February 26, 1912 (12th Parliament, 1st Session)


Mr. E. M.@

MACDONALD (Pictou) moved the adjournment of the House in order to discuss the rules of the National Rifle Association and their effect on the status of Canadian riflemen competing at Blsley.
He said: The matter to which I wish to call the attention of the House is one.

I want to say that the statement there attributed to Lord Cheylesmore, that they were giving the Dominion Rifle Association an opportunity of altering the Sutherland sight is absolutely incorrect. There is nothing in connection with any sight involved in these regulations. It is not a matter of sight in any manner whatever. The Sutherland rifle sight is a sight which has been made in Canada, it has been adopted by the Militia Department, and it has turned out to be a great success. But, when I tell you, Mr. Speaker, that there is no possible provision in these regulations that in any way interfere with the use of the Sutherland sight, you will see that I was warranted in my language when I spoke of the Chairman of the National Rifle Association being entirely wrong. The same objection which is urged to the attachment of the Sutherland rifle sight applies to what is known as the B.S.A. No. '9 sight, or No. 7 Martin sight, or Parker sight, or any sight whatever that may be used in England or which has been prescribed by the National Rifle Association rules. The impression has gone abroad in Canada among those who have not looked into this question, that it was something in connection with the Sutherland rifle sight that caused the National Rifle Association to interfere to prevent its use at Bisley. That is not so. They have adopted a resolution which provides a method under which a rifle sight can be attached to the rifle. This is the method which they have adopted at home. They say that unless you attach the rifle sight to the rifle in that way you cannot use the sight. That is the whole proposition, and that is the cause of the quibbling and pinpricking on the part of the National Rifle Association. This rule was framed especially to bar out the Ross Mark 2 xx, the reason being because the sight when it lies over in a forward position covers in some part the loading part.
If you were to take the B.S.A. sight, the No. 9, the No. 7 Martin, or the Parker, and attach it to the rifle in the same way as the Sutherland rifle sight is attached to the Ross rifle it would clearly cover the loading part in exactly the same way. Any of these sights under the rule are attached to the War Office rifle in the most unserviceable manner, and hung down over the left side. The question is whether the rifle sight would be attached by some contrivance which is peculiar to the purpose on the left side of the rifle or whether it would be where it is now on the Ross rifle. They say that if you attach it as it is now in Canada you cannot shoot with that rifle, that you must attach it the way they attach it to the other rifle which is the most unserviceable Mr. MACDONALD.
way ever dreamed of, and which would expose the sight to the liability of destruction at any time. That is the ground they take, and the Dominion Rifle Association, through its secretary, in calling the attention of the National Rifle Association to this fact pointed out to them that the Ross rifle was the service arm of Canada, that the rule with regard to the sight was especially provided for the purpose of barring the Ross rifle, that there is no question of sight involved at all, that under these circumstances it is most unfair and that, in so far as the Dominion Rifle Association is concerned, it is questionable whether it would send a team to Bisley this year unless this difficulty is removed. Therefore, I submit that this proposition is a very serious one and one that is worthy of the attention of the House, the government, and the country as well. This last quibble, this last pretence, absolutely without any foundation, puts a bar and a ban upon a certain rifle sight, which is acknowledged everywhere to be a first-class rifle sight, in order to debar this rifle from use.
The facts are exactly as I have stated them. Let us see, however, how this new rifle which it is proposed shall be the one and only thing to be used at Bisley is regarded at home. Take the London ' Gazette,' of January 18, 1912; speaking about this very rifle that is prescribed, with the attachment which is said to be essential before you can use the rifle sight, the ' Gazette ' says:
The new rifle that is shortly to he issued to the infantry of the line is summed up as [DOT] a failure from the start' bythose who have had an opportunity of examining it or witnessing the tests that have been carried out with it at the School of Musketry at Hythe and elsewhere.

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