UBC Archives Audio Recordings Collection

[Interview with Frank Turner, Armed Forces at UBC Project, Part II] Specht, Allen 1974-05-03

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Mr. Frank Turner
May 1, 1974
Interview 506 Tape Two, Side One
Mr. Specht: I have a couple of questions, general questions.
What do you think was the main value of the training program to the services?
Mr. Turner: The main value between the program and the services. Well....
Mr. Specht: The main contribution.
Mr. Turner: I think that it helped a person to grow measurably in all ways in life. It makes them more competent in any given situation, It makes them more tolerant of others and their different view-points. It makes them quite proud of, I believe, being a Canadian. He learns to accept discipline in this he becomes able to be... give himself discipline. He learns self-discipline. Ha... oh I don't know. I would say he grows as a person in every way.
Mr. Specht: How about in terms of... how does this relate to Canadian citizenship?
Mr. Turner: I think it should be instituted so we'd take the war part out of it and everybody should be asked to go through the same thing right now, in all the high schools and colleges and universities and all that.
Mr. Specht: You mean the group experience?
Mr. Turner: I think every person I don't care if it's peace cadet corps or whatever it's called, I think it an excellent idea. I think it's the way in which... a part of your education that should be. And you see, you do a lot of thinking on your own and your allowed to do a lot of thinking and when you make decisions on your own, you learn how to assemble facts and act on facts. You can make decisions with respect to selection, which you should be able to do to make yourself more conscious of your background as a Canadian, your ancestors, your present situation, what you can do in the future. We were talking earlier about the U.N. now one of the major things if you had an international cadet peace corps, that type of thing, in all the universities and all the colleges all around the world and they were caused to come together regularly on a massive scholarship program I think that you would start beating the world problems. You'd institute the world police force in the best sense of the word. That's what I think.
Mr. Specht: To enforce U.N. laws?
Mr. Turner: That's right. That's right. I think that the... most of the problem is lack of communication. Well how do you overcome that in the world? You work up presumably with people respecting one another and their rights and their responsibilities and acting on them/ And you do that on an individual basis. Now I can't get to be able to assess what you're talking about Allen, unless I listen to you and you tell me what your problem is, and I listen to you. I think you get this kind of training in the thing. Nobody is impressed just because you're standing up in the cadet corps thing. I you have a specific job to do, in a specific situation in the cadet corps well then you much be able to do it. And your peers or your fellow cadets are the ones who are really going to judge you on that. And you know yourself whether you're doing it or not, don't you? Wonderful training. Just tremendous.
Mr. Specht: Providing the kind of situation where people can interact in this way? In a structured situation.
Mr. Turner: That's right. I think that, I don't know, somebody said it, 'Architects started things in designs, these became brought about by them and this in turn produced terrific works that have been passed on' and that started away back when. It started with the birth of societies didn't it? And symmetry and order were studied and all the rest of it. Well I really believe that something like that, I mean the cooperation between units the competition and the cooperation between the three service units on the campus at U.B.C. was a very stimulating and healthy thing as well, wasn't it? And we each had a different background and we respected one another and tried to do the best we could to outshine one another, right? And worked together at the same time and had fun together. Well I think on a world-wide basis this would be an excellent thing, really. I guess there's some going on now, but not nearly enough.
Mr. Specht: U.N. organizations like Canadian University Students Overseas is similar to what I think you have in mind. It's a government subsidized organization for students to go overseas and serve in other countries. Are you associated... could you name some of the other groups you were associated with other than, I think you mentioned earlier, before we started recording, you were involved with...
My. Turner: Well I'm involved in, as most people are I guess, in a church group. I'm involved in the service club organization. And I'm involved with a fraternal organization. And I have a great respect for anyone, I think its a combination, I guess... government after all is nothing else but a reflection or the people and participation of people and that's all government is any government and how do you train individuals to be effective in their own government? I think that you have to have some idea of who you are, what you are and where you're going, as an individual and I'm... personally of the opinion that I could do much worse than study as you're doing, history, historical situations and try to understand how people have evolved where they are now. I personally think its useful to be aware of the tact that the seven major religions in the world all have a brotherhood of people as a basic common denominator. Isn't that interesting? Now if there was some way in which I could do a more effective job of that then I think I'd be able to do more than I'm doing now. I don't know how to do it. I think its too bad in a way that there has to be a crisis of some kind or another to cause people to get excited about things. If we want to get excited about pollution well let's get excited about mind pollution as well as the other types and let's get excited about those kind of things.
Mr. Specht: Would you describe yourself as an optimist?
My. Turner: Oh yes. There's no question about that. I don't think there's any doubt in my mind that symmetry and order are here and it's demonstrable in the universe all the time. SO I have to be an optimist. I can't control the sun at all, I
don't think (laughter). And there's no way that I'm going to be able to maneuver the moon around much. So I'm an optimist because I believe that every spring there's lot of renewed indication of this and so I'm an optimist sure. I've been blessed with so many different things, so many ways it's just impossible to be otherwise. It's fantastic. I've been lucky, you know, really. I've been privileged to work with so many people in my lifetime of different ages and different backgrounds. Like my dad right now - ninety one and a half! These people are looking him up and asking him questions to overcome their problems and he's a pretty young 91 and a half.
Mr. Specht: How about U.B.C. people, particularly people you met through your association with U.B.C.?
My. Turner: Oh well I haven't been active there very much at all in the past little while. I certainly have a fantastic regard for Walter Gage. I don't think the province of British Columbia or Canada generally could repay that man at all for what he's done. I think it's a fantastic contribution he's made and is still making. He's a dedicated, sincere, far-reaching, you know, kind of a person and he's the personification of what a university is all about really. What life is all about. He's dedicated his whole life to something. Now there ought to be more ways that we can expose people to that kind of person, through television or something. There's the kind of thing that to me is history. That kind of thing should be still. If you meet a man like that how could you fail to be optimistic? He's helped thousands of people directly and indirectly, thousands! So I don't know, I'm very thankful. I think you and your generation are living at a fantastic, exciting time, I really do. I believe you will be able to create peace that's on an international basis mainly through much greater participation, much, much greater participation.
End of Tape Two, Side One


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