Legislative Assemblies of Alberta and Saskatchewan, 22 April 1903, Alberta and Saskatchewan Debates over Confederation with Canada.



Adopted by the Legislative Assembly With Reference to


Premier Haultain Outlines His Position re Party Lines—Important Amendments to the Liquor Licence and Hall Insurance Ordinances— Ottawa Government's Delay Makes Long Adjournment Necessary.

WEDNESDAY, April 22nd.
The House was in a very businesslike mood to-day and quite a number of Bills were advanced from first to second readings and put through committee of the whole.
In reply to Mr. Wallace, the Commissioner of Public Works stated that 1,751 miles of fireguard had been constructed long the C.P.R. main and branch lines in the Territories in 1902 at a cost to the North-West Government of $9,309. The Commissioner stated that early in 1902 an agreement had been made by which the C.P.R. would pay one-half the cost (which was $10 a mile), or $5.00 a mile towards the construction of these guards and also to pay $2.50 a mile per year, or in other words one-half, to maintain the guards each year. The agreement could be terminated by either party and the Commissioner informed the House that the Government had given notice to terminate it at the end of the present year.
Mr. Haultain, in moving the appointment of the special committee composed of Messrs. Bulyea, Elliott, Patrick, Bennett, McKay, Brown, Fisher, (Batoche), Rutherford and Haultain to draft a memorial to Ottawa on the questions of the constitutional and financial position of the Territories, railway transportation, and the public domain, said it was not necessary to dwell on the importance of presenting a united front on these questions. He believed they were all agreed on the broad lines involved in these questions, and also on the advisability of sending such a memorial to Ottawa. The motion passed without debate.
Mr. J. J. Young moved for a return showing the correspondence relative to the Nose Creek bridge near Calgary and in doing so said it was a matter of considerable importance to the people of his constituency and he desired to have all the correspondence and facts brought down in order that it might be the more intelligently discussed. In the absence of the Commissioner of Public Works from the chamber the Premier said there would be no objection to bringing the papers down.
Dr. Patrick introduced Bills relating to the town of Yorkton and the Yorkton Queen Victoria Cottage Hospital and these were read a first time. Mr. Rutherford introduced a Bill to amend the Ordinance incorporating Strathcona, which was also read a first time.
The Bills to amend the Ordinances incorporating the Regina Victoria Hospital, respecting marriages, the Calgary General Hospital, and the town of Moosomin were each read a second time and passed through committee of the whole with some minor amendments to the latter one. The Bill to amend the Ordinance incorporating Calgary also passed its second reading after a brief explanation of the object of its clauses by Mr. Young and was taken up in Committee of the Whole.
Just before the Speaker left the chair Mr. Wallace (High River) rose to a question of privilege and said:—In connection with certain action taken by the convention recently held at Moose Jaw in favor of the introduction of party politics into this House, the matter was put to me at a public meeting very bluntly a short time ago in the form of a question 'What action do you intend to take with regard to it.' My answer was short. I said I had every confidence in Premier Haultain and would continue to have confidence in him so long as he continued in the same course he had previously followed and until he had made a public statement to the contrary. I think it is due to the people and to himself that the Premier should make a statement regarding his position and I would ask him for a short statement as to what he intends to do in the matter.
Mr. Fisher (Batoche) said he considered it important that the House should have an explanation from the Premier. They had every confidence in him as Premier and were also confident that he had governed the affairs of the country satisfctorily but he thought an explanation from him was due.
Premier Haultain in reply said:—I should have liked to have kept this subject out of the discussion of the House in exactly the same way as we kept the discussion of federal party politics out of the House. But now that it has come up I cannot complain of the spirit or manner in which it has been introduced. It has confirmed my belief that the hon, gentlemen with whom I have been associated in the House in carrying out the pledges I have made to them, to the House and to the country, still extend their confidence to me. I am not myself aware that any public statement is necessary but I am perfectly willing to make it and I believe it will be satisfactory both to the members of this House and the country at large. From the earliest time in the history of this House there has been a practically unanimous opinion on the part of the country that this House in addressing itself to the business entrusted to it should not introduce questions, names and cries which had nothing whatever to do with the particular business in hand. That has been the policy of the House and of the Government and the principle on which I have been elected from year to year and on which I have been so loyally, and practically unanimously, supported both in the House and country. It is quite unnecessary for me to say that at the last election I went to the country, on the same ground, and I can merely say to the


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House and country at the present time that I propose to carry out the important duties which have been intrusted to me, faithfully and resolutely, and fulfill the pledges I have made to my constituency, to my colleagues, to the Legislature and to the North-West Territories.
In regard to the convention which the hon. gentleman has mentioned, I am not going to stop short at the statement I have made. On the question of Dominion policies I take the ground the I, in common with every member of this House, reserve to myself the right to have and to hold and profess my own political opinions in regard to national or other matters. I do not consider because of my position in this House that I am thereby practically disfranchised. I claim the right to exercise, and will exercise to the fullest extent, the liberty of speech and action and opinion with regard to federal matters, subject to the promise that I will not introduce them into local affairs.
With regard to the organisation which was created at Moose Jaw, I had the honor of being elected its honorary president. I do not propose to shield myself, as, perhaps, I might, behind what is purely an honorary position. By accepting the honorary presidency of the association then formed I may be held to be in general principles of the party to which I have the honor to belong. A political party according to Edmond Burke, is a body of men united to promote by their joint endeavors principles they are all agreed upon. I am not bound to approve of every detail of the policy of the party to which I belong. The party may in the opinion of some of the members be wrong in certain directions without forfeiting in any degree the loyalty of those members. Every party in Canada is quite broad enough and big enough to allow differences of opinion in its ranks. A political party represents a large number of individuals and it would be perfectly unreasonable to suppose that every member would be agreed on every point. That would be to deny actual facts and actual experiences and actual circumstances.
The Preaner then referred to the condition of both political parties in England who, at the present timme, different amongst themselves on very large and important pricniples, and then went on to say: With regard to my position with the Conservative party I am in thorough unison with it on an questions of principle, and am confident and believe that its members are just as strong now as they were in days of either success or adversity and that its principles are just as sound and good. But the policy of that party and those principles have nothing whatever to do with my position in this House. The country must be satisfied that I will faithfully and sincerely and impartially do my duty up front and trust on the times. I have given time and time again to my constituents, my colleagues, to the House and to the people of the Territories generally. The House then adjourned.


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



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