In view of the increased activity in aviation, are any arrangements being made at the Royal Military College to have the curriculum include instruction in this field of work to encourage and develop our young men who may be going through the college? Is any special provision being made for the young men to develop in that field?
At the present time we have- in the college an instructor in aviation. But I think what the hon. member means is to make special facilities available for these boys, on graduation, to enter the air force. That is being done.
The reason I inquire is that I know quite a number of the boys who are attending the Royal Military College, and there is a feeling among them that a number would like to enter the aviation field. I wondered whether that wish could be met to the extent of special training and other inducements to them to enter that branch of the service.
At the present time graduates are offered commissions in the Royal Canadian Air Force, but I assume the same conditions apply here as obtain in other branches of the service, and that all cannot get commissions who wish to obtain them.
Essex East (Mr. Martin) overlooks one fact. All the students who go to the Royal Military College, Kingston, go there on merit. I remember a former minister of militia, Colonel Ralston, saying that perhaps it was the one institution left in all the world in
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which merit determined the right of a student to attend. There is no question of financial position at the time the examinations are held; if a student who is very poor tops the list he will have the opportunity of going, and in most cases there have been found in all communities men willing to assist such students to go to that college. I have in mind a case that came to my own attention through a friend who was deeply interested in the welfare of a young man who had passed at the top, and who succeeded in graduating although he came from a very humble home and had no money of his own. lit is not unusual for boys of humble circumstances to graduate at the top of their class, but the point I desired to make was that it is perfectly clear there is no question of riches or poverty at the time the preliminary examination is passed; choice is made on the basis of merit and not on the financial or social circumstances of students.
They are not debarred from going, except that the number of students who can be accommodated is limited to two hundred, and of course that makes the number available from each province comparatively small.
As I understand it, the body that chooses the students selects them on the basis of merit, but I must point out that in many parts of Canada, and certainly in my own district, nothing is known of the Royal Military College and no one from our community has ever been accepted in the college. At least one hon. member has spoken this evening as though it made some difference where a man is born. In my constituency it happens that most people come from central or eastern Europe, but it does not matter whether they are born in England, or Ireland or eastern Europe or Quebec or Ontario or elsewhere, they all receive the same consideration at the hands of our people and, I may
add, at the hands of the Alberta department of education; so that I take issue with anyone who raises in this house any question of racial superiority or even suggests that because, for instance, one man was born in Scotland and another in England there may be some difference in their calibre or abilities. I have always held the idea that, no matter where a man or a woman is born, he or she is to be judged wholly by his or her integrity, character and intelligence. The same considerations, in my opinion, should apply to admission to the Royal Military College. It happens that in Alberta two boys were chosen for the British navy. We know why they were chosen, because a competitive examination was held and thrown open to applicants from Alberta. These two boys, one from Lethbridge and one from Vegreville, were selected and entered as cadets, and they are now serving as lieutenants in the British navy. As I have said, this was a competitive examination, and selections were made on the basis of ability, irrespective of race, creed or colour.
It would seem that knowledge of the Royal Military College should be more widespread, so that we may be assured of recruiting boys who have ability, without special consideration to those: whose financial circumstances may enable them to get the best type of training, which I believe must or should be given at the college, if they can get $1,700 per pupil. The hon. member for Rosetown-Biggar (Mr. Coldwell) stated that in Saskatchewan many schools are run for a quarter of that amount. In Alberta we consider ourselves lucky if we get a similar amount. What we need is a more equitable deal for all the people of Canada, without regard for this race superiority complex, which should not be voiced in this chamber.
At times one finds it difficult, when listening to these debates on defence, to separate what is intended to be serious from what seems to be futile. As a matter of fact, a whole lot of it is purely political propaganda, perhaps for the purpose of raising our status as politicians. We are one of the British peoples, though some hon. members seem to hate to admit it. After all, we are all a part of the British Empire, and although I represent a part of Canada more thickly populated than any other by new Canadians, I am not afraid to make that statement. I repeat, we are all a part of the British Empire, notwithstanding the fact that there are people who perhaps feel it is a terrible thing for us to have the British fleet behind us. I do not suppose that in Britain they mind saying, the fleet is behind us. I do not think there should be any
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objection to having aeroplanes to protect our own coasts in order to safeguard our democracy. I feel keenly about democracy because it is the greatest asset we have. It is something to be prized, to be able to come here and speak our minds freely and listen to the different statements that are made. Some hon. member from Toronto said that Canada resembled a Balkan state, but as a matter of fact each province is part of the great dominion, and whether we were bom in England or anywhere else, we should all be loyal to the dominion.
According to the ratings they have previously established in their respective provinces. If one province did not fill its quota, there might be a vacancy and that would be filled after a comparison of qualifications and on the basis of merit.