Mr. N O RTHR U P-by Mr. Ivaulbach- asked :
1. Is the following a true translation, or practically so, of a circular issued by Thomas Cotd, assistant census commissioner :-
Ottawa, 1st March, 1901.
Dear Sir,-I take the liberty of writing to you to-day for the purpose of discussing matters connected with the census.
As you already know, the fourth decennial census of Canada will begin on the 1st of April next, and will continue during the two or three following weeks. As you also know, the object of the census is to ascertain as exactly as possible the number of the population, and of the resources of the country, and thereby to give a true idea of its relative position among nations.
To attain this object, that is to say, to know as correctly as possible the number of the population and resources of the country, it is necessary that the citizens of the country in which the census is taken should contribute by their influence, by their words, and by their example to the success of the common work.
This leads me, sir, to ask you to aid us in making this census as complete and as exact as possible in your locality. You are probably aware that on the occasion of each former census many citizens of this country imagined that the census was for the purpose of imposing additional taxes, and for the purpose of enrolling Mr. NORTHRUP.
their children for foreign wars. That was a complete mistake, for the results which the census furnishes have not for their object the imposition of new taxes, but are, on the contrary, directly connected with the administrative science which presupposes a general knowledge of needs and means, defects and advantages, of the country in which the census is taken, all of which is to be presented in a numerical form.
Does Not Mean Conscription.
Neither is it reasonable to fear that the census has for its aim the enrolment of any citizen of the country for any war. The military service which a certain number of Canadians recently performed in South Africa was, as you know, purely voluntary, and there was no power in the world capable of enforcing any one to go there unless it was his own desire to do so. There is also another error into which a certain number of our compatriots have fallen : that is to imagine that the census tables, or rather the information furnished the enumerators could serve them as an advertisement, or could be used in any way to their detriment. The real truth, however, is that these tables are never seen, except by the officers whose duty it is to make the census.
These officers are bound by their oath of office not to divulge any information concering individuals, and besides, as you may well believe, I am sure that not four-fifths of the enumerators have any leisure to give attention to the personal information which they have obtained in going from house to house and interrogating the citi-zeus.
Some people have also, in certain cases, objected to give their names to the enumerators. Names are taken purely and simply as a guarantee of the truth of the information furnished, and in order to afford a check upon the information as written down.
There is another thing to which I particularly desire to draw your attention, and that is the peculiar situation of the groups of French families in your district. In the census of 1891, the people of French origin in the maritime provinces, in Manitoba, the North-west Territories, and in Ontario, did not receive justice. A large number of citizens of French origin were enumerated in the census of 1891 as being of English origin.
The true cause of this injustice has never been thoroughly known. Perhaps it was owing to the fact that a large number of our compatriots in the provinces above named, and especially in your locality, do not now speak French, and even in some cases have changed their names. When the enumerator went to their houses in 1891 they answered, no doubt, without reflection, that speaking only English, they should be enumerated as forming a part of the population of English origin. That is no reason, however, why citizens who are really of French origin should be enumerated as such.
I have reason to believe that there will be fewer errors this year than in the past, on account of the changes which have been made in the census tables.
But will you permit me to ask you to exercise your influence on all citizens of French origin whom you know, in order that they may answer accurately and correctly the census officials.
See that they do not forget to declare that they are really of French origin, although they
may not now speak French, and although they may have changed their names, as, for example, in the case of those named Poirier, who now call themselves Perry ; those named Leblanc, who now call themselves White, &c.
Will you permit me also to ask you to give these instructions, and these explanations, to all citizens of French origin whom you know.
Will you be good enough to advise your people to answer correctly the questions which will be put to them by the enumerators, assuring them that they need fear no increase of taxes, since the census has not this object in view ; and also not to hesitate to make known the real value of their properties. But above all, insist, I beg of you, that the true origin of all our compatriots may be correctly registered by the census officials.
I have the honour to be, sir,
Your obedient servant,
THOMAS COTE, Assistant Census Commissioner.
2. If so, how many such circulars were issued, giving the number sent to each province ?
3. Were such circulars sent out under the frank of the Minister of Public Works ?
4. Were such circulars sent out under the instructions of the government ?