November 6, 1941

LIB

James Layton Ralston (Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Mr. RALSTON:

I can only tell my hon.

friend this. There has to be an arbitrary figure, as he will understand, for monthly wastage. To make a rough estimate just to give my hon. friend some idea, I would say that the wastage might be between 2,500 and

3,000 a month.

'Mr. Ralston.]

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NAT

Grote Stirling

National Government

Mr. STIRLING:

The minister just now arrived at a figure of 24,000 recruits who had .recently come in. Was that before medical fitness had been attested, or after?

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LIB

James Layton Ralston (Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Mr. RALSTON:

I spoke of 34,000. I said

48.000 had volunteered

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NAT

Grote Stirling

National Government

Mr. STIRLING:

I understood the minister to say that 38,000 had been asked for and

24.000 had enlisted.

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LIB

James Layton Ralston (Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Mr. RALSTON:

I beg the hon. member's pardon. The number asked for was 37,000, and 24,000 have been enlisted. We have to remember that every unit sent overseas or formed over there necessitates provision for the maintenance of a supply of reinforcements. It is not enough to give a unit its complement of men any more than its complement of Bren guns or 25-pounders up to the number called for by the war establishments. Spares and spare parts must be provided for against wear and tear, accidents, and enemy action, and that applies to men as well as to machines. That is why I have said we need from 7,000 to 8,000 men per month to take care . of wastage, to provide for new and increased units and to build up reinforcements; and the need for men is bound to continue, although at a diminishing rate, as the British organization becomes more standardized.

So far I have dealt with the matter of recruiting and the fact that our recruiting has fallen short of the full quotas asked for, and I have indicated some reasons why that may be so. Here is the situation as I see it. The government of Canada, pledged to a full-out war effort, has authorized the mobilization of the first division, the second, third, fourth, and fifth armoured division, and the brigade groups of the sixth division. In addition, thousands of corps and army troops have been authorized and raised. The first duty we have is to keep up and maintain these formations. I want to impress this on the committee as I did over the radio a short time ago that this is not the job simply of the Department of National Defence. It is a pledge given by the government of Canada in the name of the people of Canada, and it is the people of Canada themselves who have the obligation to see to it -that the men in these units are backed up to the limit and that the Canadian Army 'which has been authorized is kept strong and reinforced. That need has been put before the citizens of this dominion more than once, but we have to repeat and repeat and repeat that the need is there. If we believe what the Prime Minister of Great Britain, the Prime Minister of this country and the leader of the opposition have said with regard to the

. The War-National Defence-Mr. Ralston

seriousness of this war and what we ourselves know in our hearts to be true, namely, that this is a desperate fight for Canada as well as for the rest of the world, then it seems to me that we can with the fullest confidence rely on Canadians to support their army.

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NAT

John Ritchie MacNicol

National Government

Mr. MacNICOL:

The minister has referred to six or more divisions. I would ask him now if that is the final objective.

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LIB

James Layton Ralston (Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Mr. RALSTON:

I will deal with that in

a moment when I am dealing with the question raised by the leader of the opposition. I want to say again, with all the emphasis and with all the sincerity I can, that this is not a matter to be left simply to the Department of National Defence and civilian recruiting committees. It is up to the members of this house and the people they represent to put their hearts and wills and energies to this task of inducing and convincing the young men of this dominion that their place is in the Canadian Army. We in the Department of National Defence will do our level best to help to organize the recruiting which is necessary. The problems are not the same in every part of Canada. In some districts we must deal with a population which is largely agricultural. In others our young men, from the nature of their environment, are more interested in the naval service, for instance. In highly industrialized areas we have the special problem of the cooperation which is necessary with industry so that we shall not denude our factories of the skilled labour necessary to the continued production of armaments. Consequently recruiting efforts are decentralized to the various military districts throughout the country, and where possible the district officer commanding is assisted by civilian committees.

A couple of months ago we appointed two civilian directors of recruiting, Colonel James Mess, of Toronto, and Leon Trepanier, of Montreal. They have made a study of the whole situation and at this moment are actively engaged in interesting and enlisting ' the services of civilians all over this country. I think we have taken a step forward in the development of that organization, and that as a result we shall have a closer relationship between the civilian and the army. The efforts of the committees have already given ample evidence of the growing desire on the part of the people of Canada to get behind the army's effort in its need for men. These men and the committees through which they work will stimulate the public in the service of the army and bring to all our citizens a keener appreciation of the fact that the army is the individual citizen's army, and not an outside organization of which they know nothing and care less.

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CON

Joseph Henry Harris

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. HARRIS (Danforth):

May I ask if

the broadcasts being made by Colonel Mess are nation-wide?

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LIB

James Layton Ralston (Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Mr. RALSTON:

I am sorry I cannot tell

my hon. friend. As a matter of fact I did not know that he was making broadcasts.

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CON

Joseph Henry Harris

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. HARRIS (Danforth):

Perhaps at some later time the minister will tell us.

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LIB

James Layton Ralston (Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Mr. RALSTON:

We expect to be able

through this organization better to meet the demands of the public for information, to provide an organization for the distribution of information regarding the army's activities and requirements, to secure the support of civilians for our army's effort, and to indicate to the people that a public movement is behind the army in its need for men. I have already expressed to hon. members my appreciation of the help they have given in connection with the recruiting campaign which started in May last. I want to ask each individual hon. member for continued support, by assisting personally in every possible way the actions of the local committees.

My hon. friend the member for Davenport asked about the objective. That was also the question which my hon. friend the leader of the opposition asked yesterday; he inquired as to the ultimate objective of man-power which it is hoped Canada will contribute. I can answer him in one sentence and in one phrase. It was used by the Prime Minister; in fact it has been employed repeatedly by him. He used it in his speech at the Lord Mayor's banquet. Canada is determined to contribute "to the utmost of her strength". You cannot count that in divisions alone. I might refer the hon. gentleman to a somewhat similar phrase which I used in March, when, speaking to the house, I said I told my friends overseas that Canada's contribution was an all-out contribution; and by "an all-out contribution" I am not talking about divisions alone; I am not talking merely of squadrons, of ships, of production, of finance; I am talking about a balanced programme which represents the very best and most that Canada can do. That is the ultimate objective.

In this connection may I say to my hon. friend and to all members of the committee that I do not think we quite realize, when we are speaking of divisions, just what we have. Here I am not speaking complacently or saying that this is the last word by any means. I would only indicate to my hon. friends that sometimes there is not an appreciation of the degree to which we have gone. I am speaking now particularly of the army. We think of the Canadian corps as consisting of three divisions and an armoured tank brigade, to be joined before long by the fifth armoured

41 IS COMMONS

The War-National Defence-Mr. Ralston .

division-that, along with the artillery regiments, the signals, the engineers, ordnance, and army service corps units. But as a matter of fact we have supplied many units which would be needed to work with the corps when that corps becomes part of an army. To-day we have overseas three divisions and an army tank brigade, and a fifth division soon to go overseas, with their ancillary units, and corps troops, and army troops, the fourth division here, and mobilization going on of the three brigade groups of the sixth division. Our forces in the United Kingdom alone consist not merely of three divisions but of over 300 units of various types; and these corps and army troops are formed to serve the corps as a whole or to be apportioned and attached to serve a Canadian division or divisions in case it or they should be detached for the time being to another corps. I am satisfied that there is not in the United Kingdom a corps as complete in that respect as the Canadian corps. At the present time the Canadian corps has developed almost from a corps to an army by reason of the line of communication troops and the corps and army troops which have been added to it. Yet we still think of a corps as consisting of three divisions, the army tank brigade, and, soon, the armoured division. May I tell the committee that to-day there are fifty per cent more corps and army troops in the Canadian corps of to-day, although no battles have been fought, than there were in the Canadian corps of 1915 to 1918.

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?

Frederick Clayton Casselman

Mr. CASSELMAN:

How many Canadian soldiers are overseas at the present time?

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LIB

James Layton Ralston (Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Mr. RALSTON:

Over 110,000. That is exclusive of the air force. I am giving my hon. friend a round figure; the number is more than that; and when I say "overseas" I am referring to those who are outside Canada. The leader of the opposition asked for a separate statement with regard to those outside Canada but not in England. I feel that it is not desirable to make that figure public, but I now intimate that I shall be glad to give it to him in confidence.

As I say, we have the Canadian corps, consisting of those 300 units. In the air force alone are 90,000 men, the equivalent of more than four divisions.

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NAT
LIB

James Layton Ralston (Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Mr. RALSTON:

No. Then there is the fourth division in Canada, the brigade groups of the sixth division, and the coast defence units.

In the navy we shall have before long the equivalent of two divisions.

I want to point out to the committee, so that we may not get a distorted idea regarding this matter of enlistments, that since the middle of May, 1941-that is, during the last six months-the army has recruited 59,502 men; the air force has recruited 35,108 men, and the navy has recruited 11,163 men, or, in the last six months, a total of voluntary enlistments of 105,773.

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CON

Joseph Henry Harris

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. HARRIS (Danforth):

Has the minister the number of those who have been rejected?

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LIB

James Layton Ralston (Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Mr. RALSTON:

No. The only way, I assume, one can get it is by taking the percentage of rejections and adding them to this figure.

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NAT
LIB

James Layton Ralston (Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Mr. RALSTON:

No; there were not

105,000 enlistments in the active army during that six months period. That is the number of enlistments in the army, navy and air force. There were 59,500 in the active army; the numbers I gave for the army have reference to the active army.

That is Canada's war activity from the point of view of man-power. Hon. members have already heard from the Minister of Munitions and Supply of Canada's war activity from the point of view of production. I am sure it impressed the committee, as it will impress the country. The committee will hear from my colleague, the Minister of Finance, of Canada's participation in the war from the point of view of finance. It seems to me that Canada's war activities are nothing to apologize for and nothing to deprecate; in men, munitions and money they constitute a tremendous effort; but I want to assure the committee that we shall keep right on.

A preliminary study of the man-power situation in Canada has just been made. The chief of the general staff and I have returned from England after consultations with the general officer commanding the corps, and our friends in the United Kingdom. I have had no opportunity as yet to report to my colleagues. The war committee of the cabinet will be examining the situation thoroughly in the light of Canada's potentialities, and in the light of the needs, to determine the most effective ways in which the army can act and in which the army programme for 1942 can be developed as part of our war effort; and that, of course, will take account of the other calls on our resources of man-power and of materials. Therefore I say to my hon. friend that that is our objective-an all-out effort to the utmost of our strength based on a study of the situation and in the light of other calls which are necessary upon our resources.

The War-National Defence-Mr. Ralston

In the meantime I want to stress again that the important task which cannot be shelved or ignored is that of seeing to it that the formations which we at present have are kept up to strength and in fighting form.

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NAT

James Arthur Ross

National Government

Mr. ROSS (Souris):

May I ask the minister a question while he is talking of enlistments? Is everyone who. offers his services, provided he is medically fit, taken into the service, even though he may be a key executive man in some industry; or is that situation taken into account?

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November 6, 1941