My hon. friend heard
what I said. I say, this department is not run in order to aggrandize the present minister. But it is necessary' that we should have a reasonable degree of efficiency. I do not agree with either the hon. member for Southeast Grey or the hon. member for Labelle, one of whom says that these expenditures are an absolute waste while the other suggests that the present provision is a farce. We are trying, on the best advice we can obtain and after consultation, not simply with military people but with those who take a deep interest in the defence of the country, to provide a reasonable service, to the end that we in Canada may hold up our heads and not only be prepared to defend our country but for another purpose which I am afraid some members of the committee do not realize is essential, namely, that we should be prepared to maintain our position as neutrals should the occasion arise. Because we happen to see a soldier on the street we need not conclude that we are going out to look for a fight. That is not the idea at all. The object is that we shall provide a reasonable force for defence and to maintain our neutrality if an emergency calls for it.
Now I should like to say just a word with regard to the remarks of my hon. friend from Southeast Grey referring to the military tournament at Montreal. I want to tell her that that tournament was not held at the expense of the department or the country in any way; I understand it was arranged by he officers and men of the Montreal militia units who gave a great deal of time and effort to it. I hope the hon. member was there; I would commend the show, if I may call it so, to anyone who would like to see good, clean, wholesome entertainment. I would commend it ahead of a good many other entertainments which were no doubt attended by respectable people in Montreal on that particular evening. If anyone wanted to see good gymnastic exhibitions, good drill and good equitation that was the place to go, and the good people of the city of Montreal did not seem to fear that their militaristic spirits would be unduly roused. I think the attendance the first night was 6,000 or 7,000; on the second night I understand 9,000 people were there, and on the third night the attendance was about 12,000.
Subtopic: DEPARTMENT OF NATIONAL DEFENCE