July 18, 1924

PRO

Robert Forke

Progressive

Mr. FORKE:

The fact remains that a

great number of civilians went over to France and Flanders and made a name for Canada, and they never knew anything about drill until a short time before they went overseas. We all know that.

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CON
LIB
PRO

Robert Forke

Progressive

Mr. FORKE:

I should like to ask hon.

gentlemen if they have any other solution for war to offer the people at the present time than military preparedness.

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LIB

Lewis Herbert Martell

Liberal

Mr. MARTELL:

I wish to tell my hon.

friend, for whom I have the greatest respect, that the men who went overseas were taught by the permanent force. They might have done a lot better work than some men who were in the permanent force had they got longer training. But they did get some training and the expense was borne by Canada. They got the training as a result of the expenditure made by Canada.

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PRO

Robert Forke

Progressive

Mr. FORKE:

My hon. friend has missec

the point of my argument. I have nevei denied the necessity of having men who are capable of giving training. At the same time I think you can train some soldiers until they

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get stale. You can overtrain them. Canada has no earthly use for a standing army of any large dimensions. We talk about being ready to defend ourselves. Where is the enemy coming from?

As regards patriotism, I am like the hon. member for Red Deer (Mr. Speakman). When I looked upon those young fellows in front of this building the other day, I could not help feeling a thrill and feeling proud of them. I am not going to criticise them at all severely, but, perhaps, money could be spent in a better way. I am not attempting to set myself up as a critic; I am merely expressing my opinion. How has war been brought about in the past? If hon. gentlemen would post themselves as to how the last war came about, they would not be so proud of how things happened. I think with sympathy and feeling of those whose sons went overseas and the great sacrifice they made in the war, but there are many things in connection with the war that we do not like to think about when we know all the facts of the case, and no one should dare to get up and criticise hon. members because they find fault with some of the military systems in the world during the last generation.

What is patriotism? Some of the people who stayed at home, who never saw the battlefield, for instance, mothers who had sons overseas, carried on a much higher style of patriotism than any man who went on the battlefield. Patriotism does not consist in shouldering a musket and fighting and giving up your life. It is sometimes harder to live your life out than to give it up. Sometimes the burden of life is heavier than the supreme sacrifice. I know what patriotism is as we were taught it at school and I do not know that it is as bad as we think it is. When I was living in Scotland, we were always taught that whenever the Scotch appeared on the battlefield, everybody ran immediately. That is the kind of patriotism we were taught, and I do not know, that it does as much harm as we think. I have no use for those who do not love their country. For myself, I am prepared to say that I am a good Canadian; I love this country of Canada, and I love the Canadian people; but I have a pretty warm spot in my heart for the land that gave me birth. I never forget that.

What is internationalism? An hon. member says that it is Russianism. I deny that imputation absolutely. One of the great evils of the world is national hatred that teaches the people of a country to look with

hatred and a certain amount of jealousy towards a neighbouring nation. If we could know something about the joys and sorrows, the trials and troubles of the common people of other countries, the people who carry the burden of war, we would never have war; war would be an impossibility, and the more we can teach each other, the closer we can get together, nation to nation, the less desire there will be for war. I wish I could quote the words of Sir James Barrie in his rectorial address at St. Andrews University as the hon. member for East Grey (Miss Macphail) quoted it to-night. It was one of the grandest speeches I have ever read and one of the greatest condemnations of war. He made the statement that the old men made war and they sent the young men to fight. That is patriotism, bravery, great nationalism-the older men to sit at home around a table and create war, and then the young men who have nothing to do with it, to go out and sacrifice their lives! I do not know if I am in sympathy with cutting out the whole item, but I feel I shall have to vote against it.

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PRO

Thomas George McBride

Progressive

Mr. McBRIDE:

I rise, not to make a

speech on this subject, but to say that I am fully in sympathy with a certain amount of cadet training and indeed military training. That does not necessarily mean that we must go to war but rather that if the time ever came when we had to defend ourselves we should be able to do so. Why should we be slackers hanging on to the British Empire and expecting it to defend us as we are doing at the present time? Supposing the orientals came over with their fleet and landed on the Pacific coast, what have we to defend ourselves out there? Absolutely nothing. We have to realize that fact, and as regards this vote the only thing I am sorry for is that the minister has seen his way to reduce it. I think it should have been the same as last year.

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PRO

Levi William Humphrey

Progressive

Mr. HUMPHREY:

It is seldom that I

cannot agree with the hon. member (Mr. McBride), but on this particular occasion, I must disagree with him. For fear that this committee may take it for granted that every part of British Columbia is in thorough accord with the remarks that have just fallen from the lips of the hon. member, I should like to state the position of one part of British Columbia. I do so with every respect to everything that has been said particularly as regards military training. Some remarks that have been made in this chamber to-night I really think should not have been made. The

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question of defence in this country is governed to a large extent by the way in which we look upon these matters ourselves within our country. If we look upon these questions in a cool and sane manner, I believe we can meet the war situation.

I should like to put my views upon record so that I shall not be accused of remaining silent in regard to this particular appropriation. I am whole-heartedly in favour of some means being taken to prevent war. Just what means we should take is a

10 p.m. matter of opinion and thorough investigation and consideration. If we can do away with war by cutting down our military expenditure in respect of training, so much the better. Let me illustrate that point in respect of a short period of war service. On the 11th November, 1918, an armistice was entered into. I am quite sure -and I think I can voice the sentiments of many returned soldiers-that hundreds in the war area were sorry to see that war come to a close on account of the different positions they were in.

As regards the attitude of the district which I have the honour and privilege of representing, an endeavour has been made in the last four years to form some kind of a nucleus for a military unit, and there is no point within the West Kootenay area where public opinion will support the formation of a military unit. Therefore, in that respect I believe I am voicing the opinion of the district which I represent, which is a district in British Columbia, in supporting any measure that will reduce our military expenditures. The people of that particular district have declared themselves as not being in accord with the formation of military units which cause expenditure for training. In that respect I am thoroughly in accord with a reduction of military expenditure, with a certain reservation as to how the reduction should foe made. I am in favour of some reduction in the vote, and while I do not think we can undertake to say how far we should go at any one particular time, I certainly am thoroughly in accord with the principle.

Item agreed to on division: Yeas, 73; Nays, 33.

Non-Permanen't Active Militia, $1,600,000.

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PRO

George Arthur Brethen

Progressive

Mr. BRETHEN:

What is the standard of physical fitness for members of the nonpermanent force?

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LIB

Edward Mortimer Macdonald (Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Mr. MACDONALD (Pictou):

They are subject to medical examination.

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BEVISED

PRO
LIB

Edward Mortimer Macdonald (Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Mr. MACDONALD (Pictou):

They are not fit for active service inasmuch as they come to the militia to be trained. This year the training of militia in the country has been cut down materially and as compared with what it was ten years ago the organization is a mere skeleton.

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PRO

George Arthur Brethen

Progressive

Mr. BRETHEN:

I do not know when the change if there has been any, was made, but I do know that until very recently there have been admitted to training on the nonpermanent force men and boys who could not possibly be taken on the permanent active force, and it does seem strange that we should spend money training such persons.

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LAB

James Shaver Woodsworth

Labour

Mr. WOODSWORTH:

What is meant by the Canadian Railway Corps? I would refer the minister to the following paragraph which appears in the report of the Department of National Defence for the fiscal year ending March 31, 1923:

The authorization of the Canadian Railway Corps makes provision for a very necessary branch in any future military operations, should such ever unhappily occur. It is true that the organization exists practically only on paper and that for the present no more than the posting of officers can be carried out, but the fact that an organization based on an approved establishment is in being, with officers appointed and mobilization store tables worked out, is a considerable step towards improving our preparations for defence. Hurried improvization on war occurring may be fatal to success and plans must be prepared in advance. The work of the personnel of a railway corps in war will follow the lines of their work in peace and military training is therefore not so essential in such a unit as in a purely military formation.

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LIB

Edward Mortimer Macdonald (Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Mr. MACDONALD (Pictou):

This is

what might be called an emergency organization which, should the necessity arise, could render expeditious assistance in the transporting of troops.

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LAB

James Shaver Woodsworth

Labour

Mr. WOODSWORTH:

Does it mean that the superintendents of shops might become colonels and the foremen elevated into captains?

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LIB
LAB
LIB

Edward Mortimer Macdonald (Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Mr. MACDONALD (Pictou):

It is merely a skeleton organization; it is not operative, but in any case of emergency it is available for co-operation with the military force in the matter of transportation.

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July 18, 1924