House of Commons, 29 January 1890, Canadian Confederation with Alberta and Saskatchewan

119 [COMMONS] 120
Sir JOHN A. MACDONALD. Judge Clark, Frank Turner and J. Kennedy were appointed on the 10th October, 1887, Trent Valley Commissioners. Judge Clark having to resign, Judge Charles A. Weller was appointed in his place on the 1st December, 1887. The entire cost of the Commission to date is $2,271.39. The Report of the Commission is expected during the present Session.


Mr. AMYOT asked, Whether the Government are aware that the following letter has been addressed by His Grace Monseigneur Grandin to persons occupying a high position in the Province of Quebec :—


ALBERTA, N.W.T., CANADA, 20th Nov., 1889.

To His Eminence, Monseigneur Taschereau, Cardinal Archbishop of Quebec, and to Monseigneurs the Archbishops and Bishops of the late Ecclesiastical Province of Quebec.
Your Eminence and Most Reverend and Venerable Sirs :—
Permit one of your humble brothers in the Episcopate, overcome by the troubles and anxieties which are crushing him, to have recourse again to your affectionate sympathies, hoping that you will be able to aid him at least with your prayers and your advice, and that our Saviour himself Will inspire you to devise some plan to succor him.
Since the annexation of our Territory to Canada, in the portion fit for settlement of my diocese, the physical hardships of former times have much diminished, they have even ceased to exist in certain localities. but I am compelled to admit that the moral afflictions which have succeeded them, especially those which we anticipated, cause us to regret the past years. At the time of the annexation the French Canadians and MĂ©tis were, we may say, the only settlers in the country which their fathers had discovered. They lived at peace with the traders of the Honorable the Hudson Bay Company, and with the few English settlers who had but recently taken up land.
After the annexation the immigrants came in great numbers, and I can tell you that out of every hundred there were but ten Catholics: the English and Protestant population thereupon increased rapidly, and in a few years we must be content to find ourselves in the minority. God forbid that I should wish to accuse in a sweeping manner this new majority of wishing to ill-treat us; there are among the new comers respectable and honest families who regret the war that is being made upon us. This war, my Lords, they will not admit, but I for one will certify to your Eminence and your Graces that it is the Dominion Government which, by means of the staff of the Indian Department, has first declared war upon us, taking the initiative and with so much the less fairness, seeing that on their part there has been no declaration of war; and as for us, not being able to imagine all, we did not in the beginning make any resistance. Since the time that the Indians concluded the treaty with the Government the entire control of the Indian Department was, in my diocese at least, generally and exclusively under that of Protestants using the English language. For reasons which they will not admit at any time these gentlemen compel our Christian Indians to withdraw from our establishments, in consequence of which we were compelled to close them. This conduct was as equally opposed to the treaty conditions as to the physical and moral interests of the Indians. When, after that we desired to establish ourselves among the Indians at their own request, you could not conceive the difficulties which they stirred up against us. Without regard to the religious faith and the wish of the Indians, Protestant schools were the only ones granted to them; and the poor Indians were pressed, even threatened, to compel them to send their children to schools where their faith was not respected. Apart from an industrial school, there is not in my diocese a single Catholic school which we were not obliged to establish ourselves, often against a lively opposition, and to support in a measure in the beginning. In November, 1887, I was assured most positively from Ottawas that such a course of action was going to cease. I must certify that the persecution—I can make use of no other word—is more keen than ever. In spite of all this, you will be suprised to hear it we are the guilty ones; like good sheep we should allow ourselves to be torn and swallowed without even a bleat.
This fanaticism is an epidemic and has spread from the reserves to certain centres of civilisation. Our schools are hunted down. It is a crime for us to take advantage of the education laws to procure assistance from the Government. Our reports are studied: they are found fault with, in order more especially to be able to accuse us and deprive us of that asslstance which is ours by right. Although in the minority, we might be able, nevertheless, to send two representatives to the House, but they have succeeded in making this a thing imposslble for us. I again charge the Dominion Government, who in marking out the electoral-districts have divided up the two French Catholic centres in such a manner that it is impossible for us to secure representation. You are also acquainted with what is going on this very day at Regina. In spite of the efforts of the Honorable J. Royal, Lieutenant-Governor of the North-West, and the Honorable Judge Rouleau, all our representatives, not one of whom is a Catholic, demand, with two exceptions, the abolition of our language and the amendment. of our school laws in order to impose upon us the so-called secular schools which are nothing else but anti-Catholic schools, even admitting that they are not Godless schools. Imagine what will be the consequence of all this, in a new country, in a savage country. These petitions were addressed to His Excellency the Governor General in the name of the people of the North-West. They are certainly not ignorant how we are opposed to these doings, but we count for nothing in the eyes of these gentlemen.
This studied contempt ot the French Catholic opulation has already had very sad consequences. Although the Half-breeds gained nothing by their uprising, they are not on that account more insensible to contempt. Nothing would at this moment he easier than to fire the powder. Let one of those so-called loyalists, so ready to question our loyalty and patriotism, presume that another rebellion would advantage him, and he will find all the less difficulty in inciting our population to it because our Catholics have no longer the same reliance in their clergy. They have been told so often that we are paid by the Dominion Government to work for it against them, that they now believe this. Certainly. we have supported it, as we always sustain constituted authonty; but we are bound to acknowledge that we have been very badly requited, and those who have found fault with us on this account are partly justified. Nevertheless, the French Catholic party, which is now in the background, has rights of which it cannot be deprived without injustice, it even has a right to the gratitude of the powerful party which is inclined to oppress it. Are not these French Canadians and Half-breeds the men who made possible the settlement of the North-West, who rendered more easy the intercourse between the white man and the Indian, and who are to this day the connecting link between them? But it seems that gratitude, even the remembrance of an obligation, is not a quality to be met with in the powerful; and that we, the minority, must submit to being of no consequence socially, and should only he too glad if we are allowed to live as conquered outcasts. Although possessing a certain amount of humility, which I have tried to practice, I can hardly resign myself to existence on such terms. I am often told that a French Catholic immigration into the North-West should be organised. This is very true; but what can I do towards this immigration? One can do nothing without money, and I have none—our population is poor. If, with this object in view, I appeal to your charity, you will doubtless repeat what several persons in your dioceses have ver properly said to me: The Province of Quebec must not be depopulated in order to people the boundless North-West. Very true, my Lords, but without impoverishing yourselves, bestow upon us at least the crumbs which fall from your tables. How many thousands of your flock leave each year for the United States, where they too often lose both spiritual and bodily health, and are moreover lost, not only to your Province, but to the Dominion, unless we are to imagine that the prepare the way for a union between Canada and the United States. Both you and I, my Lords, have other views and other hopes.
If even one-fourth of those who emigrated from your Province during the past ten years had come to us, we would still constitute the majority or would at all events be a powerful minority which would have to be taken into account and against which none would think of enacting extraordinary laws. To people this territory, to people our land, as the aborigines call it—and the Half-breeds and French Canadians have some right to use that expression; for French Canadians discovered this vast country: French Canadians and Half-breeds opened it up to religion and colonisation—to settle our lands there 121 [JANUARY 29, 1890.] 122 are sent men from every nation, men without faith and without religion; Mennonites are brought from a great distance, even Mormons are admitted and are seemingly held up as examples to the Blackfeet; yet each year a multitude of Canadians are allowed to depart—honest and hard working, but too poor to come this far to settle. Do you not think, my lords, that this is a great evil? Can no remedy be found? Since our Government appears to take no heed, I think that, with the assistance of your patriotic and devoted clergy, of your pious intelligent and influential laymen, of generous charity of every one, you could enable those brave Canadians to settle comfortably in the North-West. You would obtain from the Dominion Government and from the various railway companies the means of preserving to Canada these good and upright citizens; and the Provmce of Quebec would be none the poorer, but would, on the contrary, acquire strength by extending its influence, and would at the same time protect the poor Canadians who are threatened with the fate of outcasts on their own lands.
I therefore beseech you, my Lords, as well in my own name as in that of my missionaries, in the name of the French Catholic party, in the name above all of the interests of the Church in the North-West, to see What you can do, and I appeal to you, in the name of God, to take action.
Pardon my pressing entreaty, and believe me, my Lords, your most devoted and grateful servant and brother.
2nd. Have the Government any reason to doubt Bishop Grandin's word, who signed the said letter? 3rd. Is it the intention of the Government to take any steps to remedy grievances complained of by the Bishop, what steps and when?
Sir JOHN A. MACDONALD. The Government have not received the letter set out in the question, or any copy of it. I have been informed that it appeared, without signature, in the Montreal Witness. I would simply say that the letter has never come before the Government except in the manner I have mentioned. The Government will attend to the complaints of Monseigneur Grandin, and those of any other clergyman or person in Canada who has any complaints to make.


Mr. CHOQUETTE asked, Whether it is the intention of the Government to cause for the future the mail service of Crane Island, in the County of Montmagny, to be performed by way of Montmagny or by way of Giles' Bay?
Mr. HAGGART. The question is now engaging the attention of the Department. No decision has yet been arrived at.


Mr. PERRY asked, Whether a further examination for a breakwater at the entrance of Summerside harbor, Prince Edward Island, has been made during the year 1889, as promised by the Minister of Public Works during last Session? If so, has the engineer made a report thereon?
Sir HECTOR LANGEVIN. Yes, an examination was made of Summerside harbor last season, and a report has been submitted. The work proposed for the improvement of the entrance to the harbor consists of a breakwater extending southwardly from Willing's Point a distance of 3,800 feet, and a second from the lighthouse 1,000 feet in a southerly direction towards Indian Head, the cost of these two structures being placed at $75,000.


Mr. PERRY asked, Whether it is the intention of the hon. Minister of Public Works to repair the damages done to the Mimingash breakwater, Prince Edward Island, as promised last Session by the Minister?
Sir HECTOR LANGEVIN. As the hon. gentleman puts in his question the words, "As promised last Session by the Minister," I may say that on referring to Hasard, I find that on April 22nd the hon. gentleman asked this question:
"Is the Department of Public Works aware of the amount of damages done to the breakwater at Miminigash, P.E.I., last fall? If so, is it the intention of the department to repair said breakwater immediately?"
The answer given by me was :
"The attention of the Department was called to the damage done to this breakwater, and the matter is now receiving the attention of my department."
Mr. LAURIER. What do you do this year?
Sir HECTOR LANGEVIN. That is not asked.


Mr. BAIN (Wentworth) asked, Is the Dominion of Canada the British North America referred to in the official Trade Returns of the United States for the eleven months ending November 30th last, which show, among exports to British North America, "Oleomargarine, 534,146 lbs"? If so, has the hon. Minister of Customs any reason to believe that oleomargarine enters into consumption in Canada under a fraudulent or assumed name? Has any recent investigation been made by the officers of the Department to ascertain whether it is being brought into the Dominion, in evasion of the statute forbidding its importation?
Mr. BOWELL. There is reason to believe that the part of "British North America" to which the oleomargarine referred to is exported, is the colony of Newfoundland. There is no evidence that any of it was imported to Canada, and entered into consumption in the Dominion. The officers of Customs are instructed to exercise constant vigilance everywhere for the prevention of such violation of law. A few pounds of the article was sent to a party in St. Thomas, Ont., from Chicago as a sample without orders. It was seized by the Collector of Customs and confiscated by the Department. A consignment of oleomargarine from the United States to a party in Halifax was entered for consumption, and was seized by the Customs officials, but upon evidence being produced that the entry was made in mistake, it was allowed to be amended and the article exported to Newfoundland. Similar entries were made in Cornwall, Ont., in December last, which are under seizure, the parties who imported claiming that they purchased it as butter, and they are holding it for exportation to Great Britain. There is reason to believe that a great quantity of oleomargarine passes through Canada in transitu to other countries, and that in this as in other articles exported from the United States, which are forwarded through the Dominion, are entered in the Export Returns of the United States as being exported to British North America, that being the first foreign country which the[...]
159 [COMMONS] 160
[...]ment. They were posted in small towns where there were neither express offices nor money order offices, or banks,or any other mode of transmitting money, except by registered letter; and if the hon. the Postmaster General can see his way clear, under the law, to reimburse the sufferers, I am extremely desirous that he should carry out the suggestion I now make, and allow his sympathies to be extended towards those poor people.
Mr. HAGGART. The facts of the case are, as Mr. White has stated, that a robbery was committed at the post office and a lot of money taken from several registered letters lying in the safe. These parties who have lost the money are entitled to every sympathy; but it is a rule of the Department, which cannot be departed from in any case, that losses of that kind are never made good. This is the rule laid down in England and the United States, and in other countries which have similar regulations, and a departure from that rule would entail a very great responsibility on the Government which they would not be justified in assuming.
Motion agreed to.


Statement showing the amount of dredging done during the season of 1889, in Prince Edward Island, by the dredge Prince Edward, the names of harbors and other places dredged during said season, and the amount of work done in each harbor.—(Mr. Perry.)
Sir HECTOR LANGEVIN moved the adjournment of the House.
Motion agreed to; and House adjourned at 4.45 p.m.


Friday, 31st January, 1890.

The SPEAKER took the Chair at Three o'clock.


Bill (No. 33) respecting the People's Bank of New Brunswick.—(Mr. Weldon, St. John.)
Bill (No. 34) to amend the Act to incorporate the Saskatchewan Railway and Mining Company. —(Mr. Small.)
Bill (No. 35) to incorporate the Calgary and Edmonton Railway Company. —(Mr. Small.)
Bill (No. 36) to confirm the agreement between the Qu'Appelle, Long Lake and Saskatchewan Steamship and Railway Company and the Canadian Pacific Railway.—(Mr. Davis, Alberta.)
Bill (No. 37) to amend the Act to incorporate the Imgerial Trust Company of Canada.—(Mr. Hudspeth.)


Mr. CHARLTON moved for leave to introduce Bill (No. 38) further to amend the Dominion Elections Act, chapter 8 of the Revised Statutes of Canada. He said: The object of this amendment is to provide against promises on the part of Candidates, of Government expenditure in their ridings. Another object is to provide that the Government shall not expend money for the purpose of influencing elections, that being one of the most fruitful and dangerous sources of corruption existing.
Motion agreed to; and Bill read the first time.


Mr. McCARTHY. Before the Orders of the Day are called, I would ask the leader of the House whether it would not be convenient that a day should be fixed for the second reading of the Bill that stands in my name with reference to the North-West Territories Act. I have suggested to him Wednesday week, if that would be convenient to the House.
Sir JOHN A. MACDONALD. This is a subject that will interest the House a good deal, and it would be well that a day should be fixed. The day suggested, Wednesday, the 12th February, would be a very convenient day, provided it meets, the convenience of the leader of the Opposition.
Mr. LAURIER. As far as this side is concerned, we are quite prepared to take it up on that day.
Mr. COOK. I may not be here then, owing to other business; but I will forestall the course I intend to take by stating that, if here, I shall certainly vote against the Bill.  
Sir JOHN A. MACDONALD. This is certainly an appeal to my hon. friend's magnanimity, and I think he should consult the hon. member for East Simcoe, and ascertain what day will suit him.
Mr. McCARTHY. I would be quite willing to do that, but as the hon. gentleman has indicated his intention, before hearing any discussion on the subject, of voting against the Bill, perhaps that is unnecessary.
Mr. COOK. I have read the speech of my hon. friend on the subject, and the Bill speaks for itself.
Mr. McCARTHY moved that the Order for second reading of Bill (No. 10) further to amend the Revised Statutes of Canada, chapter 50, respecting the North-West Territories, be the first Order of the day on Wednesday, the 12th of February.
Motion agreed to.


Mr. FOSTER moved that the House resolve itself into Committee of Supply.
Sir RICHARD CARTWRIGHT. What rule does the hon. gentleman propose to adopt? I would suggest that we should proceed regularly through these items, and if for any reason the Government wish to alter that course, they should give us notice the night before, so that we shall know from day to day what items are likely to be taken up.
Mr. FOSTER. I think the suggestion of the hon. gentleman is one that will meet the a probation of both sides of the House, and I wil see that this order is carried out. I might also suggest, before we go into Committee, whether or not we could agree, as far as possible, in going over the items of Civil Government, to keep our discussion to the items which are before the Committee. Last year, as will be remembered, we were led, while taking up the items of Civil[...]


Canada. House of Commons Debates, 1875-1949. Provided by the Library of Parliament.



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