I have no less than five other affidavits corroborative of this story. I do not want to take up the time of the House further than to make clear that these complaints are not made in any captions way, but are made under oath. Here is a declaration made under oath by Mr. Charles D. Spittal, of the city of Ottawa:
I, Charles D. Spittal, of the city of Ottawa, in the county of Carieton, do solemnly declare :-
1. I am a commissioned officer in the Canadian Army Service Corps, was a member of the Canadian Rifle Team of 1911, which attended and competed at the annual meeting of The National Rifle Association at Bisley in the month of July, 1911.
2. As I had had previous experience in the way of unnecessary interference by officious [DOT] range officers, I went to the adjutant of the team, before the commencement of the meeting, and asked him to go to the National Rifle Association officials and have a perfect understanding in regard to the matter of the shooting position assumed by some of the Canadians and undue interference on the part of their range oificers; I also asked him to make sure that said range officers were made perfectly acquainted with the rules and regulations.
I understand he went to the National Rifle Association people; however he came to me later and said bi had settled the matter and that there would be no trouble this time. I informed the other members of the team, and we were all delighted to know that it would he plain sailing.
3. The meeting had only commenced when different members of the team began to complain about interference, and I did my utmost to adjust matters by informing the adjutant and requesting him to see to it further. Nevertheless, the interference occurred right along at intervals, and the most glaring offence happened when Private Clifford was shooting at the 600 yards range in His Majesty the King's match. He was making a good score when the register keeper interrupted him, and by using physical force prevented him from firing his next shot. Clifford thereupon told him to look up rule 40 and he would see that his position was legitimate. This argument took up more than 45 seconds (the time allowed a competitor to fire each
shot) and when the register keeper was satisfied that Clifford was right, he allowed him to proceed, hut a certain Major Silverthorne, the executive officer of the Century Ranges, came up to the score board and crossed out the bull's eye which Clifford had made, claiming that he had exceeded the time limit. Clifford very politely informed him that he could not shoot and argue at the same time, but Silverthorne would not listen to reason, and partly lost control of his temper with other competitors who endeavoured to explain. He afterwards allowed the bull's eye but, looking at Clifford's ticket said ' Never mind young man, you will be on this range all day, and I will look after you.'
4. After the above occurrence I again requested the adjutant to make another complaint, which 1 understand he did. During the day I paid particular attention to what was going on while Clifford was shooting, and again at the 500 yards range Major Silverthorne appeared, brought a chair and seated himself directly behind Clifford with his watch in his hand, evidently timing his shots. Clifford had four bull's eyes on score when several members of the National Rifle Association council came along. I could hear Major Silverthorne telling them of the trouble with Clifford at the 600 yards range, and he drew their attention to his shooting position, whereupon they all gathered about him on both sides while he was actually shooting. For this shot he scored a magpie. I thought this was really persecution, and when Clifford arose I shouted to him ' Hail, hail, the gang's all here '. Silverthorne looked at me with a scowl, and came over my way to give some orders to some soldiers who were beside me, but the sergeant in charge informed him that they were not under his charge; he turned, then some one laughed audibly, and then he came back towards me with a wild look in his face and asked me to tell him what remark he heard. X politely told him that I did not have his ears on my head and could not say what he might have heard. We had quite a set-to, and for this he followed me up until it came to my turn to shoot. When I took my position he brought a chair, seated himself and took out his watch and stayed there until I had finished.
4. That, during the Kolapore Cup match, I was a coach; upon the commencement of firing Major Silverthorne brought his chair and took up a position immediately to the left of Corporal Mortimer. Another range officer was with him. Mortimer called me and complained about these range officers talking and commenting upon his position, and asked me to have- them removed. I then went to Silverthorne and told him that their conversation was bothering the competitors and requested them to move a little farther away. He replied that I should not trouble myself, that he was alright there. Later on Mortimer again complained and the adjutant requested him to move.
5. That, when the final stage of the King's match was reached, Major Burland and I proceeded to the 1,000 yards range and took up a position behind private Clifford, actually prepared to fight any one who interfered or attempted to interfere with him, as the situation has become so desperate, and unsatisfactory from a Canadian point of view. It was quite apparent that there was a dead-set against the Canadians, and I did not see, nor did not hear of, a British competitor being interfered with.
I hav-e declarations of a similar character made by Mr. H. R. Roberts, of the city of Toronto, Mr. Bayies, of the city of Toronto, and Mr. George Mortimer, of Quebec, all well-known rifle shots, who were at Bisley last year. When the facts were called to my attention, I could hardly believe the conditions to be as they are; but the evidence is overwhelming that for some reason the officials of the National Rifle Association have made a dead-set against Canadians in this matter of rifle shooting. The statements under oath showing the unfair treatment accorded to the Canadian who had the distinction of winning the King's prize must have caused a feeling of resentment on the part of every one in Canada interested in this matter. When we realize that year after year, by petty quibbles and pin-pricks which have no merit whatever, the association has been attempting to prevent the use at the Bisley meet of the Canadian service arm, which is conceded by public opinion, expressed by the leading newspapers in England, to be the best arm of its kind extant, it does seem incredible that that kind of treatment should be meted out to the greatest colony of the empire. The last treatment accorded to the Sutherland rifle-sight, by which the impression has been attempted to be created that there is something the matter with that sight, was based on actual mis-statements, a method of attachment having been prescribed which the men who made it knew would prevent the sight being attached to the Ross rifle at all. These are conditions which I think warrant me in calling the attention of the House to this matter. I know the interest which the minister takes in rifle shooting. I recall the occasion two years ago when, dealing with a similar rule, which had no foundation in merit, and which was afterwards removed, he addressed the House on the matter; and I would ask him to look into the facts which I have brought to the attention of the House, and to take such steps as are within his power or the power of the Canadian government to see that the rights of Canada in this matter and the rights of the men who go to England to shoot are safeguarded in future. If not, let ns have a clear understanding on the matter, and let the Canadian boys not go home, and let it be well understood all over the empire why they do not go.