House of Commons, 1 March 1905, Canadian Confederation with Alberta and Saskatchewan



Rt. Hon. Sir WILFRID LAURIER (Prime Minister). I have to inform the House that my colleague, Hon. Mr. Sifton, has resigned his position in the government, and as Minister of the Interior. Mr. Sifton finds himself unable to agree with the terms of the Bill which has lately been introduced for the admission into the Dominion of the provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan, his disagreement being confined altogether to the educational clause. After a conference with him, the following correspondence has been exchanged between him and myself :
Ottawa, February 27, 1905. Dear Sir Wilfrid,—After giving my best consideration to the matters which we discussed last evening, I have arrived at the conclusion that it is impossible for me to continue in office under present circumstances, and that it is better for all concerned that I should act at once. I therefore beg to tender my resignation as a member of the government. I trust that the unhappy necessity which has arisen will not in the least impair the friendship with which you have been kind enough to honour me.
Believe me, Yours most faithfully, CLIFFORD SIFTON.
Right Hon. Sir Wilfrid Laurier, G.C.M.G., Ottawa.
To this I answered yesterday in the following terms :
Ottawa. February 28, 1905. My dear Sifton,—I received yesterday your letter of same date, whereby you tender me your resignation as a member of the government.
There is no alternative to me, but to accept it, and with much regret, it will be my duty to place it in the hands of His Excellency.
After our conversation of the other day, I had left you with the impression that the differences between us were more of words than of substance, and until I received your letter, I had cherished the hope that it would be possible ere this to find a comparatively easy solution.
Whilst I feel more regret than I can express at this termination of our oflicial relations, let me assure you that should our old friendship be ever impaired, the fault will not be mine.
Yours very sincerely, WILFRID LAURIER.
The Hon. Clifford Sifton, Ottawa.
The resignation has been placed in the hands of His Excellency, who has been pleased to accept it.
Hon. CLIFFORD SIFTON. The statement made by the right hon. the Prime Minister (Sir Wilfrid Laurier) necessitates a very short explanation to the House on my part. When it was determined that during this session of parliament legislation should be introduced creating new provinces out of a portion of the Northwest Territories, I felt called upon. in view of the history of 1852 the educational question in Canada, to give very serious consideration to the position which I should take with regard to the legislative power to be conferred upon the provinces in regard to the subject of education. It was necessary that conferences should take place with members of parliament representing the Northwest Territories and with the representatives of the Territorial government, upon the subject of education and other subjects involved in the Bill. These conferences were unavoidably postponed until after the beginning of the new year, by reason of the absence of the Prime Minister, who, after the general election, was compelled to take a short rest, and was therefore absent from the country. Shortly before the time fixed for holding these conferences I was compelled by my own state of health to leave Ottawa, and was therefore unable to be present at the discussions which took place. Before leaving I discussed with the Prime Minister most of the subjects that necessarily required to be dealt with in the Bill which was to be introduced, and so far as I was able to do so at that time, I communicated my views to him upon the various subjects. I may say that when I went away I did not anticipate that it would be considered necessary to introduce the Bill for creating the new provinces, before I returned. As members of the House are aware, I returned to the capital on Thursday afternoon. I immediately took occasion to read carefully the speech which the right hon. the Prime Minister (Sir Wilfrid Laurier) had delivered in introducing the Bill. I regretted that in the right hon. gentleman's address I found some principles enunciated with which I am unable to agree. On Friday, the next day after I returned, at the earliest possible moment, I procured a copy of the educational clause of the Bill which my leader had introduced. That clause is as follows :
16. The provisions of section 93 of the British North America Act, 1867, shall apply to the said provinces as if, at the date upon which this Act comes into force, the territory comprised therein were already a province, the expression 'the union' in the said section being taken to mean the said date.
2. Subject to the provisions of the said section 93, and in continuance of the principles heretofore sanctioned under the Northwest Territories Act, it is enacted that the legislature of the said province shall pass all necessary laws in respect of education, and that it shall therein always be provided (a) that a majority of the ratepayers of any district or portion of the said province or of any less portion or subdivision thereof, by whatever name it is known may establish such schools therein as they think fit, and make the necessary assessments and collection of rates therefor, and (b) that the minority of the ratepayers therein whether Protestant or Roman Catholic, may establish separate schools therein, and make the necessary assessment and collection of rates therefor, and (c) that in such case the ratepayers establishing such Protestant or Roman Catholic separate schools shall be liable only to assess1853 MARCH 1, 1905     ment of such rates as they impose upon themselves with respect thereto. 3. In the appropriation of public moneys by the legislature in aid of education, and in the distribution of any moneys paid to the government of the said province arising from the school fund established by the Dominion Lands Act, there shall be no discrimination between the public schools and the separate schools, and such moneys shall be applied to the support of public and separate schools in equitable shares or proportion.
That is the clause which is contained in the Bill which was introduced by the leader of the government. Between Friday, when  I procured a copy of the clause, and Monday morning I gave the subject my best consideration, and I had the privilege in the meantime of having an interview with the Prime Minister on the subject.  As the result of such consideration I determined that I could not endorse or support the principle  of the educational clauses.  Under these circumstances, Mr. Speaker, my duty became perfectly clear, and on Monday morning I wrote to the Prime Minister tendering my resignation as a member of the cabinet. Subsequently, I expressed the desire that my resignation should be acted up on at once and to that wish the Prime Minister has now assented.
In conclusion, Mr. Speaker, not intending and not considering it proper at this time to enter into a discussion of the merits of the matter which has caused the difference between myself and my leader, I have only to add my regret that circumstances have compelled the severance of my official relations with my leader and with my colleagues with whom my relations have always been of the most harmonious and pleasant character, and with whom upon other questions I am in entire accord. The circumstances, however, in my judgment, make my duty perfectly clear, and it does not seem possible for me to properly consider anything except the principles which are involved.
Hon. GEO. E. FOSTER (North Toronto). Mr. Speaker, I quite agree with the hon. gentleman, the retiring minister (Hon. Mr. Sifton) that this is not the time to undertake the discussion of the principles involved in the Bill. But, with the two statements which have been read and with the reading of the statements and the causes which make the reading of the statements necessary this afternoon, we alone have to deal and with these I shall deal for a moment with your kindly permission. It did not come as a matter of surprise to this side of the House that the Minister of the Interior should at some early period read his letter of resignation, or give his reasons for resigning to this House, nor do I think it came as a matter of surprise to hon. gentlemen who are within the secrets of the party on the other side of the House. We all remember the peculiar circumstances under which this Bill appears to have been 1854 framed and to have been rushed before the House.  It did seem an odd and almost unexplainable thing that a Bill of such importance should be framed in the absence of two of the most responsible ministers in the House as regards the country and the scope of territory in which that Bill was to be operative, and having respect to the declaration of policy which I think a year or  two ago was made in this House when,  with some new idea of a division of ministerial responsibility, it was announced that certain ministers were to be held more or less accountable for the particular provinces or sections from which they came. This was exemplied in the case of the hon. Minister of agriculture (Mr. Fisher) in his intermeddling with the militia matters of this country.  During the last few weeks this important Bill has been framed and has been laid before the House in the absence of the hon. Minister of the Interior, who was especially charged with the supervision of and the responsibility for the Northwest Territories and the west generally.  We were led to think that possibly the second chapter of what took place on an almost similar line a year or two ago was being prepared for the House and the country. It is well known that at that time a most important railway Bill was conceived and formed and was almost, if not quite, presented to this House behind the back of the responsible Minister of Railways and Canals, whose office it should have been to have aided in the consideration and preparation of that Bill. We were of late led still more to suppose this from a remark which fell casually, but rather acridly, from the lips of the right hon. Prime Minister (Sir Wilfrid Laurier) himself, who, when, not long ago, asked about the time when we might expect the introduction of the Bill, gave as his answer that it would probably be introduced at a certain time, and when some inquiring mind of the many inquiring minds on this side of the House put the question to the right hon. Prime Minister as to whether the hon. the Minister of the Interior would be back by that time, the right hon. Prime Minister, as I say, rather sharply retorted that he did not know whether he would or not, but that he, the Prime Minister, would be here. Taking all this with the history of this Bill into consideration it did not come as a surprise to this part of the House, and I doubt very much if it fell as much of a surprise upon hon. gentlemen on the other side of the House. But, it is a still stranger thing that the hon. Minister of the Interior, a most important member of the cabinet at any time and a specially important member of the cabinet as regards the conception and arrangement of this Bill, did not actually know, although it is supposed that telegraph wires stretch from here to almost all parts of the United States of America in some particular portion of which the hon. 1855 COMMONS Minister of the Interior has been for the past number of weeks, of the educational clauses of this Bill until after he had returned to this city and to this House when he obtained a copy of the clause. One would have thought that on the general theory of responsible government, of a cabinet acting unitedly, of a cabinet acting wisely. consulting with every unit of the cabinet, as, I think it is in duty bound to do, in order to secure the united wisdom of the whole of the cabinet, that the hon. Minister of the Interior would have been consulted with, not even by telegraph or letter does it seem that the hon. Minster of the Interior was apprised of the one prominent clause in the Bill in which it would be supposed naturally that he would be very much interested.
The excuse, the reason, is given to-day- and we are bound to take the reason in a parliamentary sense—that the hon. gentleman is retiring because he could not find it consistent with his principles to accede to that particular clause in the Autonomy Bill, but from what I have stated and from what we have seen, it would be easily inferred, I think, by any member of this House that there is a reasonable doubt as to whether or not that was the cause of the resignation, as to whether the deliberate actions of the Prime Minister and the rest of the Cabinet heretofore have not made it quite abundantly apparent that it was the intention to get rid of the hon. gentleman whether he got out on this particular clause of the Bill or on some other. The Prime Minister has not quite satisfied the curiosity of the House. Outside of the information which was conveyed to us by the bulletin boards there are other rumours which are abroad in the corridors of this House, abroad on the streets of the city and, I dare say, are tingling the wires, which stretch from Ottawa to different parts of this country even now while we are speaking. And why? It is stated that another important minister, another important member of the cabinet of the right hon. gentleman, is deliberating as to whether he shall not follow in the tracks—no, I would not put it that way—but follow, at least, the example of the hon. the Minister of the Interior who has retired, in also expressing his formal and unqualified dissent from this Bill. There might be some reasons which would impose on us the idea that there is truth in that. I could hardly reconcile to my own mind the idea of a Prime Minister and a cabinet undertaking to frame and to put before the country so important a Bill as this, involving no trivial and unimportant financial burdens, but involving very onerous and continuous and growing financial burdens upon this country, I cannot, I say, understand how a Bill of that kind could be conceived, put into form and introduced into this House in the absence of the, Minister of Finance, who is responsible, if any man in the cabinet is responsible, for the 1856 financial interests of this country. Was he also altogether and entirely in the dark with reference to this Bill? Did he know the clauses, financial or otherwise, before he came back to Ottawa and ascertained what they were by asking for a copy of the Bill? Was there such an urgent necessity for the introduction of the Bill that a delay of at least two or three days could not have been given until both the Minister of the Interior and the Minister of Finance should have had opportunity to meet their colleagues in Council and by word of mouth and interchange of ideas, see if an amicable and united conclusion could not be had? Now, we would be very loath to lose the Minister of Finance.
Some hon. MEMBERS. Hear, hear.
Mr. FOSTER. His pleasant countenance is always an inspiration to us—when it is not the opposite, and it is not often it is the opposite. But we would like to have this set at rest and to hear the Prime Minister state whether there is any truth in the rumour which is persistent that the Minister of Finance, not having been consulted, is not altogether at one with the rest of the cabinet in relation to this Bill. We must bid adieu to the Minister of the Interior with varying feelings. We do it some with sympathy ; some will say he has fought the fight and finished the course—I am not going to say how good a course it was—and he has entered into his reward. Probably he has had his reward before; possibly, like the late Minister of Railways and Canals, there is some glorious future awaiting him in some of the large official charges of this country. Anyway, if he leaves us as Minister of the Interior, he has not stated that he is going to leave us as member and we will still have him with us to remonstrate with and to counsel and as far as we can abiding in good will and friendship.
Mr. W. F. MACLEAN (South York). Mr. Speaker, partly as a question of privilege I desire to refer now to the question before the House, and I would ask the right hon. gentleman, who lives in the ramshackle house now, and who is the Samson who has pushed down the pillars and has the roof upon him and his co-ministers in the government? The other day the right hon. gentleman said I was quixotic. Well, there is this at least to be said about Don Quixote, that he was a country gentleman, a man of high honour and that he died with good Christian burial. If I must search for a historical reference to the hon. gentleman after what has happened here to-day, I could think of no one else than one of these autocratic Russian grand dukes of whom we hear at the present time. He has confessed here and the late Minister of the Interior has confessed here that in this House on Monday of this week when I asked where was the Minister of the Interior and the right hon. gentleman said it was for me to have him here, that he 1857 MARCH 1, 1905 knew then, as the House knows now, that he was not in his cabinet and was not in his administration. What is the reason of all this ? This autocratic Prime Minister that we have in this country eight years ago using the words of Bismarck said: We shall not go to Canossa. The right hon. gentleman has been to Three Rivers; he has made the treaty of Three Rivers, and in pursuance of that treaty he has chosen in his autocratic way to bring down a Bill dealing with the great questions now at issue without consulting his colleagues. It is said that in the preparation of this Bill he consulted only three of his ministers, of whom two came from his own province of Quebec. I do not propose to discuss the Bill, but I know now why the Minister of the Interior has left the government; it is now known that it is on the school question and it is on the land question as I said on Mondaybut it is more. The right hon. gentleman in introducing a certain measure in this House argued on three grounds, the constitutional ground, the ground of policy, and he argued for separate schools per se and it is because the proposition is for separate schools per se that the late Minister of the Interior has had to leave the administration.
Mr. SPEAKER. I presume the hon. gentleman (Mr. W. F. Maclean) intends to conclude with a motion)
Mr W. F. MACLEAN. Yes, I have certainly the right to speak somewhat from the standpoint of privilege, but I intend to conclude with a motion. There is another thing in regard to this question. There is a good old verse in the Bible which says that all they who take to the sword shall perish by the sword; and I say that all those who take to provincial rights and school questions will die by provincial rights and school questions. The handwriting is on the wall.
Some hon. MEMBERS. Oh, oh.
Mr. W. F. MACLEAN. Yes, and the right hon. gentleman has lost not only his Minister of the Interior, the Napoleon of the West, but that panegyrist of his, who set the right hon. gentleman up as the greatest statesman we have ever had in this country, and who glorified the late Minister of the Interior as the Napoleon of the West. The two of them are now joined together against the right hon. gentleman. He has lost his chief organ, the Toronto 'Globe,' or this question ; he has lost the Montreal ' Witness,' another of his organs ; and I am afraid that he is now about to repudiate the last organ he appears to have left, ' Le Soleil,' that organ which, in its pontifical way, said the other day : 'We are the organ of Sir Wilfrid, and every one must take note of it and govern themselves accordingly.'
I now come to the question of the school lands and the way little Manitoba is treat 1858ed; and again I call the attention of the hon. member for Lisgar (Mr. Greenway), who is now in his place, to this declaration of the leading organ of the right hon. gentleman, that it was the intention to punish Manitoba because she had vindicated provincial rights in connection with educational matters. The province of Manitoba has an area of only 74,000 square miles, while the proposed provinces are to have an area of nearly 300,000 square miles each. But the province of Manitoba happens to be in favour of public education, and she is to be punished ; and now the House and the country will be able to see how all this came about. If you extended the limits of the province of Manitoba to the west, the result would be that the portion of territory to the east would have the right to regulate its own educational affairs, while the other portion of the same territory would be shackled. That is the reason why Manitoba is being punished. And so it turns out, after all the taunts that I was met with here on Monday, that I was right when I said that Manitoba was being punished, and that the Dominion Lands Act would have to be changed in order to carry out the proposal made in the Bill. I was given what was called a categorical denial ; but to-day I have received a categorical affirmation from the late Minister of the Interior, I warn the right hon. gentleman that he is engaged in a quixotic career if he fancies that he and his party, which claims to be the party of provincial rights, can shackle the two new provinces of the west and impose a separate school system upon them without consulting the people. He does not consult his own ministers- the confession is made to-day. And what is to be the fate of that minister who today declares that he has not been consulted? He is to be Tartified and Blairified, like the other ministers who have resigned ; and the same fate awaits any one else who chooses not to come under this new czardom which we have in this country, under which not even a cabinet minister is to be consulted in regard to public policy; under which that great free west, which feels more keenly on these great public questions than we do in the east, is not to be consulted through its recognized minister, but this hasty and ill-advised proposal is to be introduced into this House in his absence.
I congratulate the late Minister of the Interior upon having the courage to come out. I can say this at least of him, that he has justified to-day that mission which he made several years ago into my own province, into the county of Haldimand, to say that he came to the province of Ontario to ask for our sympathy because it was proposed to put shackles upon his province ; because, he said, if the province of Manitoba is shackled to-day, the time will come when the greater provinces to 1859 COMMONS the west will be treated in the same way. It turns out now that this treatment is being meted out by the czar of the Liberal party without consulting his colleagues. And this man of autocratic tendencies gets up in this House and reads us a lecture and calls us all kinds of names; and yet, within less than forty-eight hours of his lecture to me, everything I said has been justified and proved true. The right hon. gentleman to-day stands discredited in this House. He stands discredited of his own  colleagues ; he stands discredited in the different provinces, especially in the province of Ontario, and by his own newspaper, the 'Globe.' The right hon. gentleman quoted George Brown. The right hon. gentleman actually read into the constitution the utterances of George Brown's newspaper and George Brown's speeches, in justification of this proposal of his to shackle these great new provinces of the west. The right hon. gentleman has failed. He has no justification for his proposal except as a matter of policy. But he has not made it a question of policy. He made a bogus constitutional argument, and then he made a moral argument, and that moral argument was what ? Many a time in this House the right hon. gentleman has read us a lesson about respect for our neighbours ; but there never was a more insulting statement made to the people of the United States than that statement of his that they were immoral, that divorces, lynchings and murders prevailed in their country, and that the reason of Canada's superiority in this respect was that dogma was taught in our public schools.
Some hon. MEMBERS. Order.
Mr. W. F. MACLEAN. What the people  of Canada believe in is the separation of state and church. With regard to what is embodied in the constitution, so far as Ontario and Quebec are concerned, we say all right, we accept the situation.
An hon. MEMBER. Thank you.
Mr. W. F. MACLEAN. Nay, more ; I go further and say, I for one would not lift my hand to prevent the people of these western provinces having separate schools if they desire them. But my plea is that the question must be left to them—that we must not impose these schools upon them. I am ready to declare here or anywhere else ——shall I say as a radical or a democrat ?- for the principle of the entire separation of church and state, so far as our constitution will permit it. The right hon. gentleman is in this House to-day as the champion of a new alliance between church and state, Again I warn him that he is on dangerous ground. Again I tell him that he who takes to the sword shall perish by the sword. He who apparently, a few weeks ago, entered on a long career of office, is today face to face with the handwriting on the wall. I would like to see the right hon. 1860 gentleman introduce great measures into this House, and not bring up questions of this kind. I do not want to say anything against my hon. friend who has retired from office to-day ; but if there is one thing he can recall, it is this : He came in on that wave ; he goes out on that wave ; whither it will carry him I leave him to find out in his own experience.
Mr. LEIGHTON G. McCARTHY (North Simcoe). Mr. Speaker.
Mr. SPEAKER. There is still no question before the House.
Mr. W. F. MACLEAN. I move the adjournment of the House.
Mr. LEIGHTON G. McCARTHY. The hon. member for South York (Mr. W. F. Maclean) has referred to matters which, perhaps should not have been referred to in discussing the question before the House. But, lest my silence should be misconstrued, l desire to make a short statement. I occupy, on this question, a much different position from that occupied, probably, by any other member in this House.  My hon. friend from South York refers to the campaign of some ten years ago in the county of Haldimand. The fact was referred to that, on that occasion, the ex-Minister of the Interior (Mr. Sifton) and myself stood on the same platform when we were fighting the men who are now calling in question the actions which have taken place and have caused that hon. gentleman's (Mr. Sifton's) retirement. Therefore, for the last ten years, my position on the school question has been defined. I also fought on the school question in 1895 in Cardwell, and again in June 1896 was the school question fought out in my riding. From that day to this, I have remained firm and free, so far as my constituency was concerned, upon this question, and I have been thrice endorsed upon it. Therefore, I simply rise to announce to this House as I announced the first time I spoke in the House and as I have previously announced to individual members, that I am, like the ex-Minister of the Interior, absolutely opposed to the education clauses as submitted in the Autonomy Bills ; that I will oppose them and oppose them unalterably.
Mr. T. S. SPROULE (East Grey). I do not rise to anticipate the discussion on the Bill that will shortly be before us or to explain to the House where I stand on the question—I think my position is pretty well known. But I rise merely to say that, so far as the Prime Minister has given this House his confidence, and so far as he has explained the position, all is well. But some of us thought he might well have gone a little further. Perhaps to expect that would be to ask him to anticipate events. He did not indicate in any way who is to be the incumbent of the office 1861 MARCH 1, 1905 which has just been made vacant. However, that is something that concerns him more than it does us on this side of the House. But, in view of the loss from the cabinet of the representative of Manitoba and the Northwest,—and a man regarded by many as one of the ablest members of the cabinet to which he belonged, I wish to ask the Prime Minister if he does not think that it would be well to tell this House that he is prepared to drop that clause of the Bill ? I wish also to congratulate the hon. member for Brandon (Mr. Sifton) who has just resigned, and to congratulate ourselves who are opposed to this feature of the Bill, upon the acquisition by our ranks of that hon. gentleman and also of the hon. member for North Simcoe (Mr. L. G. McCarthy).
Mr. L. G. MCCARTHY. Don't call the hon. member for North Simcoe an acquisition.
Mr. SPROULE. I hope that many others on that side will find that open confession is good for the soul, and will rise and do as these hon. gentlemen have done. While I am on my feet I would like to say a word with regard to the number of copies of the Bill distributed so far. Eight days ago the Bill was introduced. Up to to-day each of us could only get one copy of the Bill. Yesterday, the Prime Minister said that there was no objection to having a large number struck off. It would only take two or three hours to strike off a couple of thousand copies of the Bill. It seems strange to us, therefore, that up to the present, we have been able to get only four or five copies each. I made inquiry of the Printing Bureau and they told me : We were instructed to give no information as to the number of copies of the Bill to be printed. It seems strange that there should be such secrecy. I would ask the Prime Minister if he knows any good reason why we should not get more copies of the Bill, and whether he will give instructions that a much larger number be printed, because there is an urgent demand for them from many parts of the country. I myself have applications for at least a hundred copies of the Bill. Yet, though it is eight days since the Bill was introduced, I am able to supply only five.
Mr. SAM. HUGHES (Victoria and Haliburton). It is not my intention to speak on this matter, further than to congratulate the late Minister of the Interior (Mr. Sifton) on the action he has taken in withdrawing from the present government. I take this opportunity of stating that, as soon as the Bill was introduced, knowing the action that the late Minister of the Interior had taken in 1895 and 1896, when the Manitoba school question was under discussion, though I had no consultation with the hon. gentleman, I had absolute faith that he would take the course he has taken to-day.  In 1862 justice to that hon. gentleman I may say îhat I am in a position to state positively, knowing whereof I speak, that it was his desire that the Manitoba school question should be kept out of the arena of Dominion politics and be settled in a satisfactory manner by the province. That was the wish also of many hon. gentlemen on the Liberal-Conservative side of this House. But the wishes of those gentlemen and of the late Minister of the Interior were not gratified. I felt that there was no other honourable course open to the late Minister of the Interior, than that which he has taken, and I had the most perfect confidence in his strength of purpose and knew that he would not tolerate the infliction upon the Northwest of the clause in this Bill relating to education. I ask the Prime Minister; I appeal to his patriotism—and he pretends to be patriotic—in view of the fact that the Minister of the Interior has retired and that other ministers hang their heads when this Bill is mentioned ; in view of the fact that many hon. members behind him will not and dare not support him ; in the interest of the west and of the financial and commercial institutions that depend upon the development and progress of that great country, I appeal to him to pause in pressing this Bill. He cannot but know that the great tide of immigration now flowing toward that country, once checked will not easily resume its course. I predict, if he goes on with this Bill—and I am not the only one who predicts—dire disaster to this country.
An hon. MEMBER. War.
Mr. SAM. HUGHES. War ? Sir, if because a few half-breeds on the banks of the Saskatchewan refused to accept the new and reasonable method of survey instead of the old one to which they were accustomed, the First Minister would have been justified in shouldering his musket in their support, as he declared in 1885 he would have done, then far more would the boys in the Northwest—it will not need the boys from Ontario—be justified in shouldering their muskets in resistance to the tyranny the Prime Minister proposes in this Bill. His action, if he persists in it, will check the tide of immigration into that country and will produce a crisis in the financial and business affairs of the Dominion. I ask the First Minister to give his most careful attention to this idea. He can turn a corner as quickly as anybody can. It is not too late for him yet. Let him withdraw these clauses of his Bill. and leave it to the Northwest to settle this matter.
Mr. GEORGE TAYLOR (Leeds). I do not rise to discuss the Bill which has led to the resignation of the Minister of the Interior (Mr. Sifton) but only to congratulate my hon. friend from North Simcoe (Mr. L. G. McCarthy) on having already de 1863 COMMONS lared his attitude. He is not a member of the cabinet ; but I presume that he was a prospective minister. I have been waiting to hear from another gentleman who sits close to that hon. member. I refer to the hon. member for North Ontario (Mr. Grant). At a by-election in that constituency, I had the honour to go there to say a word on behalf of the hon. member for North Toronto (Mr. Foster) who was then a candidate in North Ontario. And one of the principal things brought against the hon. member for North Toronto in that campaign, was that he had supported the Remedial Bill, and if elected would advocate the granting of separate schools in the Northwest. That was the principal argument used in that by-election to further the election of the hon. member for North Ontario, and I now expect to hear from him that he will follow the hon. member for North Simcoe and declare the position he purposes taking when the Bill comes up.
Mr. HUGH GUTHRIE (South Wellington) On the motion to adjourn, moved by the hon. member for South York (Mr. W. F. Maclean) and on which several members have spoken, some of whom have said that they are unalterably opposed to clause 16 of the Bills creating two new provinces in the Northwest Territories, I would say on my own behalf, speaking for myself only, that I am unalterably in favour of that clause 16 in the two Bills shortly to come up for a second reading. So far as I have been able to gather, the only point urged today is that made by the hon. member for North Toronto (Mr. Foster) who says that the Bills are hurried ones. Surely he does not mean that these are new Bills. I remember last session hearing this matter discussed, if not in the House at all events around the House, and likewise the session before that. They are, I submit, two of the best considered Bills that have ever been brought forward; and although they may not have been as fully discussed with some members of the government as they might have been, still I venture to say that during the past five or ten years no question has received greater consideration. If I read parliamentary practise aright, if I understand Todd's parliamentary procedure and May's usages of parliament, I believe I am correct in saying that it is the Prime Minister who should introduce measures of the kind we are now discussing; and if any of the members of his cabinet are not in accord with him, they have one duty to perform and that is to resign. If the ex- Minster of the Interior (Mr. Sifton) found he could not support the government in this matter, he has taken the proper course; but as I understand the question, so far as it has now gone, there is a distinct desire on the part of hon. members opposite, evinced both in their speeches and their newspapers, to create some inflammatory condition in this 1864 country which there is nothing in the Bills introduced to warrant.
Some hon. MEMBERS. What about the Globe ?
Mr. GUTHRIE. I have read the editorials in the ' Globe,' in which that newspaper takes issue with the government regarding the educational policy laid down in the Bills presented to this House. I am sorry that the ' Globe' cannot see as the government do on this question, but the ' Globe ' is only one newspaper, and we are legislating for the whole Dominion. If the ' Globe ' cannot see eye to eye with us, that is no reason whatever why we should turn back from what we believe to be our duty. The majority of this House and the country, I am convinced, are of the opinion that the measure submitted to us is right and just; and in that belief I think we should go forward notwithstanding the Toronto ' Globe ' and the organ of the hon. member for South York (Mr. W. F. Maclean) and those other organs which are criticising these Bills very adversely at present.
Mr. FOSTER. I do not want the right hon. the First Minister to forget the second question that I ventured to put to him so that he may settle, if it is in his power to do so, these disquieting rumours which have been given currency with reference to the attitude of some others of his ministers on this Bill. We have had a most important piece of information from the hon. gentleman who has just spoken. He has just told us that this Bill has been discussed for two sessions, and he has informed the House with all becoming gravity that it is still being discussed. Where ? Is there an inner circle somewhere ?
Mr. GUTHRIE. I said around the House.
Mr. FOSTER. Is there a circle within a circle in the party headed by my right hon. friend, and at the head of which is probably the right hon. gentleman who leads the government? Is there an inner circle which takes up these things in advance and discusses and settles them and brings them to a point where they are in the position of not being new matters but things well discussed and settled during these two years? Last year my hon. friend the Minister of the Interior (Mr. Sifton) was, I believe, present in this House and in his wonted health. He was also present the year before last in equally good condition. During all that time, as we have just been informed. the principles of this Bill were being discussed, and surely if any one of them was discussed it must have been that one dealing with the school question. But evidently the Minister of the Interior was not in that warm current.
Mr. SPEAKER. Is the hon. gentleman bringing up some new matters? I would 1865 MARCH 1, 1905 remind him that he has already spoken once.
Mr. FOSTER. I spoke not on the adjournment but on the ministerial explanation, and I am now calling the attention of the First Minister to the question I have just put. I also want to call his attention to something else. It is in the interests of the country that we should know whether two or three days ago, after conferring with the Minister of the Interior, my right hon. friend still had hopes that the Minister of the Interior would accede to what was evidently a proposition put to him, possibly in modification of this clause of the Bill, and that his resignation at the last moment came as a disappointment. It would be interesting to the House to know whether the right hon. gentleman made any advance towards a compromise in the Bill as presented, in order to retain his colleague in the cabinet. I want to call to the attention of my right hon. friend two other matters, which I may as well bring before him now, as otherwise I should have to call his attention to them later. I find that in the printed Bill there are material alterations as compared with the Bill laid on the table, when introduced by the right hon. gentleman.  What is the cause for these modifications? Have some modifications been made between the time this Bill was introduced and the time when it was sent to the printer, with a view of retaining in the government the Minister of the Interior or any other aggrieved minister? When my hon. friend here to my right asked for the printing of a larger number of copies of the Bill, it struck me that perhaps there was method in not printing too many copies, because, before the next printing takes place, it may possibly be that some other clauses will be modified in order to retain members who are at present recalcitrant, or to gain the favour of those who are opposed to the Bill as it stands. But I call my right hon. friend's attention to this peculiarity, that some of the clauses of the Bill which he put in Mr. Speaker's hands do not appear in these Bills, the swamp lands clause for instance.
Sir WILFRID LAURIER. I think the  hon. gentleman is mistaken.
Mr. FOSTER.  I think not.  I had a copy of the Bill and read it, and I am sure that was not in the Bill. I merely mention the matter so that the right hon. gentleman may notice it. There is one other thing I would like to speak of. We have had placed in our hands what purports to be a history from oflicial sources of the legislation of the united provinces of the Dominion since confederation. I do not know to whose courtesy we are indebted for this. It is useful in its way, so far as it goes. But it has been stated in the public press that it was arranged and collated by the Secretary of State, 1866 and publicity has been given to that statement, and it is believed by a great many people. I do not know whether that is the case or not. I have no objection to the government giving us all and the fullest information with reference to the subject, but I do object to the government putting anything in circulation as official information if it has been done under the auspices I have mentioned, and as has been reported in the press, because the information is more than a statement of facts, and is shaped into an argument from the beginning to snpport the contention of the government. I hope my right hon. friend will be able to say that this has not been prepared by the government or any member of the government, or officials connected with the government. It seems to bear the impress of being printed in the Government Printing Bureau, though that may not be the case. However, as that has been current, I bring it to the attention of my right hon. friend so that he may mention it, if he will be kind enough to do so, in connection with the other points I have raised.
Hon. JOHN HAGGART (South Lanark). In order to emphasize some of the remarks of the hon. member for North Toronto (Mr. Foster) I wish to draw the attention of the premier to a statement he made in the ministerial correspondence which he read as having taken place between him and his late colleague. It is to my mind a very curious statement. He said that in consultation with his colleague he hoped he would be able to yield somewhat to his views so as to retain him in the cabinet. Now what the House wants is a clear cut statement from the premier whether he is wedded to that particular clause of the Bill regarding separate schools, or whether he is prepared to do what his colleague wishes him to do in order to retain him in the cabinet, and in order to meet the wishes of a great number of his supporters in the House in that direction. The difficulties may be all removed, there may be such an alteration in that clause as that it may receive the support of the whole House.
Sir WILFRID LAURIER. I have no observation of any kind to offer to the House on this occasion, because the occasion does not call for any observation from me beyond the statement which has been made by myself and by my late colleague, the present member for Brandon (Mr. Sifton). The hon. member for South York (Mr. Maclean) knows better than anybody that on such an occasion ministerial explanations are to be given when a gentleman withdraws from the administration, and it is left to the prime minister and to the minister withdrawing to make such explanations as they deem fit. I rise simply to answer one question, though it is not at all pertinent to the issue, because everything that has been said here on this occasion beyond that which 1867 COMMONS refers to the withdrawal from the cabinet, is aside altogether from the issue. But the hon. gentleman has questioned me with regard to a pamphlet which has been issued purporting to be certain collations from the debates of this House on a former occasion on the question of separate schools. I was not aware until this moment that this pamphlet had been distributed, and I shall make inquiry and ascertain who is responsible for it. I do not mean any discourtesy to the House, on the contrary ; the House is entitled to the amplest information, and that it shall have at all times, and I hope before this matter is settled. But many of the matters which have been introduced today are absolutely foreign to the question which I was forced to bring before the House, that is to say the resignation of my hon. friend from Brandon. The other questions will come up at a later date. Some remarks have been made, for instance, by the hon. member for South Wellington (Mr. Guthrie) when he said that this Bill had been before the House for two sessions. That was evidently a slip of the tongue, and was easily answered. My hon. friend meant only to say that the question of autonomy had been discussed for two sessions. Everybody knows, especially the members who were in the old parliament, that for the last two sessions the question of autonomy for the Territories has been under discussion ; I presume that is what my hon. friend had in his mind when he spoke on this Bill. But the only object I had in rising was to refer to a statement—not a statement but an insinuation, made, I think, by the hon. member for South York. The hon. gentleman insinuated that in bringing forward this measure there was an intention on my part in some way to get rid of the Minister of the Interior. I simply notice the statement to give it the most emphatic denial that I can. Whatever may be the differences of opinion between myself and my late colleague, I am sure he will acquit me of having had any idea of acting deceitfully towards him. I am sure that no one knows better than himself that it is with extreme regret that I have to lose his valuable services, and if I could have retained them 1 would have done so with great pleasure. When the hon. member for South York insinuates that I was conspiring in some way to get rid of my hon. friend from Brandon he makes an insinuation which is absolutely eithout the shadow of foundation.
Mr. SPROULE. We are entitled to some information showing why we cannot get more copies of the Bill.
Sir WILFRID LAURIER. My hon. friend is very persistent in his question. I may say at once that this matter of printing is not in my department, it is in the hands of the Secretary of State. The hon. gentleman will not be surprised perhaps to learn 1868 that I have many things to attend to these days, but I will not forget the subject and will communicate directly with the Secretary or' State.
Motion (Mr. W. F. Maclean) to adjourn, negatived.


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



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