House of Commons, 1 October 1903, Canadian Confederation with Alberta and Saskatchewan

12843 COMMONS 12844


Bill (No. 256) to provide for advances to the government of the North-west Territories, read the second time, and the House went into committee thereon.
The MINISTER OF FINANCE (Hon. W. S. Fielding). This Bill is in the precise terms of the resolution which has already been fully discussed in Committee.
Mr. BORDEN (Halifax). Is this intended as an advance for any paricular period of time, say for the fiscal year, or is it simply an indefinite advance to be paid to the government of the North-west Territories at any time in the future, as the government may see fit ?
The MINISTER OF FINANCE. It is an advance without limit. It stands to the credit of the government of the North-west Territories, to be used or not to be used, as in their discretion may seem to be necessary.
Mr. BORDEN (Halifax). Has the correspondence brought down in connection with this matter been printed ?
The MINISTER OF FINANCE. I am not aware whether the correspondence has been printed or not.
Mr. BORDEN (Halifax). My recollection of the correspondence brought down in connection with this matter is that the Prime Minister of the North-west Territories objected to the creation of a debt accout between the North-west Territories and the government of Canada at the present time, and pointed out that what the North-west Territories really desire is that the annual subside to the North-west Territories should be increased to such an amount as would be adequate for the works which they have to undertake in the administration of that country. He also expressed the opinion that it was not in the interest of the North-west Territories that any debt should be incurred by them at the present time, before the territories have received that provincial status which has been demanded by its legislature for some considerable time past.
The MINISTER OF FINANCE. I do not think that the government of the Northwest Territories objected to this advance being made to them. The special point of their objection was to a proposition which was made at one stage of the negotiations that the cost of two large bridges, for the construction of which we were arranging with them, should be made a charge against an advance. However, I am sure the government of the North-west Territories would prefer to have any sums which are available for them given in the way of an annual grant and perhaps my hon. friend may be right in saying they objected to this. There is however, nothing compulsory about this ; it is an option which we give to the government of the North-west Territories and if they do not see fit to exercise it no harm will be done. The allowance made in the meantime was fully discussed in the Committee. I then pointed out the rapid increase made by this government in the allowance to the North-west Territories and I think the Committee were generally satisfied that the allowances we now make, irrespective of this grant, are quite liberal and take due account of the rapid growth and greater needs of that section of our country.
Mr. BORDEN (Halifax). What increase is made in the allowance for the present year ?
The MINISTER OF FINANCE. I gave the figures in the previous debate. The appropriation for 1902 was $407,979. I am speaking now entirely of what I may call the general vote for the North-west Territories which would correspond to the provincial subsidy. There are other grants for other purposes, and my observations are 12845 OCTOBER 1, 1903 confined entirely to that general vote which appears in the estimates as a grant for school and other purposes. For 1903, including the supplementary estimates passed in the latter part of the year, the grant was $707,989 and for the current year we are proposing to pay them including a special grant for two large bridges which at one time it was suggested should be charged to capital account, but which we ultimately decided to provide for in the way of grant —$1,046,979, irrespective of this advance of which the government of the North-west Territories may or may not avail themselves.
Bill reported, read the third time and passed.


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



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