I quite realize that, but the
request of the hon. member for Kootenay West (Mr. Esling), was that these men be released. I have just stated that in so far as the unskilled men are concerned, there is no objection on our part to their being released. In so far as the others are concerned, we would prefer to have them wait until we are ready to call them up. But even then we have no strings on them in any way. Until actually called to report for duty, those who have offered their services are perfectly free to withdraw their application, and in all cases in which we think it unlikely their services will be required for some time, our officers try to say so frankly in order to avoid any subsequent misunderstanding or disappointment. Nevertheless, when recruiting is proceeding so rapidly and on such a large scale, individual cases of misunderstanding and disappointment are bound to arise. I should like the house to believe that we are doing everything we can to reduce such incidents to a minimum.
One of the commonest misunderstandings has arisen because of the belief that many of those who served in the Royal Air Force in the last war could simply and easily be trained to serve again. This whole problem of the use that can be made of ex-service pilots and observers is naturally one to which we have given the most careful consideration, and I am happy to be able to say that appropriate employment in the Royal Canadian Air Force has been found for over 250 officers who saw service in the air force during the last war. Nevertheless, I am afraid we must accept the view that so far as actual service in the air is concerned, this war, like the last, is a young man's war. The spirit in many cases is as eager and willing as ever, and is one of which we all must feel proud, but, as is the case with all of us, the intervening years have weakened the flesh. Except for those exservice men who may be described as fully qualified commercial pilots-and the number of those available is, unfortunately, small-I am afraid we must find places for most of them that do not involve the physical and nervous strain incidental to flying high-powered modern aircraft under service conditions. Such places can and will be found for a great many in administrative positions, and for these positions those who served as officers in the air force during the last war are
naturally given a preference. Here again it is not possible to take every one at once, but more openings are constantly occurring as our establishments increase in number.
I trust the foregoing information will assist the house to understand that we are trying to carry on recruiting and enlistment for the Royal Canadian Air Force as rapidly as possible and, at the same time, with the maximum of courtesy and consideration for the many individuals whose patriotic desire to help has led them to offer their services. We have recruiting centres in the principal cities throughout the country and, in addition, mobile recruiting units intended to serve those in the more remote areas. The officers in charge of these activities have been most carefully selected with an eye to their special qualifications for the arduous and exacting duties they have to perform. We are keenly aware of the special qualities our young men possess and that fit them peculiarly to serve to advantage in our air forces, and we are determined to do everything in our power to make sure that these special qualities are employed to the fullest possible extent.
Subtopic: STATEMENT AS TO PRESENT POSITION WITH RESPECT TO RECRUITING