April 16, 1901

LIB

Duncan Cameron Fraser

Liberal

Mr. FRASER.

I am in receipt of a letter from one of the leading practitioners in Dawson who informs me that since Christmas the court has been sitting every day and sometimes at night, and that there is still a large amount of business which the judges have not been able to touch. The work in a new country is much greater than it is here, and I am satisfied that a necessity exists for these appointments, and also for the jurisdiction given these magistrates. The Superior Court has to try a great many cases relating to mining. There is one case which took the time of the court every day of the week for a fortnight, relating to a mining claim in which a couple of hundred thousand dollars were Involved, and such eases require very patient and long hearing, so that it would be impossible for the two judges to overtake all the small cases that come before them.

On section 9,

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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BORDEN (Halifax).

It seems to me the right of appeal is somewhat limited by this section.

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The MINISTER OF THE INTERIOR.

I

observe that too. and I will reserve that section.

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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BORDEN (Halifax).

It wouid be just as well to do so, because there might be a

claim amounting to upwards of $500 as to which there would be no appeal.

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The MINISTER OF THE INTERIOR.

Let that stand. I may say that after the Bill was introduced in the Senate the Surveyor General called my attention to the fact that the description of the Yukon territory had necessarily been somewhat vague from a scientific standpoint when the Act was originally passed, and he advised me that it would be well to have a new description made in accordance with the information which the Surveyor General's branch has since acquired in regard to the territory, and to substitute it for the description in the original Act. I have, therefore, had an amendment prepared for the purpose of amending the description. The boundary line will not be substantially altered except in one respect. The territory will be a little enlarged, and a portion of the valley of the Peel river, which, under the old description, has belonged to the North-west Territories, is now brought into the Yukon Territory, and properly, I think, because it will be nearer the seat of government at Dawson and more conveniently governed than from Regina. I therefore propose the following amendment :

That section 2 of the Yukon Territory Act, chap. 6, of the Statutes of 189S, is hereby repealed, and the following section Is substituted therefor :

2. The territory described in the schedule of this Act is hereby constituted and declared to be a separate territory under the name of the Yukon territory, and the same shall no longer form part of the North-west Territories.

In section 14 follows the technical description of the territory in accordance with the plaep which I have handed to my hon. friend.

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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BORDEN (Halifax).

This" is for all purposes, and not solely for judicial purposes.

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The MINISTER OF THE INTERIOR.

For all purposes.

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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BORDEN (Halifax).

Other things being equal, it would be better to deal with the subject by a separate Act, I should suppose. It seems to me a little incongruous to introduce it into an Act appointing a police magistrate.

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The MINISTER OF THE INTERIOR.

I do not know whether I made myself clear. In the original Yukon Territory Act is contained a description of the territory, and by that Act the territory is described as withdrawn from the North-west Territories and formed into a separate territory. The description from a scientific standpoint is not so saticfactory as we could wish. Further Information has been acquired by recent explorations that have taken place which re-

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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BORDEN (Halifax).

quire a different description. But it makes no difference in the territory except as to a small portion of the Feel river valley. It will be more easily administered from Dawson City than it would be by the territorial government at Regina. I may say that persons have gone lately into the territory of the head waters of the Peel river, and have made applications to the commissioner's office in Dawson City for the purpose of having their mining claims recorded, and it is not likely, according to the original description, that the territory is in the Yukon. There is a doubt in the description as to the actual location of the boundary line, and we now include the head waters of the Peel river and bring it into the Yukon

territory-

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CON

John Graham Haggart

Conservative (1867-1942)

Hon. Mr. HAGGART.

The hon. gentleman must see that the description of the eastern boundary is almost impossible to lay out upon the ground. The southern boundary, of course, is a parallel of latitude, except the part that is near the coast. The question is this : If a crime is committed where it is impossible to fix the eastern boundary, is there equal jurisdiction in the courts of the North-west Territories and of the Yukon district for the trial of such a case ?

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The MINISTER OF THE INTERIOR.

I cannot answer that question. I think there is a general Act under which either of the criminal courts would have jurisdiction. The object in fixing this line, is as far as possible, to follow the watershed as the natural boundary, the territory on the north-west side of the water-shed belonging to the Yukon and on the east side to the Northwest Territories.

Mr. LaRIVIERE. I think the objection raised by my hon. friend from Halifax (Mr. Borden) is a proper one, when he says that it is obvious that, as this refers to another matter than that covered by the other part of the Bill, it should form a separate Act by itself. You amend the Yukon Territory Act by a clause inserted in a Bill affecting the judicial courts of the territory. If this affected the territory only in relation to judicial matters, it would be all right, but it affects it in every way, and should be dealt with separately. There is no objection to the amendment itself, but it should be a separate Bill, as it has nothing to do with the other part of the Act.

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The MINISTER OF THE INTERIOR.

My hon. friend (Mr. LaRiviSre) will see that the Yukon Territory Act dealt writh the question of description, and also with the question of judicial arrangement ; and, this Bill being brought in to amend that Act, it is certainly germane to the subject to amend any portion of the Yukon Territory Act. I do not think it would add to the convenience of reference, which is the only question

involved in the hon. gentleman's suggestion, to make one more Act than seems necessary. It seems to me that it would be best to have amendments to the Yukon Territory Act included in one measure, so that if a man is, looking for amendments and finds this Act, he knows that he has them all before him.

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CON

John Graham Haggart

Conservative (1867-1942)

Hon. Mr. HAGGART.

Is there any international arrangement with the United States authorities as to the boundary at that part of the line where you depart from the line of latitude near the coast ?

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The MINISTER OF THE INTERIOR.

As to the portion of the territory which lies contiguous to Alaska, there is a provisional boundary line agreed to between the two governments, and that line, wherever necessary, has been laid down upon the ground by commissioners appointed by the parties. Our commissioner and the commissioner of the United States went up last season and laid out the boundary line at the only place practically necessary, that is, across the Dalton trail to Pyramid Harbour. Under the terms of the provisional arrangement, the summit of the White Pass, the pass through which the railway runs, and the summit of the Chilkoot Pass, which was also used oy travellers before the railway was opened, are considered to be the provisional boundary line. They are fixed by agreement. So, we have at all the passes where travel is possible, a fixed provisional boundary line, and there can be no difficulty about administration.

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CON

John Graham Haggart

Conservative (1867-1942)

Hon. Mr. HAGGART.

Does the description follow that line ? My object in making these remarks is

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The MINISTER OF THE INTERIOR.

I would ask to be allowed to interrupt my hon. friend. I did not touch upon one point which, perhaps, would have made the matter clearer. The part of the Canadian territory which comes into immediate contact with Alaska at the point mentioned is in British Columbia. The boundary line of the Yukon territory is further north, so that a question does not arise as between Alaska and the Yukon, but between Alaska and British Columbia. That is to say, if you start north from Skagway, you go through the White Pass to the summit, at which point the provisional boundary line is fixed between Canada and the United States. But, when you cross the White Pass, you are in British Columbia, and you have to go half way over Lake Bennett before you strike the OOtli parallel of latitude and reach the Yukon territory.

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CON

John Graham Haggart

Conservative (1867-1942)

Hon. Mr. HAGGART.

Then, I understand the hon. gentleman to say that the boundary we are fixing now is not the boundary between the Yukon territory and any part of the United States ?

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The MINISTER OF THE INTERIOR.

It is not quite so wide as that. When you get across past the place which is disputed, over to the eastern boundary of Alaska properly' speaking, you come in contact with the eastern boundary of Alaska, following the 60th parallel of latitude. But, that is not where the question in dispute arises. I will read the description as prepared by the Surveyor General :

The Yukon territory shall be bounded as follows :-

On the south by the province of British Columbia and the United States territory of Alaska;

So, you do not touch the American boundary at any place where there is a dispute as to boundaries

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Hon. A@

Tbe hon. gentleman's description covers tbe objection I might otherwise have made. At the southerly point he makes the boundary the United States territory of Alaska. I should have objected to laying down a line which might give the solemn affirmation of an Act of parliament to a fixed point, and might so interfere with negotiations afterwards. I see that he has carefully avoided that.

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April 16, 1901