Topic: Canadian Militia
The Recent Militia General Order
The Ottawa Times, 11 June 1874
The Globe of the 6th [June, 1874] contains a full, and upon the whole fair, criticism of the changes entailed by the recent Militia General Order, a few of the leading points of which have reference to the numbers to be drilled, the period of training, and the pay of the Active Militia for the years 1874 and 1875. It takes exception, however, in some degree, to the striking off of some corps from the list for pay at the annual encampment for this and the coming year, and also to the nor permitting others, who had not performed the annual drill for 1873 and 1874, to perform it now or hereafter.
We are of the same opinion, however, taking the General Order of 3rd June itself, that the grounds upon which the changes have been made are of the most equitable character. The money appropriation for drill purposes for '74/'75, is only sufficient for the training of 30,000 of all ranks, while the entire force numbered something over 46,000; hence it will be seen that some plan had to be adopted for the striking out of 16,000. In considering this plan the great object in view was to avoid doing injustice to any, or at all events to give precedence in the force to those who had, all things considered, best earned it.
To effect the required reduction, the acting Adjutant General, as will be seen by the general order above referred to, has pursued the only course, by which, according to our view of the matter, the desired result could be fairly arrived at. First, by striking off all corps that had been gazetted, but never equipped; second, by removing from the active list such corps as had become disorganized; and third, by leaving off the list for pay for '74 and '75, all corps that at the annual drill for '73-'74, had mustered under 30 non-commissioned officers and men. The use of the pruning knife here seems to have been highly judicious.
The Globe claims that in the application of the rule, as against corps that had not mustered thirty men at their last drill, some exceptions should be made in favor of companies who had earned a good name and whose quality in every other respect was of a high order. The maintenance of a certain numerical standard is ever as essential to efficiency and as necessary to a deserving character as any other quality; and its absence or a disregard of it must be held to be worthy of the treatment accorded to such corps in the recent General Orders. We cannot see that there is any ground of special indulgence that would fairly free any corps from the operation of this order.
It does appear, however, with respect to another point of objection by the Globe, that it is worthy of consideration. Corps that have been actually caught by the General Order in the act of performing their dill should be dealt with as having "completed" it. But those who might otherwise undertake to do it only after they have been admonished that if they neglected it they would suffer a certain disqualifications, are very properly prevented by the strict terms of the General Order. The reduction, we conceive, has been accomplished with remarkable fairness. It would so far as we can see, by proper under the circumstances, and since the appropriation made by Parliament has been reduced, its propriety is all the more marked.