House of Commons, 30 May 1892, Canadian Confederation with Alberta and Saskatchewan

3061 [MAY 30, 1892.] 3062


Mr. ARMSTRONG moved:
That it is expedient that power be given to the Legislative Assembly of the North-West Territories, after the next general election of members of said Assembly, to deal with all matters pertaining to education and the use of dual languages in the courts and in the proceedings of the said Assembly: providing, however, that no school section, as at present constituted, shall be interfered with without the consent of the parties composing such section.
He said: Mr. Speaker, in moving this resolution, I wish to say that I am not moving it for any party or any set of men. I consulted no one in preparing the resolution, and I have not been asked by any member of this House to move it. I have taken this action altogether upon my own responsibility. It may be asked: Why not let the matter rest? Sir, the matter will not rest. It is one of those questions that, like Banquo's ghost, will not down, and session after session we have to meet it, and it is neither the part of good statesmanship nor of sound public policy to leave the question in abeyance. I do think that there is surely some way in which the question can be satisfactorily settled and set at rest forever. In moving this resolution I may say that I am not tied down to its terms, because any just and honourable and fair means of settling the difficulty by whomsoever moved will have my hearty support. In the resolution it will 3063 [COMMONS] 3064 be seen that I take the ground that the matter should be left altogether to the people themselves to settle. That is the ground that I have always taken, and I am confirmed in this view of the case by the opinion of my hon. friend the member for Assiniboia (Mr. Davin). Two years ago, when the question of the dual languages was before the House, that hon. gentleman moved an amendment to the Bill to leave the matter entirely in the hands of the people of the North-West Territories. I approved of his amendment and I intended to vote for it if it had been reached; and, Sir, what was good in the case of the dual languages, I believe would be equality good in the case of separate Schools, and that the only sound policy is to leave the matter for the people of the North-West to deal with. There is another matter introduced in this resolution, and that is that the school sections of the North-West as at present constituted shall not be interfered with without the consent of the parties composing the section. The reason that I was induced to admit that clause in the resolution was because a friend of mine pleaded that certain parties had established school sections there on the strength of the law as it at present stands, that in that way a sort of vested right had accrued, and that it was unfair to interfere with these rights. I agreed with him in that, and I consented to allow that clause to be inserted in the resolution. I know that there are some eminent men in this House and out of it who do not hold the doctrine of provincial rights. I remember that two years ago the hon. member for North Simcoe (Mr. Mccarthy), speaking in the city of Montreal, made use of the following language:—
"We are told that the Liberal party has always taken for their motto, that no matter what the Local Legislatures may do, so long as they act strictly within their power, the Dominion authorities would not exercise any interference. In other words, we have forced upon us by the introduction of such a policy, the pernicious doctrine of States Rights: a principle which has been crushed out in the United States by the most gigantic war which the country has ever witnessed."
Now, Sir, knowing the intelligence of the hon. gentleman and his knowledge of constitutional history, it is hard to believe that he was perfectly sincere when he made that assertion. What are the facts? In the rebellion there was only one single question of state rights at issue. It had been held from very early times by eminent jurists in the United States, and amongst others by Jefferson and Calhoun, that as the states had come into the federation as independent states, they retained to themselves the right to Secede for cause if they saw fit; The great question at issue, then, was whether one or more states had the right to secede. The southern States contended that they had the right and acted upon it; the northern States contended that they had not the right, and determined to prevent them acting upon it; and the question was settled, not by an appeal to reason, law or equity, but simply by the largest battalions and the heaviest artillery; and the question of right or wrong remains unsettled to the present day. But what I want to insist upon is this, that not another single state right was ever called in question; and if there is one part of public policy more than another which the people of the United States are united in supporting, it is the doctrine of state rights. If those rights were to be infringed, north and south alike would be determined to maintain them, and would fight to the death rather than allow them to be sacrificed. And, Sir, they are wise in doing so. Extended over a large area of country, with different interests and with different questions coming before them, they can only hope to maintain the union by a strict adherence to the doctrine of state rights. And, Sir, is this principle less important in the country in which we dwell? We occupy an enormous extent of territory; our country is peopled by different races, with different feelings, religions and interests: and if we are going to be a united and prosperous people, I believe we can only be so by a strict adherence to the doctrine of provincial rights. Now, Sir, I wish at the outset to point out that I do not ask that either the language or the schools of the people in the North-West shall be in any way interfered with. When we speak about separate schools, we are apt to think of schools established by people of the Catholic faith; but if you look at the Act under which those schools were established, you will find that the same provision is made for every religious denomination; and is it not a fact that we have schools for at least four different religions denominations in the North-West, each one of which receives public support? Again, I say I have no intention whatever of interfering with either the separate schools or the language. All I ask is that the people of the North-West shall have the power to settle that matter, which rightfully belongs to them, for themselves. I may here say, Mr. Speaker, that I was one of those who opposed the establishment of separate schools in the Province of Ontario when that was first agitated, and I did it because I was in favour of a uniform public school system. I believe that it was for the advantage of the country that such a system should be established and maintained. However, when once the law gave permission for the establishment of separate schools, and when once they were established by law, from that day to this I have done, in my own humble way, everything that lay in my power to make those schools as efficient as possible. If they had to exist it was the part of good policy, the part of justice and right, to make them just as efficient as they could possibly be made. I am free to confess that the law has not worked the great harm in Ontario that was anticipated from it. I believe that in towns and cities it has done no harm at all; in the rural districts the only harm it has done has been that it has compelled the people to maintain two weak schools instead of one strong one; and in the public schools of, Ontario, so far from the rights of any religious body being interfered with, those rights have been strictly respected, with the result that the majority of the children of Catholic parents in the Province of Ontario attend the public schools to-day. I know that it is objected that some religious denominations wish to have religious teaching in the public schools, and maintain that that can only be had from denominational school sections. Perhaps, Sir, I am not able sufficiently to appreciate that objection. Many members in this House know that I gain one of those who do not believe that it is the duty of the state to teach religion at all—that that duty devolves upon the churches. Now, what I want to point out is that the public schools of our country are from the foundation to the 3065 [MAY 30, 1892.] 3066 topmost stone altogether state institutions. The school section is formed under laws enacted by the state; the school-house is built by men amenable to the state; the money to pay for the building is collected by the state, and is paid over to the contractors by the state. The teachers in our public schools are men and women examined with regard to their fitness for the position by men appointed by the state, under rules prescribed by the state: they are appointed to their positions by the state, and their salaries are paid out of money collected by the state, under pains and penalties imposed by the state. So that from the top to the bottom our public schools are simply and solely state institutions; and holding, as I do, that it is not the duty of the state to teach religion, I am opposed to establishing a public school for that purpose by the state. Some may be inclined to ask if I am opposed to religious teaching altogether in the. schools. Well, there is one form of it that you cannot prevent. I happen to have had opportunities of becoming acquainted with a great many of the teachers, both male and female, in our own Province of Ontario, and I say deliberately that I do not believe that a better class of men and women exists in the country; and if any one, man or woman, who accepts the position of public school teacher is under the influence of true religion, they will teach that religion whether they are compelled by the law to do it or not. They will teach it, not in dogmas or in set lessons given to the scholars, but they will teach it by giving good advice, by restraining the evil they see and encouraging the good, and, most strongly and most powerfully of all, by the example they will set to the scholars. Unfortunately, our teachers are not all of that class or character: and I ask hon. gentlemen here who have children, if there is a teacher in their section who scoffs or laughs at religion, whether they want such a teacher to teach religion to their children? If they do, I can only say for myself, Heaven save my children from such religious teaching. I have another objection to separate schools, and it has always been a very strong one, although you may, if you wish, call it a sentimental objection. I happen to have a few people of the Roman Catholic faith in my riding, and they happen to live in my own township and to be my own neighbours; and I say that no better neighbours any man need wish few—good, honest, upright people, ready to perform all the duties of neighbourhood and citizenship. I say again no better class of people could a man wish to live amongst. But the point I want to make is this. Their children are just as good as mine, and I hope mine are as good as theirs, and I do not want to see a wall of separation built up between them. I do not want the implication to exist that there is some disability, either on the one side or the other, or some reason why they should not associate together. I do not want it to be inferred that one side is, in some way or other, not the equal of the other, and that they cannot be allowed to grow up and be educated together. No; I want them to grow up together, to become acquainted with one another, to understand each other's feelings and aspirations, to be prepared, when they go out, to take their place in governing the country, to be able to see eye to eye, and to live together in harmony for the well-being of their common country. That is the strongest. objection I have to separate schools. And now with regard to the question of dual languages. I wish to say at the outset that I have not the slightest sympathy with, but, on the contrary, hold in utter abomination the idea that it is the duty of the majority of this country to stamp out the language of the minority. That, I believe, would be neither good policy nor good statesmanship. Nor do I believe that mixed races are any source of weakness to the country. On the contrary, I consider them a source of strength. I need only point to the mother country, to Great Britain; and where, I ask, is there a country in which the people are of more mixed blood? Had the attempt been made which it was sought to make two or three years ago here, to stamp out in England the language and institutions of the conquered, would the English people occupy the place they do to-day? Suppose that Norman William, when he conquered the Anglo- Saxons, determined, as some very advanced legislators of the present day want to determine, that it was expedient, in the interests of the national unity of the country, that there should be unity of language among the people, and endeavoured to stamp out the Anglo-Saxon, do you think he would have succeeded? Norman William was not such a fool as to try it. He knew these things were under the operation of natural laws more potent than any human laws, and was perfectly willing to leave these laws to their own operation. And what is the result today? Why, the very language we use in this House and in which the majority of us express our views is not the language of any one people in the British Isles. As a learned philologist said, while the Anglo-Saxon may be considered as the foundation and the mortar that connects the fabric together, yet the fabric itself is built up of contributions from almost every language, ancient and modern; and if the attempt had been made to make any one of these languages permanent, do you think for a moment that Britain would have been the country she is to-day? I remember, two years ago, when my hon. friend from North Bruce (Mr. McNeill) was speaking on this question, that he instanced the people in the north of Scotland as an example of the necessity for unity of language; and I may say here, and I think the House will agree with me, the great vigour, intellectual activity and the push and perseverance of the people of Great Britain to-day is largely due to the fact that they are a people of mixed blood. Any one who has studied the laws of heredity knows that the kingly men and queenly women have in all days been the result of the union of different but cognate races. We find it has had that effect in Great Britain and wherever else such a state of things has existed. The hon. member for North Bruce instanced the case of the highlanders of Scotland and the feuds which existed between them and the people of the lowlands, and he said if they had all spoken the one tongue these feuds would not have existed. Now, I have always a great respect for my hon. friend, because I know he is thoroughly honest, but I must take the liberty of differing from him in the conclusion he drew. I am very doubtful if any such result would have followed the speaking of the same language. Why, at that time when the bitterest feuds existed and the hottest fighting was going on between the two peoples, the very same thing was taking place between the south of Scotland and the north of England, where the people spoke the same tongue. But 3067 [COMMONS] 3068 suppose we grant for a moment that it would have been better had the people in the north of Scotland spoken the same language as the people in the lowlands, in the south of Scotland, could you have compelled them to do so? Suppose we had had then some very wise legislators, men of advanced liberal opinions,who thought it was expedient, in the interests of the national unity of the country, that there should be community of language among the people of Scotland, and suppose they had tried to compel these people in the north of Scotland to speak the language of the south, do you think for a moment they would have succeeded? I know something of these people, having lived amongst them all my days on most intimate terms with them, and I know that had you attempted anything of the sort, you would never have been successful. You might have cut them to pieces, inch by inch, you might have made a desert and called it peace, but you never could have compelled them to give up their language. And why should such an attempt ever be made with any people? Sir, it is a God-given birthright, the language a man or a woman speaks, the language they learned at their mother's knee; and no state or no man has the right to attempt to stamp it out. Are you to suppose for a moment that our French-speaking neighbours of the Province of Quebec and other parts of the Dominion are less tenacious of their national rights than the people of the north of Scotland? No, I believe that they feel as strongly the rights which they enjoy, that they have the same sentiments these people have, and will resist to the death every attempt to suppress their language. I believe it would be the most foolish, the most suicidal thing for the country, the most arbitrary thing any country ever attempted, to try to stamp out their language. I do not wish to detain the House any longer. I say again I believe it is the part of good statesmanship and sound policy to try and find a solution of this question, and I say that, if we are honestly desirous to do it, we can succeed. We have rather a difficult country here to govern, separated one part from the other by thousands of miles, with different interests to conciliate, different races to work with, different languages amongst us—all these things are, perhaps, hinderances in the way of governing the country, but I believe, when we meet these in an enlightened, honest and intelligent spirit, there is no danger that we shall not succeed. If we apply to others the golden rule to do to them what we wish to be done to ourselves, to put ourselves in their places, and to try to see how it would be if we looked at it from their standpoint, and to deal with them accordingly, it will make us a contented and a prosperous country.
Mr. WALLACE. I am sorry the hon. member for Middlesex (Mr. Armstrong), when making this motion, has limited it as he has done. If the principles he has avowed in his speech are correct, is resolution does not bear out that speech, but is rather contradictory. I think that this clause in his resolution:
"Providing, however, that no school section, as at present constituted shall be interfered with without the consent of the parties composing such section"—
is one which will lead to difficulties of very many kinds, that will cause legislation to be very difficult enact and will defeat the very object be pro poses in the speech we have just listened to. I think the time has come in the North-West when they may safely be given all those powers which have been given to the Legislatures of the other provinces, and more especially with reference to this question of education. We have in those Territories a people who are certainly not inferior to their brethren in the other provinces of the Dominion. They are largely the pick of the older provinces, the enterprising young men who have gone from the other provinces, have built up homes there, intend to reside there, and during the few years they have been there have given exhibitions of energy and intelligence which are the pride and admiration of Canadians of every part of this Dominion. It is not right to limit the power of these men to regulate their local affairs, and the matters relating to education which every province in the Dominion exercises fully, barring those restrictions which have been placed upon those matters in Ontario and Quebec, restrictions which many of us in Ontario, not only Protestants, but many members of the Roman Catholic church, regret, that these separate schools have been established and confirmed in our province. The right to deal with education is one that the Confederation Act specifically gives to the various Local Legislatures. They are now laying the foundation of their educational system in the North- West. Powers that may be properly exercised some years hence may be a good deal more safely and properly given, I believe, to those Territories to-day. They are laying the foundations of their educational system, but if certain restrictions are placed upon their powers, then, after a larger population has gone in there and they have perhaps been established in separate provinces or given the complete powers of Local Legislatures, this question which might now be settled without difficulty, will cause discord and disunion as it is causing to-day in the Province of Manitoba. I think this Parliament at this time   will be doing a wise act in handing over the complete powers in regard to education to the North- West Assembly. We need have no fear that the North-West Assembly will not legislate wisely and well. They are interested. We cannot say that we only have the interest of the North-West at heart. The men who are living there, who are devising schemes for the opening up of that country, have a deeper and more intelligent interest and a wider knowledge of these matters than we have here, representing every portion of the Dominion. We will therefore be doing our duty, we will have the blessings of people yet unborn, if we give the full powers in regard to educational matters to the Legislature of the North-West Territories. Then, with reference to the question of the language, two years ago we passed a resolution which was considered a compromise measure, but was endorsed very heartily by members of this House. That was brought into force by legislation during the last session. I think that legislation, though not going as far as I would wish to go myself, was in the right direction, and, as it was a compromise measure largely meeting the views of those who think as I do, it received no opposition from us. I think perhaps that clause might have been left as it was. It was a compromise, it was answering the purpose, because I think the question of the language under the recent legislation will solve 3069 [MAY 30, 1892.] 3070 itself. If it is the interest of the people that it should survive, it will survive; if it is their interest in the North-West that it should die out and become obsolete, it will become obsolete, and I think that might have been allowed to stand on the Statute-book as it is now. But, in regard to the other matter, I feel more strongly than ever that we will be making a great mistake if we refuse now, when the opportunity occurs, to enact legislation in regard to education in the North- West Territories, which will settle difficulties which will otherwise inevitably arise, which will cause heart-burnings, trouble and disagreement in the North-West, and I, therefore, move that all the words after "That" in the motion be omitted and the following inserted:—
In the opinion of this House, the Legislative Assembly of the North-West Territories should be empowered to deal with all matters relating to education in the said Territories.
Mr. McMULLEN. I desire to say a few words upon this very important question. It has been several times before Parliament; on several occasions we have discussed the whole question with regard to the dual language in the North-West, and also in regard to separate schools. Now, for many years back the question of separate schools, not only in the North-West but in some of the Maritime Provinces, has caused a great deal of strife and bitterness, and has given considerable trouble to the Government, and to members of Parliament generally in dealing with it. For my part, had I been in the House at the time the North-West Act was passed, I do not think I would have given my sanction to a full-fledged system of separate schools being established, in that country. My impression is that under the circumstances it was imprudent. At the same time, we know well that in Ontario where separate schools have been in existence for many years, the Catholic population of that province, as was stated by the hon. gentleman who moved this motion, have not taken advantage of that system in many cases, and we find that they are sending their children in increased numbers to the common schools. Now, I do not think that it is an easy matter to wipe out by law anything that was looked upon as a privilege by a certain class of the community; I have never read, in fact, where such a privilege has been abolished by arbitrary enactment of this kind. People belonging to the Catholic faith have certain conscientious convictions of their own; they claim that it is their right and their duty to give their children a certain amount of religious education in connection with secular education. I do not wish for a moment to challenge their convictions upon that point. The fact of the matter is, in my humble opinion, we are going too far at the present day, in our educational institutions, in the direction of secularism. I differ from my hon. friend who made this motion, in that I believe that if we had a little more religious instruction in our common schools, it would be better for our rising population. Now, with regard to those schools in the North-West, as I said before, it may possibly have been an error to encourage their establishment; at the same time, they are there. While I am willing to consent to the full exercise of all powers by any province that are duly exercised by other provinces, at the same time there is no rule without its exception, and if any exception at all should be made to this rule, it should be to protect the conscientious convictions of a minority. Now, these schools have been established there, and while I would have preferred to see a partly common school system established, I would rather a thousand times have separate schools than to drive out religious teaching altogether from these schools. I would favour such a curriculum in our common schools as would allow every class to take advantage of them. If our Catholic people object to their children attending such a school, I would rather a thousand times consent to separate schools than to abolish religious teaching altogether. That is my view with regard to separate schools. Now, I am quite willing, as I said before, to coax our Catholic friends out of the use of these schools, and to induce them to come in with the rest of the community and educate their children along with ours. If they are not willing, however, to do so, if they claim, as they have a right to do, the privilege of educating their children in their own schools and teaching them certain dogmas of their own church, I do not wish for a moment to deprive them of that right. I would claim that right myself, and am willing to accord it to them. Now, let us look at the condition of things in some of the states that have been referred to by my hon. friend. I think the school population of the State of New York is about 80,000 between the ages of five and sixteen. I have heard it stated on good authority that 200,000 of these children never attend a Sabbath school, never receive any religious instruction in the family, and, perhaps, never hear the word God mentioned unless in profanity. Now, these parents have no desire to send their children to a Sabbath school or to any place where they would get religious instruction. Would it not be a hundred times better if these children got a sprinkling of religious instruction in the common school rather than none at all? What a magnificent regiment for his Satanic Majesty to have such a large number of children in one state from among whom to get recruits for murderers, for thieves, for robbers and for suicides—for that is the result of a secular education, if we are to trust the public prints of the United States. I think it is better, in my opinion, that we should even consent to a separate school system than that we should have no religion taught in the schools at all. We have in the Province of Ontario, a model school system, which is lauded throughout the British Empire, and has been referred to in other countries as well. These, even, who have differed with the men who established that system, have taken the opportunity on several occasions to praise our school system in Ontario. We have in that province separate schools; they are under the same inspection as our common schools. The teachers in those schools must receive their certificates at the hands of the same examiners as those who teach in the Protestant schools. They have got to conduct the schools much in the same way as the other schools are conducted; but, they are allowed certain privileges in the teaching of the Catholic catechism, I presume, and other things that are recognized as necessary by the Catholic Church. That is about the only difference between the separate schools and the common schools, so far as I can learn. Now, we are getting along in the Province of Ontario without any particular friction. I know that in the town in which I live myself, there 3071 [COMMONS] 3072 was sometime ago a separate school, but there is none today. The reason is that the Catholic people in that section decided that their children would, perhaps, get a better education in our common schools; at least they decided to take advantage of the privileges that were offered them, and they have virtually dropped their separate schools and are now sending their children to our common schools, and I hear of no complaint. Now, I have not the slightest doubt that if an agitation had been got up in the Province of Ontario to take from these people the right to have separate schools, the probabilities are that we would have a separate school in my town to-day. Wherever you force by legislation people to part with a privilege, then you generally find they resent that action. I understand that in the Province of Nova Scotia there is no separate school system. I should like to know if separate schools are not established there? I am informed that such is the case. I raise no objection to giving the people that privilege if they want it. I think the people of Nova Scotia are acting wisely in given the Catholics that privilege if they ask for it as their conscientious right, because it is not right to trample on the concientions convictions of any class. A few words with respect to the dual language. My reason for voting for the Bill introduced by the hon. member for North Simcoe (Mr. McCarthy) was in order to reach the question of the dual language. I do not wish for one moment to interfere with the right of any man to use any language that is his birthright, that has been used by him from infancy, I do not think the remarks of the hon. member were at all in point on this question. I do not think it was the intention of the hon. member fer North Simcoe in his Bill to declare that no man should be allowed to speak French; I think the only intention was to prevent the necessity of having all proceedings published in French and English. I have been led to understand that this is the law now. For example, if a subpoena was issued to a man, under the present terms of the North-West Act he would have the right to demand that it be served on him printed in English and French. I do not think that is necessary. There are only 1,500 people in the North-West whose language is French. For the sake of that number, I do not think it is right that we should be put to the expense of printing the entire proceedings of the North-West Council and all legal documents both in English and French. Moreover, very great difficulty might arise sometimes. If we permit the proceedings in court to be conducted in either language, I can easily imagine that a lawyer might commence to address an English jury in the French language, and it would be very awkward if they did not understand what he said. I do not think it is necessary that we should continue that system. While I am willing to allow the people in the North-West the right to use their own language in their own families, and the right to have interpreters in court if they cannot speak English, it is absurd to continue the present condition of things and publish all proceedings in the North-West Council in both languages when there is such a very limited French population there. When the North-West Act was passed it was perhaps thought that there might be a very large influx of population from the Province of Quebec or from France itself, but this has not proved to be the case, and in fact a great many of the people from Quebec go across to the United States instead of to our Canadian North-Wst. If the French-Canadians poured in in very large numbers and claimed the right to use their language in the courts and in general proceedings, I would not deny it to them, but to go to this expense for the sake of 1,500 people is absurd. For this reason, I am willing to vote to eliminate the French language, and at the same time I am ready to grant the North-West every provincial right to which the people are fairly entitled. But in regard to the proposal to abolish schools which have been established there, and maintained by people who may have one there for the purpose of taking advantage of them, I cannot consent to wipe out these schools by a majority vote unless the people were disposed to part with the privilege they now enjoy. Of course we have Protestant schools of several denominations there. I believe there are Methodist schools, and I understand a deputation came down here and waited on the Government for the purpose of obtaining a grant for a school, perhaps for an Indian school. There are also Presbyterian and Baptist Schools. It is not necessary that all these different schools should exist. There is no conscientious Conviction on the part of the Presbyterian which forbids him sending his child to either Methodist or Baptist schools. I think all the Protestant denominations can well unite on the common school system in the North-West. I am satisfied we can do that as well there as in the Province of Ontario. I would endeavour to make the system as acceptable as possible to our Catholic friends, in the hope that they will take advantage of it instead of persisting in opening separate schools; but to pass legislation to give the majority power to compel the Catholics to avail themselves of this system is not a proper mode of reaching the desired end, and I do not think the end desired by the hon. member for West York (Mr. Wallace) will be gained in this way. These are my views with respect to separate schools, and also with respect to the dual language.
Mr. DEVLIN. I have listened, with considerable amazement, to the doctrine which has been given to the House by the hon. gentleman who has just resumed his seat. To be perfectly candid, I must say that I could notunderstand altogether what the hon. gentleman stated. He spoke on the question of education in the North-West, and he gave his own views. But the hon. gentleman does not seem to understand that this, in the Catholic faith, is a matter of principle. The hon. member for West Middlesex introduced a motion and said at the beginning of his remarks that he did not want to interfere with the French language or the separate school system in the North-West. As he warmed up and proceeded with the subject he soon did away with the separate school system there. He said that there had been opposition also to the system of separate schools being introduced into the Province of Ontario. I ask the hon. gentleman how, having had an experience of the system of separate schools in Ontario, he has any more reason than his fellow-citizens of that province to feel dissatisfied with the result of the experience of these schools? Only a few years ago a battle was waged in Ontario on the lines of this question, and we well remember the cries then, put for 3073 [MAY 30, 1892.] 3074 ward. We well remember the arguments used in order to defeat what to-day is a benefit in this province, as well as in the Province of Quebec, the separate school system, and no doubt the hon. gentleman on that occasion was obliged to confess that the separate school system in Ontario was a success. At all events, if he did not by his speech and vote make that confession, I am happy to say that the Protestant population of the greatest province of this Dominion declared that the separate school system of Ontario was a success. The hon. gentleman wants no religious teaching in the schools. What does he want? Does he invite the godless school? He has to choose between the religious school and the godless school. If he wants the religious school, believing in his own views, he will want the Protestant school. If he does not want the religious school, he is confronted with the godless school; and as this is a religious country and we have to deal with christian people, I think they will not have the godless school. We know what has been the experience of the godless school in more than one country. We know that the godless school and godless philosophy did about as much mischief during the last century in the old world as war, pestilence and famine. It must be understood that with us as Catholics it is a principle that we must have our Catholic schools. We are face to face with that problem. If the hon. gentleman wants the religious school and the Protestant school, we have no objections to offer. The Protestant is proud of his faith. He is ready to defend it against all attacks, he is ready on all occasions to stand up for it, and he would scorn us, and justly too, if we were to interfere with his rights. Why not let it be done to us as we are willing it should be done to them? Do we interfere with their rights? Look at things as they exist in the Province of Quebec. There, Sir, and proud I feel to say it, the minority is treated with justice, and is treated more liberally than even the minority in the Province of Ontario, since grants are made in Quebec for the cause of superior education which are not made in the Province of Ontario. Will the hon. gentleman, after the experience we have had in the Province of Quebec of these separate schools, say that the system is a failure? The late Hon. Thomas White, if I remember well, himself admitted that the minority was treated with exceptional fairness, and Sir William Dawson, President of McGill University, who was at least as good a champion of Protestantism, and at least as sturdy and solid an exponent of Protestant thought as the hon. member for South Middlesex (Mr. Armstrong), or as the hon. member for York (Mr. Wallace), or as the hon. member for North Wellington (Mr. McMullen), was also ready to confess that the Protestants of the Province of Quebec had nothing to complain of, and had in fact received the fullest measure of justice from their Catholic fellow-countrymen. We have already since the beginning of this session voted large sums of money to open up the North-West Territories. What does the hon. member for Middlesex (Mr. Armstrong) propose by his motion, and what does the hon. member for West York (Mr. Wallace) propose by his amendment? The latter proposes to tell the Catholic people of the Province of Quebec that to the North-West they must not go. That is his proposal.
Mr. McMULLEN. No, no.
Mr. DEVLIN. The hon. member for Wellington says "no, no." What does he understand in the matter? The proposal of this motion, and of this amendment is to tell Catholics, that in the North-West Territories the same law will be invoked in a year or two as was applied by Mr. Greenway in the Province of Manitoba, and will it be contended for a moment that that act of administration on the part of Mr. Greenway has promoted increase of population or increase of good feeling among the people of Manitoba? That law is yet before the courts. A decision has been rendered against it here in the Supreme Court, and I express the hope that that decision will be confirmed by the Privy Council in England, and that fair-play will be extended to the Catholic population of Manitoba. Sir, adopt this motion be ore the House, pass a law denying to the Catholic population of the North-West the schools which they ask, and to which they are entitled, and you will tell the Catholic people in every province of this Dominion, that to the North-West they must not go, because steps have been taken to prevent them living there. You go across the ocean and you ask for your immigrants for this country. You expend large sums of money to bring them here: but, Sir, if you adopt this motion, you will refuse to our young men of the Province of Quebec the right of entering into these Territories. What right have we to do these things? To our Catholic people that great domain was given by Providence just as much as it was to any other portion of the population of Canada. I shall certainly vote against the proposal of the hon. member for South Middlesex (Mr. Armstrong); I shall certainly with pride and happiness vote against the amendment proposed by the member for West York (Mr. Wallace), because I believe in conscience that because I am a Catholic I should no more be trampled upon than my rights should be no more sacrificed, and my privileges should be respected as much as those of any other man of any religion in this Dominion. I know, Sir, that there has been charged against me in connection with the motion I am about to make, that because the other day I voted against the Bill introduced by the member for North Simcoe (Mr. McCarthy), I am not in favour of Canadian Home, Rule. It is false. It is not the case.
Mr. SPEAKER. Order. The hon. gentleman cannot discuss a motion that is not before the House.
Mr. DEVLIN. I am not discussing it, Mr. Speaker. I am just putting myself right with regard to the statement that has been made against me in connection with my vote against the motion introduced the other day by the member for North Simcoe (Mr. McCarthy). Well, Sir, all I ask for my co-religionists in the North-West is the same treatment which is accorded to the Protestants of the Province of Quebec, and which the Catholics of the Province of Ontario enjoy. I believe that by voting down the motions which are presently before the House we will be acting in the interests of the honour and the peace of Canada, and I believe, furthermore, that by following out this course we will be laying the foundations of making the North- West contented, of making it the seat in future of 3075 [COMMONS] 3076 large cities and large centres of population, where the tiller of the soil may work peacefully, successfully with honour and advantage to our common country.
Mr. SCRIVER. Mr. Speaker, I desire to say first, Sir, that you were in error in naming me as the seconder of the motion now before the House. I did not consent to second the motion, but I did not dissent from your connecting my name with it because of my desire to be courteous to my neighbour, the hon. member for South Middlesex (Mr. Armstrong). I am not in favour of this motion in all its details. So far as the part relating to the dual language is concerned it expresses my views; views which I took the liberty of giving to the House when the motion relating to that question was before us at a previous session of this House. I then expressed my sympathy with the motion of the hon. member for Assiniboia (Mr. Davin), which was to the effect that the question of languages should be left to the decision of the people of the Territories; but so far as the question of separate schools is concerned I take a somewhat different view. Allusion has been made by several hon. gentlemen to the position held by the Protestant minority in the Province of Quebec in relation to their school system. I am one of that Protestant minority, and I am here to express my concurrence in the statement already made, that the Protestant minority in that province has been treated since Confederation, with perfect fairness and with full liberality by the Roman Catholic majority. The Protestants of that province could not live there were they not accorded the privileges in regard to the education of their children which they now enjoy. Holding the views which Roman Catholics do conscientiously hold, and they being largely in the majority, if we had a common school system there, and but one school where all religious tenets would be taught, the Protestants would not and could not possibly accept it. This being the case, and it being the fact that we have been, as I have said, treated with perfect fairness and perfect liberality in the Province of Quebec, I do not see how Protestants, taking a proper view of this question, can fail to consent to extend to their Roman Catholic fellow-citizens the same privileges which they enjoy themselves. I cannot give my support to a propositionwhich would deprive the Roman Catholic population of the North-West from the enjoyment of theprivileges which the Protestants of the Province of Quebec have enjoyed and do enjoy, and I believe will continue to enjoy in the future. I cannot consent to give my support to a motion which at sometime or other—if it would not have that immediate effect—would compel the Roman Catholics of the North-West to either allow their children to grow up in ignorance, or to send them to schools which it would be a violation of their religious convictions to send them to. Therefore, I am opposed to a portion of the motion of my hon. friehd from South Middlesex, and I am also opposed to the amendment moved by the hon. member for West York.
Mr. MACDONALD (Huron). I wish to say just one word upon this question. Two years ago, when the hon. member for North Simcoe (Mr. McCarthy) introduced a Bill in regard to separate schools and the dual languages, my intention waste vote for the Bill:  Afterwards an amendment was adopted, which I called a compromising amendment, and against which I voted, and the Bill was not reached to vote on. I said then, as I say now, that this is a question which the Parliament of Canada must face, either to-day or some day in the near future, and we might as well look it fairly and squarely in the face, and decide now what is best to be done. The North-West Territories will soon be a province. They have now very largely the powers of a province. The people who live in the Territories have one there for the purpose of working out their future destiny, and making the very best they can of the circumstances in which they are placed; and I think we would be derelict in our duty if we did not give them control over their own affairs, and say to them: You can have separate schools if you please, or a national school system if you please, and you can have both languages if you please, or only one-decide for yourselves. That is a question which this Parliament must face; and I cannot, for the life of me, understand how those who have been for years talking of provincial rights, and declaring that the provinces should have full and complete control over matters of a local character, can vote against giving the people of the North-West power to say what form of language or what kind of schools they will have. If their future is to be in their own hands, they must have power to work out that future; but if we place burdens upon them. I think there will be in the future a great deal more trouble excited by these questions than there is at the present time. Therefore the sooner we put the question right the better. At present the country is new, there are not a great many people there, and the majority will be disposed to be fair to the minority. They might consider it in their interest to continue the present condition of affairs; but if the majority should decide against separate schools or the dual languages, then the responsibility will rest upon that majority, and will be taken from our shoulders; and these sectarian questions, which cause so much irritation and unpleasant feeling, will be removed from this Parliament. I am satisfied that the Roman Catholics in the North- West will have nothing to complain of if we take this course, for I believe that the majority there will be just as favourable to giving them their rights as the majority in this Parliament. That is the reason which leads me to favour the amendment which has been moved: and while I support that amendment, I say to the people of the North-West: This is a question entirely of a local character which you have to settle; on your shoulders rests the responsibility of working out your own destiny, and you have the right to say whether you will have separate schools and the dual languages or not. I hold that that is the fair way to dispose of this question, and I feel assured, though I am not a prophet nor the son of one, that the members of this House will have to come to that conclusion before they are five years older.
Mr. MCCARTHY. Mr. Speaker, I would not be disposed to interpose at this stage of the debate but for the fact that, owing to the order passed on Friday last, this discussion must come to a vote before six o'clock to-day, as it cannot be resumed this session. 
Mr. LAURIER. Oh, yes. 
3077 [MAY 30, 1892.] 3078
Mr. MCCARTHY. I thought there was an intimation given by the hon. leader of the House that the remnant of this day which is left to us is to be taken from us. Well, Sir, I agree most heartily with the sentiment that has fallen from the hon. gentleman who has just resumed his seat, a sentiment which found utterance in the beginning of this debate, in the speech of the hon. gentleman who moved the resolution—that this matter must be faced, that it will not down; and it is in the interest of all of us, seeing how unfortunately the question excites both racial and religious feelings and prejudices, that at the earliest possible moment we should face it, deal with it, and determine it. Now, we have given to the North-West Assembly already very large powers. With the exception, perhaps, of the control of money, which I hope at an early day will also be granted to them, they have almost all the powers of a provincial assembly. That being so, those who in this House have declared that they are not to have the full power and control in the matter of education, have at least the responsibility resting upon them of showing why the authority of the North-West Assembly should be limited in that regard. We know perfectly well that it is in accordance with the spirit of the federal system under which this Dominion is governed, that the subject of education is one of local concern; and while I do not go the length, and have never gone the length of saying that in no case, in the general interest of the Dominion, should this Parliament or this Government interfere in matters which in a narrow sense are of localconcern, I hold as strongly as any hon. member on the floor of this Parliament that in ordinary cases, within the scope of our legislation, local matters should be dealt a with by the local bodies and the local assemblies. Now, Sir, if that be accepted as a preliminary doctrine, I want to know why it is that in the matter of education this Parliament undertakes to say that the North-west Assembly shall not have the full control? I want to know why it was that years and years ago, long before the North-West was settled, this House enacted as one of the organic laws regulatin to the North-West Territories that they should not have full, absolute and unlimited power in the matter of education? I have never heard any answer given to that question. I have never heard any suggestion offered why it was that the North-West should not have the same liberty that the other provinces have, all except the Province of Ontario and Province of Quebec; and we know the special reason which existed in the case of those provinces. I have heard it said, forsooth: Wait till we grant them full autonomy; wait till we create different provinces in the North-West; and when we create different provinces there, and endow them with full provincial powers, then it will be time enough to give them full authority to deal with education. Why should you deny them the right to consider and to deal with the question of education? I can perfectly well understand the feelin which actuate my Roman Catholic fellow-citizens. I respect their feelings and views; and if it were advisable in this country to give effect to their views, I should not be heard saying anything against them. But I am unable to see the fair-play on the part of Roman Catholics, who believe, and I respect their belief, that no education is complete unless accompanied by religious teaching, in denying to the other religious bodies, many of whom hold the same views, equal justice in that regard.
Mr. AMYOT. We do not deny to Protestants the right to have separate schools.
Mr. MCCARTHY. Practically you do. Take the Province of Ontario. There is a public school system there and a separate school system for the Roman Catholics. Now take the Protestants of my church, many of whom would desire to see their children taught in their schools thetenets of their faith as the Roman Catholicsare taught theirs in the separate schools; they are not given the privilege of having separate schools. However, I do not desire to enter into a discussion of that here, but, speaking for my own province, I must say I would like to see the power given that province to deal with the school question as other provinces deal with it; and should the majority in that province think it would be better that we should have a system of education free altogether from religious teaching, I should desire their view should prevail. I respect the views put forward by the hon. member for North Wellington (Mr. McMallen), and realize that there is a great deal in what he has said with regard to secular education, but I hold that the provinces should be allowed to work out this matter for themselves. They are the parties most competent to deal with it; and I would like to know why it is this Parliament undertakes to say to the people of the North-West that in any ordinance they may make regarding education, they must always enact there may be a separate school in every locality in that country. I think the burden of proof is upon those who desire to control the power of the people of the North-West in that direction, and I am prepared to listen with every attention to any argument in support of that restriction and limitation. Therefore am in favour of the motion the hon. gentleman has brought forward, that power should be given the Legislative Assembly of the North-West Territories to deal with all matters pertaining to education, but am not in favour of his limitation that no school section shall be interfered with without the consent of the parties composing it. It is an insult to the North-West to say to them: You must keep perpetually these schools, scattered here and there, as separate schools unless the particular locality consents to the legislative body dealing with the matter. Let us trust them, let us give them full power to deal with the matter themselves. If the hon. gentleman is sincere in his views of provincial rights, he will not have any reason for regretting the trust he will repose in the people of the North-West in this or any other respect. I did not move in this matter when I brought forward the question of dual language two years ago, and the reason I did not was this: I have not altered my opinions in the slightest respecting it, but I felt we ought to have an appeal from the people of the North- West, I felt that we ought to have a representation from their Assembly before interfering in a matter which I believe to be so absolutely of local concern. If they were satisfied with the law as it exists, it would be unnecessary and mischievous to bring forward any motion in this Parliament respecting it. But we know that they have petitioned this House to free them from the restrictions imposed, and give them power to deal with the School system as they 3079 [COMMONS] 3080 think proper. This has been twice represented here, once in the form of a petition and again in the form of a resolution by which the people of the North-West desires to remind the Parliament of Canada that they already asked for interference in that regard. When we reflect that the people of the North-West are rapidly attaining the position, as regard population, of some of our smaller provinces, I ask the members from Prince Edward Island: On what grounds do you venture to say to the people of the North-West that they are not as competent to deal with this school question as you are? I ask my hon. friends from British Columbia why they are not willing to allow the people of the North-West to deal with their own schools. In all probability, in the next ten years, the people of the North-West will outnumber both the provinces of British Columbia and Prince Edward Island, which, I do not suppose, would be willing to part with their power as regards education, or consider any interference with it by this Parliament as other than a gross outrage on their liberties and rights, yet they are unwilling that the North-West Territories should have the same right. It is not necessary for me to discuss the question in any other respect. I do not presume to say what the people of the North-West will do, but all I ask for them is liberty to do what they consider is proper and right. I do not enter into the discussion as to whether there ought or ought not to be separate schools. I think, to say the least, it would be injudicious to bring on the floor of Parliament a discussion as to the merits of either system; but I want the House to understand that as long as that enactment remains on the Statute-book, so long do we compel the North-West to have separate schools. I want every member to realize the responsibility that he is taking in that regard. In his own province he may be content there should be no separate schools; but when dealing with the North-West, where there is no large population, and from which there is no large representation here, he considers this question as a matter of no consequence. But he is responsible to the whole people for saying there should be separate schools there, although he must admit this is a matter with which it would be far better to leave the local authorities to deal. Now, as to the question of dual language, I do not accept the advice put forward by any of the hon. gentlemen who so far have addressed us. I trust I have grown wiser a little since my last effort, and I do not desire to excite, in this discussion, the same feelings that were aroused on a former occasion. Not that I do not hold as strongly to the views I held then, not that I do not think it would be in the interests of all the people of this Dominion if we spoke the one language and believed in the one theory of government, and so on. I do not at all retract my opinion in that regard; but I quite realize this, that my hon. friends from Quebec took the motion I made, which did not name the Province of Quebec but only affected the North-West Territories, as an attack upon what they regard as an institution they pride themselves upon possessing in that province. We are dealing now with the North- West, with that great country which, before many years, will overshadow the eastern partof the Dominion, with this territory which, before many years, will be the heart of the Dominion of Canada, and we are laying the foundations there of several great states. Now, is there an hon. gentleman in Parliament who believes that, if he had to formulate a constitution for that country, he would lay down as a part of its laws, as the foundation of its existence, that the people should speak two separate tongues? That is the problem we have to deal with there. It is not the question of the Province of Quebec. It is not the rights that have grown up in regard to the Province of Quebec, but we are now dealing with another part of the great Dominion of Canada, and what I want to know is, is it wise or prudent or statesmanlike that we should, in establishing the North-West Territories, at once say there are to be two races holding an equality before the law and that we desire not their assimilation, not their amalgamation, but their perpetuation as two distinctive races, just as they are unfortunately in the Province of Quebec at the present moment. I am not dealing at all with the loyalty of the French Canadian. I am not dealing from that point of view, but I am simply dealing with the wisdom or prudence of our saying that, in a country where it is the interest of all that we should be united and should form one nationality, we should lay down the rule that there shall be two languages and consequently the two racial distinctions and the cleavage which has existed unhappily in other parts of this Dominion.
Mr. AMYOT. Unhappily?
Mr. McCARTHY. Yes, I say to my hon. friend, unhappily. I think he will agree with me, not least amongst the hon. gentlemen who share his views, that it would be better for all of us if we all spoke English or if we all spoke French.
Mr. AMYOT. Let all speak French.
Mr. CHAPLEAU. En Français.
Mr. McCARTHY. My hon. friend has me at a disadvantage there. I think my hon. friends, if they thought this matter out for themselves, if they did not allow themslves to be swayed by their passions, would think as I do. The proposition which I intend to submit to the House as an amendment to the resolution is in accordance with the view that we here should deal with this question of language. It is not a matter of local concern that Germans, for instance, should go into our provinces and decide that the German tongue should hold sway. Surely no one will say that a matter of that kind partakes of local concern. I repeat what I have said on other occasions that, if there is anything more important than another in the formation of national character, it is the question of language, and that is a question for this Parliament, having assumed the position of the mother of several states. We are establishing states in the North- West, and in that sense we are an imperial power, and it is for us to say, and we have in fact said, that, with the exception of the Province of Quebec, when we got our charter, the English language was to be the language of the people of this country. We have said in the Province of Quebec both languages might prevail. We said in this Parliament, at that time largely represented by a large proportion relatively of the French Canadian race, that the two languages should hold equal rank, but with regard to the other Provinces, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, British Columbia when she afterwards came in, and Prince Edward Island, there is no such rule existing, and as the 3081 [MAY 30, 1892.] 3082 foundation of our system we have it that the English tongue is to prevail. Then why have the two languages in the North-West, and least of all why have them in the way in which they are left by the so-called compromise amendment? Formerly it was permitted to the people in their Legislative Assembly to speak in both languages. It was enacted that the records of that Assembly should be recorded in both languages, that the proceedings of the court should be in both languages, and that the laws should be published in both languages. A so-called compromise was made, but whom was the compromise made between? Perhaps my hon. friend the leader of the Opposition could tell, perhaps my hon, friends on this side could tell also; but did any person making that compromise represent or profess to represent the North-West There is my hon. friend, for instance, from Assiniboia (Mr. Davin). Is that part of the bargain he made on behalf of the North- West? The political leaders on either side of the House, anxious to get rid of a difficult question, politically speaking, thought this was a compromise which might be agreed upon, but I should like to know who were the parties who made that compromise, and why it should be regarded as sacred? What does it effect? What benefit has been derived from the compromise? We gave the people of the North-West power to say they should not speak both languages in the Legislative Assembly? What do they do? Like practical men they said: You can speak in any language you please, and, if one or two gentlemen there who speak French are fools enough to address in that language the great body who speak English, they will soon drop that, finding that they would take nothing by their eloquence. As to their proceedings, however, they are only to be recorded in one language. There again as practical men—and it shows what practical men will do—they say the mischief is not in the language in which the people speak, because no one pretends that there should be any interference with the sacred right of speaking in any language a man chooses, but in pursuing in our system a duality of language, if we believe, as I believe, that it is against the best interests of our political system. Then they dealt with it as practical men and said the proceedings of the Assembly should only be recorded in one tongue, and that is English. But we did not settle the question. The mischief to be got rid of, the difficulty to be obviated is not because a few people there speak French, but because we are encouraging in the North-Warst system of duality of race by holding out the two languages as taking equal rank and holding equal sway in all proceedings. Then take the courts. One of the hon. gentlemen pointed out the practical mischief which arose from having the two languages in the courts, and there is a great deal to be said as to the practical view of the matter. But I am dealing with it on higher grounds. I am not dealing with this from any antipathy to any race in this Dominion, but on the higher ground that it is to the interest of us all to prevent any question of that kind arisin in the future, and to have it perfectly understood at the outset that the English tongue is the language of the people of this Dominion. It is better for all parties to realize that at the earliest moment. Why should the subject be remitted to the people of the North-West? If I merely looked at this from the practical point of view, it would not make the slightest difference If we give the North-West Assembly the power suggested by this resolution, they will decidedly exercise that power and repeal that law, but why should we hand that over to them? We are responsible here for imposing that law; surely we are the proper parties here if we believe it is not right, to remove it. Why should we cast that as a bone of contention among the people of the North-West? Why should not this Parliament, treating it as a matter of imperial importance, in the sense in which I use that term, remove from the Statute-book that law which this Parliament so unnecessarily put upon it, and do away with the distinction which exists in regard to the North-West and not in regard to any of the rest of the Dominion, that there are to be the two languages there? Without occupying the time of the House upon a subject in regard to which my views are pretty well known, I desire to move an amendment in order to put my views on record in a formal way. I accept what my hon. friend from West York (Mr. Wallace) has moved as far as the schools are concerned. I do not accept either the motion or the amendment, so far as the language is concerned. I say that here is the proper place for us to settle this question of language, and therefore I move:—
That all after the word "That," in the original motion and the proposed amendment, be erased, and that the following be substituted instead therefor:—
"It is expedient that the limitation and restriction upon the authority of the Assembly of the North-West Territories in the matter of education, and the enactments respecting the use of the French language in the courts mm the compulsory publication of its ordinances in that tongue, should be repealed."
It will be seen that I move simply that the restriction should be repealed, leaving with them the power which they have now on the subject of education, as it stands to-day, but that on the subject of language, that enactment shall he eliminated from our Statute-book.
Mr. MILLS (Bothwell). It is not my purpose to support any one of the motions in your hands. I shall endeavour to address myself to the observations with which the hon. member for North Simone (Mr. McCarthy) closed his speech. The hon. gentleman has ex ressed himself as holding the doctrine enunciated by him two years ago in this House. Sir, I entertain to-day the same views I expressed then, and for the same reasons that I opposed this proposition then, I oppose the proposition which he now submits. The hon. gentleman has said that the question of the dual language in the North-West Territories is a national question, whereas the establishment of public schools is purely a local matter; and he is in favour of what he calls the principle of Local Government in the Territories, but he is in favour at the same time of disregarding that principle so far as the use of the French language in the Territories is concerned. Now, Sir, we may learn something from what has transpired elsewhere where the people are of different nationalities. The hon. gentleman is of the opinion that it is highly desirable there should be no language spoken in this countrybut one, and in his opinion it would be best if that language were the English language; but it would be better that we should all speak French than that some of us should speak Freneh and some English. I do not hold to that view at all. I am dis 3083 [COMMONS] 3084 posed to maintain my rights to speak the English tongue, whether in Parliament or out of Parliament, and I am disposed to concede to my French fellow-countrymen the same privilege that I claim for myself, of expressing themselves in that language which they believe will best serve the purpose of conveying their thoughts and presenting their views on all questions, whether those questions be public or private. The hon. gentleman ought to remember that we have in Canada upwards of one million people who speak the French language. They have in Great Britain upwards of one million people who speak the Welsh; and they have been in contact with an English-speaking population out of all proportion larger than the English population as compared with the French in Canada; yet utter a period of several hundred years, the people within the limits of Wales still speak the Welsh language, and the Welsh language is used in all local matters, whether they relate to political or social affairs, in a more marked degree than it was used a hundred years ago. If we look at our neighbours across the border we find that when Louisiana was acquired by the United States, the French language was spoken, and the Government so far from interfering with the use of the French, allowed the people to speak either, was they saw proper, and it is only some 12 or 15 years ago that the French language ceased to be used as a public language in the State of Louisiana. If we look, again, at the territory that was acquired from Mexico in 1844, and a portion of which was converted into the State of California, we find that the Spanish language was spoken in the southern part of the state and used as an official language amongst that section of the population that could only speak Spanish, until, I think, 1876. And when you go into some of the northern states to-day, where the population is largely Norwegian, I believe that the Norwegian language is spoken in the schools, that Norwegian teachers are employed, and that Norwegian books are used, simply because the children have but a short period of time to spend in the public schools, and unless they are permitted to do that, the recent comers from the northern portion of Europe would be unable to give their children an effective education at all. Now, the people of the United States have so far proceeded upon the assumption that the question of the unification of the population and their use of their own language, or of the English language, is a matter which I will regulate itself if it is let alone. I have no doubt that that will be the case with regard to the North-West Territories. If there is a large influx of French population there from the Province of Quebec, they will carry the French language with them, and it will be perpetuated for an indefinite period. If but a small number go, and if they diffuse themselves among the other portions of the population, then they will, in the course of a few years, cease to speak French, because the use of a language is a matter of convenience, and whether the people use the one or the other, will depend entirely upon the solution that convenience gives to the question. I should think that Canada has difficulties enough without undertaking to put forward any active exertion, as it seems to me is being done here, for the purpose of creatin new, or of reviving old difficulties. So far as the North-West Territories are concerned, if you were to provoke a contest between two-fifths of the population and the other three-fifths over the subject of language, I do not think you would do much to promote immigration into the North-West Territories; on the contrary every effort put forward in that direction would lead to strife, am to the division of the country on the basis of race, and serious mischiefs would ensue, because you would neutralize the energies of the population by directing them into abnormal and perverted channels. I am not going to say more on the subject of language. I do not think it is a matter calling for very much discussion. I believe the experience of civilized men everywhere has been the same, that this is a question with which no Government can effectually deal, and every attempt to deal with it will only effect serious injury on the population. I should like to know what has been held out to every person where civilization exists to-day as one of the strongest evidences of the despotism, of the barbarism of Russia, but her treatment of Poland, her attempt to force the Russian language on the Polish people. And when England a few years ago entered into a discussion with Denmark to prevent a conflict between Denmark on the one side and Austria and Prussia on the other, she pressed on the Government of Denmark not to attempt to force the use of the Danish language on those provinces in which the German language was spoken, and they pointed out in that correspondence what an unfavourable impression on the public mind of the world Denmark would make if she undertook to deal with her subjects in Schleswig-Holstein in the way she had attempted. That is not simply the opinion of Great Britain alone. It is the opinion on which civilized men and statesmen have acted everywhere except where despotic government exists, as that which exists in Russia. But I pass away from this subject of language, because there are a number of hon. gentlemen who are interested in the question, and I have no doubt it will be discussed by them, and I turn my attention, and I invite the attention of the House, to the view which has been expressed on sovereign rights, the rights of self-government, by the hon. member for North Simcoe (Mr. McCarthy), as applying to the people of the North-West Territories. Let us look for a moment at the subject of the British North America Act. Those people as a community have had no voice in the distribution of power, no saying as to what powers should be allotted to the Federal Government or what powers should be allotted to the Governments of the different provinces. That is a question which was settled not by them, but a question that was settled for them. It was the public men who took part in the formation of the constitution who determined that question, not merely for the provinces which as corporations under the British North America Act were united, but for all those political corporations that became provinces under the Act for all time to come. I do not understand this doctrine of sovereign rights, of local self-government as it has been put forward by the hon. gentleman. I understand that where a central Government holds a large extent of territory on its own account over which it exercised sovereign jurisdiction, it determines not merely what shall be the extent of its own authority, but it determines all questions of general policy in the constitution of the union between itself and the provinces. Let us look, for instance, at the question as shown in the, history of the United States. For instance, the 3085 [MAY 30, 1892.] 3086 constitution of the United States was not framed by 40 states; it was framed by 13. All the states that came in subsequently had no voice in determining the extent of their local authority; they had it determined for them. It was determined by those who first instituted the Government. If you adopt the other view, that put forward by the hon. member for North Simcoe (Mr. McCarthy), you would have no such thin as a permanent government at all. Why should the people who are rotting in the churchyards of the Province of Ontario am in the Province of Quebec, who framed the constitution 30 years ago, determine for us what these constitutions shall be? There is such a thing as continuity in government, and the people who go into a territory go there with the understanding that the character of the Local Government, subject to the provisions of the constitution, shall be such as the central Government, that exercises the sovereign authority in the first instance, shall determine for it. That is as I understand the constitution. That is the doctrine recognized in the constitution of the neighbouring republic. What does that constitution say? It says that each state shall have a republican form of government. Can the state determine that the government shall be some other form? Can the state determine to adopt a form of government incompatible with the constitution? No. The powers of the state depend on the constitution given by the original thirteen states. They made the constitution in the first instance, and the other states that have come in subsequently took that constitution in accordance with those provisions, subject to be altered only in the way the constitution, as framed by the original thirteen states or by the people of those states, provides. I hold in my hand Mr. Cooley's book on "The American Constitution," and I wish to read a paragraph from that work with respect to the jurisdiction of the United States over the government of the territories, and hon. gentlemen will see that this doctrine of squatter's sovereignty which has been put forward here to-day has never found a place in the government of the territories of the United. States —or at all events it found aplace but for a moment of time, which led to a civil war, and which was superseded by the results of that war. The Government of the United States have power to make all needful rules and regulations respecting the territories. That is the power we possess. That is the power which we used when we formed the North-West Territories. How far we should retain the government in our hands, how far we should entrust the government to the people of the territories was a matter of expediency, a matter to be determined by experience and by local circumstances. If this doctrine is to be applied to a territory, it is equally applicable to a municipality, and yet we do not recognize it with respect to any municipality. In a province, is a city, or township, or town permitted to determine the extent of its own power or the character of its municipal institutions for itself? Can we determine for each city, town or township these powers? Let us see what is said on this matter by Mr. Cooley. He says:
"It is no doubt most consistent with the general theory of republican institutions that the people everywhere should be allowed self-government: but it has never been deemed a matter of right that a local community should be adhered to lay the foundation of institutions, and erect a structure of government thereon, without the guidance and restraint of a superior authority. Even in the older states, where society is most homogeneous and has fewest of the elements of is quiet and disorder, the state reserves to itself the right to shape municipal institutions; and towns and cities are only formed under its direction, and towns and cities are only formed under its direction, and according to the rules, and within the limits the state prescribes. With still less reason could the settlers in new territories be suffered to exercise sovereign owers. The practice of the Government, originating before the adoption of the constitution has been for Congress to establish governments for the territories; and whether the Jurisdiction over the district has been acquired from the states or by treaty with a foreign power, Congress has unquestionably full power to govern it, and the people, execpt as Congress shall provide therefor, are not of right entitled to participate in political authority, until the territory becomes a state. Meanwhile they are in a condition of temporary pupilage and dependence: and while Congress will be expected to recognize the principle of self-government to such extent as may seem wise, its discretion alone can constitute the measure by which the participation of the peeplc can be determined."
That is the American rule. It is the rule which experience points out to be necessary. These hon. gentlemen insist that before the territory possesses any of these organic elements which are necessary to the constitution of a province and a successful working oi parliamentary government, that it shall have all the rights and powers of a province. Experience in the neighbouring republic has not induced them to possess that view. Their experience has been much longer than ours, and I think it would be a great mistake on our part. to adopt any view like that. Some hon. gentlemen have said here that this is a question of state rights, and they have referred to the question of state rights that was settled by the civil war in the neighbouring republic. Why, Sir, there is no question of state rights here, and there is no party advocating anything approaching the doctrine of state rights in Canada. The doctrine of state rights in the United States was that each state is sovereign; not sovereign simply as to the extent of its authority, but absolutely sovereign over all the powers vested in either Congress or the state. It was said that Congress was simply an assembly of ambassadors acting under instructions from the sovereign state, and that the state being sovereign had a right to insist upon withdrawal, just the same as it the great sovereign powers of Europe were represented in a congressof ambassadors, and were not satisfied with what was being done, they could instruct their representatives to withdraw and to repudiate the whole arrangement. That is a doctrine that has never found support in the courts of the United States, or by a majority in the Congress of the United States; and the men anxious for the perpetuation of slavery were in favour of such a doctrine. I wonld like to know whether any hon. gentleman would say that the Territories should have the right, in the exercise of self-government, to establish slavery? Would a territory in the exercise of its right of self-government have a right to admit the Mormon population from Utah? Suppose you had a majority of people coming to a territory from the State of Utah, who insisted upon legalizing polygamy, would you permit them to exercise that power and to legislate with regard to domestic matters of that kind? Of course you would not. You would repudiate such a claim at once, and you would say that such a power would be beyond the limits of the local constitution. You would not listen for a moment to the proposition, that these people, not having been parties to the original compact, were not bounr by it, and before they came in they had a right to 3087 [COMMONS] 3088 discuss the question how much of the British North America Act they would recognize as binding upon them. The people of this Dominion sitting here, as a matter of public policy will determine how far they will recognize the principle of separate schools and how far they will not, in the establishment of governments in the Territories. A few years ago they thought it was expedient, looking at what transpired in Ontario and Quebec, as these were the larger provinces of the Dominion and represented the greater portion of the population, to give effect in the Territories to the terms of settlement that has been arrived at as a solution of the educational question in these provinces. Whether wise or unwise, that was done. What reason is there at this moment for altering it? Has there been any great grievance sprung up? Has any practical mischief grown out of it? I do not think so, and I think, looking at how extremely sensitive a large portion of the population of this country is upon this question, that instead of it being a wise course to undertake to force upon the attention of this House the consideration of this question at the present time; it is an extremely mischievous course. It is one not in the public interest and one that certainly cannot promote harmony and the well-being of the population of the Territories. Sir, the hon. gentleman, if he will take the trouble of examining into the solution of this question and the results elsewhere, will find that the course taken in the Province of Ontario on the whole produced the most satisfactory results on this continent on the educational question. I do not think that he should come here simply as a political theorist to advocate views of abstract political philosophy and undertake to shape them into law. We ought to look at practical results, we ought to look at the character of our population, we ought to look not merely on what we believe would in the abstract be best for every person, but we ought to look to the prejudices of the people as well as to their principles in so far as we can avoid every ground of friction and of irritation. So far as Ontario is concerned she has recognized the principle of separate schools. She has given to the Protestant minority and to the Roman Catholic population where they demand it, the privilege of establishing a separate school. That has not been done in the various states of the Union; and I wish to call the attention of the House to the fact that to-day in the Province of Ontario there is a smaller percentage of the Catholic population in the separate schools than there is in the State of New York in the parish schools where there is no provision made for a separate system. There is a smaller percentage of the Roman Catholic population in Ontario in the separate schools than there is in the parish schools of the State of Michigan where they have no separate school system. What is the practical working out of the Michigan system? It is this: When the Roman Catholic community is dissatisfied, or strong enough, they organize themselves voluntarily into a parish school. They employ their own teacher, and there is no public supervision over that teacher. If the people are poor the chances are that the teacher will be a person of rather inferior education, and the instruction given in these parish schools is altogether inferior to that given in the separate schools of the Province of Ontario. In Ontario you have today practically the same class of teachers, possessing the same qualifications in the separate schools that you have in the public schools. They undergo a public examination, they receive certificates in the same way, and since the Catholic population has been given representation on the High School Boards, at large number of the children are attending these High Schools. They are receiving their education, they are being employed as teachers, and in many cases they are not giving encouragement to the establishment of separate schools where the public schools give to the Roman Catholic population adequate protection. I say, Sir, there is no public school system on this continent producing more satisfactory results, and being worked out with less friction than the school system of the Province of Ontario.
It being six o'clock, the Speaker left the Chair.


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



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