House of Commons, 21 March 1894, Canadian Confederation with Alberta and Saskatchewan

159 [COMMONS] 160


Mr. LaRiVIERE moved for:
Copies of all petitions, memorials and correspondence in reference to the appeal made in the name of the Roman Catholic minority of the province of Manitoba, in reference to the school, laws of that province: also, copies of reports to? and Orders in ('ouncil in reference to the same: also. copies of the case submitted to the Supreme Court of Canada respecting aforesaid appeal, and including factums and all materials in connection therewith, and copies of all judgments rendered and answers given by said court on or to the questions referred to them.
He said: Mr. Speaker. in making this motion. I do not intend at the present. time to discuss the merits of the question that is involved. I shall wait tmtil all the papers are. put before the House and until the members are fully cognizant of the details of the question. I have my own opinion as to the merits of the case, and as to the action that has been taken thereon, and I intend, later on, as, I have no doubt, an opportunity will be given, to express that opinion in an unbiassed and in a fair and impartial manner.
Motion agreed to.
Mr. LaRIVIERE moved for:
Copies of all school ordinances, school regulations or by-laws and amendments thereto, adopted by the Legislative Assembly, the Executive. andd by any Board or Council of Education, in reference to the establishment, maintenance and administration of schools in the North-west Territories since 1885: also, for copies of all petitions, memorials and correspondence in reference thereto: also, for copies of all reports to and Orders in Council respecting the same.
He said: My remarks on the previous motion also apply to this.
Motion agreed to.
Mr. TARTE moved for:
1. Copies of all correspondence between His Grace Archbishop Tache, of St. Boniface, and any member of the Government since last session, and in particular of the memorial recently sent to the Governor General, or to the Prime Minister. respecting the Manitoba schools, and of the ordinances . adopted by the Legislature of the North-west Territories in 1892, and now in force; 2. Copies of all memorials, petitions and letters addressed to the Governor General in Council, or to any Minister asking for the disallowance of the said ordinances: 3. Of correspondence between the Lieutenant Governor of the North-west Territories or the Executive Council of the said Territories, and the Dominion Government: 4. Copies of the instructions to the Lieutenant Governor of the North-west Territories, and of communications sent to the Executive. of the Tcrritories in order to induce them to amend the ordinances of 1892.
He said: Mr. Speaker, I feel it to be my duty to put this motion in your hands and to offer a few remarks upon it; and, imperfect as my English may be, I venture to ask the attention of the House while I attempt to address it in that language. Since the beginning of the session hon. members of this House. on both sides. have carefully discussed the commercial and financial position of this country. Nobody has yet alluded to its political situation. or rather to the grave national crisis with which we are face to face today—thanks. I am sorry to say, to the unwise, imprudent and irritating policy of the Government on the school question. Permit me. Sir, to use, as a description of that crisis, a speech which has recently been delivered in the city of Montreal by one of the leading Conservatives of the province of Quebec—fine Hon. T. C. Casgrain. the Attorney General in the Taillon Cabinet. That hon. gentleman, speaking at a meeting of the Cartier-Macdonald Club. a few days ago—I quote from the Montreal 'Gazette' of the 28th of February—expressed himself as follows :—
A terrible wind is now blowing even at the very doors of the province of Quebec ; and the storm is so strong that it is shaking Confederation to its very foundations. It is a difficult and delicate question which I am now taking up, and I wish to say that I am now speaking only as a citizen of Canada. I am now speaking of the question of separate schools in the North-west.
Confederation was the result of a cmnpromise. In order to protect our fellow-countrymen. who had carried the seed of civilization to the Northwest, we stipulated that they should always have the right to separate schools. Now, I contend that no one has the right to do indirectly what the law forbids to do directly. No one had the right to deprive the Catholics of the North-west of their separate schools. The Hon. Mr. Haultain, the Premier of the North-west Territories, understood that perfectly well. That is why he went in a roundabout way. He overhauled all the ordinances relating to the schools ; and while the new ordinance reaffirms the rights of Catholics to separate schools, it makes these dependent on such conditions that they are virtually suppressed. So that Mr. Haultain has done indirectly what he could not do directly. The question put to the Federal Government was, whether the law should be disallowed. We have the right to insist that the protection given our countrymen shall be respected. If the understanding arrived at when Confederation was formed can be violated by one party, then that contract is only a paper which can be torn at will. The Federal Government has the right, and I will say has the 161 [MARCH 21, 1894] 162 duty, to disallow all laws contrary to the general interests of the Dominion, and such is the new ordinance. Speaking for myself, I say that fanaticism has long enough had its way. We have had enough of the McCarthy's, O'Briens and of the P. P. A., which wanted to ostracise everything that is Catholic. We are citizens and useful citizens of this country. I can claim to be moderate on these questions. I fought the Riel agitation. But when it comes to decide the question whether Catholics have rights in this country. I say that it is time to be up and doing. I appeal to all moderate men, irrespective of creed. Fanatics are not the majority in this country ; and if, to prove it, it is necessary to make a daring move—in French, a coup d'etat— let it be made. The man who will make it shall have the united support of the province of Quebec. If to succeed it becomes necessary to call around our flag all moderate men, we will do it and we will again go over the work of Confederation. If we allow the sacred rights of our countrymen to he violated, we will vainly work for the progress of this province.
These were very strong sentiments, and they had the more importance because they were uttered in the presence 0f the Prime Minister of the province of Quebec and four or five of his colleagues. Naturally enough, that speech created a great sensation, in the province of Quebec at least. It was widely discussed. The whole ministerial press, with the sole exception of ' La Minerve,' the personal organ of my hon. friend the Postmaster General endorsed it. ' L'Evénement,' which is one of the leading organs of the Conservative party in Quebec. and which is to-day under the able supervision of my hon. friend the member for Gaspé (Mr. Joncas), spoke as follows :—
The speech delivered by the Hon. T. C. Casgrain at the Conservative Club in Montreal has created quite a sensation, and will have a telling effect.
The Attorney General has echoed the feelings of all those in this province who understand that the system of active persecution is organized against them and that the time has come for us to take the necessary means of imposing respect for the rights which have been granted to us by the constitution. Mr. Casgrain deserves the congratulations of his countrymen on account of the patriotism, the firmness and the energy he has shown.
Another paper of great importance, and which is the organ and the property of one of the Quebec Ministers—I mean ' Le Courrier du Canada '—said :
We are the more happy to applaud those vigorous and manly declarations because they respond to the feeling that our readers have found in the columns of ' Le Courrier du Canada' during the last few days. Mr. Casgrain has exclaimed at a certain moment that if the central power is unable to protect the minorities, the guarantee contained in the right of disallowance is nothing less but worthless paper.
This is exactly our opinion. We said the other day that in the question of the schools of the Northwest, the Federal Government had the power to disallow, that the circumstances justified disal lowance, and that if the right of disallowance cannot be used to protect minorities it is not worth much. We congratulate the Attorney General on the energy and the frankness with which he has developed this idea that the central power is bound to protect the oppressed minorities, if the future of this confederation is going to be assured."
The newspaper, the 'Empire,' having taken upon itself to lecture the Attorney General of Quebec in the same way as it had lectured in former days my hon. friend from North Simcoe (Mr. McCarthy). ' Le Courrier du Canada' replied in very plain language :
The ' Empire ' says that nobody has been found to approve the conduct of Mr. Casgrain. We have the honour to inform our contemporary that he labours under a strange error. On the very evening of his speech, Mr. Casgrain was warmly cheered by the Conservative meeting to which he was addressing himself, and since then the most cordial congratulations and the highest approbations have come in great numbers to him. The ' Empire ' is no more veracious when it insinuates that Mr. Casgrain's colleagues blame the Attorney General. We are better informed than the Toronto newspaper, and we beg him to believe that Mr. Casgrain did not express an isolated opinion when he spoke as he did in Montreal.
A few days afterwards, the Cartier—Macdonald Club met in the. city of Quebec. That club is composed of the best class of young men in the Conservative party at Quebec. They thought proper to adopt the fullowing resolution :—
That, in the opinion of this club, the last ordinances of the Legislative Assembly of the North-west relating to education contain dispositions which affect the established principle of separate schools and constitutes a new violation of the rights and privileges possessed by the minorities in this confederation.
That, while we take into account the spirit of justice of well-thinking citizens in this country and their enlightened patriotism, nevertheless in presence of the regrettable events, of the increasing appeals of intolerance and fanaticism, that we have witnessed for some time past, in some portions of the Dominion, this club thinks it is its duty to protest more firmly than ever, and beg to state that it approves on this point the energetic attitude taken by the Hon. T. C. Casgrain, one of the Ministers of Quebec, and the declarations which he has publicly made in Montreal, on the 28th of February.
Well, it is easy to understand that there was some reason for such a series of speeches and articles. What was the reason ? Of course, we were not allowed to enter the sanctum sanctorum in which so many angelical spirits preside over our destiny Nevertheless, the quarrels of the gods were made public to us through the indiscretions of some of their organs. There was a big row in the ministerial press of Quebec. ' La Minerve ' supported very warmly and very ably, my hon. friend the Postmaster General, and contended that he was the only patriotic 163 [COMMONS] 164 man in this country. On the other side. ' Le                 Moniteur de Levis ' lectured him in a severe way indeed. Through those indiscretions. it was made known that a sub—committee of the Privy Council had been formed. composed of my hon. friends the Minister of Finance. the Minister of the Interior, and the Minister of Agriculture. Those hon. gentlemen set to work with all the ability and energy we know they possess. They held long and mature deliberations. Still we have not yet been able to see the colour of their work. but there was a rumour to the effect that the three hon. gentlemen could not. agree. Patriotic as they were. resolved as they were to work for the prosperity of their country. they were not able to agree. and the question was referred to the whole body of the Privy Council. But during the passage from the sub-committee to the Privy Council, there were very wicked rumours indeed circulated, and circulated by the organs of the Ministers themselves. We were told very plainly that four of the hon. Ministers—three of them I see on the Treasury benches now-had made up their minds that if the Privy Council did not see its way   to disallow the North-west Ordinances. they: would not be in a position to be of any more use to the Administration. We   were even told that three French Ministers solemnly took the pledge that they would resign together if these Ordinances were not disallowed.
Mr. LANDERKIN. Not a bit of danger of that so long as the salary runs.
Mr. FOSTER. That is where it strikes an appreciative chord in you.
Mr. TARTE. We heard another rumor. I hope it is false, but I think I am justified in putting it before the House-simply as a rumor. It went so far as to say that the hon. the Postmaster General(Sir Adolphe Caron) went back on his colleagues without warning them. I trust the rumor is false; I put the question The rumor may be false, but still this is the rumor that the good friends of the Administration have widely circulated. At any rate, one thing is perfectly clear. and that is this- that none of the hon. Ministers have seen fit to resign. I just remark that the hon Minister is laughing heartily. I may submit to him presently. for greater enjoyment. the opinion of a journel which is under the direct control of the most intimate friends of the Minister of Agriculture-I mean 'Le Moniteur de Levis':
Some Montreal newspapers having stated that alone amongst all our Ministers Mr. Ouimet had differed from the majority of the Cabinet on the question of the schools of the North-west, we have argued that it could not be so in presence of the most significant fact that the sub-committee of the Privy Council composed of Messrs. Foster, Angers and Daly had not been able to arrive at a conclusion
Mr. Angers had consequently differed, and that difference of opinion had naturally been expressed in the Privy Council, especially as Mr. Angers has found an ally in Mr. Ouimet. As to Sir Adolphe Caron. we have, to inform us on the position he has taken in the Council, no other indication to that effect that he went two or three days after wards to defend the conduct of the Government before a political club.
Is it natural to suppose. is it logical to conclude, that Sir Adolphe Caron would have defended an opinion which would not have been his own ".
By publicly taking before all his countrymen the position that has been indicated in the newspapers, has he not sufficiently pointed out to those who are candid and also those to who are not candid the role that he has played in the Council :
Our deductions are, then. perfectly logical. ' La Minerve ' itself, who pretends to laugh. shares our opinions when it says : " Have there been differences between the French Ministers : We don't know anything about it, but the thing is possible and even probable."
" Probable." says ' La Minerve.' And why " probable?" Would there be Ministers who have betrayed their oath of office to inform ' La Minerve.' or has ' La Minerve ' arrived at that conclusion by simple deduction.
"What ' La Minerve ' says on the oath of office is grave and we invite it not to insist. The lesson that it wants to teach has been very badly learned. It is addressed to the wrong party.
Let ' La Minerve ' ask of the party who inspires it
I think my hon. friend the Postmaster General will understand the hint-
——for the narration of a little trip to Montreal during the last days of January by a person in a very high position. If its investigation is well conducted. it will learn to its great scandal that indiscretions have been committed which are of a nature to exempt ,La Minerve,' the confidante of the gods, from proceeding by way of deduction and which allows us to invite it to submit its extracts from Todd to other parties than to us.
If 'La Minerve' wants to know more. we are at its disposal at its first request.
Of course, 'La Minerve'did not want to know anything more- it had had enough of it:-but Sir, we were told that this crises was going to be averted by Mr. Haultain, the Prime Minister of the North-west Territories, insisting that the Legislature should amend the ordinances of 1892. Mr. Mackintosh. the Lieutenant Governor of the territory, by a happy accident, was at the time on his way to the Capital. A few days afterwards, Mr. Haultain. while passing through Winnipeg, made a speech, in which he stated that he would not submit to any outside interference, that he thought the ordinances fair and just, and that he would not be a party to any amendment to them. Well, in the presence of these statements, I want to know how it is that the French Ministers, who had put their resignations into the hands of the Premier, have been able to retain their seats as they do to-day? Mr.Speaker, a question 165 [MARCH 21, 1894] 166 arises—were the Ministers from the province of Quebec serious or were they not when they instructed their press throughout the province of Quebec to state that they were asking for justice, and that they were in sisting upon the disallowance of these ordinances ? If they were serious, how is it that they are still on the Treasury benches ? If they were not serious, they were simply pursuing the same imprudent course that has characterized the policy of this Government on the school question from the beginning ; that is to say, they were contributing to increase the dangerous agitation that we have to face to-day. But, Sir, to save themselves from the humiliation in which they have been placed by their organs, they began to appeal to the most dangerous prejudices. Would you allow me to quote the last sample of that bigot sentiment that the organs of the hon. Ministers of the province of Quebec are trying to excite to-day? As every one knows, my hon. friend from Winnipeg (Mr. Martin) was introduced in this House by the hon. the leader of the Opposition and by my hon. friend from Queen's. P.E.I. (Mr. Davies). It is a courtesy that we owe to one another to introduce one another in the House. My hon. friend (Mr. Martin) was elected, not on the school question, but as a tariff reformer ; he was elected by the votes of Liberals and Conservatives alike. If I went further, I would not say, perhaps, that he had been elected by the Catholic vote, but certainly, as he said the other day, he has received a great many Catholic votes. And why ? Because the Archbishop of St. Boniface thought proper to be interviewed during that election. Of course, His Grace is not as good a Catholic, or as orthodox, as my hon. friend the Postmaster General, still he is something of a Catholic. His Grace was interviewed on the 11th November, 1893, and this is what he is reported to have said :
The interviewer ventured to ask His Grace how he expected Catholics to vote in the Winnipeg by- election. The archbishop replied that he thought the vote would be divided. If either candidate were an advocate of separate schools it might be different, but as the case now stands, those Catholics who desire tariff reform will many of them vote for Mr. Martin, though some will withhold their vote from resentment. Catholics, he said, were perfectly free to vote whichever way they saw fit.
Well, according to His Grace, the Catholic voters of Winnipeg were perfectly free to vote as they pleased ; but when my hon. friend the leader of the Opposition introduces to the House a gentleman duly and legally elected, he commits a crime against heaven and society. Now, let us see the extent of that crime according to one of the most important ministerial organs in the province of Quebec. 'Le Courrier du Canada,' the organ of one of the Provincial Ministers in Quebec, Mr. Chapais. The heading is very suggestive :
It is done! We wrote a little while ago that if Mr. Laurier dared to do it, he would introduce Mr. Joseph Martin, leaning on his arm. into the House of Commons, the persecutor of the Catholic minority in Manitoba.
Well, Mr. Laurier has dared to do it.
Yesterday afternoon. the chief of the Opposition, escorted by Mr. Davies, introduced into the House the illustrious Martin. Laurier, Martin, Davies ! !
This spectacle is extremely suggestive. Mr. Davies is the author of the persecuting law of Prince Edward Island, of 1877. Mr. Martin is the author of the persecuting law of Manitoba of 1890. Both are fanatical adversaries of separate schools and of the rights of minorities.
And Mr. Laurier, the man that the ' L'Electeur ' asks us to aid, opens the session by an official parade in company with these two men. Under the existing circumstances this introduction, usually a very ordinary affair, assumes a very grave character and signification. One would suppose that Mr. Laurier wished to break the ice, and to show upon the first day what the attitude of the Opposition would be on the school question.
Frankly, politics causes the observer to witness strange scenes.
My hon. friend from Queen's. P.E.I. (Mr. Davies), is perfectly able to take care of himself ; still, if he allows me, I will briefly describe the law that the hon. member for Queen's passed in 1877. If I am rightly informed, the first school law in Prince Edward Island was passed in 1852. It is natural to suppose that a school law which had existed for 25 years in a progressive province, needed to be amended after so long a period of time. The election of 1876, was carried on the question of the necessity of improving the law. It was fought, not by one political party alone, but by a combination of public men belonging to both political parties. My hon. friend succeeded at the polls, and he then formed a coalition Government, of which he was the leader, but the majority of his colleagues were Conservatives. The law which was passed in 1877 did not change the principle of the old law ; it only amended it by giving more power to the school trustees and making some other changes. At any rate, the law was adopted. There was some little friction, no doubt. Archbishop McIntyre thought that the improvements he had made on his school property were to be imperilled, and he applied, as I understand, for the disallowance of the law. His request was not granted ; and a short time afterwards His Grace and my hon. friend came to a perfect agreement, and since that time His Grace has declared himself entirely satisfied. My hon. friend was de- defeated in 1879, and his position was taken by Mr. Sullivan—now, I think, Chief Justice Sullivan—who was a strong Conservative and a Roman Catholic. He remained in 167 [COMMONS] 168 power for the long period of twelye years. and no amendment was made to the law. Sir, this is the law for whith my hon. friend for Queen's has been hurled into eternal flames by ' Le Courrier dn Canada.' Now I want to know what we are going to do, and what is going to happen in the presence of such appeals to prejudices. I suppose my hon. friends opposite will not tell us that all these appeals come from this side of the House. I have quoted speeches, articles and statements made and written by their most important friends in the province of Quebec, and I will challenge hon. gentlemen opposite to find a single statement like this coming from any hon. gentleman on this side of the House. We have claimed justice, we are still claiming justice ; we do not claim anything more than justice. I know that some of us, especially myself, have been shamefully misrepresented by some of the Ontario papers. I think I am the oldest newspaper man in this Chamber, one of them at least. I may have read more newspapers for the last twenty years than any other member of this House, for the simple reason that being able to read both English and French, I have read all the papers I could from England, from France, from the United States and in Canada. Sir, I am sorry to speak as I am going to do, but I must say that in my long experience I have never read a paper more wickedly mendacious than the Toronto 'Mail.' I know I am using a very strong expression, but I am confident that the fact justifies it. The province of Quebec is day by day systematically traduced. Its public men are calumniated and denounced to their fellow- countrymen. Yesterday one of my friends whom I now see, told me, " Tarte you are doing in Quebec just the work that is being done by McCarthy in Ontario." I asked him this question—because he is a very sensible gentleman—" Sir, can you read French ?" He replied, " Unforttutately, I cannot." " Did you ever read any articles signed by me ? "—for I generally sign my articles so that eyery one may know where I am. He said : "No, I cannot read French." Then, I asked, " Where did you find the evidence that I am playing on the feelings of my countrymen as Mr. McCarthy is doing in your own province ?'" Of course he was obliged to say : " In the translations that appear in some Ontario papers." My own personality is insignificant and of very little value, but my dear province of Quebec is something after all, and I throw back that slur cast upon it. We have a right to be respected by our fellow-countrymen of English origin ; we have a right to be treated like men who love their country and do not want to ruin it. Well, every day the Toronto ' Mail ' which is not refuted, I am sorry to say, by many Toronto newpapers, denounces the province of Quebec, its men and institutions, in such a manner that Ministers of the Crown should take cognizance of it. As a governing body they should ask their own organs to be more just to us. A few moments ago I was asking : What is going to happen ? The Government is amenable to the charge of being the cause of all the agitation that is going on to-day. I do not speak in a party spirit, and I do not want to be so understood. The prime duty of a Government is to have a distinct and clear policy on all the important questions of the day. The hon. gentlemen on the Treasury benches have endeavoured since the school question has entered the political arena to escape the responsibilities of their office. What have they done in the Manitoba school case ? They proceeded by way of making promises, privately and publicly. They proceeded, moreover, by way of references to the courts, their only object being to gain time and placate public opinion if they could. As a matter of fact they have taken money from the public treasury to save their heads as politicians. What is the result to-day ? The judgment of the Privy Council was given in due course. The hon. Prime Minister, who was then Minister of Justice, had proclaimed that if the Privy Council decided against the demands of the Catholic minority, there would be a remedy still. And whatever may be the efforts and ability of those who may undertake to defend the Government and the First Minister, is language means anything. I want to know what these sentences of his which have already been read to the House, but which I will take the liberty of reading again, can possibly mean. They are as follows :—
If the legal controversy should result in the decision of the Court of Queen's Bench being sustained, the time will come for Your Excellency to consider the petitions which have been presented by and on behalf of the Roman Catholics of Manitoba for redress under subsections 2 and 3 of the Manitoba Act, quoted in the early part of this report, and which are analogous to the proyisions made by the British North America Act in relation to other provinces. Those subsections contain in effect the provisions which have been made as to all the provinces, and are obviously the provisions under which the constitution intended the Government of the Dominion should proceed if it should at any time become necessary that the Federal power should be resorted to for the protection of a Protestant or Roman Catholic minority against any act of the legislatures of the provinces or of any provincial authority affecting any right or privilege of such minority in relation to education.
Well. Sir, that pledge will be remembered by all men of good faith as having been made by the Fitst Minister. I do not accuse the hon. gentleman of bad faith, but I do accuse him of weakness. He has unwillingly perhaps, deceived the Roman Catholic minority. No sensible man who read the statement at the time—and observes that it was published broadcast— could fail to understand that the right hon. gentleman pledged himself to provide this 169 [MARCH 21, 1894] 170 remedy, that if the courts of justice decided that according to the strict letter of the law, the Catholic minority has no statutory rights, the hon. gentleman pledged himself to recognize and consider the claim that the Catholic minority in the province of Manitoba was promised and given, in 1870, the same rights as the English minority of the province of Quebec enjoy, and have long enjoyed, with our cheerful consent. I therefore say the hon. gentleman is amenable to that grave charge. I know the Catholics in Manitoba are weak. It is a fact which there is no use in denying ; but I will never agree to the idea that in a British colony, where the people were brought up under British liberty, the majority would undertake to trample upon the rights of the minority. The policy and pledges of the Government are to-day pretty well understood. After the judgment of the Privy Council it became the duty of the Government to keep their pledge and to consider, to use the words of the First Minister, the petitions of the Roman Catholic minority. It did not do so. It had recourse to a new referendum, to the courts of justice, and the judgment has recently been given. Peculiar to say, the hon. Solicitor General who is an able lawyer, went before the Supreme Court and said nothing. The Government had one of the most important cases that could be presented before a court of justice, and still, Sir, the Government had nothing to say. They said nothing. and the Catholic minority got nothing. I would like to repeat a question which I put last year to the House, and to which the Prime Minister at the time refused to answer. I want to know : What is the policy of the Government now ? The Supreme Court has decided, but as the hon. gentleman knows, this decision is not binding. The Government is still at perfect liberty to take any course they like. They have the responsibility of the Government, of the peace and of the good harmony of this country on their shoulders. They are a strong Government, backed by a large majority. Can it be possible that on such an important question, involving such great results, the Government have no policy ? Are they going to appeal from the decision of the Supreme Court or are they going to abide by it ? I believe that we have a full right to receive a distinct answer to this question. Now, Sir, what has the Government done with reference to the North-west Territories school question ? The Ordinances were enacted in 1892.
Mr. DAVIN. What have they enacted ? You have not told us the grievance. Explain to the House the issue.
Mr. TARTE. It the hon. gentleman will allow me, I will try to explain to his own satisfaction, if I can, what, I am sure, are grievances, but just now I am asking what is the policy of the Government, as it is my right to inquire. What has been the policy of the Government, I ask, with regard to the school question of the North-west Territories ? 'l'he Ordinances were enacted in 1892, and they were going to be enforced in the course of the month of February last, if not disallowed by the Governor Geneml in Council. As I explained, there were differences of opinion between the members of the Government ; there is no possible doubt about that. We have been told by the organs of the Ministers, that if the Ordinances were not disallowed, at least the Catholic and the French minority of the North-west would still get justice, because the Government had recommended to Mr. Haultain, as was its right to do, to amend these Ordinances. We have seen that Mr. Haultain has already stated that he would not consent to amend the ordinances. The Government has not disallowed the law, but it has given inducements, it has given what I may fairly call false hopes, to the Catholic and French minority, and so the agitation still continues. Well, Sir, why has not this strong Government a decided and a strong policy ? Do you think that it would not he better for all parties concerned if the Government told us plainly that these two questions are settled ? If they told us that, we would know where we are and what means to take. The Government, by leaving everything undecided and by giving false hopes, have encouraged the dangerous agitation which we must face to-day. It may be said to me : You evidently want to invade provincial rights. I claim that this Government has denied the very principle of Confederation, in placing provincial rights over the rights of the people of this Dominion as a whole. We all know how the Confederation Act was enacted. Confederation did not take place out of the love that the different provinces professed for one another. No ; Confederation took place because Upper and Lower Canada, United Canada, could not get along together any longer on account of their racial, religious and national differences. The Government was at a deadlock half the time, and then the Confederation scheme was adopted. Now, the very basis of the Confederation Act was the right of disallowance, that statement cannot be disputed. Disallowance and the right of appeal to the Governor General in Council were insisted upon especially by the English majority in this Dominion. And today, when we claim that the right of disallowance, and the right of appeal should be exercised towards the French and Catholic minority, I am sorry to say that we are treated like fanatics. I want to know, and I ask the Government : If, in allowing all these prejudices to take root, they are acting wisely and as a Government worthy of the confidence of the people of this country In the speech which my hon. friend the Attorney General of the province of Quebec made in Montreal, he stated that if it was necessary to make a daring move, it would be made in the province of Quebec. I beg, Sir, to dissent from that opinion. I beg to state, in 171             [COMMONS]                   172  the names of my electors, in the name of my countrymen- whom I believe I know as well as any other man-that we do not contemplate any daring movement or any 'coup d'e'tat.' We mean to abide by a constitutional agitation, we mean to abide by the law of the land, we do not want anything more, but I do not bellieve that we should be given anything else. The Government profess to be very hostile to my hon. friend from North Simcoe (Mr. McCarthy) in his policy. My opinion is that they are following the very same policy, and, if I may be permitted to say so, they are driven by him. The hon. gentleman from Simcoe (Mr. McCarthy) has obtained everything that he wanted to have. He wanted to have separate schools abolished, and theyhave been abolished with the concurrence of the hon. gentlemen on the other side of the House. He desired that the school laws of Manitoba should not be vetoed, and they have not been vetoed. As a matter of fact, the most important plank of his platform is gone, and, of course, I would not be sorry for it, if we had not been sacrificed by the agitation led by him. My hon. friend from Assiniboia, (Mr. Davin) has asked me a question which I am delighted to answer: he has asked me, what are your grievances in the North-west? In 1875 an Act was passed by the unanimous consent of this Chamber, and by a majority of the Senate, establishing separate schools and the French language in that country. In this Chamber, there was not a dissenting vote, and I see here today a great many hon. gentlemen who then sat in Parliament. Well, Sir, my hon. friend will admit that the separate schools have been abolished by the North-west ordinance.
Mr. DAVIN. No.
Mr. TARTE. My hon. friend says no. I will not try to make myself clearer to him Does not the Act of 1875 mention Roman Catholic separate schools? I want to know if, since the passage of the ordinance, there are any longer Roman Catholic separate schools in the North-west. We are speaking here as men of good faith, and let us use words in their ordinary signification.
Mr. DAVIN. There are Roman Catholic schools in the North-west.
Mr. TARTE. I will illustrate my idea in a way which I hope my hon. friend will understand. Suppose that at the next session of the Legislaturc of the province of Quebec —it will never be done. I am only supposing it—an hon. French member should copy, word for word, the Ordinance of the North-west Assembly and should propose to place under the control of the Government, constituted the Council of Public Instruction, all the schools of the province, all the books—in a word, everything connected with the schools— I want to know from any reasonable man, would not the Protestant separate schools of the Province of Quebec be thereby abolished? We are here, not to play with words, but to speak to facts. And now, let me say, with the utmost frankness, that in claiming our rights we are not acting under the dictation of any Roman Catholic or ecclesiastical influence. We are accused, especially by the 'Mail', of being driven and led as a lot of cattle by the Roman Catholic clergy. With regard to the majority of the members of this side of the House, they have been                 fought by the clergy. I claim, and I am proud to claim it, that the most enlightened part of the Roman Catholic clergy are begining to realize where they are now. There is not an hon. member on either side of the House who will not bear out this statement, that my hon. friend the leader of the Opposition is leading, in the province of Quebec, a party which has not received so far the full sympathy of the Roman Catholic clergy. And yet we are accused by the Ontario organs of hon. gentlemen opposite of being directed by the hierarchy. On the question of schools let it be well understood, that we are prepared to discuss calmly and like business men the whole situation. We quite understand that things may change: we quite realize that we cannot always remain stationary: but our position, in regard to which we should have the sympathy of every Protestant member of this Chamber, is this: We have made a bargain, an agreement, and, as one of the parties to that agreement we do not want our rights to be taken from us, at least without being consulted. If the English minority in the Province of Quebec. which bears the same proportion to the French majority there, as the French minority bears to the English majority in Manitoba, were treated as the French minority is treated, the English majority of the Dominion would, if necessary, take up arms in their defence. My statement will not be challenged, because Englishmen are fond of liberty, and are not disposed to submit to being trampled upon. Is it surprising that we have the very same feeling? But we don't go any further. So far as I am concerned, I always sign my articles. I speak here before the representatives of the whole Dominion, and I challenge any one to quote one single sentence of mine in which I have either threatened or attacked the rights of the English minority of Quebec. With regard to the other part of the question put by my hon. friend, I want to know if the minority of the Province of Manitoba and in the North-west do not suffer from the deprivation of the very same rights that the English minority enjoy in the province of Quebec. We had a right to our language ; we had a right to our separate schools, those rights have been abolished. Hon. gentlemen will say that they have been legally abolished. Every one of us has known in his experience many good cases which have been lost in the 173 [MARCH 21, 1894] 174 courts of justice ; but, in my experience of history I have never yet known the case of a people being deprived of their political rights through the courts of justice. That is the reason why we insist so much that this Government should have a policy on this matter. I do not know whether any of the Ministers will condescend to answer me. I am not speaking in my own name alone. I am speaking on a question which is to-day exciting the attention of the whole Dominion. Would it not be better to have a full discussion and the settlement of these grievances in this House during this session, than to let the agitation in the country be continued ? Sir, we often boast that we have a magnificent country . It is true. We often boast of our desire to build up a nation on this soil of British North America. That is a legitimate desire. But. how can we build up a nation if we are going to quarrel with one another ? Is there a man of brains who would think for a single moment that the English majority of the Dominion, strong as it is, could conduct public affairs profitably by dictating to the French and the Catholic minority ? Nobody imagines that. If we want to become a nation and live as civilized men and Christians should live, let us come to some understanding. When we converse with one another in this House we are all of opinion that we should put a stop to all appeals to prejudices and bigotry. When it becomes a matter of party politics we are driven into the abyss. l have perhaps spoken too long, but the question is one of very great importance. I hope I have dealt with it in a spirit which is not offensive to any one. My great aim was to put before the House the question as I honestly understand it, and nothing more.
Mr. DAVIN. I do not rise, I need hardly say, to oppose this motion, but to relieve the overwrought feelings of this House, after the speech of my hon. friend (Mr. Tarte). I am sure that the members of this House, particularly the French-Canadian members, who take a deep interest in the French minority in the North-west, must have been deeply grieved to hear the striking description of the differences existing among us in that country. To know something of the grievances of the kind described by the hon. member for L'Islet (Mr. Tarte), and of grievances of a similar character described from another point of view, a North-west member has to come to this House. It must have struck any rational man, on hearing the speech of my hon. friend, that my hon. friend has left us still in the dark as to what really our grievances are. The speech of my hon. friend, if he will excuse me, I will say was a vocal scrap-book. He gave us what Mr. Casgrain, the Attorney General of Quebec, said. He gave us what 'Le Courrier du Canada' and the Moniteur de Levis' and sundry other papers and people said ; but I waited in vain to hear my hon. friend, who, I believe, is a university man, and must have a more or less trained min, state the case on which he asks this House to come to an opinion. He failed to state the issue or the grievances which require remedy. I appeal to his own friends whether he has up to this minute stated these grievances. I would ask him to do so now, and I am sure the House will permit me to take my seat if my hon. friend describe the grievances which he says are existing in the North-west. He has given us the opinion that no Roman Catholic separate schools exist there. I say they do, and I say that not a single Roman Catholic separate school has been suppressed by any legislation in the North-west.
Mr. TARTE. They are under the control of a Protestant Board.
Mr. DAVIN. My hon. friend says they exist under the control of a Protestant Board. I will describe to the House what has been done. It is a mere accident that the members of that board are Protestant. I will read to the House what the arrangement is in regard to that. Hon. gentlemen on one side and the other rise up and give the public outside the notion that some portion of our people in the North-west is suffering under great grievance, and hence these strident appeals, calculated to do harm to that country. It is not extraordinary that my hon. friend could quote gentlemen in Quebec by the dozen as to the existence of grievances in the North-west, and not be able to quote a single Roman Catholic opinion in the North-west.
Mr. LAURIER. That is what he is moving for-for the petitions.
Mr. DAVIN. That is all right, and you will have the petitions. But I ask is it not extraordinary, that, if there is such a sense of grievance in the North-west among the Catholic minority, no speaker has said one word about these grievances ? What I want to point out is this, that I have never myself heard any complaints against the Ordinances as they exist. What I have heard is complaint against certain regulations. Now, I will show to the House what actually exists. The Council of Public Instruction is composed as follows. I am reading the Ordinance of 1892 :-
The members of the Executive Committee and four persons, two of whom shall be Protestants and two Roman Catholics, appointed by the Lieutenant- Governor in Council shall constitute a Council of Public Instruction, and one of the said Executive Committee, to be nominated by the Lieutenant- Governor in Council, shall be chairman of the said Council of Public Instruction. The appointed members shall have no vote and shall receive such remuneration as the Lieutenant-Governor in Council shall provide.
As to separate schools, section 32 provides :
The minority of the ratepayers in any organized Public School district, whether Protestant or 175 [COMMONS] 176 Roman Catholic, may establish a Separate School therein, and in such case, the ratepayers establishing such Protestant or Roman Catholic Separate Schools shall be liable only to assessments of such rates as they impose upon themselves in respect thereof.
Well, certain regulations were made by that Council of Public Instruction, and they were objected to. I am not going to say whether they were rightly or wrongly objected to. I suppose every one who knows me is aware that there is probably not a man on the continent of America so free from dogmatic prejudices, though they exist among so many of my fellow-countrymen of opposing opinions, as I am. Yet I speak with some earnestness on this subject, and for this reason: I say that it is more than one's patience can very well endure, to sit here, as I have for years past, even before my hon. friend (Mr. Tarte) was a member of this House, and hear hon. members, who know absolutely nothing of the North-west, speaking as though this or that section were being trampled under foot. My hon. friend refers to the newspapers. I never read long articles from newspapers to this House myself—I know their value. But I have read articles in one of the best written papers in the Dominion of Canada—the Toronto 'Mail '-from which one would suppose that Mr. Royal, while Lieutenant-Governor, was like a czar driving his political car over the Protestant sentiment of the Northwest. It is not necessary to assure this House that there was nothing of that kind. It would be simply impossible. What actually happened was this : Mr. Royal, when he first came among us, went beyond the powers given him by the Dominion Act in handing over everything to the Assembly. The late Sir John Macdonald saw what he was doing. and reminded him that he must act within the Dominion statute. When Mr. Royal tried to hark back, and get within the Dominion Act, he seemed to be taking back Something he had given, but he was only declaring that he had no power to give that which he had assumed to give. Subsequently, legislation took place that practically gave the Legislative Assembly all the powers of a Provincial Assembly, with two or three points excepted, and the North-west at the present minute is practically in the position of a province, save these two or three exceptions, and the fact that instead of getting a subsidy as the other provinces do, we get a grant in bulk but for specific purposes.
Mr. CHARLTON. What are the exceptions ?
Mr. DAVIN. We cannot charter insurance companies and we cannot borrow money.
Mr. DALY. Cannot charter railway companies.
Mr. DAVIN. Railway companies also. Now, Sir, I have read these ordinances. Let me repeat that I have no brief here for the existing state of things, or any possible state of things. The issue I have with my hon. friend from L'Islet (Mr. Tarte), and the issue I have had with my hon. friends on the Ministerial side, when they have described a state of things which does not exist in the North-west, is plain. Certain regulations relating to the separate schools were passed, and these regulations were objected to. Now, what did this Executive Council which my hon. friend (Mr. Tarte) described as a Protestant council, do ? My friend Mr. Haultain—who is described as premier, but who as he is a sensible man, laughs at that description of himself—has taken steps to meet the criticisms of his acts with reference to these questions, upon which he will have to appear before the people at no distant day. Here, I may say, are the modifications of the regulations, signed by Mr. James Brown, who is Secretary of the Council of Public Instruction :
In reply to inquiries respecting 'Readers' and examinations for promotion in Roman Catholic schools—
You see. the schools are there.
Mr. TARTE. Hear, hear.
Mr. DAVIN. My hon. friend says, " Hear. hear." He knows this to be the fact. But will any man who has listened to him, not agree with me, that the impression conveyed by his speech was that the Catholic schools were done away with ?
Mr. TARTE. The words are there, but the thing is gone. Mr. DAVIN. Here is the modification that was made :
In reply to inquiries respecting ' Readers ' and examinations for promotion in Roman Catholic schools, I am directed to forward the following minutes passed by the Council of Public Instruction the l3th of January, 1893 :—
The regulations of the Council of Public Instruction mailed to all schools on or about 16th August last govern all examinations held under the direction of the Council.
The following Readers are authorized for use in Roman Catholic Schools in Standards I. and II., and become compulsory after lst January, 1894, viz. :—
Protestant Readers ? No.
The Dominion Series (Sadlier's Catholic Readers) Parts I. and II. and the Second Reader; or "The Ontario Readers " Parts I. and II. and the Second Reader.
In school districts where French is the vernacular the school trustees may, upon obtaining the consent of an Inspector, in writing, use the Ontario Series of bilingual readers, Parts I. and II. and the Second Reader, instead of the Dominion Series or the Ontario Reader. In all standards above the Second the Ontario Readers are prescribed after lst January, 1894.
Now, there were some details of such a character that upon these, probably, there was 177 [MARCH 21, 1894] 178 ground of complaint, though I understand this ground has been removed. As a fact, at this moment the Roman Catholic schools there are taught, in some cases by Roman Catholic ladies with vow,. and the schools are in existence precisely as they were before this ordinance was passed. We get a grant of something less than $200,000 all told. What was the use, Mr. Speaker, of having a dual inspection ? As now arranged they have a Protestant inspector and a Catholic inspector. At one time the Catholic inspector goes over the district previously travelled by the Protestant inspector, and, at another, the Protestant takes the ground previously travelled by his Catholic colleague. Is it to be supposed, when they fix on the readers and the character of the instruction to be given in the schools that either inspector cannot be trusted to see that the system is carried out effectively ? I have heard, as I say, from one or two friends in conversation, complaints against some of the regulations. I cannot say that I have heard complaints against the enactment. My hon. friend stands here to support the Roman Catholic schools for the North-west. He may be surprised when I tell him that no greater enemy—though he does not mean it— —no greater enemy of Roman Catholic. schools in the Territories exists in the Dominion of Canada than my hon. friend. The speech my hon. friend has made here to-day and every such speech, let me tell him. is a blow struck at Roman Catholic schools as they exist in the North-west. I am dealing simply with the question of schools in the North-west, and not with any question outside of that. Sir. let me tell you that the people of the North-west, Catholic and Protestant, have, if possible a stronger sentiment of provincial autonomy—because it is nascent—than the people of any province in the Dominion of Canada where the sentiment is matured. The sentiment that they ought to be accorded all the rights and all the privileges of a province, is strong all over the North-west ; and men who have no more prejudice against Roman Catholic separate schools than my hon. friend, if the Government had disallowed that Ordinance, would have been agitating all over the. country. I said to one gentleman, who is, I believe a friend of my hon. friend on my right, who is a French- Canadian, and takes a deep interest in this question : What do you want ? Could you succeed in having the Federal Government disallow that Ordinance. you know well the result would be that agitation would never cease until we had in the North-west a Martin Bill. Those are the exact words I used.
Mr. MULOCK. Yellow ?
Mr. DAVIN. Yes. Yellow Martin. Another incident showing the utter ignorance that prevails as to the state of opinion in the North-west was the Speech of Mr. Casgrain. Mr. Casgrain, like my hon. friend, never stated the grievance. It would be very hard, I think, for my hon. friend, after reading over that Ordinance, to say that separate schools do not exist there still ; I will be very glad if he will show me from that Ordinance where his grievance is. If there is a grievance, or any of his friends feel that there is a grievance, in regard to that Ordinance, it is his duty to point it out. Now. I have seen the statement in the papers. Mr. Casgrain mentioned it, and my hon. friend quoted it, that perhaps the Lieutenant-Governor of the North-west and Mr. Haultain, were going to fix this thing up. and they would tell the Legislative Assembly what to do. Sir, we have not yet got party Government in the North-west Territories, and there is no one in the Local Assembly with what is called a following in the sense that Mr. Mowat, for instance, has a following in Ontario, or the right hon. gentleman who leads the Government, or the hon. gentleman who leads the Opposition, has a following in this House. There is no man in local politics that has such a following, and if Mr. Haultain were foolish enough to make any such suggestion, the Assembly would simply go on their way without minding the suggestion. There is, I repeat, a strong sentiment in favour of provincial autonomy in the North-west, and I am perfectly certain that it would be a pretty dangerous thing for Mr. Haultain to go to the country if he attempted to take any such course as Mr. Casgrain thinks he ought to take. What would be the use of it ?
Mr. MULOCK. Perhaps you had better explain some of the changes.
Mr. DAVIN. The alleged grievances have not been very clearly explained. One of the grievances—and it is one that I certainly condemned myself, but I am under the impression that it has been remedied—was that Mr. Goggin, the Educational Superintendent, laid down that the ladies who taught in Roman Catholic schools, or the ladies about to take vows for the purpose of teaching. should go and be examined either at Calgary or at Regina, unless they were already qualified. Well, I considered that that was not necessary, and that it would be well to adopt the plan followed in Manitoba some years ago, namely, that the examiner should go and examine those ladies and see that they came up to the standard required by the Council of Public Instruction. It is, however, not a practical question at present, as all the ladies teaching or desiring to teach in Catholic schools are qualified. Now, Sir. I hope that my hon. friend will not think that it is rude on my part to say that I do not think he understood this question, although I am sure he must understand it now, if he did not before. I think I have shown the House how the legislation stands ; I have shown the House how the Council of Public Instruction is formed, and I think I have shown the House where the shoe pinches, if there is any pinch. It was un 179 [COMMONS] 180 derstood that a kind of informal arrangement had been come to so that the Ordinance would work, and I am very sorry if any hitch has occurred. Sir, I repeat that there never was a more mistaken course taken by any one who is a friend of separate schools, than the course of objecting to the state of things that exists at present. If you agitate it the result will be that a sentiment, partly provincial—and I won't say that there is not another sentiment of a warmer character than provincial—might be raised, and the results would be inimical to the very cause my hon. friend has at heart. Now, Sir. my hon. friend speaks of the "dear province of Quebec." Dear that province is, not only to him, but to us all. But does he not suppose that the people of the North-west can say : " Dear Territories of the North-west " ?
Mr. TARTE. We do not abolish separate schools in the province of Quebec.
Mr. DAVIN No, you do not ; but what you are contending is that something has taken place in the Territories that causes a great grievance to you. That is the point. Why, Mr. Speaker, my hon. friends talk about the French minority in the North-west Territories. I cannot speak the French language as my hon friend does ; I cannot appreciate all the fine and delicate ' nuances ' of expression that belong to that magnificent tongue, as my hon. friend does ; but I can, to a great extent, appreciate that language, and I need hardly say that I have no prejudice against the French language or against French people. But if you are going to talk about the French minority in the territories, what are you going to do with the German minority ? Why, the German minority is of consequence to-day, and at the rate they are growing, they will soon compete with the English inhabitants in the North-west Territories. What are you going to do in regard to them ? I am not aware of any French-Canadian in the North-west Territories who complains of any grievance. I am aware that gentlemen in high authority have objected to the regulations in regard to separate schools ; and I am aware that on the part of my hon. friend, on the part of the hon. member for Simcoe, and on the part of several other hon. gentlemen, there is a hallucination prevailing as to the dual language question in the North-west Territories ; a perfect hallucination. The bee buzzes as loudly and as nonsensically in the head of my hon. friend as he buzzes in the heads of others. Sir, there are some other things that I would like to say on this question, but as the House is about to adjourn I will defer saying them now, as I will have another opportunity of speaking before my hon. friend's motion finally passes.
Sir JOHN THOMPSON. I would like to make a suggestion as to the course of public business. This order cannot be resumed this evening as public Bills and Orders will come up after Government Orders, and I think it would be convenient, therefore, that this debate should stand adjourned. Tonight, according to the Order of the House given the day before yesterday, when the House adjourns it will stand adjourned until Tuesday next, and inasmuch as a large number of members desire to take the night trains for the east and west, I think it would not be well for us to begin anything like the Budget business to-night, more especially as the Finance Minister, if he took four or five hours to deliver his Budget Speech, would have no time to reply to any comments on his speech. I may say that my colleague is perfectly ready, if it is the wish of the House, to go on with the business of this evening. What I would propose, however, is that we should adjourn this debate and then adjourn the House.
Mr. DAVIN moved the adjournment of the debate.
Sir JOHN THOMPSON. The hon. gentleman has the floor. Before moving the adjournment, I ask to have it agreed that the debate on the Budget, which I suppose will begin on Tuesday, shall be continued ' de die in diem' when it reaches the Committee stage.
Mr. LAURIER. I have no objection to that.
Sir RICHARD CARTWRIGHT. Does the Finance Minister definitely decide to make his financial statement on Tuesday ?
Mr. FOSTER. Yes.
Motion agreed to, and debate adjourned.
Sir JOHN THOMPSON moved the adjournment of the House.
Motion agreed to; and the House adjourned at 6.10 pm.


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



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