July 13, 1917 (12th Parliament, 7th Session)

LIB

Frank Oliver

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER:

I say the promise should not have been given to the men unless it was to be carried out, and it was the duty of this Government-if we had a Government-to know what promises they could make to the men and the officers before they made it. Heaven knows we have had enough officers on both sides of the Atlantic, enough men in supposed authority, carrying all kinds of titles and drawing all sorts of flay, who ought to have known, and if they did not know theirs must be. the responsibility. That is one responsibility which they cannot shoulder on the British authorities. We have sent battalion after battalion of men. who were enlisted on the promise that they would remain as parts of an embodied battalion under officers who were promised that they would have command of the battalion on active 'service, and when they got over there, without the slightest regard to promises of any kind, the battalion was broken up, the men were separated from their friends, and the officers were stranded, so far as their proper military occupation was concerned. We undertook to raise 500,000 men and attempted to do so, and it may be that in order to raise men quickly it was thought to be a good plan to make these promises, to establish battalions all over the country, to give Edmonton and other cities the idea that they were each to be represented at the front by eight or ten battalions, to give the gentlemen who would undertake to raise the battalions the same idea. But when the battalions were raised, when the men were overseas, when the battalions were broken up and the officers discredited, and when news of all that came back to Canada, what happened? Only one

thing could happen: voluntary enlistment died a natural death-no it did not die a natural death, it was murdered by the policy or impolicy of the administration of our military affairs under our friends who are in control of them.

Topic:   MILITARY SERVICE ACT, 1917.
Subtopic:   CONSIDERATION OF THE BILL IN COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE HOUSE.
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