the experience that has been gained by those men in the terrible ordeal of war itself. Surely a man who has gone through the crisis of an engagement has learned more of war in ten minutes than he could learn in ten years in ordinary civilian life. Surely the thousands of men that we now have in France and Flanders, rendering noble service to their country and to the Empire, men who answered the very first call of duty, surely these are the men to whom we may very well look to raise the battalions that we are now raising or are going to raise for the conflict of the future. I withdraw no credit from the man who, although he may have been in civilian life, desires to serve his country; who receives a commission, makes enlistment, and by reason of his position is able to secure the adhesion of other men to the cause. L have no fault to find
with that man; I give him all credit. But at the same time we must recognize that what is wanted in this war is experience and efficiency, and when we have the men of experience and efficiency we are not doing justice to ourselves if we do not use those men, and use them to the limit. It certainly would be a graceful recognition of patriotism and merit if that were done. I respectfully urge upon the Government that they take this into the.r consideration, and that in the efforts they are to put forward in the future they take cognizance of the men of experience on the battlefield and use them here for the purpose of enlistment and the training of the new battalions.
I gathered from a statement made by the Prime Minister last session that it was the intention to keep in Canada as many men enlisted for overseas service as were on service across the ocean; that is to say, if we had 30,000 men across the ocean, we were to have 30,000 in Canada. I do not know what led the Prime Minister to that decision, but I want to say, first, that when a man enlists for overseas service he expects to go overseas; in all probability he Would not have enlisted if he did not expect to go overseas. If it is a part of the policy of the Government to keep on this side of the water a portion of the men who have enlisted for overseas service they are not meeting the desires and hopes and intentions of the men who have enlisted, and, further, they are discrediting that spirit of sacrifice which was in the hearts of the men when they made their enlistment. It may be that it is considered advisable that there
should be kept in Canada, while the Empire is in a state of war, a large proportion of the military force. I agree that it is desirable that while the Empire is at war there should be at all times a military force of considerable size in the Dominion of Canada, but I maintain that that force can be provided adequately and efficiently by the active militia, and that it is not necessary to,keep on this side of the water a single man who has enlisted for overseas service. Every man who has enlisted for overeas service should, in due course, be sent overseas, and the active militia of the country should be given a status, both as to conditions and arms, sthat they have been deprived of since this war began. It has appeared to me that in the opinion of the Department of Militia, or of the Government, the men who formed the active militia were in some way shirking their duty, or preventing the enlistment of other men for overseas service. It is my view that that is an entirely mistaken apprehension; it is absolutely the opposite of the fact. When war broke out we had in Edmonton an infantry battalion and a mounted squadron. Those two' bodies of active militia were the basis, first, of an infantry battalion and of a cavalry unit enlisted for overseas service, and, afterwards, of three or four other battalions enlisted for overseas service. We did not have less enlistment for overseas service because of these active militia regiments in Edmonton; we had more, because when the time came for the young man- who had acquired some little military spirit by reason of his association with the active militia-to enlist in another battalion for overseas service, he was ready to go into it, and we got another man in the local battalion. But the Government, instead of recognizing the service that these local battalions render, has taken away from them their arms; has taken away from them any recognition in the way of pay. They are there without uniforms; they are there without recognition of any kind; yet they have sufficient military spirit to meet for such drill as they can carry out without weapons. I say that when the Empire is at war, in the first place it is the duty of Canada to send every man to the theatre of war that it can send; and, in the next place, it is no less its duty to maintain on an active and efficient footing a sufficient body of voluntary militia in the country itself, properly armed, properly, equipped, and ready for service in case service should be required. I take it that in a case such
as we are in, every man that can be depended upon for his loyalty and is ready to handle a gun should ihave a gun to handle, so that whatever may come-and no man can tell what may occur-we shall be prepared as well as we can be for that eventuality. As I see it, our military business is conducted as though we had no interest except what is across the sea. Of course, that is our paramount interest and our most -. urgent interest, but that interest does not in any degree detract from the necessity of having an active militia force in the Dominion of Canada on a proper war footing, with encouragement to rifle associations or other organizations that will accustom our people to the use of weapons and to the idea of self-defence. I say that our condition should be recognized as a country at war, and that it should be recognized that we need a military force in the country; -that that force should be composed of active militia men, who, for the time being, or by reason of circumstances, are not desirous of going overseas, so that, although every man we have who can and will go overseas may be in the fighting line, we will still have a sufficient military force within the country to hold our country against any eventualities that may arise. We never know what may occur. To be unprepared is to invite injury, to be prepared is the best possible defence.