House of Commons, 21 April 1897, Canadian Confederation with Alberta and Saskatchewan

[APRIL 21, 1897] 1030


Mr. DAVIN moved for:
Copies of all letters, petitions, memorials and suggestions received by the Government, or any member thereof, since the 23rd June, 1896, to amend the North-west Territories Act with a view of enlarging the powers of the executive of the North-west Territories and to increase the subsidy of the North-west Territories.
He said : This is a motion of a character such as I have from year to year brought before the House, sometimes with successful results and sometimes without anything being accomplished. Last session, my hon. friend from Alberta (Mr. Oliver), brought forward a motion of a similar kind and nothing resulted from it. Subsequently, a session of the North-west Assembly was held and a memorial was passed which was forwarded to the Dominion Government. That memorial asked for several things, that there is no sign so far that the Government intends to grant. During last session, in regard to one part of the question that that memorial deals with, a member of the executive of the North-west Territories came down to Ottawa, and one of the papers in the Territories had an article on the subject, in which it said :
Mr. Ross's first visit furnishes the Government a fair occasion to prove that the new-born confidence of the people in the Territories has not been misplaced. The attitude of the late Government towards our legislative assembly was of late years most unfriendly. Year after year, the chairman of the executive journeyed to Ottawa to lay the fair and just claims of the North-west Territories before the Government, and year after year these just claims were contemptuously disregarded. The assembly appealed time and again lfor some definite subsidy, to do away with the ihand-to-mouth system, and allow the framing and institution of a progressive policy for the administration of local affairs. A deaf ear was turned to these appeals. Mr. Laurier has thus an early opportunity to demonstrate that he intends to deal justly and generously by the Territories.
Well, Sir, nothing was done last session by the Government of the Prime Minister who was thus appealed to by name, and there does not appear any evidence, from the Queen's Speech or from the Estimates now before us, that there is an intention of doing anything. There is, however, plenty of time for the Government to reconsider its position, and to decide to do something to show itself, as we are told by that paper, more generous than the previous Government. Let me say, Mr. Speaker, in justice to that previous Government, that everything that was done for the North-West 1031 [COMMONS] 1032 Territories was done by them. They have               done a great deal in the Territories. and             from time to time. at my instance. they did                 advance the bounds of the powers of the                 North-west Territories. and they did other                     things for us. not merely at my instance in regard to these other things. but at the instance of myself and my colleagues, and those of us who went to wait on the Government as petitioners. But, Mr. Speaker, it was on the floor of this House that we accomplished the giving to the North-west Territories of what was properly described in this House last session by the hon. member for Alberta (Mr. Oliver), and as described in this memorial passed by the legislative assembly: as practically responsible government. In 1887 the Lieutenant- Governor of these Territories was a Czar. and the assembly had practically no power whatever; but in 1887 the Territories were represented in this House, and from that moment the members of this Parliament moved in the direction of giving responsible government to the Territories. One of these members from the North-west Territories had a Bill on the paper providing that full responsible government be given to the Ter ritories, and thereupon, Sir John Macdonald brought down a Bill under which he gave us what was called an advisory council. That advisory council was found not to work well, nor did it give such power as should have been given to the Territories. and so we subsequently got what was called an executive committee. That executive committee had most of the powers of the government of a province, but the means of getting it into existence is awkward, and the means of continuing it, if one of its members should be destroyed by death or, resign, is also awkward. You have not, properly speaking, a responsible government there, although you have all the powers, with two or three exceptions, that are given to the provinces. For instance, under the present system I do not think you could possibly have party government. I do not     think you could raise party issues under the present conditions, if it were found desirable to do so; because these four men are not a. government chosen by one man who is asked to construct. a government for the Lieutenant—Governor, but they are chosen by the assembly, and although there is one first among them called the chairman of the executive committee, nevertheless, he has not at all the power of a Prime Minister. I may tell you that the memorial passed unanimously in the assembly, and I wish to call the attention or the Government here to what it says :
The assembly is of the opinion that to remedy this undesirable state of things—
Which I have just now described.
—it is not necessary to have recourse to granting a full provincial status.
You will observe, Mr. Speaker, that the assembly does not want to have the full provincial status given to them. I am not going to discuss that. Probably I do not know why they do not want it; perhaps I cannot gather from the debates why they do not want it. I myself now hold the same opinion which I held in 1887: that the best thing that could be done for these Territories would be to give them full responsible government. That is my opinion. but when you have the whole assembly of the North-west Territories stating that they do not want full responsible government, it would be very improper on the part of a member of this House. and very improper even if this whole House were unanimous, to force full responsible government upon them. Therefore. although I have not changed my own opinion. I am not here to-day to ask for anything more than the people of the Territories have themselves asked for. I shall point out later on the very important consequences that follow fiom their not asking for full responsible government. When the change was made by the late Government shortly before it went out of power. whereby the amount of money placed at the disposal of the Northwest Territories Assembly was given en bloe, and not voted as a specific vote, a course should then have been taken by legislation to devise a safeguard which no longer exists in consequence of that change. It is, of course, necessary to have certain safeguards-for instance, over the expenditure of money ; because the Government of the North-west Territories has its pupil-like character of which it has no wish to divest itself; and we, in voting the money, must be in a position to ask this Government to show us how every farthing of the money has been spent, and whether it has been properly and judiciously expended ; that is, of course, speaking broadly.
Now, they want two things—they want a change in the powers they exercise, and they want a larger subsidy.
They are of opinion that the time has come that their executive government should be put on a firmer basis, by substituting for the executive committee an executive council.
I have described what they have at present, and of that the memorial says :
It is evident that the assembly, having the power to vote money for distinct services, should have the right to control the proper carrying out of its intentions.  
As in the present more developed state of the country, which has as much or more need for an intelligent and permanent administration and supervision of its resources and requirements as any other part of Canada, it is impossible for the assembly to act as an executive council ; they have been obliged to make provision in their several ordinances to entrust the administering of their laws to the Lieutenant-Governor, acting by and with the advice and consent of the committee created by federal law for the purpose of ad vising with relation to expenditure only. They cannot, however, be sure that in taking the only 1033 [APRIL 21, 1897] 1034 possible steps within their power to meet the necessity, they have not exceeded their powers.
That is a very important thing. There is to my mind, as there is evidently to the minds of the whole assembly, a clear doubt whether, in adopting ordinances providing a modus vivendi, so to speak, they have not exceeded their powers ; because they are to some extent in the position of an inferior assembly amending the legislation of this supreme Dominion Parliament. Besides, the memorial points out :
The present machinery does not admit of development, as for instance, in the direction of division into departments with responsible heads. The executive committee also has not the right to advise the Lieutenant-Governor in matters not contained in the ordinances, notably the appointment of justices of the peace, and the convening and dissolving of an assembly.
Now, what they suggest is, that the Parliament should amend the section of the Northwest Territories Act of 1891 (54 and 55 Victoria) which is substituted for section 13 of the North-west Territories Act, chapter 50 of the Revised Statutes. That is the section which defines the powers of the assembly, and enumerates the various subjects on which it may legislate. They suggest that in that section this change should be made :
The legislative assembly shall exclusively have power to make ordinances for the government of the organized Territories in relation to the classes of subjects next hereinafter mentioned, that is to say.
While Parliament cannot divest itself of its paramount right of legislation in the Territories, it is desirable that it should not, as it often has done, unintentionally perhaps, by legislation partly or wholly repeal the powers given to the Territories under that section 13, as may easily be done under the law as it is at present.
Then they suggest that we should add a clause to the North-west Territories Act giving power to the assembly, notwithstanding anything in this Act or any other Act of the Parliament of Canada, to repeal the Territories Real Property Act. The object of that is this. You have given them the right over property and civil rights. They can legislate on subjects dealt with by this Real Property Act. They have already made ordinances on those subjects. I am not sure that you have not on your Table at the present moment a Bill dealing with matters of this kind. But it is palpable that, if their ordinances varies in the least from the legislation of this Parliament on that subject, it is ultra vires. So that what they ask for there is, I think, reasonable, and what the Government can hardly refuse, if it intends that the powers given them shall not be illusory.
Then, they suggest the repeal of section 17 of the North-west Territories Act of 1894, and to insert :
There shall be a council to aid and advise in the government of the Territories, to be styled the executive council of the Territories, and such council shall be composed of such persons and under such designations as the Lieutenant-Governor shall from time to time think fit.
It is palpable that this is a demand for responsible government pure and simple ; and if you grant that request, the only difference between the Territories and the provinces would be that under clause 13 the assembly of the Territories would be deprived of the authority to legislate on one or two subjects, and one or two other powers which a provincial legislature has— for instance, the power to borrow money ; but maugre these two or three subjects, you would give them responsible government if this third request were granted.
Then, they wish to have sub-clause C of subsection 7 of section 13 repealed—that which relates to insurance companies. They very properly say that there is no reason for depriving an assembly of men who are just as intelligent, enlightened and experienced as the men in any assembly of any province, of the power of giving a charter to an insurance company. It is palpable that that very elementary right of a civilized community should be within their power.
Then they wish to have inserted a clause in the North-west Territories Act giving to the Lieutenant-Governor in Council the power to appoint sheriffs, and so on. That is a mere detail, and I do not attach much importance to it. If the Government go as far as the Act, they will probably give them these powers.
Then, they suggest that, subject to conditions, the following subsection should be inserted :—
The establishment, maintenance and management or hospitals, charities and eleemosynary institutions in and for the Territories, and repeal sections 103, 104 and 105 of chapter 50, R.S.C., in so far as they are inconsistent with the powers asked for.
Now, you will see that in the Estimates brought down, on page 67, under the head of "Government of the North-west Territories," you have "Insane patients, Manitoba, $30,000." What happens at present is this, that any insane patients we have are sent to Manitoba, and there is no reason whatever why we should not take charge of our own insane. Lunatics from the Territories are, under an agreement between the federal authorities and the province of Manitoba, which expires in 1898, sent to the asylums of that province, and at present there are in such asylums 74 persons costing one dollar per day. Surely the assembly is only rational in contending that they could perform such service as well and more cheaply than Manitoba. An insane man is found in some part of the Territories, and instead of sending him to an asylum in 1035 [COMMONS] 1036 Calgary, or Regina or Moose Jaw, or Medicine Hat—wherever the asylum might be— he is sent 300 or 400 miles further into Manitoba, and the clumsy expedient is used of charging the Territories with the cost, under the agreement by which the Manitoba institution takes charge.
As regards hospitals, the assembly already provides, as far as its means will allow, for the assistance of a hospital built and kept by private charity, and we have at Medicine Hat and at Calgary a magnificent hospital in each place. We have a hospital at Medicine Hat due to the enterprise and philanthropy, in the main, of John Niblock—a hospital which, I have no doubt, some of my friends on both sides of the House have visited and which all who have visited it must admit is not merely a credit to Mr. Niblock's energy and philanthropy, but to the philanthropy of the North-west Territories also and the passenger public, because there are wards in it that illustrate the benevolence of those who have visited it from time to time. And let me say, in pass-   ing. that I greatly regret, when I bring forward a subject of this kind, that we have not the Minister of the Interior in his place. There is a just claim on the part of this hospital, outstanding now for some years against the Department of the Interior, and I have strong hopes that the Minister of the Interior will do it the justice of seeing that this claim is paid.
The assembly also wants the repeal of section 21 of the North-west Territories Act of 1894 and that an Act should be introduced respecting roads and road allowance of the North-west Territories, with similar provisions to those contained in chapter 49 of the Revised Statutes of Canada respecting roads and road allowance in Manitoba. The object of this is to do away with the uncertanties and difficulties connected with the laying out, improving and acquiring roads by expropriation and to give to the assembly the right to delegate such powers to municipalities.
Then they desire that a clause should he added giving the assembly the power to repeal, alter, vary or re-enact the provisions for the appointment of justices of the peace and their qualifications. That question, however. is one of detail which I am not going to discuss. because if the Government decide to do the large things asked for, that will follow, no doubt, as a matter of course.
The other large subject dealt with by this memorial of the assembly is the subject of finance. That has been from time to time placed before this House. It was ably placed before us last session by my hon. friend from Alberta (Mr. Oliver), and nothing new has since taken place that would add to the arguments which he put before this House. I shall just call attention to what the memorial contains on that subject. At present, if you look at the Estimates, you will find that the main grant is for schools, clerical assistance, printing, &c.; and as the hon. member for Alberta pointed out last session, the chief thing to be provided, out of that $242,000 is schools. This is what the memorial says on that point:
Owing to the vast area of the Territories and the widely scattered nature of the settlement, all the business of the local government is rendered more expensive and proportionately to the population than in any province. As regards roads this is apparent, but with respect to schools it will be found equally true. By considering that, under the most favourable circumstances, less than half the area in each township is available for homesteading, and that, as a rule, only a small amount is taken up, it will not create surprise to see that in 1895 it took 341 schools, with 401 teachers, to educate 11,972 enrolled pupils, with a daily average attendance of 6,600, and that, out of these schools, 223 were only open during the summer months, with a daily average attendance of 11.
Let me call the special attention of the Government now to this argument on behalf of our claim for a larger subsidy:
In 1891, the population was 66,769; the number of schools in operation was 224. In 1892, the number of schools in operation was 237, and the parliamentary grant was $208,700. In 1895, the number of schools was 341, being an increase in four years of over 52 per cent. In 1896, the population was 104,221, or 10 per cent per year added to the census of 1894, being the ratio of increase between 1891 and 1894, and the grant from Parliament was $242,879, not including $25,000 supplementary vote to recoup the assembly for relief expenditure undertaken for and on account of the Dominion Government, being an increase in five years in population of 56 per cent, and in annual grant during the last four years of 16 per cent.
The MINISTER OF MARINE AND FISHERIES (Mr. Davies). What was the amount of the supplementary vote ?
Mr. DAVIN. $25,000. Thus while the population increased 56 per cent. the increase of the annual grant was only a little over one-quarter of that.
Now, in the Territories the conditions of the Government are somewhat analogous to those of Manitoba; and, therefbre, a comparison between Manitoba and the Territories is a natural one. Nothing could be more natural than that we should ask, as we asked in 1887 as we asked in 1888, and in 1889, and in 1890, and in 1891, and every year including last year through my hon. friend from Alberta (Mr. Oliver), that we should be treated on precisely the same footing as Manitoba. Now, if we were so treated what would be the result ? The population of the Territories in 1891 according to the census of that year, was 66,799. According to the census taken by the Northwest Mounted Police in 1894, the population was 86,851. According to that ratio of increase. namely, 30 per cent, the population in 1897 is 112,906. Now. if we were treated on the same basis as Manitoba, according 1037 [APRIL 21, 1897] 1038 to subsection B of section 5, of chapter 46, of the Revised Statutes of Canada, the per capita grant would be calculated on an approximate estimate of the population two and one-half years from 1897, which, at the rate of increase that I mentioned in an earlier part of my remarks, namely, 10 per cent a year, would be 141,132. Now, the per capita grant of 80 cents a head for 141,132 would give you the sum of $112,905. Then on the debt account, on a presumably actual population in 1887 of 141,132, the amount would be 5 per cent on $32.44 per head, making $183,133. An amount for the support of government and legislation is given to Manitoba of $50,000 a year. Is there any reason why we should not get $50,000 also for the same purpose ? No reason whatever. Then, Manitoba has been held to be entitled to an indemnity of $100,000 a year, because the administration of its lands it withheld from it. But what are the lands of Manitoba compared with the lands of the North-west Territories ? What are the claims, therefore, of Manitoba as compared with the claims of the North-west Territories in this particular ? The Territories, of course, have a much stronger claim to compensation, inasmuch as besides the land grants to railways in and for the Territories, what has been done with our lands ? Why, Sir, we have been a quarry to which they have come from every quarter to get land grants. way seeks a land grant, it always looks to the North-west Territories. Land grants have been given for the general benefit of Canada, and for the special benefit of the eastern provinces and British Columbia ; land grants have been given within the Territories for railways constructed for and in Manitoba for which no sufficient land grant could be found in that province. The province of Manitoba has been given all lands designated as swamp lands. Now, if you come to consider what should be given us we should get a far larger grant than $100,000 on this account. It really ought to be $30,000. But suppose you only add $50,000 to what is given to Manitoba, and you get a land grant that should be given us of $150,000. So the amounts we should get would be :
Provincial subsidy................. $112,903
Debt account................. 183,133
Support of government and legislation... 50,000
On account of lands......... 150,000
Making a total of.............. $496,038
And what do we get here in these Estimates after this matter has been-
The MINISTER OF MARINE AND FISHERIES (Mr. Davies). What do I understand the hon. gentleman (Mr. Davin) to be reading from ? From what does he get these figures ?
Mr. DAVIN. I am giving the hon. gentleman a calculation that is not now given in this House for the first time. It was given here last session, it was given even before that. I am referring to the same calculation made in the memorial that has been transmitted to the Government after having been passed unanimously in the North-west assembly.
The MINISTER OF MARINE AND FISHERIES. That was what I wished to know. I understand the hon. gentleman is reading from the memorial.
Mr DAVIN. These are the figures in the memorial.
The MINISTER OF MARINE AND FISHERIES. The hon. gentleman referred to the speech made by the hon. member for Alberta (Mr. Oliver), and I was not sure whether he was reading from that speech or from the memorial.
Mr. DAVIN. I referred to the fact that my hon. friend (Mr. Oliver) had brought this matter before the House, as had been done every year. But I wish to point out that $150,000, the sum I have last mentioned, was not mentioned in the memorial. The memorial points out that Manitoba gets $100,000 and says that we are entitled to more. but does not mention a sum. To reach an aggregate, I supposed that it should be made $150,000. So, instead of $242,000, we should get $496,000. I pointed this out, two years ago, I think, when the present Government was not in power, and when my hon. friend was sitting in Opposition—and at that time I got help from hon. gentlemen who are now sitting, as the Prime Minister says, enthroned like the Olympian gods, in a place where they used not to sit. I used to get help from them. I do not know whether he (Mr. Davies) gave me help, but there were gentlemen on that side who used to give me help in contending for what I did contend for from year to year. And, in fact, two years ago, we had more than a million dollars due us by the Dominion Government. If we had a commission such as sat the other day in regard to taxation in Ireland, it would be found that the North-west Territories, like Ireland, had been paying a large amount of taxation that we ought not to have had to pay.
Mr. COCHRANE. Do not suggest a commission, or we shall have one.
Mr. DAVIS. This would not be a very expensive commission, and its work would not take very long. The calculation is easily made, because we have all the facts. And if my hon. friend the Minister of Marine and Fisheries will only make the calculation, he will easily reach the result. Let him for a moment fancy that he has taken a brief for the Territories. I am told by the chairman of the executive of the Northwest Territories that something like this memorial has been sent to every member 1039 [COMMONS] 1040 of the Government and that they are in possession of it. Let the hon. gentleman read that. I know he is an able lawyer,—let him fancy that we have given him a brief and put a large fee in his pocket and that he is to make out a case for us. Let him read it in that light and he will be perfectly astonished what a case he can make out for the Territories and against the lethargy of his own Government, because this is the second session. and. apparently, up to the present. they have done nothing.
An hon. MEMBER. Carried.
Mr. DAVIN. It will be carried in a short time. By the way, what mavis singing- bird was that I heard? Now, I have something to suggest that I think will be welcomed by every territorial statesman, I mean the members of the provincial assembly, and it will be welcomed by every man who has the interests of the Territories at heart. I doubt, Sir, if there is any arrangement; that has been made by this Parliament that has worked more successfully and to better advantage than the arrangement that was made by the Parliament of Canada that we ; should have an Auditor General perfectly independent of the Government of the day.   I think it has been a great advantage to the people, it has been in the interests of economy, and I believe it has been of advantage to the Government in the past, and is an advantage to the Government to-day, so far as they desire to act economically. Now, let us suppose that the Government intends to accede to the prayer of this me-: morial, and to give the North-west Territories the kind of government they demand; but even if they do not do that, what I am now about to suggest that they should do is to provide an auditor that will be appointed by the Government of Canada, and will be perfectly independent of the, Government of the Territories. Of course, when the time comes that a full provincial government would be given to the Territories, that arrangement would cease, and we would expect that the Territorial Assembly, when it would take up its full manhood, would re-appoint that auditor, or at all events, appoint somebody in his place, and continue that very useful oilicial; and also appoint him under an ordinance such as our Audit Act, that would make him independent of the executive of the day. I think that would be in the interests of the Territories. But at the present moment, we are bound, here in this Parliament, to see that such an auditor exists. We have no means at present of knowing how the money is spent that we vote to the Territories. That executive and that assembly are only a function of the Dominion Government as long as they do not get full provincial autonomy. At present they do not want full provincial autonomy, as I have already pointed out to my hon. friend when I quoted the memorial.
The MINISTER OF MARINE AND FISHERIES (Mr. Davies). A fuller measure of economy might involve the right and the duty of raising money by taxation ; and they do not want that.
Mr. DAVIN. I do not think there will be any necessity for it, because they do raise money for taxation at present, that is, they raise a local fund of $30,000.
Mr. DAVIS. By licenses; they have a local revenue of $30,000—I think it is about that sum. But I would like to point out to my hon. friend that they say they do not wish to get full responsible government. This is their language:
The assembly is of opinion, that to remedy this undesirable state of affairs. it is not necessary to have recourse to granting the full provincial status.
They do not ask for it, and this memorial passed unanimously. The money they spend is money voted by this Parliament, and therefore it is logical that this Parliament know how that money is spent. Some years ago we voted a specific sum for all the work that was done in these Territories, and the sums used to lapse. I was one of the persons, with Mr. Haultain and others, who went to the Government to get that done away with, and we got a system adopted whereby you now vote a block sum, such as we have here—a grant for schools, clerical assistance. printing. &c., to be paid half—yearly in advance, $242,000. Now, I want to see a far larger sum voted, I want to see this House do justice to the Territories, and vote them a sum of $500,000, which sum is the very least that will enable them to manage these Territories effectively. But whether we vote them that much or not, as we are voting money, we ought to have an audit independent of the executive, and an independent audit will be welcomed by the executive. If they do not welcome it, there is the more necessity for it; if they welcome it, then there is necessity for it, and it should be given at once. What we should have is a Dominion auditor, an officer up there paid out of the territorial fund, paid by the executive, but whose appointment would be independent of the executive. That would give us an account of how the moneys are spent that we now vote en bloc, and we have no account of how they are spent; whereas when we voted them in the manner I desired to see abolished, and which I was contributory to abolishing, we did know how the money was spent. As long as we vote the money, we ought to know how that money is spent. Now, it is well known that contracts for large sums have been given. and I believe that it has been done elsewhere also, within recent ,months—but contracts for considerable sums have been   1041 [APRIL 21, 1897] 1042 given without tenders being called for. Well, if that is so, a part of this money that we are voting is spent in that way. It may be spent well, but we ought to know that it is spent well, and we ought to have an auditor to overhaul that. I am not sure that we should go beyond our function if we were to insist that contracts for any considerable amount should be invariably based upon tenders. I hope the Government will go into this question, I hope the Government will listen to the prayer of this memorial, I hope the Government will give an adequate sum, 1 hope the Government will alter the character of the executive and make it of a responsible character, to the extent that they demand. But in doing that let the Government make a constitution that will be consistent. If you make a constitution short of perfect provincial autonomy, such as these gentlemen desire, and still keep them in 'statu tutelari,' then you are bound as long as they are spending money that we vote here. to have an officer who will give us an account of how that money is spent.
Mr. OLIVER. I am sure the people of the North-west Territories will be very glad to know that the hon. gentleman (Mr. Davin) who has just sat down. is advocating their interests so strongly, and I have no doubt they will accord him almost that measure of appreciation that he received at the late election, in the coming election that is likely to take place in his constituency. I do not wish to argue all the different points he has raised: I will only say that on the general question the hon. gentleman and myself are at one. namely, that the Territories are entitled to a greater measure of consideration at the hands of this Government. I can only hope that the hon. member will be able, by; his arguments. so to influence those who sit on the same side of the House as himself, that, what they were able to do when they had the power and did not do, that is, gran the fuller measure of justice to the Territories that the people of those Territories desire and expect, they will support the new Government in doing when the opportunity arises. This question was brought before the House on a previous occasion. It is before the Government again. Gentlemen representing the Government of the North-west Territories are here now. It is quite within the knowledge of the hon. gentleman (Mr. Davin) that members of that Government are here for the purpose of claiming additional subsidy and additional powers. I should like to point out to the House that while the hon. gentleman made a lengthy appeal on behalf of the memorial which those hon. gentlemen are advocating, he also made an insinuation against the gentlemen themselves, and thereby attempted to weaken their case with the Government of the day, for he insinuated that the Government of which they are the head was not spend ing the money in its hands in a manner that was for the best interest of the country and the people, and that they had to be watched in fact, it was absolutely necessary they should be watched by a special auditor appointed by this Government. 1 say that while the hon. gentleman was, on the one hand, declaring that their wishes should be granted, on the other hand he was trying to make light of the position of those gentlemen and to weaken confidence in them so that their representations would not be agreed to. In this case, as in others, the hon. gentleman has been blowing hot and cold; one reason that we have not been able to get what we desired in the past.
I submit that the position of the Northwest Territories at the present time, in so far as the control of the funds voted to them by Parliament is concerned should be. if it is not. exactly the same as that of a province. Certain money is voted to responsible representatives of the people of the Territories for expenditure, under the control of responsible advisers, and there is no reason why that Government should not have full control of the funds, as has the legislature of a province. When the hon. gentleman says that the North-west Government do not ask for full provincial powers. and advances reasons why they should not be given control of money, which only they can properly control, he shows a desire to weaken and not strengthen their case. They are the only people who can know to what purposes this money should be applied, and how it should be applied. When this Parliament votes money to be expended by the Territories the control ceases or should cease, as regards this Government as to show the money should be expended. It is now expended by the North-west Government. and with all respect to the hon. gentleman. I believe it will continue to be expended on the responsibility of the executive of the North-west Territories, and solely on that responsibility. As to the provincial powers not asked for: Allow me to say that there are certain powers now exercised by the Government of the North-west exactly to the same extent as they are exercised by a province. This has been done with the consent of the Government here, with the consent of Parliament, and by reason of to continue. The first of these is the expenditure of money that comes properly within the control of the assembly. The other matters are in relation to education in regard to which the Government of the Territories has as full powers as the legislature of any province: in regard to legislation with respect to property and civil rights, as to which the Territories have the same rights as a province, and also in regard to municipal organization, in respect to which also the Territories have the same powers as a province. The points in which they lack the power of a province are points 1043 [COMMONS] 1044 of detail rather than of principle; except this one, that the Territories have not a fixed subsidy, and have not power to pledge the credit of the country for a loan. These are rights belonging to a province, and they are not asked by the representatives of the North-west Government. The reason why they do not ask for a fixed subsidy is no doubt owing to the fact that the extent of the country and its progress vould act against their interests rather than in their favour if there were a fixed subsidy granted; that is to say, the country would outgrow the subsidy so quickly that if there were a fixed subsidy, instead of proving advantageous it would be distinctly disadvantageous. That is the reason why they do not want a fixed subsidy which would be the equivalent of a provincial subsidy, and that is the only important power they do not ask as compared with the province of Manitoba, which occupies the same position as the Territories as regards the control of lands. I will not occupy the time of the House at any greater length. but in conclusion I will say that the gentlemen representing the North-west Territories, who are here now, are entitled personally to the full confidence of the Government in any negotiations that may take place their representations are entitled to full consideration, and I have every confidence that they will receive that consideration at the hands of the Government.
Mr. DAVIN. I think we have had a somewhat extraordinary exhibition by an hon. gentleman who seemed to be tearing mad because he could not agree with me. The hon. gentleman was ready to rip himself up because he had to agree with the propositions I laid down. It was certainly a most extraordinary position, that the hon. gentleman on being obliged to agree with me should have got mad. It would seem that the only kind of speaking to which he is accustomed is scoiding. and as he had not an opponent, he had to scold a friend, and some one who advocated propositions with which he agreed. I hope the hon. member for Alberta (Mr. Oliver) for the credit of the North-west, will reconsider his parliamentary demeanour. and not treat the country to such an exhibition as we have just had.
Mr. OLIVER. I rise to reiterate what I stated. I agree with the general propositions of the hon. gentleman. but I resent. and resent strongly, the mean insinuations he conveyed against gentlemen who represent the North-west in negotiations now gong on.
Mr. DAVIN. The hon. gentleman has not improved his position by his explanation. He resented something that was not in my remarks. He became as mad as a March hare, although this is April, because he could not find anything in my remarks to find fault with, and then he insinuated something that was not in my remarks. I referred with the greatest respect to my friend the chairman of the executive. I know those two gentlemen from the Northwest are here. I have never in the past, here or elsewhere, been blinded by that extraordinary sentiment that I have seen some persons blinded with, that they must claim credit for this, that and the other. I have never entertained any such feelings as that. Anything proposed for the good of the country or for the North-west Territories, I have been ready to help forward ; so that when the hon. gentleman. last session—although I think his behaviour in a certain way then was extraordinary for a young member- made a motion. I rose and supported him. I did not manifest the miserable, wretched, insect spirit he has manifested here. and that ranks him not on a level with hon. legislators in this chamber—
Mr. SPEAKER. I am afraid both hon. gentlemen in their last few remarks have 'not been quite in order. The hon. gentleman (Mr. Oliver) spoke of mean insinuations in regard to the speech of an hon. gentleman, and the hon. gentleman who is new addressing the House is going pretty far in the use of language which should not be used by one hon. member to another.
Mr. DAVIN. Mr. Speaker. I am very much obliged to you for calling me to order at any time that I in any way transgress the rules of this House. But, Mr. Speaker, with great respect for you—
The MINISTER OF MARINE AND FISHERIES. Chair. The hon. gentleman (Mr. Davin) must accept the ruling of the Chair.
Mr. DAVIN. Ruling about what ?
The MINISTER OF MARINE AND FISHERIES. That you are out of order.
Mr. DAVIN. Pray, in what way out of order.
The MINISTER OF MARINE AND FISHERIES. Mr. Speaker has explained that to you.
Mr. DAVIN. I wish to know from you, Mr. Speaker, how I was out of order.
Mr. SPEAKER. The hon. gentleman (Mr. Davin) went beyond what I think is parliamentary decorum. Perhaps I should have pointed out before that the hon. gentleman (Mr. Oliver), who spoke before him, transgressed in the same way. I do not think, however, that one transgression justifies the orher. although perhaps one may have caused the other.
 Mr. DAVIN. Am I to understand that it is henceforth the rule in this House of Parliament, that it is a breach of the rules to say of a member that he shows a miserable insect spirit?
1045 [APRIL 21, 1897] 1046
Mr. SPEAKER. Yes. I wish to say to the hon. member (Mr. Davin) that such is my ruling. Language that one gentleman would not use to another in any other place without being ofiensive, should not be used by one hon. member towards another in this House. That is the simple rule which I would like to see followed.
Mr. DAVIN. Shades of Disraeli. I wish we had Mr. Disraeli here ; I wish we had Mr. Gladstone here as a witness. I am very glad to know, Sir, that the Parliament of Canada has risen to such a high dignity that we have a Speaker who lays down laws that would condemn Disraeli and Gladstone——
Some hon. MEMBERS. Order.
Mr. SPEAKER. 'When a ruling has been   given by the Speaker, there is only one course open to any hon. member who objects to that ruling, and that is, to appeal to the House against the decision. I shall not permit any more discussion upon the ruling that I have made.
Mr. DAVIN. Well, Mr. Speaker, I won't show an insect spirit and appeal to the House. If I were to appeal to the House on the subject, 1 think I would show an insect spirit, and I suppose I do not break the rules of the House if I refer to myself as possibly likely to show an insect spirit.
Mr. CASEY. Not at all. Carried.
Mr. DAVIN. Yes, and I can say in regard to the hon member for Elgin (Mr. Casey) that I have never shown an insect spirit, nor a worm-like nature, and I have never growled and grovelled. I can say a whole lot of things like that, but, Mr. Speaker, I bow entirely to your ruling. What I hope, then, is that we shall not have apotheosized in this House the demeanour of the hon. member for Alberta (Mr. Oliver). I hope that when a member comes to this House and endeavours to do the best he can for the country, and when he makes a proposition that an hon. gentleman opposite to him cannot controvert', that that hon. gentleman shall not abuse him and get mad. If the hon. gentleman does so, I will have henceforth to declare that that hon. gentleman shows a god-like temperament. Now the hon. gentleman (Mr. Oliver) said that he hoped that if I should be able to induce this Government to bring in a Bill giving the Territories these things asked for in the memorial, that then hon. gentlemen on this side of the House would be ready to support such a measure. There is nothing whatever in the past history of the Conservative party to indicate that any good proposals for the North-west Territories would not meet with as fair consideration at their hands as it would at the hands of the Liberal party. The most determined opponents that we have had in the past, and the harshest critics in regard to the North- west Territories were gentlemen—not gentlemen of an insect spirit ; but gentlemen of magnanimous soul like the hon. member for North Wellington (Mr. McMullen) and like the hon. member for Elgin (Mr. Casey). Sir, I have not the least doubt whatever that if a good measure is introduced by this Government it will require no effort on my part to induce my friends on this side to support it ; but you may be perfectly certain that I will use any influence I may be supposed to have with them.
Now, with regard to the suggestion that I have made. I suggested that there should be an auditor in the North-west Territories, precisely in the position of the Auditor General here. Is the existence of an auditor such as we have here, any reflection whatever on the present Government ?
The MINISTER OF MARINE AND FISHERIES. Is there not an auditor there now ?
Mr. DAVIN. I do not understand that that there is an auditor in that position.
Mr. FOSTER. All these accounts are audited by our auditor.
Mr. DAVIN. They were audited in that way when we had the sums voted individually, but I am not aware that they are audited in that way now. At any rate, we should have an auditor in the North-west Territories where the audit could be done more efficiently than the present auditor can do it. What I suggest is an auditor there placed in precisely the same position as our Auditor General. We have no authority in Canada that has power to give us an auditor here except ourselves, and if we have an auditor what matter who gave him the independence that he possesses. It is an advantage to the Government to have such an auditor here, and I have often heard Sir John Macdonald say that it was a great advantage to him to have an auditor that was perfectly independent of the Government. And because I suggest that we should have in the Northwest an auditor in precisely the same position as our auditor here, an hon. gentleman gets up and says that I made an insinuation against these two gentlemen in the Northwest Territories. Well, Mr. Speaker, these two gentlemen are members of that Northwest Government, and they will compare with any two gentlemen in any provincial executive. The head of that executive, Mr. Haultain, is a personal friend of mine. He is a man than whom there is not in any Government in Canada, or in any Government in the world, one more honourable. When I am advocating giving these gentlemen enlarged powers and larger grants of money to spend, is it to be supposed for one moment that I would make any suggestion that would be derogatory to them? I am under the impression at the present time, although I may be wrong, that there 1047 [COMMONS] 1048 is not the same audit there that there used to be, and if there is not, then I say there should be. I may say further, Sir, that in performing my duty here, I have never been afraid of what construction any person inside or outside of this House would put upon my conduct. My record in this House, battling for the interests of the North-west. Territories is not the record of a man who has shown any petty political spirit, because when my own friends were in power I have asserted my opinions against my party proclivities. I hope that if the present Government does not do justice to the Territories, the members from the Territories supporting that Government shall follow my example in that. I do not know that we shall hear any protest from the hon. member for Alberta (Mr. Oliver) against the indifference of the Government he supports, to the North-west Territories. The hon. gentleman (Mr. Oliver) professes to be an independent, but as an hon. gentleman on his own side of the House told me, he professes to be an independent, but he is the worst Grit among them.
Some hon. MEMBERS. Name.
Mr. DAVIN. No, I will not give the name. That name is perfectly sacred with me. Now. Mr. Speaker. I am quite surprised that my hon. friend the Minister of Marine and Fisheries (Mr. Davies), who is the only member of the Government present, has not said anything in regard to this motion.
The MINISTER OF MARINE AND FISHERIES. I had no opportunity. I intended to have spoken.
Mr. DAVIN. The Speaker rose after the hon. gentleman sat down.
The MINISTER OF MARINE AND FISHERIES. My hon. friend was too quick for me.
Mr. DAVIN. I beg pardon—I did not see my hon. friend (Mr. Dobell). I apologize to him. Nobody recognizes more thoroughly than I do the important part my hon. friend plays as a member of that Government; and, as he now comes back after doing great things in London, it would have been impossible for me to ignore his presence if I had known it. But I am surprised that no Minister rises to speak on this motion. We have to-day what we have lately been accustomed to have in this House, day after day—empty Ministerial seats. We are told that the Ministers are caucusing, patching up Cabinet differences and Cabinet squabbles; and while they are doing that here, the Minister of the Interior (Mr. Sifton) has gone to patch up Liberal squabbles in W'innipeg. That is why we have empty Ministerial seats in this House. We have only one Minister with a portfolio present, and he was going to allow the motion to be put without saying anything upon it. I shall be very glad to let him say anything now.
The MINISTER OF MARINE AND FISHERIES. I was not going to let the motion pass without making a remark or two; but the hon. gentleman was rather quick in getting on his feet, and I had not an opportunity. The hon. gentleman has asserted his independence in this House. I recognize his claim to independence, but there is this peculiarity about it, that while he asserts his independence, he does not support his assertion by his vote.
Mr. DAVIN. I rise to a point of order. That is a statement of fact about myself, and I say it is not true to fact. I say on the contrary that I have again and again supported my speech by my vote, and I dare the hon. gentleman to prove what he has stated. It is not true.
The MINISTER OF MARINE AND FISHERIES. I think I have sat in this House as long as the hon. gentleman—
Mr. SPEAKER. The hon. member for iWest Assiniboia (Mr Davin) has made a statement, and unless the hon. gentleman is prepared to controvert it. he should accept it.
The MINISTER OF MARINE AND FISHERIES. I am not prepared to controvert it if he says that on any occasion he voted against the Government of which he was a supporter. I shall be particularly pleased if he will point out the occasion, and show us the " Hausard " in which the vote is recorded.
Mr. DAVIN. I will satisfy the hon. gentleman.
The MINISTER OF MARINE AND FISHERIES. Passing, then, from this matter, which does not affect the question before the House, to the substantive motion which the hon. gentleman has made, I quite appreciate the importance of the subject- matter of that motion. It is a motion for papers relative to the claim of the Northwest Government for increased executive powers and increased statutory allowances. The question was brought before this House at the first short session of this Parliament, when my hon. friend from Alberta (Mr. Oliver) made a lengthy statement containing a very large amount of information on the question, and he was supported by the hon. gentleman who has just taken his seat (Mr. Davin). The Government have not only had the advantage of these statements, but they have had the benefit of receiving from the North-west executive a memorial setting forth in detail what the claims of that Government are. The hon. gentleman in his speech followed very closely the terms of that memorial—in fact. reading iit to the House. That memorial has been presented to the Government by Mr. Haul 1040           [APRIL 21, 1897]          1050  tain and Mr. Ross, and they have had interviews with the Government, in which they have pressed very strongly the claims they have made. But it is obviously impossible at the present moment to have an intelligent discussion, much less to form an intelligent conclusion, until the papers are in the hands of hon. members. There is no objection to the hon. gentleman's motion passing, but I will call his attention to the fact that while he elaborated the importance of an audit in the Northwest, he has ignored the fact that there is an exhaustive audit of the vote of this House for the North-west, made by the Auditor General of the Dominion. and contained in his Annual Report. If the hon. gentleman will turn to that report he will see. from page H 15 to page H 40, the details of the expenditure which this House voted in a lump sum. But in addition to that audit by our auditor. there is the audit of the North-west legislative assembly on their own behalf; and if the hon. gentleman examines the account for last year. he will find that something like $2,200 was expended for their audit office. So that the hon. gentleman may rest assured that,, whether the sum voted is sufficient or insufficient, there is an ample check by the Dominion audit and the North-west audit to insure the proper expenditure of the money. In addition to the memorial which has been presented to the Government, and which has been supported ably by oral statements and arguments by Mr. Haultain and Mr. Ross, the Government have had the advantage of having the claims of the North-west presented to it by the hon. member for Alberta (Mr. Oliver) and other members of this House who support the Government. There is no danger, therefore, of these claims being lost sight of. Whether any legislation on the subject can be carried through this session or not will depend largely, I suppose, on the length of. the session. We have to carry our Estimates and our tariff, which will occupy a great deal of time: and if hon. gentlemen find it desirable to shorten the session so as to enable prominent members on both sides to attend the Queen's Jubilee, it may be that we shall not be able to carry through many measures that we would like to bring down. I am not able to give the hon. gentleman any definite assurance at the present moment, because the matter is being and has for some time past been carefully considered by a committee of the Government here; but the papers he asks for will be brought down as early as may be, and I shall be glad to have them thoroughly discussed in this House, because I recognize the importance of the question. The hon. gentleman will remember that an autonomy almost equal to provincial autonomy has already been conceded to the North-west territories. With the exception,   I think, of the power to legislate on railways and one other item given to the provinces under section 92 of the British North America Act, we have conceded to them every power which a province now possesses. But they do desire some change with reference to the executive powers which have been conferred upon them, and there is no doubt that the process of legislative evolution is going on there, a constitutional evolution which this House will, at the proper time, I have no doubt, recognize by granting the fullest statutory powers to enable it to be brought to a successful completion.
With regard to the matter in point, the subsidy which was voted by this House to the Northwest Territories, that is also being considered in great detail by the Government. The custom heretofore which has prevailed. and which has been objected to by gentlemen from the North-west, was this. The North-west executive presented in detail their claim for a subsidy. but an arbitrary sum frequently was deducted from the amount of that claim. and they then had, out of the smaller sum granted, to rearrange and appropriate amounts for the specific purposes as they best could. An improvement, I hope, will be obtained in this regard. and while we must and will recognize fully the claims of the North-west to generous treatment, we must also recognize that there are limits to which that treatment can extend. The whole subject is now, and has been for weeks past, receiving consideration at the hands of a committee of the Government.
Mr. CASEY. The hon. member for Assiniboia (Mr. Davin) has for a long time been a perennial spring of joy and amusement to this House. His humour has always borne that peculiar stamp which distinguishes the humour of Irishmen from that of even the most talented men of all other countries, and perhaps the most remarkable instance of this is the fact that the hon. gentleman poses constantly as the representative of the North-west Territories. When we remember that at present his majority, as representing one of these great North-west Territories constituencies, is a unit, and that the unit which returned him to Parliament was the vote of a partisan returning officer, we must recognize that his claim is a very Irish one indeed to represent the North-west Territories. Still, we have enjoyed for many years his attempt to be a westerner. He has been wild enough perhaps. but he can hardly be classed as western or as woolly, and in attempting to represent the wild and woolly west he has only afforded amusement to the House. This was all very well while his friends were in power. because at that time the coruscations of his humour   were under some restraint. but now, since, unfortunately for him, he is sitting on the wrong side of the House, those corusca 1051 [COMMONS] 1052 tions are almost too frequent to be either dazzling or amusing.
Mr. DAVIN. Or pleasant.
Mr. CASEY. They are pleasant in themselves, but like honey or some other things we could name, too much of them is not as pleasant as a mere taste once in a while. He assures the House to-day that he has never been bitten with a sentiment, to use his own peculiar Hibernian way of putting it, of a certain kind. and he has made reference to insects. New. insects bite sometimes. as well as sentiments, and I am not at all sure that my hon. friend has not been bitten with a certain kind of insect called the gadfly, which is known to drive those it bites into great disorder of mind and conduct. I should certainly judge from his reply to the hon. member for Alberta (Mr. Oliver) that something must have bitten him, if not a sentiment, then a gadfly.
Mr. DAVIN. I rise to a point of order. I understand your ruling. Mr. Speaker, is that no hon. gentleman should use insect illustrations. My hon. friend is transgressing that ruling by implying that the hon. member for Alberta (Mr. Oliver) is a gadfly, and, in the character of a gadfly, hit me. I do not care a pin about it, Mr. Speaker, but your ruling must be respected.
Mr. SPEAKER. If the hon. gentleman will say that the statement of the hon. member for Elgin (Mr. Casey) is offensive to him, I shall consider his point.
Mr. DAVIN. It is not in the least offensive to me. At that distance my hon. friend, or any other insect, would not annoy me.
Mr. CASEY. My hon. friend's interruption is rather clever. He wanted to draw in the hon. member for Alberta again, but I wish to assure him that there are no flies on the hon. member for Alberta, neither gadflies nor any other kind, and that the gadfly which appears to have been biting my hon. friend must have been one of his own imagination. It must have been an insect spirit, in other words, which must have bitten him. I hope the hon. gentleman will obtain a supply of insect powder and get done with this gadfly, and the rest of us will have peace to attend to serious matters of discussion.
Motion agreed to.


Canada. House of Commons Debates, 1875-1949. Provided by the Library of Parliament.



Selection of input documents and completion of metadata: Gordon Lyall.

Participating Individuals: