Legislative Assemblies of Alberta and Saskatchewan, 6 November 1903, Alberta and Saskatchewan Debates over Confederation with Canada.



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FRIDAY, Nov. 6th.
There was a large attendance of Members at the opening of the House today, only three or four seats being vacant. Dr. Patrick asked the following questions of the Commissioner of Public Works, notice of which he gave on Wednesday last:—
(1) Whether, under date of 16th June, 1903, he addressed from the Executive Council, Regina, to the Right Honorable Sir Wilfrid Laurier, G.C.M.G., Premier of Canada, a letter advising him among other things that he (the Honorable the Commissioner of Public Works), had "advised the federal members representing the Territories" that if the "general representations" made by the said federal members to his (Sir Wilfrid Laurier's) Government were adopted it would reasonably satisfy the general public in the Territories and would put his (Sir Wilfrid Laurier's) candidates in the coming election in a position in which they could fight with zeal;" and if so,
(2) Whether the "general representations" referred to in the said letter as having been made by the federal members representing the Territories were such as may fairly be inferred from the general tenor of the speeches made by such of the said federal representatives from the Territories as took part in the debate on the amendment to the motion to go into committee of Supply made in the House of Commons on the 13th day of October last past; and
(3) If such may not be fairly inferred what were the "general representations" referred to, and
(4) What was meant by the reference in the said letter to provincial autonomy as an alternative? and
(5) Whether the said letter was written and forwarded with the knowledge and consent of the honorable Commissioner's colleagues on the Executive Council? and
(6) Whether the general tenor of the said letter was "strongly approved" over the signatures of G. W. Brown, I. Geo. DeVeber, J. W. Woolf, W. T. Finlay, C. W. Fisher, A. D. McIntyre, Charles Fisher, A. S. Smith, P. Talbot, B. Prince, R. W. Wallace, J. A. Simpson, A. S. Rosenroll, Thos. MacNutt and A. C. Rutherford, members of this House?
In reply Mr. Bulyea said: As to question (1) Yes.
(2 and 3) The "general representations" referred to in the letter were the endorsement and backing up by the Territorial Members of Parliament at that late (June) of the financial claims of the Territories then being considered by the Federal Government.
I must decline to assist the hon. gentleman in deciding whether the nature of the "general representations" made at that time (16th June) with regard to financial questions can be fairly inferred from the general tenor of the speeches made on the 13th October with regard to the question of Autonomy.
(4) No alternative proposition was made to the Federal Government. Immediate autonomy with its accompanying revenues was demanded. On the date of the letter (16th June) it was inferred that the Federal Government had definitely decided not to deal with the provincial question this year. We were therefore forced to consider the alternative, namely, large increases to our revenues which had been asked for, not as an alternative to provincial revenues, but until provincial revenues were placed at our disposal.
(5) The letter being a personal one was not referred to other Members of the Executive Council, who, however, were aware that every available legitimate pressure was being brought to bear upon the Federal Government to advance the claims of the Territories.
(6) As the letter referred to bears the signatures of the gentlemen mentioned in the question, I do not consider that any answer is necessary. (Cheers.)
Dr. Patrick moved that an Order of the House do issue for a return showing a copy of a letter written in August, 1903, by J. Obed Smith, Commissioner of Immigration, to the Commissioner of Education or any officer of his department, asking that some one be appointed to make enquires into the affairs of the Devil's Lake school district.
Mr. Haultain said he could see no objection to the motion, but he would like to say in anticipation of any possible misapprehension in regard to any letter written by Mr. J. Obed Smith in August that it had nothing to do with the action taken by the Government with reference to the Devil's Lake school district. Any action taken by the Department of Education was taken before Mr. Smith's letter was written. He thought it wise to make this statement.
Dr. Patrick said he was very pleased to know that the action that was taken was not taken at the request of Mr. Smith. Mr. Smith had interfered in the affairs of the school district and had asked for certain things as a right.
Mr. Rutherford introduced a bill to enroll John Gaddis Tipton as an advocate of the North-West Territories. The bill was read a first time and referred to a special committee composed of the Attorney General. Messers. Bennett, Lake, Brown and Rutherford.
Mr. Haultain introduced a bill to amend the Ordinance respecting the Legislative Assembly, which was read a first time.
Mr. Haultain also moved the second reading of Bill No. 7 to amend the Ordinance respecting Limitation of Actions in certain cases. He explained that this was largely a technical matter of law.


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



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