July 13, 1917


Subsection agreed to. On the preamble:


LIB

Frank Oliver

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER:

Some days ago I asked the Parliamentary Secretary (Mr. McCurdy) for a statement of the number of men who had gone to England and had been declared unfit for service and returned to Canada. I assume it is in order to deal generally with the conditions which have led up to the necessity of the bringing in of this measure. In other words, that this ie the time and place when it is in order to discuss the general administration and policy of the Miltitia Department in connection with the war. In that connection I desire to have the information which I asked of the parliamentary under secretary, and which he promised to secure.

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CON

Arthur Meighen (Solicitor General of Canada)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

If the information has not been furnished, it will be secured at the earliest possible date and an opportunity will be given for discussion, upon it.

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LIB

Frank Oliver

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER:

When the Bill went into committee there arose .a general discussion in regard to the military policy and administration of the Government. That was diverted into the consideration of the clauses of the Bill. I then asked the Prime Minister if it would be in order at a later date, and when it would be more convenient to the minister, to resume the general discussion that had been initiated by the Prime Minister himself. I was told that it would be arranged for. I assume that this is the time and place when it would be in order to take up such a discussion.

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CON

Arthur Meighen (Solicitor General of Canada)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

The Militia Estimates,

I understand, are not through, and the hon. gentleman might take up the discussion on them.' The parliamentary secretary is not here, and in his absence I cannot give a definite answer. The information may be almost ready. My hon. friend will lose nothing in the way of opportunity for discussion by permitting 'the preamble to go through.

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LIB

Frank Oliver

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER:

I do not think it would

be-fair to allow the preamble to go through without some consideration or discussion. If it is not convenient or practicable to discuss the general question, I wish to draw attention to this statement in the preamble:

Whereas. enough men do not volunteer to provide such reinforcements.

I claim, on behalf of this House and this country, a statement from the Government from the authorities who are bringing in this Bill, as to why enough men do not volunteer to provide such reinforcements.

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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs; President of the Privy Council)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir ROBERT BORDEN:

I do not precisely gather what my hon. friend intends by the question. Enlistment is voluntary under the system hitherto pursued, and every possible effort, so far as I am aware, has been made to induce enlistment in sufficient numbers. 1 have given statistics which indicate that not enough men are at present enlisting to provide for the wastage which is going on in the Canadian forces at the front.

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LIB

Frank Oliver

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER:

So the only reason that the Prime Minister can give is simply that enough men do not volunteer. That is the reason why we must have this Bill. We have had discussions in the House between the Prime Minister and his ex-Minister of Militia in which it was stated very definitely by the ex-Minister of Militia that one reason why men did not volunteer was because the opportunity was not given them to volunteer owing to pressure brought to bear by friends of the Government upon the Government. I want to know how far that statement is justified.

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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs; President of the Privy Council)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir ROBERT BORDEN:

I have already given my statement in regard to that in the House, and I have nothing to add. So far as I am aware, there was no such condition at any time. I read a letter which embodied my views on the subject, and I said that those views were reiterated some six or eight months afterwards.

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LIB

Frank Oliver

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER:

The hon. member for

South Cape Breton (Mr. Carroll), who is a member of the expeditionary force, stated in the House that when he was assisting in recruiting for a certain battalion in that locality they were not allowed to hold recruiting meetings in the vicinity, I understood, of the Sydney Steel works, because it was not desired that men should he recruited from that vicinity. I should like

to know by what authority such meetings were prevented.

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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs; President of the Privy Council)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir ROBERT BORDEN:

I really have not the slightest idea. I never heard of any such prohibition.

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LIB

Frank Oliver

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER:

The Prime Minister is

aware, I presume, that the hon. member for Cape Breton made that statement.

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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs; President of the Privy Council)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir ROBERT BORDEN:

I was not at all aware of it, no.

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LIB

Frank Oliver

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER:

He did make the statement, and I think it is a sufficiently grave statement to have either the Prime Minister or the Minister of Militia answer it, and either specifically deny it or show reasons why such instructions were issued.

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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs; President of the Privy Council)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir ROBERT BORDEN:

Who is supposed to have issued them?

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LIB
CON

Robert Laird Borden (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs; President of the Privy Council)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir ROBERT BORDEN:

It would be

rather important to find that out in order to investigate it.

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LIB

Frank Oliver

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER:

The gentleman who was

speaking is a member of this House; he is also a member of the Expeditionary Force; he was engaged in the work of recruiting. He made his statement on his responsibility as a member ot Parliament. I do noit think that any further steps need be taken to call the attention of the Government to the fact or ,to demand an answer in the interest of the country.

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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs; President of the Privy Council)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir ROBERT BORDEN:

The hon. gentleman says that-some investigations should be made. I asked who issued the instructions. Apparently the hon. member for South Cape Breton did not give that information.

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LIB

July 13, 1917