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


James Joseph Hughes


Mr. HUGHES (North Victoria).

I am very glad to hear my hon. friend's disclaimer. The hon. member for Victoria, B.C., has pointed out the number of men under arms in South Africa in March last. Let me briefly submit a statement of the number from the various colonies who served in Africa throughout the war. Out of every ten thousand of population, New Zealand sent twenty-seven of her best sons to the front. Out of every ten thousand. Australia and Tasmania sent seventeen to the front. And out of every ten thousand Canada sent five to the front. New Zealand sent twenty-seven to Canada's five.
Reference has been made here to the magnificent service done by the Canadians in South Africa, and I can cordially endorse every statement about the gallantry of Canadian officers and men. But I also wish to be placed on record as stating that throughout the whole of the South African trouble, there were no troops, imperial or colonial, who could in any sense surpass those from New Zealand or Australia. Not that the men were any better, mark you, but the officers of the New Zealand and Australian forces were almost entirely taken from the ordinary active militia of the country, composed of farmers and business men, who were purely volunteers. These men had that individual development that-there is no use in attempting to deny it-a life in barracks, or a life passed in the permanent occupation of the soldier, does not develop to the same extent as do the ordinary avocations of life. I wish to be placed on record as believing that the great success that has attended the efforts of the New Zealanders and the Australians, as well as the other colonial forces, during the South African war, is largely due to the individuality of the officers, who have not been in all cases, or nearly all cases, men

of the permanent corps. Let me not he understood as urging this in the slightest as an argument against the idea that the officers of our permanent corps ought to be better paid than they are, and ought to have a pension assigned them after the completion of a certain number of years' service. These men I have always regarded as teachers, educationalists rather than as military men. Ten years ago I expressed this view-that these men were really military educationalists-and I have never seen reason to change my view. I trust that the minister will not only provide a system of pensions, but, by the training he gives these men, will bring to the front the best educative talent in the military life of this country, so that our military schools and colleges and the various departments of our military organization may be filled up with the best men the country can secure.

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