June 24, 1904 (9th Parliament, 4th Session)



I am willing even after his speech of last night to give the Minister of Militia credit for his utterance of to-day. I believe he would have turned the meddling Minister of Agriculture down had he been here to attend to his business. I feel satisfied, knowing what I know of him, and of his expressed desire to keep the militia free from the meddling of petty politicians, that he would have done his best to turn the Minister of Agriculture down, and it would then have depended on the question whether that minister had power enough to command the Prime. Minister, and to force his hand. We know that he boasts of Ms power. He has inherited position and wealth and these are all that he has. He has no superior ability over any man along the side roads of the country and yet he has power enough in the cabinet to control the Prime Minister, to control the Minister of the Interior and we are told he even turned down the Minister of Justice, but I can hardly believe it. Why such an official can have such power, passes our comprehension ; possibly history will reveal the reason.
The Minister of Militia last night took the opportunity of reciting a number of acts that he has performed, as Minister of Militia for the Dominion of Canada. The Minister of Militia took credit to himself for a long list of meritorious acts. I do not seek for ail instant to minimize the goods work that he has done, but why has he been able to do it ? Because he has had the backing of the hon. member for North Norfolk (Mr. Tisdale) the hon. member for East Durham (Mr. Ward), myself and other Liberal-Conservatives in the House who are interested in military matters. He knows right well and the Prime Minister knows that in 189G when the Liberal-Conservative party wishing to place this country in a small state of readiness to meet any invad-

ias enemy, placed in the estimates $3,000,000 to purchase rifles, an agitation was carried on by the Liberals throughout the length and breadth of Quebec against that sum of money being placed in the estimates. Why, Sir, I recall that when the Solicitor General was speaking in his place in the House, the hon. member for Sherbrooke told him right on the floor of the House, that his place was behind the prison bars and not on the floor of the House for the conduct he displayed in the last general election in Quebec, in seeking to raise race against race, creed against creed, locality against locality. Had we carried out the same policy towards the Minister of Militia when he desired to add even $100.000 the minister would not have been able to get the money. In this House and out of this House the Tory party of the country to a man have backed the Minister of Militia in his attempts and he knows it. If the gauntlet has been thrown down, if trouble accrues in the future, let the Minister- of Militia and the Prime Minister not blame the Tory party : let them blame the
Minister of Agriculture and Lie weakness of the Minister of Militia in heeding any such interference. I was more than surprised at the Minister of Militia last night seeking to take advantage of a little trifling matter. I presume it was intended more as an illustration. I refer to the ordnance corps. The ordnance corps is a very proper thing and I give the minister credit for what he lias done. He has placed in command of that corps Colonel Macdonald, a Liberal it is true, but a splendid fellow. 1 believe that Colonel Macdonald and the seven lieutenant colonels are all very good men. The minister made a good deal last night of the statement that Lord Dundonald was dishonest in saying that one dollar of extra responsibility was incurred by the country owing to the gazetting of these colonels. What we complained of was that these officers had not been made colonels by Lord Dundonald. I do not know the details but the facts stand out. These officers when the first gazette came out were gazetted as majors. They did not appear as colonels until Lord Dundonald went away on his western trip then they suddenly appeared as full-fledged colonels, and as a natural result these men took then-rank and seniority over all the other colonels in the country. It is a pretty hard matter for an officer after years of faithful service in a regiment to find out that some officer long his junior, owing to a little pull at headquarters, has been put over him. We would not mind it if it were done for any distinguished service. or meritorious conduct or superior work, but when they are put over the heads of officers who have distinguished themselves in a dozen ways as much as these men have done, the question naturally arises
in the minds of these officers, where is the pull that hap put these officers where they are ? I have not looked into the question of the salaries carefully but I would point out that these men come under the Military Superannuation Act and they will draw higher superannuation on account of having been made lieutenant colonels.

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