Legislative Assemblies of Alberta and Saskatchewan, 8 October 1896, Alberta and Saskatchewan Debates over Confederation with Canada.



An Able Speech by the Member for Moose Jaw.

the Requirements and claims of The Territories from Parliament well set Froth-Further Considerations of School Legislation- Doctors' Fees and General Notes.

Thursday, 8th October, 1896.
Mr. Ross, in rising to move the adoption of a motion which had been some time before the House, said he wished to refer to the position of the Assembly regarding memorials to the Parliament of Canada, the position they had been in heretofore, and his opinion with regard to what views should be given, and at what time, to the committee he proposed, should it be appointed. It was nothing new for the House to memorialize the Dominion Government in regard to subjects contained in the motion he was proposing. As far back as 1886 the North-West Council saw fit not only to memorialize the Dominion Government, but send a delegation to Ottawa to press upon Government and Parliament their views in regard to their position. He was a member of that delegation, and he remembered that the Government gave them to understand that they would be able to deal with the Territories in a somewhat different manner than they had been dealing with the provinces, and in a somewhat different manner than what the Territories were then being dealt with. They asked for something to be given in the shape of
but not in it entirety. The Dominion Government brought in legislation, giving certain powers to the House, and extended powers to the Assembly when established, but it was found that the machinery they proposed to give did not work well. He thought a great deal was due to the members who had composed the executive. He did not speak for himself, because the difficulties had been gone through with before he became a member; but a great deal was due to then for the manner in which they had been able to work out, under the institu tion, or the law as established by the Dominion, as satisfactory a solution of those difficulties as they had done. Prior to 1887 it was necessary for the people in the Territories to petition Parliament through the House. It was the custome of the old Council to memoralize the Dominion Government on all subjects,— in fact it was the only way the people of the Territories could speak to the Dominion Parliament. But in 1887, in accordance with a memorial, the Dominion Government saw fit to give the Territories
and the Senate. The Territories then sent to Parliament four members to represent their views, and it was through these members they expected their petitions should be placed before Parliament, and through them they had their wants explained and pressed before the Parliament of Canada. But this particular subject it had become a necessity for the Assembly to deal with it by memorial because it was one which appertained to that House itself. It was a question upon which the House was seized of all facts, and in a better position that Dominion members to memorialize the Dominion Parliament. In 1889 they memorialized Parliament setting forth their position, and what they considered to be their requirements. The most important clause of that memorial was that they asked for full responisble government in the Territories in addition to the other powers possessed by the Assembly granted by the British North America Act, with the exception of that most important power of raising money by borrowing upon the public credit. In 1891 2 they again memorialized the Dominion Government, and the House was of the same opinion as in 1889, respecting the financial situation. He was pleased to find that the Executive Committee at no time in 1893-4-5 deviated one lots from the views expressed by the Assembly of 1889-92. Of course they had from time to time very forcibly pointed out to the Government the great needs of the Territories under the institution which had been provided : the increased services on account of the increased population, and it had been in such a way as to merit the confidences of the House. He would now endeavor to point out what in his opinion should by the text of the next memorial should the House see fit to grant the Committee, and should that Committee report to the House with re- grad to the subjects mentioned in the motion. In the first place they required
What extension did they require? The powers they mow had as an Assembly very nearly approached the powers the provinces had except in regard to the great power of borrowing money upon the public credit. They required an extension that instead of an Executive Committee, an Executive council should be given the House. Even supposing to day they were able to exercise nearly all the power of a Council, still if even only for status it would give the House they should have the powers of a Council. but it would do more than that. It would place them in the position that the Executive-Council would also have the power of calling the House together when they might see fit. It would also have the power of advising as to the dissolution of the House; the power to advise as to who should act during elections in this country. They had fortunately had Lieut.-Governors of late who had always acceded to their request, he believed, in this regard. But the time might arrive when the Lieut. Governor in the Territories might be arbitrary in these matters, and they might find it work detrimentally to the House. Again; they would be given the
of this country. They were entitled to that as were the provinces, and he thought they were in as good a position to regulating the appointment of coroners in this country. Above all that, the Assembly would be placed in this position that in dealing with the higher powers at Ottawa the House, through an executive council, would be in a different position than it is today. then again they would have as absolute powers as the provinces with regard to legislation. To day they might legislate upon any subject, and then their legislation was subject to legislation at Ottawa already on the Statute Book, or which may be placed on the Statute Book of the Dominions. As a case in point, he referred to the Infectious Disease (Animals) Ordinance. For many years they had what was known as "glanders" among horse herds of this country. It was a serious matter, and the House legislated upon it. They found no legis lation had been passed by the Dominion Government with regard to it, and he believed he might say without any chance of contradiction that the Assembly dealt with it for a year or two longer he believed that would have been stamped out of this country. But a year ago legislation was passed at Ottawa taking away the jurisdiction of the Assembly, and they were compelled to stop their steps in that direction. In that one case it was shown that the Assembly should have power to deal with those questions, and not subject anything except veto. He also thought they should have further power to legislate in regard to civil rights and property. At present they had
The land registration law was entirely under the control of the Dominion by one of its Acts. And in many cases they were confronted with this question of jurisdiction. The time had come when they should have complete control in regard to that subject. They found in the estimates $18,000 for the maintenance of offices in the Territories, but they didn't find a credit in regard to the revenue from that particular source. The time had come when they should deal- and they could do it- with their financial laws, because at the present time the Income from the registration service was about sufficient to cover the expenditures, Again; he considered they should have legislation from Ottawa along the same lines as the province of Manitoba respecting the roads and road allowances. To-day the Assembly had to go through a torturous route to obtain any action in regard to the closing of old roads or opening up of new roads. That question became a very burning one in Manitoba and was dealt with by the Dominion Parliament a few years ago by giving the provinces certain powers of legislation. The Assembly should ask that similar powers be extended to the Territories; they had a right to control those matters. His reaction for making the motion in the way he did was that the House might discuss the question prior to going into the committee . He thought they should have a thorough discussion so that when the committee sat, if it was appointed, it would be seized of the views of the members of the House and be more able to intelligently draft a memorial in accordance with the wishes of the majority of the House.
in regard to this question if they expected to get anything. It would never do to have differences of opinion in regard to what position or status they should be placed in. Were they to have serious differences of opinion with regard to that, they might expect, when the Parliment of Canada came to deal with them, that it would be said "The people there are so divided that we think we had better leave this over for a year or two until they have come to some conclusion as to what it is they exactly want." The Assembly should therefore thresh the question well out so that the memorial may express the opinion of the House as a whole. He would now deal with
He would not exactly take the line taken by past memorials for the purpose of pressing their claim. It was very easy for them to make out as they did in 1889 and in 1891-2, a very strong case showing that they ought to be treated exactly the same as other provinces in regard to their constitution. They must take a little different ground in dealing with their financial circumstances. If, for instance, they did not ask for power to take over the administration of justice pure and simple, in the Territories, then they must admit they were not exactly in the same position as the provinces. If they did not ask for power to borrow money upon the public credit, and to subsidise railways, they were again in a different position to the people of the provinces. He proposed to make the argument along the lines of their
and the services which would accrue from year to year, and what would be required to carry out those services. As had been well put by the leaders of the House, the present constitution was not of their creating; it was a creation of the Dominion Parliament. They had placed the Assembly to its present position. The Dominion Parliament had for years treated them as a branch of the Department of the Interior, and it was the right and duty of the Dominion Government to provide the money to run the machinery which they (the Dominion Government ) has set in motion. Money, it had been said, was like the oil to machinery, and if they had created the machinery they must provide the oil (hear, hear). In 1891 the population of the Territories was 66, 799. That was according to the Dominion census. At the same time they found that they amount granted for the services which were then being rendered was $211, 200. that sum would be far more than sufficient if the amount they were getting to-day was anything like sufficient for the Territories. But at that time it was not more than sufficient; it was a fair grant to the Territories. They had, however, increased in their population, and necessarily the services had increased, from year to year the Executive had to submit estimates to the House, and they were painfully aware of the fact that
to meet the increasing services. It must be a source of pleasure to know that although the Territories were no making great strides in population, still some substantial increase in being made. In 1894 the population was 86,000 in round numbers. If the population had increased from 66, 799 and in 1891 to 86, 000 in 1894 it was fair for them to assume that the population had increased in that ratio they would have to-day 113, 000 people in the Territories. With that number of people the services had increased necessarily in the same ratio as between 66, 000 people and 113, 000 people. They found that instead of $211, 000 as in 1891, they had $242, 000 to provide for these services. In other words,as was well and ably put in the House of Commons by a former member of the Assembly the other day, they had increased in their grants 15 per cent. while their population had increased 70 per cent. That surely must be considered by the Parliament of Canada in dealing with the Territories; they saw that they has increased from 66, 799 in 1891 to an estimated population at the present day of 113, 000. he would now turn for a moment or two to the statement's which had been made in the House with regard to
and the reasons why it should be so. He was endeavoring from these statements to prove that they were entitled to a larger grant and to being put in the same position as the other provinces. They based their calculations in former years nearly altogether one estimated population; to-day they were more able to come exactly to their position. They had taken the increase between 1891 and 1894. With a population of 113, 000 to-day, if they were dealing with the Dominion Government now as the provinces in asking for a subsidy, they might ask that the estimated population be based upon a term of five years. Were that done, they would find, taking the same ratio of increase as before stated they would be entitled to an estimated population of 141, 000. The first item upon which the subsidy was granted to the different provinces was a per capita grant on the estimated population. Under that head the Territories would, at 80 cents per head, to-day be entitled to $112, 800, on the per capita subsidy. Were the Territories dealing with the Dominion Government upon the basis he had stated they would be entitled to a debt allowance, or a capitol amount, - which was made up by an allowance made per head to the different provinces of a certain debt which was assumed by the Dominion of Canada at Confederation. Under that the Territories would be entitled to $27.22 upon actual population. That was the original computation at confederation. Further debts were assumed from the older provinces, which made it equal to $32.43 per head. Manitoba was dealt with on that figure at the last settlement made by them. To deal with the Territories at this time, and with an allowance of 5 per cent, they would be entitled to a grant of $183, 229. There was one other estimate in the subsidy of the provinces which the Territories, he supposed, would be entitled to. That was an allowance for the cost of government. The allowance for the different provinces ranged from $30, 000 to $80, 000. In Manitoba, he believed, it was $50, 000. If in the province of Manitoba, with its smaller area to govern, they were entitled to $50, 000 for cost of government, it was fair to say that the Territories, - having an area many times larger than Manitoba, having difficulties to overcome many times greater than Manitoba,- it was fair to say that the Territories should at least be entitled to $50, 000 under that head. They were therefore
under those three heads alone. One other source of revenue they could expect to increase their income from was the land. But all that could be done at the present time would be able to make demand on account of the want of lands. They could not at this time go into any actual computation and say what they would be willing to accept in that regard. The province of Manitoba, with only a small population in its early days, felt that when the Dominion Government made certain propositions to them with regard to the subsidy, and saw they would allow Manitoba $45,000 in lieu of the lands, they thought they were getting quite a snap, and took it quickly. And then at their leisure they regretted it, for in a short time Manitoba found that any such settlement as that would be such as to put to province in a position as not to be able possibly to carry on the business of government. They therefore had to go to the Dominion Government and ask for better terms in connection with that particular item. He was very much mistaken if Manitoba to-day was not in a very bad position on account of the settlement they made in regard to the lands. The Territories must not put themselves in that position by saying what they would be willing to accept for many years in regard to the great heritage they had become possessed of. There was that
which had been bartered away from the community. The people, and they alone, should be entitled to a revenue from that. That had been recognized by the Dominion Government in dealing with different provinces. In view of the fact that the land had passed from them, the govern, ment made Prince Edward Island an allowance of $40, 000 a year. It was possible the Territories could say they should receive a certain a amount in view of the fact that any revenue which accrued from the land did not come to us but went to the Dominion. It would be argued possibly by the Government of Canada, and by the people of Eastern Canada, that there were no revenues from the lands in this country. But there was a very ready answer to that. He could not see how it would be possible to gave a revenue from the lands of this country when the lands had been given away for public works in this country. There had been given away millions of acres of land here for subsides to railways. The people of eastern Canada said, "we have built for you a large public work in the building of the C.P.R." True, but that work was undertaken for Canada, and it was supposed it would be of course a greater benefit to Eastern Canada than to Western Canada, because the population was in Eastern Canada. Not only were the Territories placed in the position of having so much to pay per head on the indebtedness incurred in the building of this road,- he meant in the subsidy given to the C.P.R.,-but they were also in the position that after having paid their share equally with the other people in cash, they had had their lands taken away from them. They must be taken into consideration, and he had no doubt would be, by the Dominion Government. Had the Territories been plac ed in the same position as the other provinces; had the Territories been, for the building of this railroad, simply taxed so much per head; had an extra csh subsidy of $25, 000, 000 been given to the C.P.R. instead of the acres of land subsidy, which was valued at $1 per acre, it would be found that Canada as a whole would to-day be paying an increased yearly interest of $750, 000. Today the Territories had to pay their portion of that $750, 000 of interest upon the $250, 000, 000 of cash, which was given to the C.P.R., and at the time they were placed in the position of having had taken from them their only sources of revenue,- the lands. In all the provinces the railroads had been subsidis ed by cash subsides. In the Territories not only had they subsidised the C.P.R., but even railways built in Manitoba had been bonussed by lands taken out of the Territories. To his mind
unless the Dominion of Canada intended to give the Territories a cash subsidy in lieu of the land taken from them. To show that the Parliament of Canada should at once give them an increased subsidy, he would point out that in 1891-2 there were in operation in the Territories 245 schools; at the end of 1895 there were from 395 to 400. They had increased enormously in that service. Other services also had increased. The increased of population in this country there had been an increase of settlements, they had, unfortunately in some instances, branched out until there were
and facilities must be provided for marketing which people produced. With increased settlements and incrsed services it was found impossible to keep up the requirements of the country. They were so hampered on account of the fact that their revenues wereso circumscribed that they had had all these six or seven years to keep within the old services,—the old limits. It had been
in any way the new industries, or to do anything in that direction in the interests of the people. He had often heard it said on the floor of this House that some new departure shoudl be made. If they had to deal with the estimates, hon. members would wish some time there were no new departures to make, but that instead, some of the old services could be cut off. It had been a question of being able from time to time to make the amount of money meet the old much required services under the institutions they had. So long as the subsidy remained as at present,or anything nearly like it, he could assure hon. members,—and he did not care who might have the managementof the finances,—the House never would be in a position to make any very great, new or startling changes. As an old member of this Assembly,—one ofthe oldest he thought; he had been there continuously from 1883,—he might say that the financial question had always been one which had taken up considerable of their attention. As far back as 1884, a member who had let this House lately, and himself, saw fit to pass certain resolutions in regard to the financial sitution;—no, he made a mistake, he meant tey had introduced those resolutions, and as often as they were introduced they were rejected. But ever since 1884 they had given attention to this question, and he expected they would have to give considerble attention to it for many years to come. And every member of the House, no matter what his opinions may have been inregard to those who from time to time may hve held teh reins of government at Ottwa, had on every occasion striven in the interests of that House, and he hoped that would continue. He hoped every member of that Assembly would continue to be a member of the Assembly—first, and last, and always; and would look to the interests of the House rather than to the interests of any particular set of men who may be ruling the roost below. They went to the House to rule in the interests of the country locally. He was sure they would do so. For his part his efforts would never relax in that regard. He would be as zealous in the causeas he had ever been, and he believed every member would be more zealous because from year to year they found their
What was a difficult solution for them in 1891 was far more difficult in 1896-7; wht was a grievance in 1891 was a grievance of greater extent in 1896-7. The time had come when the Dominion Parliament must deal with the Territories in a more liberal spirit the time had come when they must get out of leading strings; the time had comewhen they must assert themselves; and the time had come when the Dominion Parliament, he believed, if proper representations were made of it,— if that Parliament knew its duty and would see its way, would give the Territories the reasonable and just demands they claim (applause). The hon. member concluded bymoving the following resolution; "That a Select Committee consisting of Messrs. Insinger, Brett, Magrath, Tims, Knowling, Lineham, Clinkskill, Bulyea, Brown, Meyers, Neff, Haultain and the mover be appointed for the purpose of drafting a memorial to his Excellency the Governor General in Council setting forth the financial and constitutional position of the Assembly, the amendments which should be made to the North-West Territories Act to secure fuller powers, and the basis upon which the subsidy should be determined."
Mr. Haultain seconded.
The motion was unanimously approved without discussion.
On motion of Mr. Mgrath the following was agreed to: "That an Order of this House do issue for a return showing all papers and documents in connection the case of Robert Farrar, who was fined at Lethbridge in 1895, for a breach of the Prairie Fire Ordinance."
In committee of the whole progress was made with the Sale of Goods bill.


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