July 31, 1917 (12th Parliament, 7th Session)


Frederick Laurence Schaffner

Conservative (1867-1942)


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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