June 24, 1925

CON

Arthur Edward Ross

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. ROSS (Kingston):

In the hon. gentleman's experience, what percentage of the boys desire this training?

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LIB

Clifford William Robinson

Liberal

Mr. ROBINSON:

I should say offhand

about eighty per cent of them. But it does not begin until the boys are about fifteen or sixteen; before that age they are not allowed to enter the corps.

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CON
LIB

Clifford William Robinson

Liberal

Mr. ROBINSON:

It is seldom that they

refuse. There is nothing better than having one, two or three cadet corps go through the movements in order to see who can make the best showing, and there is never any spirit of rivalry displayed nor are there any looks of hatred in the faces of the participants such as you see in many games on school grounds. If I did not believe this I for one would not defend cadet training because I dislike war as much as anyone else does. I do think however that the boys derive a great benefit from being put through these harmonious evolutions which have nothing to do with any spirit of aggressiveness that will make one nation grow to hate another.

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CON

Arthur Edward Ross

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. ROSS (Kingston):

What is the difference between military training and physical training?

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LIB

Clifford William Robinson

Liberal

Mr. ROBINSON:

There is no difference

at all except that military training is the broader term, including physical training. Physical training leads up to military training.

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LAB

William Irvine

Labour

Mr. IRVINE:

I agree to some extent with the remarks that have been made by the hon. member (Mr. Robinson). I have not the fear which other hon. gentlemen seem to have of what the boys will acquire from their training. As a matter of fact I think the boys and girls get little training anyway except such as they acquire by themselves through their born instincts and their environment generally. For instance, I believe that most of us went to Sunday school and I have no doubt we attended regularly and drank in all the precepts and idealisms which were offered. I have no doubt the Minister of National Defence (Mr. Macdonald, Pictou) did so himself. And what good has it done him?

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LIB

Edward Mortimer Macdonald (Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Mr. MACDONALD (Pictou):

A whole lot of good.

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LAB

William Irvine

Labour

Mr. IRVINE:

What good has it done the hon. member for Swift Current (Mr. Lewis)? He said a few moments ago that all ideals evapor-

ate into nothing. I doubt whether you will make warriors out of boys by giving them a mock gun to carry on their shoulders. I am not afraid of that at all. I do think however that the Minister of National Defence should be absolutely frank with the committee and if this vote is for military training he should say so. If it is not for military training, I want to urge that this vote be renamed and made a vote for physical culture, to be extended to every boy and girl in Canada. Let us be frank and square and honest about this thing. If the vote is for military training, say so.

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LIB

Edward Mortimer Macdonald (Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Mr. MACDONALD (Pictou):

I will give my hon. friend an answer right away. I have already stated that this vote is not for military training, but for military exercises carried out in connection with physical training.

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LAB

William Irvine

Labour

Mr. IRVINE:

Will the minister then accept my suggestion that this training be extended to every child in the Dominion? '

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LIB

Edward Mortimer Macdonald (Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Mr. MACDONALD (Pictou):

No, because, as my hon. friend well knows, these military exercises are only given in such schools as the educational authorities of the various provinces designate.

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LAB

William Irvine

Labour

Mr. IRVINE:

But if it is made clear by the Minister of National Defence that this vote is to be expended, not for military preparations at all, but only in physical and moral training; to inculcate obedience, and so forth, as the hon. member who has just spoken stated, and is to apply to all children, I think the educational authorities will be more than glad to give it wider application.

Now, I wanted to ask a question of the hon. member for Swift Current (Mr. Lewis) -that militant apostle of Mars. He permitted me to do so, but withdrew the privilege before I got the question out.

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PRO
LAB

William Irvine

Labour

Mr. IRVINE:

I am just going to make it now. The hon. member said that he wanted to have his boys prepared for self-defence. That is what we all want to do. But I desired to >ask the hon. member if the best trained warrior is best prepared to survive to-day, and I also wanted to quote to him the words of an eminent bishop, who in the course of a speech in Westminster Abbey-a shrine already referred to by the Minister of National De fence-said:

England, with its economic dislocation, its millions of unemployed, its tremendous burdens of taxation, its millions of bereaved homes and its uncertain future, is the strangest example of a victorious nation the world has ever seen.

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I will go further than that. Germany is worse off than Great Britain, and Germany was better prepared to fight than was Great Britain. Will the bon. gentleman say that by giving his children military training he is preparing them to survive in the world today? I would invite him to do a little more thinking along wider and more natural lines. He would then discover that fighting is not the only way of defence. I would rather see my boys able to defend themselves by their creative genius than by merely apeing the tactics of the cave man. There ought to be a method of defence that is in keeping with the intelligence and the moral aspirations of the twentieth century; and if my hon. friend is so very anxious to protect his children, he will have to adopt some other method than that which he is in favour of now.

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LIB

Samuel William Jacobs

Liberal

Mr. JACOBS:

What chance would my hon. friend's boy have with the cave man?

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LAB

William Irvine

Labour

Mr. IRVINE:

My hon. friend I am sure would put it over any cave man that ever stood up. If I can train my children to be as adept at protecting themselves as is my hon. friend-and he is not a militarist-I will not be afraid of any cave man overcoming them.

Now, there is one other point mentioned by the Minister of National Defence that I wish to refer to. He insisted that we were maintaining the barest minimum of military preparation, and then he emphasized what he says is a fact

and certainly I do not challenge it-that the situation in Europe is extremely grave. But where is the logic of his position? If the situation in Europe is so extremely grave, why should we not rather maintain the maximum of military preparation since we are committed to a force philosophy? Of course, then he would say to us, " That is so, but we are a portion of a great empire, we are associating ourselves together in that empire for mutual protection, and therefore it is not necessary for us to make such large preparations as we would have to make were we standing alone." I reply to that again, that by our association in an empire we are not only associated in protective agencies, but we are associated in bearing the brunt of the blunders of Europe and diplomacy blunders which go back for centuries. Our imperial associations have dragged us into European warn, and I suggest to the minister that if we are face to face with the probability of another grave crisis in Europe, and war be the only means of settlement, then the maximum military preparation is what he should be proposing to this parliament. On the other hand, if, as is the truth

of the matter, our little army is all that we could put up against a great nation like that to the south of us as our only means of defence, we would be practically helpless, would it not then be better for the minister to seek some other way of defence whereby we could at least match any other nation regardless of its numerical strength, not by brute force but by something better? Now, I hope -the minister does not regard what I am saying or what any other member has said as personal to himself. Certainly I am not blaming him for the last war, I am not blaming him for the fact that he took over the Department of National Defence-

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PRO

Arthur John Lewis

Progressive

Mr. LEWIS:

Mr. Chairman, you have already ruled that we are discussing the cadet movement and not the general subject of war.

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LAB

William Irvine

Labour

Mr. IRVINE:

I am going to connect up my remarks with the cadet movement at this very point, Mr. Chairman, and it is not very difficult to do. The cadet movement, notwithstanding the statement of the minister- and I am not taking that as being absolutely frank-that it is not for military purposes, is undoubtedly associated with militarism and is the training ground for the future soldiers of Canada. Nobody doubts that. If the minister does not know it, he is the only man in Canada without -that knowledge; and I think he ought to know it, seeing that he is at the head of the Department of National Defence. Of course, I know that the instinct to kill, to destroy, is in every child; he enjoys it. And I presume the minister intends to utilize that instinct so as to develop some better qualities. I notice the hon. member far Brome (Mr. McMaster) is shaking his head, but I am making reference to physiological and psychological facts. By that statement I am not attributing anything personally to the minister. I will go further and say that.the instinct ought to be utilized. But this does connect the whole business with our military programme, and I do not think it is possible to discuss the cadet movement without entering the wider field.

But I do not wish further tlo detain the committee. I come back to the one .point that I desire to make, and I am going to insist upon it. I shall be glad to vote for this item if the minister will agree that the money be devoted entirely to physical culture, and the training extended to every boy and girl in Canada. If he will do that, I do not care whether the cadets use rifles in their drilling, I do noit care whether they form fours or form eights,

if he will extend the training in the way I have suggested, I shall be glad to vote

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far this item. But if the minister will not give the committee the assurance that he accepts my suggestion I shall have to vote against the appropriation.

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LIB

Jean-François Pouliot

Liberal

Mr. POULIOT:

If this training is extended to every boy and girl in Canada, dhould it not be compulsory?

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June 24, 1925