February 29, 1944

NAT

Richard Burpee Hanson

National Government

Mr. HANSON (York-Sunbury):

There was a case of the kind in Halifax, was there not?

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LIB

James Layton Ralston (Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Mr. RALSTON:

I shall not go into the matter extensively, except to say that the record shows the man enlisted a first time and, upon discharge, received the $35 clothing allowance for which provision was then made. He enlisted again, and had sixteen months' overseas service. He was discharged again and received $65 clothing allowance. When discharged in January, 1944, he was wearing civilian clothes and had actually turned in his uniform. When arrested he was wearing army battle dress, which had been made for him by some local firm and decorated with R.A.F. wings, cadet shoulder badges, and signal corps overseas patches. So that there was not much he had missed. He had represented himself as being overseas for four years, and being in Canada to take an officer's training course. Actually he had been overseas sixteen months, and of course he was not in Canada to take a course. He is reported to have been charged by the military authorities on two different occasions with the impersonation of warrant officers, while in civilian clothes, and several other minor charges were laid against him. This, of course, was a civilian case. The hon. member for Yorkton was attracted by the newspaper publicity which was given, in which it was suggested that this was a case in which a man who had been a soldier was being persecuted by the civilian authorities. Of course the prosecution was not brought by the army at all; it was brought by the civilian authorities.

The hon. member for Cape Breton South (Mr. Gillis) referred to a man in Camp Borden whose case was being dealt with by the provincial police. I believe the hon. member felt that the soldier in question was being harshly treated. I suggested at the time that it sounded to me as if the charge would be one of theft under the criminal code. I find that that is so. The charge was that he did on or about January 14, 1944, steal one 38-calibre Smith and Wesson revolver, the property of the Department of National Defence. The case was investigated and the charge was laid by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. A military charge by court-martial might have

been made against him. But when a case is referred to the R.C.M.P. and they intimate a desire to prosecute, it is customary to leave it to them if the offence is civil. That principle is recognized in the manual of military law. I believe I gave the committee my judgment with regard to that principle the other night.

The paragraph in the manual of military

law is:

But in the United Kingdom, in the dominions, and in most of the colonies, where there are regular civil courts close by, it is, as a general rule, desirable to try by a civil court a civil offence committed by a person subject to military law if the offence is one which relates to the property or person of a civilian, or if the civil authorities intimate a desire to bring the case before a civil court.

In this case, as a matter of fact, the R.C.M.P. did not refer the case to the military authorities. If they had done so, and intimated the desire to bring the case before the civil courts, the suggestion would have been concurred in, because the investigation had been handled by the R.C.M.P. and they had obtained the evidence. The case had a definite civil aspect. On the hearing of this charge, as on the hearing of any other criminal charge, the witnesses, whether they be civilian or members of the armed forces, are represented to the civil authorities, and attend and give evidence, and can be compelled to do so.

In this instance the hon. member indicated he did not see any officer present. My information is that the officer of Corporal Pavlov namely, Lieutenant J. A. McPhail, did attend at the trial. Under the provisions of K.R. & 0. 484, it is provided that in case of a civil offence, where a trial takes place anywhere in the vicinity of where a man's unit is situated, the commanding officer shall detail an officer to attend. The officer does not attend for the purpose of defending the man, but rather attends for the purpose of giving the court all possible information. I believe the practice is that officers who attend help to see to it that the man is informed of what his rights are. I know the provisions of K.R. & O. are such that an officer is forbidden, for instance, to give any information with regard to minor offences which an accused might have committed, because such information might prejudice his case. That information is regarded as privileged.

It is not the policy to employ civil counsel at the expense of the public for a soldier charged with committing a civil offence, but my information is that this corporal was defended by a civilian lawyer whom he himself

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employed. No request was made by him for assistance from his commanding officer to obtain counsel.

The hon. member for Yale asked with regard to men who had taken an army course, and who had either been selected or not been selected as potential officer material. I indicated to him that men who were not selected as potential officer material were informed of the fact, but were considered for technical or specialist training, and would be given the opportunity to take that training if possible. I said I did not find in the regulations the same provision with respect to those who were selected. I find that the regulation has been amended. I cannot tell my hon. friend whether I was reading the amended regulation or not.

In the statement that was given me I find that that phrase was omitted. It is the fact that those who are selected may be considered for technical or specialist training in such work as surveys, radio direction finding, signals, et cetera, and they will be given the opportunity, if selected, of commencing or continuing such training. I said that I did not find that in the statement I read to my hon. friend, but it is there.

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James Layton Ralston (Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Mr. RALSTON:

Yes. The hon. member for Yale (Mr. Stirling) also asked for a breakdown by districts of deserters. I will put it on the record:

Breakdown of Deserters by Districts

Military district M.D. No. 1 General service N.R.M.A. C.W.A.C. Total 838 1,392 600 3,794

M.D. No, 2

M.D. No. 3

M.D. No. 4

M.D. No. 5

M.D. No. 6

M.D. No. 7

M.D. No. 10

Pacific Command

M.D. No. 12 o

M.D. No. 13

United Kingdom 1

Total 4,784 80 11,094

Note-The above figures do not include those employed under G.O. 139/39.

The hon. member for York-Sunbury (Mr. Hanson) asked me with regard to the Edmundston training centre. I told him I did not think it1 had been closed, and I was correct in that. It was reduced from a two-company training centre, with a capacity of 500, to a one-company with a capacity of 250 in October, 1943, as part of the general reorganization.

Somebody asked last night in regard to dental treatment accorded to officers vis-a-vis other ranks. The particular question was whether porcelain inlays were provided. My information is that where porcelain inlays are indicated the standard treatment in the army is to use synthetic porcelain, which is what is generally used in civilian practice. I also confirm what I said last night, that there is no difference between the treatment given to officers and to other ranks. In certain cases alternative treatment is obtainable, but that is open to all ranks.

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Richard Burpee Hanson

National Government

Mr. HANSON (York-Sunbury):

Mr. Chairman, I have not taken up much time on these estimates and I do not intend to do so at this stage, but there are a few inquiries I want to make. First, what steps are being taken by the medical services of the army to see that such an occurrence as took place last autumn in the city of Fredericton is not repeated? I do not intend to go over that particular case again. The damage has been done; the man is dead; he left no dependents, and it would not do any good to rake up the situation to-day. It would only harrow the feelings of his relatives. But if nothing better comes out of it than that there has been a reorganization of the medical services in connection with the induction of volunteers and draftees into the army at Fredericton, I shall have been at least in some degree rewarded for the trouble I took in connection with this matter. The fact of the matter is, I think, that there were not sufficient medical men on duty, and I have

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grave doubts as to the calibre of some of those who were there. I should like the minister to tell me whether the position has been corrected so that there is no possibility whatever of any repetition of what I consider-I was going to say gross negligence, but I will not use that term; I will say negligence in connection with the reception of men into the army at Fredericton. If the minister is not able to answer to-day he can do so at a later stage.

The second inquiry I desire to make of the minister is in connection with Camp Sussex. This is an old military camp in New Brunswick. It has been in the ownership and operation of the department for annual drill and that sort of thing since the days of Sir George Foster, which go back prior to 1896. Sir George Foster was member for Kings when the camp was established. When this war came on, Camp Sussex, of course, was greatly extended and over a period of time a large number of troops were stationed there. It was used as a depot, I suppose, for the eastern command, where the men would be readily available to be sent here, there and everywhere in case of invasion, and also could be used as an embarkation point for overseas. It served a useful purpose. In recent months the army has been pretty well evacuated from Sussex; I understand that there have been very few troops there. My attention was called to an article in a Saint John morning paper of yesterday in which it is stated that the army is starting up a new officers' school at Camp Sussex. I thought we had a great many of these schools all over the country and that some of them were being closed. It is information I am seeking. It may be of interest to hon. members to know that the newspaper in question states that Brigadier Gregg, sergeant-at-arms of this house, is to be the commander of that school, which so far as I am concerned is quite all right.

The third question I desire to ask, and I am curious that it has not been asked before, arises out of the enlistment of so many women in the armed forces, in the army, the navy and the air force. It seems to me that the custom has grown up, in Ottawa at all events and in other centres, of buying at the public expense some of the largest and most expensive residences in the city for barracks for these young ladies, on the theory, I suppose, that nothing is too good for the Waacs or the Wrens or the Waves or the Spars, or whatever they may be called. But it is a curious policy, it seems to me, for the government to make capital expenditures of that kind on buildings which cannot possibly be of any great benefit to the country in the 100-631

post-war period. My suggestion to the minister is that if these quarters are required, and I quite agree that quarters, and respectable quarters are required, they should be taken over under the authority* of the government for the duration only, and compensation paid. The country should not have loaded on it these expensive homes at high prices. That is a policy that has always struck me as being, shall I say, extravagant. We have had the spectacle of the winter club at Winnipeg being taken over by one branch of the service. We had the spectacle of a life insurance company in Montreal being bailed out in connection with the Winter club there when the government took over a bankrupt institution and saved the bondholders from loss, when all the government had to do was to say they wanted the Winter club in Montreal and take it over, pay compensation for it and hand it back to the owners when the war was over. That, it seems to me, would have been business, but instead of that we have these expensive buildings on Peel street, Montreal, for instance. I might tell the minister that a very prominent business man and, I think a friend of his, was shocked about that transaction.

I can name a number of others of the same kind. There is an ancient place of residence in Halifax that the minister and I and his associates know well, which forty odd years ago was a boarding house called Hillside Hall. It must be at least a hundred years old. It was taken over by one of the army services. If it was necessary to have that building, why was it purchased? Why was it not just rented for the duration, and then handed back? But now we are to have Hillside Hall off the assessment rolls of Halifax, just as is happening with properties here at Ottawa and elsewhere that have been taken over by the government. That policy is bad policy, I suggest to the minister, and there ought to be some explanation of why such a policy is pursued. I am not suggesting that these young women, many of whom, indeed all of whom, come from good homes, do not need good barrack room and living conditions. But I might contrast what is being done for them with what I understand is the plight of thirty young men, every one of whom is a potential flying officer now under training in this city at either Rockcliffe or Uplands- I am not sure which-for whom no barrack room has been provided. This is not in the minister's department but ini that of his colleague.

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James Layton Ralston (Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Mr. RALSTON:

I have got 900 of them in Ottawa.

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NAT

Richard Burpee Hanson

National Government

Mr. HANSON (York-Sunbury):

Well, that is a sad situation. I do not know what the minister is going to do about it. These young men should not be brought here if you have not proper living accommodation for them.

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Richard Burpee Hanson

National Government

Mr. HANSON (York-Sunbury):

I will tell the minister what happens in this case. These young men, all of whom of course are volunteers, get the per diem allowance which every enlisted man receives. There is no place for them to eat or sleep, as there should be under the regulations and in accordance with what this country is supposed to provide, but they have a sustenance allowance of 551.25. How can any respectable young man live in Ottawa and pay for a room and three square meals a day on $125? It just cannot be done. What is the result? One of these lads told me personally that the allowance is so small that for the last four days in the month they have one meal a day, and they double up, perhaps treble up, in their rooms. I do not think that that is creditable-really I don't.

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LIB

Olof Hanson

Liberal

Mr. HANSON (York-Sunbuiy):

This is the air force; but I am satisfied from what the minister said that there must be conditions of the kind in the army.

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NAT

Richard Burpee Hanson

National Government

Mr. HANSON (York-Sunbury):

Perhaps the minister will find out if he makes inquiries. This may have a reecho from some person who is in that condition. I am not apologizing for bringing the matter forward, because I was shocked to find that a fine young man, a potential flying officer, one who will probably do a grand job, who perhaps is going to give his life for this country, is asked to live on $1.25 a day and find board and lodging in Ottawa. It just cannot be done. I verified the facts through the minister himself, and he did not offer any explanation. I am going to call public attention to these conditions; for I know that the people of Canada, who give so willingly in taxation and in loans, do not want this sort of thing to happen. I am not finding fault, but somebody is responsible. I do not suggest for a minute that the minister is; probably he did not hear of it until I called his attention to it, but somebody down below knew about it and has not corrected it. I think I know what the answer is,

JMr. Ralston.]

that this is the standard allowance for the living out ration-I do not know whether I am using the right term-

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NAT

Richard Burpee Hanson

National Government

Mr. HANSON (York-Sunbury):

The subsistence allowance for living out. A boy might, although I doubt it, get along on $1.25 a day in a country town, but he could not get along on it in Fredericton or in Ottawa and live respectably. That is that; I am not going to say any more about it.

The other matter I have is a case which has puzzled me in connection with the dependents' allowance, and I am not sure that I should take up time to deal with an individual case; it might be better for me to go to the dependents' allowance board, as has been my practice. In this case I cannot identify the soldier by his number. I have here a letter from a woman who lives in the small town of Devon, opposite Fredericton. She represents that she was the daughter of an Indian squaw by a white father. I knew the father. They resided on the reserve, but under the Indian Act she is not an Indian-I believe that is correct. If the father is an Indian and the mother is white, she would be an Indian, but under the law she is not an Indian; she married an Indian, but he was not on the reserve; he was an Indian from the United States. She has an illegitimate child. I am putting this on record so that it may be understood. It is the most complex situation I have, yet run up against in connection with dependent's allowance, and when I get through you will see that it will take more than the proverbial Philadelphia lawyer to unravel it. The woman had an illegitimate child a year prior to her marriage-I am not sure whether it was by the man she married or by somebody else. But when the husband married her, he, she says, legally adopted this child and the appropriate regulations were complied with. I am sending the minister a copy of the letter so that he can hand it over to his officials. The child is adopted. But she cannot get dependent's allowance. She is ill; she cannot get medical attendance from the Indian department because technically she is not an Indian although her mother was an Indian and she is married to an Indian and her child, surely, is an Indian.

What are we going to do about this case? Surely it calls for the exercise of common sense. Her husband is a signaller and is about to proceed overseas. If the facts are as I have stated them-as yet I have had no opportunity of verification, but they may easily be verified through the Indian agent or

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through the department-she is entitled to dependent's allowance for herself, also to medical treatment from the Indian department and anything else that this government may properly give her. That is all I have to say, and here is the letter.

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James Layton Ralston (Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Mr. RALSTON:

I will deal with the different points which my hon. friend has made. First, with regard to the Fredericton case. I share fully the concern expressed by my hon. friend with regard to that case. I took a personal interest in it. I saw to it that the president of the court martial and at least two of the members were men who had nothing to do in any way with the district or with the administration of medical services. The president of the court was Colonel Gilbert S. Stairs, of Montreal, king's counsel, and formerly of the 87th battalion. One member of the court was Colonel C. M. Edwards, of Ottawa, formerly of the 38th, an Ottawa battalion; and another member, Colonel K. R. Marshall, was one of the staff officers of the 4th division in the last war. I think that is sufficient assurance to those who know these gentlemen that they brought to the trial of this case a detachment, a fairness and an unbiased judgment which would commend itself to everyone.

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February 29, 1944