Legislative Assemblies of Alberta and Saskatchewan, 9 April 1902, Alberta and Saskatchewan Debates over Confederation with Canada.



Many Members Speak on the All Important Subject.


By a vote of 22 to 7 the Assembly Rejected Dr. Patrick's Amendment in Favor of Two Provinces—The Members for North and South Regina Express Their Views Other Speeches.

WEDNESDAY, April 9th.
Speaker Eakin took the chair at half past two. Mr. A. B. Gillis, chairman of the committee on standing orders reported in favor of a petition for incorporating the Red Deer Memorial hospital.
Premier Haultain in reply to Mr. Villeneuve said that the permits for the sale of liquor in the organized Territories and the amounts received were as follows: 1899 (84) $253; 1900 (72) $179; 1901 (142) $325; 1902 to April 8 (54) $143.
Premier Haultain in answer to Mr. Villeneuve said no members of the educational council had been appointed since the last meeting of the assembly. The government did intend to make such appointments but he could not exactly say when.
Hon. A. L. Sifton in reply to Mr. C. Fisher said that 2,740 quarter sections in Batoche electoral district had been included in Prince Albert's local im provement district but neither the hon. member nor any one else was consulted in the matter.
Mr. A. E. Cross (East Calgary) resumed the debate on provincial autonomy. He was thoroughly in accord with Mr. Haultain's motion expressing regret that the Dominion Government had not agreed to pass legislation giving the Territories provincial establishment. The amendment was a sort of snap-shot, want of confidence in the Government. It was not his intention to vote for two provinces till he knew where they were to be, and he would rather vote for one province than for two if they were to be divided up into northern and southern provinces. If, as stated, they were to be divided more or less equally in area it would place the northern province in a most ridiculous light. He did not think anybody would vote for it. If they threw off the northern part which was not populated and then divided the remainder there would be a province consisting of a long thin line along the international boundary largely populated with people from the United States and coming in with agressive ideas and looking down more or less on our country. He had lived in the United States and knew something of their ideas and if the House invited that condition of affairs they were not only doing a wrong to the country but a great injustice to every man in it. By introducing that long thin province they would create a wedge of discord right in the heart of Western Canada, and in the future these people might make a demand on Ottawa which was unreasonable and could not be granted. There would follow an agitation and an appeal to Washington and the first thing they knew they would have an international question on their hands.
Mr. Cross said he was in favor of two provinces and would go further and state where they should be, which was more than members of the Opposition had courage to do. He believed in an eastern and western province.
Mr. Bennett —Hear, hear.
Mr. Cross —They should be divided almost equally in area and I do not think any controversial, questions should arise if they are so divided.
Mr. Bennett —Hear, hear.
Mr. Cross said the western province would find its best market in the west, while the eastern province would be contributary to the east, as the chief product, wheat went to the seaboard.
As far as the area of two provinces was concerned Mr. Cross claimed it was not fair to make comparisons with other provinces where, much of the land would support neither man nor animal, whereas the Territories was composed of arable land capable of producing all kinds of agricultural products and live stock. Consequently they would be in a position to support a very much larger population than the other provinces, and if they were divided into two provinces they would eventually be larger provinces, than any in the Douminion. (Hear, hear.) He had that much confidence in the west. (Hear, hear.) The outcome would be the formation of the greatest and most powerful provinces with the people in the front rank. (Hear, hear.) He, therefore, regretted that the amendment had not come before the people in a reasonable and fair way so that honest and intelligent people could judge for themselves and say they either had confidence in the Opposition or they had not. The amendment was really no amendment at all, but in fact a motion. He was perfectly in accord with Mr. Haultain's motion and could not vote for the amendment even if it came up as a motion.
Mr. G. M. Annable (MooseJaw) claimed that a majority of Government supporters were in favor of two provinces. He had taken an independent stand in the House voting with one side as much as the other. He congratulated the Opposition on getting out a platform on one plank of which he could stand. He was in favor of two provinces, and when they were formed he thought the boundary lines would be in sympathy with the ideas of the member from East Calgary.
Dealing with the negotiations carried on by the local Government, Mr. Annable said: "If I was a member of that Government I would give the Dominion Government 30 days to grant our demands. I would say I want this subsidy or I will resign and you can run the show." (Hear, hear, and cheers.) Continuing he said nobody knew better than the Dominion Government, the extent of the influx of immigration into this country and yet the local Government was expected to build roads, bridges, schools, etc., and make these people happy on $300,000 a year. If the local Government would give the Dominion Government 30 days notice and then resign if their request was not acceded to they need not be afraid that the lieutenant governor would call on any three other men to form a Government because they could not be elected. (Laughter). These were not hard times and the Dominion Government did not know what to do with their money. (Laughter.)
was the next speaker. The question of one or two provinces had found their fullest expression. The hon. member for Yorkton had not quite proved his case as to the cost of adiministering large and small provinces. He (Rosenroll) had had a little experience himself last summer. For a few months he had to keep up two households as his wife and faimily were in one province, while he had to keep up his house at his place of business at Wetaskiwin. Two governments, he declared, were twice as expensive as one. That was as clear as that twice two makes four. The world was getting smaller and distances shorter all the time, and government of a large area was much easier and more economical in Canada, now than twenty years ago. The tendency all over the world was for combination in the political as well as the commercial world. The smaller nations of Europe had been wielded together into large and powerful nations such as Germany and taly. In all branches of human activity instead of dividing forces people were uniting them. The people of the Territories should conform to the spirit of the times and unite and have one great, prosperous province.
Another objection to two provinces would be the obstacles thus placed in the way of professional men. Why build a Chinese wall between two sections of the country. So far they had grown up together under the same institutions and they formed a national character peculiar to the North-West. Still another reason was that as one province they would assimilate foreign races such as the Galicians and Doukhobors more easily. These people were enjoying privileges unknown to them before they came to Canada; they were poor in there own land as our grandparents were here; they were becoming prosperous and would make good patriotic citizens but the process of assimilation would be more rapid in one province.
The Minister of the Interior had stated at a public meeting in Winnipeg that it was not desirable to increase the present number of provinces. The hon. member for Yorkton only as late as last year was in favor of the extension of Manitoba's boundaries and justified his contention by a lengthy speech. It had been said that one great overshadowing province would be a future danger to confederation. What did that mean? It meant that if there existed no danger of annexation that danger had since been created by the arguments of the gentlemen on the opposite side of the house.
Dr. Patrick explained that he did not advocate the extension of Manitoba westward.
Mr. Rosenroll—I did not say northward or westward. The facts are that he practically said that Manitoba, was too small a province. He admitted that it should be made larger.
Mr. Haultain—But he was willing to state the boundaries. (Laughter)
Mr. J. B. Shera (Victoria) contented that the motion did not mean that they should have been made into, one province, but that they regretted that the Dominion Government had not granted provincial institutions. He regretted that and he thought the people did, and taking that ground he was willing to support the resolution. He believed it was nothing more than right and he did so conscientiously. He might suffer for it as the people in the northern country were in favor of two provinces.
Mr. J. B. Hawkes (South Regina) said he was in favor of one province. Some people said the time had not yet arrived when the Territories should come into provincial rights but he claimed the time had fully arrived and the sooner they were formed into a province the better it would be for all parties concerned. They had also heard that the Government had no mandate to go to Ottawa and treat to form a province. He did not look at it in that way. The Government had started to bring the matter as near it as possible before consulting the House so that if the Dominion Government was willing to grant their request the House would be in a position to close the bargain. He could see no reason why they could not get along as one province quite as well as two and it could be managed just as economically.
Mr. Hawkes referred to Mr. McLeod's Prince Albert speech in which that gentleman claimed the Opposition were working together to hold this matter in abeyance. The speaker said that while he had belonged to that Opposition no man could say that he ever, endeavored to hold the question in abeyance. The sooner they got provincial autonomy the better. Quoting further from Mr. McLeod's speech in which that gentleman was reported to have said he was satisfied the Dominion Government would not grant autonomy for some years and that they were better as they were, Mr Hawkes said he thought the hon. gentleman did not know what he was talking about. With the very worst terms they could possibly get they would be better than they were today. If they were made into a province today they would have a better chance to develop the resources of the country. Pioneers were now paying for all the improvements while in a province the payments would be extended over many years; they could fix the country up and newcomers would pay their share of the burden. It was a well known fact that the Government had not the money to do necessary work. He had asked for work to be done which he felt sure would have been done if the Commissioner of Publie Works had had the money at his disposal.
A contented settler, Mr. Hawkes claimed, was the best possible immigration agent. It was therefore of the utmost importance that the Terriories should be formed into a province and thus be able to build roads and bridges, carrying on tests for water, and develop the resources of the country.
He believed the Government were working not for the interests of Regina, Calgary, Macleod, but for the Territories as a whole. Did the proposition it sent Ottawa sound as if it had no interest in the country or its development? It did not. Every member supporting the Government should be proud of the position it had taken and he was very proud of it, and he felt sure every member would regret the way in which the Government had been treated. The Opposition had formulated their policy and he could follow them no longer. (Cheers.) He would give the Government all the support he could give them until their policy of one province was carried out. (Cheers)
Dr. De Veber (Lethbridge) supported the resolution. Although it did not declare for one province he was in favor of one province. Some of the arguments advanced against one province were very poor, and the argument that the larger the province the more it cost per capita would not appeal to anyone of sense.
Mr. R. S. Lake (Grenfell) expressed his approval of the proposal of the executive. The opposition were unanimous in favor of the recital of the motion, but they were nearly all at variance as to the motion itself. For his own part, however, the motion was very simple. It was merely a matter of regret that legislation of some kind was not introduced into the Dominion parliament and he could not see why the opposition even holding the views they did, could not vote for the motion. Coming to the reasons given by the Minister of the Interior for postponing the question, he said that if the population was too sparse for one province, surely it was too sparse for two provinces. (Hear, hear.) It was evident when the conference was arranged, that the Dominion government meant business, but something had evidently happened, he did not know what, which had changed that intention. He concluded by expressing his approval of the actions and methods of the executive and said it would be inconsistent with the federal principle if the new province was not treated on an equal plane with the older provinces. Otherwise confederation would totter and fall to the ground. He was a one province man on the principle that union is strength, and as one province they could work out the solution of the transportation problem so much more easily. The varied climate and resources of the several districts might be an argument against, but there were many good reasons favoring one large province. He was opposed to annexation with Manitoba.
Capt. Meyers (Kinistino) opposed the amendment. Some of the people to the north wanted two provinces with the dividing line between Assiniboia and Saskatchewan from Manitoba to British Columbia. He ridiculed the idea of carrying the boundary line so far north as the northern boundary of British Columbia, which would further carry the dividing line some hundreds of miles north. If the proposed boundaries were clearly defined he might have seen his way clear to support the amendment, but as it was he must say he had greater faith in one province although it might be large than in two provinces with uncertain boundaries.
Mr. M. McCauley thought the question was not so much one of one province or two provinces, as a question of terms, Edmonton and Prince Albert Boards of Trade had passed resolutions in favor of a northern and southern province, but obviously they had been influenced by the question of capital. Such resolutions were a little previous, and he thought the real question was one of terms. Personally he was in favor of one province, on the score of economy.
Mr. C. Fisher said that he had always been a one-province man, but seeing that the Dominion Government had refused, and had postponed the question for two years, he should, when that time elapsed, be prepared to vote for two provinces. If, however, there were to be a northern and a southern province, he would like to know how they were to be divided. He joined, however, in the expression of regret in the resolution, and, therefore, he should support it.
Mr. McDiarmid believed that the time was not ripe for provincial autonnomy, but when it did come, he was a one-province man.
Mr. J. W. Connell considered that the publicity of the executive's proposal implied a sufficient mandate to it to deal with the question. His constituents were in favor of one province, and he was there to support the motion of the government.
The vote on the amendment proposed by Dr. Patrick was then taken and it was lost by 22 to 7, follows: For, McDonald, Bennett, Patrick, Villeneuve, McLeod, McKay, Annable- 7. Against, Haultain, Sifton, Bulyea, DeVeber, Brown, Fisher, McIntyre, Meyers, Elliott, Cross, Rosenroll, Lake, Smith, Shera, Prince, Connell, McCauley, Simpson, Wallace, Gillis, Hawkes, McDiarmid–22. Mr. Greeley was absent.
Premier Haultain itimated he would reply to the debate when the original motion was put.
Mr. Thos. McKay moved for a return of correspondence in connection with the construction of drain No. 54 on T. 33, R. 4 west of the third meridian. Motion was agreed to.
Mr. McDonald introduced a bill to amend The Hail Insurance Ordinance. It was read a first time.
Mr. Bennett introduced a bill to amend The Local Improvement Ordinance, which also received a first reading.
Mr. McCauley got a first reading of a bill respecting municipal public works at Edmonton and also one to amend the Ordinance incorporating the town of Edmonton.
Mr. G. W. Brown moved the second reading of a bill to amend the Ordinance respecting chemists and druggests. The bill which dealt with the fees passed its second reading and the House adjourned.


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