June 24, 1925

LIB

Edward Mortimer Macdonald (Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Mr. MACDONALD (Pictou):

Let us understand each other. As ministers frequently say to hon. members when they want to discuss general matters on general votes: You

can discuss that subject on one vote although that does not happen to be the particular vote to which the subject is relevant. I intimated to my hon. friend that he could speak on the next item. My hon. friend is talking about the war of ten years ago and reading authors on the subject, which has nothing to do with this vote or anything in the department today.

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LIB

Thomas Vien

Liberal

The CHAIRMAN (Mr. Yien):

My ruling

has been given that the hon. gentleman must limit his remarks to the item under discussion.

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LIB

Edward Mortimer Macdonald (Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Mr. MACDONALD (Pictou):

I have no

objection to his discussing anything in the department.

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IND

William Charles Good

Independent Progressive

Mr. GOOD:

That means the gag and I

will stop.

fMr. D. M. Kennedy.]

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PRO

Arthur John Lewis

Progressive

Mr. LEWIS:

It is with diffidence that I

rise to say a few words on this item. It is much easier to follow the line of least resistance or to sail on the wave of popular opinion, but at the same time I think a person has a certain responsibility. Arguments have been advanced against cadet training. The only thing that I am sorry for is that I happen to live in a part of Canada where there is no cadet training and I am the father of five boys.

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PRO
PRO

Arthur John Lewis

Progressive

Mr. LEWIS:

Yes, "and a minister of the gospel, too," the hon. member for Southeast Grey says. I have two boys in the Boy Scouts, and every one of the younger ones is continually asking their mother: "When shall I be old enough to join too?" Just because I believe in physical training for my boys and because I believe they should learn the art of self defence, that does not mean that I want them to enter into every street-corner brawl that happens to occur. But I do not want any of my boys to be sissies, and whether in a foot-ball game, whether it be rugby or soccer, or in a baseball game or lacrosse, I hope they will be able to take care of themselves. I believe physical training is necessary. There is suoh a thing as mental discipline. I have been out with the Boy Scouts a good many years, and I believe those who are in that kind of work have a certain mental discipline. They have physical culture, they have training generally, and for that reason I am going to support the vote.

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LAB

William Irvine

Labour

Mr. IRVINE:

I understood the hon. gentleman to say that he wanted his boys in the cadet movement in order that they might learn to protect themselves. If this is true which I am going to quote-

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PRO
LAB

William Irvine

Labour

Mr. IRVINE:

Yes. If the hon. member does not wish me to ask the question, let him say so.

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PRO

Arthur John Lewis

Progressive

Mr. LEWIS:

I do not think that is a question. The hon. gentleman has a right to speak and when I have finished, he can. I am not afraid of questions, but I do not think much of an idealism that evaporates into eternal nothingness. I hate war just as much as anyone else, but I believe it is easy enough to go along with popular opinion.

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PRO

Donald MacBeth Kennedy

Progressive

Mr. KENNEDY (Edmonton):

What does the hon. member mean by "popular opinion?"

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PRO

Arthur John Lewis

Progressive

Mr. LEWIS:

It may be popular in this House to hate war and to sail on that wave.

Supply-Defence

But if war did happen those who take that position would be the very first to call down the government for not being prepared. We have a responsibility. If the arguments that have been advanced in this House were to be carried out to their logical conclusion, they would amount to this. You do not want any morality squad in any city because if you took it away, there would not be any vice. On the same argument, if you did away with the police force, there would not be any crime. The thing is just as ridiculous on the one hand as on the other. Canadians have not sponged on anybody in the past and I do not want future Canadians to sponge upon anybody. We have to bear our responsibility in the world. No nation can live to itself. We have to go on the high seas. We have commerce all over the world, and just as long as the world demands that the world shall be policed and looked after, Canada has her right and responsibility and she must do her ' share. I sympathize with the minister because this is aganist popular opinion, but at the same time he has a responsibility and I intend, even though it should cost me my seat in this House, to support him in this vote.

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LIB

Clifford William Robinson

Liberal

Mr. ROBINSON:

If I thought military training in the schools or cadet corps training would have anything to do with bringing about a war or with encouraging the military spirit in the young people, I for one would be opposed to cadet training. I do not know whether this is true of anybody else in the House or not, but I have taken the training that is given to those who have to instruct cadet corps, and I have had cadet corps to instruct.

The member for Southeast Grey made the statement that she was strongly in favour of physical training but was opposed to such training as was given in cadet corps, because in cadet corps training obedience was required. In any physical training at all if it is to accomplish anything absolute obedience is required; otherwise it is not physical training. There must be obedience to outside orders in order that there should be any training at all. Again, the statement was made that the cadet corps work was compulsory. Now, in all schools that I have had anything to do with, and I have had some experience in this line, no one is compelled to join the cadet corps if he does not wish to do so. It is left absolutely to the free will of the individual. So far as the uniform or even the carrying of a gun is concerned, this is merely an external matter; it adds to the human interest of the thing. You cannot get children to take part in anything of this kind unless you 310i

can engage their interest. I would not say that the gun was necessary, for some of the best cadet corps I have ever seen, so far as training went, used no guns at all; they simply went through the motions. It has been said that all games are good apart from cadet training. Now, in any game such as football or baseball the element of competition comes into play and you will find that these games arouse feelings of anger and other passions which you never see in the cadet corps. There is no occasion for these passions in cadet training. I have witnessed football games in which the teams seemed to me to hate each other; it was anything but a spirit of love. I cannot conceive of any game such as we have heard spoken of that is not a competition. When it is argued that cadet training has no part in education it is necessary for us to have a clear-cut definition of what is meant by education. It seems to me that we are getting a long way from the subject, and arguments have been introduced that have no bearing on cadet training at all. If I believed that the training of boys in schools in cadet corps fostered a military spirit and inculcated an aggressive temper I for one would oppose it. But from my own experience I know that this is not true.

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PRO

Edward Joseph Garland

Progressive

Mr. GARLAND (Bow River):

Why then

carry guns and wear uniforms?

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LIB
PRO

Edward Joseph Garland

Progressive

Mr. GARLAND (Bow River):

There is

quite a difference in the uniforms.

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LIB

Clifford William Robinson

Liberal

Mr. ROBINSON:

There may be, but I

can tell you I have seen more damage done in a hockey game with sticks than I have witnessed in a cadet corps with guns.

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CON

Arthur Edward Ross

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. ROSS (Kingston):

Do the mothers

object to the boys taking training or do the boys desire it in some cases when the mothers

object?

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LIB

Clifford William Robinson

Liberal

Mr. ROBINSON:

So far as my experience goes, if the mothers object strenuously there is no compulsion on the boys to receive training. But I have not often met mothers who objected. There is a feeling among certain people that such training creates a spirit of aggressiveness in the boys, but as I say I have never witnessed any such spirit in cadet corps. And in any case one hour a week is the time allotted to this training. You get a crowd of boys together and have them move in unison and there is nothing in that to arouse any aggressive spirit. On the other hand I have seen football teams where, the men lined up on

Supply-Defence

either side, they are told to go at the other fellows and kick them to pieces if they can.

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June 24, 1925