July 31, 1917

LIB

Alexander Kenneth Maclean

Liberal

Mir. A. K. MACLEAN:

They would, but the men are unable to live at home, and are unable to carry on their ordinary business. I would like the minister to give this matter some consideration, because I think .a great deal can be said 'in favour of 'these men being paid the usual separation allowance, and I certainly think they should 'receive it.

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CON

Albert Edward Kemp (Minister of Militia and Defence)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir EDWARD KEMP:

The subsistence allowance for married men amounts to $13.50 a month. The separation allowance is $20 a month.

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LIB

Alexander Kenneth Maclean

Liberal

Mr. A. K. MACLEAN:

I was not aware that the subsistence allowance was so large. At all events, I submit that these men are entitled to the full separation allowance. The case of such men is rather different from that of the forces doing duty almost anywhere else in Canada. They are constantly on duty; they have to give up their ordinary work, and, furthermore, they cannot escape this duty, because they are called out. I really do think that they are entitled to the ordinary separation allowance.

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LIB

William Cameron Edwards

Liberal

Mr. EDWARDS:

I confess I have never been able to understand why this distinction is made between the subsistence allowance and the separation allowance. I am not a military man, and there are many things in the military line that I do not understand. There may be a good reason for this distinction, but it seems to me that a married man who is separated from his family, even if he is only doing garrison duty at Halifax or some other part of the country, should receive the $20 separation allowance instead of the 45 cents a day subsistence.

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CON

Albert Edward Kemp (Minister of Militia and Defence)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir EDWARD KEMP:

The regulations in regard to this matter have been in force since the war began. I think hon. gentlemen will agree that there is some difference between the man who enlists for service in the city of Halifax, where he is in touch with his family, and to some extent, perhaps, with his ordinary business, and where he has a guiding hand over his family affairs, and the man who goes into the

trenches and undertakes all the hazards of warfare as it is carried on in France and Belgium to-day. I might point out that the 45 cents a day subsistence allowance is what the permanent force were getting whose place these men took.

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LIB

Alexander Kenneth Maclean

Liberal

Mr. A. K. MACLEAN:

But they were volunteers. In the case I am referring to, the two local regiments were called out, and they could not avoid doing duty; that distinction should be taken into consideration. They were called out, I suppose, under the authority of the Militia Council or some other body. I trust the minister will promise me to give the matter some consideration.

I wish to call the minister's attention te .another matter, and perhaps I can best illustrate by giving the facts of one case. A Canadian, soldier went overseas as an officer, and for some reason was courtmartialed and degraded. Later on he joined a British regiment as a private. The department continued to pay the separation allowance to his wife, who was residing in Halifax, without knowledge of his having left the Canadian service, and in this way some $300 or more was paid to her. Subsequently the department's attention was called to the fact, I think by myself, that this man had ceased to be a member of the Canadian force. Regularly since then the wife of this man receives a notice from some branch of the Militia Department requesting her to refund the amount that was improperly paid to her. The amounts were undoubtedly received and used by her in good faith. There are no doubt a

great many cases of this kind; I have heard some of my fellow-members speak of them, and I would like to know what the policy of the department is in regard to such claims. In most cases it will be found utterly impossible to collect them. It seems to me that it means a great deal of labour on the part of some officials of the department to be sending out these notices regularly, without much hope of accomplishing anything. If bona fides can be established, if it can be shown that there was no fraud, I think the Government might as well abandon their claims on these women and wipe the accounts off the slate altogether.

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CON

Albert Edward Kemp (Minister of Militia and Defence)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir EDWARD KEMP:

There have been quite a number of cases where men are far away from their homes and their families, and they are discharged, or something happens to them, and the wife or the one

to whom the separation allowance is assigned, draws it; but, they are not all innocent. When they endorse the cheques, they have to certify that the husband is still serving in the forces. This is printed in good plain English on the backs of the cheques, and they read it at the time of en-dorsation. No doubt there are cases of hardship, but it is very difficult for me to make a statement here that the Government would be permitted to forgive all claims of that kind, because if I did so it would be unfair and unjust, for the reason that most of those claims -arise in respect of people who know what they are doing when they endorse the cheques.

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LIB

Frank Oliver

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER:

Do I understand the minister to say he will be able to give the House the figures as to the unfit men who were in England, and those who have been returned to Canada?

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CON
LIB

Frank Oliver

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER:

I am speaking of those who were unfit when they enlisted, not those who became unfit after enlistment, such as the list I gave the House to-night.

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CON

Albert Edward Kemp (Minister of Militia and Defence)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir EDWARD KEMP:

I cannot see how you could trace out a thing of that kind. How can you get a statement showing that the men who might have been returned from Great Britain were medically unfit when they enlisted? I can assure my hon. friend from Edmonton that I have, since I have been minister, exerted myself to give any information desired by the committee or the House and I shall continue to do so, but in regard to this particular point I do not see how it is possible to get the information. If I thought the information could be obtained I would certainly undertake to obtain it, and bring it down to-morrow; but, as I say, I cannot see how it can be done.

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LIB

Frank Oliver

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER:

Of course, it is not for me to say how it can be done. At the same time, I should imagine the medical records would be complete.

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CON

Albert Edward Kemp (Minister of Militia and Defence)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir EDWARD KEMP:

I will look into it to-morrow morning, and if the hon. member for Edmonton will draw my attention to it again I will give him a further statement. If the information can be obtained he shall have it.

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LIB

Frank Oliver

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER:

In view of the statements in the Bruce, the Baibtie and the Jones reports, this is the most important statement the Government can place before Parliament with reference to the cost of the war and the efficiency of the work done. We

are informed that there- have been enlisted and gone overseas, or are enlisted for overseas service in Canada about 340,000 or

350.000 men. Those are our effective enlistments. I believe we have 130,000 men in Prance. We have had in the neighbourhood of 100,000 casualties, of which I suppose it would not ibe unreasonable to say that possibly twenty-five per cent would not be permanent, which would leave about

75.000 as permanently disabled. In other words we have 130,000 men in France,

75,000 permanent casualties,

11 p.m. making 205,000 effective men ac-* counted for out of 340,000 or

350.000 enlisted. There are still 135,000 men to be taken into consideration. How many of those 135,000 are available for service in France? Because, we must remember we are not fighting this war in Canada nor in England. We are fighting it in France, and it is only the man who is able to fight in France who- is of military value to the Dominion of Canada. Either those 135,000 men are not of military value to Canada, and should not be on the pay list-

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CON

Albert Edward Kemp (Minister of Militia and Defence)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir EDWARD KEMP:

They are all being made use of in England or in France.

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LIB

Frank Oliver

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER:

I do not think the minister is absolutely accurate when he says they are all being made use of. I understand from these reports that there is an effort to keep them in employment as an excuse for their being on the paylist. That is not what we should -be trying to do. We are trying to put men on the fighting line in France to keep them there, and to support them there. If we have 135,000 men who have not been on the fighting line we want to know whether they are fit to go or not, and whether they are a force we can Tely on to reach the front ultimately. The reports of those commissions certainly throw very grave doubt on the efficiency of an unknown proportion of that 135,000 men. We need those men. -So. far as we know they are industrially efficient. If they are not fit for France they are fit for Canada, and they should be either in France or in Canada, or perhaps in England -simply on the way to France. I urge upon the minister that the question I have asked him is a most important question to the people of Canada, as fixing their position in this war, and as to what they have done and what they are able to do. In the past we have deluded ourselves by speaking of the number of men enlisted, when, as a matter of fact, of those nominally enlisted 75,000 were not in service or were found to be un-

fit after enlistment, and left the service. We were not doing ourselves or our cause any good 'by claiming an enlistment of 418,000, when we really-had an ,effective enlistment of a little less than 350,000. We were not doing ourselves any good by claiming an enlistment of 350,000 it, as a matter of fact, a considerable proportion of that number is not fit for the firing line, which is the only place we need soldiers. Any place else a great deal of the work can be done by stenographers or people who are militarily unfit; but we do not want to have to make a pretense of having raised an army of 350,000 men if any such proportion of them as these reports indicate are unfit for the firing line. Let us get down to business and know what we have done, what we can do, and admit that we have not done what we have not done.

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CON

Frederick Laurence Schaffner

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SOHAFFNER:

Like the hon. member for Edmonton (Mr. Oliver) I should like to ascertain how many unfit men were permitted to enlist. The statement of the minister ,is absolutely true, that neither he nor any other man can give the number of men who were unfit when they enlisted; that is absolutely out of the question. In southern Manitoba when the battalions were being enlisted in small towns

and by this means eight or ten battalions were raised that would not otherwise have been raised-the men were examined by the local doctors. It. is true that these doctors were inexperienced in that kind of work, but I believe they did the work honestly, and I can use no better word. The men from Manitoba were gathered at Camp Hughes and there they began their training. The camp had not been running for two- months before a board of three members of the Army Mediical 'Service visited it. The men were stripped, and I believe honestly examined to the very best of the ability of this board, who were as efficient as any three man who- could be found. Some men were discharged. These doctors who discarded these men could not say whether they were unfit when they enlisted. As a medical .man, I am prepared to make the declaration, and I challenge contradiction, that it would be impossible for the hoard to affirm that many of those men were unfit when they enlisted. The battalions went on drilling, and in the fall, before being transported overseas, they were again inspected by a mediical board and still more men were discarded. They went overseas, and before being transported to France were again examined and .more men discarded. It would 'be impossible for the Minister of

Militia ox any other man to say how many of them were unfit when they enlisted.

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LIB

Frank Oliver

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER:

The minister has brought

down a full statement of the discharges of men in Canada. There should be no serious difficulty in giving an equally full statement about the discharges in England before the troops go- to France.

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CON

Frederick Laurence Schaffner

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SOHAFFNER:

I understood the bon. member to ask the minister to give the number of men who were unfit when they were enlisted. That is impossible.

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LIB

Frank Oliver

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER:

The minister has given

the number of men who were unfit when they enlisted but who were discharged in Canada. I whs endeavouring to secure a detailed statement of those who were discharged for like causes after their arrival in England.

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July 31, 1917