Mr. HUGHES (North Victoria).
I think the hon. member for Victoria, B.C. (Hon. Mr. Prior) as well as the hon. Minister of Militia slightly misunderstood the remarks of the hon. member for Haldimand (Mr. Thompson). I am sure I voice the opinion of the House in congratulating the hon. gentleman (Mr. Thompson) on the very masterly manner in which he handled the subject. The hon. gentleman (Mr. Thompson) did not at all object to the rifle men
signing themselves. He took it for granted that every man who trained for rifle shooting would be ready to come to the front in case of necessity. At the same time there are a great many young fellows who might not in the immediate future wish to enroll themselves in the militia, but who would wish to have a rifle training and would in case of necessity come to the front. X stated at the outset that all I wished to do was to place this matter before the minister so that in the framing of his rifle association regulations he might keep it in view. With all due deference to my hon. friend from Norfolk (Hon. Mr. Tisdale), what we want is a large number of men who can shoot well. I am of the opinion from a rather long experience in the business, that the battalions and companies which make the best general average in shooting are the battalions that include among them a few of these good shots. You must have a few enthusiasts to set the lead so that the others will follow. My motion touches the men who have already signed and are already in the ranks. The highest prize of riflemen in this country is the Bisley team, and numbers of our militia men are prohibited from competing 'in that under present conditions. The country battalions have no rifle ranges and not a tithe of the opportunities our friends from the cities have. I should not wish for a moment to deiirive the city corps of the advantages they have, but I would like to see some encouragement given to the boys on the side roads who have proven to be quite their equals-X will not say the superiors-of the lads from the cities and towns. The experience of the South African war is that the men who could shoot straight, mighty soon taught the Boers to fear them. The Boers learned the corps that could shoot straight just as soon as the British themselves did, and when these gentlemen were around the Boers avoided them most religiously. Now, that I have drawn the attention of the Minister of Militia to the subject, I beg leave to withdraw my motion.
Subtopic: ENCOURAGEMENT OE RIFLE SHOOTING.