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46   DAYS OF PREPARATION

any expectations that were held before the country was subjected to so severe a test.

It would be equally vain to deny that Sir Sam Hughes possessed in a high degree the capacity of irritating those with whom he came in contact, soldiers as well as civilians. They complained that he was high-handed, that he would criticize officers harshly in presence of their men, that he administered his department without reference to the wishes of his colleagues.

The difficulty came to a head about the time of the arrival of the Duke of Devonshire in Canada. The appointment of Mr. R. B. Bennett, M.P., as Director of National Service, of F. B. McCurdy as Parliamentary Under-Secretary of Militia, and of Sir George Perley as Minister of the Overseas Forces of Canada, all had a tendency to curtail the powers of the Minister of Militia. Sir George Perley's appointment was made on October 31st, 1916, and it was soon after this that Sir Sam Hughes broke with the Government. The control of the Canadian forces in England was one of the main points of difference. In the correspondence between Sir Sam and the Prime Minister, the former quoted Sir George Perley as having said, early in the war, when Sir George was High Commissioner to England, "You do not pretend, surely, to have anything to do with Canadian soldiers in Britain." In November, 1916, Sir Sam made a speech before the Empire Club in Toronto, in which he said that for the first year of the war, Canada had practically no control of the forces overseas, and that Canadian equipment was scrapped in England and replaced by inferior articles.

In essence, therefore, the quarrel was a conflict for power. The Minister of Militia claimed certain control over the forces in Britain, which was disputed, and he complained that he had suffered from intrigue and meddling in the affairs of his department. On the other hand, Sir Robert Borden said that the minister seemed actuated by a desire and even an intention to administer


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