House of Commons, 24 September 1903, Canadian Confederation with Alberta and Saskatchewan



Bill (No.253) to increase the representation of the North-west Territories in the Senate, read a second time, and the House went into committee thereon.
On Section 1.
Mr. MACLEAN. I should think that the government would incorporate in this Bill a clause carrying out the pledge to reform the Senate given to the people by the Liberal party some years ago. For more months past the Liberal papers have been declaring that the Liberals have a majority of from ten to fifteen in the Senate and that they now control that body. If that be the fact, then the pledges of the Liberals made in 1803, that the Senate ought to be reformed—
Mr. JOHNSTON (Cape Breton). So it has been.
Mr. MACLEAN. What the Liberals pledged themselves to do was not to reform the personnel of the Senate, but to reform its constitution, and here is a chance for them to carry out that pledge. But, if the government does not carry out its pledge to reform the Senate, let me point out that they are responsible for the action of that chamber, and if a measure designed in the public interests such as the cattle-guard clause in the Railway Act, comes to grief in the Senate, then the government must be held responsible. In view of the fact that an election seems to be at hand, and that strange things may take place within the coming month in connection with public legislation. I take this opportunity of pointing out, that whatever the Senate does, the government must be held responsible for it. I do not purpose to introduce a measure to reform the Senate, but I have been waiting for this opportunity to say, that in view of the statement in the Liberal press that the government controls the Senate, they are responsible for the conduct of the Senate, not having carried out their pledge to reform it.
12303 COMMONS 12304
Hon. Mr. HAGGART. Does this increased number of senators in the North-west give the same representation by population as in Quebec and Ontario ?
The MINISTER OF JUSTICE. There are twenty-four senators for Quebec, twenty- four for Ontario, and twenty-four for the maritime provinces. In addition to that provision is made for the representation of Manitoba, British Columbia and the Northwest Territories. The British North America Amendment Act of 1886 chapter 35, Imperial Statutes authorizes the appointment, and chapter 33 of the Dominion Statutes, 1887, provides for the representation of North-West Territories in the Senate by two members. In 1887, the population of the organized territories was 25,515 ; in 1891 it was 66,799, and in 1901, 159,940. I need not say that since 1901 the increase in population has been at even a greater ratio than previous to that year. In 1881 the population of the unorganized portion of the Territories was 30,000, and in 1901 it had increased to 52,700. Taking the present population of the organized and unorganized territories, and allowing for the increase since 1901, the unit of representation will be practically the same as in Ontario, which is about 90,000.
Hon. Mr HAGGART. There are 210,000 people in the organized and unorganized territories, and that gives you the same unit as in Ontario ?
Mr. ROCHE (Marquette). Is each senator allowed a territorial district in the North-west Territories ?
Mr. DAVIS. A reference to the confederation debates will show that Sir John Macdonald explained that representation in the Senate was a question of interest, and the Senate was a question of interest, and not of population. On that principle the maritime provinces, Quebec and Ontario each got twenty-four senators. Even with the increase of two senators proposed in this Bill, western Canada only gets eleven senators, as against twenty-four in the maritime provinces. If we consider representation in the Senate a question of interest and not of population, then every one will, I think, agree with me, that including British Columbia, the North-west Territories, Manitoba and the Yukon, the interest of the country west of Lake Superior, is at least as great as the interest of the maritime provinces. Indeed, it may be admitted, that if you take all that western country as one, its interest is as great as the interest of Ontario or Quebec. Therefore I think that when this measure was brought down we should have been given a full complement of senators, as many as are given to the maritime provinces.
Mr. MACLEAN. Twenty-four ?
Mr. DAVIS. Yes, twenty-four.
Mr. MACLEAN. May we take it for granted that a member of this House, who has already been ordained, is soon to be called ?
Bill reported, read the third time, and passed.
SEPTEMBER 24, 1903 12306


House went into Committee to consider the following proposed resolution :
Resolved that it is expedient to enact as follows :—
1. The Governor General may, in his discretion from time to time, advance to the government of the North-west Territories any sum required for local improvements in the Northwest Territories, not exceeding in the whole the sum of two hundred and fifty thousand dollars.
2. All sums so advanced to the government of the North-west Territories shall be charged in an account to be known as ' The North-west Territories Debt Account,' and shall, in any financial arrangement that may be made in connection with the organization of a province or provinces in the said territories, be taken into consideration as a debt owing by the said territories to the Dominion of Canada.—(The Minister of Finance).
The MINISTER OF FINANCE (Hon. W. S. Fielding). This resolution proposes to authorize an advance of a sum, not exceeding- in the whole $250,000, to the government of the North-west Territories, from time to time, for the construction of any public works which they may wish to construct and may deem to be of a class chargeable to capital account. The rapid and very gratifying increase in the population of the 12307 COMMONS 12308 North-west Territories makes it desirable that some additional provision should be made for the carrying on of the government of that portion of the Dominion. The time must be close at hand when it will be necessary, not only to revise the financial arrangements of that portion of our country, but also to take up the larger question of granting full powers of local government to the people of that region. In the past, having regard to the comparatively small population and the large area over which they were dispersed, the conditions did not seem favourable for the establishment of a government and legislature with full powers of a province.
The powers granted to the North-west legislature are, however, quite large ; and, in very many respects those territories are to-day exercising the privileges and hearing responsibilities of self-government. In some respects, they are not entirely clothed with the powers of provincial government ; but I think we all agree that the time is close at hand when these powers must be given to them. These powers will not merely convey privileges, but will also impose upon them some responsibility, and I am not quite sure that, from a purely financial point of view, they will be benefited by establishing provincial autonomy. However, I presume the question is not to be judged from that point of view alone and that the people in that country which is now so rapidly being filled up will desire ordinary powers of provincial government. In the meantime, as it is not proposed at the present session to bring forward a measure to give them full powers of provincial government, it is proposed that we should make a more liberal provision for the management of their financial affairs. We, therefore, agree to make a very considerable increase in the annual grant and also to make this special provision having relation to the opening of a capital account. If they were established as a province, no doubt they would have a certain sum of money placed to their credit, the interest upon which they would be entitled to receive and the principal of which they could make use of for public works. Provision is made in the existing law for any of the provinces that have capital account to their credit that, if they desire, they may withdraw an amount for what are called in the Act local improvements. As a rule, the provincial government may not be desirous of withdrawing these sums, because while they remain to the credit of the province in the treasury, the province probably obtains a better rate of interest than it could manage to obtain otherwise. We think it is well that, during the present session, we shouId make a more liberal allowance to the North-west government in the way of annual grant, and also by giving them additional power, if they wish to exercise it, by having a capital account on which they may draw and which will be a matter of consideration in any financial arrangement which may be made hereafter with respect to organizing a government, or, possibly, more than one government in these territories. All that is proposed for the present by this resolution is that power shall be conferred upon His Excellency the Governor in Council to advance, from time to time, to the North-west government, if they so desire, sums of money up to $250,000, which are to be expended on public works of a class which may be deemed properly chargeable to capital. Perhaps, as the two questions are connected I may call attention to the increases that have been made in the grants to the North-west Territories. During recent years very considerable increases have been made, and it is proposed, in the present year, to make still further increases. There is one general grant given to the government of the North-west Territories which is classed in our estimates as grants for schools, &c., which, practically is equivalent to a provincial subsidy. There are some other grants for special purposes to which I need not more particularly refer ; but this annual grant for schools and other purposes, I think I may say, stands in about the position of a provincial subsidy. That grant in 1892 was quite small— only $40,000. In 1893 it was $198,000 ; in 1894, $199,000; in 1895, $225,000 ; in 1896, $267,000, which was the figure at which the grant stood when the present government came into power. In the following year there appears to have been a slight falling off, the reason of which I have not at hand. For the year ending 30th of July, 1897, the grant was $242,000. From that time it has almost steadily increased. In 1898 the grant was $262,000 ; in 1899, $282,000 ; in 1900, $282,000. In 1901. including a special grant which was made in consequence of considerable damage suffered from floods, the grant was increased to $424,000. In 1902, the grant was $407,000. In 1903, the year recently closed, the sums allowed by parliament were found to be quite insufficient, and, in our supplementary estimates for the year recently voted in this House, we gave an additional grant of $250,000 so that this general grant, which I have described as being equivalent to a provincial subsidy, stood for the year 1903 at $707,000, as against $267,000 in 1896. For the coming year, we are proposing to add a similar sum of $250,000, which will be provided in the supplementary estimates. We are also making a special grant to the local government to enable them to carry out a plan which they had some months ago of rebuilding two important bridges, one the Pelly river bridge and the other the Old Man river bridge. The Pelly river bridge is estimated to cost $55,000 and the Old Man river bridge $29,000, or $84,000 for both. The local authorities came to us several months ago and represented that 12309 SEPTEMBER 24, 1903 12310 these were two important structures, they needed authority to construct them at once, and they were without financial means as to do so. They were assured that the government would place them in funds to construct these works. In the course of negotiations it was at one time proposed that, these bridges, being of a solid and permanent character, should be made a charge against capital account, and it was proposed to place a sum to the credit of the local government on capital account. The local government objected to that and we have, on consideration, decided to make this the cost of these two bridges a special grant for the year and not make it a charge against capital account.
Hon. Mr. HAGGART. Is that to be deducted from the $250,000 ?
The MINISTER OF FINANCE. As I was saying, it was at first proposed as my hon. friend (Hon. Mr. Haggart) has suggested that we should deduct it. In some correspondence I had with the premier of the North-west government, I expressed the view that as these bridges were of a permanent character they were a proper charge against capital account. However, the North-west government thought that an ungenerous view to take and, on consideration, we have decided to yield to their representations and make it a special grant this year. So, we shall provide for the current year, apart from some ordinary grants amounting to $90,000 which I do not need to specialize, and including the special grants on account of the bridges, $1,046,000, as against $267,000 which they were receiving only a few years ago when the change of government occurred. I think it will be seen from the figures I have read that fair consideration has been given, from time to time, to the needs of the North-west Territories, and that we are responding with fair liberality to their increasing necessities. We are proposing therefore, to give them, for the current year, either for their own general purposes or for special purposes, a sum of $1,046,000, and to give them a right to use, if they wish, a further sum of $250,000. Of course, if that be not used, there will be no charge against them, and, if it be used, or if any portion of it be used, the amount used will be charged to a capital account, and, when we come to the question of establishing the financial relations of a new province or, possibly of more than one province, in the new territory, the matter of the $250,000 will be taken into consideration in the adjustment of their debt account.
Mr. MACLEAN. The statement made in the House by the hon. Minister of Finance is in the nature of setting the House in order before an election takes place. I think that this is a thing that indicates to us that an election is near at hand more directly than anything else we have had.
It is also in the nature of an apology on behalf of the government for having neglected hitherto to erect one or more provinces in the North-west. I think it is the feeling of hon. gentlemen on this side that this should have been done long ago. Certainly, it would have my support and the support of many hon. gentlemen on this side if not merely one but more provinces were erected in the North-west Territories. Still we are glad to hear that the question is now to be considered, and that it will be taken up, as I gather, immediately after the elections are over. From what the Minister of Finance has said here to-night, they have been forced to take up this question, and in the meantime we are going to do something for the Territories in a financial way, and later on we are going to erect them into provinces. Now, I am in favour of the most liberal kind of treatment to the Northwest. I think they ought to be given a liberal share of the public domain in that country, it ought to pass under the exclusive control of the provinces in the same way that Ontario, Quebec and the lower provinces are given the Crown Lands. I hope when this territory comes to be erected into provinces that not only a liberal financial arrangement will be made with them, but that they will be given control of a very considerable portion of the public domain still held by this government in the western territories.
Mr. OSLER. Whatever may be the reason for the generosity of the government, I thoroughly approve of the proposal to grant an extra $250,000 to the North-west Territories. No one who has been in that country and knows anything about it, can help being struck with the enormous expense that must be made there for bridges and roads. As the country fills up roads must be laid out and bridges must be built over the various streams, and these bridges will be expensive. I think the time has arrived, if it has not passed, when they should be granted more aid. A very liberal treatment accorded to the North-west will be approved of by both sides of this House.
Mr. SPROULE. It seems to me this would be a very proper time for the government to explain why they have refused provincial autonomy to the North-west Territories. We know the people of the Territories have applied or it, the application has been brought to the notice of the government at different times and in different ways, with a good deal of force. We found when in that country last fall that there was a strong consensus of opinion in favour of it, and the people regarded their situation as most unfortunate because they were not granted provincial autonomy. The people out there think they are very much handicapped in carrying on the operations of life for the want of it. Then, why have the government not 12311 COMMONS 12312 considered it ? Are they not prepared to grant provincial autonomy to the Territories, and if they are not, what is the reason ? This grant appears to be in the nature of a provincial subsidy, and I notice it is to be charged against them in what is called their debt account. If it is charged against them in the way of a debt, is it proposed to charge them any interest on this debt
The MINISTER OF FINANCE. There will be no interest at present.
Mr. SPROULE. Well, it might be regarded as a debt. I think the government ought to be prepared to give us some reason why they have been unable to grant the request of the Territories for provincial autonomy.
The MINISTER OF FINANCE. It is the great boast of our English system of government that it is a growth of time, and that consequently it is not well to do things too rapidly. Our development should be like that of British freedom, that ' broadens slowly down from precedent to precedent.' It is not well to do these things with a hop, step and a jump. There has been some development of the principle of local self-government in the Territories during recent years. Under this present government amendments have been made to the legislation respecting the North-west Territories, which broadened the powers of the legislature and gave the people a large measure of responsible government. I think the time is close at hand when this government which is always looking after these things wisely and well, will have to go further, and still further broaden these powers and give to that section of the community the larger measure of self-government which the other provinces enjoy. The conditions in the North-west Territories have not been the same as those in the older provinces in past years. But through the growth of population and the increase of settlements they are rapidly assuming those conditions, and I am quite sure it will be the pleasure of both sides of this House at a very early day to extend the powers which have already been given.
Mr. GILMOUR. I would like to hear the Finance Minister say by what rules he considers this allowance a debt. If he considers it a debt, I would like him to say on what footing, on what basis, it is a debt. I do not understand just where you are going to begin to reckon up an account with the Territories. Certainly I think you ought to be liberal with the territories. I would also like to hear some reason given why autonomy is not granted to them. But, aside from that, I would like to hear the Finance Minister state, and put it in the ' Hansard,' put it before all concerned, just on what basis he is going to begin and reckon an account between the territories and the Dominion. It is well that that should be understood now, so that there will be no difficulty about it in the future when we come to settle the account.
The MINISTER OF FINANCE. If we were to-day carrying legislation for conferring full powers of provincial autonomy on the North-west Territories, undoubtedly there would be a sum placed to their credit in what is called the ' debt account,' just as is to be found with respect to most of the other provinces. Instead of waiting for the moment to introduce legislation creating provincial autonomy, if we place a portion of that money to their credit at once, and charge them no interest upon it, I do not think we can be held to be imposing a serious burden upon them.
Mr. GILMOUR. I am only asking upon what basis this is to be considered. If you pay them all that is due up to this date, you are not giving them anything now except the interest on this money. So long as you retain those Territories as wards of the government, so long will they remain in your debt. I would like the minister to say just on what basis he is going to reckon this as a debt.
The MINISTER OF FINANCE. A debt account does not necesasrily mean that the balance is against the North-west Territories. In this case the North-west Territories are to have the debt charged against them, but they are to pay no interest upon it, and therefore it becomes no burden upon them. Just what the precise basis of the financial arrangement with the Territories shall be when we come to establish a province or provinces is not a matter upon which it would be wise to commit ourselves to-day, but we do realize that, having regard to the fact that they have no land of their own and that there are special conditions with regard to the North-west Territories, when we come to adjust accounts with them we will have to place to their credit a certain amount of money in the debt account. It may not be a debt in the sense that they will have to pay it. The probability is that we will have to pay them interest upon it. My hon. friend is mistaken when he says that this is all we are doing for the North-west Territories, because we largely increase their general grant. We are going to give them a million dollars, as compared with a little over a quarter of a million seven years ago.
Mr. GILMOUR. I did not say that you were giving them nothing. I understood quite well what the hon. Minister of Finance said, but in view of the fact that you are establishing what I would consider a debt, I wished you to make it plain whether or not you would deduct this when you gave them provincial autonomy.
The MINISTER OF FINANCE. I do not think it would be wise that we should today undertake to settle the precise basis of 12313 SEPTEMBER 24, 1903 12314 the financial relations that should be established with the provincial government if it should be established next year, as I hope it will. We had better wait until that time and hold ourselves to negotiate and determine what the basis shall be. As to the provinces which have money in what is called the debt account, instead of paying interest to the Dominion, the Dominion has to pay interest to them and it may be so when we come to adjust this account between the new province or provinces and the Dominion. What we do is to give the local government of the North-west Territories now one of the privileges which they would no doubt have if they had provincial autonomy, and that is the right to have in the capital account a sum upon which they may draw for important public works. If they do not wish to use it, of course we cannot complain, but our theory is that if they undertake any important public structure which is a matter of permanent improvement they may wish to charge it against capital account. If we should give provincial autonomy to the North-west Territories we would have to place further sums at their credit in some way.
Mr. SPROULE. Is it proposed that when you finally make a settlement with them upon the lines of provincial autonomy their income shall be reduced to the extent of this loan which we are giving them now ?
The MINISTER OF FINANCE. That will have to be a matter of adjustment. Everything will depend upon the amount that may be assigned to them. There are many questions which will have to be considered in the adjustment of the finances of the territories. Their position is peculiar. They do not stand in the same position as the other provinces of the Dominion which have lands, mines, forests and other sources of revenue. We might have to take all that into consideration and I do not think it would be wise to undertake to-day to lay down the precise basis of the financial arrangements which we may have to make even so early as next year. We place this sum at their disposal and if they need it they can use it. If they do not need it we do not want to force it upon them.
Hon. Mr. HAGGART. What is the total amount you gave them last year ?
The MINISTER OF FINANCE. Last year, including the sum voted in the supplementary estimates, we gave them $707,974. Then, in addition there was the sum of 379,000 for special purposes, but I am dealing with the general grant.
Hon. Mr. HAGGART. The hon. Minister of Finance states that he is going to give the North-west Territories a grant of $1,200,000 this year.
The MINISTER OF FINANCE. The grant is a. little over $1,000,000. This $250, 000 is an additional provision, but it stands in a different relation.
Hon. Mr. HAGGART. I understand from the hon. minister that independently of the $250,000 the grant which would be given to the North-west Territories would be a little over $1,400,000.
The MINISTER OF FINANCE. No, a little over $1,000,000—actually $1,046,000.
Hon. Mr. HAGGART. That is in excess of the grant last year nearly $200,000. That includes the bridges over the Pelly river and the Macleod river costing $89,000. It occurs to me that it is a very pertinent question to ask what possible credit can the North-west Territories have to the debt account. They can have none whatever. The hon. Minister of Finance states that this $250,000 is to be charged against them pending a settlement when they are given autonomy. I do not see any possible credit that the North-west Territories can have to the debt account. The only possible way in which this $250,000 could be charged would be upon the per capita allowance of the province to be deducted at some future time. The hon. gentleman states that he does not intend to charge any interest upon the amount. Does he propose, in giving this $250,000 to the North-west Territories, to give them the absolute control of the expenditure of it for any purpose which they may think proper, or must it be spent in a certain direction? If the government intend to direct how it shall be expended we would like to know how it is proposed to expend it. I protest that there is no possible credit to the debt account which the North-west Territories can have against the Dominion government upon entering confederation. They have no expenditure for Dominion purposes, they have no expenditure upon railways that I know of in that section of the country or anything which would be a credit to the debt account. The only answer to the question of my hon. friend from East Middlesex (Mr. Gilmour) is that this $250,000 must be a charge against the per capita allowance of the territories when they get autonomy.
The MINISTER OF FINANCE. My hon. friend has undertaken to settle a question which I was anxious not to settle at the present time and that is as to what shall be the financial adjustment between the Dominion and these new provinces. My only desire is not to commit myself as respects a single dollar of this amount which we are voting. I want to be absolutely free when this question comes up, and I think we all desire that none of us shall be bound by anything we may do in the way of granting temporary aid. In answer to the other question of the hon. gentleman as to whether the local government is to have control over the expenditure of this money the answer, is practically, yes. But technically there is a 12315 COMMONS 12316 qualification to that. We use here the same words as are found in the existing laws in respect to the debt accounts of the other provinces. Every one of the provinces of the Dominion which has a sum to its credit in the debt account, is entitled under the act to withdraw that money for 'local improvements.' Those are the words. The Governor in Council has, in his discretion, the right to advance this money. Technically he can say that it shall not be advanced at all, but my hon. friend as an old cabinet minister knows that practically that is not so. What I apprehend will happen will be that the local government will make application and will say that it desires to use this money for some useful public work. Its application will be approved and the expenditure will be entirely under its control and not under the control of the Dominion government.
Mr. MACLEAN. The hon. Minister of Finance spoke of the erection of new provinces. Is the hon. minister, or any member of the government, prepared to say whether all of the correspondence which has passed between those representing the Territories and the members of the government in connection with the request for the erection of a new province or new provinces has been published ?
The MINISTER OF FINANCE. I understand that my right hon. friend the Prime Minister submitted it all to the House a few weeks ago.
Hon. Mr. HAGGART. I must protest against the expenditure of $250,000 under the direction of the Dominion government.
The MINISTER OF FINANCE. My hon. friend misunderstood me.
Hon. Mr. HAGGART. The hon. Minister of Finance states that a request is made for the money for local improvements by the local government and that the disposition of it depends upon the Governor in Council. Then, the request must be in consonance with the desires of the Dominion government as to the expenditure. I much prefer to see the amount of $250,000 absolutely given to the North-west Territories to be expended on local improvements in any manner in which they see fit.
The MINISTER OF FINANCE. We are using the precise words of the present law in respect to all the provinces of the Dominion. If the North-west Territories had been created into a province this year under a provincial government the same as the government of Ontario or the government of any of the other provinces, these are the precise words which would be used in regard to the advance of public money out of capital account. The application has to come from the local government, and the Dominion government has the right to re fuse, I suppose, but practically that is not the way it operates. The local government is the judge and we are bound to believe they expend these moneys for useful purposes, and unless there is some strong reason, which I cannot imagine, to refuse the application, it would go as a matter of course.
Mr. OLIVER. The understanding in regard to this debt account which prevails in the North-west Territories, is perhaps not the same as has been voiced so far in this discussion. The idea that has come to me and others in the west is : that at confederation the original provinces were heavily involved in debt, and when other provinces were added to confederation which were not so involved in debt, they received a credit from what was called the debt account, to put them on an equal footing with the original provinces in respect to the indebtedness of these original provinces. It it under that head that the territories would claim a credit at the hands of the Dominion when the time for provincial organization comes. Believing that the territories would be entitled to such a credit under the fundamental arrangements of confederation, they consider that they have a right to an advance on that account, if required and as required. That debt account is based on the population of the provinces at the time each entered confederation, and because of that there is not that unanimous and urgent demand for provincial organization in the territories that some of our friends seem to think. The larger the population of the territory at the time it enters confederation as a province, the larger the debt account in favour of the territories will be, and therefore the greater the advantage to the territories, the longer it waits and the larger its population is.
Mr. SPROULE. Are we to infer that the territories do not want provincial autonomy, but that they prefer to remain without it for years until they get a larger population?
Mr. OLIVER. I do not wish the hon. member to draw any inference. Speaking for myself, and for those who think with me—who I believe constitute the overwhelming majority of the people in the territories—we believe that it is better to wait until we can be assured of a more satisfactory arrangement based upon increased population, than we possibly could expect to get to-day.
Mr. SPROULE. Then, the argument of Mr. Haultain in favour of provincial autonomy would seem to be unfounded. I judged from the correspondence that the territories were strongly in favour of autonomy.
The PRIME MINISTER. Divided in opinion.
Mr. SPROULE. I refer to the resolution passed by the legislature, and the corres 12317 SEPTEMBER 24, 1903 12318 pondence submitted to strengthen the argument of Premier Haultain.
Mr. OLIVER. The conditions surrounding Premier Haultain's proposition might perhaps be explained a little more fully. Premier Haultain proposes provincial autonomy, on the basis of the grants that would be due to the territories, even on their present population under provincial autonomy, as compared with grants received a few years age, under the present system. For a matter of seven or eight years the subsidy grant to the territories was practically at a standstill, and at the same time population was increasing, and our responsibilities were increasing.
Mr. SPROULE. I think that the arrangement made with the territories was, that as population increased the grant would increase.
Mr. OLIVER. There was no arrangement with the territories. The grant is a matter of ordinary vote by parliament from year to year. Naturally it the grant is not liberal and if it is not advanced in amount according to increased population and responsibilities the government of the Northwest Territories falls back at once upon the rights which it would have were it given. provincial organization. That was the condition which gave rise to the present demand (if you may say so) for provincial autonomy. Mr. Haultain wanted to get the benefit of the debt account which he would have on the then existing population and to get such other grants as properly belong to a province, believing that he would then be financially better off than he was under the system of granting subsidies, which practically stood still for a number of years. But since that time, the subsidies have very largely increased, and particularly so during the present year. The increase of subsidy changes the position very considerably in regard to the demand for provincial organization. In my estimation at any rate— in a country such as the territories, where the financial needs are very great—the financial question is the chief question. The obtaining of money with which to carry out public improvements and to keep educational facilities up to a modern standard, is the great object which the government desires to attain, and if it be attained, then the chief object of local government is attained. And whether it be under the' name of territorial organization or provincial organization, is of secondary moment. It. is fair matter for consideration, whether we should press an immediate and urgent demand upon this parliament, for provincial organization, or, with the prospect of still larger and very rapid increase of population, whether we should wait until that increase of population should entitle us to still better terms. The area under the jurisdiction of the territorial government covers by far the greater part of the agricultural area of the Dominion. If that great agricultural area —which in all human probability before very long will be quite fully populated—is organized to-day on a provincial basis, with the debt account according to the present population, and receiving consideration generally according to the requirements of the present population ; it stands to reason that inside of a very few years, the concessions that have been made will be found far further behind the actual requirements than they have ever been since we organized in the territories a local government.
Mr. MACLEAN. Then the ' better terms ' principle begins to act.
Mr. OLIVER. That is what it amounts to ; and you will find that in Mr: Haultain's correspondence he suggests that there shall be provincial organization at the present time, on the basis of present population and a readjustment every five years afterwards according to population. That is not in accord with the principles of confederation, but if parliament will concede it, why, I will be willing to go in for provincial organization at once.
Mr. SPROULE. Does the hon. gentleman not think that, since the government are not prepared to give this by way of subsidy upon any determined basis, it would be better to take into consideration the exceptional needs of the territories from year to year and grant a larger subsidy until such time as we can give them all full provincial autonomy or establish some account with them on a proper basis ?
Mr. OLIVER. That. is exactly my position. I think that as long as this parliament will deal liberally with the North-west Territories while they are in their present formative condition and while their population is increasing as rapidly as it is, and will adequately recognize that increase of population, it will be better for the territories, financially, to remain under the present condition rather than to be bound by any definite financial arrangement that will in future years be entirely inadequate and will cause the territories to come here again and again for better terms.
Mr. SPROULE. I mean that instead of giving this money by way of loan, we should take into account the very exceptional needs of the territories and give a subsidy to suit their requirements from time to time, not to give it in the shape of a loan, which would be regarded as a debt.
Mr. OLIVER. As a member for the territories I have nothing to urge in opposition to the plan suggested. If parliament will vote this year the $1,046,000 suggested by the Minister of Finance and also the sum of $250,000 for current expenses, I shall certainly vote for it and be very glad to sup 12319 COMMONS 12320 port it, but I may say that such generosity on the part of parliament is a surprise to me, and I think that Premier Haultain and his government, if they are at all inclined to be fleshy, would be very likely to be stricken with apoplexy at such an exhibition of generosity as compared with the action of parliament on previous occasions. However, if hon. gentlemen will move that I will be very glad to support them and if they would prefer to make it $500,000 instead of $250,000, I will support that.
Mr. GILMOUR. Does the hon. gentleman (Mr. Oliver) consider that up to the present time the territories have received all they were entitled to in grants and that this $250,000 should now he considered as an advance to them ?
Mr. OLIVER. No, I do not think they have been getting as much as they are entitled to, but I certainly think the grant this year is fairly liberal. The House will understand that as one of the members representing the North-west Territories, who have been continually accused since we have been in the House of demanding too much from parliament, I have felt some diffidence in pressing demands for any serious advance of money. I certainly felt that a grant of $1,000,000 in the present year was a very fair allowance and I was glad to accept it and also to accept the advance of $250,000 for permanent improvements. But if the opinion of the House has changed, if it has become generous in these matters, 1 can assure the House that the North-west Territories government can expend a larger amount, and if hon. members are desirous of voting this $250,000 as an addition to the yearly grant I will be glad to support them in that and, as I said, if they will make it $500,000 I will still support them and I can assure them that the money will be well expended.
Mr. CLANCY. I fully concur in all that has been said of the necessity of increasing the grant to the North-west Territories. It I had any fault to find it would be that the government have not gone quite so far in this matter as the present needs of that growing country require. I am not much impressed with the reasons given by the hon. member for Alberta (Mr. Oliver) for delaying the granting of provincial autonomy. Speaking for myself I do not believe that any party in power can afford to drive hard and fast bargains with the newer provinces to be made in the Northwest Territories. A cheese-paring policy would be the most mistaken policy that any government could undertake ; it would simply mean a recurrence of what we have had in the past under less stringent conditions in regard to the provinces that today constitute confederation, a constant pressure for additional subsidies. When provincial autonomy is granted to the ter ritories we must expect to make ample provision for the support of a government in these territories. This may be a proper time to ask the Minister of Finance as to the correctness of the report that is current in the leading organs supporting the government, that for the purpose of aiding in the construction of the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway or for other purposes of a similar kind, it is the purpose of the government to set aside a quantity of land in the North-west Territories to be sold for these purposes ? I do not think that this parliament or the people of the North-west Territories or of the rest of this Dominion would view with greater favour the taking of any portion of land in the North-west Territories for that purpose than the taking of land in the older provinces, if it were possible, and the setting aside of such land for the construction of railways or for other purposes. If we are to aid railways we must aid them from other sources of revenue and if the people of the North-west Territories should ask for provincial autonomy to-morrow I do not believe that we should drive such a hard bargain as the hon. member for Alberta has suggested : we should deal with them on very liberal and generous terms and must remember that what might be a generous appropriation to-day might be entirely inadequate in a few years owing to the great growth that is taking place in that country. I would like to ask the Minister of Finance if there is any foundation for that report.
The MINISTER OF FINANCE. No legislation of that kind is contemplated.
Mr. CLANCY. I am aware that there is no legislation of that character ; I ask the hon. gentleman if that is the policy of the government.
The MINISTER OF FINANCE. The policy of the government for the present is as I have stated it ; I think the hon. gentleman will have to let the future take care of itself.
Mr. CLANCY. It is a deplorable fact that we have to do that both as to information and as to everything else.
Mr. BOYD. I am also pleased with the increase that has taken place in the appropriation for the North-west Territories, and I would be much better pleased if the government had intimated that they proposed giving the people of the North-west Territories the provincial power which they are seeking. I am sure that in saying that I express the opinion of the vast majority of the people of the North-west Territories. I am sure that I am expressing the opinion or the majority of the people of the territories when I say so. I do not think that it is pleasant to the people of the North-west Territories, in fact I know it is humiliating to them, to have to come here annually as 12321 SEPTEMBER 24, 1903 12322 beggars seeking for better terms and finding themselves in the position in which they were last year, when their assembly had to adjourn for want of funds. They had to go back to their homes until they could procure money to carry on public business. They have been appealing for provincial autonomy. Their population has increased, as has been pointed out by the Minister of Justice, sufficiently to entitle them to ten representatives in this House and four senators. A territory of that importance and extent should receive that recognition from this parliament for which they are asking and which they deserve, and that is the power to manage their own affairs. The difficulty pointed out by the hon. member for Alberta regarding population and so on, is merely a matter of readjustment, which may be made every two, or three, or five years, and I cannot see why the government are holding back in that respect. We know well enough the reason why they are not dealing with this question. It is because they fear that ghost in the closet— the school question—which they will have to deal with whenever they give the territories provincial autonomy, but the longer they leave it off the worse it will be.
Mr. DAVIS. Why ?
Mr. BOYD. Because there will be more people in the territories, and the greater the number the more difficult will become the settlement of that question.
Mr. DAVIS. We have separate schools in the territories now.
Mr. BOYD. What they have and what they will get according to the arrangements made in this parliament are entirely different questions. I have been amongst these people, I have been at their public meetings, I have heard their premier give expression to his views at a very large gathering, and in that gathering there was almost a unanimous opinion in favour of provincial autonomy. What else could we expect from a body of Canadians and British people, numbering some 160,000 or 200,000, but that they would want their own provincial autonomy, the power to make their own laws and manage their own affairs.
Mr. DAVIS. How much more power would they have under provincial autonomy than they have now ?
The PRIME MINISTER. There is an old saying, ' Save me from my friends,' and the people of the North-west Territories will have no reason to thank the hon. gentleman, for if we were to adopt his suggestion they would be worse off than they are to-day.
Mr. BOYD. I do not think so.
The PRIME MINISTER. The hon. gentleman has said that the North-west Territories have a population large enough to entitle them to ten members. He must know that such is not the case. He ought to know that their population, as shown by the last census, would not entitle them to ten members. We are giving them ten members, not because they are entitled to that number, but as an act of grace. If we were to follow my hon. friend's suggestion, and give them a provincial organization, they would have to come under the laws that regulate the provinces and be given a representation according to population, and not by grace, as they are under this Bill. If the territories want to come in as a province, my hon. friend would be the first to say that it would be only fair that they should have the representation to which they would be entitled as a province. But we thought it better to keep them as territories and give them representation this year of ten members, because their population is increasing, and will no doubt soon reach the figures which will entitle them to that number. My hon. friend has spoken on the school question, but I doubt whether, in view of the school taxation, it would be advisable for the territories to become a province, because they would then lose the power they now have of taxing the railway lands of the Canadian Pacific Railway for their schools. The question is not so simple as my hon. friend would make us believe it is. How many provinces will there be— one or two ? On that point the people of the territories are not unanimous. A member of some prominence in the legislature has withdrawn his confidence from Mr. Haultain's government, because it is in favour of one province, whereas he and others think there ought to be two provinces. For these reasons, we had better reflect coolly and seriously before we make the final jump. My hon. friend says it is humiliating for the territories to come here year after year and ask for better terms. Well, they are not coming for better terms, but for an allowance, which parliament has given them. and which must increase as their population increases. But when they are organized as a province, with all the powers of a province, they will have to take all the responsibilities of a province ; and whether their population increases or not, their allowance must remain the same, and we shall have probably the spectacle, which we have seen in other provinces, notably Manitoba, Which was perhaps organized as a province prematurely—we shall see them year after year coming for better terms. It would be far better not to move too hastily. What are the powers which the territories have not today which they would have as a province ? If I mistake not, speaking at first blush, the legislature of the territories has all the powers enjoyed by a province, with the exception of the power to borrow money. My hon. friend has therefore no reason to get warm and say that they are kept as slaves, and are not free British subjects. 12323 COMMONS 12324 They are as free as any one of us, but have not the power to borrow money, and perhaps it is as well to keep that power in abeyance in a young country like that.
Mr. MACLEAN. Here is another Liberal doctrine abandoned, the Liberal doctrine of self-government. Now the doctrine preached is that of arbitrary government, the greater government ruling the smaller one. So, one by one, all these pledges and professions of the past are going by the board. There is a great difference between provincial autonomy and the kind of government they have in the North-west Territories to-day. The people of the Northwest Territories feel that difference. The difference is that the provinces have something by right, but the people of the Northwest must come here and take what is given to them by what the Prime Minister calls an act of grace or benevolence. The people of the North-west do not wish to be in the position of suppliants seeking favours; they wish their rights, and they wish, above all, the sacred right, which Liberals say they fought for so many years in this country, the right of self-government. I appreciate this demand of theirs; I know that the people of the North-west do wish to be erected into a province and have an endowment and have the status and the rights of the people of the rest of Canada. Here we have an autocratic Czar telling them: Oh, leave yourselves in our hands; forget all about self-government and we will look after you. That is not Liberal doctrine, that is not what the Canadian people expect. There are reasons why the provinces have not been created. But an election is near at hand, and these hon. gentlemen feel constrained to make an apology for their neglect to erect these territories into provinces.
Mr. ROCHE (Marquette). From the remarks which have fallen from the lips of the Prime Minister (Rt. Hon. Sir Wilfrid Laurier), I think the North-west Territories need not expect self-government in the near future. The remarks of the Minister of Finance (Hon. Mr. Fielding) left a different impression upon the House. That hon. gentleman, in the vernacular of the hon. member for East York (Mr. Maclean) attempted to jolly the people along, holding out the hope of the early establishment of provincial autonomy. But the Prime Minister adduced arguments that were strong, no doubt, from his point of view, that the North-west Territories should not be granted local self—government for many years to come.
The PRIME MINISTER. Hear, hear.
Mr. ROCHE (Marquette). The Prime Minister says, 'hear, hear,' so I am not misstating the case from his viewpoint. One reason the hon. gentleman states why they should not be given local autonomy is the fact that he could not satisfy the people, because they are divided among themselves as to the number of provinces into which the territories should be divided, one or more. That need not stand long in the way; the government can soon settle it. Let them give the people a plebiscite, as they did on the liquor question, though I hope not with a similar result. Let the people decide this matter. This will be an easy way of settling the question whether there shall be one province only or more than one. The Prime Minister says also that they have almost every liberty that they would have if provincial autonomy were conferred upon them, all except the one of borrowing money, and that it was a good thing not to trust them lest they should rush into debt to their own injury. I think the people of the North-west Territories are as well able to govern themselves as the people of the Dominion are. They are among the most intelligent people of Canada. They are largely from eastern Canada, and eulogies have been heaped upon Mr. Haultain's government by people in this House and elsewhere for the way it is managing the affairs of the territories. So, no valid reason can be given on that account. It was a rather indefinite reply given by the Finance Minister to the hon. member for Bothwell (Mr. Clancy) as to whether they were going to set aside the land or sell the lands and set aside the funds, to pay for the Grand Trunk Pacific. If I mistake not, the Minister of the Interior (Hon. Mr. Sifton) stated that this latter was the intention. We have heard a great deal from the government to the effect that we are giving no land grant to this railway. But what is the difference if we are going to sell the lands and hand the proceeds over for the construction of the railway line ? Fifty millions of acres of land the Minister of the Interior estimated would be released by his arrangement with the Canadian Pacific Railway. Putting it at $3 per acre. which is a very low estimate, that would mean $150,000,000 to go into a sinking fund to construct a line of railway that the Prime Minister says is only going to cost as $13,000,000. So, I think the Finance Minister was not so candid as he might have been in answering the hon. member for Bothwell. As a western man, I am in favour of granting the territories powers of local self-government. The influx of population into that country is going to throw heavy liabilities upon the territorial exchequer to keep pace with the requirements of the country. The education of these new-comers must be looked after. And the territories have no local revenue except the small tax upon the land for school purposes. Thus. they are dependent entirely upon votes of this parliament to keep up improvements. I believe that in some years what is spent for public works and education has more than 12325 SEPTEMBER 24, 1903 12326 eaten up the grants of this parliament. Like the hon. member for South Lanark (Hon. Mr. Haggart) I would feel like acting a little more liberally with the territories, and would hand over this $250,000 to the territorial government rather than place them in debt so that when autonomy is given them they will find the Dominion of Canada is already their creditor to a large extent. I approve the increased grant. I know that it is necessary in order to keep up roads, bridges, schools, and other requirements of a growing country, and I am much more in favour of granting this $250,000 outright than by letting it stand as a debt against the territories.
Mr. BLAIN. On the question of whether the people of the North-west Territories are in favour of provincial autonomy or not, I wish to quote a few words of the hon. member for West Assiniboia (Mr. Scott) last year :
But I believe I express the opinion of a very large majority of the people when I say that the conditions have now reached a stage when it would be advantageous to those people as well as to the entire Dominion, to have this question settled without further loss of time. Some hon. members may be aware of the fact that within the past two weeks the question has been debated in the local legislature at Regina, and by a vote of 23 to 7, I think, in a House of 31 members, it was decided that it was a matter of regret that this question had not been taken up and an endeavour made to settle it this present year.
One other quotation from the hon. gentleman :
I said that I believed the time had come when the question of giving the territories provincial rights should be taken up and dealt with. As far as I am concerned, I believe that the people in the territories in genenal are ready to accept provincial autonomy. Of course they are not unanimous, and I think that it the powers at Ottawa wait until they are, they will wait until Kingdom come, because neither on that or any other question will the people of so large an area ever entertain one opinion. It is a fact, as has been stated by my hon. friend opposite, that the population of the territories now is vastly larger than was that of Manitoba when that part of the country was formed into a province.
That is the statement of a gentleman who, I think, knows very much more about it than I do. It seems to me clear that the people of the North-west Territories are in favour of provincial autonomy.
Mr. OLIVER. There seems to be some misunderstanding as to what the people of the North-west Territories, through their legislature, were asking for. It is held out to the House that we were asking for provincial autonomy, and the idea is thereby conveyed that we were asking for it on the same terms as it is enjoyed by the other provinces. I wish to say that the Northwest legislature is not asking for provincial autonomy on the same terms as it has been received by the other provinces. It is asking for provincial autonomy subject to two conditions radically different from those on which it has been received by the others. One condition is that the per capita allowance shall be revised on the basis of population arrived at by a census taken every five years; and the other is that the debt account shall be revised at the end of the ten-year census. Now it is an essential principle of provincial organization throughout the Dominion that the per capita allowance on population remains the same from the entrance of the province into confederation, and that the debt account remains the same. Therefore when the territories ask for provincial organization they are asking for it on radically different terms from those on which the other provinces have received it. When hon. members are so ready to grant provincial organization, it will be interesting to know whether they are willing to grant it on those terms. Those are the terms upon which it is asked, and the inference is that it would not be acceptable on any other terms, and circumstances being as they are, I take the liberty of saying that it would not be acceptable on other terms, terms which did not provide for a revision of these accounts at reasonable periods.
Mr. DEPUTY SPEAKER. I draw attention to the fact that we are out of order. We are discussing a question that is really outside of the resolution when We are discussing the propriety of organizing the territories into provinces. That is not the isa point in the resolution, and I think we had better defer that question.
Mr. BARKER. We have proceeded so far upon that subject that it would be interesting to hear from the hon. member for West Assiniboia (Mr. Scott) what has induced him to change his opinion.
Mr. SCOTT. The member for West Assiniboia has expressed no changed opinion.
Mr. BOYD. I think when the discussion has reached this point and when certain statements have been made—
Mr. DEPUTY SPEAKER. There will be another opportunity for discussing the question of provincial autonomy. That is not in the resolution.
Mr. CLANCY. I think my hon. friend from Macdonald (Mr. Boyd) desires to discuss the resolution.
Mr. DEPUTY SPEAKER. If he intends to discuss the propriety of giving $250,000 to the North-west Territories, and confines himself to that, he will be perfectly in order.
Mr. BOYD. I merely wish to answer a couple of questions that havebeen brought to the attention of the House by the prem 12327 COMMONS 12328 ier, but as you have decided that I am out of order, I will take another opportunity.
Mr. DEPUTY SPEAKER. If the hon. gentleman goes on and makes another speech, then another hon. member will want to answer him, and I think we had better stop here. Carried.
Mr. HENDERSON. I desire to discuss the resolution. But before doing so, I wish to enter a protest against the chairman continually calling ' carried ' without putting the motion. I think it is proper that the members of the House should in every instance have a timely intimation that the chairman is going to put the question, by asking the committee plainly whether they are in favour of this resolution or not.
Mr. DEPUTY SPEAKER. The hon. gentleman is out of order. He rose to say he was going to speak to the resolution, and he is actually speaking to the chairman. In submitting motions in committee, I say ' Is this carried ' ? 'I do not say ' Carried ' but ' Is it carried.'
Mr. HENDERSON. Well, the only word we have heard is ' carried.' However, I am going to deal with the resolution. I think we are making a mistake in creating a debt against the territories before we give them autonomy. I am very sorry indeed. if we are going to proceed as a parliament next year to organize those large territories into one or more provinces, that we shall be compelled to sit down and adjust a debt account. I think it is better to proceed along the lines we have been following in the past, giving the territories what we consider fairly and reasonably sufficient for their purposes. But by no means let us raise up a debt account against them, which will be standing in the way and perhaps be a troublesome matter to settle when we come to arrange for the political autonomy of the provinces. It will make no difference to the Dominion. We are getting no interest, and I do not suppose for a moment that when the adjustment is made even the principal will ever be asked for. If we treat the territories respectfully, treat them handsomely, and keep them in good humour, I think we will make better terms with them when we come to settle all these questions. But by no means let us do something that will only prove a vexed question hereafter. Now with regard to the other question, I have only to say that the sooner we give these provinces political autonomy the better, for then we do away with these annual grants. As at present they are regarded as wards of the Dominion, and I think the sooner we close this account by bringing about a different arrangement for the government of these provinces and doing away with these annual grants, the better for the Dominion and the better for the territories. I would advise the Finance Minister to create no debt account, because if we do anything of that kind we may have a troublesome matter to settle when we come to erect them into provinces.
Mr. BOYD. Has the territorial government been consulted regarding this $250,000 and has it consented to its being placed in the way the hon. minister proposes ? that is by adding it to the debt and making it a matter of readjustment in connection with its account in the future.
The MINISTER OF FINANCE. The correspondence on the subject was brought down some time ago. I think perhaps I would not be justified in saying that the territorial government consented. Really, it was unnecessary to ask their consent inasmuch as this is not a matter of obligation upon them at all. If the territorial government do not wish to avail themselves of the privileges of this Act they need not do so. Therefore, as we are not imposing any obligation upon them, we did not deem it necessary to obtain their consent. I think, perhaps, the territorial government would be pleased to have as large a grant as the government would give and that they would prefer to have this in the form of a grant and not something to be charged to the debt account.
Mr. SPROULE. Have they applied for this subsidy ?
The MINISTER OF FINANCE. No, but the territorial government for many years applied not only to this government. but to the former government asking for a larger grant. They always err on the side of liberality in asking, and I think our responses have not been less generous—in fact, they are inuch more generous—than they have been under our predecessors. But, having represented their needs to us, we have to some extent exercised our own discretion as to the various methods by which we could meet their needs. I do not wish to say that the territorial government have requested that this method shall be adopted, but I think the territorial government will find this arrangement useful to them. If they do not need this money it will not be pressed on them and no harm is done.
Mr. SPROULE. I understood the hon. minister to specify two items in regard to which it was represented as being necessary that an expenditure should be made.
The MINISTER OF FINANCE. As respects these two particular items they did apply some months ago and we have decided by Order in Council that we shall recommend parliament to make provision for these two works. We are proposing in the supplementary estimates to make that provision, not as a charge against this grant, but out of the ordinary grant for the current year. The government of the North-west Territories applied for these special appro 12329 SEPTEMBER 24, 1903 12330 priations, but they did not ask for a general credit such as we now propose.
Mr. GILMOUR. I hope the hon. Minister of Finance will consider the propriety of continuing the grant. That country is being settled far and wide. It is quite different from any other portion of Canada. Bridges have to be built. Of late years bridges have been swept away as quickly as they have been built. In view of the extraordinary circumstances prevailing there I hope the hon. Minister of Finance will consider the propriety of continuing the grant rather than of charging these advances to the debt account. This plan which he proposes may cause a misunderstanding in the future in view of the fact that there are no specified terms upon which this debt is to be created.
The MINISTER OF FINANCE. We do both. First we give them a liberal grant—
Mr. GILMOUR. I understand perfectly.
The MINISTER OF FINANCE. We are not ungenerous. We give them a grant this year, about four times as much as it was when we came into office.
Mr. GILMOUR. I do not say that you have been ungenerous. I do say that you are creating a debt and they must have need of the money or you would not be giving them an opportunity of borrowing it. One of the worst things connected with giving them autonomy in my opinion is that they would be free to create debts.
The MINISTER OF FINANCE. My hon. friend has touched the serious objection to autonomy. Still there are different kinds of debts. When you say that the matter is to be subject to adjustment in the debt account, it does not absolutely decide on which side the debt shall be. In my province we have $1,000,000 in the debt account, but instead of being a burden on the province the Dominion has to pay interest upon it. I do not want to make any dangerous admissions as to what will be the case in regard to the North-west Territories, because, having responsibility, it devolves upon me to speak with reserve, but when the time comes to adjust the debt account it does not follow that it will be charged against the Territories.
Mr. HENDERSON. Although it may be a question as to which party the debt will be charged against there is no question about the $250,000 referred to in this resolution, because the resolution says :
All sums so advanced to the government of the North-west Territories shall be charged in an account to be known as ' The North-west Territories Debt Account.' and shall, in any financial arrangement that may be made in connection with the organization of a province or provinces in the said territories, be taken into consideration as a debt owing by the said territories to the Dominion of Canada.
This will be owing by the territories. That is what I object to. I think we should leave them in the position in which they are now as we have been satisfying the territories very well until we are prepared to make a different arrangement with them which will not be, perhaps, beyond twelve months, according to the Minister of Finance. It would be a pity to create a debt or anything that could be called a debt because it might lead to a dispute when the settlement is being brought about. We are told that they have not been consulted about this, that they have not asked for this money and they may not ask for it. I think perhaps they may be independent enough not to ask for it, because I believe it is their right to have it and it should not have been charged to them as a debt to be held up before them one or two years hence when we come to finally arrange with them.
The MINISTER OF FINANCE. I am afraid I have not been able to make myself clear. Suppose when the adjustment of accounts takes place between the new province and the Dominion it should be found that there was—I do not like to name the amount—a million dollars to be placed at the credit of the North-west Territories in the debt account. The only difference between the situation then and now is that instead of waiting for the event and placing the money to their credit next year we are giving them the right to draw upon it in advance and it then has to be adjusted in connection with the general arrangement of the farmers of the province.
Mr. HENDERSON. Does the hon. Minister of Finance expect that when they are organized into a province in that way, and when they are supposed to get a credit of $1,000,000 they will only get three-quarters of a million that it will be satisfactory to them ? I do not think it should be so. I suggest that the hon. Minister of Finance drop the matter and bring it up again when he gives them autonomy.
Resolution reported, read the first and second times, and agreed to.
The MINISTER OF FINANCE moved for leave to introduce Bill (No. 256) to provide for advances to the government of the North-west Territories.
Motion agreed to, and Bill read the first time.


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



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