July 13, 1917

CON

Richard Blain

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BLAIN:

Would my hon. friend suggest that the breaking up of the battalions in the Old Country was a wrong policy? They either had to go over and go into the trenches as units or else be broken up. Those in military authority, who knew most about the war, decided that the best policy was to have them broken up. Does my hon. friend differ from that policy?

Topic:   MILITARY SERVICE ACT, 1917.
Subtopic:   CONSIDERATION OF THE BILL IN COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE HOUSE.
Permalink
LIB

Frank Oliver

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER:

I certainly do in this way, that we should not have organized battalions that we did not intend should go overseas and remain as battalions. We should have had enough business administration to recognize how many battalions were intended to be kept , in the field, and having organized those battalions and sent them forward, then it was our business to find sufficient men to keep those battalions up to strength. That is the policy that should have been pursued.

Topic:   MILITARY SERVICE ACT, 1917.
Subtopic:   CONSIDERATION OF THE BILL IN COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE HOUSE.
Permalink
CON

Richard Blain

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BLAIN:

But it was found to be in the best interest for the prosecution of the war that they should not be continued as units, but rather that they should be 'broken up.

Topic:   MILITARY SERVICE ACT, 1917.
Subtopic:   CONSIDERATION OF THE BILL IN COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE HOUSE.
Permalink
LIB

Frank Oliver

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER:

My hon. friend has a wrong understanding.

Topic:   MILITARY SERVICE ACT, 1917.
Subtopic:   CONSIDERATION OF THE BILL IN COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE HOUSE.
Permalink
CON

Richard Blain

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BLAIN:

It is my hon. friend (Mr. Oliver) who has the wrong understanding.

Topic:   MILITARY SERVICE ACT, 1917.
Subtopic:   CONSIDERATION OF THE BILL IN COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE HOUSE.
Permalink
LIB

Frank Oliver

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER:

Is it my hon. friend's suggestion that there was any advantage or merit in breaking up battalions?

Topic:   MILITARY SERVICE ACT, 1917.
Subtopic:   CONSIDERATION OF THE BILL IN COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE HOUSE.
Permalink
CON

Richard Blain

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BLAIN:

I do not think that my hon. friend, with all his knowledge, would set up his opinion and say that it should prevail in preference to the opinion of those who are controlling the prosecution of the war on the other side of the water.

Topic:   MILITARY SERVICE ACT, 1917.
Subtopic:   CONSIDERATION OF THE BILL IN COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE HOUSE.
Permalink
LIB

Frank Oliver

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER:

It was not the people on the other side of the water who were to blame, but the people on this side, who authorized the raising of battalions that, if they knew anything, they knew could not remain as embodied battalions after they went overseas. They selected men-I am glad to say most of them their friends, but men generally of character and standing- authorized them to raise battalions, gave them to believe that they would serve over-

seas as officers of those battalions. I myself heard a Lieut.-Colonel appeal for recruits on the ground that he could assure the relatives of the men who would join his battalion that he would be in a position to see that they got justice wherever they went.

Topic:   MILITARY SERVICE ACT, 1917.
Subtopic:   CONSIDERATION OF THE BILL IN COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE HOUSE.
Permalink
CON

Richard Blain

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BLAIN:

Granting that; were all correct-and I rather agree that possibly in some parts of Canada such a promise was given, although, for my own part, I know parts of Canada where no such promise *was given-but suppose it be correct, does it follow that if, after a battalion went overseas, they found it was in the best interest for the prosecution of the war to change that policy, my hon. friend would say that the change should not be made, simply in order to carry out the promise made to the men when they enlisted?

Topic:   MILITARY SERVICE ACT, 1917.
Subtopic:   CONSIDERATION OF THE BILL IN COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE HOUSE.
Permalink
LIB

Frank Oliver

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER:

I say the promise should not have been given to the men unless it was to be carried out, and it was the duty of this Government-if we had a Government-to know what promises they could make to the men and the officers before they made it. Heaven knows we have had enough officers on both sides of the Atlantic, enough men in supposed authority, carrying all kinds of titles and drawing all sorts of flay, who ought to have known, and if they did not know theirs must be. the responsibility. That is one responsibility which they cannot shoulder on the British authorities. We have sent battalion after battalion of men. who were enlisted on the promise that they would remain as parts of an embodied battalion under officers who were promised that they would have command of the battalion on active 'service, and when they got over there, without the slightest regard to promises of any kind, the battalion was broken up, the men were separated from their friends, and the officers were stranded, so far as their proper military occupation was concerned. We undertook to raise 500,000 men and attempted to do so, and it may be that in order to raise men quickly it was thought to be a good plan to make these promises, to establish battalions all over the country, to give Edmonton and other cities the idea that they were each to be represented at the front by eight or ten battalions, to give the gentlemen who would undertake to raise the battalions the same idea. But when the battalions were raised, when the men were overseas, when the battalions were broken up and the officers discredited, and when news of all that came back to Canada, what happened? Only one

thing could happen: voluntary enlistment died a natural death-no it did not die a natural death, it was murdered by the policy or impolicy of the administration of our military affairs under our friends who are in control of them.

Topic:   MILITARY SERVICE ACT, 1917.
Subtopic:   CONSIDERATION OF THE BILL IN COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE HOUSE.
Permalink
CON

Arthur Meighen (Solicitor General of Canada)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

I thought my hon.

friend said it was a magnificent success in that same province where he has discredited it.

Topic:   MILITARY SERVICE ACT, 1917.
Subtopic:   CONSIDERATION OF THE BILL IN COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE HOUSE.
Permalink
LIB

Frank Oliver

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER:

Surely it was when we sent 20,000 men. But it came to a finish in that province, as it did in other provinces where they did not recruit, in proportion to population, as they did in Alberta.

Topic:   MILITARY SERVICE ACT, 1917.
Subtopic:   CONSIDERATION OF THE BILL IN COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE HOUSE.
Permalink
CON

Arthur Meighen (Solicitor General of Canada)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

Nothing could be very

much more than "a magnificent success."

Topic:   MILITARY SERVICE ACT, 1917.
Subtopic:   CONSIDERATION OF THE BILL IN COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE HOUSE.
Permalink
LIB

Frank Oliver

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER:

It could continue to be a magnificent success, instead of a tremendous failure.

Topic:   MILITARY SERVICE ACT, 1917.
Subtopic:   CONSIDERATION OF THE BILL IN COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE HOUSE.
Permalink
CON

Arthur Meighen (Solicitor General of Canada)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

There is a limit to

everything.

Topic:   MILITARY SERVICE ACT, 1917.
Subtopic:   CONSIDERATION OF THE BILL IN COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE HOUSE.
Permalink
LIB

Frank Oliver

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER:

While in the province of

Alberta there was that measure of success in enlistments, it is not remarkable that in the province of Ontario, of Quebec, or in the Maritime Provinces, where the people are more rooted to the soil, and where they are more closely interwoven in their social relationship, such a policy, whatever effect it may have had in Alberta, had certainly an absolutely destructive effect. We have enlisted probably as many men as we can afford to enlist and carry on our productive industry.

Topic:   MILITARY SERVICE ACT, 1917.
Subtopic:   CONSIDERATION OF THE BILL IN COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE HOUSE.
Permalink
CON

Arthur Meighen (Solicitor General of Canada)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

How could the voluntary system 'continue to be a magnificent success, if you have enlisted as many as you can afford to enlist?

Topic:   MILITARY SERVICE ACT, 1917.
Subtopic:   CONSIDERATION OF THE BILL IN COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE HOUSE.
Permalink
LIB

Frank Oliver

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER:

It was a magnificent success as long as it continued.

Topic:   MILITARY SERVICE ACT, 1917.
Subtopic:   CONSIDERATION OF THE BILL IN COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE HOUSE.
Permalink
CON

Arthur Meighen (Solicitor General of Canada)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

If all the men are gone, how could it continue longer?

Topic:   MILITARY SERVICE ACT, 1917.
Subtopic:   CONSIDERATION OF THE BILL IN COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE HOUSE.
Permalink
LIB

Frank Oliver

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER:

I am speaking of conditions throughout the Dominion.

Topic:   MILITARY SERVICE ACT, 1917.
Subtopic:   CONSIDERATION OF THE BILL IN COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE HOUSE.
Permalink

July 13, 1917