Legislative Assemblies of Alberta and Saskatchewan, 24 March 1902, Alberta and Saskatchewan Debates over Confederation with Canada.



After a Short But Interesting Debate in the Assembly.


The Subject Which Received Most Attention — Speeches By Dr. Elliott and Mr. Fisher — Mr. Haultain Outlines Government's Position — Mr. McDonald Speaks of Delays — Dr. Patrick Wants Two Provinces.

MONDAY, March 24.
The debate in the Legislative Assembly on the Address in reply to the Speech was a short one this year and the great question of provincial autonomy was the subject which naturally received the most attention. Mr. Speaker took the chair at 2.30 p.m. Mr. D. H. McDonald moved: "That an order of this House do issue for a return showing what action has been taken by this Government on the resolution passed by this House at the last session regarding the liquor traffic."
Mr. Haultain said he thought the hon, gentleman would attain his object as easily and more reasonably if he put it in the form of a question rather than a motion for a return. The action taken by the Government in this question was necessarily in the form of correspondence with publishers, government officials, and others, among them being the authorities in South Carolina, Sweden, and other places where a system similar to these exists. The replies were in the form of letters, pamphlets, blue books and other works on the subject which the hon. gentleman would understand could hardly be copied within reasonable time. Mir. Haultain did not think the information obtained by the Government was for the information of the House. Their instructions were to enquire into the matter. It would be quite impossible within the limits of a year probably to bring down any such return as this because it would involve writing out a number of long reports in technical language. He thought the hon. gentleman should be satisfied to accept the statement that the Government had been getting all the information, literature and documents possible on the subject in accordance with the resolution of the House.
Mr. McDonald said he could quite understand that it would be impossible to get the return in time in view of their experience of the difficulty of getting much shorter papers in previous sessions.
Mr. Haultain—I do not propose to bring these papers down because they are not matters in which the House is particularly interested at the present time.
Mr. McDonald—I must say this is very unsatisfactory: it will not be satisfactory unless the papers are laid before the House.
Mr. Hauitain –Does the hon. gentleman wish to press the matter?
Mr. MacDonald –Certainly, the motion is before the House.
A vote was then taken, two members supporting Mr. McDonald and the remainder of the House voting with Mr. Haultain. The Speaker declared the motion lost.
Mr. McDonald then moved for a return of all correspondence between this Government and the Federal Governnment in connection with the resolution passed by this Assembly at the last session urging the advisability of making grants of land to volunteers from the Territories engaged in the war in South Africa. This was agreed to.
Mr. McDonald presented a third motion for a return showing the names, if any, of residents in the Territories in any of the Large Local improvement Districts. who have been allowd to pay taxes assessed against their land at less than the amount charged againist these lands: and also a fourth motion for a return showing (1) the total amount charged against the Canadian Pacific Railway Co. and the Hudson Bay Co. for taxes on lands in the Large Local Improvement Districts in the Territories for the years 1899, 1900 and 1901; and (2) the amount accepted by the Government in settlement of the taxes referred to, and the date of settlement.
In regard to these Mr. Sifton said there was no objection to them The staff of the local improvement branch was very busy, but the returns would be brought down hefore the end of the session.
Mr. McDonald — Will the hon. gentleman say these returns will be brought down as soon as possible?
Mr. Sifton — They will be just as soon as the notices of this year's assessment are issued, which the hon. gentleman will realise is also an important matter as we need the money.
Dr. Patrick (Yorkton) –Perhaps the hon. gentlenian will be a little more definite and say if they could be brought down before the budget debate?
Mr. Sifton –Yes, they will be brought down before the budget debate. The motions were then agreed to.
Upon the Orders of the Day being called Mr. McDonald rose to a question of privilege. He said a matter had been brought up in the Senate of Canada, within the last few days. He would call the attention of the Government to a question asked in the Senate on the 21st of March by Senator Perley, Mr. McDonald then read from a newspaper report as follows:
Senator Perley enquired if the Government of the North-West Territories made application to enter confederation under full provinclal autonomy, and if so, what were the terms and conditions proposed by them.
Mr. Scott said an application had been made for the admission of a portion of the Territories. but nothing had been done or was likely to be at present. The papers were confidential and could not be brought down without the leave of the North-West Government.
In answer to Mr. Lougheed, he said the matter could not be dealt with at the present session. It was under consideration.
Hon. Mr. Lougheed of the North-West Government had been in Ottawa. The feeling in the Territories was strongly in favor of provincial autonomy, and the present government were understood to be not adverse to giving the Territories autonomy. He was sure there would be great disappointment if some measure along these lines was not brought down at once.
Hon. Mr. Scott said there were several questions to be settled, such as whether there should be one province or several: and where the capital should be.
Mr. McDonald continuing said: This came I am sure as a surprise to a large number of people in the North-West. After years of delay on this question and after the leader of the Governnment—
Mr. Haultain here raised a point of order and Mr. Speaker ruled Mr. McDonald out of order saying: "This is referred to in the Speech."
Mr. Haultain—The hon. gentleman might call the attention of the Government to certain statements. I would not object to that.
Mr. McDonald—Our desire was to find out if the papers were held secret at the instance of this Government and for what reason.
Mr. Haultain—No, the papers were not held secret at the instance of this Government.
Mr. McDonald –It's a question then between you and Hon. Mr. Scott.
Mr. Haultain —The hon. gentleman is attributing statements to Mr. Scott which are not in the report he read. Mr. Scott said the papers could not be brought down without the leave of the North-West Government. Anyone would understand that negotiations pending between two governments are confidential. The matter then dropped.
Dr. Elliott (Wolseley) then rose amid cheers to move that a humble address be presented to His Honor. He made an eloquent reference to the visit of the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall and York, to the great object lesson their world-wide tour was to the un-British world, and to the interest the Duke and Duchess took in Canada as was made manifest by the address of His Royal Highness in London where he spoke of Canada's need of population and made an appeal to send of their best. Referring to the inrush of immigrants Dr. Elliott noted the fact that every man in the West, seemed to think his district the best and the new settlers seemed imbued with the same idea for they think they can pick out a better one and the vast majority of them go out to new portions of the country. This large immigration would entail a very great expenditure on the part of this Government in building roads and bridges and opening up schools. He considered the federal government would only be doing its duty if it dealt very liberally with the people of the Territories.
Speaking of the big crop of last year, Dr. Elliott said the crop bulletin issued by the Territorial Department of Agriculture was probably more reliable than any issued by any department in Canada. That document was an interesting one and showed that the wheat area of the Territories was not confined to East Assiniboia, but West Assiniboia, Saskatchewan and Alberta were also included. There was a crop of 13,000,000 bushels of wheat, and 11,000,000 bushels of oats and yet only a very small portion of the best of the land had seen the plow. At Rosthern 500, 000 bushels of wheat would this year he exported and the district of Saskatchewan would in a very short time produce a million bushels, And wheat was not the only grain grown in the Territories. Of the 11,000,000 bushels of oats the vast bulk of it was grown west of the 3rd meridian and one-third of the total crop of the Territories, was grown west of the 3rd meridian.
We have, continued Dr. Elliott, not only grown a vast amount of grain but we have experienced a great deal of trouble in exporting it, and I must congratulate the Minister of Agriculture on the efforts put forth in an endeavor to bring public opinion to bear on the C.P.R. to get them to move the grain. It is all very well for people 1,500 miles to the east to talk of there being no blockade in this country, but there is no use telling men who have stood in their offices and seen hundreds of loads of grain standing on the streets and the elevators closed because they could not get cars and were taking much less for their grain. There was a standing offer by some people of five cents over and above the market price, provided the grain was loaded on cars, but the C. P. R. in its wisdom did not see fit to supply farmers with cars. They had loading platforms and other facilities but the cars did not come. After public sentiment had been worked up to its highest pitch and the Minister of Agriculture, boards of trade and others had brought pressure to bear, the C..P.R. at last made a move and decided to allow some of the grain to be shipped via North Portal and other roads to the American side where there was room to store it, but I am sorry to say that their efforts have not continued as long as they should have done. And when we consider the expense the farmers of this country have gone to in building warehouses— in 14 towns at least 400 buildings costing at least $20,000–to store wheat and with hunds of thousands of bushels lying today in great danger of having a considerable portion destroyed if stormy weather comes, — I say when we consider these things and all that the farmers have done for the C.P.R., they should in all fairness and honesty have done everything possible to prevent the danger of having the crop damaged by having it put on the market before spring opened.
I am pleased to notice in His Honor's speech that the Government has been in communication with the federal government, but that no answer has been received. This certainly is a disappointment to the people of this House and country. (Hear, hear.) It is time the people of the country were prepared to give to their representatives full powers of provincial manhood, and the representatives have done their duty when the House passed the mermorial and sent it to Ottawa and since then the Government have been in communication with the federal authorities and they have simply been marking time and putting the matter off. The delay has been caused by the action of the Dominion Government. Representations have been made to them. Every member of this House who takes an intelligent interest in what has been said in and out of the House knows what those representations have been or almost. They knew them from the speeches delivered in 1900, from the speech at Indian Head, and by the budgets of the last three or four years. Everyone knows the conditions that the people and Government of this country are asking for.
Mr. McDonald — Is the Indian Head speech the condition?
Mr. Elliott —it is only a part of it, The conditions the people are asking are only, the ordinary conditions of British subjects, the same as the other provinces. We are not paupers and are not asking for special favors or special rights. They are not fancy terms: we ask for our rights, nothing nore and expect to receive nothing less from the hands of the Dominion Government. (Hear, hear.) The terms upon which the North-West wishes to enter confederation are practically public property but up to the present ­ hour we have not the slightest indication bow our terms are going to be received by the Ottawa government.
Referring to the increased representation in the House Dr. Elliott said they were pleased to think that the people thought so much of the members of the House that they wanted more of them (Laughter). When they talked of increased representation, he wondered where they were going to put them. Unless they had provincial autonomy and power to put up buildings it would be an impossibility to accommodate the new members.
Dr. Elliott in speaking of the receipts and expenditures said it had always been the policy of this Government to deal fairly with the people of the country in always giving them all the information they desired in regard to the expenditures. With the growing population, the vast, increase in the number of school children and the number of schools, the Government would have a hard task to manage the country unless the Dominion Government gave a largely increased grant. He hoped they would do so. Dr. Elliott concluded by moving that the following address he presented to His Honor: We. His Majesty's dutiful and loyal subjects, the Legislative Assembly of the North-West Territories in session assembled, thank Your Honor for the gracious speech which Your Honor has been pleased to address to us at the opening of this present session.
Mr. Fisher (Batoche) seconded the motion. After congratulating Dr. Elliott on his speech, he referred to the great prosperity and happiness now general not only in the Territories but throughout Canada. Mr. Fisher confined his remarks largely to Saskatchewan which he said had in former years been more or less neglected, immigrants being encouraged to take some other direction. Conditions had now taken a radical change and Saskatchewau was getting a great share of the immigrants.
Mr. McDonald –That is due to the Government at Ottawa.
Mr. Fisher — Possibly that has a great deal to do with it. (Cheers. ) Mr. Fisher then devoted considerable time to a comparison of the yields of grains in Saskatchewan and other portions of the Territories showing that in West Saskatchewan the yield had run nearly five bushels more to the acre than elsewhere. The new settlers had great confidence in the Saskatchewan district and while the census showed a population of 25,579 he would venture to say it had now increased to 30,000 and before the end of the present year would be 35,000, and before four years elapsed Saskatchewan would contain 75,000 souls.
The speaker then made a most eloquent reference to the visit of the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall and York. Referring to the recent census, which was somewhat disappointing, Mr. Fisher said he believed the next one would show an increase to double the present figures. The coronation of King Edward VII would be an event such as had never occurred before and he was glad the premiers of the different provinces had been invited. (Hear, hear.) Let me say in particular, continued Mr, Fisher, that it must be a matter of great pride to the gentleman who occupies that position in this House to take part in that great ceremony. (Cheers.) All should entertain very bright hopes of the future of the North-West Territories. We have citizens of different nationalities, different religions, but we must all remember that we are all lhere with the same view, to build up the country (Loud cheers) founded on principles of liberty and equal lights to all. (Cheers.)
Mr. McDonald on rising to reply was greeted with cheers. He said: Mr. Speaker, if there was no other reason why l should get up on this occasion, if nothing else would bring me to my feet, I should take the opportunity to congratulate the hon. member who has just taken his seat, upon his fervent and loyal speech and the eloquent tribute he his paid to the representatives of the British Empire, who have passed through this country during the past year. We have had the pleasure of hearing the hon. member before. He speaks in a language which is not the language of his youth, but we can safely say that during the term of this legislature he need not apologise to anybody of take a back seat for any speech he has made. I congratulate him on that account.
Mr. Speaker, I am sure with the rest of the members of this assembly, possibly not those entirely in the confidence of the Government, we were surprised at the opening of this House to to find the bill of fare presented to us in the condition it is. We have had during the past years, questions of importance that have been before the Territories for some time, brought before this House and discussed by the principal members of this House, and for which the unanimous approval of this House was asked. We had hoped that these would have been dealt with more fully at the opening of the House. We have been advised that the time is one characterised by great prosperity in all sections of the country. This is evident not only to the people of this country, but it is evident also to the people of Eastern Canada. There has never been any time in the history of North-West Canada or even of the whole Dominion, when, I suppose, there has been such a prosperous year as the year 1901. The fame of Canada has gone abroad to all parts of the British Empire that this year has been one of great prosperity. It is indisputable even in the old land and one of the most important papers in the world had special reference to Canada in its first issue of the year. I quote from the London Times: "During the year just closed Canada has reached a higher imark in her progress, than she has hitherto attained." There is not a question of a doubt, that from the eastern part of Canada to the borders of Manitoba they look to the west as a support to the east. Eastern manufacturers look to the west and all the traffic that comes from the east is paid for by the people of the west. It is regretable, Mr. Speaker, that the conditions of prosperity which we here speak of, cannot be taken full advantage of by the people of this country. This has been a great year for the people of this country in a general way, but individually it has come very hard upon some of the settlers of this country.
During the past year we had the pleasure of the visit of the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall and York. The eloquent tributes that have already been paid to then by preceding speakers were sufficient to allow me to pass them over, further than to say that we join with them in their loyal remarks and the pleasure it gave this country to welcome the representatives of the British Crown. Nothing could have been better than the reception in Regina and Calgary,—the wheat arches and cattle.
The third subject dealt with in the Speech says the unprecedented crop of last season brought the transportation question before the public. Now, Mr. Speaker, this is a question that has been discussed in all parts of the Territories, and has been before the people from the early part of the shipping season of 1901-1902. We had expected from such a large crop in this country that the people would have been able to reap the advantage from it, they deserved, but unfortunately the circumstances that prevailed have severely handicapped the farmers in marketing their crops. I quote from the Speech that the Government claims the farmers in this country are now in receipt of perhaps 10 per cent. advance in prices owing to their efforts with the C. P. R. in endeavoring to relieve the blockade, but when the Department of Agriculture takes to itself credit for relieving the block of a few weeks ago, they are stretching the point. This evil existed several months before three weeks ago. What happened then? Where was the Department of Agriculture? The Department of Agriculture should give credit where credit is due. Who brought this matter before the people of the country but the farmers of this country. What about the Grain Growers' Association? They are the ones who deserve the credit.
It is true one of the preceding speakers said the Grain Growers Association backed up the Department of Agriculture. I think the Grain Growers' Association were in this before the Department of Agriculture. There has been no victory gained for the farmers of this country but what they have worked for themselves.
This difficulty existed in December, 1901. In that month the Grain Growers' Association was organised, and ever since they have been actively endeavoring to get the C.P.R. to help them. The Winnipeg board of trade and grain exchange took the matter up. If the Department of Agriculture have taken such an interest in the matter why is it not done more actively today. At Qu'Appelle Station in the constituency which the honorable gentleman represents, and at Indian Head there is still a grain blockade, and further than that, Mr. Speaker, this is not the only product produced by the people of this country in which there has been a blockage. What about the shipments of cattle last season: Where was the department when the farmers and ranchers were bringing in cattle and keeping them for days? The cattlemen looked to the Winnipeg board of trade for relief and it was them who assisted. If possible this was a more vital question than even the wheat blockade. (A voice, No.) We know that wheat call be stored in a building or taken back home and does not suffer as do cattle in being driven to the station. The cattlemen also have their space secured at Montreal. I think the Department of Agriculture is stretching this a little too far in taking credit for this much. But let them persevere in their efforts. There was raised north of the Qu'Appelle Valley last season at least from one million to a million and a half bushels, most of it is still there. The farmers are unable to get it out and are getting discouraged about growing wheat. What has the Department of Agriculture done to relieve the people north of the Qu'Appelle Valley? Their influence with the C. P. R. is so great now, they have got to be so friendly with them, since they remitted their taxes, (Laughter), that they can do anything, they can fully persuade them to build railways in all parts of the country, One of our representatives from the North-West, in the House of Commons last week estimated that the farmers of Manitoba, and the North-West had lost seven million dollars on the price of wheat owing to the grain blockade. It would seem a pity if this Government had any influence with the C. P. R. that they did not save to this country some portion of these seven million dollars.
Now, Mr. Speaker, we come to the paragraph of the Speech, which says: During the recess my Government has been in communication with the Federal Governument" and goes on further. This is a paragraph which I believe we are most interested in. We had thought that before this we would have had some definite reply to that memorial of 1900, but year after year we have been put off with the statement that it is the Government at Ottawa that is at fault. (Hear, hear.) And further we have been told from Ottawa in reply to a question by the Hon. Senator Perley in the Senate on the 21st of March, that nothing had been done or was likely to be done at present with regard to the admission of a portion of the Territories as province. I think, Mr. Speaker, that we all agree on this point that we are disappointed. (Hear, hear.) We had anticipated after passing that memorial in 1900 that our Government would ere this have been able to get something for the people of this country. We are anxious to be unanimous on this question and give them all the support they deserve and it was that motive that prompted the members of this side of the House to be unanimous in passing that resolution. We are not anxious to make this a party question if we can believe that this Government is sincere in their demand. We have taken the statement of the Government for years that they are urging these matters. We had a statement from Ottawa last year that only then had they been asked to put their representations in writing: up to that time they had been verbal. They have put in their written demand, and judging by a remark made by the hon. leader of this Government, at Indian Head these demands in some particular, were considered absurd. A very rash statement, I think, for any member of a government of this country to make, that after this House had been session after session passing resolutions and the Government making their annual trips to Ottawa, that now some of these demands were considered absurd. It was a very weak point, I think, Mr. Speaker, for our representative to admit of the case he was pleading.
Now, Mr. Speaker, there is one thing with regard to the demands that have been made, — the people of this country do not know what they are. Some will tell you to look at the Indian Head speech, some to the memorial, some to the Yorkton speech, some to the Carnduff speech, but never yet has this Government laid before this House the demands the Government has made. It is time we had them. If they are sincere and their demands are just, we ought to know them so we can back them up as unanimously as we did the memorial passed in 1900.
Now, Mr. Speaker, I just want to deal with a few remarks nade by some of the previous speakers. One hon. gentleman said that we had been accustomed to get fair statements of receipts, expenditure and returns from this Government. I wish to question that statement. We have had occasion to know that, in one year in this country;we did not get a fair statement. We had occasion to know that, in one year a sum of $20,000 was added to the receipts of this country, (Laughter) and if the hon. gentleman calls that a fair statement he must be drawing on his imagination. And also with regard to the returns. We have sometimes been criticised for asking for returns which occupied too much time of the civil servants in preparing them for the House, but I wish to draw the attention of the Government to the return asked for last session of $92,000 which was voted by the Dominion Government to the North-West Territories, for a special purpose. That return was not brought down at the session at which it was asked for, and we were not able to see whether that sum, was spent for the purpose, for which it was voted. Now if the Government were as fair as the hon. member says they are we should have had that return in time.
I wish to take up another matter just now, as I fear owing to dilatoriness in bringing down returns we may not have an opportunity of discussing it very early this session. I refer to the taxes in the large local improvement districts on the C. P. R. and Hudson's Bay Co. lands. We know, Mr. Speaker, that this has been a matter of litigation and dispute. We had expected last year that after the leader of the Government had passed his retroactive legislation, which we objected to, not because it affected these corporations but on principle. We were accused of corporation leanings and as being on the side of the corporations as against the country, but I do not think they had a good right to charge us with that statement. The hon. member for West Calgary (Mr. Bennett) made the stateanent that, the Hudson's Bay Co. and other corporations should pay their taxes, and we believed that then and we believe it now.
It has been stated openly that the Government has allowed these corporations to pay their taxes for less than one hundred cents on the dollar and they have never contradicted it. We may be able to account for one reason for the influence of this Government, with the C. P.R. when we see what they related to the company on their taxes. I do not see any reason why the Government should put their hands in their pocket to pay the C. P. R.'s taxes. If they can successfully deny this, we will withdraw it, but I have it on the best authority from one of the large corporations that they did make a settlement at less than one hundred cents on the dollar. We claim for the rest of the ratepayers in these local improvement districts the same treatment. If they have settled with the corporations for less than one hundred cents on the dollar, then they


(Continued from page 1.)
should make an equal allowance to other ratepayers in those districts. It is not fair that one corporation should receive a benefit that is withheld from other settlers. During the time that I have represented the electoral district of North Qu'Appelle I have almost every year brought before them the lack of water in that district especially north of the Qu'Appelle Valley. This Government has not yet successfully coped with that question, in fact they have mae a complete failure of it. Had they been a business-like Government they would have ere this, secured for these settlers a bountiful supply of water. They have even discouraged the people in that district as they have gone in and made unsuccessful attempts to get water.
I would refer also to the dilatoriness in doing road work. There was a vote in 1900 re-voted in 1901 for roads that to this day are not done. If the hon. gentleman would call that a businesslike government he had a poor idea of business.
I would call attention to the excessive cost of selling lands for arrears of taxes. If we have not the expensive numerical system of Manitoba and the other provinces, there is to my mind nothing more expensive than the system of confiscating lands in the local improvement districts. My attention was called to one case where the arrears were $5.00 and the land was redeemed within three or four months and the costs were $14.00, making a total of $19.00. I do not think the Commissioner of Public Works or any member of the Government can bring to the attention of the House a case in any province where such an excessive cost is charged up. I had a case from Manitoba brought to my attention where the costs were not one- third as much proportionately as in this case.
We are told that there has been a great increase in the population and that we would have additional representation. I think as members of the Opposition we will see that as far as the Government are concerned they would like to legislate us out of the House (Cries of 110, 110). I only hope the will show that fairness which the settlement in this country demands. They should take into consideration what will happen in the next few years. There are some of us who cannot credit that they will give all the people of the Territories that justice which we think they should have. We are probably judging them a little too harshly (Hear, hear), by time will tell. We will be willing to give them the benefit of our judgment in the matter but I am doubtful if they will accept it.
I would like to see the papers between the Ottawa Government and this Government over provincial autonomy. This Government is likely pressing for it but have they pressed strongly enough? What the people require is to have it now. (Cheers.)
Premier Haultain replied to Mr. McDonald. He said: Mr. Speaker, I am very glad to be able once in a while to join with my hon. friend opposite, and on this occasion do so in the matter of congratulating the hon. gentleman who moved and seconded the Address in reply to the Speech.
Mr. McDonald — I only congratulated the seconder.
Mr. Haultain — I, then, on behalf of myself and the members of this House congratulate the hon. member who moved the Address. It is not the first time we have had the pleasure of hearing him and he had already established his reputation and nothing he might say would add to it. The hon. gentlemen opposite has made criticisms on the sins of omission and commission of this Government, and over the actions of the Dominion Government, the C. P. R—and as such large lines, and also in regard to well boring in his own particular district. The hon. gentleman has to a certain extent anticipation what he has not called but insinuated he might have called the gerrymander bill. He can be perfectly certain that the Government and the House may be safely left to deal with it fairly and justly as we are accustomed to deal with matters that come before this House. We do not propose to deal with this question on prophetic lines at all. We do not propose to ask for representation for a population which may be here in the hereafter. We propose to deal with it as a business question. Sufficient unto the population of to-day is the representation thereof, and sufficient unto the population of to-morrow will be the representation of that day.
The hon. gentleman complained of the meagreness of the bill of fare outlined in the Speech, which was the stereotyped criticism of leaders of oppositions. The Speech was fair as it deals with the business of the country. It was enough to call forth two good speeches from the mover andseconder and a long one from the leader of the Opposition. The hon. gentleman carrying out the suggestion I made last year that he brings in the confidence of the corporations is able to get information not otherwise obtainable, —
Mr. McDonald — I did not say that information was confidential.
Mr. Haultain — I said the hon. gentleman being in the confidence of these corporations could get the information. He has referred to the excessive cost of tax sales under the Local Improvement Districts Ordinance. he mentioned a case where the costs amounted to $14.00 and says this was caused to some taxpay who did not know of the arrears. One of the fundamental principles of our local improvement tax system is that gentelmen who own land are supposed to take sufficient interest in the country to know there are local improvement taxes; otherwise they are running a risk. The hon. gentleman had also referred to a case in Manitoba. If the taxpayers who are living in Manitoba can redeem their land more cheaply, so far as expenses are concerned they will more than make up for it in the amount of taxes they will have to pay. For my part I would rather have the burden on the occasional man who does not pay his taxes than on the people as a whole.
Referring to the large immigration movement at present in progress, the premier said: I believe it is only the forerunner of one of the largest movements of population this continent has ever seen.
The royal visit, said Mr. Haultain, has brought us very much nearer home to the old country and the governing family of the Empire. I will not say it has caused greater loyalty on our part for it is not necessary to have royal visits to increase our loyalty. (Cheers.)
The question of the crop and railway transportation is not one that is necessary for me to take up now. What the Grain Growers' Association is entitled to, or what portion it is entitled to, of the credit for relieving the blockade I do not know; it is a question of arithmetic for the hon. gentleman to settle himself. All I know is that the question was taken up by the Department backed by the Association. I do not care so much about the praise but believe in giving praise where it is due. If the relief brought about by the action of the Department was only temporary, as my hon. friend says, we do not take credit for the removal of the whole of the evil, nor do we propose to take blame for the evil.
Now with regard to the negotations with the Federal Government over the question of provincial autonomy. We are not to blame if those negotiations are stretched out. Hon. gentlemen on the opposite side of the House think all they have to do is write a letter to Ottawa to get your demands granted. They will realise if ever they attain their ambition to sit on this side of the House that it requires a great deal more. The Government here and the legislature has, I believe, been pressing as strongly as they possibly could. The delay in 1900 was caused by an exceptionally late session at Ottawa followed almost immediately by the campaign for the election of that same year. Last year when we went to Ottawa in January 1901 we made our representations verbally and followed them up with a written statement. Later on we asked to be allowed to go down and continue them but were told a special committee of the Council would have to be appointed and could not be appointed until after the federal session. When the session was over we renewed our request and in reply were told that the minister of finance, who was a member of the special committee, had gone to England and would not be back till August. As soon as August came we again asked by telegraph for an appointment. One was made for October and kept. We had our interview with the special committee of the Council and at their request put in a more elaborate statement than at first. And although we have been in Ottawa since pressing for settlement we have up to the present received no answer. I believe this is largely due to the illness of the Minister of the Interior, who has been absent from Ottawa almost since the session opened. I have an assurance from Sir Wilfrid Laurier that as soon as Mr. Sifton gets back an answer will be sent.
The Government at Ottawa has, however, anticipated that answer somewhat by Hon. Mr. Scott's answer in the Senate. I can hardly credit the report published of that answer as it showed a little more ignorance on the part of that gentleman than he usually displays in North-West affairs. In his reply to Senator Perley he is reported to have said that the cause of delay arose on account of the difficulty to decide whether there should be one province or several and the location of the capital. Everybody knows, or ought to, that the location of the capital will not be dealt with at Ottawa but by the first provincial legislature after a province is created and cannot, therefore, be one of the questions to be decided.
We have negotiated in person, by letter and by telegraph. If the answer has not come it is not our fault. We cannot take the Dominion Government by the throat and carry out highway robbery methods. These might suggest themselves to members of the Opposition but are not the way the business of the Government is carried on.
The Government has no desire whatever to withhold the fullest statement of its position from the members of this House or the people of the country. So far as could be done without divulging the negotiations while they were pending this has been done. And while there has probably been no formal statement by myself or anyone else on behalf of the Government, everyone in this House and country knows what the principal points are. It is not at all likely that the members of the Government in this House and on the platform should be speaking along certain lines, making certain points, advancing certain arguments, and then go down to Ottawa and give them up. The members of this House have a pretty clear idea of what the Government thinks should be done. The papers will be brought down at the first possible opportunity. We regret the delay. We have put it in the mouth of the lieutenant governor, the strongest possible way under our system of government, that we regret the delay.
Now, Mr. Speaker, as the hon. gentleman says we have trifled with this matter, that we have done nothing. I will ask what have the hon. gentlemen on the other side of the House been doing to develop public opinion on this question? What have they been doing towards educating the people on this question? The hon. gentleman has for the first time broken silence on this question and has had the hardihood to say that the people demand this provincial autonomy at once.
Mr. McDonald — I beg your pardon, it is not the first time.
Mr. Haultain — On what other occasion did you express an opinion on the question?
Mr. McDonald — In my speech in this House two years ago.
Mr. Haultain — In what way?
Mr. McDonald — I said it was time we had provincial autonomy.
Mr. Haultain — I accept the hon. gentleman's statement but I have no recollection of it. I am glad, however, to know that at intervals of two years he has been able to express an opinion on this important question. What have he and his colleagues been doing to develop that public sentiment, to educate the people of this country on this important question? What did the hon. gentleman say when it was up? Was it that silence, I suppose indicating the unanimous approval of which they have spoken several times? On this side of the House we are not accustomed to draw from silence unanimous approval. When hon. gentlemen opposite have nothin to find fault with and criticise, it is that later on they ay have something to criticise, and for one I am not disposed to accept the silence of the hon. gentlemen as a sign of unanimous approval.
Other questions have been up of indefinitely less importance, except possibly of some personal interst to hon. gentlemen attached to them, and there heavy been memorials and resolutions by the hon. gentleman as leader of the Opposition on matters not half so important. He has devoted himself to questions of half breed scrip and to asking questions with regard to the education of deaf and dumb children, and then when the question of scrip is settled he discovers a new one for the volunteers, a very laudable thing in itself. But when a large question, the absorbing question the most important question the House will every have to deal with has been up the hon. gentleman has sate mute and never had an opinion except once, he says, two years ago and once to-day.
Not only the hon. gentleman, but where does his following stand on this important question? I suppose it would be somewhat indelicate for me to intrude into their little differences. I would ask where does the hon. gentlemen stand with his following? Where are other hon. gentelmen on this important question? What unanimity do they show, what common opinion do they hold on this question? Take the hon. gentleman from Calgary West and see what he has to say about it. He said the time had come to consider all the phases of the question so that public opinion might be developed and educated. What has he been doing? The nearest he got to it last session was to say that it is a very large question. And the hon. gentleman himself after two years has just come to realise that we really have a very important question to deal with. This helps about as much as the unanimous and silent consent he accords.
Now, I am glad to see the hon. gentleman has broken that silence and is able to express an opinion, because I think it is important that the members of the Opposition when they have grouped themselves under the leadership of the hon. gentleman should know exactly where he stands on this most important question. The member for Calgary West is holding meetings now and it seems to me it would be an appropriate time for him to express and opinion. I find in the Olds Oracle, a paper very friendly to him and published in a part of the constituency where he is strongest, that in the course of an addresswhich is described as "a clear, concise and masterly statement of a man who has strong convictions" the hon. gentleman for West Calgary devoted his entire speech to petty questions of expropriation for taxes, steam boiler inspection, hail insurance and school taxes, while at the same time his leader is regretting that the Government has done nothing to secure provincial autonomy and practically charging us with retarding the movement.
Another hon. gentleman, the member for Prince Albert West, what is his opinion? He goes in for a northern province, that wonderful and fearful division of two strips making a north ern and southern province that each might have a line of railway.
And what does the hon. leader of the Opposition favor, asked Mr. Haultain, and he waited for a reply.
Mr. McDonald — I did not express myself as to one or two provinces. (Laughter). What are you in favor of?
Mr. Haultain — I am in favor of one province. (Hear, hear) I have said so on the platform and we stated so in our memorial to Ottawa. The hon. gentleman is afraid to express his opinion and so I think we must attribute his silence, not as the silence of the Sphinx, but because he has taken the attitude of waiting to see what one his followers take and that popular opinion will take.
The member for Prince Albert East says he has had to go to Ottawa to present our plan being adopted there. His attitude is a little more definite, is more clearly defined and clear cut than this leader.
I have pointed out these differences to allow the hon. gentlemen and the country to see what a united and happy family they are on the one, the most important question which the House has to deal with to-day. The hon gentleman from South Regina belives in creating one province immediately. On that question he goes a little further than his leader. I am not aware of the opinions of the hon. gentlemen from Victoria and St. Albert may be, but I am perfectly certain they may be or may not be in accord with the opinion which is going to be pronounced sometime in the hereafter by the hon. gentleman for North Qu'Appelle. It is no wonder that they sit down and wait for public opinion and for things to happen. They have several sets of opinion and everyone who goes off is practically a party, so that besides a small and decreasing party we have a multiplicity of leaders. It is not at all wonderful that they find themselves in difficulty. They are trying to do the impossible. Their leader is trying to decide which horse he will ride of two or three and he will probably be put in the position of trying to ride two or three at the same time. In the meantime what do we find them doing? They have no opinion, they simply sit down and wait until popular opinion shall have disclosed itself and then, I suppose, they will be ready to jump. I am perfectly sure of this, that when the member for West Calgary does come out and state his opinion it will be one his leader cannot accept. He would be perfectly willing that a portion be handed over to Manitoba that a western province could be formed.
The hon. gentlemen refers to the fact that there is a growing opposition to the Government of the Qu'Appelle valley. I certainly congratulate the hon. gentleman on his new ally. I congratulate him that he stands on the same platform, or so nearly, that he can claim the support of the most active annexationist in the whole of Eastern Assiniboia. I must console myself with this fact, that if there is a growing opposition headed by Mr. Motehrwell north of the Qu-Appelle valley, the Opposition in this House is rapidly decreasing. (Laughter.)
On the one hand we have a clear cut opinion on the part of the Government: on the other side we have a number of opinions differing in every detail, differing in every important question. As a consequence its leaders are placed in the position of not being able to say or do anything but simply maintain the hopeless and helpless attitude of do- nothings. They say nothing, do nothing, and so far as we can gather they know nothing. We have a clear and definite policy and we are united on it. We believe in once province with all rights of other provinces: we believe in the full control of the lands, the mines, the minerals and all the royalties of this country: we believe in adequate compensation for all the public lands that have been used for Federal purposes: we believe in getting a fair adjustment of any outstanding debt there may be against the Territories; we believe in the subsidy being given, not on a population of 400,000 people, but that it should be as large as that received by any other province; in fact, we believe in being treated the same as the other provinces, and that is the proposition we made to the Federal Government, with the provision that we be made into one province and not into a number of small ones. I believe that in this we are backed up by a loyal following in this House and knowing the justness of our claim we rest assured of the outcome. (Cheers.)
Dr. Patrick (Yorkton) followed the premier and made a vigorous attack on the one province idea. He proposed to take advantage of the latitude which the debate offered to say many things which he regretted to have to say. Referring to the speech made by the Duke of York in London after the royal tour in which His Royal Highness spoke of the liberal laws of the colonies. Dr. Patrick said he surely had no reference to some legislation passed by this House last session which proposed to expropriate the property of free men and give them what compensation a commissioner might see fit.
Dr. Patrick then devoted himself to the provincial autonomy question. He said: I think I may safely claim not to be open to the indictment made against others. It is nearly 12 years since I first had something to do with local politics. I was so taken with the attitude of the premier that I followed him and have done so faithfully to this day. I was a strong believer in the one province idea and held these views up to 1897 because I believed that the assumption was correct that larger arrears were more cheaply governed. I followed with a good deal of interest the debate on the autonomy motion of the number for Banff, but in 1897 the position was taken by Manitoba that it should include a part. I believe that position was taken by Manitoba as the direct result of the debate here in 1806 when the unanimous resolution was passed in favor of one province. This led me to see that the position of Manitoba was such that they had a fair right to have some say in this matter. I felt then that the matter must be dealt with from a Dominion rather than a local point of view. In the session of 1809 I expressed the opinion that we should have two territories united under one local government. I made the suggestion in the hope that the leader of the Government would see his way clear to recede from a position I held to be dangerous to the people of this country and their local interests. I sought reelection not as such a declared follower of the hon. gentleman. I have continued to hope that he would not bind himself to the once province idea but make an alternative proposition, but I gather that he has nailed his banner to the one province. (Hear, hear.( And I as firmly nail my banner to two, I think the one province idea highly prejudical to the interests of the people of this country, and I would rather stay at home and advocate two provinces than come here to advocate one. I can understand and appreciate the position of Manitoba but I am opposed to the annexation of any portion of the Territories to that province, except the portion lying to the north of that province: that I think they are entitled to. If the Territories are organised into one large province it will certainly dwarf Manitoba in the estimation of the people of Canda and on the map of Canada, and I say here today the settlement will be either two provinces or annexation and that two provinces is the proper solution.
It is said that the two provinces would be more expensive than one. It is not an axiom; it is not a self-evident truth. The hon. gentleman should go further than he does and tell the people that we have large and small provinces and show that they large provinces and show that the large provinces are the cheaper. I say that the records show that it will be cheaper and more economical to have two provinces than one. I do not intend to prove it at this time. The reverse is the assumption on which the hon. gentleman's case for one province rests. He should take the records of the small provinces and by a comparison with the large provinces show that he is correct. It is the only position on which he can stand. No man can stand on the position that we should wish one province to be so predominant as to cause strife. The hon. gentlemn should by a comparison between large provinces and stuall provinces, by a comparison between large States and small States, by a comparison between the 5,000,000 of Canada and the 75,000,000 of the United States, by a comparison between New Brunswick with its 330,000 of a population and Ontario with its 2,000,000 show that in any case or a majority of cases the larger are cheaper than the smaller. For the purpose of putting him to this proof I deny it. Let him take the people into his confidence and prove that his contention is a correct one.
The motion adopting the Address in reply to the Speech was then put and carried, Dr. Patrick alone protesting. The House then adjourned.


Regina Leader, 1896-1904. Digitized by Google Books.



Selection of input documents and completion of metadata: Isabelle Carré-Hudson.

Personnes participantes: