Legislative Assemblies of Alberta and Saskatchewan, 4 April 1902, Alberta and Saskatchewan Debates over Confederation with Canada.

FRIDAY, April 4.
Upon the opening of the Assembly to-day Mr. F. Villeneuve presented petitions: (1) Asking that Father Bruinet, Roman Catholic bishop of Athabasca, should be made a corporation; (2) That Madame Rose and others should be incorporated as Les Seurs de Charitie de la Providence: (3) To amend the Ordinance incorporating the Saskatchewan Exploration company.
Premier Haultain presented a petition to incorporate the Victoria Memorial Hospital at Pincher Creek.
Premier Haultain laid on the table of the House the correspondence with the Dominion  Government on the question of provincial autonomy, and gave notice that on Monday he would move the following resolution: "Whereas, the larger powers and income incidental to provincial status are urgently and imperatively required to aid the development of the Territories and to meet the pressing necessities of a large and rapidly increasing population, be it resolved that this House regrets that the Federal Government has decided not to introduce legislation at the present session of parliament with a view to  granting provincial institutions to the Territories." Cheers.
Hon. G. H. V. Bulyea laid on the table the report of the Territorial Secretary and the House adjourned.
The correspondence with the Dominion Governmont over the question of provincial autonomy which was laid on the table of time Assembly to-day by Premier Haultain is quite voluminous. Summarised it is as follows:
The "Case for the Territories," presented by the North-West Government to Sir Wilfrid Laurier bears date of Dec. 7, 1901. It points out not only that the population of the Territories is rapidly increasing by the efforts of the immigration branch of the department of the interior, but that the new settlers seem desirous to become pioneers in districts far removed from settlement. The new settlements, therefore, are too small and too widely scattered to bear the burdens which necessarily go with the opening up of a new country. The fact cannot be disguised that they must be assisted to do so if the people are to be contended and prosperous. Bridges, ferries and adequate water, supply and schools must be provided, roads surveyed and made, and difficulties overcome. That the cost of these should be raised by taxation is shown to be undesitable; first, because it would militate against the work of the Dominion government in inducing immigration, and secondly, to require the people of the Territories to carry on the work of opening up and developing the country would not be to treat the early settlers in the North-West Territories in the manner in which the people of the older provinces have been treated.
The document lays great stress upon the fact that the public debts of the provinces were for the development of the sources of the country, and to attract immigration. The cost of those debts is borne by the North West along with the rest of Canada. All the public revenue of the Territories goes to swell the consolidated fund: the public domain is employed for purely federal purposes, and the Territories are not permitted to draw upon the future. The grants made to the Territories have never been considered from the point of view of their requirements. Last January $600,000 were asked for and parliament met, the request by appropriating 979 to meet the case, Another objection to introducing a a heavy rate of taxation to meet expenditure on public improvements is that a considerable portion of such expenditures ought properly to be chargeable to capital account. As the Territories, not being empowered to borrow, have no capital account, this would be equivalent to making the present settlers pay for the advantages to be reaped by future generations. It is then shown that in order to perform the public duties of the Territories during the first half of 1902, $465,000 are required, and it is likely that the grant made will be $250,000 less than that sum. Parliament is the only source that can appealed to to find this deficit and the neglect to furnish prompt relief can only have the effect of neutralising the efforts of the Dominion to people the Territories. The North-West Government does not seek for any advantages over any other province and does not anticipate it will be denied any privilege given elsewhere.
Premier Haultain then presented a draft of a model bill to meet the case, the main features of which have already been outlined by the premier on more than one occasion. The draft bill provides for one province, consisting of the present territories of Alberta, Saskatchewan, Assiniboia and a part of Athabasca. A foot-note to this proposal admits that it may be claimed that the area proposed is too large for one province, but goes on to point out that it is practically the same as now administered by the Territories without difficulty. Furthermore, the cost of government at the present is only 10 per cent. of the annual expenditure, which is much less than in the older provinces, and indicates that the present machinery can he extended far cheaper than new machinery can be created. The location of the capital it was proposed to leave to the executive of the government.
Clause 17 provides that all Hudson's Bay rights relinquished to the Dominion shall be transferred to the new province. This is explained as relating chiefly to the right at present denied by the company to the Territories, but granted to Canada, of taking land for roads through reserves without compensation.
Clause 18 vests all the public lands in the new province.
Clause No. 19 gives it the mines, minerals, timber and royalties belonging to the crown. Those sections, says the foot note, provide,so far as circumstances appear to admit for an arrangement analagous to that which obtains in the several provinces originally forming the confederation.  It is claimed further, that the Dominion possesses no proprietory rights to the lands surrendered to the crown by the Hudson's Bay company.
Another argumeut adduced is that the increase of population imposed the necessity for increase of expenditure, and the use of lands by the Dominion solely to encourage settlement, places an undue burden on the province. The burden, it is claimed, should fall where the benefits go.
A subsidy of $50,000 for the support of the government, and 80 cents per head on an estimated population of 250,000 is asked for at the outset. with an increase at the same rate till paid on a population of 1,396,091, which is the number Ontario is paid.
Clause 24 provides that five per cent, interest shall lie paid on the sum of one dollar per acre of all land used for Federal purposes. This includes grants totaling to 39,459,722 acres, most of which are for railway lines either outside or only partially within the Territories. They have, says the foot-note, been built for the general welfare of Canada, but cash subsidies, reaching $166,009,203, have been given to aid these and other lines, the burden of which, unlike land grants, falls on the Territorial people equally with the rest of the Dominion. Hence it is conceived to be wrong to make the Territories bear the burden of land grants and also their share of money grants.
In addition, exclusive power with reference to irrigation is asked for, together with an absolute title to all water.
Four senators are asked for until the population reaches 250,000, to be then increased to five, and one extra for each additional 50,000. Ten members of the House of Commons are suggested, with an increase in the number, according to the terms of the British North America Act.
In addition to matters dealt with in the draft bill, Mr. Haultain asks for the removal of the veto to tax the C. P. R. A copy of the memorial passed by the Assembly in 1910 is also attached.
The answer of the Dominion Government to these representations is conveyed in the following letter from the Minister of the Interior:
OTTAWA, 27th March, 1902.
Dear Mr. Haultain:
Absence from Ottawa due to ill health has prevented me from communicating with you on the subjects discussed by you and your Colleague when here respecting the financial and constitutional status of the North-West Territories. I presume, however, that you would have gathered our views from the expressions of opinion which took place during our interviews, and our conclusions will not, therefore, I trust come in the way of a surprise.
It is the view of the Governument that it will not be wise at the present time to pass legislation forming the North-West territories into a Province or Provinces. Some of the reasons leading to this view may be found in the fact, that the population of the Territories is yet sparse; that the rapid increase in population now taking place will in a short time alter the conditions to be dealt with very materially; and that  there is a considerable divergence of opinion respecting the question whether there should be one province only or more than one province. Holding this view therefore, it will not be necessary for me to discuss the details of the draft bill which you presented as embodying your views.
Respecting the present financial requirements, the question of an increase in your subsidy is now receiving consideration, but the result cannot, as you are aware, be communicated until the Estimates are brought before Parliament. This I have every reason to hope will take place in a very short time.
REGINA. April 2, 1902
Dear Mr. Sifton,
I beg to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 27th of March, conveying the decision of the Government with regard to the financial and constitutional questions which have been the subject of diseussion during the past year, and a half. So far from your conclusions not coining as a surprise as you sugges. I must say quite frankly that the decision of the Government has come not ouly as a surprise, but as a deep disappointment as well. In your letter of the 21st of March, 1901 you say:
"I may say that I realise very fully "the difficulty of the position in  "which the Government and Legisla
"tive Assembly of the North-West "Territories is placed, and I admit that there is very much in the sug"gestions which are made in your "letter and in the memorial regarding "the necessity of change in the con"stitutional and financial position of "the Territories.
"Without at the present moment "committing myself to any positive statement I am prepared to say that "the time has arrived when teh ques"tion of organising the Territories on "the Provincial bsis ought to be the "subject of full consideration. It "would appear to me that the better "way of bringing the matter to a more "definite position would be to arrange "for a conference upon the subject "between the representatives of your "Government and a committee of "Council representing the Federal "Government."
Again on the fifth of April 1901, you write:
"The latter potion of the Session of "Parliament here finds ll the mem"bers of the Government extremely "busy, and it would be hopeless to "expect from them that mature and "careful consideration of the various "and important subjects which will "require to be debted and settled in "connection with th establishment of "the Territorie as a Province or upon "Provincial basis. I think I shall "therefore be compelled to ask you to "defer the discussion until after Par"liament has prorogued."
Theese opionins and the long delay tht followed,in order to choose a convenient time for tht "mature and careful considertion of the various and important subjects which will require to be debated and settled in connection with the establishment of the Territories as a Province or upon a Provincial basis," led us to suppose that when the subject was finally taken up it would be taken up with a view to impmediate settlement. The written statements, which ahve been made by me, must have proved conclusively that the necessity for the change was a pressing one and that we had arrived at a point when our constitutional and financial osition was not adequate to the proper performance of the duties devolving upon us. Recognising this state of afairs, we have gone to the Dominion Government and said: "if you cannot we will not deal with the questions which have arisen in the Territories [?] the powers and the [?] would justly accompany those powers and allow us to work [?] To this you answer: "That it is the view of the Government that it will not be wise "to the present time to pass legisla"tion [?] the Territories into a "Province or Provinces." One of the reasons given for this position is: "That the popuation of the Territories "is sparse." I might point out that we have at least ten times the population of Manitoba when it was erected into a Provine, and a larger population than that Province had so lately as 1891; a considerably larger population than the Province of Prince Edward Island and with the immigraiton of the present season a considerably larger population than the Province of British Columbia according to the late census. Another reason advanced is: "That the rapid increase in population "now taking place will in a short time "alter the conditions to be dealt with very materially." The rapid increase in population is one of the principal reasons why we are asking to be formed into a Province, in order that we may be able to deal with teh new conditions tht it brings about. The longer it goes on without the change the more aggravated the present difficultties will become.
With regard to a divergence of opinion as to one or intore Provinces, might say that that is a difficulty which will always exist and which any postponentent of action will not remove.
I must also say on behalf of the North-West Government that after having been asked to meet a sub-committee of the Privy Council and to state our case not only verbally but in writing, it is extremely unsatisfactory that the Governinent has couiĹże to the conclusion : "That it will not be "necessary to discuss the details of "the draft bill which elnbodied our "views." This is a conclusion to the negotiations which have been held which we could hardly have expected considering the importance of the subject discussed and the formal manner in which the discussion has taken place.
Wecannot but regret tht the Government has not been able to recognise the urgent necessity for the change that has been asked and can only trust that as you ahve denied us the opportunity of helping ourselves you will be at least impressed with the necessity and the duty, which is now yours, of meeting the pressing necessities of these rapidly developing Territories. While we may,in your opinion without inconvenience mark time constitutionally; we cannot do without the transportation facilities,the roads, the bridges,the schools and the other improvements which our rapidly growing population imperatively requires, and at once. Whether we are made into a Province or not, our financial necessities are just as real, and in conclusion I can only trust that when the question of an increase to our subsidy is receiving consideration, more weight will be given to our representations in that respect than has been given to our requests for constitutional changes.


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



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