March 11, 1901

L-C

Samuel Hughes

Liberal-Conservative

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.

Motion withdrawn.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   ENCOURAGEMENT OE RIFLE SHOOTING.
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THE STAFF COLLEGE COURSE.

L-C

Samuel Hughes

Liberal-Conservative

Mr. SAMUEL HUGHES (North Victoria) moved :

That in the opinion oi this House it would be in the best interests of the active militia of Canada, were the books and data used in the staff college course of the Imperial service placed at the disposal of such officers of the Canadian militia as might wish to have the reading thereof.

He said : This is a very simple motion, Mr. Speaker. We have had in Canada for a few years past a kind of staff college course. If you look over the list of nearly all those who attended that school you will scarcely find the name of a man outside of the permanent corps, or else some one who has Mr. HUGHES (Victoria).

nothing to do. You will hardly find one of them who is a free citizen of Canada. If they are members of the permanent corps they should have had this training before they entered it. With all due respect these are not the type of men we want to have in the leading militia positions of this country. Very few of the men in the active militia can afford to spend three or four months-taking this staff course, and what I want is that the department should furnish to each of the officers, say above the grade of captain, the books that are on the list of that stall college course. I do not say it with any disrespect to the staff college course, but if any one who has taken an interest in militiary studies-as every officer of any standing in the militia should-reviews the books in that stall college course, he will be surprised to find that the great bulk of them will be in his own library.

My suggestion is that those books should be placed at the disposal of those officers who do not enjoy access to them, and do not know just where to write to get them. We must have a democratic militia. I have always contended in favour of our adopting such a system, but my arguments have been generally sneered at and frowned upon. To-day, however, the best men in the British army have expressed themselves in favour of that policy, for advocating which I was met with all sorts of hostile prejudices in the days gone by. And in order to carry out that policy, you must give our rank and file the opportunities to read at their own homes at night or on Sundays and week evenings, these works which are used in the staff college course, and I do not know that an evening could be better spent at our annual camp meetings than by having it devoted to an examination on these works, with an occasional lecture on them by some one of the officers. I have no desire to press this motion, but simply wish to draw the attention of the minister to the matter, in the hope that he will give it his consideration.

Motion withdrawn.

On motion of the Prime Minister, House adjourned at 5.50 p.m.

Tuesday, March 12, 1901.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   THE STAFF COLLEGE COURSE.
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March 11, 1901