A boy who refuses to take military training is boycotted, he is discriminated against in sports by the teachers as well as by the pupils. I found that to be true in London, Ontario, and in many other places. I object to military training in schools as an educational feature-and it is supposed to be educational. We hear it said that military training in school makes for discipline. But we must not confuse external discipline with self-control. Self-control must be discipline of ourselves by ourselves; but discipline inflicted from without is not that same thing at all, and the tendency is rather for the children to go to greater extremes of indulgence, almost license, when the pressure of outside force is taken away.
I object to compulsory military training in schools because it confuses the regimental with the co-operative spirit. Boys are put in groups, it is quite true, but not in groups of their own choosing, not groups that gather around them spirits congenial to their own and that make for better mental and spiritual development of the boy, but enforced groups which usually have no social meaning. The president of the New York Evening Post says in regard to cadet training in schools: On moral grounds I believe the argument against :t is unanswerable. It falsifies values, lays emphasis on brute force, and makes directly against the ethical training which is supposed to be the teacher's first duty.
I oppose cadet training as a form of physical braining in schools-and that is what it is thought to mean-because by it girls are excluded from any sort of physical training. It is in reality more important to the future of the race that we should have women with good physique and healthy bodies than that we should have men with strong bodies. I believe that we should have a national system of physical education. If, whatever government is in power in the next parliament, should be willing to bring in a large vote under the Department of Health to set up a system of physical education, patterned possibly after the Swedish plan, I would wholeheartedly support it. After all, public opinion
makes governments do that which they languidly do, and I am confident that it would support such a move. I believe the people want physical training for children and youth, they want both boys and girls to have something that will give an outlet for their spirit of adventure. I think that this physical training could have all the lure of colour, of music, of form, that is now woven about military training in our schools. I believe that such a system would result in very much improving the health of our school children, and would leave Canada in a perfectly safe position, because if our future citizens have strong, well-developed bodies and unprejudiced and open minds, then Canada need not fear the future.
I have read quite a good deal on this subject, and I find that those who have made a life study of it claim that military training does not at all compete with sports in the developing of children, such traits as initiative, resourcefulness, co-operation, group loyalty. Games give very much greater chance for the developing of these desirable traits.
Possibly, though, the thing that we should most oppose this vote for is that by having military training in our schools the mind of the child is blinded, it is not led to think of any other means of settling international disputes other than this one method of war -this one method that has been absolutely discredited by all people who know most about it. Under this system the younger generation have no chance of having free ideals and shaping social evolution by their means, but instead they are shaped to the existing forms, to the idea of nationality which it pleases their rulers they should possess. I do not believe that was ever more true than it is to-day, although by this discussion and others that we have previously had in this House we have shown that there is an awakening in Canada, that there is another school of thought growing up in regard to military training. But it is too true that instead of letting the child think its way out, we superimpose upon it our false values, we put upon it what we, if we are honest with ourselves, have found to be unsound and unsafe, and we teach the child that that is the thing that will lead it to happiness in an international way.
Military training relies on force. It does not call out the highest or the best in humanity. It is pagan. I want to quote from a book entitled "West Point," by a man who just loves military training, so in whatever he says he will be perfectly fair about it. He is enthusiastic about military training, and in referring to the wonderful
chapel they have at West Point-he calls it an architect's dream-he says this:
The jewel of the interior is a great chancel window with its noble inscription:
"Erected to the glory of the God of Battles and .n faithful memory of the departed graduates of the United States Military Academy, West Point, by the living alumni".
Then he goes on to tell more about the beauty of it. He says:
There are twenty-seven panels each of which contains an almost life-size figure representing one of the chief militant figures of the Bible.
That is, they go back to pagan times to bring out ideals for the youth of to-day to worship.