The Minute Book
Friday, 24 January 2014

Permanent Force Increases (1905)
Topic: Canadian Militia

Colonel B.H. Vidal, Adjutant-General of the Canadian Militia and officers of The Royal Canadian Regiment in front of the Officers' Quarters, Wellington Barracks, Halifax. Circa, 1905. Source: Statistics Canada website.

Permanent Force Will Consist of 5,000 Men

St John Volunteer Artillery Force May be Increased
Fredericton Will Get Squadron of Cavalry
Where the Men Will be Placed

St John Daily Sun, 7 June, 1905
(Special to the Sun.)

Ottawa, June 6.—In the house this afternoon supply bills were passed for $8,364,522 for the year ending June 30, 1905, and for $36,638,269 for the year ending June 30, 1906.

Sir Fred Borden's resolution regarding salaries and expenses of the Royal Military College was adopted after some debate, the maximum cost being fixed at $35,000.

Sir Frederick Borden's resolution to increase the possible limit of the permanent force to 5,000 men, was taken up. Sir Frederick said that the original limit was 1,000, and that last year it was increased to 2,000. The government was now to take over the garrisons at Halifax and Esquimalt, These would need about 2,500 men or perhaps less. The present permanent force was about 1,200 only. A depot of about 200 men would be established at Montreal, and one called the Strathcona Horse of about 225 men somewhere in the new province of Alberta, at Calgary or Medicine Hat, probably the former. In all about 5,000 men would be needed.

The distribution of the forces will be as follows:

The detailed distribution of these forces would be as follows:

  • One squadron of dragoons at Toronto, one at St. John's Que., and one at Fredericton, N.B., the latter two replacing the infantry, which would then be moved to Montreal;
  • Royal Canadian Rifles (mounted), one squadron at Winnipeg, three in Alberta, and two in Saskatchewan, at placed not yet settles, squadrons to number 125 men;
  • Artillery,
    • Royal Canadian Horse Artillery, two batteries at Kingston, Ont., and half batteries at Winnipeg, and at some place in Alberta, probably Calgary;
    • Royal Canadian Garrison Artillery, two companies in the maritime provinces, at Halifax, one company in British Columbia, at Esquimalt, and two companies at Quebec city;
  • Royal Canadian Engineers, one company at Halifax, one at Esquimalt, and one distributed among the different depots;
  • Infantry, Royal Canadian Regiment, four companies at Halifax, one at Montreal, one at Quebec city, one at London, one at Toronto, one at Fort William, one at Esquimalt, and one company divided between Manitoba and Alberta.
  • The army service, medical and ordnance corps are to be distributed among the different depots.

Sir Frederick Borden explained that this distribution was the result of conferences between the military members of the militia council, and was based primarily upon the instructional requirements of the various provinces in accord with the final distribution of the forces throughout the dominion, and also upon the garrison requirements, and that it had been drawn by General Lake.

Dr. Daniel of St. John asked the minister how in his scheme of defense it was proposed to protect the important port of St. John. It appeared no permanent artillery force was to be stationed there.

Borden fell back on Gen. Lake's recommendations, while promising in a vague way that the volunteer artillery force of St. John would be increased.

Fowler of Kings and Albert badgered the minister with respect to ignoring Sussex in favor of Fredericton, and with leaving St. John unprotected. Finally Borden's resolution passed and the bill will be read a second time tomorrow.

After dinner Sir Frederick Borden read a statement as to the changes in the volunteer militia. The policy of reducing training establishments had been decided on by the militia council before it was decided to take over Halifax and Esquimalt from the imperial government. The council's report foreshadowed the elaboration of the policy of militia increase in the early future, but Gen. Lake, the chairman, had suggested it would take time to decide on particulars.

Borden stated it was proposed to drill 43,000 this year out of a total establishment of 46,000, but Col. Tisdale, after some debate, extracted from Borden the admission that apart from all the blow and bluster about reform and economy there was no practical reduction in the militia strength of Canada. Tisdale insisted on the adoption of a settled policy in dealing with the militia, as nothing was more disastrous to the morale and efficiency of the force than keeping it in a state of uncertainty as to what the nest year might bring forth. The militia items were pretty well disposed on in committee, but at Foster's suggestion two or three were held over until some military men now absent in Ontario should resume their seats.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Updated: Friday, 24 January 2014 12:02 AM EST

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