April 15, 1901 (9th Parliament, 1st Session)


Hon. WM@

ROSS (Victoria, N.S.) I have listened with considerable attention and a great deal of approval to the speech that has been made by the hon. member for Victoria B.C. (Hon. Mr. Prior). I think we are as a rule apt to boast too highly of what Canada has done in support of the Empire in the war in South Africa, whereas when we contrast what we have done with what has been done and is being done now by the Australian and New Zealand colonies, we ought to feel humbled and not proud. We all rejoice, at least I do as much as any man m Canada, at what has been achieved by the small number of officers and men whom we have sent out there. They have shown what our military men can' do in comparison with those of any other country. But let us look at the present condition of things. On the 13t.h of March last, Canada had in South Africa, 117 men, New South V ales had 78S, Victoria G25, Queensland 530, South Australia 300. West Australia 310 Tasmania 300 and New Zealand 1 352 I have felt all along that it has been perhaps a misfortune that the troops which were sent out from Canada were called back so soon. I think greater efforts should have been made to have them remain in that country. I may say that I have followed the history of the Military College of Kingston with considerable pride. I occupv the 95 '
proud position of being able to state that on the 5th of May, 1874, I introduced the Bill for the establishment of that institution, and passed it through all its stages in this House. There was no ' Hansard ' in those days, and I was curious to see if I could recollect something of the speech which I attempted to make on that occasion. A report of it was given in the Globe-and I suppose it is not out of order to refer to a speech that was made twenty-seven years ago. I stated that the introduction of such a measure was new in the history of Canada; and I gave an outline of the history of thg West Point school in the neighbouring republic, and alluded to several eminent men who were trained in that great institution. In this connection I think that the government of Canada should have in view the object of finding profitable and useful employment for the men who are turned out of that institution, because the training they receive there fits them eminently for the public service. If they are thus employed, there is no doubt that they will reflect credit on themselves, the institution, and the country. At that time I suggested that the properly trained men who would be turned out of the military college would be the right men for the training of our own militia -that they would be better fitted to command and direct our own militia than men from the other side of the Atlantic.
There is a great deal of difference in the ideas entertained by military officers from Great Britain and those of Canadian officers taken from this side, and it will always be found that our men will do better under our own officers than those of the Imperial service. When I was in charge of the department, I found more trouble from the brigade officers in the public service who came from the other side, and who were imbued with ideas that could not be well controlled, than from any Canadians. I am glad to find that the hon. the Minister of Militia thinks favourably of granting pensions, and I am sure that such a policy will be favourably received by this House. I am not a mind-reader, but I feel pretty well convinced that the Minister of Militia, when the rate of pension was mentioned by my hon. friend from Victoria, B.C., was of the opinion that that was a subject which should be very properly left with the government, and that is my own idea. I only refer to this matter because I have taken a good deal of interest in the development of our military system in Canada, and have always been of the opinion that our work covered too much ground, and was consequently not as effectively done as it otherwise might be. This perhaps may not apply to small towns, but you will find that in the large towns, the colonels of regiments, in order to keep up the strength of their various corps, have to run around seeking raw recruits almost every year, as those who drilled one year are not to be found the following year, and must

be replaced by new men. That is not tbe way to have an effective system of defence. I did not intend to speak on this subject, but out of curiosity, 1 thought I would look back to my own record, and the journals of the House will show that on the 5th of May, 1874, the Bill to establish the Military College at Kingston was introduced by myself

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