House of Commons, 24 March 1905, Canadian Confederation with Alberta and Saskatchewan

3089 MARCH 24, 1905


FRIDAY, March 24, 1905.
The SPEAKER took the Chair at Three o'clock.


That Mr. Sam. Hughes be appointed a member of the Debates Committee, vice Mr. E. F. Clarke. deceased.
That the names of Mr. A. Lachance, M.P., for Quebec Centre, and Mr. Devlin, M.P. for Wright county, be added to the Railway Committee and the Private Bills Committee.


Bill (No. 127) for the relief of James Arthur Prior.—Mr. Calvert.
Bill (No. 126) for the relief of Edward Albert Murphy.—Mr. Grant.


Hon. GEO. E. FOSTER (North Toronto). Before the Orders of the Day are called, I would like to call the attention of the First Minister again to the information asked for on February 21 by the member for Carleton, Ontario (Mr. R. L. Borden), and not yet brought down, to which attention has been called on more than one occasion. Amongst other important things which we can scarcely do without in debating this question, he asked for the centres of population and the tendency of immigration since 1901, for the lands bonded for homestead purposes, the lands granted to the Canadian Pacific Railway Company, and what portion of them yet remains to be selected in the territory comprising these two provinces ; the lands remaining invested in the Crown, a very important point if we are to take up the consideration of the financial aspect of this question. He also asked for the practical condition of education in the Territories at present. This would include, of course, the number of schools—public schools. denominational schools, or separate schools so- called. All that is information which the First Minister will see is pertinent to the discussion which is now going on.
Sir WILFRID LAURIER. I think that a great deal of this information is already before the House ; for instance, the homesteads granted have, I think, been brought down. I shall inquire. A return has, I think, been brought down already showing that all the lands have been selected by the Canadian Pacific Railway to which it is entitled. The information about the condition of the schools is information which is not at all hard to get ; it will be in the library and elsewhere, but I shall, if it is thought advisable, try to have it collected.
Mr. FOSTER. It would seem to me that some such statement as the Finance Department made with reference to the different financial conditions since confederation ought to be put in the form of a memorandum embracing that information. Such a memorandum would be very useful. It would be authoritative, and that is what we want.


House resumed adjourned debate on the proposed motion of Sir Wilfrid Laurier for the second reading of Bill (No. 69) to establish and provide for the government of the province of Alberta, and the amendment of Mr. Borden thereto.
Hon. CLIFFORD SIFTON (Brandon). Mr. Speaker I have been, upon a considerable number of important occasions, called upon to address the House ; and upon a good many of these occasions, as I have risen, I have felt confident that at least a considerable section of the House would regard with approval the remarks I desired to make. But I confess that, upon the present occasion, although my old friends have been kind enough to receive me with some applause as I rose, I do not exactly feel the confidence of former occasions that everything I shall say will meet with their approval.
It surely must be regarded as the irony of political fortune that the introduction of this Bill, a Bill for the creation of the two new provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan, covering territory the administration of which has been my peculiar charge for the last eight years, and to the development of which I have given whatever of capacity and energy I may have possessed in official life, and have given it freely and I might almost say with an affectionate solicitude for their welfare ; I say it must be regarded as the irony of political fortune that the introduction of this Bill should be the occasion also of my retirement from the office I held under the right hon. gentleman (Sir Wilfrid Laurier) who leads the government, and the severance of my official relations with the party with which I have had official relations now for some fourteen years.
It was necessary for me, Mr. Speaker, when giving to the House a statement of the reasons for my resignation—it being the constitutional practice to make such a statement—to say that the educational clauses of this Bill had not been before me prior to its introduction to the House. I was careful to say in that statement, although briefly, that the same thing did not apply to the other features of the Bill, or did not apply to its principles, because I had had an opportunity to give my advice to my colleagues upon the other portions of the Bill. Nevertheless some, as I think, rather ill-natured, comments were addressed to the Prime Minister in criticism of his alleged preparation of this Bill, or allowing it to be prepared, without consultation with or advice from the minister who must, under the circumstances, be supposed to have been in the best position to give him advice. These criticisms of which I speak are wholly without justification in the facts of the case. The belief that the Northwest Territories were to be given provincial autonomy is one that, in all the discussions which have taken place has, been forming itself not only in the minds of the members of the government. but in the minds of members of the House during the last few years. There may have been discussions in this House as to the particular time. But the subject has been present to our minds.
3093 MARCH 24, 1905
And for the last three years, I may say, I have myself, upon various occasions, given the most careful attention to the important provisions which necessarily would come within the purview of the Bill. As was explained by my hon. friend the Minister of Justice (Mr. Fitzpatrick) the other evening, before leaving Ottawa, as I was obliged to do about the New Year, I took occasion to put in writing, with sufficient fullness, the views which I entertained in regard to the important features of the Bill. This memorandum was placed in the possession of my colleagues so that they had the benefit of my suggestions, as also had the Prime Minister in the course of correspondence which he did me the honour to have with me upon various questions which arose during the discussions which took place from time to time while I was absent. I gave my advice to the best of my ability. And I may say, so far as that is concerned, that in the main, other than as refers to the question of education, and although there are some variations of detail—in the main, 1 say, and substantially, the Bill I recommended to my late colleagues is the Bill which has been introduced. There are some matters of detail respecting which difficulties arose, and different decisions were arrived at in the course of the discussions which took place with the representatives of the Northwest Territories. These were inevitable. But, substantially the provisions of the Bill are in accordance with the views I had formed in the course of my administration of that country.
So far as the question of the number of provinces is concerned, I formed the opinion which, I think, will be shared by almost every person on careful investigation of the case, that it was not desirable that this vast territory should be formed into one province. Certainly it was not desirable to carry out the old idea which prevailed that there were to be four provinces. I think the best opinion of the House will be met by the decision which the government has reached, that the medium course should be taken, and, that instead of one or four, we should have two provinces. Not only is the question of area to be considered as was shown by the Prime Minister in his remarks in introducing the Bill, but you must consider also the even more important question of population. The population of this one province, if this territory were made into one province, would eventually have such a preponderance as compared with the other provinces that it could not be said to be wise to make such an arrangement. These provinces are composed of territories which, almost acre for acre, is arable land and capable of sustaining population. No other provinces in the Dominion can be similarly described. And to make one province of that particular territory whose capacity for sustaining population is, on the average, so much greater than that of any 3094 other province in the Dominion, giving it ultimately so much greater population than the other provinces, would certainly and obviously be unwise. Other considerations supported the same conclusion. The western and eastern portions of this territory lend themselves to different industrial conditions. Great grazing areas exist in the west such as are not found in the east. Mining possibilities on a large scale are to be found in the western part of the territory, and in the north, towards Edmonton, we have what is known as a mixed-farming district. Different classes of local legislation will be needed, and different conditions must be recognized in the two portions of the territory. Everybody who knows the conditions of that territory will be satisfied that the best results will result from having two local governments and two legislatures. Each of these legislatures and each of these administrations will have ample scope for all the energy it may see fit to display in the development of the resources of the great territory which is committed to its charge. And this parliament may be satisfied, I think, that that arrangement which is suggested will give the surest guarantee that the future development of these territories will be best facilitated.
While on the question of boundaries, I may say, having reference, for a moment, to a statement made by Mr. Haultain in an open letter addressed to the Prime Minister, that I also suggested, and it was my idea, that the dividing line between the two new provinces should be about sixty miles further east than that which is provided for by the Bill. It was in the discussions which took place with the government that the present arrangement was arrived at. I have not heard the reasons which have led to this conclusion but I have no doubt that the conclusion thus arrived at after careful consideration, will be found upon the whole to be that which is supported by the best reasons. This in any event is a small difference of detail.
But there is one other point I will suggest, perhaps more for the future consideration of the House than for present consideration, that there should be some different principle adopted. I see no reason why these provinces should not extend to the northern boundary of the mainland of Canada. The experience which I have had in the Department of the Interior has led me irresistibly to the conclusion that just so soon as it is possible to do so, the federal government should divest itself of the local administration of distant territory : and therefore I see no reason why, in so far as the administration of these Northwest Territories come within the scope of provincial legislation, that their administration should not be carried on by the local legislatures that we are to establish. That however is not an insuperable objection. The Territories of course still remain the property of 3095 Canada, and if it be thought wise at a future date they can be added to the provinces which we are now forming.
Upon the question of the lands which has been discussed at some length, I have very clear and positive opinions. I regard the question of a successful settlement policy—and my opinion is not changed by the fact that this policy may now require to be carried on under somebody else's supervision—I regard the question of a successful settlement policy in Canada as perhaps one of the most important, if not the most important of all subjects with which we have to deal. For the last two or three years especially, we have seen the effect of the small beginnings of success of the policy of settling vacant lands of the west upon the general prosperity of Canada, and I think every serious minded man will admit that under no possible circumstances would this parliament be justified in taking any step which would imperil in the slightest degree the success of the immigration policy which we have been carrying on, and which the government proposes to carry on in the future. That is a thing which demands the most careful thought and consideration at the hands of this parliament. It was suggested by the leader of the opposition, and has been suggested by others who take the opposite view, that the handing over of the public lands of the Territories to the provincial government would not seriously interfere with the conduct of immigration. Well, Mr. Speaker, I have had on my shoulders the duty of carrying on a policy of immigration, and of harmonizing the operations of the lands department of the government and of the immigration department for the last eight years, and it taxes the efforts of the department to the utmost, when both the land department and the immigration branch are in the same hands and under the same control, to avoid the difficulties which constantly present themselves in the administration of this work. It would be difficult satisfactorily to carry on that work even if we had the land department in another branch of the same government ; it would be embarrassing and difficult to an extent that few men appreciate who have not had the duty of actually carrying on this business. But if you hand over the land to three provincial governments—because you would have to treat Manitoba in the same way as you are treating the Territories—if you hand over the land to three separate provincial governments. each with its own ideas of policy, each with its own Minister of Crown Lands, and if the federal government has to deal with three provincial governments, every man who knows anything about doing business between governments must know that it would be absolutely impossible that satisfactory results could be achieved. It is 3096 not necessary to suggest that the provincial governments would do anything that is wrong, it is not necessary to suggest that they would be improvident, that they do not know how to carry on business as well as we do. The people of the west are just as capable as the people in any other part of the Dominion ; they are extremely capable, and when they achieve provincial status, if these lands were handed over to them, they would do precisely what people in the other provinces would do, they would administer these lands just as they saw fit and in accordance with their own ideas of policy. The result would be that you would have three governments to deal with, each with its own idea of policy, each with its Minister of Crown Lands, and possibly no two of them with the same ideas as to the policy that should be carried out in respect to this subject. It might be, Mr. Speaker, and probably would be, that instead of administering these lands for the purpose of settlement they would administer them for the purpose of revenue, and I do not know that we could blame them very much if they did so. But if they did that, the result would be that the settlement policy of the country would stop.
It would be quite as impossible to give those lands to the provinces with a limitation that they should carry on a homestead policy. A homestead policy would have to be carried out by provincial officers. And moreover the very day you gave these lands to the provinces with any limitation whatever, you would find an agitation arising to remove all limitations, and you would have that question on the floor of the House at every session of parliament. So, Mr. Speaker, I am clear upon that point ; and if there is anything I can say to the members of this House that I think should commend itself to the judgment of both sides, I would say that nothing could be done which would more certainly imperil a successful settlement policy upon which the greatness and increase in the financial strength and resources of Canada depend, than, under any circumstances, to allow the public lands of the prairie provinces to pass from the control of the Dominion government.
As to the financial provisions, Mr. Speaker, I think they are generous and liberal, but I do not think they are too generous or too liberal. We expect that these great provinces will play a great part in the history of Canada, and it is creditable to us that on both sides there has come nothing but approval of the liberal and generous treatment accorded by the government to these new provinces upon the inception of their provincial career. Let me say, however, Mr. Speaker, not wishing to say anything ungracious or to throw a note of discord into the discussion of this subject, that there is one suggestion which I desire to 3097 MARCH 24, 1905 make to the right hon. gentleman who leads the government, and it is this : I find in this clause of the Bill relating to the compensation for lands that such compensation is based upon an estimated acreage and upon a price, and the price put upon that estimated acreage is, I think, $1.50 an acre. I have no fault to find with the amount which has been decided upon, and which the government proposes to give. I think it is reasonable and liberal, I think it is generous, and 1 am quite prepared to agree with it. But I submit that the amount should be fixed arbitrarily, it should not be fixed by a reference to the number of millions of acres of land, nor the price per acre. The moment I laid my eyes upon that clause I felt it was a mistake, and I felt that just as soon as it was published the representatives of the Territories would say : You have by this clause admitted that we are entitled to the beneficial ownership of these lands, you have admitted that we are the owners of these lands in fact, beneficially at least if not in law, by the very fact that you are basing the compensation you give us upon the acreage of the provinces. And so within a few days after the Bill was published and before parliament gave assent to it, our good friend Mr. Haultain seized upon this phase of the Bill to present an objection to the right hon. gentleman who leads the government. He immediately took the ground which it must be admitted he could take with some degree of force, that by that provision we admitted, impliedly at least, the right of the Territories to claim that they are the beneficial owners of the land.
What would be the effect ? The effect would be that if this passes into a statute it becomes an irrevocable Act because it does become an irrevocable Act as soon as parliament passes it. The effect would be that our friends of the Northwest Territories so soon as they desire to have their financial arrangements re-adjusted will claim that while we have admitted their ownership of the land they have not admitted our valuation of this land and we will find that the Territories as represented on the floor of this House will raise this question of the re-adjustment of the financial arrangements and we will have a question raised that will cause great embarrassment to succeeding governments in the future. I bring this point to the attention of my right hon. friend because I believe we are making a mistake in regard to it. It may perhaps appear to be a matter of detail at the present time but it will not be found to be a matter of detail in future years and it is not too late to remedy it if, in the judgment of the government and of the House, the argument that I address to the House on this subject is correct.
Another point which was raised, espec 3098 ially by Mr. Haultain, in the letter which he addressed to my right hon. friend the hon. leader of the government, was that respecting legislation, on the subject of irrigation. That is a subject of vast importance in the Northwest Territories, and I must say that I take the responsibility of having, in all probability, induced my colleagues to accept the view which is the effect of the Bill that is before the House ; that is to say, that the subject of irrigation for the present should be retained within the control of the federal government. The reasons can be given in a few words and to my mind they are absolutely conclusive. At the present time the right to use some of the principal streams which are of the utmost importance in connection with the irrigation in the Northwest Territories, is a subject of discussion between Canada and the United States and international complications have already arisen in regard to these streams. Obviously, if irrigation were under the administration of two provincial governments, it would be difficult to adjust a question such as that. In addition to that questions are going to arise in a comparatively short time between the residents of the western province and the residents of the eastern province in regard to the right of user of the water of these streams which flow from one into the other. It would seem to me most desirable, until the difficulties respecting international questions and the difficulties respecting interprovincial questions are settled, and until the irrigation system is further developed and a body of law upon the subject is built up, that the control should remain in the hands of the federal government. When a few years have elapsed, when the system is more fully developed, when it becomes a matter merely of local administration then there seems to be no good reason why the subject should not be relegated to the provincial governments.
As I explained a few days ago, the terms of the educational clause of this Bill which was introduced into the House and some of the remarks made by my right hon. friend the leader of the government were the cause of my resigning from the government as a protest against the terms of that clause and the principles to which it was designed to give effect. I have nothing to add to that statement now except to say that while my action was in no sense or nature due to experiencing any feeling of personal pique, yet I did feel, in addition to what I said upon a former occasion, that the right hon. gentleman had not been well advised in bringing this clause to the House of Commons and presenting it to the House without giving me an opportunity of expressing such views as I might desire to offer on the subject. I say I have nothing now to add to what has been said upon that subject and I merer desire, with the 3099 indulgence of the House, to proceed to the discussion of the sections we have before us—the original section and the amended section—and to give the reasons which have guided me in coming to the conclusion at which I have arrived as to the support of this Bill or otherwise. I am in a somewhat peculiar position, Mr. Speaker, finding as I do that I agree much more with the statements of my hon. friend the leader of the opposition (Mr. R. L. Borden) than with the statements and arguments of my right hon. friend the leader of the government who is my party leader and who was my leader in the government for so many years. Nevertheless, the conclusion at which I arrived will probably not be the same as that of the hon. leader of the opposition. In the first place let me say that I think he was wrong in his view— and I agree with my hon. friend the Minister of Finance (Mr. Fielding) in this— that when we are about to consider legislation which will bring a certain state of affairs into existence in the Northwest Territories, we should shut our eyes absolutely and entirely to the examination of the actual educational effect of the proposal before us. It seems to me that almost everybody will agree with my hon. friend the Minister of Finance that the man in the street, hearing the hon. gentleman who leads the opposition say that he stands by the constitution, and hearing the right hon. gentleman who leads the government say that upon the rock of the constitution he stands, and seeing these two hon. gentlemen both standing on the rock of the constitution but coming to diametrically opposite conclusions will be likely to say : I cannot hope to understand the law or the constitution, but I do want to know what kind of schools they are going to have in the Northwest Territories. Therefore, I desire to address a few words to the House upon that which I think will interest not only the man in the street, but some of the men in the House upon the subject of the nature of the schools we have in the Northwest and the kind of schools we shall have after this Bill is passed. I am not going to enter into questions as to the manner in which legislation has been passed or the remarks which have been made by legislators when it has been passed. My right hon. friend the leader of the government, in the remarks which he made to the House upon two occasions, or at least upon the first occasion, discussed at length the method under which the educational legislation affecting the Northwest Territories was first introduced. That discussion has been amplified by my hon. friend the Minister of Finance in the remarks which he made the other evening, and I shall not attempt to add anything to what my hon. friend the Minister of Finance has said or to what I believe to be the accurate discussion which we have listened to on that subject. But, I do desire to call the attention of hon. members 3100 of the House, for the purposes of my argument, to the actual terms of the Act of 1875. The clause which is the basis of all that has followed reads as follows :
When and so soon as any system of taxation shall be adopted in any district or portion of the Northwest Territories, the Lieutenant Governor, by and with the consent of the council or assembly, as the case may he, shall pass all necessary ordinances in respect to education, but it shall therein be always provided that a majority of the ratepayers of any district or portion of the Northwest Territories, or any lesser portion or subdivision thereof, by whatever name the same may be known, may establish such schools therein as they may think fit, and make the necessary assessment and collection of rates therefor ; and, further, that the minority of the ratepayers therein, whether Protestant or Roman Catholic, may establish separate schools therein, and that in such latter case the ratepayers establishing such Protestant or Roman Catholic separate schools shall be liable only to assessments of such rates as they may impose upon themselves in respect thereof.
That was the clause in the Act of 1875. I read it because it is important in view of the remarks I intend to address to the House, that its exact terms should be in the minds of the gentlemen who are honouring me with their attention.
What followed the passage of this law ? There was established in the Northwest Territories a complete dual system of schools ; a system of schools under which the denomination regulated the text books, and the conduct of the schools and by which everything that appertained to the Roman Catholic schools was directly under the control of a Roman Catholic board of education. We had in the Northwest Territories at that time, under that Act. to all intents and purposes what are generally known as church schools or clerically controlled schools. That was the system that was built up under this Act of 1875. It went on for some time. It was exactly the same system—I do not know as to the efficiency, for I am not familiar with that—but in principle it was the same system we had in Manitoba up to the year 1890. when it was abolished by the Public School Act of that year. This system went on for some time in the Territories, and then the legislature began to interfere and to curtail the privileges of the separate schools. This curtailment proceeded from time to time until the year 1892 when what was known as the dual system was entirely swept away and that system which we have in the Northwest Territories, substantially as we have it at present, was established. I am not going to trouble the House with any lengthy quotations, but I desire to point out what was conceived by the people of the Northwest Territories connected with these schools, to be the effect of the legislation of 1892. The quotations which I shall give will be found in the papers presented to the federal government when a 3101 MARCH 24, 1905 petition was presented for the disallowance of the Act ; because, when the old privileges of minority schools were abolishd finally by the Act of 1892, a petition was taken by the Roman Catholic clergy to the federal authority asking that the ordinances of the Northwest Territories of 1892 should be disallowed, and in support of that petition many documents were filed, from which a few extracts will probably help to clear our minds as to what actually took place then and what the changes in the school system were. The statement made by Mr. Forget was as follows :
Until the date of the ordinance of 1892 we had never been denied the right to administer our schools, to regulate the programme of studies, to choose the text books, to control the religious instruction and to authorize the use of the French language whenever thought convenient. These rights were exercised by the Catholic section of the board at education, and strictly speaking they were sufficient to preserve to our schools their distinctive character of Catholic schools.
That is what was said by Mr. Forget the present Lieutenant Governor of the Northwest Territories, and at that time one of the members of the Catholic board of education. He continued :
Now all this has disappeared, the board of education no longer exists nor its sections.
He refers to the Catholic and Protestant sections of the board.
All the schools, public and separate, Catholic and Protestant, are placed by the ordinance of 1892 under the direct control of a Protestant superintendent of education and of a council of public instruction.
Mr. Forget of course does not mean that the ordinances said the superintendent should be a Protestant, but that as a matter of fact it provided for a superintendent, and the man who was appointed was a Protestant.
And a council of public instruction, composed of the members of the executive committee, in which the Catholics have not one single representative.
That, I may say is not the case now. The ordinance very properly I think under the circumstances now provides that a certain number of members shall be Roman Catholics. We have another statement made by Mgr. Taché, late Archbishop of St. Boniface, a most distinguished and able prelate of the Roman Catholic church. In one of the documents addressed to the government on the subject he said :
The petitioners had this and other dangers in view when they said :
The effect of the ordinance is to deprive the Catholic separate schools of that character which differentiates them from public or Protestant schools and to leave them Catholic separate schools in name only, and such it is submitted is its obviously necessary effect.
Again on page 62 Archbishop Taché says:
In spite of all these protestations this ordinance in the dispositions which concerned us had and could have had but one object, that is, the abolition of all distinct character of our schools. Thanks to that ordinance and to the regulations of the council of public instruction which followed, this end has been to-day practically attained. Nothing essential now distinguishes the Catholic schools from the Protestant schools but the designation, now ironical, of separate schools.
Judge Rouleau, another member of the Catholic board said (page 341) :
After mature examination of this ordinance I have come to the conclusion that it is ultra vires of the powers of the legislative assembly, for, amongst others the following reasons :
1. Because it is not provided by the said ordinance that the separate schools should be governed and controlled by the minority, but that they are in fact controlled and governed by the majority. In a word, we have no separate school system such as provided by the spirit of the law, chapter 55, section 14, of the Act of 1875.
3. Because the section 32 of the said ordinance is in contradiction of section 14 of the Northwest Territories Act, in that it limits the rights of the minority more than it is limited by the said section 14. But of course the principal objection of the Catholics to the school ordinance is the absolute control, the choice of text books, the school inspection and so forth by the Protestant majority. If separate schools exist now in name they do not exist in fact.
I have read these extracts for the purpose of showing that when the ordinance of 1892 was passed the distinctive character of these schools as separate schools, as denominational schools, as schools controlled by a sectarian body for sectarian purposes, absolutely disappeared. We have here the statement made by these gentlemen for the purpose of bringing the matter before the executive of Canada at that time, and in which they set out their grievances clearly and distinctly and in the most moderate terms. We have it that the clerical control of these schools was absolutely abolished. Every one recognized that it was absolutely abolished and in addition to that, I desire to say—whatever we may think of the justification for the action which was taken—it seems to me perfectly clear, that in abolishing the distinctive character of the schools, the legislature of the Northwest Territories did go beyond the powers that were bestowed upon it by this section of the Act of 1875. Upon that point Sir John Thompson expressed his opinion. In making a report on one of the ordinances passed shortly before 1892, but somewhat similar in its effect—not so sweeping in its effect—Sir John Thompson in substance reported, that this ordinance, contracts or diminishes the rights of minorities to an extent not contemplated by the Act of 1875, and that the Act of 1875 must nevertheless be held to remain in force notwithstanding the passage of the ordinance.
Now, Mr. Speaker, we have in the Northwest Territories at the present time, this system of public schools which was established by the Act of 1892 and referred to in the statements which I have read. I have endeavoured from a careful study of the ordinances : ordinance 29, which provides for the establishment of the schools, ordinance 30 which provides for the method of school assessment and ordinance 31 which provides for the distribution of the legislative grant—having reference to the efficiency of the schools and paying by results ; rewarding the school which is efficient at the expense of the school which is not efficient, and thus introducing a good and sound principle into the education of the Territories—I have endeavoured by a careful study of these ordinances to come to clear and definite conclusions as to the main characteristics of the school system which exists there at the present time.
Now, what are the characteristics of this school system ? My hon. friend the Minister of Customs discussed the matter with great clearness last evening, and read from the ordinances to give the House a definite idea of what the condition of affairs was. Let me give what I conceive to be an accurate resumé of the principles which are enforced and carried out by these ordinances. We have one normal school with uniform normal training for all teachers, and when I say all teachers, I mean teachers of all schools, separate and public ; uniform curricula and courses of study for all schools of the same grade ; uniform text books for all schools ; uniform qualification of teachers for all schools ; complete and absolute control of all schools as to their government and conduct, by the central school authority set up by the legislature under the ordinances ; complete secularization of all schools between 9 o'clock in the morning and 3.30 in the afternoon, except that any school, if the trustees so desire, may be opened with the Lord's prayer ; distribution of the legislative grant to all schools according to educational efficiency on principles set out in chapter 31.
Then, where there is a public school, the minority, Protestant or Roman Catholic, may organize a separate school ; but every separate school is subject absolutely to all the foregoing provisions, and is in every sense of the term a public school. If the Protestants are in the minority in a district, their school is called a separate school; if the Catholics are in the minority in a district, their school is called a separate school; but both are public schools. They are absolutely similar save for one distinction: where the trustees are Protestant, there is Protestant teaching from half-past three to four, and where the trustees are Roman Catholic there is Roman Catholic teaching from half- past three to four. That is absolutely the only distinction between these schools.
Now, we are about to form two provinces, 3104 and we have to deal with the educational subject. My right hon. friend the Prime Minister says it was his intention by the legislation which he proposed, to continue the existing system in the Northwest Territories; and I accept that statement, of course, as expressing his intentions. My hon. friend the Minister of Justice (Hon. Chas. Fitzpatrick) the other evening accepted, as I understood, the responsibility for drawing the clause which contained the educational provisions, and I understood him also to say that the intention was to continue the existing state of affairs. Nobody would think of holding the Prime Minister responsible for the exact drafting of this clause, and I suppose it is not likely that my hon. friend the Minister of Justice drew it either. But I am bound to say, Mr. Speaker, that when my hon. friend the Minister of Justice employed a draftsman to draw this clause, with instructions to maintain only the existing state of affairs in the Northwest Territories, the draughtsman either wholly misunderstood his instructions or he possessed a most remarkable faculty for covering things which were not covered by his instructions. I propose to devote three or four minutes to an examination of this clause for the purpose of showing what I think it means. I am not going to address a lengthy legal argument to the House on this subject. When this clause was introduced by the government of which I was then a member, I conceived it to be my duty to protest against it, and to carry my protest to the extent of laying down the seals of office. I have no regret for the action I took. I think I then understood what the clause meant, and I think I now understand what it means; and while it is perhaps of no moment whatever to convince anybody who may have any doubts on the subject, or who may be difficult to convince as to what this clause means, it is unquestionably my duty, speaking to this House on this occasion. to say what I thought this clause meant, and what I think it means now, and why I felt called upon to make the protest that I did. In the Bill for the purpose of creating the territory of Saskatchewan, section 16, is the educational clause. It consists of three subsections. It says in the first place :
The provisions of section 93 of the British North America Act, 1867, shall apply to the said province 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.
Now, what does that subsection do ? It applies to the new provinces the provisions of section 93 of the British North America Act, which we all know by heart :
In and for each province the legislature may exclusively make laws in relation to education, 3105 MARCH 24, 1905 subject and according to the following provisions :
1. Nothing in any such law shall prejudicially affect any right or privilege with respect to denominational schools which any class of persons have by law in the province at the union.
Inasmuch as ' the union ' is made to mean the date of the passing of this Act, and the word ' province ' is changed to ' territory,' this subsection would read :
Nothing in any such law shall prejudicially affect any right or privilege with respect to denominational schools which any class of persons have by law in the territory at the time when this Act comes into effect.
What would that preserve ? First of all, Mr. Speaker, it would preserve everything that is set out in chapters 29, 30 and 31 of the ordinances ; there cannot be any possible doubt about that. In the next place, it might preserve everything that is set out in section 14 of the Act of 1875. It might, and it might not. It might be held by a court that the privileges held by law at the union were the privileges de facto possessed under the ordinances as they existed at the union, and the court might refuse to go back to the provisions of the Act of 1875. it is evident that there was a doubt about this, because the Bill re-enacts clause 14 of the Act of 1875, and thus it is revived, crystallized and made absolutely certain. I have pointed out to you what Mr. Forget, Mr. Justice Rouleau, Archbishop Taché, Sir John Thompson, and Mr. Haultain, thought as to the Act of 1875. It is the fact that under the Act of 1875, a complete dual system of clerical schools was established in the Northwest Territories, and it is the fact that legal authorities, like my friend Mr. Haultain, a quotation from whom I could read if I saw fit, like Sir John Thompson, to whom the matter was referred, thought that when those privileges were curtailed and taken away, they were taken away in defiance of the clause of the Act of 1875 which we find in substance in clause 16 of the Bill before the House. Therefore we should have the privileges by this Act retained as they are in chapters 29, 30 and 31, of the ordinance of 1901 and as they are in the Act of 1875.
Now, what more ? Here is subsection 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 separate schools.
It does not stop there.
There shall be no discrimination between the public schools and the separate schools, and such moneys shall be applied to the support of the public and separate schools in equitable shares or proportion.
I have had something to do with the administration of school laws. For a number 3106 of years a good deal of my time was spent in dealing with subjects of that kind, and I can give to the House my opinion, which they can take for what it is worth, but I am fairly confident that it is an opinion that will be justified by any court to which it may be referred, that the effect of that clause will be that if twenty years from now the province of Alberta undertook to apropriate $250,000 to build and equip a provincial university, a proportionate amount of money, proportionate to the number of separate schools as compared with the public schools, would have to be set aside for the establishment of a separate school institution. That is the opinion I have upon that clause ; that is the opinion I expressed to the Prime Minister at the time I objected to the clause, and I say it would be impossible for us to pass that clause, to allow it to go into effect, without putting a constitutional, irrevocable earmark upon the public funds of the Northwest Territories and upon the $50,000,000 worth of public lands that are in the public school trust. We would earmark that fund for ever, and would compel the legislatures of these provinces to divide that money, and in all probability to constitute one of the greatest endowments of sectarian education that has ever been proposed. That is the proposition which I understand to be concealed—partly concealed, not concealed to me—which I understand to be expressed by the terms of this clause.
I have been always a strong party man. I do not think that my political friends in past years have had any cause to complain that I have not been willing to do my share of the fighting, or that I have not been willing to take my share of the blame. If men are going to act together politically, when one makes a mistake the rest have to take the blame, and I have always been willing to take my share of the blame, and have always been willing to shoulder the load along with the rest. But I declare, and I am serious—if I had not been serious about it I would still have been a member of the government—I declare that I would join with anybody in Canada to resist the passage of that Bill in the terms in which it was placed before the House by my right hon. friend (Sir Wilfrid Laurier). I have nothing more to say with regard to that. It was an unpleasant necessity for me to speak of it, but there are occasions on which people have to do things which constitute a very unpleasant necessity.
We have before us now a different proposition. My hon. friend the leader of the opposition says that he cannot see any difference between this proposition and the other.
Mr. R. L. BORDEN. The words that I used were that I saw no difference ' in principle.'
Mr. SIFTON. ' In substance ' the hon. gentleman said.
Mr. R. L. BORDEN. Perhaps I may have said ' substance ' as well.
Mr. SIFTON. The hon. gentleman said ' substance,' because I have it here, but if he intended to say ' principle,' I will not dispute over the word, because I think that, although my hon. friend and I may not be able to agree on many things, I could convince him that these clauses are very different. What is the effect of the clause now before us ? I like the first section for one thing, although for another thing I do not. I like it, in the first place, because it is clear. I am bound to say that I think one of the things that is important in legislation of this kind is that it shall be such that the people can understand it after it is passed, and shall not have to go into the courts and fight for years to find out what the law is. I think everybody can understand what this means
Nothing in any such law shall prejudicially affect any right or privilege with respect to separate schools which any class of persons have at the date of the passing of this Act, under the terms of chapters 29 and 30 of the ordinances of the Northwest Territories passed in the year 1901.
What does that preserve? I have read these ordinances through, and all that I can find this section to preserve—and it is an important thing—let us not exaggerate or minimize, let us know exactly what we are doing—I think that this is what we are doing and all that we are doing. This section preserves the right of the Protestant or Roman Catholic minority to have their school, a separate school in name, but a public school in fact, in a separate building if they wish. That is the right it preserves. It preserves, secondly, the right of the Protestant or Roman Catholic minority in such school to have religious teaching from 3.30 to 4 o'clock in the afternoon. The hon. gentleman from East Grey endeavoured to work on our sympathies yesterday by referring to the difficulties which some Protestant families in Quebec have, because they have to attend what is, to all intents and purposes, a denominational Catholic school, and I understood the hon. gentleman to be arguing against the proposal which is contained in this Bill when he cited that fact as an illustration of the evils of separate schools.
Mr. SPROULE. I wish to say to the hon. gentleman that I never contemplated advancing that as an argument at all, but I gave it as an answer—
An hon. MEMBER. Did anybody give him credit for an argument ?
Mr. SPROULE. If I am entitled to any respect from that side of the House, I ought to be at least able to say what I intended. I was giving it as an answer to the statement of the Prime Minister, who had said that in Quebec the Protestants have nothing to complain of. I was not advancing it as 3108 an argument with reference to the Northwest Territories.
Mr. SIFTON. If my hon. friend did not intend his argument to apply to the conditions of the Bill it will not be necessary for me to answer, but I may go on to say that if anybody else had in his mind any idea that difficulties of that kind would arise, he may disabuse his mind of the idea, because they cannot arise under the system which is proposed in this Bill. In the first place, there is no such thing as a denominational school. Whether it is a separate school or a public school, a Catholic separate school or a Protestant separate school, it is a secular school from 9 a.m. to 3.30 p.m. Then if the religious teaching which is given is contrary to the faith of the parents of a child attending it, there is a conscience clause that the child does not need to remain. So that there is absolutely no reason why any person should be embarrassed by the practice of the school system which is actually in effect in the Northwest Territories under these ordinances.
Now, something has been said–a good deal has been said—in the press about subsection 2, and I wish to say a word about that. The House, possibly, may well understand that I am not particularly enthusiastic about subsection 1, which provides for the establishment of separate schools in the Territories, as I would not be enthusiastic about any provision establishing separate schools of any kind. Only, I am not addressing the House with the idea of convincing hon. members that I am an enthusiastic supporter of this subsection 1, for I am not. But, if we are to have subsection 1, if we are to have a provision which allows the separate schools to be established, then, surely, Mr. Speaker, we ought also to have a provision making it certain that the separate schools may have in them the possibility of being efficient schools. Why, Sir, it would be a crime against education to crystallize in the law of the Northwest Territories a provision that such and such people should have the right to organize such and such schools as public schools and not to protect them in the right to get the money which will make those schools efficient and enable them to advance and increase in efficiency in accordance with the desires of the persons in charge of them. I hesitate to vote, I find great difficulty in bringing myself to vote, for subsection 1. But it seems to me obvious that subsection 1 without subsection 2 would be much more objectionable than the whole section is as it stands. I should think that, without subsection 2, the proposition of the government would be much more objectionable than it is. If I have made myself clear, it will be seen that my observations are addressed to those who look upon subsection 2 as a very outrageous interference with the control of public funds by the legislature of the province. It is an interference— 3109 MARCH 24, 1905 there can be no question about that. But, as I have said, it is an interference only to the extent of requiring that when a separate school absolutely and entirely complies with the law and then comes before the educational authorities and says : Having complied with the law, being, in every sense of the word a public school, but called a separate school only because we happen to be less in number than the people who organized the public school, we asked to be paid this money in proportion to the efficiency we can show we possess under the educational statutes which you have seen fit to pass—that, when that is shown, the money necessary to the efficiency of the schools shall be given. There is a theoretical—I imagine it would only prove to be a theoretical—interference with the control of the public funds to that extent; but that is the inevitable corollary of subsection 1 ; and I would object to subsection 1 establishing separate schools very much more if it were not accompanied with the provision that the schools established under subsection 1 should be entitled to receive their share of the legislative grant.
Mr. R. L. BORDEN. May I ask the hon. gentleman (Mr. Sifton) a question ? Because, he is very familiar with these ordinances. Subsection 2 says :
In the appropriation by the legislature or distribution by the government of the province of any money for the support of schools organized and carried on in accordance with said chapter 29 or any Act passed in amendment thereof or in substitution therefor, there shall be no discrimination against schools of any class described in said chapter 29.
If a university such as the hon. gentleman has mentioned should be established by an Act in amendment of or in substitution for the ordinances, what, in the hon. gentleman's opinion, will be the effect upon the application of public moneys ?
Mr. SIFTON. I would not think it necessary to give an opinion. Because, why in the name of common sense the legislature of Alberta, when establishing a university, should establish it by an amendment of the school ordinance, I cannot possibly conceive. And, if knowing that in taking such a course, they were going to make themselves liable to a division of the funds, they had so little intelligence as to take it, I do not think this parliament can see far enough ahead to protect them against the consequences of their lack of foresight. I can tell my hon. friend (Mr. R. L. Borden) that my hon. friend from Edmonton (Mr. Oliver) is the kind of man they have in the district of Alberta ; and I want to ask him if he thinks that my hon. friend from Edmonton, if he were in the legislative assembly of Alberta, would be likely to get into such a trap as that ? If the legislature of Alberta puts itself under this section unnecessarily and with malice aforethought they will have 3110 to take the consequence ; but they are not obliged to put themselves under this section at all. And let me point out further that the effect of this clause is simply to require that, when the schools—the schools mentioned under the ordinance, and, as a matter of fact they are the primary schools, what we call the public schools, and not the grammar schools, the high schools or collegiate institutes, for I understand that to be the effect of the clause—when they comply with the provisions of the law, they get the ordinary share of the legislative grant. The legislature may set apart money for management, for the conduct of normal schools, for teachers' institutes ; they may set apart money for high schools, universities, agricultural schools—for any and every purpose of education that they may desire; and to these the section will not apply in any way. The legislature will be free unless they deliberately put themselves under this clause intentionally, as they would if they did what my hon. friend suggests.
Now, what I have tried to do in this discussion has been not to waste the time of the House going over and over, and over again what has been said by other speakers as well or better than I could say it, but to endeavour to make clear what the effect of the legislation now proposed to the House will be when it is actually carried into operation. And the conclusion, therefore, is this—that if this legislation is carried into effect it preserves just the two privileges which I spoke of the privilege of the Roman Catholic or Protestant minority to have a separate school house, and the privilege of having religious instruction between half-past three and four o'clock in the afternoon. But there cannot be under this system any control of the school by any clerical or sectarian body. There cannot be any sectarian teaching between nine o'clock in the morning and half-past three in the afternoon. So that, so far as we have objections to separate schools based upon the idea of church control, clerical control, or ecclesiasticism in any form, this system of schools is certainly not open to that objection.
Now, I wish to say a word or two, if the House will pardon me, about my own position in regard to the principle involved in this discussion. I have a record upon this question, as hon. members are all aware. It is of no special importance to the House, and I should apologize for mentioning it were it not for the fact that some reference to it is necessary to the argument which I intend very briefly to present. When we, in the province of Manitoba undertook to remove what was a separate school system, that was ' inefficient to a point of absurdity ' we found ourselves confronted with many and serious difficulties.
The school system which we abolished by the Public School Act of 1890 in the province of Manitoba, was precisely the 3111 COMMONS   same school system as the system that was abolished by the ordinance of the Northwest Territories in 1892. The two were abolished almost at the same time ; but I am bound to say that our friends in the Northwest Territories succeeded in getting their reform with a good deal less difficulty and a good deal less turmoil that did the little province of Manitoba. If hon. gentlemen will look at the documents relating to the suit that took place between the province of Manitoba and the Dominion, or if they will look at the speeches that were made by men speaking on behalf of the province and who know the circumstances of the case, they will find that, although I myself and others took strong ground against the principle of separation in education—and my opinions upon that subject are just as strong to-day as they were then—although we took strong ground upon that principle, yet the attacks we made were not so much on that account as they were on account of the fact that the separate school system of the province was admittedly inefficient, and that children were being allowed by thousands to grow up in absolute ignorance and illiteracy. That was the ground upon which we attacked that system. We said then : Your system is inefficient ; you have taken the public money and you have not applied it for the purpose of giving the children the education they ought to have ; and we pointed to the fact that in districts where this clerically controlled system had been in force, the children had grown up in ignorance and the population was illiterate, and that fact could not be disputed.
Sir, my hon. friend the Minister of Customs, speaking last night, referred to the fact that it was said that the province of Manitoba had been harsh in abolishing that system. Well, Sir, I am here to say that you cannot abolish abuses of that kind by handling people with kid gloves. I am here to say that if there is any act in my public life I am proud of, it is the fact that I was one of those who helped to abolish that system of education in Manitoba in the year 1890. I know perfectly well that I am speaking upon a subject upon which there may not be very much unanimity of opinion ; but I claim the right to have my own opinion on this subject, and I do not think that any man in this House, Roman Catholic or Protestant, will think any the less of me because I have the courage to state what I think. Although that was the fact, and although my hon. friend who sits opposite, the member for North Toronto (Mr. Foster), was one of those who tried to restore that inefficient system and compel us again to bring about a condition of affairs in which the public money would be wasted and a proper system of education would not be given to the children, they failed in that attempt. And why did they fail ? They failed because the right hon. gentleman who 3112 leads this government stood in their way— that is the reason why they failed. And I want to say that we from the province of Manitoba who were engaged in that contest have never forgotten that gentlemen on the other side of the House, that my hon. friend from East Grey (Mr. Sproule) with whom unfortunately I do not often agree, and many others, left their party upon that question and stood for what I believe to be the proper principle, and I venture to think that the gentlemen who did so will always be remembered as having on that important occasion done what they believed to be right, though contrary to the interests of their party. But my right hon. friend the Prime Minister did not take the stand he did because he necessarily agreed with the views that I entertained, and that we in the province of Manitoba entertained upon that subject. As I understand the right hon. gentleman, he has always been an advocate in principle of separate schools, he does not dispute that. But he did dispute the moral right of the gentlemen who then controlled the administration of Canada to override the deliberate judgment of the people of Manitoba upon a matter which was vital to them, and which we in the province of Manitoba knew very much more about than the gentlemen who were endeavouring to thwart us.
Now, notwithstanding the fact that our opinions upon that subject were so strong, notwithstanding the fact that we had gone through a violent contest, a contest in which the feelings of men were deeply aroused, nevertheless, Mr. Speaker, my hon. friend from Selkirk (Mr. Greenway) then the Prime Minister of Manitoba and my leader, and myself, at that time, prior to the year 1896, recognized the fact that it was necessary in some of these cases to compromise, that we could not expect to have, altogether and at all times, our own opinions carried out to the fullest possible extent. When the government of Sir Charles Tupper sent commissioners to the province of Manitoba for the purpose of discusssing this question with us, the commissioners consisting of Lord Strathcona, then Sir Donald A. Smith, the late Mr. Dickey and Senator Desjardins—when they were sent up for the purpose of discussing this question, I had the honour of being appointed with one of my colleagues, Mr. Cameron, to discuss the question with them. We then recognized the fact that a compromise of some kind would probably have to be adopted in the end, and we made certain proposals to these gentlemen looking to a compromise with the view of meeting the wishes of our Roman Catholic friends. We told them that, whatever our private disposition might be, yet by reason of the pledges we had made to the people of the province of Manitoba in the election we had just gone through, we could not possibly compromise upon the 3113 MARCH 24, 1905 question of the separation of the children in the school houses, but we offered a compromise upon other things. But the commissioners declined our offer and came back, and the government then undertook to proceed with the Remedial Bill. When the election was over and the government of Sir Charles Tupper had been defeated, and Mr. Laurier, now Sir Wilfrid Laurier, came into power, he sent for the members of the Manitoba government to which I then belonged, and asked us what our views were. We pointed the right hon. gentleman to the proposition we had made to the commissioners of Sir Charles Tupper, the same proposition ipsissima verba, and we said that was the best we could do. The right hon. gentleman accepted that proposition, wisely, as the result shows, because matters are going very much more smoothly and satisfactorily in Manitoba since then. We drew up a basis of compromise. It will be found in the sessional papers of this House. The terms were submitted to the leading men of both political parties who had stood by us in the fight in which we had been engaged. We did not desire that any principle should be yielded without full consultation. Amongst others it was submitted to the late Dalton McCarthy, and it was approved by him. That compromise was carried into legislative effect. It does not go quite so far as the compromise upon this question which is before the House at the present time ; but it was a substantial compromise on the general principle with which we had to deal. Yet at that time there were some men who said : No compromise ; who said : Don't give in till you get the whole thing, you will get it if you stand up. I did not agree with that view. I thought that some compromise should be made. My colleagues in the government of Manitoba thought the same thing, and a compromise was made. But, Mr. Speaker,—and this is an observation I desire to commend to the attention of the House—there were very very few people who said, no compromise. And why was it that so few people then opposed the compromise ? It was because the people of Canada had been fighting about this question for five years, they were sick and tired of the contest, and desired that there should be a compromise of some kind so that they might have peace. More than that, the material progress of this country had been stopped. My hon. friend from Lanark (Mr. Haggart) knows perfectly well that the Manitoba school question paralysed governmental activity for a considerable length of time. The members of the government practically did nothing else ; they could do nothing else but attend to the agitation and difficulties that arose out of this question. When a question of this kind has to be met it has to be met in a practical way. Complications arise, govern 3114 mental activity and administration are absolutely destroyed, it is impossible for ministers to attend to their departmental duties or to attend to the business of the country as they should. Therefore, in 1896 when this settlement was made—although it was a settlement that hon. gentlemen opposite had refused to accept—although it was a settlement which led my right hon. friend the leader of the government out of a great difficulty and made his path smooth, yet the settlement has never been combated or criticised by any member of this House from that time up to the present moment.
Mr. FOSTER. Will the hon. minister— just—
Mr. SIFTON. Not minister—member.
Mr. FOSTER. Member—former minister —just for the information of the House just tell us briefly what the difference was between the conditions before the compromise and after ?
Mr. SIFTON. The principle was embodied in the compromise that wherever there was a certain number of Catholic children there should be a Catholic teacher. In that way it goes farther than the compromise we have here. I cannot from memory give the exact figures but in a rural district there was a certain number of children called for and in a town a larger number was called for, and wherever a certain number of Catholic children attended a school then, for each unit of that number, a Catholic teacher was required to be employed. Further, a provision we inserted that the children should, where the rooms in the school house permitted it, be divided up at half- past three for the purpose of having religious exercises, the Catholic teacher taking the Catholic children and the other teacher taking the Protestant children :
(An hon. member having handed Mr. Sifton the statute in, question he read.)
In any school in towns and cities, where the average attendance of Roman Catholic children is forty or upwards, and in villages and rural districts if the average attendance of such children is twenty-five or upwards, the trustees shall, if required by a petition of parents or guardians of such number of Roman Catholic children, respectively, employ at least one duly certificated Roman Catholic teacher in such school.
Where the school house permits it by reason of different numbers and different rooms the children are divided, the Roman Catholic teacher takes the Roman Catholic children and the Protestant, or public school teacher takes the other children, and religious exercises are conducted in that way. As a matter of fact this compromise was a great and substantial advantage to the Roman Catholic people of Manitoba because in a very great number of cases where the Roman Catholic people live they are in 3115 groups and where you find a considerable number of Roman Catholic children in a school they are nearly all Roman Catholic children. It is in such case a Roman Catholic community, and by this Act they have the right to have a Roman Catholic teacher and to have Roman Catholic exercises after half- past three ; so that in practice it gives them a greater advantage than it would appear to do from a casual reading of the Act. It has been fairly satisfactory although it does not give them the principle of: separation as is given by the Act which is before us at the present time.
Mr. Speaker, we are face to face with the necessity of dealing with the question of giving these provinces a constitution and dealing with the question of educational legislation. I understand that my hon. friend the leader of the opposition takes the position, in which I concur, that we have a right if we so desire and the legal power to modify in detail the terms of section 93 of the British North America Act in such a way that the province as it was formed would have complete autonomy or liberty in regard to its educational legislation. If I am not correctly representing my hon. friend he will correct me.
Mr. R. L. BORDEN. That is not quite my belief. Does my hon. friend wish me to state what it is ?
Mr. SIFTON. Certainly, I would be very glad.
Mr. R. L. BORDEN. My position is that if you apply to these provinces the terms of the constitution as they are to-day, they will give to these provinces the absolute right to deal with their own educational affairs.
Mr. SIFTON. I am sorry that my hon. friend said that because I had thought from the resolution which he has placed before us that his position was the position which I stated, and to my mind it would be a position that would be very much stronger. My hon. friend's amendment, I find, is as follows :
Upon the establishment of a province in the Northwest Territories of Canada as proposed by Bill (No. 69), the legislature of such province, subject to and in accordance with the provisions of the British North America Acts 1867 to 1886, is entitled to and should enjoy full powers of provincial self-government including power to exclusively make laws in relation to education.
If I understand my hon. friend aright. and I regret his position is not as I stated it, he says that by the application of the British North America Act, ipsissima verba, the effect of it would be that the provinces would have unlimited power in regard to education. But, my hon. friend can only give his opinion to that effect as a lawyer. Other lawyers do not think so. Other law 3116 yers think the direct opposite. Other lawyers think that if you put section 93 of the British North America Act into effect the time when the province came in would be regarded as the 1st of July, 1905, and that the condition of affairs which would be preserved by the British North America Act would be the condition of affairs as they exist on the 1st of July, 1905. I do not say which is correct. It is a difficult point to decide, but surely we are not, when we are about to legislate upon this subject, going to allow the provinces to settle this question by a long course of litigation, turmoil and dispute. To show how difficult it is to have a positive opinion upon such a point I have heard men who are considered to be good lawyers flout the idea, or the proposition of law which my hon. friend suggests and I have heard men who are pretty good lawyers flout the opposite idea. In a question of that kind we who are lawyers all know it is absolutely impossible to tell how it will be held when it comes to be threshed out in the courts. To my mind for this parilament, sitting here in all its sovereign responsibility to give these Territories a constitution, to deliberately go to work and, for the purpose of getting out of the responsibility of doing one thing or the other, give that constitution in such terms that they will have to have a series of lawsuits for half a dozen years to have the question settled would be the most unstatesmanlike thing that we could do.
Mr. R. L. BORDEN. I do not want my hon. friend to misunderstand me. He has in the first place only quoted part of my argument. He speaks of the provinces coming in. A large part of my argument was devoted not to the question of a province coming in but to that of a province being created which my hon. friend has not dealt with at all. But, apart from that and in answer to what he has just said my view is a very simple one. I say that we have the right and only the right to apply the constitution as it exists at present in respect of the distribution of legislative power. My hon. friend seems to think that we can go on and do something more. If my view is correct we cannot go on and do anything more, and if we enact from now until this time next year it will not alter the result, because in the end our right to legislate must be determined in the courts. That is a very simple proposition.
Mr. SIFTON. My hon. friends statement does not alter my view in regard to his position. First of all, we would unquestionably have to change section 93 of the British North America Act before we could do it.
Mr. R. L. BORDEN. Certainly.
Mr. SIFTON. Unquestionably we would have to feel we had that right. For my part, so far as concerns the changing of 3117                MARCH 24, 1905                     the terms of section 93 by striking out the limitation contained in that section, I have not the least doubt in the world of our constitutional capacity to do it under the British North America Act of 1871. If my hon. friend takes the trouble to look up the opinion of so eminent a predecessor of his own as Sir John Thompson, he will find that Sir John Thompson expresses the same opinion. I think there can hardly be any doubt whatever that we can and should exercise that power. But, Mr. Speaker, if there were any doubt about it; if we passed this Act in acordance with our own judgment and our own discretion, giving these provinces such a constitution as we in our judgment think they ought to have by making a change in section 93, and there were any remote doubt about the constitutionality of that ; is it not perfectly clear that all the Prime Minister would have to do would be as was done in the case of the Manitoba Act get a confirming Act from the imperial parliament. There would not be any difficulty about it, and if there were the least doubt that is the course that should be adopted.
Now, Mr. Speaker, if there is any doubt about our power, I say that in fact nobody else but us can deal with it. We are here as the only possible constitutional body to deal with this question upon its merits. Does any one imagine that the imperial parliament is going to discuss this question and undertake to settle it upon its merits ? Then, who is going to settle it upon its merits ? The imperial parliament would never do that, they would deal with it as we recommended; they would say : you are the governing body ; possibly technically you may not have enough power given you by the Act of 1871, but if you have not we will give it to you ; it is your business, settle it as you see fit. And Mr. Speaker, that is the only way it can be settled. We are unquestionably in the position of being the only body that can ever deal with the merits of this case.
For my part, Mr. Speaker, I have no hesitation in saying what my own opinion would be : it would be that the province ought to be left entirely free to deal with its own educational affairs. But, I would not get at it in the way that my hon. friend (Mr. R. L. Borden) does, by saying, the constitution does that, but as there is a certain amount of doubt about it I would strike out the limiting clause and I would make it so clear that there would not be any doubt in the minds of any one.
Mr. R. L. BORDEN. If we undertake to do that and do not possess the power under the British North America Acts 1867 to 1868, would not the courts control in the end as they have a dozen times, as they have a hundred times both with regard to provincial and Dominion legislation?
Mr. SIFTON. What was done in the case of Manitoba ? Was section 93 of the British North America Act applied ipsissima verba? If my hon. friend will look at it he will find it was not. He will find that in the case of the province of Manitoba a special section was enacted by this parliament and he will find that although questions were raised as to the competence of this parliament to pass that Act, the doubt was not as to the competence of this parliament to pass section 93, but as to other sections. If he will go back further he will find that notwithstanding that questions were raised as to competence of this parliament, the law officers of the Crown in Great Britain said we were perfectly competent, and that the Manitoba Act was within the competency of this parliament. If this parliament had the power in the case of Manitoba to put in a separate provision for the purpose of placing separate schools clearly and distinctly upon the province of Manitoba have we not the power to change section 93 by taking out the limitation ? If we can do one thing we can do the other; if we can change a subsection then we can take a subsection out. That proposition is entirely obvious.
I said that so far as I was concerned I thought we had the power to leave the provinces absolutely free, and that for my part if I had my own way that is the policy I would pursue. But I quite recognize the strength of the argument upon the other side. We are face to face with two positions— I shall only detain the House for a few minutes longer; I apologize for speaking at such length.
Some hon. MEMBERS. Go on.
Mr. SIFTON. We are face to face with two propositions. We have the principle of the British North America Act to apply. The leader of the government and myself can agree that we ought to apply the principle of section 93 of the British North America Act, but as to the particular way in which we are to apply that principle we do not agree. But we ought to apply the principle, and when we come to the question : how are we to apply it, we come up against two separate and distinct and irreconcilable propositions. From my standpoint I say: inasmuch as the Northwest Territories are not a constitutionally free community; inasmuch as the ordinances passed are ordinances passed under a special and limited power ; therefore when they come into the family of provinces we ought not to apply to them the principle of observing the status quo, because the status quo was not brought about by their own unlimited powers. There is also the view that is presented to us by our friends led by the right hon. the Prime Minister, and held by many other gentlemen here. They say—it was well stated by the 3119                      COMMONS                         Minister of Finance—they say : you constituted that territory 35 years ago ; 30 years ago you established separate schools ; you said when you were doing it that you intended it to be permanent ; those who made speeches when the Bill was presented to parliament, said we bring this Bill to parliament because we want the people of the Northwest Territories to know what kind of institutions they are going to have, and among others they are going to have separate schools. Half a million people have gone into the Northwest Territories knowing what the laws were. Although I am not absolutely convinced by the argument made by these gentlemen, yet I know that out of that population of half a million there are 125,000 Roman Catholics, and I further know that many of these people actually went to the educational department at Regina by their authorized representatives and got copies of these school ordinances so that they might know whether they would be allowed to have separate schools before they came into the Northwest Territories. Therefore, our friends say: here is a state of affairs existing for thirty years, carried on under your direction, creating vested rights in 125,000 people who have gone there upon the strength of your guarantee. And so, with some degree of plausibility they argue : you are far more bound to maintain that state of affairs than if it had been created by the province, because you are responsible for it yourselves. Here we have two separate and irreconcilable propositions. If I talked for ever I do not think I would convince the gentlemen who do not think as I do upon this subject. I do not think I could convince them that we should leave the legislature of the Northwest absolutely free in this matter—although I am for my part convinced after the history of the question in the province of Manitoba, and from the knowledge I have of what public men in the Territories think on this whole question from beginning to end—I am firmly convinced that it would be better for the Roman Catholic people of the Northwest Territories if the legislature were left absolutely free. But, I shall never convince the gentlemen who do not think so ; I shall never get them to think as I do on the question, because if I talked for a hundred years their views would be just the same as they are to-day.  
I am very much inclined to think, Mr. Speaker, that they will not be able to convince me. I do not think they would be able to convince me that it would not be better that the legislature of the Northwest Territories should be free. Now, what are we going to do ? We are face to face with an absolutely irreconcilable state of affairs. My hon. friend the Minister of Finance put it very well the other evening. He said : What are you going to do ? what are you going to decide ? The King's government must be carried on ; the business of the 3120 country must be carried on ; and there is only one of two ways in which this question can be decided. The Protestant people of Canada can say to the Roman Catholic people : You cannot convince us, we cannot convince you, but there are more of us than there are of you, and we are going to vote you down. I put aside a proposition of that kind. There is no man in this government who would contemplate attempting to carry out a proposition of that kind if he had the power. Least of all would my hon. friend who leads the opposition desire to see a proposition of that kind carried out, no matter what his views on the merits of the question might be. Then, what are you going to do ? What is the position of affairs going to be ? You cannot make a political religious issue of these questions either for the members of this House or for the inhabitants of the Dominion of Canada ; and even if you did—as my hon. friend the Minister of Finance very well said : if those who thought in this House as I do combined with me and if the result of their efforts were to drive the right hon. gentleman (the Prime Minister) from office on this question, all that my hon. friend the Minister of Finance said the other night, and much more, would be true. No greater political misfortune could happen to hon. gentlemen opposite than that they should be called upon to take office under such circumstances. Suppose it happened. Every man who knows the political history of Canada knows that we might fight about this question year in and year out for years, the political and financial progress of the country might be paralyzed, the business of the country would be blocked by the condition of affairs, and after it was all done, we should be simply where we had started, and the people would have to come together on this question and compromise their differences.
What I desire to say, Mr. Speaker, in conclusion, is that I have very strong views on this question. I have not concealed those views from the members of the House. There is a certain distance that I am prepared to go in the way of compromise ; I have so expressed myself to my right hon. friend the Prime Minister. To the extent which is embodied in the proposition before this House I am willing to go. I am willing to go that far because I believe that the essential principles of a first-class, thoroughly national school system are not impaired, and the taint of what I call ecclesiasticism in schools, and which in my judgment always produces inefficiency, will not be found in the school system of the Northwest under this legislation, unless the people of the Northwest choose to have it, in which case it is their business and not ours. I may say, Mr. Speaker, that I have found a very great deal of difficulty in deciding upon my course on this question. When I saw the 3121            MARCH 24, 1905                        Bills that had been introduced, I at once came to the conclusion that 1 could not decide upon my course while remaining a member of the government, in the enjoyment of office and the emoluments of office. I came to the conclusion that, whatever anybody else might do, my course was perfectly clear: I should, when this question came up, be in a position to speak with a freedom with which a member of the government could not speak, and I should be called upon to decide to what extent and how far I would be prepared to compromise opinions which I had publicly expressed, and opinions which I still hold in order not to destroy the government of the country. That question which comes to every man in public life sooner or later, comes to-day to a good many men in this House of Commons. The question is how far a man is justified in compromising his opinion for the purpose of preventing a political crisis. That is a question which nearly every man in this House has had to decide before ; but perhaps no person has had to decide it under quite as remarkable circumstances as the present. For myself, as to the political effect upon myself, I care not for that. I have relieved myself, I think, of the imputation that the course I have taken has been influenced by considerations of office or the considerations of my party remaining in office ; and therefore I have to say, having given the subject the best consideration that 1 am capable of giving it, and having given it that consideration not only from the standpoint of the position of affairs in this parliament but from the standpoint of the position of affairs in the Northwest Territories in time to come, that I can, though not with very much enthusiasm, and with some degree of reluctance, give my support to the Bill.
Mr. W. B. NORTHRUP (East Hastings). Mr. Speaker, there is an old saying that when the mountain would not go to Mahomet, Mahomet went to the mountain and that saying has been illustrated, I will not say in a very pleasing way, this afternooon. I was very much puzzled, while my hon. friend (Mr. Sifton) was speaking, to know just what line I should be compelled to take in what appeared to be a triangular duel. I was afraid to appear even to assent to the opinions of my hon. friend, lest I too might be treated with the same contemptuous indifference that the government according to his own account, had given to him ; and I was afraid to appear to differ from him, for I did not know how long it would be before I would find that he and I were in perfect accord. I thought, when the hon. gentleman opened his remarks, that he would perhaps shed a bright light on the subject under discussion, which would enable us to understand how and why this country is being plunged into the excitement which prevails, and why the right hon. gen 3122 tleman who brought down this Bill brought it down so hastily, so inadvisedly, and apparently with so little preparation. When the hon. gentleman who has just taken his seat gave his reasons a short time ago for leaving the government, he told us that he had discussed various things with the Prime Minister. He told us to-day that he had not discussed the educational question ; and yet, when he spoke the other day, he was careful to explain that he had not neglected the educational question, but that, to quote his own words :
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 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.
And so, Sir, although the Minister of the Interior, as he was then, was spending his recess in giving calm and I suppose judicial consideration to this important question of education, and although meeting his leader from time to time and discussing the minor features of the Bill, he never thought it worth his while to discuss with his leader, nor did his leader waste his time in discussing with him, this important question of education.
And so, Sir. it is that we find that, although conference followed conference, nothing was said at these conferences on the subject of education, but the Minister of the Interior retiring to the privacy of his own chamber, then apparently gave himself solely and exclusively to rapturous contemplation of this interesting subject of education. Perhaps the reason that the hon. gentleman did not before suggest education to his colleagues was because he had received so little respect and consideration from them in the matters he had consulted with them about, that he did not think it worth his while even to mention this subject. He has told us that although he had made suggestions, being Minister of the Interior and best cognizant of the needs of the Northwest, he could not even persuade his colleagues where they should draw the line between the two territories, perhaps as trifling a proposition as could be considered. They would not even accept his suggestion on such a trifling matter as that, but put the boundary some sixty miles west from where he thought it should be. He thought, too, that the provinces should extend to the north, and no doubt did his best to persuade his colleagues that they should extend to the north, but although he knew the situation ten times as well as his ex- colleagues he was not consulted, he was not made a member of this important subcommittee, and all his suggestions on these points were treated with contemptuous indifference. Then on the important question 3123 COMMONS of the financial arrangements and the land question, which are so closely connected as to form one subject, we find that although the hon. gentleman had strong views —and I may say that I think his views are far more correct than those of the government—although he presented his case as ably, as eloquently and as persuasively as he has this afternoon spoken to the House, still, on that point too, the government refused to listen, and so the land and fiscal questions are complicated by the introduction of a principle which, as pointed out by the minister this afternoon, shows that the government, by admitting to the provinces that we should pay for the land, have admitted that the provinces have a right to the land. Again I say that, although he was right in his representations, the government treated them with contemptuous indifference. Then, after making these protestations and after being badly treated, treated with indifference in this way, could one imagine that there was no irony concealed in his remarks when he said in this House that there was no pique when he resigned after this Bill was brought down two days before his arrival? We have heard many details of the hon. gentleman's exploits in the west; many rumours have drifted down to us during the past ten years, but I venture to say that not one of them will be received with less credulity by the country than the statement he made this afternoon as to the causes of his resignation. Just think for a moment the position that he put his colleagues in. Had the ex-minister come out flatly, and bravely said: ' I resign because I refuse to occupy a seat in a cabinet with men who do not understand business,' then we would have understood and the country would have understood. But when we see the pitiable spectacle of ministers bringing down such a Bill, standing up and advocating it in spite of such tremendous objections to it as those which the ex- minister pointed out, and the existence of which they admitted by changing the Bill, what are we to think of the capacity of a cabinet that would plunge the country into all the excitement and turmoil of the past few weeks on a measure to which they have given so little attention as they have given to this ?
The hon. gentleman to-day touched on many subjects. There is one subject on which I did not intend to speak, but I shall refer to it in consequence of the remarks of the hon. the ex-Minister of the Interior (Mr. Sifton), coupled with what was said a night or two ago by the Prime Minister and also by the Minister of Customs (Mr. Paterson) last night. When the premier was speaking the other day he pointed out, with regard to the agitation which convulsed this country in 1896, that the Conservative party had undoubtedly misunderstood their position, that at that time Manitoba stood in the same position as Nova Scotia or New Brunswick. and that the Conservative party, 3124 in endeavouring to pass the Remedial Bill dealing with Manitoba which stood on the same footing as Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, had entirely misconceived the position. The right hon. gentleman pointed out that the Privy Council held that there were no separate schools in Manitoba, prior to the union, and therefore no rights of Catholics in that province. Therefore, the right hon. gentleman objected to the exercise in this House of the powers of remedial legislation. I refer to this, because his colleague last night repeated the same statement. and I tell the right hon. gentleman, and I tell this House, I tell the Protestant minority in Quebec and the Roman Catholic minority in Ontario, I tell the minorities in every province in this Dominion, that the remedial clause of section 93 of the British North America Act has been practically blotted from the statute by the right hon. gentleman and those who supported him at that time. The Prime Minister, the other evening. gave a very interesting and very accurate account of the circumstances under which the educational clauses of the British North America Act were framed. I entirely agree with every word he uttered on that point, but let me add one or two words to what he said. It is perfectly true that when confederation was about to be formed it was agreed between the politicians of Upper and Lower Canada that two Bills should be introduced to this House. one giving educational privileges to the Catholic minority in Upper Canada, the other giving educational privileges to the Protestant minority in Lower Canada. These Bills were introduced but for reasons which we need not now discuss. they were uot passed, and those Bills. not having been passed. and confederation being about to be effected. the whole scheme would have fallen through. because the Protestants of the province of Quebec refused to enter confederation until their educational rights were secured. Then Sir George Etienne Cartier and Sir Hector Langevin. speaking for the Roman Catholics. of Quebec, said : If the Protestants of Quebec will consent to going into confederation without this legislation. we pledge our honour that at the first session of the local legislature of the province of Quebec. after confederation has been formed. we will see that the rights you would have secured by the Bill of last session. had it passed. are conferred on you by a statute of the local legislature. Sir Alexander Gait replied: I am perfectly satisfied to take the word of you gentlemen and believe that you will adhere to it. but times are fleeting. lives are uncertain and a day may come when others will control the legislation of Quebec. and in that case what the local legislature gave it can take away. and the minority may be deprived of the privileges granted to them. Then it was that Galt. as the right hon. gentleman said. drew with his own hand his famous clause. that if after confederation any right given to 3125                    MARCH 24, 1905                 a minority by a legislature after confederation was taken away, the minority had a right of appeal to Ottawa in order to secure their just rights. On those terms, Sir, the Protestants of Quebec and the Roman Catholics of Ontario came into confederation. My hon. friend (Mr. Sifton) seems to be oblivious of the terms on which Manitoba came into confederation. It came in under very peculiar circumstances. The people of Manitoba treated with the people of the Dominion and made a compact. The Protestants and Roman Catholics in Manitoba alike wished to have a provision for separate schools. We all know the history of these things ; we know that it was uncertain whether the Roman Catholics or the Protestants would be in the majority in Manitoba, and it being wholly uncertain whether there would be an invasion of Roman Catholics from Quebec that would make Manitoba a Catholic province, or an invasion of Protestants from England and Ontario which would make it a Protestant province, the Roman Catholics and Protestants combined in asking the legislature to make such provisions that the minority would have separate schools. And so it was that the Act was passed, an Act not worth very much on its face, but being a compact between the people of Manitoba and this Dominion, the Act passed by this House was validated by the imperial parliament, and therefore it is a good law to-day. What is the position of the people of Manitoba ? They came in under an express bargain which provided for separate schools. They have, under section 93, the express right of appeal to this parliament at Ottawa in case they should be deprived of any right after they had come into confederation.
Well, Sir, when they came into confederation they were, as everybody supposed, given their separate schools. My hon. friend from Brandon (Mr. Sifton) this afternoon attacked gentlemen on this side, because, he said, we wished to restore these inefficient schools. But he must remember that one of the conditions we insisted on was that the old inefficiency should be done away with ; and Roman Catholics were willing to agree that the schools should be made efficient. All that we on this side wished to do was, as loyal Canadians to stand by our word and keep the honour of Canada unsullied.
The appeal came to Ottawa. As the Prime Minister said, the highest court in the realm, the Privy Council decided that it was intended to give separate schools to Manitoba, and that this legislation was strong enough to give them had it been properly based. But, as a matter of fact, owing to the circumstance that the schools were not there under the law or in practice before Manitoba enterd confederation, they had failed, and they were not entitled under the law, to the separate schools. The 3126 Roman Catholics, having appealed to the courts, like good subjects bowed to the decision, but they came to us for a law to remedy their grievance. And the reason why I say the right hon. gentleman has wiped that clause out of the statute-book and deprived minorities throughout the Dominion of the protection they had, is that no one can conceive of any circumstances under which any province could come to Ottawa with a stronger case than that with which Manitoba came here.' Every one knew that separate schools were meant to be given, that the attempt was made to then give it, and that it was believed that that attempt was effective. Every one knew that Manitoba itself understood that the separate schools were established. And, under these circumstances, the strongest that could arise, the minority in Manitoba came asking us not to coerce the province, but to give the minority the rights which, it was intended to give them. And when the government of the day, though anxious to live up to the spirit of confederation and protect minorities , they were prevented from doing so by the right hon. Prime Minister (Sir Wilfrid Laurier). If the local legislature of Quebec should repeal every law that has been made to assist the Protestant minority since confederation—and many of them have been passed—if the provincial legislature of Ontario should repeal the laws under which the separate schools of that province have been maintained, they have the legal power to do it. It is beyond question that to-day every single privilege in regard to their schools that the Protestants of Quebec and the Catholics of Ontario enjoy, they owe to generosity and forbearance of the majority. All the provisions for the protection of separate schools under the constitution are practically worthless because they are unworkable. Therefore, I say the right hon. gentleman (Sir Wilfrid Laurier) should speak with some reticence on the educational question in view of the lamentable experience of the minorities of this Dominion solely through the attitude taken by the right hon. gentleman himself. I would not have dealt with this subject of Manitoba, had it not been referred to by the Prime Minister in presenting the Bill, and last evening by the Minister of Customs (Mr. Paterson) and this afternoon by the ex- Minister of the Interior (Mr. Sifton) their utterances on the subject making it necessary to say a few words to show in what way they have misconceived the position of the Conservative party at that time. If the right hon. gentleman has misconceived the attitude of his opponents at the time when he came into power we may excuse him if he has forgotten some things which he might well have remembered when he brought this Bill down for the consideration 3127                                                             COMMONS                                                               of the House. In introducing the Bill on the 21st of February, the right hon. Prime Minister used the following words :—
A great deal has been done in fact, more has been done than we have to do to-day. We have to take the last step but it is easy and comparatively unimportant in view of and in comparison with what was already been accomplished. The metal has been in the crucible and all we have to do now, is to put the stamp of Canadian nationality upon it.
The right hon. gentleman's colleague Minister of Finance (Mr. Fielding) spoke a couple of nights ago. He had seen this Bill, not before it was introduced but before he spoke. But between the Prime Minister's speech and his own, apparently, he had heard something from the country that his leader had not anticipated, so that when he spoke—he is a most careful speaker— he said :
We have to-day before us perhaps the most important measures that have ever engaged the attention of the parliament of Canada.
Now, Sir, it is not, to put it mildly, a little disappointing to hon. gentlemen on this side, when called upon to discuss a measure which is evoking such a feeling as this Bill is, that the right hon. Prime Minister in introducing it should tell us that it is a matter of such little importance that it is hardly worth while wasting time over it; —while, a few days later, the Minister of Finance—who might have been justified in using the language of his leader, and saying the Bill was of no moment, because his leader thought the Bill of so little importance as to be not worth while submitting to the consideration of the Minister of Finance and the Minister of the Interior, the two experts whose opinion would be required—frankly admits that it is the most important measure that we have had in many a day. I go further than the hon. gentleman and say , in all sincerity , that not only is it the most important measure before parliament to-day, but I believe that it is the most important measure that has ever been before this House, the most important measure—and I say it with a due consciousness of that seriousness of my words —that will be brought before any English speaking assembly for many a day to come. Let me explain why I say that. A great deal has been said by some speakers in the way that I sincerely regret. I trust I shall be able to express myself on these vexed questions without using a single word that will be offensive to any one. I do not see why one cannot express his views conscientiously and frankly without being offensive. And I must pay the ex- Minister of the Interior (Mr. Sifton) the compliment of saying that there was nothing said by him this afternoon that could be offensive to any one on either side of 3128 the House. I hope to follow the good example that the hon. gentleman has set. But, when we are dealing with half a million square miles of territory of our Northwest, we must not forget that time is fleeting, that history moves on, and that nowadays great changes take place within a few years. We have often been referred to the year 1875 in this debate, the year when the law was passed for regulation of the Northwest, when the school law was placed upon the statute-book. Who would have expected at that time that people to-day would be spending time in discussing the school regulations for a country in which, I understand, there were in 1875, only about 500 people. We know that that part of the country was then regarded as part a part that would not attain anything like the importance it has attained to-day. Within a quarter of a century, since the building of the Canadian Pacific Railway, wonderful changes have come over that part of our country. Immigration is pouring in and developement is rapidly progressing. Not only are the eyes of the old provinces fixed on the Northwest, but the eyes of the empire are upon that country as the future granary of the empire. More than that, Sir, we know that the eyes of the whole world are turned to the Northwest as being the most attrative place for immigration for those leaving the countries of the old world, which are not so free as ours, and wishing to find new homes. It seems that we are approaching this subject in a parish spirit if we cannot see more in it that a few details concerning the regulation of a few schools. The ex-Minister of the Interior has quoted some eminent Roman Catholic prelate as saying that these schools differed nothing from public schools except in the name. If there is so little to distinguish them, if they are practically one and the same thing, why should the right hon. gentleman have thrown this firebrand into the political arena ? The right hon. gentleman discussed the Bill, with a subcommittee consisting of the Minister of Justice (Mr. Fitzpatrick) whose ability as a lawyer we are all proud of in this House ; the Secretary of State and the Postmaster General (Sir William Mulock). If in discussing it with these gentlemen—which one representing the Northwest I do not know , which one representing the adverse view on education to that held by the Prime Minister himself I do not know—none of them was willing to discuss it from the standpoint of the majority of the Northwest, why could not the Prime Minister have waited until his Minister of the Interior had returned ? Why could not the right hon. gentleman have waited till his Minister of Finance returned ? Why could he not have waited an hour or two until Mr. Haultain could have been found ? Why could not the right hon. gentleman have done something 3129                    MARCH 24, 1905             to avoid the introduction of this unfortunate question into the political arena ?
Now, Sir, the position unfortunately is this, that, as I said a few moments ago, the right hon. gentleman has by his own act practically blotted out clause 3 from section 93 of the British North America Act, and therefore it is that at such a time as this we should endeavour to legislate, not in the spirit suggested by the right hon. gentleman the other evening, as representing individual constituencies, but legislate as representatives of the people of Canada. When the right hon. gentleman was speaking he pointed out that it would be impossible to do certain things, for instance, to extend the boundaries of Manitoba, because the representatives of the Northwest objected to that. Now, I object for my part to such an interpretation of our duties as that. I submit that we shall certainly come to grief if we cannot in the first instance, understand our own duties and responsibilities here. We are here as representatives, not primarily of our individual constituencies ; every man sitting in this House is the representative of all the people of Canada, and I claim to represent the people of the Northwest just as much as any gentleman coming from the provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan. And when the right hon. gentleman is prepared to adopt the views of seven gentlemen from those Territories, gentlemen elected on different lines altogether, without regard to this question in deciding the future of that great country which at no distant day must hold the balance of power in this Dominion, I can only say on that point emphatically, that I differ from him. If we could induce the right hon. gentleman, assisted perhaps by the ex-Minister of the Interior—because we would be delighted to have his assistance, though we would want to have it before we got very far away, because he might change his mind before we met again—if we could possibly induce the premier to be guided in some way by considerations of the trifling character of the change suggested in the schools as pointed out, though a tremendous change as some people think, surely something might be done to avoid this difficulty. Something has been said about the law of 1875 being a law under which the people were induced to go into the Northwest, and that they have a right to believe that it will be maintained. Now I would like to ask the ex-Minister of the Interior how many of his Doukhobors or Galicians could he name to-day who went to the Northwest because they had read the parliamentary debate of 1875, and were satisfied that their school rights would be maintained ? If by any possibility any weight were to be attached to that argument—which I do not think the hon. gentleman himself really considered as an argument, I myself took it merely as one of his 3130 pleasantries—if there were any weight to be attached to that argument, then at least the same weight must be attached to the opinion of men of the standing of the Hon. David Mills, and Sir Louis Davies, and Sir John Thompson, who all said that when parliament came to form the provinces it would be perfectly free to do as it saw fit.
Now, before discussing the subject itself, let me consider one or two remarks of the ex-Minister of the Interior. When the hon. gentleman was speaking of the causes that led him to withdraw from the government, he pointed out that the original clause as introduced by the government had a certain meaning, and that subsequently it was modified so that he could accept it. The hon. gentleman pointed out that in the first instance the difference between what he wanted and what he got was so great that he was compelled to lay down the seals of office, to abandon all the patronage and emoluments of office, and to sink down to the level of an ordinary member, and all for conscience. But what was it the hon. gentleman had to salve his conscience for all these serious losses ? I think if I remember his language correctly he said there was a possibility that if a university were endowed, there might be a discussion as to the rights of the respective parties as to a share in the money. Then the hon. gentleman said that under the original clause as introduced, all the provisions of the Act of 1875 were also enacted. Now if the hon. gentleman will look at the 1875 Act, he will find there is nothing in that Act whatever that provides machinery by which these schools shall be carried on. The 1875 Act says in effect that Protestant and Roman Catholics, respectively, whenever in a minority, are to be allowed to have separate schools, are to be allowed to appropriate their own taxation to the support of their schools, and are not to be compelled to support any other schools. That is all there was in the Act of 1875. There was not a word in it about giving the Roman Catholic hierarchy charge of the schools, there was not a word in it about this, that or the other regulation, or ordinance, but the local authorities were to be allowed to do as they saw fit, except that they must not interfere with the rights of minorities to have their own separate schools, be they Protestant or Roman Catholic, and to apply their own taxation for their maintenance. Subsequently the hon. gentleman pointed out that certain changes were made by the local authorities. Now would the hon. gentleman pretend to say that anybody whose opinion was worth considering ever thought that the local authorities which had passed those ordinances had not the right to repeal them ? They passed them, they existed for a time, and they repealed them, and that is all there was about it. And if the Act as first introduced had gone into effect, the 3131 COMMONS people of the Northwest would have had just such schools as they will have to-day, with all the rights and privileges attaching to those schools as they are to-day. Will the hon. gentleman say that is not the case under the present Act ? Would he pretend to say that under the Act now before the House minorities in the Northwest have not exactly the same rights and privileges they would have had under the original clause, except that he suggests that they might in some occult way be put back to the day of 1875 when the hierarchy were controlling the schools ? Then the hon. gentleman's reference to the university was rather an amusing one. I am inclined to think that if the hon. gentleman will read the clauses carefully side by side he will find that there is no ground whatever for the objection he raises. Let me read the original clause as it appeared when the Bill was first introduced :
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—
Any moneys appropriated by the legislature for education, or any moneys coming arising from the sale of lands.
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 to say, that every dollar applied for schools is to be divided equitably between public and separate schools. But what is there in that clause to suggest that if the legislature choose to endow a university, either the majority or the minority will be discriminated against because in 1910, perhaps, the legislature might give a sum to endow a university ? The hon. gentleman had to go very far afield to find such an argument as that to justify his course. When we come to simmer it down—if I am omitting any point I am willing to be corrected— when we come to simmer it down he who, for two or three weeks, has stood on the highest pedestal in the Dominion of Canada, worshipped as a martyr from one end of the country to the other, whose praises could not be drowned even by the rolling waves of the Labrador coast, and which were wafted even to the sunny slopes of the west, that hon. gentleman who has posed for two or three weeks as a conscientious martyr who would lose anything rather than principle, who was prepared to suffer anything except a wound to his conscienne—that hon. gentleman comes down to-day and kisses the hand that smote him, and the only possible excuse that he can give for his ingratitude, for his disloyalty to his chief, is that he thought that under this second 3132 clause, if passed, there might possibly come a day when they would endow a university, and there might be a dispute between the majority and the minority as to the distribution of their funds for that university. while under the amended clause there could be no trouble.
Surely, if ever there was a cause to which the old adage parturiunt montes, nascitur mus—the mountain has laboured and brought forth a mouse—applies, it is this one.
I think I will be justified in saying that when a measure of the importance of this is brought before this House the burden rests entirely on those who proposed it, of showing parliament that the measure of such a character that it is our duty to pass it. It is not part of the duty of the opposition to show that the measure is not a proper one. The burden surely rests on the government of the day, bringing down such an important measure, to show that it is one that should really be passed by this House. The right hon. leader of the government in introducing the Bill—and I am sorry he is not here at the present moment—laid great stress—page 1517 of ' Hansard '—on the fact that we, the people of Canada, occupied a peculiar position, because we have bought and owned these Northwest lands. He declared that we had bought these lands, that we owned them and that we own them now and therefore surely the old saying should hold good: Can a man not do as he likes with his own ? I am sorry he is not here, but I see the hon. Minister of Justice in his place, and. I would like to ask the hon. Minister of Justice, on behalf of his chief, to tell me from whom Canada bought these lands, when she bought them and how Canada got her title to those lands ? When the statement is made, from which inferences are drawn, that we own these lands, I say that the right hon. gentleman should be prepared with some proof to substantiate that statement. I am quite prepared to admit that an hon. gentleman sitting behind him having heard him make the statement that we did own these lands might give his support to the measure which he might not give if he knew we did not own these lands and that we never owned them. If there were any doubt about the question one would only have to look at the state papers at the time the Hudson Bay Company ceded its rights to the Crown. A committee was appointed, composed of Sir George Cartier and Mr. McDougall ; they looked thoroughly into the subject and they made a report. Their report was to the effect that the Hudson Bay Company had no title whatever to these lands, that they never did have a title and they gave an abundance of reasons why the Hudson Bay Company never could have had a title. Without occupying the time of the House by going into this simple question I might 3133                 MARCH 24, 1905                     merely in a few words illustrate the point by saying that at the time the Hudson's Bay Company obtained its grant from Charles II the grant did not profess to give the lands in the Northwest Territories. In the next place if the Crown did profess to cede to the Hudson Bay Company the lands in the Northwest Territories, Great Britain did not own these lands at that time and did not acquire them from France for many years afterwards. It is certain that if Great Britain did not own them Great Britain could not give them and did not give them to the Hudson Bay Company. All that Great Britain did was to grant certain rights to the Hudson Bay Company in regard to fishing, trade and commerce. The Hudson Bay Company never owned these lands in the Northwest Territories and never professed to sell them to the Dominion of Canada. In Vol. 11, No. 5, sessional papers, 1869, paper 25, April 23, after giving all the reasons why the Hudson Bay Company had never acquired any title to the Northwest Territories, Sir George Cartier and Mr. McDougall concluded as follows :
The country which in view of these facts must be excluded from the operation of the charter includes all the lands fit for cultivation and settlement in that part of British America.
Then as to Rupert's Land, which of course is no part of the land we are now dealing with, they say :
We are thus led to the same conclusion as in the case of the territory claimed, but not owned by the company, viz., that what they propose to sell has no pecuniary or commercial value. They are there, however, by at least a show of right. Being there they obstruct the progress of imperial and colonial policy and put in jeopardy the sovereign rights of the crown over one-third (and as some think even a larger portion) of the North American continent.
What is it worth to have this obstruction quietly removed ? This is, perhaps the true question, but the answer we submit, belongs rather to Her Majesty's government which has the power, in the case of resistance, to remove the evil by summary process, than to those who are little more than spectators of the negotiation.
That report having been given the Executive Council made the following report :
Report of committee of executive council approved 22nd June, 1866, volume 1, No. 7, 1867- 1868. Sessional papers.
In the first place the committee do not admit that the company have a legal title to that portion of the Northwestern territory which is fit for cultivation and settlement. This fertile tract is a belt of land stretching along the northern frontier of the United States to the base of the Rocky Mountains, and Canada has always disputed the title of the company to it.
So we have the unquestionable fact that Canada always disputed with the Hudson Bay Company that they had any title to these lands, and we have the fact that the Hudson Bay Company ceded all their rights 3134 to the Crown. But, my right hon. friend must say if the rights are in the Crown in regard to these lands then we have a right to administer them. There is where we take issue with the right hon. gentleman. We take issue with him when he says the Dominion is supreme. The Dominion is supreme in its sphere, but the provinces are just as supreme within their spheres. In a province the Crown is represented by the province just the same as in the Dominion the Crown is represented by the Dominion. The contention we put forward is that by virtue of the British North America Act as soon as the provinces come into existence the Crown, as to the land within them, will be represented by the provinces themselves and that while the Dominion may have the power to make certain laws for the peace, order and good government of these provinces the title to the land is in the Crown and the Crown is represented in the provinces by the provincial authorities. We had that matter before the House a short time ago. The Attorney General of British Columbia brought action against the Attorney General of the Dominion. We all remember that when the Canadian Pacific Railway was built a grant was made of an area 20 miles on each side of the road out of the British Columbia lands. The province of British Columbia received $100,000 a year from the Dominion in consideration of the grant, but after this land was granted gold was discovered and the question arose : To whom does this gold belong ? The Dominion said : We have the grant of land ; it is our gold. The province gave us the land and now we have the land and the minerals on it. But, the Privy Council said no, that the province represented the Crown and that the Crown could not part with its minerals unless it expressly said that it parted with its minerals ; the minerals remain in the Crown, the Crown is represented by the province and the province is entitled to them. In the same way we are asked to believe that these lands belong to the Dominion. The right hon. leader of the government says that the Dominion own these lands, whereas we say she never bought them, she never owned them and the province is the proper authority to administer them.
At six o'clock, House took recess.

After Recess.

House resumed at eight o'clock.



House in committee on Bill (No. 86) respecting the Ontario and Minnestoa Power Company, Limited—Mr. Campbell.
On section 12,
Mr. SPROULE. Why do you want the Railway Act to apply to this private corporation ?
Mr. CAMPBELL. They will build pulp mills, flour mills and saw mills, and possibly some sort of a railway will be required in connection with their timber limits. What is the objection ?
Mr. SPROULE. The objection is that you are making a Railway Act apply to a private concern. It seems to me the only reason it should apply is for the purpose of appropriating property, and I do not think it should apply for that purpose.
Mr. GRANT. I was present in the Private Bills Committee and this very section was thoroughly threshed out. On the advice of the Solicitor General and other lawyers it was deemed to be in the public interest that this clause should be inserted.
Mr. BARR. I think it is to enable them to acquire property. This was very cure- fully considered in the Railway Committee.
Mr. SPROULE. I have now the Railway Act before me, and its application to this case is that the company may erect telephones.
Mr. L. P. DEMERS. This provision is to oblige them to have the consent of the municipalities.
Bill reported, read the third time and passed.


Bill (No. 117) to incorporate the Athabaska Railway and Oil Company—Mr. Oliver —was considered in committee, reported. and read the third time.
Mr. OLIVER moved that the Bill do now pass, and that the title be 'To incorporate the Athabaska Railway Company.'
Motion agreed to.


Bill (No. 87) to incorporate the International Terminal and Bridge Company— Mr. T. G. Johnston—was considered in committee, reported, and read the third time.
Mr. T. G. JOHNSTON moved that the Bill do now pass, and the title be 'To incorporate the International Bridge and Terminal Company.'
Motion agreed to.


Bill (No. 91) respecting the Temagami Railway Company—Mr. McCool was considered in committee, reported, and read the third time.
Mr. McCOOL moved that the Bill do now pass, and the title he 'Respecting the Ontario, Northern and Temagami Railway Company.'
Motion agreed to.


Bill (No. 118) respecting the Alberta Central Railway Company.——Mr. Oliver.
Bill (No. 63) to incorporate the Brantford and Woodstock Railway Company.—Mr. Schell (Oxford).
Bill (No. 57) to incorporate 'La Compagnie du chemin de fer electrique de Trois- Rivîères, St. Maurice, Maskinongé et Champlain.'—Mr. Bureau.
Bill (No. 73) to incorporate La Compagnie du chemin de fer Montreal, Quebec et Sud. —Mr. Gervais.
Bill (No. 74) respecting the Medicine Hat and Northern Alberta Railway Company. Mr. P. Talbot.
Bill (No. 109) respecting the Hudson Bay and Pacific Railway Company.- Mr. Calvert.
Bill (No. 88) to incorporate the Athabaska Northern Railway Company.—Mr. Turriff.
Bill (No. 96) respecting the Montreal and Southern Counties Railway Company.— Mr. Geoffrion.
Bill (No. 100) respecting the Guelph and Georgian Bay Railway Company:—Mr. Guthrie.


Bill (No. 122) to incorporate the Grand River and Western Power Company—Mr. Zimmerman.
Bill (No. 123) respecting the Board of the Presbyterian College, Halifax—Mr. Sinclair.
Bill (No. 124) respecting the Farmers' Bank of Canada—Mr. Thomas Martin.
Bill (No. 125) to incorporate the Crown Casualty Company of Canada—Mr. Gervais.


House resumed consideration of the motion of Sir Wilfrid Laurier for the second reading of Bill (No. 69) to establish and provide for the government of the province of Alberta, and the amendment of Mr. R. L. Borden thereto.
Mr. NORTHRUP. Mr. Speaker, when you left the chair at six o'clock, I was about to consider the position this House is in with regard to one particular clause of. the Northwest Bill, that is to say, the educational clause.
Perhaps, before considering our position, it would not be out of place to remind the House of a matter known to all, and that is that every civilized nation looks after the education of its youth. There must, of 3137 MARCH 24, 1905 course, be some reason other than individual reasons; there must of necessity be some public, national reason, when we find in every land the nation, in self-defence, taking charge of this particular item of education, and when we find every civilized nation agreeing as to the importance that is attached to supplying its youth with the best possible education they can receive. I think, Sir, we may take it for granted that the reason the state desires to control the education of its youth is that intelligent peoples recognize that the greatest handicap to which youth can be subjected is the want of education. We know perfectly well in our own country that if two lads start out in life, one handicapped by a lack of education and the other possessed of an education, there is no doubt who will be the successful man and who will be the hewer of wood and drawer of water for the other. The same thing applies as between nations. We all recognize that if one nation looks after the education of its youth, while another nation neglects to do so, the nation which neglects the education of its youth will be the servant of the other. To-day the nations of the world have taken upon themselves to look after the subject of education for the reason that I have given.
Why is it that in this country education is, by the British North America Act, allotted to the provinces ? We have the division of a great many powers given under the British North America Act. To the Dominion is allotted the power to legislate exclusively on many subjects and to the provinces is allotted the power to legislate exclusively on many other subjects. Is there any reason why, in our own country, this particular subject of education has been allotted to the provinces ? I think there is a well-known reason, and I am going to point out that, although it has frequently been said in this debate that the provinces have not the exclusive right to legislate on that subject as they have touching other matters, practically they have the exclusive right. There is a limitation to their right to legislate upon education. They cannot legislate as freely perhaps as they can legislate on other subjects, but their right is exclusive. No other power has the right to legislate, except that in certain cases an application can be made to the Dominion, under the remedial clause, which. as was illustrated in the Manitoba school case, has been practically blotted out of the statute- book. We ask why it is that in our country the Dominion has no jurisdiction or legislative power, except in exceptional cases, in regard to education and that the power of legislation is given exclusively to the provinces? We have the answer to that. We know that the great father of confederation, Sir John Macdonald himself, favoured a legislative and not a federal union. His idea was to have a great central parliament, as they have it in the mother country, conferring greater powers on the county councils and, to save expense, dispensing with the local 3138 legislatures. But he was unable to carry out his idea of a legislative union, and the main reason why a legislative union was not carried out by the Dominion of Canada was that the great province of Quebec insisted that the control of education must be left to the provinces. Let me quote a speech in the parliamentary debates on the New Brunswick School Act. Sir John Macdonald, then premier, spoke as follows:
It was known to every one that the question of education had threatened confederation at its very inception, and a proposition that education should be left to the general legislature of the Dominion would have been enough to secure the repudiation of confederation by the people of Lower Canada, and it was therefore expressly provided in the Act of union that the question should be entirely left to the different provinces with the provision that whenever there was a separate system in force that system should not be interfered with.
So we find that to-day what we of the opposition are contending for, that the exclusive right of legislation touching education shall be left to the newly created provinces, was carried out in accordance with the principle laid down by the province of Quebec, which determined the question whether or not we should have a legislative or a federal government in this country. We now come to these educational clauses that we have before us. We have heard a great deal about the rights of minorities. and I would be very sorry to say a word against the rights of minorities. I have in days gone by in this House stood up for the rights of minorities, even though I knew the penalty I must pay was the loss of my seat in this House; and I have never since regretted that, because, although I lost my seat, I had the consciousness of doing what I believed to be right. I have no hesitation in saying that it is incumbent on any majority, not merely to be just to the minority. for there is no credit to a majority any more than to a man in being just, but I think it is in honour incumbent on the majority to be generous to the minority in all matters in which the minority take a deep interest, and there is no matter in which they take a deeper interest than in that of education. Therefore, I say there is no hon. member of this House who would have greater consideration for the feelings of the minority. to whatever class the minority might belong, than I myself. But while paying all possible respect to the feelings of the minority, we would be unworthy of our positions in this House if we entirely shut our eyes to the feelings or rights, or supposed rights, of the majority. because, where there is a minority, there must be a majority. It has been said in this House, and I was very sorry to hear the statement—a statement with which I do not agree, made by no less a personage than my hon. friend the Minister of Finance (Mr. Fielding)—that so grave was this question, so violently exciting to the country, and so bitter were the passions that had been aroused, that if the right 3139 hon. leader of the government were turned from power, it would be impossible for the hon. leader of the opposition to form an administration, because no such administration could be formed on any other than a Protestant basis. I do not think it was necessary for that hon. gentleman to have said that. I do not think, in the face of what was said by the hon. ex-Minister of the Interior (Mr. Sifton) this afternoon; I do not think. in the face of what was said by the hon. Minister of Finance himself only a few minutes before. that he was justified in so speaking. Let me quote to the House what the hon. gentleman said that evening. At considerable length he recited the condition of afairs in the, Northwest Territories ; he recounted the various ordinances, or the result of these ordinances, -minimizing as much as possible their efiect, to show that after all there was no great question at issue, or, as he himself said, no principle involved in this question, and he went on to say:
I want the House to consider seriously, I submit the proposition again, that if it be true as I say, and I believe I am correct beyond the power of contradiction, that from the moment that the school Opens in the morning up to half-past three in the afternoon there is no difference between a separate school and a free national school, and if the only point of difference between them is that half hour of religious instruction, is there enough in it to quarrel about, and to have public meetings and agitation throughout the length and breadth of this land ? I believe that the great mass of the people to-day who are joining in petitions and holding meetings have not had time to understand this question. I believe that they have an erroneous view as to what the condition in the Northwest Territories is and as to what the condition which we propose to perpetuate is. When they discover, as they will, in the light of the debate which will take place in this House now and in the next few days, when the people of Canada shall learn that we have in the west to-day a system which is practically a national school system, and that the only point of difference between us is with respect to that small matter of half an hour of religious instruction, I think the great mass of the Protestant people of Canada will say that they regret that there has been any agitation on the subject.
That, Sir, is the View expressed by my hon. friend the Minister of Finance in the presence of the right hon. leader of the government and not repudiated by him. My hon. friend the Minister of Justice (Mr. Fitzpatrick), who has had some hand in framing this Bill, spoke in this way of the educational clause :
I wanted to make the position of the people 'in the Northwest with respect to educational matters so clear and simple that any man might understand the clause when he read it. I said that nothing should be left to doubt, uncertainty or misconception ; and in so far as I am concerned, that clause, in the terms in which it is now drafted, was prepared merely for the purpose of giving to the people of the Northwest 3140 Territories those things which they now have and it never was intended to go one inch beyond that.
Now, then, we have the hon. Minister of Finance declaring that the only point in dispute is one half hour's religious instruction in the schools of the Northwest Territories, with the hon. Minister of Justice declaring that in drafting the Bill he had no intention of going one inch—and you could hardly name a smaller distance- farther than to perpetuate that system which the hon. Minister of Finance himself described. I have not had any conference with my hon. friend the member for East Grey (Mr. Sproule), but, if that be the temper of the government, if the members of the government were honest in stating on the floor of this House what the real difference is, I venture to say that my hon. friend from East Grey will assent at once. and every hon. member on this side of the House will assent joyfully to such a proposition. if the only point is whether or not instructions shall be given for one half hour. If so, we say by all means give the children religious instruction for half an hour by whatever clergyman of whatever church is desired.
Now that we find this statement made, it is only fair-speaking as I do for the majority—it is only fair to consider that the majority must be influenced by hearing such statements made. But in looking about and seeing the facts that are patent to every one, let us recall some of these facts. It will not be denied that the government, although appealed to again and again from the Northwest Territories through the proper channels, to give autonomy to the Northwest Territories refused again and again, sometimes stating as a reason even for not considering the question, the absence of the ex-Minister of the Interior (Mr. Sifton) from Ottawa. It will not be denied that the government suddenly decided to give provincial autonomy to the Northwest Territories just at the commencement of a political campaign. It will not be denied that in the interest of fair play and justice, if the government intended offering such an important proposition to the Northwest Territories the scheme itself should have been laid before the people of the Northwest Territories so that in pronouncing a verdict in the last election an opportunity would have been given them to pronounce upon that important matter. No such opportunity was given. It will not be denied that the government having thus suddenly promised in the heat of an election to give autonomy to the Northwest Territories, when the duly accredited representatives of the Northwest Territories came to Ottawa, negotiations were held which extended over a considerable period of time and which covered many subjects, but at these negotiations the question of education was never discussed and only suggested once. Can it be a surprise to any one 3141 MARCH 24, 1905 if some persons in the country are inclined to think that there must have been a reason for such treatment of the duly accredited representatives of the Northwest in connection with this important matter. The Minister of Finance is the gentleman who on the part of the government would be held responsible for the financial terms which however lightly they may be spoken of in this House and however slightly they may be discussed by members who may not feel competent to discuss such an involved and intricate question, are of immense importance to this country in view of the fact that some millions of dollars a year are to be paid out to each of these provinces. Yet, it cannot be denied that the one minister in the government who should have been consulted on the financial terms was not even in the city of Ottawa when the Bill was brought down, for it was brought down two days I think before the date on which it was known the Minister of Finance would arrive here. The Minister of Justice was the member of the government who above all others was most intimately acquainted with all the questions involved in this measure, and yet it cannot be denied, for he himself has admitted it, that although he discussed different other questions with the government, although he had given long and anxious consideration to the education question, this. the most important of all the questions had never been mentioned between him and his leader up to the time the Bill was laid before the House; and the Bill was hurriedly brought down within a couple of days before the hon. gentleman's expected return. Surely we cannot be surprised if some people should think that this is a suspicious circumstance. We find, from the statements made to the House, that this important matter was deferred to a subcommittee of the government. I have not a word to say against the members of that sub-committee, but I would venture to suggest that perhaps those whom I may describe as the minority must not be surprised if those who happen to be in the majority think it rather strange, that when Mr. Haultain could not be consulted on the education clause, and when the ex- Minister of the Interior and the Minister of Finance could not be consulted, that a commitee composed of the Premier, Mr. Fitzpatrick, the Minister of Justice; Mr. Scott, the Secretary of State, and Sir William Mulock were the four to Whom was referred this important question. Surely there is something in'that to cause the people of this country to wonder if everything is as simple and plain as has been represented by hon. gentlemen opposite. We find on the return of the Minister of the Interior, that he promptly resigns and having resigned he was heralded through the country as a man who had made sacrifices on the ground of principle. Time went on 3142 and to-day we have had the Minister of the Interior before the Canadian House of Commons. I stand in the judgment of all those who heard him this evening, if a more pitiable attempt to explain what could not be explained was ever presented to any intelligent body. I am sorry the hon. gentleman is not here to—night. I was at a loss while he was speaking to know, whether one should pity him or pity his ex-colleagues the more. Just think of the position he was in. The Minister of Finance says the only difference between the parties is that one half hour of religious education; the Minister of Justice says he did not intend to go one inch beyond the present conditions, but the clauses are drawn in such a tangled net that a man of the intelligence of the Minister of the Interior did not know what they meant, and he believed they were something so terrible that he had to resign from the government. There is an end to everything in this world, and you would have thought that about that time there was an end to the want of confidence the ministers exhibited towards one another. You would think that gentlemen of the intelligence of the Minister of Justice, the Minister of the Interior and the Minister of Finance when they met together and found they were in absolute accord as to what they wanted; you would have thought it would not have been very dificult for them to have said: There is a slight misunderstanding, we will make it clear in a few words; and then and there the Minister of the Interior would have been contented with the clauses and would not have resigned. Evidently there was no such discussion. or the discussion that was held was not what we have been told. Evidently we have not been told all the truth, or else there was more all round stupidity displayed than ever before was displayed in this or any other country by three cabinet ministers.
Then, when the Minister of the Interior had resigned, and the country had sounded his praises from one end to the other, we had this incident. The newspapers sometimes foresee What is to happen, and among them the Montreal 'Witness' of to-day, a paper published before the explanation of this afternoon, writes :
Hon. Clifford Sifton.
It is said he will return to Cabinet and accept the Autonomy Bill as modified.
The Hon. Clifford Sifton, who recently resigned as Minister of the Interior on account of dissatisfaction with the educational clauses in the Autonomy Bills, will, it is said, return to the federal cabinet within the next ten days, and continue in control of the Interior Department.
Mr. Sifton, according to a private despatch received in the city from Ottawa to-day, will make a strong speech in parliament early next week, announcing his acceptance of the educa 3143 COMMONS tional clauses in the Bill as explained in their modified form by the premier in the House the other day.
Now Sir, that prophesy of the Montreal ' Witness' is pretty nearly correct. It is not absolutely correct because the ex-minister (Mr. Sifton) did not wait until next week and he most certainly did not make a strong speech. With these two trifling exceptions the 'Witness' article is true. When one considers the position of the ex- Minister of the Interior it, reminds us of the cartoon which was widely circulated throughout this country some years ago at the expense of another politician; it was a very pretty picture with the legend at the bottom : The cat came back.
We had the privilege of hearing the ex- minster this afternoon and you remember the excuse he gave. He was perfectly prepared to accept the present clauses, but he feared the original clauses because he thought they might be liable to introduce some of these ordinances of an ephemeral character that had come and gone years ago, and he also feared that peradventure a university might be founded in years to come in the distant Northwest, and when founded it might lead to dissensions between majorities and minorities in that unhappy country. One feels inclined to protest against such an affront to the intelligence of the members of this House, as for a gentleman who occupies such an exalted position to venture to come before parliament with such an excuse as this. We cannot be very much surprised if the majority in this country are inclined to think that the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth has not been told them by hon. gentlemen opposite in their account of the effect of this Bill. If further confirmation of such suspicions were necessary, one has but to look at the arguments advanced by hon. gentlemen opposite in support of their Bill. As I have said, the burden rests on a government which brings down a Bill to show good and sufficient reason to justify its passage.
Let us look at the arguments advanced by the leading gentlemen on the opposite side of the House who have spoken. The right hon. the Prime Minister spoke first, and assuming that a gentleman of his ability made the best argument that could be made in favour of the Bill, let us see what his statements were. His first justification for it was, because of the cleavage between Roman Catholics and Protestants; a cleavage on matters of dogma. Now, if the statement of the hon. Minister of Finance is true, what earthly difference does such a cleavage make? Let the Roman Catholic children be instructed by their priests from half-past three to four and the children of any Protestant denomination be instructed by their ministers from 3144 half past three to four, and where is there any necessity of referring to a cleavage in dogma, and how can that affect the question? But even if it did affect it, what is the meaning of cleavage in dogma between Roman Catholics and Protestants ? Roman Catholics and Protestants are not all the people of this country. The Minister of the interior is perhaps responsible for other complications that may arise when we come to consider cleavage in doctrine; because I believe the hon. member for East Grey (Mr. Sproule) will object to some of the settlers in the Northwest being classed as adherents of the Protestant faith. Where will you put the Doukhobors, the Mormons. the members of the Greek Church ? Are they Protestants? If the only cleavage to be considered is a cleavage in doctrine, between two bodies, perhaps something may be said for separate schools; but if the cleavage between Mormons and Protestants is as broad as the cleavage between Protestants and Roman Catholics—and I trust that it is broader or if the cleavage between Protestants and Doukhobors is as broad—and I believe it is just as broad— then why should there be separate schools instead of national schools ? The Hon. George Brown, whose speeches in the Senate have often been quoted in admiration, in objecting to separate schools, pointed out that if they were allowed, Anglicans and Presbyterians, Methodists and Baptists were just as much entitled to them as any other class of the community; and .hon. gentlemen opposite who are sufficiently instructed ir. theology will bear me out when I say that the difference between the high church Anglican and the Roman Catholic is much less than the difference between the high church Anglican and the adherent of the denominations commonly known as Protestant.
Then the hon. gentleman said: Give the Northwest the same rights as are given to Quebec and Ontario. Why did the hon. gentleman say that? In the British North America Act there was no confederation of Quebec and Ontario. There was a confederation of four provinces—Quebec, Ontario, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. Nova Scotia and New Brunswick were not given separate schools, Ontario and Quebec were not given separate schools, by the Act of Union; and when these provinces are coming into a partnership in which there are seven provinces, and only two have separate schools, on what ground can the hon. gentleman say that as a matter of right and justice, these new provinces are entitled to the special privileges which the two provinces have rather than the five provinces which lack those special privileges, if such they be. Besides, it must be borne in mind—and I am trying to speak with all calmness and frankness in calling the attention of hon. gentlemen to the views of 3145 MARCH 24, 1905 the majority—that the Protestants of Quebec and the Roman Catholics of Ontario were not given any rights at all. In consequence of a mutual exchange the Protestants of Quebec and the Roman Catholics of Ontario established separate schools, and it was agreed to give separate schools to both. When the hon. gentleman, then, says that we should give the Northwest the same rights that we gave to Ontario and Quebec, he is asking for something that is impossible, because we did not give those rights to Ontario and Quebec. But if we take the hon. gentleman at his word, and give to the minority in the Northwest Territories the same rights that the Protestants have in Quebec, would that satisfy hon. gentlemen opposite ? Would that satisfy the premier ? Would it satisfy some of our extreme friends in the province of Quebec ? What are those rights? What is the condition in Quebec? The schools which we call public schools in other provinces are church schools there; and I say all credit to the Roman Catholics for insisting on an education in religion in the schools. I think it would be better for Protestants if they did the same; but unfortunately the divisions among them prevent that desirable consummation. But in the province of Quebec, as a matter of fact the majority have their schools conducted on religious lines. There is a great difference between a Protestant going to what is practically a church school and being trained in the doctrines of the Catholic faith, and a Roman Catholic child in the Northwest going to a public school of which the worst said is that he is not trained in his own faith. Surely there is all the difference, to use the language of the prayer book, between commission and omission in the two acts. And so, when hon. gentlemen opposite plead with us to give to the Northwest the same rights that are given to Quebec and Ontario, I venture to say that, the Protestants, being in such an immense majority in the Northwest, in many cases it would be a practical impossibility for the Roman Catholics to have their separate schools. They would feel that a gross injustice was being done to a Roman Catholic child if we set up a national school in the Northwest in which the distinctive tenets of Protestantism were taught.
The right hon. gentleman said, on page 1458, in introducing the Bill :
Having obtained the consent of the minority to this form of government, having obtained their consent to the giving up of their valued privileges and their position of strength are we to tell them, now that confederation is established, that the principle upon which they consented to this arrangement is to be laid aside and that we are to ride rough—shod over them?
Now, Sir, I must confess that I am utterly unable to grasp the meaning of that 3146 language. I am not aware of any rights that were given up, any valuable privileges of which they were shorn, any position of strength that was abandoned. If any compact or bargain has been made by which the people of this country are in honour bound to give to the Northwest separate schools or anything else, then I will take the same stand that I took in 1896, and say, if the honour of this country is at stake, let us preserve our honour. But surely it is on hon. gentlemen opposite to show that there was some compact by which we are in honour bound to give some system of education to which we are opposed.
The right hon. gentleman, in introducing the Bill, made another statement, on page 1458; and it is rather singular that he used such an argument and others when the real point at issue is whether or not religious education should be given for half an hour a day. The right hon. gentleman said :
When I compare these two countries, when I compare Canada with the United States, when I compare the status of the two nations, when I think upon their future, when I observe the social condition of the civil society in each of them and wheul observe in this country of ours a total absence of lynchings and an almost total absence of divorces and murders. for my part. I thank heaven that we are living in a. country where the young children of the land are taught Christian morals and Christian dogmas.
I was rather amused when the right hon. gentleman said that. He was greeted with thunderous applause by the gentlemen behind him. Those hon. gentlemen, I sometimes think, have got into such a habit of applauding their leader for the eloquent passages with which from time to time he regales them, that they often applaud though they fail to grasp the point. I saw some gentlemen applauding that statement who I thought should more properly have held a brief for the Roman Catholics of the United States; and I call their attention to this statement which the right hon. gentleman has advanced as an argument why we should pass this Bill, which is in effect a statement that in the United States there is no religion taught in the national schools; that in Canada you have national schools without religion for Protestants and separate schools for Roman Catholics ; and that the consequence is that under this educational system Canada has escaped the murders, divorces and lynchings so common in the United States. Now, what does that mean if logic means anything?
I will not try to put it in words because one is so apt to be misquoted or misreported that I am afraid somebody will be unkind enough to say afterwards that I charged the Catholics of the United States when it is the right hon. the Prime Minister who has done that, and I stand here to defend them.
If it be true as he said, that we have public schools in Canada, in which no religion is taught and separate schools where the tenets of the Roman Catholic church are taught, and that in the United States they have only public schools wherein no religion is taught; therefore the murders lynchings, and the divorces in the United States must be attributable to the Catholics of the United States, according to his logic. It could not be attributed to the Protestants because the system of education is the same for them in Canada as in the United States and the only possible argument that can be advanced is: Give us separate schools here because the tone of morals will then be so much higher that we will shine in comparison with our less blessed neighbours to the south. This logical conclusion is irresistible, yet the hon. gentlemen opposite showed their approval of this as one of the Prime Minister's strongest arguments. The hon. gentleman spoke of the obligation resting on us to maintain separate schools in the west because they were given by legislation and pointed out that we here had given the Canadian Pacific Railway a certain exemption, from taxation and that nobody would think of revoking that Act passed by this parlia ment. I thought at the time the right hon. gentleman could hardly be speaking seriously. Surely he must admit that there is all the difference in the world between an ordinance passed by a legislature that can give one day and recall the next a solemn bargain between a country and a railway company whereby in consideration of certain things done and promised by the country the company agrees to build a railroad. In one case there is a bargain and in the other there is no bargain. If these were a parallel—I do not think there is an exact one, but if I were looking for one—I would find it in the case of the Land Act of the Northwest Territories, whereby land was set aside for purposes of education and subsequently this House deliberately changed that to reserve the lands for the public schools, and from that day to this thousands and thousands of acres of land have been held in trust for the benefit of public schools. If any settlers went in under any inducement what would be a greater inducement than to come to a land where hundreds and thousands of acres were set aside solemnly by the Dominion parliament for the aid of public schools? And yet the hon. gentleman does not hesitate to break that law and that trust by this Act ruthlessly to lay hands on the public lands and divide the proceeds between the public and the so-called separate schools. The Minister of Finance gave us an assurance the other night that was certainly very gratifying when he told us there was no legal or binding obligation to re-enact the law of 1875. If there is no legal or binding obligation to re-enact that law, then we on this side of the House cannot be blamed, I 3148 suppose, if we prefer not to enact it. The hon. the Minister of Finance whose intelligence we all admit, whose capacity fully to understand the full effect and grasp of the possibilities of the resolution before the House quite as well as some hon. gentlemen who sit behind him, would come to the discussion of the subject in the House with a breezy freshness which the hon. gentlemen would lack because he did not see the Act as soon as they and so it is fresher in his mind; that hon. gentleman the other night said :
We do not propose to override any Act of any legislature. What we propose to-day is to confirm and continue for all future time a. measure which the free voice of the Northwest legislature has placed upon the statute-book of the Territories.
The free voice of the Northwest Territories legislature compelled by this House to have separate schools, being the best they could do by the burdens laid on them. I refer to the remarks of the Minister of Finance perhaps more frequently than those of other gentlemen because I enjoyed them as an oratorical effort. He favoured us with a description of the Paradise Regained in the little province of Nova Scotia; he described the absolute bliss that reigned there among those religious classes which are warring in other portions of the country and pointed to the absolute harmony, concord and progress which prevailed there because they had not any separate school system and in triumph, glorying as he was in this happy state of Nova Scotia, his colleague the Minister of Railways (Hon. Mr. Emmerson), not wishing to be completely eclipsed, called his attention to the fact that a similarly happy condition of affairs prevails in New Brunswick where there are no separate schools. The hon. gentleman held this House spell-bound with an eloquence which we can admire without attempting to imitate, in one of the most glorious oratorical efforts ever given in this House while he proved that inasmuch as Nova Scotia and New Brunswick were so perfectly happy and free and prosperous without separate schools, therefore we ought to impose on the Northwest Territories separate schools. Is ii. any wonder, Sir, when we find an Act introduced into this House under such circumstances as those under which this Act was introduced, to which we have called attention before, and when we find that Act supported by such argument and eloquence as that, is it any wonder—and I ask it in all seriousness—that this class of people who have been referred to as the majority sometimes wonder if there is not more in the Act than is stated by hon. gentlemen opposite? If there is nothing more in the Act than the Minister of Finance said—and far be it from me to transgress the rules of the House or, outside of the House, to doubt his word, if there be nothing more than he said, viz: the paltry half-hour for religious instruction 3149 MARCH 24, 1905 for Heaven's sake let us as two-hundred and fifteen intelligent men, put our heads together this night and settle this question of education in the Northwest Territories.
I was looking over the several ordinances of the Northwest Territories the other day. They are rather voluminous, I have not had time to study them since I received them, but while not pretending to say that there is anything in what I am about to say to cause any hon. gentleman to change his mind about the true purport of this Bill, still it is possible there are some who do not understand hon. gentlemen opposite as well as we do and have less confidence in them than we have. Some people outside, in the country, if they should read these ordinances might be suspicious. Clause 10 provides:
All general regulations respecting the inspection of schools, the examination, training. licensing, and grading of teachers, courses of study. teachers' institutes, and text and reference books shall before being adopted or amended be referred to the council for its discussion and report.
A rather important clause you would think covering almost everything touching education. Clause 11 provides :
The council shall consider such matters as may be referred to it as herein before provided for by the commissioner, and may also consider any question concerning the educational system of the Territories as to it may seem fit, and shall report thereon to the Lieutenant Governor in Council.
Still further powers. I do not wish to misrepresent a single word, and therefore call attention to the fact that this educational clause with these broad powers is really an educational adviser to the educational commissioners of the Territories. I do not pretend to say, and hope I shall not be accused afterwards of misleading the House by trying to make hon. members believe, that this council has power to do everything that it has power to report upon. But, when we find a member of the government given an advisory clause in some special line like education, we can well believe that he would feel bound, except for very good reasons to the contrary, to follow the advise they gave. As the present Prime Minister of Ontario, Mr. Whitney, said in advocating an advisory board: he said the minister will not be bound to take their opinion, but he should be assuming a grave responsibility if he ventured to differ from the educational board selected for him. So, with regard to the educational clause of the Northwest Territories, I do not say that their findings are absolutely conclusive but I do say that they are entitled to the greatest weight. and that in the practical carrying out of education they would be found to have tremendous weight. And how is this clause composed ? Let me read the section on that point :
There shall be an educational council consisting of five persons at least two of whom shall be Roman Catholics to be appointed by the Lieutenant Governor in Council, who shall recommend such remuneration as the Lieutenant Governor in Council shall decide.
Now, Sir, I make no comment; I find no fault. Still, we find an ordinance of this kind appointing a board of five, of whom two at least must be-the whole five may be Roman Catholics. And we have been told of the schools of that part of the coun try that there are, as I understand, ten or twelve separate schools and 1,000 or 1,200 public schools. for the population is overwhelmingly Protestant. Is it any wonder that some people dislike crystallizing into law for all time to come this provision for a board of five members two of Whom at least must be Roman Catholics? Without a word derogatory to my Roman Catholic friends or to any gentleman in the ministry, let me assume that one of the three non- Catholics takes no more interest in education than one of the Protestant members of the sub-committee, Sir William Mulock, did in the present Bill, and where would the rights of the Protestant majority be ? We have a mixed population there. Give the Roman Catholics all, and more than all, they are justly entitled to, because they are a minority. But surely it the tables were turned my Roman Catholic friends would object to have it provided for all time to come that two of the members of the educational council must be members of the opposite faith.
Mr. A. LAVERGNE. If the hon. gentleman will allow me, I would like to ask him a question. Can these two members of the educational council vote ?
Mr. NORTHRUP. I see nothing here to prevent it. They all stand on the same footing.
Mr. A. LAVERGNE. But can the members of the council reach an efiective decision, or have they only advisory powers ?
Mr. NORTHRUP. I was very careful, in introducing the subject, to explain the powers that they had not, so that I might not be accused of misleading the House. So, I think I am justified in what I said, that, while I do not claim that this council has the power to crystallize into law what they wish on these subjects, yet the commissioner of education must be expected to be guided to a large extent by the decisions of those selected for that important trust.
Then, looking a little further—and I merely mention this as an illustration of something in the Act that goes a little further than the Minister of Finance thought —I find ordinance 31 which regulates the public aid to schools. There is no religious point involved in this; it is simply a pract 3151 COMMONS ical point as to securing the best education possible for your children :
To rural districts an amount to be calculated as follows :
(a) To each district containing 6,400 acres or less of assessable land as shown by the last revised roll of the district, $1.20 for each day school is kept open ; to each district containing less than 6,400, as aforesaid, one cent more per day for each 160 acres or fractional part thereof less than 6,400 acres ; and to each district containing more than 6,400 acres as aforesaid, one cent less per day for each additional 60 acres or fractional part thereof.
Mr. SCOTT. That ordinance is not embodied in the Bill.
Mr. NORTHRUP. It is the one officially sent to me.
Mr. L. G. MCCARTHY. It is not embodied in the Bill.
Mr. NORTHRUP. I see that. But I gave this merely to illustrate how the Act must work out for a similar ordinance must be passed. Here is the point I want to make: Certain grants are made out of the public treasury for these schools. Take a rural school section, of, say, 6,400 acres. A certain amount of money will go to that section. Now, simply as a practical illustration of What would arise under the ordinance
Mr. SCOTT. But what purpose is-to be served by giving such an illustration. when there is no provision of that kind in the Bill ?
Mr. NORTHRUP. I suppose that when the public moneys are to be distributed under this Bill, they must be distributed equitably among the public and separate schools. If a certain amount of money is to go to one section, and there is only one school, that school will get more than it would if another school were established in the same section. That, I think, is self evident. I expressly said that I gave this as an illustration of how it would work out. I suppose it will be admitted that, as that country is sparsely settled, it must be rather hard, in many sections, to maintain the schools. If another school is started in the neighbourhood, a heavy burden is placed upon both classes of the community and the schools are less efficient than they otherwise would be. I have another reason. I was in the Northwest about two years ago. I found regions which foreigners, as for instance the Galicians, have come in and set- tied. Now, if the Galicians get control of the school in one section, is it more likely or is it less likely that Americans, let us say, will settle there under the proposed legislation than they would if the public school only could be established there ? As a practical question is it not clear that the moment a number of foreigners settle in one section, they will effectively exclude 3152 other people settling in that section unless they are prepared to accept the conditions that would be suitable to foreigners ? Take, for instance the Galicians, and speaking of them with all respect. Is it unfair to say that the children of Galicians not knowing a word of English, would not be regarded as the most profitable fellow- students at school for the children of a farmer coming from the south side of the line. Therefore I venture to say that the idea of splitting up the schools is not calculated to improve the class of immigrants coming into the country and that it will practically shut out from the country a great deal of a certain and excellent class of immigration.
I have tried calmly and quietly to call the attention of the hon. gentlemen opposite to the fact that a majority may have feelings as well as a minority, and that it would be well in all these matters to consider the feelings of the majority as well as the feelings of the minority. I trust, Sir, that since it has been admitted on both sides of the House that painful excitement exists in the country, that fears have been aroused and passions excited, that probably many long days will be required to quell. I think I am justified in view of these facts admitted on both sides of the House, in appealing to the right hon. gentleman to tell us what is meant, and either say that the Finance Minister was wrong in his definition, or if he stands by what he says and calls it right, then let us here tonight, before we leave this chamber, settle on terms which will be satisfactory to every one of the majority in Canada who would gladly see all the children of this country trained every day in the year, for half an hour or more, in the faith taught them by their fathers.
Mr. FRANK OLIVER (Edmonton). If I have the permission of the leader of the opposition, whom I am sorry to see is not now in his place, to venture a few remarks in regard to what is especially a Northwest question, I would like to take up the time of the House for a little while tonight. That gentleman has several times referred to an occasion of two years ago when he saw fit to bring before this House a motion in regard to provincial autonomy, and it has seemed a grievance to him that on that occasion he was replied to by a humble member representing part of the Northwest Territories instead of by a member of the government. I do not know what qualification the hon. leader of the opposition demands from members who address this House, but I would think, with all humility, that a member who has spent the greater part of his life in the Northwest Territories, Who had some part in the local government of the Territories for many years, might possibly be able to contribute something to the information of the House on a question so closely connected 3153 MARCH 24, 1905 with the welfare of those Territories. I observe that on this particular occasion the leader of the opposition, in conducting the debate, if he has control of its conduct, is apparently of the view of that great American humorist, Mark Twain, who declared the less he knew of the subject the more fluently he could speak on it. I notice that his colleagues sitting beside him, members of a government who themselves, not so many years ago, were painfully interested in a certain school question, have not so far replied to the three ministers of the cabinet who have dealt with the question in this debate. The duty of replying to one of the most important speeches that has been made on this occasion has been relegated to my hon. friend who has just sat down (Mr. Northrup), and I think all will agree with me that no serious light has been thrown upon the subject, that the speech has not done credit either to the cause or its leader, nor has it done discredit to the ex-Minister of the Interior or to the cause which he champions. It seems to be the strong point in the argument of these gentlemen that because they do not see fit to see something, that, therefore, it is not there. Now, there is no one so blind as he who will not see; and the gentleman who can see no difference between the provisions of clause 16 as originally introduced and the provisions as they now stand for the approval of the House, is certainly very blind; I won't say that it is because he does not want to see, very probably it is because he cannot see. The difference between these two provisions, as I understand them, is radical. I do not say that it was intentional. We have had enough disputations in regard to constitutional points in this House during this debate to leave us all with the full knowledge that there may be honest differences-of opinion with regard to all these points. To my mind the difference is very important. As stated by the ex-Minister of the Interior here today—and I speak as one who knows something of this matter, as one who has had experience in regard to school legislation, as one of those members of the Northwest Assembly who made the change in the Northwest school law between what it was before 1891 and what it is to-day—I say the difference, as I understand it, is a difference between clerical control of schools and national control of schools. If that is not a sufficient difference, then I do not understand what we are disputing about. I think it is a radical difference. It is what threw this country into a turmoil in 1896 and caused a change of government at that time. It is the reason why those gentlemen are sitting on that side of the House instead of on this side.
But I wish particularly to deal at this time rather with the financial terms of these Bills than with the educational sections. To revert again to the leader of the opposition and his troubles, it seemed to be a great 3154 worry to him that two years ago several members representing the Northwest had the temerity to vote against his proposal for immediate provincial autonomy to the North west Territories. He objected very strongly to the reasons given on that occasion. I can only say that the reasons seemed to be sufficient to him at the time and afterwards, because, although he alleged that the measure was immediately important at that time it was the last reference he made to it, so far as I can recollect, until the measure was brought down this year. The reasons given were sufiicient apparently to satisfy him that the question was not pressing, was not so immediately important. I think I can satisfy the House that there were very good reasons why members representing the Northwest Territories should not be anxious to accept the suggestion of provincial autonomy without knowing very well what the terms of that autonomy were to be. I think the events of this debate are suflicient to prove that; and I think what has occurred since the opening of this session and since these Bills were brought down is evidence, if evidence were needed, that western members have been fairly careful as to what they agreed to, and possibly have had some influence ln securing provisions which would be to the advantage of the people of the Northwest Territories.
In considering the question of autonomy, we have to consider our peculiar position. We have to consider our position as compared with the condition of other provinces. The revenues that we might expect to receive as compared with those of other provinces, and consider whether our condition would be improved or be made worse by accepting provincial autonomy. We have great needs to meet in that country. Here in this province of Ontario we may make a comparison. The settled part of the province of Ontario is perhaps 400 miles long by 100 miles wide. In that area is contained all there is in Ontario, in the way of agriculture, at any rate. There are the roads, there are the schools, there are all the expenditures practically which the provincial government has to provide for. In these Northwest Territories, in the province of Saskatchewan. we will say, there is an area of 300 by 300 miles of agricultural country, over which agricultural settlement must spread, over which roads must be made, throughout which schools must be provided and municipal institutions taken care of. In Alberta we claim a distance of 800 miles in length by no less than 200 or 300 miles in width of agricultural country, over which settlement will spread, throughout which roads must be built, municipalities organized and schools maintained. If the province of Ontario, upon entering into confederation, found itself with a load of some $45,000,000 of debt incurred because of the necessity for the improvement of the conditions throughout that comparatively small area, we might 3155 COMMONS very well consider carefully our financial position in undertaking to spread. civilization and improvement over these very much vaster areas under our conditions. We knew that we must have the means or we cannot have the success. We must have the means with which to build roads, to provide schools, to take care of all these requirements of civilization which fall to the lot of the provinces ; and without those means, without that money, if we cannot go forward as provinces, we had better not undertake the responsibility of it. We find that in the condition in which we are at the present time the Territories receive a matter of nearly a million and a quarter dollars of revenue from this Dominion, or of subsidy, in the place of a provincial subsidy. Outside of that, there are expenditures which, in the provinces, are borne out of the provincial funds, but which, so far, have come out of the Dominion treasury, and which aggregate something like half a million dollars. At the present time, considering the Territories as a province, we are receiving as a subsidy from the Dominion treasury, a matter of a million and three-quarters of money. Now, compare that with the subsidy received by any of the other provinces. We find that Ontario receives a subsidy of a little less than a million and a half, Quebec a little over a million, Nova Scotia under half a million, New Brunswick under half a million, Manitoba a little over halt a million, British Columbia $300,000 and Prince Edward Isfland $200,000, the two larger of these with populations infinitely greater than that of the Northwest Territories. As I said, in the Northwest Territories we are not receiving more money than is necessary for the development and improvement of the country. Out of the money that we are receiving, and which bulks so large, comparatively as current expenditure, has to be provided a great deal of what would ordinarily be considered capital expenditure. Surely it was reasonable on our part to say that, considering the subsidies given to the provinces, considering that these subsidies are based on population very largely, considering the needs of that great western country in the immediate future, considering further that our population was increasing so rapidly and that, with the increase of population, we could claim continually more favourable financial terms, we had everything to gain by waiting for provincial autonomy and nothing to lose. I will not trouble the House to evidence that fact by comparing the terms demanded by the Northwest government itself in 1901 and again in 1903. Because this government did not grant to the Northwest Territories the autonomy that was asked for in 1901, in the space of fourteen months they had made something like a quarter of a million dollars a year. I thought if we could, by waiting a matter of fourteen months, increase our annual 3156 revenue by a quarter of a million dollars, we could not make money as quickly in any other way than by waiting a few years longer for provincial autonomy.
Mr. LALOR. Why did you not continue to wait a little longer ?
Mr. OLIVER. My hon. friend (Mr. Lalor) asks me why we did not continue to wait a little longer.
Mr. LALOR. You are making money so fast, it is a wonder you did not wait a little longer.
Mr. OLIVER. As far as I am concerned, and as far as the majority of the people in the Northwest Territories are concerned. they are prepared to continue to wait for provincial autonomy on those conditions.
Mr. ARMSTRONG. As long as it pays ?
Mr. OLIVER. As long as it pays. The demand for provincial autonomy does not come from the people of the Northwest.
Mr. BOYCE. Does it not come from the government of the Territories ?
Mr. OLIVER. I believe the government of the Territories has made certain demands for provincial autonomy. I have shown the House how wise these demands were by comparing the demand of one year with the demand of the succeeding year. I am not responsible for what the government of the Northwest Territories have done. I represent a section of the people of the Northwest Territories, and I say that the people of the Northwest Territories have never asked for provincial autonomy. However, if it seems good to the parliament of Canada and to the government of this Dominion to organize these Territories into provinces and to give them fair and reasonable financial consideration, certainly we are not the people to refuse that consideration or to refuse those reasonable financial terms. We believe that the terms which have been offered, and which are contained in the Autonomy Bills, are fair and reasonable financial terms, are such as we can conscientiously afford to accept, and such as will be a benefit to the people of those Territories, and will tend to the improvement of the country. We would be doing less than our duty ; we would be poor friends of our Dominion, if we willingly accepted anything short of a liberal allowance for provincial purposes in these Territories. As the ex-Minister of the Interior has said, it is on the development of these Territories that the prosperity of this whole Dominion depends. He would be the worst friend the Dominion had, who would prevent the progress of civilization in these provinces by stinting the means whereby that can be obtained. I shall not go into a comparison with the subsidies which are given the other provinces, except to repeat that the conditions in the Territories are so different from those in the other provinces—such a small population occupying such a vast area of agricultural 3157 MARCH 24, 1905 country, which soon must be full of people, and which will require large expenditure— that the terms which have been accorded the other provinces would not be satisfactory or suitable terms for these new provinces of the Northwest. The conditions are different; the terms must" be different; the terms are different, and in so far the terms are satisfactory.
As to the ownership of the lands; it has been urged that these lands are the property of the province, should remain the property ofthe province and should be administered by the province for the benefit of the revenue of the province. It matters not to me what the legal rights of the province or the Dominion respectively are in that case. The lands belong to Canada whether administered by the province or by the Dominion; the settlement of these lands is for the benefit of all Canada. Whatever method of administration will give us the best results in the way of the settlement of these lands is the policy that is best not only for the Dominion but for the province. As a representative of the west, I believe the idea of using the lands of the west as a source of provincial revenue would be a very great detriment to these new provinces and to the country at large. I am aware that the provinces must have re.venue, and failing any other source I would say: Certainly we must have revenue from the lands. But if we can get adequate revenue from other sources than the lands, then we certainly do not want the lands used as a source of revenue. I can easily understand that with a change of policy on the part of the federal government, a change of policy back to What it was say twenty years ago, when it was believed to be the proper policy to take everything that could be taken out of the land in the way of cash payment; then possibly it would be better that the lands should be in the hands of the province rather than in the hands of the Dominion. But, so long as we have a land policy the basic idea of which is the land for the settler, it is certainly better for us and for the Dominion that the lands should be administered by the federal authorities. One hon. gentleman said, that the lands could be better administered by the province than by the Dominion because the people of the province were closer on the ground and the interests of the province he'said, were just the same as the interests of the Dominion. I beg to differ; their interests are not the same. The interest of a province in the land is in the revenue it can derive from the sale of the lands; the interest of the Dominion in the lands is in the revenue that it can derive from the settler who makes that land productive. This Dominion of Canada can make millions out of the lands of the Northwest. and never sell an acre; it has made millions out of these lands 3158 without selling an acre. The increase in our customs returns, the increase in our trade and commerce, the increase in our manufactures is to a very large extent due to the increase in settlement on the free lands of the Northwest Territories. The prosperity this Dominion is enjoying to-day is to a very large extent due to the fact that the lands of the Northwest Territories have been given away and that people have taken them. I say that the interest of the Dominion is to secure the settlement of the lands, and whether with a price or without a price makes little or no difference. It is worth the while of the Dominion to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars in promoting immigration to that country and to spend thousands and thousands of dollars in surveying and administering these lands, and then to give them away. But the province is not in that position. The province derives no revenue from the customs duties or from the wealth which the settler creates. Every settler who goes on land in the Northwest Territories is a bill of expense to the provincial government. That settler requires a road made, he requires a school supported, he requires the advantages of municipal organization, and these have to be provided for him out of the funds of the provincial government, so that asa matter of fact the tendency of the provincial government is to get such money as it can out of the land and to prevent settlement from spreading any further than can be helped. On the other hand, the interest of the Dominion is to get the settlers on the land, to scatter them far and wide so long as they are good settlers and they get good land. That is the position as it strikes us in the Northwest, and when we have secured a financial arrangement with the Dominion government that gives us adequate consideration for our lands—I mean to say, gives us an adequate revenue as compared with the other provinces at any rate; gives us a revenue that instead of decreasing will increase as our needs increase; gives us a revenue that is proportionate not only to our population as it will be but to the area over which that population will spread—when we have secured an arrangement such as that, we have secured a very satisfactory arrangement; at least as satisfactory as we can expect to secure.
As to the amount we get out of our lands, a word on that point may not be out of place. The province of British Columbia owns all its natural resources; it has timber, it has gold mines and lead mines and coal mines. And I find that last year the province of British Columbia derived from all the resources connected with the ownership of its lands, the sum of $615,000. In the coming year, the country which is now the Northwest Territories Will derive a sum of something like $750,000, based on the 3159 COMMONS calculation that has been made in regard to the land. I find that the province of Ontario with a population of two and a quarter millions in the year 1902, derived from its lands $1,499,000.
We find, by the arrangement that has been made with these Northwest provinces, that when their population reaches that of the province of Ontario, they will be deriving two and a quarter millions in respect of their lands. I have given the total amounts which the provinces referred to derive from their lands as they are to-day. I have deducted nothing for the expense of management, and I have not said, what is the fact, that these provinces are drawing from their capital account while the Territories are taking only their annual revenue. That the provinces, selling their lands, disposing of their natural resources, as they do today, and using the proceeds as their annual revenue, must find that revenue decreasing from year to year, while we, with not a cent deducted for expense of management or for any other purpose, find our revenue increasing from period to period according to the increase of population, until we reach a very fair maximum amount and when that is reached, there will be people settled all over these provinces, and they will have the means of revenue from taxation which exist in the older provinces. Our position will be similar, and we shall be able to carry on business as they do. Under these circumstances the objections which I entertained to provincial autonomy, and which were shared by a large majority of the people of the Territories, have been overcome by the financial terms offered to these provinces in the Autonomy Bill. We are just as ready to take upon ourselves all the rights and responsibilities of self—government as the people of any other part of this Dominion, but we want the means wherewith to discharge those responsibilities before we assume them. We are not going into any blind pool—the term seems objectionable to the leader of the opposition. We are giving our sanction to a definite bargain, laid down in dollars and cents, in regard to which there can be no equivocation or misunderstanding.
In regard to the educational clauses of the Bill, I do not know whether I dare venture on a subject which has been so thoroughly threshed out by so many legal gentlemen in this House already. But at the same time the laws are not all made by the lawyers, and they are not all administered upon the lawyers. It is the people at large who sufler from the laws, and it is not any harm for one of the ordinary citizens of the country to attempt to understand them. Now, on this point I differ very radically from some of my friends. I am not a supporter of separate schools because I like the principle of separate schools. I do not agree with everything that was said by 3160 our hon. friend the member for Jacques Cartier (Mr. Monk) last night said so ably and so well. I am one of those who pin their faith unreservedly to a system of national schools, established for the purpose of educating the people of the country, of imparting to them knowledge in secular subjects. I am one of those who believe that religion can best be taught by those Whose special training is the teaching of religion, that geography can be better taught by those whose special training is for the purpose of teaching geography. If I understood the law as some of our friends understand it, I certainly would vote against the educational provisions of this Bill. But I do not understand the law that way, and I am at a loss to see how they can understand it that way". We have been bombarded here for some time with petitions in regard to this educational question; we have seen staring headlines in the papers ; there have been indignation meetings held in some parts of the country; there has been trouble, large, long and loud, all around; and what has it all been about? I noticed a heading in a newspaper the other day, a great large heading—I think it has been in several issues of the paper. It read: 'A Free West. a Common School, Provincial Rights, Religious Equality.' I hear some gentlemen laugh sarcastically. I want to to say that I subscribe thoroughly to the sentiments expressed in that headline. I read further: 'Toronto Vigorously Protests Against Throttling the West.' Well, I would like to be understood as protesting against any attempt to throttle the west. 'Meeting emphatically protests against the enactment of section 16 or any other pro,visions inconsistent with their constitutional freedom in this regard.' And the mass meeting in Massey Hall demanded that the government, first should abandon the clauses. second, should appeal to the country, or third, should defer action—it must do one or other of these three things. I read in one of these petitions which have been sent in :
At the last regular meeting of the Strathcona Preceptory, Royal Black Knights of Ireland, the following motion was passed:
Moved Sir Knight J. J. Mellon, seconded Sir Knight T. Irving, that this preceptory does utterly disapprove of the school clause in the present Autonomy Bill, and strongly urge that the new provinces do have full control in all matters pertaining to education in the said provinces.
I find in a petition which I had the honour to present:
We, the undersigned electors of the electoral district of Edmonton do pray that in granting provincial autonomy to the Northwest Territories the Dominion parliament will not by any enactment or otherwise withhold from the newly created provinces full and unrestricted freedom of action in all matters affecting the es 3161 MARCH 24, 1905 tablishment, maintenance and administration of schools.
I read the following resolution of the Winnipeg Ministerial Association :
Therefore be it resolved, that the Ministerial Association of Winnipeg respectfully protests against this legislation proposed, and expresses the hope that the educational clauses referred to as objectionable may be expunged from the Bill, thus leaving the new provinces perfectly free to develop their own educational policy.
I read from a newspaper :
Orange protest.—Eastern Ontario Orange Grand Lodge pronounces on the Autonomy Bill. An invasion of provincial rights. The provinces must be absolutely free.
And in a part of this document it says :
We have strong reason to think that this restrictive legislation has been asked for by a certain organization in a province far removed from the Northwest, an organization that has never stopped during nearly the last thousand years grasping for power to curtail the rights of the people.
I read here a document which has been directed to myself. It is from the Grand Orange Lodge of Ontario West and says :
And so we are called upon to-day to enter our earnest protest against the unjustifiable action of the bishops striving to shackle the west for all time in matters or education. We desire to go on record, as citizens of this country, uncontrolled by the Roman Catholic hierarchy, who have been on record for forty years, in favour of a system of non-denominational public schools, where every child shall secure a good secular education at the general expense, and where the religious belief of the pupils will be fully respected.
This right worshipful grand lodge opposes as dangerous to the peace, order and good government of the Dominion the adoption of this principle in the constitution of the proposed new provinces. We stand firmly against the endowment of denominational schools as the worst, because the most subtle form, in which church and state can be united. This is accomplished by the Autonomy Bill providing that ' the public money of the provinces appropriated by the legislature in aid of education and the funds derived from the sale of public lands set apart solely for public school purposes shall hereafter be divided indiscriminately between the public and the separate schools.'
There seems to be some objection on the part of some of these gentlemen who have so petitioned parliament against separate schools. I admit that I, too, hold similar objections, but these gentlemen do not seem to be aware that those separate schools have been in existence in the Northwest Territories for 20 years to my knowledge ; that they are in existence because of legislation passed unanimously 30 years ago by this parliament, as the leader of the opposition said, and repeated and reiterated, subject to repeal or amendment by this parliament at any time during the past 30 years, and there never was a word of pro 3162 test from the Ministerial Association of Winnipeg, from the Orange Grand Lodge of eastern or western Ontario, from the preceptory of the Black Knights of Ireland in Strathcona, nor from any of those other petitioners, during that whole 30 years during which it was in the power of this parliament to do away with this national outrage of separate schools in the Northwest. It is within the power of parliament to-day; it is not too late. But there is not a man here who will move, nor has there been a suggestion made to this House, that separate schools in the Northwest Territories should be abolished, not a word. Do these gentlemen really mean what they say or do they know what they say ? Is this a demonstration of objection to separate schools or is it an attempt to wreck the Liberal government on a second school question ? If this attack is honest, if it is against the separate schools and not against the French premier, it is in order for the leader of the opposition (Mr. R. L. Borden) and the gentlemen behind him to introduce a Bill into this parliament as they yet may do to abolish separate schools in the Northwest by repealing the section of the Northwest Act. I am against separate schools but I want some company in my position and I do not seem to be able to find it. It is not the first time I have been alone in this House, but I seem to be just as lonesome now as I ever was, notwithstanding all these petitions on this very interesting subject. These separate schools have been authorized in the Northwest Territories by Act of this parliament for 30 years at least and they have been in actual existence in the Northwest Territories for 20 years by Act or ordinance of the Northwest legislature. There has been no word of protest in parliament or out of parliament, there has been no word of petition in the Northwest legislature, or amongst the people against that provision.
Mr. A. A. McLEAN. Why do you not ask leave to introduce the Bill ?
Mr. OLIVER. I want to know first whether I would get a seconder.
Some hon. MEMBERS. Try it. Try McCarthy.
Mr. D. D. McKENZIE. Stick to the tunnel, McLean.
Mr. OLIVER. I say then that in view of the fact that these separate schools have been in existence for 20 years absolutely at the disposal of this parliament, without a word of objection from the legislature of the Northwest Territories or from the people of the Northwest Territories, it is not in order to send into this House such documents as have been sent in within the past month ; to discuss this question as it has been discussed in the newspapers of this country. I say that the men who are doing 3163                    COMMONS                           this are doing it not in the interests of Protestantism but in the interests of party politics. If there is a wrong, let them take proper means to remedy that wrong. It is open to them, this is the responsible body whereby it can be remedied. These provinces are not yet created, these territories are still under the absolute control of this parliament of Canada. If a wrong has been done let us right that wrong and right it now, and there will be no question about separate schools in these provinces in the future.
Mr. SPROULE. Are the thousands of reformers who signed this petition and have spoken on this question along the same lines doing it in the interests of a political party ?
Mr. ALEX. JOHNSTON. It is the man who asked them.
Mr. SPROULE. They were asked by no person except the instinct of nature.
Mr. CONMEE. Petitions with a printed head were sent out broadcast.
Mr. OLIVER. I think it must be evident from the discussion in this House that many people have been misled as to the facts of this case.
Sir WILFRID LAURIER. Hear, hear.
Mr. OLIVER—or they would not have taken the position they have.
Sir WILFRID LAURIER. Hear, hear.
Mr. ALEX. JOHNSTON. He did it.
Mr. OLIVER. Now the government, coming to this question, having to provide provincial organization for these territories, considering that there are separate schools there, that there have been separate schools there, that there has never been objection made to these schools until this Bill was introduced, what are they to do? What should the government do but make provision to carry on the existing conditions. What did the Northwest Territories government do when they proposed provincial autonomy two or three years ago ? If the time of the organization of a province is the time to do away with these separate schools ; is the time to start the province out without any such incubus upon their organization ; then the time to do that was when the Northwest government was applying for provincial powers and preparing their own draft Bill on the subject. But I find that section 2 of this draft Bill which was prepared by the Northwest government in 1901—and these provisions were repeated in 1903—is almost word for word section 2 of the Autonomy Bill which is before the House and as a matter of fact is a reproduction of a similar section in the Act admitting each individual province into the Dominion. It reads :
On, from and after the said first day of January, 1903, the provisions of the British North America Act, 1867, except those parts thereof which are in terms made or by reasonable intendment may be held to be specially applicable to or to affect only one or more, but not the whole of the provinces under that Act composing the Dominion, and except so far as the same may be varied by this Act, shall be applicable to the province of          in the same way and to the same extent as they apply to the several provinces of Canada, and as if the province of             had been one of the provinces originally united by the said Act.
The view of the government of the Northwest Territories was that existing conditions should be continued. And again I find, in section 13 a parallel to the one in the Autonomy Bill and a reproduction of a similar section in the Acts admitting the other provinces :
Except as otherwise provided for by this Act all laws in force in the Northwest Territories on the first day of January, 1903, . . . shall continue as if this Act had not been passed, subject nevertheless (except with respect to such as are enacted by or exist under Acts of parliament of Great Britain or of the parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, to be repealed, abolished or altered by the parliament or Canada or by the legislature of the province, according to the authority of the parliament or the legislature under this Act.
That is to say, in the Bill proposed by the Northwest government for the admission of these Territories into confederation, are these very provisions which are contained in the Autonomy Bill. If I understood the argument of the leader of the opposition (Mr. R. L. Borden) and the hon. member for East Grey (Mr. Sproule) it was that if the date of the union was the date of the annexation of the territories to Canada, then the British North America Act did not apply.
Mr. SPROULE. Did apply.
Mr. OLIVER. The subsections of section 93 would not apply ?
Mr. OLIVER. I understand the leader of the opposition to say that if, the date of union meant the date when these provinces are added to the union, then the restrictive sections do apply. Now, Mr. Haultain and his government in their Bill, make these sections apply. As a matter of fact, I think, it is absurd—I beg pardon for using that word if it is unparliamentary—to argue that the time of union means the time of the annexation of the country to Canada and not the time of the erection of the province.
Mr. SPROULE. So says Mr. Christopher Robinson.
Mr. OLIVER. I am sorry to differ from that eminent and learned gentleman. Let me read the first subsection of section 93 of the British North America Act, in which these words occur :
3165 MARCH 24, 1905
Nothing in any such law shall prejudicially affect any right or privilege with respect to denominational schools which any class of persons have by law in the province at the union.
This does not say that any provincial law may exist at the union. It does not allude in any degree—it carefully refrains from alluding—to the collective powers which may be exercised by legislation. It refers to the individual rights of any class of persons at the union, and defines the rights of those people when they come into the union. That is the purpose of the Act—not the defining of anything about what they were before they came into the union. On the face of it it has no reference whatever to whether a province was organized before or not. If there was a class of persons who had rights at the union, when they came into the union they should continue to have those rights— that is the whole intent and meaning of the section ; there is no other explanation. That is as Mr. Haultain understood it ; that is as any man, I think, must understand it if he reads it with due care. That being the case, the British North America Act being the constitution of this country, I say that, although I am no lover of separate schools, although I do not believe in separate schools as so many of our people do, this government would certainly be doing very much less than its duty if it undertook, under all the circumstances of the case especially , to deviate from the terms of the British North America Act or took any other course than loyally to carry out its provisions. In regard to the terms of the first clause 16 and the second clause 16, I will take the liberty of saying that for my own part, I would rather not have seen any clause 16 at all. I believe that according to the British North America Act, the separate schools of the Northwest Territories would have exactly the same protection that they have under the provisions of clause 16. I know that all my friends do not agree with me in that view. I take it that clause 16 is merely a declaration on the part of parliament of meaning and intent ; the provisions of clause 16 are declaratory and not mandatory. I say that I would prefer that there would not be any clause 16, that there should not be any declaration of the meaning and intent of these provisions of the British North America Act. I say that as a Protestant living in a country where the large majority are Protestants, and as one who does not believe in separate schools ; living where the majority do not believe in separate schools. I take the view that, situated as we are we are in a sufficiently strong position to maintain our views without any declaration as to the extent to which the British North America Act goes. But I am bound to say that there are other gentlemen who do not take that view ; and I am bound to say also that they have some fairly good reasons for the view 3166 they take. I think it is a fairly arguable question. I presume the reason they take the contrary view is this : That if the terms of the British North America Act are contravened in this particular ; the remedy lies with parliament. You come back to this parliament for your remedy. And so they say. If parliament in the last resort has to declare what these provisions mean, it is very much better to declare them at first and avoid any question or misunderstanding in the first place.
On second thought I am somewhat inclined to take that view myself, because, while we have a very large Protestant majority in the Dominion of Canada, and while this House seems to be rather strongly against the idea of separate schools, that condition has not always prevailed. We recall a time not so very long ago when an occasion such as might happen in the Northwest Territories actually did happen in regard to the province of Manitoba, and an appeal was made to parliament, and attempt was made to interpret the provision of the British North America Act by parliament. And when we consider the provisions of that Remedial Bill as proposed to be applied to the province of Manitoba. when we consider that such conditions might possibly arise in the Northwest Territories, those of us who do not like the idea of separate schools, and particularly who do not like the idea of clerical control of schools, may very well say that we would rather have a declaration from this parliament at this time as to what the British North America Act means, than trust to some future time when some other government might be in power who would be more ready to sell the rights of the people of the west for clerical support at the polls. We heard something to-day spoken in tones almost of horror as to the control which the advisory board had in the Northwest Territories, because it had two Catholics on it.
An hon. MEMBER. What an outrage !
Mr. OLIVER. Awful to think of ! That advisory board is simply an advisory board, and has no other duties than to give expert advice in regard to educational matters. But I find that when our friends opposite were undertaking to legislate for schools in Manitoba, they did not stop at that. They provided the Lieutenant Governor in Council should constitute a separate school board of education for Manitoba, not exceeding nine, all of whom should be Roman Catholics. I find further that this board of education had these powers.
It shall be the duty of the board of education to have under its control and management the separate schools, and to make from time to time such regulations as may be deemed fit for their general government and discipline and the carrying out of the provisions of this Act ; to arrange for the proper examination, grading 3167                         COMMONS                             and licensing of its teachers and for the withdrawing of licenses upon sufficient cause; to make and enforce regulations for the establishment and operation of departments in such of its schools as it may deem suitable for the preparation of candidates for the annual examination of teachers, and for matriculating at the University of Manitoba, and for the doing of general literary work corresponding to the standard required for these examinations, and to give special aid to such schools from the funds of its disposal not exceeding in the aggregate one-twelfth of its appropriation ; provided that no schools shall be entitled to receive such special aid that does not comply fully with the regulations made by the board for its operation.
These are the gentlemen who are objecting, who are holding up both hands in holy horror at the idea of throttling the Northwest by continuing its present system of separate schools. The provisions of section 15 are intended to protect us Protestants of the Northwest against legislation of that kind at some future date. In regard to the distribution of public funds I find this in section 74 :
The right to share proportionate claims, in any grant made out of public funds for the purposes of education having been decided to be and being now one of the rights and privileges of the said Roman Catholic minority of Her Majesty's subjects in the province of Manitoba, any sum granted by the legislature of Manitoba and appropriated for the separate schools shall be placed to the credit of the board of education in accounts to be opened in the books of the treasury department and in the audit office.
No question about that. I find further in section 111 :
The Lieutenant Governor in Council may direct that a sum not exceeding one-tenth of the amount of the grant for educational purposes be allowed for the maintenance of normal school departments as hereby established.
We do not want any legislation of that kind in the Northwest Territories, or for the Northwest. Now I want to make myself clear, for I believe I speak for many people in the Northwest on this subject. We object to separate schools, not on religious grounds at all, but merely on the grounds of efficiency and economy. But we can see that in the Northwest, under present conditions, separate schools conducted as they are to-day, do not seriously affect either efficiency or economy. Therefore we do not seriously object to these schools as they are to-day. But what we do object to, what we did object to in 1891, was the feature embodied in this Remedial Bill, thoroughly embodied in it, and that was the principle of absolute clerical control of schools. That is What we do not want. that is what we would not submit to. We had that clerical control of schools from 1884 to 1891, and as the ex-Minister of the Interior has said to-day with regard to Manitoba. that system was abused. It may 3168 be a good system in theory, it may be a good system in practice, in some cases, but we did not find it so. I was a member of the legislature which changed the conditions of the school law of the Northwest and made the schools strictly national. We have separate schools in the Northwest, but we have not a separate school system in the Northwest. We concede, and I am glad to say that we willingly concede, to our Roman Catholic fellow citizens the right to pay their own taxes to their own schools, to elect their own trustees, to hire teachers of their own faith, and to give religious instruction for one-half hour each day in their schools. I believe that is a reasonable provision, and while I cannot say that I approve of it, still I do approve of it to this extent, that it satisfies the religious convictions of a large and important part of the population, whose religious convictions are entitled to the most careful and fullest consideration.
So far I am prepared to go and justify myself here or anywhere else. Beyond that point, to hand our schools, or any section of our schools, over to the control of a body not directly responsible to the people of the country through their votes, I certainly do not approve of and the people of the Northwest Territories would not approve of. We have an efficient school system in the Northwest Territories, a very efficient school system. It is a national school system, essentially national, and because it is national we approve of it. There is no occasion, there has been no occasion and there has been no justification in any way , shape or manner for the attacks that have been made upon this subject of separate schools as a matter of party politics within the last two or three weeks in this country.
It may be a matter of information to the members of this House to say that while the returns show only ten or fifteen separate schools in the Territories, there are, I suppose, upwards of a hundred Catholic schools. Wherever the Catholic people are in the majority, they elect their own trustees, form their own school district, hire their own teachers and direct what form of religion shall be taught in the half hour allotted to religion. These are public schools; they are not separate schools, and yet they are Catholic schools. So, I say that in the Northwest Territories we have the Catholics sharing in the public school system just the same whether they are separated from the original districts or whether they form the original district; we have a national school system and it is not throttling the Northwest Territories and it is not doing an injustice or an injury to the Northwest Territories to provide for a continuation of that system, especially if by so doing you provide against the possibility of such a condition as was attempted to be thrust upon the province of Manitoba not many years ago.
In regard to the other provisions of this 3169                                                            MARCH 27, 1905                                                               Bill I do not think anything need be said. We have received in the past at the hands of this government very fair consideration. We have received representation in this House and in the upper chamber. We have received reasonable financial consideration, increasing as our needs increased, although possibly not fully up to the mark of our requirements. And now, that it has seemed good to the government of the day and to, I think, the large majority of the people of the country to erect these Territories into provinces, it is certainly something of which we may very well be proud that we enter confederation upon such favourable terms. We only regret that this particular subject should have been the occasion of such a great amount of what I may be justified in calling malicious misrepresentation for the purpose of making party capital. We had hoped that our entrance into confederation as full fledged provinces would be under altogether auspicious circumstances. With this exception they are altogether auspicious and perhaps when we have threshed out this question in parliament we will all understand each other better, we will all know where we severally stand on this important question and perhaps it will be the last we will hear in Canada of this much vexed school question.
Mr. H. BOURASSA moved the adjournment of the debate.
Motion agreed to, and debate adjourned.
Sir WILFRID LAURIER moved the adjournment of the House. He said: Monday being private members' day, probably this debate will not be continued on that day, but it will be resumed on Tuesday. At the same time I am giving notice to the House that the government intends to move next week to take Mondays as well as other days after private Bills and questions put by member. The calendar is pretty fully charged with others placed upon it by different members of the House so that I think it would be well that members who intend to move resolutions should do so on Monday next.
Mr. FOSTER. When the debate is resumed on Tuesday I suppose it will go on consecutively?
Sir WILFRID LAURIER. Yes, from day to day.
Motion agreed to, and House adjourned at 11 p.m.


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



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