June 24, 1925 (14th Parliament, 4th Session)


Andrew Ross McMaster



Mr. Chairman, I will
not detain the committee long with the few observations I have to make upon this subject. I intend to support the motion made by the hon. member for Southeast Grey (Miss Macphail) and I wish to give very briefly the reasons why I do so. First of all I think we should envisage this question properly; we should not exaggerate the situation. We are a country whose military expenditure is reduced to a very low figure. I do not think there is any country in the world which contains less of agressive militarism than this Canada of ours. I do not think any party in the state, I do not think any responsible statesman in Canada, is anything but a lover of peace; where we may differ is as to the methods which we may follow to attain this end.
Now, the minister has referred to a trip he took to Europe, and he says that wdien he was there last year he found things in a very disturbed condition. I am afraid that he is right, but I would like to direct the attention of the commitee for a moment to the reasons why Europe is in a disturbed condition. We fought a great war, we were told, to end war.
I believe the mass of the British people, the people in England, Ireland, and Scotland, the peoples in Canada, Australia and New Zealand, who leaped to the call for arms in August of 1914, were inbued with high patriotic ideas.
I believe they had no idea of fighting the war for aggrandizement. I believe they honestly thought they were fighting a war to end war.
But what happened when the Peace treaty was formed? Unfortunately the high ideals with which the warring nations started, with which the British people started, had been lost. In Great Britain an election had been won shortly before the beginning of the negotiations on an appeal to national feeling and on an appeal to hatred of their enemies, and unfortunately that spirit was brought into the peace negotiations. Unfortunately a peace was negotiated which instead of ensuring peace ensured more difficulty, and that is one reason why Europe is in a disturbed condition to-day. Another reason is that instead of laying down their arms, instead of disarming, the peoples kept on arming one against the other, and I say that the history of mankind shows very plainly that the way to obtain security is not through military preparedness. If there is any lesson which the war has driven home on the consciousness of thinking people, surely that is the lesson. The minister has said that we need in this country some military force for the maintenance of internal order. I am prepared to grant him that. I would like to see our military establishment on such a footing as may be required to maintain internal order, and the more righteousness and justice and generosity and fair dealing obtain between class and class, between employer and employee, so much less will that establishment require to be from year to year.
The member for Southeast Grey has not beclouded the issue. I think she has enlightened the committee. In every great movement there are heroes and in every great movement in the history of the world there have been heroines, and I consider that the member for Southeast Grey belongs to that class. She assuredly has so conducted the battle that she has put the gallant and hon. Minister of National Defence almost on his defence. He says that the responsibility for the existence of cadet services in this country is not on his department but on the departments of education of the different provinces who ask for them. Let them not ask for it, says the minister, and they will not receive.
I would suggest that the responsibility was joint and I would think that efforts should be made in both directions to have these cadet services eliminated. Surely it is patent to all of us that whatever mankind did in the past in the way of ensuring peace by preparing for war, they were wrong, and surely the children and the young people should be given a chance. Whatever is required to secure us by way of military expenditure and military establishment, surely we should give the new gener-

Supply-De fence
ation an opportunity to try another way, the old way having proved to be such a dismal failure.
It is said that military training gives the best discipline. I do not know about that. I do not knew whether military discipline has been shown in the past to be the very best training for mind or for body. It has got some advantages, no doubt., but could not these advantages be obtained through physical exercise, and even physical drill, if necessary, without attaching it to military pomp and military procedure. It seems to me that it could. There is an organization in the country to which an enormous number of young boys belong, the Boy Scouts; it has physical drill; it has physical exercise. It appeals to the gregarious feeling in youth by combining them in companies and subjecting them to a certain amount of discipline and organization, but it is removed in spirit from the spirit of war and the spirit of hate. It depends for its excellence upon entirely another spirit.

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