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


Frank Oliver



We had a Minister of Militia in England; I do not know whether he is there to carry out any duties-I suppose he must be; at any rate this transaction would take place under his administration. I think, therefore, that the responsibility may easily be properly placed. There is no argument as to why- voluntary enlistment could not go further in Canada; the miracle is that it went as far as it did. The reason why it did not go further was the maladministration of our military forces by the Government now in power, which, having failed in administering our military forces on a voluntary system, now comes forward to enforce a conscription without the authority of the people.
I have touched on what strikes me as being the most outstanding fact in connection with the failure of voluntary enlistment. But I have during the discussions on the Bill gone over, in my mind, the events that have taken place since the wax broke out and since Canada undertook - to take part in that war, and I have taken the trouble to put down a list of the factors that, it seemed to me, militated against the success of voluntary -enlistment and brought about the conditions .which the Prime Minister and his colleagues declare to have existed and upon which they found this conscription Bill.
1. Party considerations taking precedence of military needs.
2. Officers appointed for political, not military, reasons.
3. Men offering service in earlier stages of the war treated as trespassers or as 'applicants for bounty.
4. Carnival of graft in outfitting contingents and in war contracts.
* 5. Unfit men enlisted to make a record in filling battalions and then discharged without consideration when fit men were secured.
6. Insufficient provision for and insulting treatment of dependents.
7. Inconsiderate treatment of disabled returned men.
8. Inadequate pensions and unsatisfactory administration by Pension Board.
9. Inadequate provision for totally disabled men.
10. Inefficient rifles and insufficient field equipment.
11. Refusal to allow recruiting effort in vicinity of certain industrial centres.
12. Breach of faith with officers and men in breaking up battalions.
13. Inefficient men taken overseas and carried on strength in England.
14. Officers kept on strength when useless or unfit.
15. The safety first brigade.
16. Censored and untrue reports of field operations.
17. Talk of preparation for peace by prominent public men and newspapers.
18. Talk of compulsory service a year before introduction of measure.
19. Favouritism, graft and inefficiency in all lines of military administration.

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