The principle underlying the resolution that is now before the Committee has been pretty fully explained by the Minister of Militia, and further elaborated in the debate which has taken place. With this principle, which is that the different defence arms of Canada should be united under one control and direction, I am in hearty sympathy. I think such a step is in the right direction. It has several things to commend it. In the first place if it is necessary-and I am not among those who believe that it is not the duty of a country to provide for its own defence-[DOT] if it is necessary to provide for defence, a
unification of the arms of defence, particularly in a country like Canada, should lend itself to efficiency in control and in operation. That is my first point. In the second place the step that the minister proposes to take, as outlined in this resolution, should bring' about a greater efficiency with greater economy; and that certainly is to be desired at the present time.
As to the details of the bill in respect to the status of deputy ministers and other officials now in these departments, that is a matter that can, of course, be much better discussed when we are considering the measure clause by clause. There is one point, however, on which I find myself in general agreement with the position taken by the leader of the Opposition (Mr. Meighen), and that is in respect to the inclusion of the control of the Mounted Police in this measure, in the amalgamation that it is sought to bring about. Either the Mounted Police is a defence arm or it is not. If it is intended for purposes of defence, then by all means it should be included in the proposed co-ordination or amalgamation; but if it is intended for an arm of defence why do we need it at all? We do not require it for that purpose; we have enough scope in the Militia law for the provision of defence without creating an additional arm for that purpose. On the other hand, if the Mounted Police is a civil force, and it certainly has been a civil force, intended for the administration of civil law, then I submit it is not sound policy to include it with the arms that have to do with defence. I am among those who believe that the administration of civil law and the maintenance of civil order should be kept away as far as possible from that relating to the defence of the country-I think that is a sound principle upon which to proceed. I am a little bit doubtful also of the wisdom of including the Canadian Mounted Police in the coordination as suggested because of the fear that the association of that splendid force with the arms of the service that have to do with the defence of the country, may create a wrong impression in the public mind, and may create a wrong impression altogether in the mind of the force itself in relation to its public duty. I take second place to none in this House, or out of it, in my regard for the distinguished service that the Northwest Mounted Police-the forerunners of the present body-gave this country. They have a very distinguished place in our history and a very distinguished record. I believe I am on record as expressing a doubt as to the wisdom of creat-
ing the Royal Canadian Mounted Police as we have it at the present time. I think the step taken in converting the Mounted Police into the present organization was one of very doubtful wisdom. After all, the maintenance of civil law and order is a function that belongs to the provinces. Why then should there be any attempt to create a Canadian police force for this purpose? In the olden days, in the large unorganized territories in western Canada, it was absolutely essential to have this police force, which was created in the days of the Mackenzie government for a specific purpose. In those days the force rendered admirable service to western Canada. But to take the position now that we must have a federal police force, with headquarters in the Capital city of the Dominion, sending its officers and constables into all parts of Canada, has no justification either on financial grounds or for reasons of utility. Consequently I am favourable to this idea-that recognizing as I do the splendid traditions of the force, recognizing the admirable service it has rendered to Canada in the past, the time has come when this force might very well be discontinued excepting in so far as it is necessary to police the territory in Canada that still remains unorganized. For that reason I trust the Government may be able to give consideration to the suggestion made that the Mounted Police, at any rate, or such of it as we may retain, should not be included under the administration of the Militia Department that has to do purely with matters of defence. I think that is a sound principle to adopt in relation to this matter.
Let me say again, Mr. Chairman, that I cordially support the principle of the bill. I think it is a step in the right direction, because it will make for greater efficiency, or should do so, and will at the same time make for greater economy. I trust the Government may be able to give consideration to the suggestions advanced in connection with the Mounted Police. I for one would be very glad indeed if the Government could see its way clear-