House of Commons, 13 May 1891, Canadian Confederation with Alberta and Saskatchewan

173 [MAY 13, 1891.] 174

WEDNESDAY, 13th May, 1891.



Mr. McCARTHY moved for leave to introduce Bill (No. 33) to amend the North-West Territories Act. He said: The Bill needs but little explanation, at least one portion of it, when one remembers the long discussion which took place with reference to this subject at the last session of the last Parliament. I would only say now, that the object I have in view is to repeal the clause with reference to the dual language in the North-West Territories, and I do so because I am convinced that the direction in the North-West Territories Act that there shall be two official languages in the country is calculated to perpetuate race distinctions which it ought to be, and which I hope it is, the object of this House to do away with. I believe I was able to show that, however 175 [COMMONS] 176 some hon. gentlemen thought the measure was a harsh one, it was at all events in the right direction so far was these North-West Territories are concerned. It is, of course, well to remember that this Bill merely deals with the North-West Territories and that the right to the dual language is one based upon the British North America Act, and is to be found in that enactment alone. It is not a right conferred upon our French Canadian subjects at the time of the cession of the old Province of Quebec to the British Crown, and is not to be found earlier than the date of the British North America Act, and in that it is limited to the proceedings of this House, the proceedings of the Senate, and the proceedings of the Assembly of the Province of Quebec. No one who has given any attention to this subject can be otherwise than convinced that the perpetuation of these race distinctions is not in the public interest, and that nothing is more calculated to prevent the growth of the common nationality of the people of the Dominion than the encouragement of the additional language in the French tongue. I do not desire to interfere with the right which everyone has to speak in any language which seems right to him, but I desire to prevent anything which will foster race distinctions in our North-West without warrant, and, as I believe, without public object or public benefit. This Bill, however, goes further than that of last Session, in that it purports to deal with the school question. According to the genius of our constitution, as destined in the British North America Act, the subject of education is one belonging exclusively to the Provinces, is one of local concern to be dealt with by the Provinces. It is truth that, owing to difficulties which existed in the old Province of Canada, there are certain limitations and restrictions in regard to school matters imposed upon the Provinces of Ontatio and Quebec, but these restrictions end there, and I know no good reason why the people in the North-West Territories should be limited or restricted in the matter of education. As the law now stands, separate schools are made imperative. Wherever there are two religious communities, there is the right to have separate schools. I propose not to interfere with that, but simply to give to the people of the North-West the right to deal with the question of education as to them seems fit. My Bill is, perhaps, not so objectionable in another respect as the one of last year, because I omit the preamble, which to some of my friends, was a stumbling block. I have found that hon. gentlemen who were quite willing to adopt the enacting part of the Bill, hesitated somewhat at the wide terms of the preamble. That preamble, of course, was unnecessary for the purposes of the enacting cleanse, and as I have no desire to increase the difficulties, already sufficiently great, that I have before me in order to repead this particular clause, I have left out the preamble in the short Bill.
Motion agreed to, and Bill read the first time.
[...]Lawrence, in the County of Soulanges, Province of Quebec: and if so, at what date has said Order been passed? Has a survey been made? How much has been already paid for survey and other expenses connected therewith: the probable estimated cost of said canal: and whether it is the intention of the Government to proceed at an early date with its construction?
Sir HECTOR LANGEVIN. An order in Council was passed on the 7th February, 1891. A survey has been made, and there has been paid for the survey and other expenses connected with it. $28,151. The probable cost of the canal is $4,800,000. It is the intention of the Government to proceed at an early date with its contruction.


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



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