Thomas John BENTLEY

BENTLEY, Thomas John

Personal Data

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)
Swift Current (Saskatchewan)
Birth Date
May 3, 1891
Deceased Date
June 2, 1983
agrologist, farmer, organizer

Parliamentary Career

June 11, 1945 - April 30, 1949
  Swift Current (Saskatchewan)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 233 of 235)

October 30, 1945


This afternoon one or two speeches were made dealing with what the speakers felt was discrimination in connection with promotions in the armed services. If any hon. member wishes to check back, I refer him to page 595 of Hansard where answers are given to some questions that were asked. It would appear that at that time not only was there some discrimination in connection with the matter brought up this afternoon by hon. members across the floor or the suggestion that there was discrimination because of political affiliations or belief, but there was also some discrimination based upon geography or the location of the particular depots.

I checked over these figures, and I found that the ratio of promotions of commissioned ranks to other ranks varied considerably. I found that Pacific command, which is Victoria, showed a ratio of 1 to 11 -7. I thought, with that area being near salt water and the men probably eating a lot of fish, they might have more brains than the men on the prairies. However, when I got down to M.D. No. 3, where there is no salt water, I found the ratio to be 1 to 9-2. Then, when we come to Montreal, M.D. No. 4, we find the ratio is 1 to 9-7. We can work west to Winnipeg where we find that the ratio is 1 to 14-5. We go farther west to Regina and find that the ratio is 1 to 17-4.

It looks to me that the minister has something to explain there, and obviously he will have some kind of explanation to give. But with these figures it will be difficult to explain to the people on the prairies just why they do not have the same ratio of promotions as the other provinces. For the sake of making this available to those members who may be interested and to people outside, I should like to read into the record some figures showing the way in which this works out.

Starting with 'London, which is M.D. No. 1, we find that the total of general service enlisted personnel-this has nothing to do with the N.R.M.A.-all ranks, was 48,250. Of that number, 3,099 were officers and 45,151 other ranks. The ratio there is 1 to 14-5.

In the case of Toronto, M.D. No. 2, the total of general service personnel, all ranks, was 145,583. The total officers were 10,379, and the total of other ranks, 135,204. The ratio in this case wa4 1 to 13.

In the case of Kingston, M.D. No. 3, which comprises the area of Ottawa, where the hon. member for Temiscouata has just told us there are so many brass hats, the total for all ranks was given as 55,495. There were 5,392 officers and 50,103 other ranks, giving a ratio of 1 to 9'2.

In Montreal, M.D. No. 4, the total for all ranks was 72.597. The total for officers was 6,739 and for other ranks, 65,858, giving a ratio of 1 to 9-7.

Quebec, M.D. No. 5: total all ranks, 22,183; total officers, 1,844; total other ranks, 20,339, or a ratio of 1 to 11.

Halifax, M.D. No. 6 and this belies the idea that fish make brains, because all these figures approximate to those of Regina, which is irf the prairie provinces-total, all ranks, 49,487; officers, 2,278; total other ranks, 46,709, or a ratio of 1 to 16-8.

Saint John, M.D. No. 7: total all ranks, 32,268; total officers, 1,912; total other ranks, 30,356, or a ratio of 1 to 15-8. Fish do not do them much good.

Winnipeg, M.D. No. 10: total all ranks, 54,061; total officers, 3,478; total other ranks, 50,583, or a ratio of 1 to 14-5.

Victoria, M.D. No. 11 (Pacific command): total all ranks, 54,746; total officers, 4,291; total other ranks, 50,455, or a ratio of 1 to 11-7.

Regina, M.D. No. 12: total all ranks, 44,684; total officers, 2,426; total other ranks, 42,258, or a ratio of 1 to 17-4.

Calgary, M.D. No. 13: total all ranks, 46,919; total officers, 2,737; total other ranks, 44,182, or a ratio of 1 to 16-1., As they get nearer British Columbia the intelligence quotient apparently goes up.



We also have some from outside Canada. Where they come from is not indicated, presumably from other parts of the world: a total of all ranks, 1,415; officers, 261; total other ranks, 1,154, or a ratio of 1 to 4-4. It is not very flattering to the intelligence quotient of. the whole- Canadian nation, when this latter group have a higher ratio of officers to the total than even the best of our Canadian military districts.

As I say, there was talk this afternoon of discrimination in respect of the language question. Whether it is well founded or not I do not know. There, was talk of discrimination because of political beliefs; that was denied by the Minister of Agriculture. No doubt some reason will be shown for this condition I have mentioned, but it will be difficult, unless the reason is good, to explain to the people of the prairie provinces why they do not have the same ratio of promotions as in M.D. No. 3 around Ottawa, and in Quebec and Victoria.

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October 15, 1945


Is flour that is milled in Canada from western Canada wheat and sold on the export market subject to the export ceiling of $1.55 per bushel?

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October 10, 1945

1. What has been done with respect to proceeding with the irrigation project in the Duncairn, Swift Current. Waldeck, Rush Lake, Herbert, Morse, Hodgeville area?

2. What estimated time will be required to somplete this work?

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October 1, 1945

Mr. T. J. BENTLEY (Swift Current):

Mr. Speaker, I hesitate to labour the point. I had expected a little more debate from other quarters of the house either for or against this motion, and left my notes upstairs intending to use them this evening. Consequently I shall be very brief in my remarks, but I should like to emphasize just a few things which, although they have been brought out already, have not been emphasized quite as much as I believe they should be.

The mover of the motion (Mr. Fair) made an excellent address, giving all the figures necessary to convince anyone who is open to conviction, so that there is no need for me or anyone else to recapitulate what he said. The next speaker, the hon. member for Mel-fort (Mr. Wright), gave a good picture of the actual position of the people outside the financial field. The hon. member for Lake Centre (Mr. Diefenbaker) carried on from there, while the last speaker (Mr. Irvine) summarized what had been said previously.

Hon. members have been told already of the organizations throughout the country which have supported this resolution. These

Soldier Settlement

include the Alberta legislature, by no means all of whose members are returned soldiers. Hon. members have mentioned also the legislature of Saskatchewan, which is not composed entirely of returned men either. They have mentioned the Saskatchewan wheat pool, not all of whose 165 delegates are returned soldiers. They have mentioned also a very important body, the association of rural municipalities of Saskatchewan, which is composed of men who are councillors and reeves of rural municipalities, men who cannot be called softheaded or soft-hearted when dealing with the finances in their trust.

Hon. members have supported this resolution for a variety of reasons. One which was mentioned only once during the debate today-and was not then emphasized-is that the plight of these old soldier settlers has an emotional appeal. I should like to be able ;o draw a picture of conditions; if I were like an hon. member who sits opposite me, I would do so. I would describe some of the homes in which these people have had to live during the years, homes in which they have endured struggles, fighting climatic conditions and sickness in the families.

I should like the house to realize that those chaps went through a terrific strain many years ago. In the light of the war just passed, perhaps our little effort of 1914 pales into insignificance. But do not forget the boys who clamoured around the Glory Hole, the M and N trenches, the boys who were up around Sanctuary Wood, and Ypres, the boys who were down at Regina trench and other places on the Somme; the boys who were at St. Albert, Amiens, Passchendaele, and all those other places. They went through tough times, too. And they come home- many of them-not as vigorous as some might judge from outward appearances.

Those chaps settled on these soldier settlement farms. The percentage who now need assistance is not very great. The financial outlay will not be great because, as other hon. members have said, the cost of collection will use up a great deal of it, anyway. So that the necessity for spending the whole

87.000,000 in doing this is not going to be there. _ _

It has been said by some people, in private conversation-and I believe this statement has been attributed to the Minister of Finance (Mr. Ilsley), while in conversation with the delegation last spring-that these men should live up to their contracts, and that if they cannot they should apply for veterans' allowances, or should come under some scheme of that kind. People have said to me that that would be better-"Give the old duck his $60

a month, or whatever it will be under the veterans' allowances provisions, and let him live in comfort in some small village."

Well, maybe he would live in great comfort; but remember the necessity for human association. He has lived in his little log shack, or his small farm home. He may have raised a family. That is his home, and he does not want to come in under any veterans allowances scheme which would make him live away from home. While the soldier settlers are not all of one mind in these matters, yet I believe the great bulk of them are just like you and me. These are the homes they have lived in through all the years; surely now they have earned them.

Those men risked their Lives to get that land. Not many years ago in the history of this country a great organization risked money to build a railroad across the country. They got tremendous grants of land to take care, as they said, of the risk they were taking in case the venture did not turn out well. They did not risk anything in the way of life or death. True, there may have been a few shot at with arrows by some Indian who was a little bit too well-filled with fire water. They may even have had to dodge a few stones thrown by some exuberant workman on pay day when the Canadian Pacific railway was being built. However, the risk was not very great, and these people built a great transportation system. They did receive tremendous grants of land. Every soldier settler in the west, and many others besides, know that from the time they cut cordwood at $1.25 a cord, and put it into boxcars on the railway, they were making revenue for one of our great transportation systems. When they sold a pig or a cow or some cream or a few bushels of wheat, they made a further contribution to that transportation system. So, that, even though we gave them title to their land at the present time, we could not say we gave them everything, because they have made their contribution.

Many of them are now old. It has been pointed out that a twenty-year extension of their debt might possibly mean that much less extension on their hope of living, because the worry would probably kill many of them before the twenty years had expired.

I should like to hear other hon. members indicate their support. I realize that many of them are not close to this problem, and we cannot expect them to be as sympathetically inclined as we are. But I believe I can say for the four hon. members who have spoken that we would like other hon. members who are not so well acquainted with the problem

Soldier Settlement

to lend their support. We have spoken earnestly and sincerely on behalf of the soldier settlers this afternoon.

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October 1, 1945

1. How many veterans of this war have been settled in Saskatchewan under the Veterans Land Act, in (a) the park areas; (b) the prairie areas; (c) the Swift Current electoral district ?

2. What is the largest farm settled on under the act and at what cost?

3. What is the smallest farm settled on under the act and at what cost?

4. What is the average sized farm settled on under the act and at what cost?

5. In each ease, what are the locations by land descriptions and nearest trading point?

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