June 23, 1954 (22nd Parliament, 1st Session)


Brooke Claxton (Minister of National Defence)


Hon. Brooke Claxion (Minister of National Defence):

When I noticed this report, Mr. Speaker, I naturally caused inquiries to be made, and I received from General Simonds a telegram explaining the circumstances of his statement and also stating more fully and perhaps more accurately what he said. He was at a meeting of officers of the Canadian Army in Saint John, New Brunswick, and after a talk he gave them he was asked a question which is quite frequently put on similar occasions. I myself have been asked it a great number of times. He was asked what his views were on the subject of national service. He made a reply which I think you could expect almost any officer to make, namely that he would be glad to see every youth in the country receive two years' military training. Then he went on to say:
I believe the vast majority of experienced soldiers would agree with me. But such training was impossible unless it received the wholehearted support of the people of this country and that was a matter for judgment and decision by political leaders, not soldiers. In any event experience tended to show that a period of universal military service of less than two years increased rather than diminished the problem of meeting commitment overseas. Further a system of universal military 83276-412J
Supply-Privy Council service was not a substitution for voluntary service, it could only supplement and never replace the voluntary system.

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