Suppose in a particular province there are four vacancies and of the persons entitled to go one or two decline, Would an opportunity be given to the students in that province to fill the vacancy or vacancies?
It is unfortunate that it has not. I have known something of the institution for a number of years and have known a great number of distinguished graduates. I feel, at times when there is a good deal of criticism of the institution, that we 31111-72
do not stop to think. There is not in this country a university which, through the tuition fees paid by its students, would be in a position to educate them. We forget entirely that our universities are aided either by private philanthropy, endowment funds or provincial grants. The Royal Military College could not for a moment carry on if it were not given some aid from the federal government, and it being the only institution of its kind in Canada carrying on its particular line of work, I submit that it is entitled to the aid it receives from the federal government. It is too bad that this government, who run the Royal Military College, do not arrange that a degree should be conferred upon those who graduate-a degree which would entitle the graduates to be placed in exactly the same position as are men in universities who take a similar course.
A number of those who graduate from the Royal Military College take out commissions in the imperial army and follow that particular career. There are others who take a course in engineering, and who, in order to enter the competitive field in engineering, in this or in any other country, after leaving that school, find it necessary to take a year at some recognized university which has the degree-conferring power. I suggest to the minister that this institution should have a charter as a university in order to give its graduates degrees just as universities do that pass students in the different lines of science. I know, having been educated in the city in which the Royal Military College is situated, that although a good deal is said at times about its students assuming that they have a higher social standard because they belong to that particular school, because they wear a pill-box hat, and although there is supposed to be some snobbery among them, it was one of the duties imposed upon us attending Queen's university to take some of that snobbery out of them-and we were usually successful-so that they were better off for having been in a town where there was another university. However, that is aside from the point I wish to make, which is that the Royal Military College holds in Canada a unique position. It has trained a large number of men who have reached prominence in the military and scientific departments of the country and it is doing a very useful work. I submit, therefore, that it should continue to have the federal subsidy provided for in this vote.
I had hoped that the minister would answer the very pertinent inquiry made by my hon. friend from Renfrew South. The fact is that I asked the question myself when I first knew of the college. The reason no degrees are awarded is that it is not intended that the college should give a civil education, if I may use that term, and the justification for its existence is found under the head of section 91 of the British North America Act. If it were awarding degrees for academic distinction, it would be placed in such a position that it might be regarded as violating the provisions of section 93 of the British North America Act. It is therefore, a purely constitutional reason why no degrees are awarded. The institution can exist only as a military school. Essentially that characteristic must dominate its life, and if it departs from that and becomes a civil educational institution under the provisions of the provincial legislatures, it can receive no federal aid. That is the real reason.