March 2, 1910

CON

John Allister Currie

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. J. A. CURRIE.

I desire to add just a word to this rifle controversy. I have no intention of detaining the House, for I know that it is desirable to go on with another debate. I do not hold a brief for the Ross Rifle, nor do I hold a brief for the private manufacturers of the Lee-Enfield rifle, which latter, I believe, are at the bottom of this trouble. We must look at this matter fairlv and sensibly. Rifle matches, to my mind should afford a test of the marksmanship of the men and of the qualities of the rifle as well. We all know that the rifle, at the present moment and all over the world is in a transition state. The Boer war showed the necessity of improving, not the shooting quality of the rifle, but the sights and the means of manipulating the sighting with a view to giving greater effectiveness than had up to that time been attained at the long ranges. The old sights on the Lee-Enfield are almost identical with the sights on the old Brown Bess. The most experienced sportsmen and marksmen know that in order to obtain the highest degree of skill in the use of the small-bore rifle some improved methods of sighting must be adopted over those in vogue during the Boer war. While I do not wish to take any particular part in the

controversy, I may make a brief statement of the matter. The difference between the Lee-Enfield rifle and the Eoss rifle is largely a difference of the action, and the action has nothing to do with the shooting properties of the rifle, but is simply a matter of the mechanism that puts the cartridge into the barrel of the rifle. The shooting qualities depend entirely unon the quality of the barrel and also on the sights, plus ' the man behind the gun.' Now, the whole trouble with the National Eifle Association is that any Canadian who wishes to go to Bisley where he must fire the Lee-Enfield rifle or the Lee-Metford rifle must go down in his pocket for an expensive rifle manufactured by one of two or three well-known private makers of rifles in the old country. If he does not do that, he stands no show in the matches. After our men went to England, immediately after we had adopted the Lee-Enfield-which was different from the rifle they had, the Lee-Metford-our men carried off prizes to about the same extent as last year. Mr. Hayhurst carried off the Queen's prize, and did it with a rack rifle-not with a private rifle. This caused great clamour amongst the manufacturers of rifles in the old country, for it is an extensive business with large interests, as can be seen by the prizes offered for those who shoot a particular rifle. The British government then adopted the Canadian Lee-Enfield.

My view of the whole matter is that the self-respect of both countries should see to it that these matches are made contests, for rifles as well as of skill. This is necessary for us, and Great Britain, in order to have rifles more modern than any other nation. The. English rifle is entirely obsolete. I agree with the hon. member for Victoria and Haliburton, (Mr. Hughes), on that point-its calibre is too great and the partridge is useless, for it is a rim cartridge, instead of cannelured, and besides the sights are altogther obsolete. In view of the fact that this whole question is in a transition state, I think the self-respect of both countries and of all colonies that compete at Bisley should insist on virtual free trade in the matter of rifle shooting. If any colony insists on adopting a certain pattern of rifle, it must necessarily, in my opinion, carry a bayonet. I think that was the chief fault of the short Eoss rifle. But the short Eoss rifle was as good as the territorial rifle which is the standard arm of the British soldier to-day. I claim, as I said that there should be free trade in this matter, and that Canada should insist that the rifle she adopts, whether the Eoss rifle or any other pattern, shall be authorized in these matches, so long as the ammunition and the bayonet are . the same as those in use in Great Britain, and that the length of the rifle we fire is not too great. Also, marksmen should be permitted to experi-Mr. J. A. CUEEIE.

ment with their sights, in order that some sight may be invented which will make this rifle deadly accurate up to two thousand yards. The old open rifle sight is not accurate for more than six hundred yards, and everybody knows that in modern warfare the casualties occur at from about 1,300 down to 1,000 yards. A man must be able to use a rifle with deadly accuracy at 1,800 yards. What the hon. member for Victoria and Haliburton says is right; this rifle which they want to have used at Bisley is of an obsolete pattern. The rifle with which the British troops are armed is the territorial rifle, the short-barrelled Lee-Enfield, which they adopted after the Boer war. They cannot and will not use that arm at Bisley, because it is not nearly so good as the rifle they formerly had. Therefore, they want to" insist that we should follow their method, they want to compel our riflemen to purchase expensive rifles from the old country manufacturers of the match rifles. It seems to me that this is all a matter of ' Great is Diana of the Ephesians.' I do not care in this matter to use such strong language as that of my hon. friend from Victoria" and Haliburton (Mr. Hughes), but it is not right to compel our marksmen to pay up to $60 or $70 for a rifle in the old country which is no better than our standard rifle with which we carried off prizes, greatly to our credit as I think. We are no more breaking rules than they are, because the rifle that they use at Bisley is not their official arm. I think the time is opportune for us to make a protest. And, in view of the fact, that the British army is about to change their weapon-and possibly we might change also-this match at Bisley this year should be an open competition both as regards the rifle and as regards the sights. From the experience thus gained, the British government and this government will be better able to judge the right kind of rifle to choose. Unless rifles aTe subjected to the test of these great matches we cannot tell which one of them is the best. I might say that it is a matter that concerns every nation in the world to know which, new rifle is to take the place of the old. The Japanese have adopted a new automatic rifle which fires ten shots automatically. The new Mauser fires seven or eight shots without reloading, by simply pulling the trigger. The recoil of the rifle after a shot is fired is used for reloading. These changes have been adopted in rifles now in use. But the most important question of all is to know what form of sight we are going to use, and in order to develop the ingenuity of mankind, and help our soldiers to perfect a good sight, we should insist that they be allowed to use whatever sight can be adopted to the rifle, that might be used as a military sight. I am glad this ques-

tion has come up, and I hope the National Rifle Association will not stand for the welfare of the English private rifle makers against the interests of the empire.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   THE ROSS RIFLE.
Permalink
CON

Arthur Norreys Worthington

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. WORTHINGTON.

I think, with all due respect to self-respecting nations and Diana of the Ephesians, that we have here a tempest in a teapot. I think the real question before the National Rifle Association to-day is the question whether Mark II. double star, Ross rifle is the standard arm of the Canadian militia. I maintain it is not the standard arm of the Canadian militia to-day, and 1 base my statement on answers to questions which I have asked during this session. As to how many of this Mark II. double star rifle have been ordered, I was told that 500 had been ordered. Now it is not intended surely to arm the Canadian -militia with 500 Mark II. double star rifles; if it is, it is only for the purpose of issuing this rifle to . rifle clubs and to sharpshooters in different regiments so that they may compete, if necessary, with the rifle associations here and abroad. In doing this, I think the department is taking an unfair stand, because it is not every one who has a Mark II. double star, which is, I may say, a very good rifle. I think the fact of its being a good rifle is due largely to the fact that the Conservative party have been insisting upon the Ross rifle being perfected. I think if the Conservative party had not insisted on this matter the militia of Canada would be armed to-day wtih the Mark I. rifle, which is a very inferior brand of rifle. I think the only question before the National Rifle Association of England to-day is whether this rifle is the standard rifle of the Canadian militia or not. If it is the standard rifle of the Canadian militia, further orders would be given for this rifle, and we would not find so few rifles of Mark II. being ordered, but we would find an order given for enough rifles to arm all the militia with .it. Now, as to the idea of conspirators throughout Canada who are said by the hon. member to_be in the pay of the small arms companies of England, and aTe consequently objecting to the manufacture of the Ross rifle, I think this is only a delusion which exists in the imagination of some people, whose form of paranoia may lead them ultimately into the belief that they are actually Ross rifles themselves, doing business at both ends simultaneously.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   THE ROSS RIFLE.
Permalink
LIB

Wilfrid Laurier (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER.

I have to express my regret that my hon. friend and colleague the Minister of Militia and Defence could not be in his seat to-day. I appreciate the fact that my hon. friend (Mr. Hughes) has given a great deal of attention to this matter, which is one of so much importance, and that he should not delay to lay it before the public. I do not pretend to be an authority on militia matters, but 144

it seems to me that the facts which he has advanced are worthy of consideration, and I will ask my colleague to give them special attention.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   THE ROSS RIFLE.
Permalink
L-C

Samuel Hughes

Liberal-Conservative

Mr. HUGHES.

I thank the First Minister for his approval. I am not surprised to find that the hon. member for Sherbrooke (Mr. Worthington) is so well posted on the reasons actuating the Rifle Association of Britain in their improper action last year. We know to-day that the National Rifle Association had piles of newspapers about two feet high, and of questions put by the hon. member in the House of Commons here,- and of letters written by gentlemen who should know better, and who should be above such things. All these letters were written to the National Rifle Association, and for what purpose? Was it done for the purpose of improving rifle shooting in the empire? No, but to prevent the use of the Ross rifle at Bisley. These are facts which can be substantiated at the proper time and place. Why is it said that this is not the standard arm of Canada? When Britain sent her troops to Matabelaland with 1,000 short Lee-Enfield rifles, was it not jfhe standard arm of the empire? It was used in war by the British troops, and it was used, not after two years of testing, but after two weeks of testing, yet the government sent the troops into action with these rifles. Nobody would pretend to say *that a man, because he carried one of these rifles in Matabelaland and presented himself at Bisley, should not have a right to use that rifle. I may inform the House that there are 1,500 of these long Ross rifles ordered, which is an infinitely greater number for Canada relatively than 50,000 would be for Great Britain.

My hon. friend says that he speaks for the Conservative party. The Conservative party, let me inform him, was not behind the conspiracy against the Ross rifle. A few irresponsible gentlemen in the party were in that conspiracy, but the Conservative party was not behind it. And let me inform my hon. friend that before he ever opened his mouth in this House of Commons, for or against the Ross rifle, criticising it one way or the other, every change that has been made in the rifle today had been proposed, and had been practically carried out, and was being experimented with, more than a year before he ever came into the House, much less before he opened his mouth on this question. The hon. gentleman has spoken of the various marks of the Ross rifle. There are three marks of the Ross rifle. There is Mark I, which was the first rifle; then there is Mark II, which rifle is in the hands of the soldiers, and the shooting from which has surpassed any shooting done by the Lee-Enfield rifle. The shooting from that Mark II rifle in the hands of the soldiers through-

out Canada last year, was infinitely ahead of any shooting that was done with the Long-Lee-Enfield rifle. Then there is the 'Mark II**' rifle, whose record I have given you from Bisley, and which surpasses any other rifle that has ever been made in the history of the world. I shall not detain the House any further than to say that although we have three marks of the Ross rifle which I gave to the House some years ago, taking the long Lee-Enfield, the short Lee-Enfield, the long Lee-Metford and the short Lee-Metford, some 30 different marks. We have not four or five changes, but hundreds of changes in one part or the other, in the construction of these rifles, yet we never object to them. Competitors' are allowed to come and shoot with any service rifle they like at the Dominion or any other ranges in Canada. We claim that when the Dominion of Canada puts its stamp on a rifle as the rifle of the Dominion of Canada and furnishes the committee with a copy of the order in council authorizing that rifle, there the duty of any self-respecting colony should end, and the National Rifle Association of the British empire should be too big a British institution to be worked and run around by any rifle company, I care not what it may be.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   THE ROSS RIFLE.
Permalink
CON

Arthur Norreys Worthington

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. WORTHINGTON.

As the hon. gentleman has used the word 'conspiracy', in relation to my connection with, this discussion, I wish to sav that any connection I have had with the discussion of the Ross rifle has been actuated by a desire to see in the hands of the Canadian militia a good, safe, sound and efficient rifle. I have no interest, as some other people may have, either with the company or as A. D. C. to the Minister of Militia; I am simply here to see that a good, safe and efficient rifle is put in the hands of the militia, and by taking a stand against the first brand of that rifle issued to the militia I think I mav safely say we have been successful in having at least 200 changes made in the rifle. To-day the result has been the production of an excellent shooting rifle, but a rifle which experts claim is not an efficient service rifle, that is the Mark II**.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   THE ROSS RIFLE.
Permalink
L-C

Samuel Hughes

Liberal-Conservative

Mr. HUGHES.

I do not want to impugn the motives of the hon. member for Sherbrooke (Mr. Worthington); I shall let his actions speak. If he can assure the House that he has not been instrumental in inspiring the Rifle Association of Great Britain to refuse the use of the long Ross rifle I will be only too glad to accept his explanation; but he cannot do it. [DOT]

Motion negatived.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   THE ROSS RIFLE.
Permalink
L-C

PRECAUTIONS AGAINST RABIES.


Mr. BLAIN, Might I ask the Minister of Agriculture what the recent regulations of the government are in respect to requiring dogs to be muzzled. This regulation applies, I understand, only to western Ontario. What agreement is there between this government and the government of Ontario in respect to the enforcement of the regulations? Has my hon. friend any news to communicate to the House as to whether this regulation is likely to continue in force for any considerable length of time?


LIB

Sydney Arthur Fisher (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Hon. SYDNEY FISHER.

The Department of Agriculture in its administration of the Health of Animals Law has the authority to issue an order placing any. particular part of the country under regulations which may be formulated to protect the health of animals. The provincial authorities have certain powers in regard to the protection of the health of human beings. These powers are largely exercised through by-laws of- the municipalities, or orders of the local or provincial health authorities. The outbreak or epidemic of rabies in the western part of Ontario assumed a dangerous form, not only to dogs and other animals, but to human beings and seemed to call for some action. The director-general of the Veterinary Branch of my department communicated with the provincial authorities of Ontario, and after visiting Toronto and discussing the matter with the provincial authorities, it was agreed that the Department of Agriculture here should issue an order putting certain parts of the province of Ontario, in which there seemed to be danger, under a regulation for the muzzling of all dogs that were at large. Unmuzzled dogs were required to be kept in and tied up. The provincial authorities issued at the same time an order from their department by which the municipal authorities of the province were to enforce our order and their own similar order. The object of both authorities issuing similar orders was that there seemed to be some doubts in the mind of the legal authorities as to which department had the full control, and in order to make sure that there would be no mistake and no difficulty in the enforcement of the orders the provincial authorities and the Dominion authorities issued identical orders covering the same area, and the provincial authorities undertook to enforce these orders through their municipal officers and machinery.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   PRECAUTIONS AGAINST RABIES.
Permalink
CON

Richard Blain

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BLAIN.

Is it expected that this order will continue for any considerable length of time?

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   PRECAUTIONS AGAINST RABIES.
Permalink
LIB

Sydney Arthur Fisher (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. FISHER.

We are not in a position yet to note any condition of affairs which would justify a cancellation of the order.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   PRECAUTIONS AGAINST RABIES.
Permalink
CON

John Allister Currie

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. J. A. CURRIE.

Is there any possibility of compensating farmers whose stock are destroyed by rabies in western Ontario? It is very unfortunate that a poor farmer wakes up in the morning and finds that a mad dog has entered his premises, and has bitten several cows and possibly his horses. The first he knows of it one of his cattle takes this disease, the farm is quarantined, the veterinary officer orders the destruction of the cattle and horses as they develop the disease. I understand the law permits compensation in the case of rabies, the same as in the case of hog cholera and glanders. No compensation has been given, and no attempt has been made, to sift the cases and give compensation to the sufferers, many of whom are not guilty and may not even own dogs. The whole amount of compensation that would be paid would possibly not amount to more than $8,000 or $10,000. Has the minister the matter under advisement, and can he say that some system may be devised that would afford relief to these people?

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   PRECAUTIONS AGAINST RABIES.
Permalink
LIB

Sydney Arthur Fisher (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. FISHER.

I think in such a case as the hon. member describes the owner of the cattle would have recourse against the owner of the dog,

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   PRECAUTIONS AGAINST RABIES.
Permalink
CON

John Allister Currie

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. J. A. CURRIE.

A mad dog runs perhaps fifty miles in a night and nobody knows whose dog it is.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   PRECAUTIONS AGAINST RABIES.
Permalink

PERSONAL EXPLANATION-MR. EDWARDS.

CON

John Wesley Edwards

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. J. W. EDWARDS.

Mr. Speaker, I wish to ask the attention of the House to a question of privilege. In yesterday's issue of the Toronto ' Globe ' there appeared a very lengthy editorial. I shall not quote the whole editorial, but inasmuch as it referred to myself unfairly I shall take this opportunity of correcting some misstatements. In referring to myself it says:

His blind partisanship is revealed by the fact that he made no allusion to the position of Messrs. Monk and Bourassa. He preferred to quote the alleged utterances of Mr. Tardi-vel, who is dead, and of Father Hamon, who is not a French Canadian. The correctness of his translations even from the utterances of these gentlemen were denied by his own fellow-Conservative, Judge Doherty. I

I wish to state that as regards my reference to the first of these works I gave my authority, the Journals of the Legislative Assembly of the province of Quebec. I have only this to say: that the amount which I said had been given, $300, was given on the authority of the Provincial Secretary out of the vote for education, for prize books, and if it was not used in that way then the government of Quebec at that time stands convicted of a misappropriation of public funds. In regard to my

144J

reference to Father Hamon's work ,1 wish to say this: I was incorrect in saying that the extract was altogether from chapter 18. Two-thirds of the extract that I gave is a literal translation of what is contained in chapter 18; the other one-third is not contained in chapter 18, hut is the substance of parts of chapter 17. Therefore, the hon. member for St. Anne (Mr. Doherty) was ' quite correct in saying that the part of the quotation to which he took exception, was dot to be found in chapter 18. I was incorrect in saying that it was all from chapter 18; the hon. member for St. Anne (Mr. Doherty) was quite correct, I repeat, in saying that the particular part of the extract to which he took exception was not to be found in that chapter.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   PERSONAL EXPLANATION-MR. EDWARDS.
Permalink
L-C

Samuel Hughes

Liberal-Conservative

Mr. HUGHES.

You did not make the translation.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   PERSONAL EXPLANATION-MR. EDWARDS.
Permalink
CON

John Wesley Edwards

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. EDWARDS.

I did not. I have the book here, and I am perfectly willing to submit to any gentleman in the House who is able to translate from the French, and I think he will verify what I say. I wish also to take exception to the editor of the Toronto ' Globe ' accusing me of a wish to raise the race cry; and I think it comes with very bad grace from the editor of that paper. My memory carries me back to a memorable election which took place in the province of Ontario, a very bitter election in fact, the bitterness of which may very well be indicated by a pamphlet which was circulated by the Liberal party at that time, and which was given expression to in the Toronto ' Globe,' and one verse of the poem contained these words:

Beware the French Canadian horde,

Who robbed you of your just reward,

Ontario, Ontario.

I think any allusion of the kind I have referred to comes with very bad grace from a paper like the ' Globe.' As regards the reference to the member for Jacques Cartier and to Mr. Bourassa, I wish to say simply this, Mr. Speaker, that I do not share the Nationalist views of Mr. Bourassa, and neitner do I share the separatist views of the editor of the Toronto 'Globe.' But I respect Mr. Bourassa to this extent at all events, that he is a man who expresses his opinions fully and freely, and I despise the editor of the ' Globe ' as a fawning, cringing sycophant, who advocates a policy of separation and which, to use his own words ' should be advocated in such a way as to attract little attention.'

I do not think the 'Globe' is quite fair in wishing to deny to me the privilege of expressing my views, because, Sir, when the ' Globe ' gets into a tight place through following its well known policy of misrepresentation and calumny, its editor is . very quick to show the yellow streak in

him and to whine like a whipped cur for the privilege of the press.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   PERSONAL EXPLANATION-MR. EDWARDS.
Permalink

THE NAVAL SERVICE OF CANADA.

March 2, 1910