and that this Bill is intended to fill the gaps in those five divisions. It has .been stated-and I have seen no contradiction- that there is on file in the Militia Department in Ottawa a report made toy Imperial officers sent over here for the purpose stating that, having Tegard to Canada's population and to all the data that must be taken into account in estimating the numerical basis of an army for this country, Canada should confine her fighting forces to three divisions, so as to be able to meet all possible demands from wastage in the ranks, when on active service. That report, I understand, was made before the war. The events of the war have proved its correctness. What explanation has the Government to give for ignoring that report; and when they chose to do so, how can they expect us to approve this Bill as a cloak for their inattention to the most elementary detail of military organization?
This brings me to the consideration of another practical matter which I have not heard mentioned in this debate thus far. It is said that the men required are to fill the gaps in the ranks at the front. But how many are required? Who knows? Surely we ought to have answers to these questions before we are asked to proceed. Who can answer them? Frankly, I do not know. It would, however, seem to me that the man most likely to be able to answer would be the Commander-in-Chief of the Canadian forces. If that be correct, then what does he say as to the number of thousands of men required to fill the gaps in the Canadian ranks? Does he say that the number already enlisted are not sufficient to furnish these thousands? If he does not, should not that fact be made clear? Otherwise, how are we ' to know just what we should do? It is true that statistics have been brought down, but they do not reach the crux of the situation. At best, these statistics are only careful estimates; they are not and cannot be complete or conclusive from the standpoint of military requirements. Therefore, I suggest to the Government that every effort he made to get the information I refer to before this Bill is advanced another stage. If, moreover, it be established on reliable military advice, that we have tpo many divisions, does it not seem to be common sense, based on what I understand to be sound military practice, to readjust the organization and tp consolidate the men that are available in the way best adapted to make their number most effective?
The discussion thus far upon the Bill and the amendment introduced by the leader of the Opposition has elicited facts and views that are helpful as disclosing the real position of the Government, and as an aid in determining (the real value of the Bill. By reference to the Orders in Council and the official despatches of the (Government, the leader of the Opposition, in refutation of the Prime Minister's argument that the Bill contains no new principle, was able to show that a new principle is involved, and that at the outbreak of the war the Government was not of opinion that the principle embodied in the Militia Act was the same as the principle set forth in this Bill. My right hon. leader's argument and reasoning were so cogent, and it is so important that the public be seized of his viewpoint, that I ask the indulgence of the House while I restate his views on this subject in his own words: This is what he said:
Now, the Prime Minister says that he is introducing no new principle, that he could have sent abroad the 400,000 men who have been sent, under the authority of the existing Act.. Sir, I take issue with my right hon. friend on that. I say he had not any such power.
Then later on he said:
In support of this contention of mine that this Government could not, under the Militia Act, send the forces that they did, I will contrast with the Government of to-day the Gov ernment of 1914.
The Government then did not pretend that they were using the Militia Act in sending Canadian forces across the sea; they did not send them under that Act at all. Here is a despatch of His Royal Highness the Governor General, sent hy the Prime Minister which is an absolute refutation of the doctrine which has just been asserted hy him. This was sent by the Governor General to the Secretary of State for the colonies, and dated August 1, 1914 :
Ottawa, August 1, 1914.
"In view of the impending danger of war involving the Empire my Advisers are anxiously considering the most effective means of rendering every possible aid and they welcome any suggestions and advice which Imperial naval and military authorities may deem it expedient to offer. They are confident that a considerable force would be available for service abroad. A question has been mooted respecting the status of any Canadian force serving abroad as under section 69 of Canadian Militia Act the active militia can only be placed on actual service beyond Canada for the defence thereof."
Some hon. Members: Hear, hear.
Sir Wilfrid Laurier: If it was "for the defence thereof" what was the necessity of stating that there was doubt as to the status of these troops?
"It has been suggested that regiments might enlist as Imperial troops for stated periods, Canadian Government undertaking to make all necessary financial provision for their equipment, pay and maintenance."
Thus, at the very beginning of the war, it was recognized that the words "for the defence thereof" could not apply to this case ; that the troops could not be sent under the Militia Act, and that they should be sent as Imperial troops and as serving voluntarily in the war. That is conclusive.
Sir Sam Hughes: What is the date of that despatch?
Sir Wilfrid Laurier: First of August, 1914. Then there is an Order in Council, passed on August 6, as follows:
"The Committee of the Privy Council have had before them a report, dated 6th August, 1914, from the Minister of Militia and Defence, representing: in view of the state of war now existing between the United Kingdom, and the Dominions, Colonies, and Dependencies of the British Empire on the one side, and Germany on the other side, creating a menace to the wellbeing and integrity of the Empire, and having regard to the duty of the Dominion of Canada as one of those Dominions to provide for its own defence and to assist in maintaining the integrity and honour of the Empire, that it is desirable to mobilize Militia units of the various arms of the service of such effective strength as may from time to time be determined by Your Royal Highness in Council, such units to be composed of officers and men who are willing to volunteer for Overseas service under the British Crown."
And so this was for voluntary service alone. Nor is that all. There was this despatch sent by the Governor General on 5th of August: .
"My Government being desirous of putting beyond doubt status of Canadian volunteers requests that His Majesty may be pleased to issue an order bringing these volunteers under sections 175 and 176 of the Army Act."
Thus, being in doubt of the power of the Government to send troops under the Militia Act, they ashed that the Government of Great Britain should issue an order to enlist them for the British Army. And so we have reason to believe that the Militia Act, as we have understood it, never applied to this case.
It is quite true that other hon. gentlemen have joined issue with my right hon. friend on this point. The subject was debated at some length by my hon. friend from South Wellington (Mr. Guthrie) the other day, and by my hon. friend the Solicitor General (Mr. Meighen) this afternoon. But with all respect for these hon. gentlemen, and for any others who may share their view, I prefer the view of my right hon. leader. I rely upon his forty years' experience in this Parliament, and upon his intimate connection with the change that was made in 1904 in the Militia Act which has been under discussion. I have only to add that if this Military Service Bill makes no change in principle, but merely a change in the method of selection, what is the reason for bringing it in at all? Why not merely bring down an amendment to the Militia Act if the difference was so trifling as that? Is not the refutation of that contention contained in the very fact that this Bill has been introduced?
The right hon. leader of the Opposition dealt with the labour situation as affected by this Bill. His argument was challenged by the Minister of Trade and Commerce (Sir George Foster). May I digress for a moment to say that in all probability, with the exception of the right hon. leader of the Opposition, no hon. member of this House has had such a long and genuine admiration for the debating power and eloquence of the Minister of Trade and Commerce as myself. I well, remember the first occasion upon which I heard him, now more years ago than I care to recall. From that day to the present I have always acknowledged his great power as a -debater. I do not think that power was ever more eloquently displayed than when he spoke in this Chamber a few days ago. Notwithstanding that, I take the liberty of joining issue with him. In the course of his speech the other day, addressing himself to the argument of my right hon. leader on the labour situation, the Minister of Trade and Commerce instanced the position of labour in Great Britain and the United States under compulsory military service. I submit that the comparison failed to meet the argument of my right hon. leader for two reasons: In the first place, the Derby-registration scheme preceded the introduction of compulsory military service irt Great Britain; and in the second place the United States Government recognized labour as soon as it decided to go into the war, and immediately availed itself of the services of Samuel Gompers, the leader of organized labour in the United States, Even after three years of war this Government has done nothing like that in this country. If my hon. friend the Minister of Trade and Commerce and other hon. members of the Government will not heed the advice of the leader of the Opposition, perhaps they will listen to the advice of a friend of their own. Foreseeing the effect of this Bill on labour, Sir Joseph Flavelle addressed a letter to the Canadian manufacturers of war munitions, in which he says:
Dear Sirs.-May I, on behalf of the board solicit your serious co-operation in personal attention and forethought whereby misunderstandings or difficulties with your'work-people may be averted?
I am led to say this because I remember the necessity of securing further support for the men at the front means there will be considerable impairment of the present factory working forces in Canada.
As there is great industrial activity and a general shortage of efficient labour, it is to be expected that restlessness in labour circles will be increased rather than decreased when men