are provided for a regiment or a company in any county (represented by a Conservative. That certainly does not apply to the large towns and cities, and I do not think it applies to the smaller towns. But I do think this, that regiments and companies should be selected for these favours according to their qualifications. If five or six or ten buildings are to be constructed, they should be given to the regiments, squadrons or companies best qualified, which have shown the best results in their annual training. That would be the principle I would lay down.

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LIB

Frederick William Borden (Minister of Militia and Defence)

Liberal

Sir FREDERICK BORDEN.

We have tried to do that. There are a great many excellent regiments in Canada.

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CON

William Humphrey Bennett

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT.

The 35th has a continental reputation.

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LIB

Frederick William Borden (Minister of Militia and Defence)

Liberal

Sir FREDERICK BORDEN.

Of course once or twice a very unfortunate accident happened. After spending a great deal of money constructing an expensive armoury the regiment temporarily disappeared. In fact I almost hesitate at times constructing armouries at all on account of such incidents. That happened at St. Thomas and at least two other places, but I am happy to say these regiments have been reorganized and are now in good working condition. There should be some principle laid down by which selections would be made without any reference to favouritism. It should not be left to this or that member, as a result of greater personal or political

influence, to secure for his section or favourite regiment that which is more deserved by a regiment or company in some other part of the country.

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LIB

Onésiphore Ernest Talbot

Liberal

Mr. TALBOT.

As the unworthy commandant of a very modest regiment, called the 17th, which probably cannot compare with the regiments from London and Victoria and Haliburton, might I appeal to the Minister of Militia, as well as to the Minister [DOT] of Public Works, to do something in the town of Levis ? That is a centre where an armoury or a shed or accommodation in some shape or form should be erected. If fault is found with the regiments commanded by colonels who are Conservatives, I think I am a staunch supporter of the government and therefore may appeal to the minister-not saying anything about the merits of my regiment-'.o do something in the town of Levis. That town is not only the headquarters of my regiment, but has a garrison battery of artillery, and when we ask for some accommodation, even if it be only a shed, we cannot be accused of extravagance in our aspirations. I would strongly urge on the minister that something should be done in that town.

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LIB

Frederick William Borden (Minister of Militia and Defence)

Liberal

Sir FREDERICK BORDEN.

This matter has been before the department some time, and I think steps are being taken in that behalf. Levis is a large town and an important military centre, and if nothing can be done this year, something will he done in the near future.

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CON

George Oscar Alcorn

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. ALCORN.

While the minister is in an unbending mood and has intimated bis intention of procuring the erection of a number of buildings of a less expensive class, may I take the opportunity of pressing on his attention the claims of the town of Picton in Prince Edward county ? We have there the Sixteenth battalion and a squadron of dragoons and there has never been any accommodation. The only place provided for the keeping of arms is a room in a remote corner of the court house, which is certainly a very inconvenient and undesirable place. The county is one of the oldest in Upper Canada, peopled to a large extent by descendants of the U. E. loyalists, no lie tier population in Canada, and considering the fact that no public money has ever been expended in that county, tifs is an opportunity when the loyal sons of a loyal people might be shown some consideration

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LIB

Frank Broadstreet Carvell

Liberal

Mr. CARVELL.

I am in a position to give the information regarding the armoury at Woodstock, N.B., which the Minister of Militia was unable to give a moment ago. Thq difference between the militia requirements of Woodstock and other small towns is that Woodstock is the centre of a very large military district. We have an armoury which was erected there some four or five years ago, and as it was erected when Carieton was represented by a Con-Sir FREDERICK BORDEN.

servative, there can be no charge of political favouritism in that instance. The contract price was $32,000 exclusive of the land, but Woodstock is, in the first place, the headquarters of the Sixty-seventh regiment which has been in existence since before confederation. It is also the headquarters of two companies of that regiment, and those two companies are actually quartered in that building. Then it is the headquarters of No. I company of Engineers, which used to be called the Brighton Engineer company, the oldest engineer company in Canada, with a force of 200 men and the ordinary equipment of horses and carriages and everything that goes with such corps. In addition it is the headquarters of the Tenth Field Battery, consisting of 100 men and some 00 horses. It is, therefore, an important military centre. And with the exception of places like London and Toronto, there is none which has anything like the military organizations centered around and in it that Woodstock has. And the time this building was ei'ected it was not the policy of the department to build individual armouries. From my present observation I think the policy of the government at present is a splendid one. I know many places in the country where one or two companies of infantry have become permanent, and it is a splendid idea that some sort of a home should be provided for such companies. There seems to be the idea that in many of these places where there are no armouries, the officers are compelled to look out for themselves. That is not true, because in all cases the officers receive very liberal allowances for taking care of the arms and renting a building. It would be better that each company should have its own permanent headquarters. There they can get together in the evening, have their shooting galleries and lectures and everything pertaining to military life. I am much pleased with the sentiment displayed by hon. gentlemen opposite who are asking for the armouries. I have been very muc-h impressed by the suggestion of the hon. member for Victoria and Haliburton (Mr. Sam. Hughes). He may be a little extravagant in asking for a hundred every year, but suppose we build fifty per year and distributed them according to merit, that would be a splendid beginning. In a very short time, practically the whole militia of Canada will be permanently housed. And I can assure you, Mr. Chairman, that nothing would be of more benefit to the militia generally, nothing would more conduce to a proper spirit among the militiamen than having these permanent homes, places where they could go to as a club, if you will, and where they will be able to improve themselves along military lines.

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CON

George Oscar Alcorn

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. AOLCORN.

Following the line of the remarks of the hon. gentleman. I am very

sure tuat the 16th Battalion, if they had permanent headquarters, would be largely-improved. If there was a building in which they- could meet and exchange ideas and perform their duties, a place which would be, in effect, a regimental club room, the effect upon the regiment would be very-beneficial indeed. And I can promise the minister that a site will be provided at a sum which, perhaps, will astonish the ministers who are accustomed to pay- the sums we have heard mentioned here to-night.

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LIB

Frederick William Borden (Minister of Militia and Defence)

Liberal

Sir FREDERICK BORDEN.

I agree entirely- with my hon. friend (Mr. Alcorn) that Picton is a place where a moderate expenditure of public money for an armoury is necessary. I observe that Picton is'the headquarters of the 16th Regiment and also headquarters of two companies. The 10th is an old regiment, and a very good one. I say freely that nothing would give me greater pleasure than to be able to secure from the Public Works Department the necessary money to build such an armoury.

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Peter White

Mr. WHITE.

The Minister of Militia (Sir Frederick Borden) said that the standing of a regiment at camp should have an effect in deciding as to the building of an armoury for its accommodation. I think that the building of these armouries would be conducive to the efficiency of these rural regiments especially-. Pembroke is the headquarters for the 42nd Regiment, which has always stood well, being, in fact, one of the best in No. 4 Military District. But we are at a great disadvantage for lack of an armoury. We have but two small rooms, in one of which we store our clothing while another is used for the arms. The men have to drill in the open, and if the weather is inclement, it is impossible for them to drill. I would impress upon the minister the importance of building some sort of armoury in the town of Pembroke.

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L-C

Samuel Hughes

Liberal-Conservative

Mr. SAM. HUGHES.

As efficiency has been made an element in this discussion. I may say a word on that subject. I do not believe in tooting one's own horn too much in this respect, because in every part of Canada where I have been I have found good men. The hon. member for Carleton, N.B. (Mr. Carvell) referred to his locality-. I can testify- to the fact that the men from \\ oodstock. N.B.. who were in South Africa were second to no men there-first-class fellows. I say two of them got shot, but both refused to report as wounded-very seriously wounded one of them was, too. Seeing the minister has brought up this point of the quality of the regiments. I want to point out to him that the 45th Victoria Regiment, until a year or two ago. stood first of all regiments in Canada in the number of men sent to Wimbledon and Bisley

I think it has been passed now by the 13th of Hamilton and the 43rd of Ottawa. But that, no doubt, is for the reason that we have had neither drill shed nor

armoury in Victoria for many y-ears. I have seen as many as eight men from that regiment eligible for Bisley in a year, in days gone by. The late Colonel Macleod of the Northwest Mounted Police-began his military training in that regiment. And so did Colonel McMurtry. The boy-s who broke the line at the battle of Batoc-be were from that regiment. On every- occasion, when men have been required for fighting or for show purposes, or for skill in shooting, the 45th Regiment has been to the front. I may tell the minister that if he turns up the reports of the department, he will see that the Generals from Britain, in inspecting the regiments, have pointed out the 45th as second to none-superior in physique and equal in drill to any- in the imperial service. I would remind the minister that he himself saw the regiment reviewed in Toronto and said that no regiment could compare yvith it in marching- the uniforms were not equal to those of the city corps, but no regiment was superior to the 45tli in drill. I trust that the minister. having laid down the rule of efficiency-, will live up to it and that Victoria county having a regiment like the 45th-I am not in the regiment now, so I am free to speak of it-will be given a suitable armoury.

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LIB

Frederick William Borden (Minister of Militia and Defence)

Liberal

Sir FREDERICK BORDEN.

I am thoroughly- sincere in what I have stated as the proper basis for the establishment of these armouries. .

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LIB

Adam Zimmerman

Liberal

Mr. ZIMMERMAN.

I had a very interesting conversation, a short time ago, with a member of a rural corps. I asked him if it would not be a good thing to have armouries where there were one or two companies. He said it would be a very- nice thing indeed to have these armouries, but thought it would be more desirable and more practical to give the corps a place in which to store its arms and also a rifle range. He believed that if rifle ranges were established, they would draw- the men out more than having an armoury where they could meet for pleasure. The rifle range would be a good place of meeting and would afford a means of splendid training. You send 5,000 men to camp, w-here they are trained in tactics as I understand it, but, at the rifle range, they only fire twenty shots. I would undertake to say that there is not one in fifty- of these shots that make a hit. I think the first duty of the department is to show the men how- to handle and Are a rifle. .

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Samuel Hughes

Liberal-Conservative

Mr. SAM. HUGHES.

I think that the hon. member for Hamilton (Mr. Zimmerman) was not in when it was pointed out that part of the equipment of a drill shed should be a minature rifle gallery. Of course, tlfat is not as good as the long range.

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LIB

Adam Zimmerman

Liberal

Mr. ZIMMERMAN.

Of course, the miniature range is a very useful adjunct to the armoury, but. from what little knowledge

10903 .

I have of military affairs, I am led to believe that better opportunity should be given to the volunteer to learn to shoot and more time given them for rifle practice.

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June 18, 1908