Mr. J. W. EDWARDS (Frontenac).
Mr. Speaker, I rise to a question of privilege.
I wish to call attention to an article in the last issue of the 'Military Gazette' which charges me with having made statements involving the good name of a Kingstonian, and with bringing discredit and dishonour on the Department of Militia and Defence. These statements have reference to my criticism of the expenditure on the servants cottages at the Royal Military College, Kingston. The justification for that criticism of mine is found in the fact that the Minister of Public Works himself, after giving consideration to the matter, reduced the item that I criticised, by $20,000. This article in the ' Military Gazette also charges me with reflecting on the Commandant and the entire staff,_ as well as on every officer, non-commissioned officer and soldier that attended the Barriefield camp last year. That allegation on the part of the writer has reference to a statement as to the drunkenness and brawling which I witnessed at Barriefield camp one Sunday, last year. I wish simply to say, Sir, that my remarks with regard to the camp_ were preceded by some remarks of the Liberal member for Huntingdon (Mr. Robb), which remarks were concurred in, almost to their entire extent, by the Minister of Militia himself. By reference to the statement of the Minister of Militia, it will be found that the personnel of the militia was not what it should be, and that the canteen was a nuisance which the department was endeavouring to regulate. I believe that the Minister of Militia would receive the en-dorsation of the people of this country, if he made an effort to control the sale of liquor at military camps. Now, Sir, I did not say that the men at the Barriefield camp were vicious and drunken; I did say that those in charge of the canteen were charged with selling liquor, and I repeat that statement now. One of the men charged was tried and convicted and fined for selling liquor; and, as regards the other men charged, the charge was amended by consent to having liquor in their possession, instead of selling it. All of these people pleaded guilty, and all of them were fined. In fact, the only regimental corps that was not fined was the 47th Battalion, which did not have any canteen. I repeat that I did not state in this House, as the article says, that the men at the Barriefield camp were vicious and drunken. I could
not have made that statement in truth, because I am very well acquainted with many of the men who attend that camp, and I know that some of them come from the most respected families in and around that district, and are orderly and respectable themselves. I repeat that there was drunkenness and brawling at the Barrie-field camp on Sunday afternoon. I have made careful inquiry into the matter, and it is only fair for me to state that in my belief most of that drunkenness and brawling was on the part of civilians, and not on the part of the soldiers themselves. In fact, I was more careful to investigate, on account of this matter being called to my attention by some of the officers from my locality, and, although drinking no doubt did exist in the camp there, as probably it will exist in any camp, yet I think it is quite possible that had it not been for the civilians who visited that camp, the drinking of the soldiers themselves would not have been noticed. I wish, further, to say, that in no way did I in my remarks on that occasion attribute any wrong to the Commandant, Colonel Gordon, or to the officers^ under him. I believe, Sir, that the fault, if fault there is, lies at the head of the Militia Department. From all I have been able to learn, and I desire to say it here now, I believe that the District Officer Comamnding at Kingston is an officer who well deserves the high reputation he enjoys in the vicinity in which he is best known.
I believe he is a gentleman who will carry out any instructions that are given him, and if the Minister of Militia should issue an order abolishing the canteen, I am firmly convinced that, so far as the camp at Bar-riefield is concerned, and so long as Colonel Gordon is in command, the instructions of the Minister of Militia will be carried out to the letter.