May 14, 1902

CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. R. L. BORDEN (Halifax).

Before you leave the Chair, Mr. Speaker, I would like to bring briefly to the attention of the House the matter which I mentioned in a very superficial way to my hon. friend the Minister of the Interior last evening. Some considerable interest is taken, especially in the western part of the country, with regard to the concession known as the Treadgold Concession, and a good many communications have been sent to members of parliament from the Yukon concerning certain features of the arrangement between the government and Mr. Treadgold and his associates. The matter was to have been brought up in parliament by certain gentlemen on this side, but about the time when they were instructed on this matter, it was announced in the public press that the government had rescinded the Orders in Council, which had created so much excitement, and revoked a great many of the features of the concession which were regarded as objectionable. I do not propose to discuss at present, as it is too late in the session, certain constitutional features beyond saying that as it seems to me, though I have not carefully examined the question, there is a great deal of doubt ns to whether the terms of this concession did not exceed the powers which could fairly be regarded as vested in the Governor General in Council. 1 also would have suggested to the House that a concession of this kind, covering so wide a range, involving such enormous interests, might properly have been submitted to parliament in the first instance, and should not have been passed by Order in Council, even if the Governor in Council possessed the technical right to pass it under the authority of the statutes. I also would have taken the ground that assuming that the powers possessed by the Governor in Council were legitimately exercised in this instance, it was a matter upon which parliament should have been informed at the very commencement of the session, so that the House might have had occasion to fully consider the terms of this concession, which are of such great interest to the people of the Yukon. Apart from that all I have to say at present is that I have not been able-nor indeed do I profess to possess the knowledge which would so enable me-to clearly distinguish between the effect of the concession in the terms first granted and its effect in the terms granted by the subsequent Order in Council. And I do not know to what extent the excitement which prevailed among all classes in the Yukon, by reason of the terms of the first concession, has been allayed by the fact that the concession has been rescinded as well as the Order in Council granting it, and a concession in sqme what different terms granted the same gentleman. What I desire to do at present is this. I brought to the attention of my hon. friend the Minister of the Interior last evening the fact that a memorial with regard to this matter had, as I understood, been sub-

mitted to mv bon. friend, and I was anxious to know to what extent the objections raised in that memorial, which demanded the repeal of the concession, had been met by the terms of the new Order in Council and the itew concession. It appeared that either through some difficulty in the mail service or on account of the pressing engagements of my hon. friend during the closing days of the session, this memorial had not been brought to his attention, and I believe he saw it for the first time when I handed to him what purported to be a copy of it, taken from a Dawson newspaper which had been sent me. I do not suppose that the hon. minister has been able to take this matter up to any extent in the meantime, as it was three o'clock this morning when I brought it to his attention, but upon consideration I think that it may be well to read the memorial to the House in order that hon. members may be acquainted with its terms and that it may be useful to them perhaps, if there should be any occasion at a subsequent date to discuss the terms of the new concession. I think that possibly the House will pardon me for taking up its time in the few minutes necessary for the purpose of reading this document, and I trust that my hon. friend, the Minister of the Interior, will not think I am bringing this matter to his attention without notice, because I have really had no opportunity of giving him notice except that which I gave him this morning, when I told him I thought I would briefly discuss the matter in the House and desired that he should be present. The memorial is signed by a large number of gentlemen who purport to be the holders of very large claims in the Yukon. It was published in all the papers at Dawson, I believe about the 16th of this month. The newspapers I received were dated the 16th, and contained a copy of this memorial. It is in the following words:

The preamble to the Order in Council of June 12, 1901, gives as a reason for the privileges granted the following :-' The mining now carried on in the Klondike district because of the inadequate supply of water, is necessarily confined to the washing of the richest gravel only, comparatively small in area, thus leaving large tracts of gold bearing gravels unworked.'

It is true that there are large quantities of ground unworked for want of a sufficient quantity of water ; at the same time the men at present in the district are gradually absorbing this land and applying capital and machinery to the purpose. Among these are operators who are identified with the country since its discovery and have grown up with it.

The statement that the richest gravel, only is worked at present is not correct ; it is partly and only partly true. The hydraulic system has already been introduced by private enterprise. For example : Mr. Alexander McDonald has employed it on the Bonanza creek. Mr. Johannsen on Hunker, and others have followed their example and have placed hydraulic machinery upon the ground for use during the coming season. The operators above mentioned work not Mr. BORDEN (Halifax).

the richest ground only, but all the gravel on their claim, leaving nothing undisposed of. In the natural course of affairs, if miners are allowed to proceed as they have been doing hitherto and without interference, other capitalists will undoubtedly proceed on the same lines, and by this means without any cost to the country, without any special concessions, without favouritism and without injury to any other interests, the whole of the gold bearing gravel will be operated up to a certain height, which height will be determined by the cost of raising the water from the creek level up to the hill side gravels and by the values of the hill side gravels encountered.

The grantees under the Orders in Council are only required to give a 300 ft. elevation; the miners who are already using hydraulic apparatus are raising water themselves to a height of 300 ft. at a less cost than Mr. Tread-gold and his associates are authorized to charge.

It is possible, though not probable, that paying dirt might be found at a height at which a private operator under ordinary circumstances and with a small amount of capital, would find unprofitable work. In such a case it would be justifiable to grant special advantages to a largely capitalized company, which by operating on a wider scale and employing more expensive machinery, would lift the water to the highest levels at a cost sufficiently small to allow them a fair profit.

This, however, is a contingency for the future and a plan that can only be adopted fairly and with profit to the district after the creeks which are now being worked have been exhausted. Under present conditions the creeks are worked continuously, but, should a large company with an extensive volume of water operate the higher levels, there would be a discharge into the creek beds of so much dirt or debris as to effectually put an end to operations in them. For economical mining it is absolutely essential that the creek claims should be worked out before hydraulic operations on a large scale are commenced on the hill sides. The miners who work on the creeks carry on their business at present with a fair profit, having only to handle the dirt naturally belonging to the creek, but a discharge of debris from1 the hill side would so add to the expense of their operations as to take away their profit and drive them out of business. In our opinion it will be from 10 to 20 years, if then, before the district has been so far worked as to call for any such wholesale grant of lands as is included in the Treadgold concessions or justify its adoption.

Injurious Effects of the Concession.

The above incontrovertible facts and considerations establish clearly, we believe, the following propositions :

That no capital has been kept out of the country by the want of such a scheme ; that the needs of the country, in so far as the application of hydraulic machinery to mining operations is concerned, are being amply met as they arise by private enterprise and will continue so to be for many years to come ; that the concession secures nothing that the miners are not already providing for themselves ; that it saves nothing in the cost of the water to those who require it, and that if taken advantage of to carry out the purpose indicated in the preamble of Orders in Council, it will have a disastrous

effect upon the operations at present going for-w.ard in the creek beds.

We now propose to consider another important feature of the arrangement. It is provided by the Orders in Council that all abandoned claims on Bear, Bonanza and Hunker creeks and their tributaries-this includes Eldorado- shall be deemed to be vested in Mr. Treadgold and his associates, on and after the first day. of January, 1992.

It might be supposed by a person ignorant of mining that a claim which has been abandoned is by that very fact proven to be inferior and non-productive, or at least not sufficiently productive to pay for being worked by the private individual. This, however, is very far from the truth. It is the universal experience in mining countries that claims may be prospected three or four times and abandoned and may yet turn out to be rich and profitable. The value of the gift made to Mr. Treadgold and his associates is incalculable, but we believe it is no exaggeration to say that it runs up into millions of dollars.

The effect of a blanket concession like this is to close up the district and withdraw it from relocation. When it is remembered that the district included in the grant comprises the greater part of the gold bearing area which has been exploited in the vicinity of Dawson city and that ic contains almost all the roads and improvements that have been made by the government in the raining territory, it will be seen how important the consequence of this measure will be.

The prosperity of the district, the diffusion of comfort among all classes, the continued influx of population and the attraction of further capital for development-'all depend upon the abandoned claims being left open to be further prospected by private individual miners and relocated.

The closing of the district will be injurious to the interests of the wage-earner. At present the mining area is thickly populated with individual wage-earning operators. These i%sn are not occupied continually, being usually idle part of the year. During the idle period they are accustomed to prospect and try to find something for themselves.

It is not alone those who are for the time being idle who engage in prospecting, but there is another class of wage-earners even more useful. These are men who are ambitious to better their condition. They work first, in order to earn a small reserve, and spend weeks, sometimes months, searching for the precious and valuable metals. More often than not they fail and have to begin again. It is in this way that the resources of the 'district are exploited. Such is the universal practice throughout the world.

The capitalists who have been engaged in developing the country depend upon the two classes of labourers above mentioned for their supply of workmen. By closing the district to further prospecting, both the capitalists and wage-earners above spoken of will gradually disappear.

There is no longer any incentive for the individual wage-earner to stay, as he is prevented from looking about for claims for himself, and. as explained above, he cannot obtain continuous employment the year round.

The capitalist must go because he will be compelled to import labour for a short period of the yeq,r at higher wages and consequently

the cost of production will be increased. Banks of gravel that would be worked with wages on the present scale could not be profitably operated on a higher scale. Further, the ground now owned by individual miners will be worked out in many cases in from three to five year3, and the operators will 'hen be compelled to seek further locations, not from the government or under public regulations open to all the world, but from a private firm, whose interests is strictly financial, and whose only object will be to get every dollar they can out of the property they control.

The machinery belonging to miners and mining companies now in the country represents millions of dollars ; this would be rendered idle and consequently valueless, since the owners would be at the mercy of a universal landlord and must either submit to his terms or leave the country.

It may be asked why they could not remove their machinery outside the Treadgold concession and commence operations anew. The answer is that the concession covers nearly all the roads and improvements made in the district by the government ; consequently in moving to a location outside the concession new roads would have to be built to reach the objective points, and no individual could stand the expense. It would in fact be cheaper to bring in machinery for a new district from the outside up the natural water-ways of the country than to attempt to move it from its present position across intervening mountains and valleys to other places.

Minor Details.

The ordinary miner has to prospect, mark out and enter upon his claim. The grantees under the Order in Council are saved all that trouble since it is provided that all mining locations now or hereafter abandoned on the various creeks included in the grant, are to be deemed to be vested in them without entry.

The ordinary miner has to pay $15 per claim per annum rental and to do work to the extent of $200 on each claim (called ' representation * -see Order in Council, June 12, 1901, sec. IS, sub-sec. 5). Mr. Treadgold and his friends are relieved of these expenditures-sec. 13, subsec. 4 and 5.

The grantees are to expend fduring the present year at least $250,000, and this is presumed to be some kind of return for the enormous grant made them.

It is stated that 1,310 abandoned claims became vested in them January 1, and March 1, of the present year. In the hands of private miners, these would have entailed an outlay as above of $215 each, at least, or in all $281,650 per annum, some portion of which would go to the government, while the government will get none of the $250,000 required to be expended by the concessionaires.

In any event we consider the expenditure required of the grantees 'trivial in comparison to the extent of the gift made to them.

We are confident, from our experiences in this and other mining countries, that every abandoned claim in'the district will be taken up within two years, at least, if the district is left open to individual prospectors, and that most of them will be taken up within one year.

The grantees are required to deliver within the district during the summer of 1905 a flow of 3,000 cubic feet of 18,600 gallons of water per minute at such an elevation as to afford

a pressure at an effective head of not less than 300 feet, and this at a charge of 25 cents per miner's inch per hour. One private operator in the district himself raises 1,500 gallons per minute for his own use to a height of 300 teet at a less cost than 25 cents. There are others doing the same thing quite as cheaply, and additional new machinery has been placed on the ground for the same purpose by still other parties.

Generally.

It is our firm conviction that if the arrangement is not repealed and the Orders in Council rescinded, they will put an end to individual enterprise in the Yukon, will paralize every branch of industry there, will cause the people at present in the country to get out of it as quickly as they can work out existing holdings, will hand the country over bodily to a gigantic monopoly whose interest it will be to carry on their operations with Chinese or Japanese labour, and will in fact complete the ruin of the Yukon Territory, not at a distant day, but within the next four or five years.

Dated at Dawson, this 15th day of April, 1902.

Signatures :-

G. Geo. Johannson, for Johannson & Black <30 claims) ; James Henderson, manager for McDonald Bonanza, Ltd., (16 claims); Geo. T. Coffey, manager Anglo-Klondike Mining Co., Ltd., <40 claims) ; Albert Trabold, (46 claims) ; L. Faillaid, manager Syndicate Lyonnais, (lo claims) ; Charles Af. Dunn, manager for Stanley & Worden, (12 claims) ; McKay, Nelson & Dalgarn, (13 claims) ; Gervais & Simard, (10 claims) ; Thomson & Granger, Patterson & Mc-Askill, Pauli & Cordt, Southier Bros., McKnight, Chilo & Bagley, White, Sheets & Co.; Fyfe & Danson ; Alexander & Rhisdan ; Higgins & Whyte ; Johnson & Lee ; Brazeau Brothers ; Nordstrom Brothers ; Yeager & Co.; Badger & Co.; Henderson & Tange ; Fax & Co.; Miller & Curtis ; Clark, Stafford & Williams ; Disher & Christianson ; Weeks & Co.; Bourke Bros. ; August Ryberg ; Frank Agnew; H. McGuinness, Isaac Watier; James Burnfield; F. Hicks; Ef A. Wendt ; Martin Murray; Patrick King; Simon Fraser; J. S. Cameron; H. E. Boucher; Joseph View; T. Potter; C. Andrews; James Butler; John A. Moo; J* P. Simonds; John Erickson; C. J. Putrow; James Hall; H. C. Belcher; Charles J. Anderson; P. H. McCormick; F. C. Johnson; C. W. Sankey; J. B. Shattuck; Carl Blomquist; C. M. Van Cleave; James Munroe; R. G. Wilson; James Cosgrove; Lee Sholson; Ben Jones; John Macaulay; A. W. McLeod; A. F, Stander; Charles Reid; Noe Dufaul't; A. Binett; Joseph Duleau; George Harvey; H. Y. Crockett; R. J. Oliver; John Mellon; K. L. Smith; II. C. Ash; S. D. Hartman; R. Gilmore; Kenneth Sinclair; John Kerns; Louis Renand; A. H. Anderson; E. McWilliams; Frank MeCandless; John Knoll ; Albert Dalton; B. A. Burton; J. F. Brown; J. McIntyre; Louis E. Miller; John L. Eby; Chas. Olsen; Henry Aviser; Robert Casilty; J. McGrath. I

I thought It was desirable to bring this to the attention of the House, in order that hon. members may be made familiar with the claims of the miners regarding this concession, and also in the hope that the Minister of the Interior may be able to give some statement to the House as to whether Mr. BORDEN (Halifax).

the indictment which has been preferred against these gentlemen interested in that country has been met in any way by the changes which have been made by the recent Order in Council. The hon. gentleman will notice that the statements with regard to the effect of the former concession are very strong, and they are supported, apparently, by a great many people who have large interests in that country. My hon. friend the Minister of Marine and Fisheries seems to be amused by this indictment. Is there any particular cause of merriment ?

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The MINISTER OF MARINE AND FISHERIES.

Yes it Is rather amusing to me.

Mr. BORDEN (Halifax), In what way ?

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The MINISTER OF MARINE AND FISHERIES.

If the hon. gentleman wants an explanation, I will say that the communication seems to he from a young lawyer who is a very active partisan, and who could not possibly know much about the conditions existing. I would be very doubtful as to the accuracy of his statements. When I was myself acting in the department, applications came in from people with interests in that country, setting forth the necessity for improvements being made for furnishing water. From the language in which the representations are made, I cannot understand them, it looks very much as if the people making them had no knowledge of the country or of the business. It seems to me a purely partisau or political statement. That is the way it strikes me. So far as I am concerned, the only object I had in view was doing the very best for the development of that country. Of course mistakes may be made. I am satisfied that one of the great needs for getting out the wealth of that country is a supply of water. If my hon. friend and I both live to he here another year, I think we will find that representations will he made by those Interested, not by people who have no interests in the country at all, asking the government to take similar action to that we have already taken. I have myself had applications from people in that country, pointing out the great urgency of the government talcing some action to provide water, so that the ground can be worked.

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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BORDEN (Halifax).

I do not know that there is any particular cause for amusement in what the hon. gentleman has stated. I understand the hon. gentleman to assert that these gentlemen who purport to have signed the petition have no substantial holdings in that country.

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The MINISTER OF MARINE AND FISHERIES.

The author of the communication is, if I am not mistaken, a young man

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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BORDEN (Halifax).

It is Mr. Shannon. The hon. gentleman is amused because Mr. Shannon has apparently been em-

ployed by these gentlemen to draw up, under their instructions, a communication to the Minister of the Interior. Well, cannot my hon. friend the Minister of Marine and Fisheries free himself from partisan feelings with regard to a matter of this kind long enough to realize that a solicitor, whether he is a Liberal or Conservative, usually acts in these matters under the instructions of his clients, to carry out their views.

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The MINISTER OF MARINE AND FISHERIES.

If he was retained by these people I would look upon the matter as very serious but I doubt it very much.

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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BORDEN (Halifax).

Well, my hon. friend sees fit to cast a doubt upon the professsional integrity of this gentleman.

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The MINISTER OF MARINE AND FISHERIES.

No.

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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BORDEN (Halifax).

Then I do not know what he does mean. I do not suppose the hon. gentleman is very clear as to what he does mean.

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The MINISTER OF MARINE AND FISHERIES.

Then we are even in that respect.

I have been listening attentively to the hon. gentleman, and I do not think he is very clear himself.

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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BORDEN (Halifax).

I am endeavouring to point out to the House the objections to this concession made by people having interests in the Yukon, and this seems to touch my hon. friend very closely, for some reason or other. Possibly there may be some reasons which I do not understand on account of which he takes so deep an interest in this communication. I thought it my duty, because the Minister of the Interior said this communication had not reached him, to bring this matter to his attention. So far as the language of this communication is concerned, I cannot see anything amusing in it. If the facts are as stated, it seems to have been a very improper thing on the part of the government to have passed such a concession, and I should feel disposed to think the hon. gentleman would agree in that conclusion. Of course I do not vouch for these statements. I have not been in the Yukon, I have not cross-examined these gentlemen, I do not personally know about the technical matters of this kind which are dealt with in this memorial. Possibly the hon. gentlemau himself is not as completely acquainted with these matters as gentlemen who reside on the spot, and have some personal knowledge of them. It may be he is in a position to dispute everything that is said in this memorial, from his personal knowledge, and to say that it is absolutely false, unfounded and incorrect. But if these gentlemen are to be believed, there was a very serious condition of affairs arising from the concession first made. I was disposed to submit this matter to the Minister of the Interior in a

fair spirit. I had only one object in doing it, to know whether, with the very limited time at his disposal since I brought this memorial to his attention, he would be able to tell me whether these objections have been met by the new Order in.Council, and whether in so far as they have not been met by the new Order in Council, he, with his special knowledge of that district, attaches any particular importance to them.

I do not know that there is anything in the course which I have adopted as a member of this House which should excite the merriment of any hon. gentleman, particularly of a. member of the government who are responsible for the concession which has been made, and which has been the subject of such strong condemnation in this memorial, and which, as wre know without any doubt, has occasioned the most intense excitement and indignation in the Yukon among a very large portion of people. Now, Mr. Speaker, I realize the fact that this memorial is new to my hon. friend the Minister of the Interior, and I should not blame him in any way if he tells me that he has not liad time to take it into consideration since I brought it to his attention this morning. But I would like to know whether he has examined it for a few moments, and if so, what he has to say with regard to the statements which are made in this memorial, and to what extent the objections raised by the miners have been met by the terms of the new concession.

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The MINISTER OF THE INTERIOR.

When my hon. friend called my attention to this document this morning I was under the impression that it was the same document, or a copy of a document,

which had been received by me some weeks ago. But when he mentioned the date it was supposed to bear, I think the 15th of April, I was satisfied that I had not seeu it, and it had not been brought to my attention. I caused inquiry to be made this morning in the department, and I find that no document has been received, either by my own secretary, in my own private mail, or in the department. So as a matter of fact, the document which purports to be addressed to me and to be for the purpose of bringing certain objections to my attention, has not been forwarded in such a way as to lead any person to suppose that that was the bona fide intention of the person who got up the document. If it had been the bona fide intention of the person who got up the document, surely he would have sent it to me or to the department, instead of circulating it through the newspapers, and leaving It to be brought to my attention by any person who might happen to see it. t do not even now know whether the signature of the lawyer who is supposed to have it in charge is genuine ; I do not know whether the signatures of the persons who purport to have signed it are genuine. There is nothing in it to show that such a

petition had ever been prepared or signed. The fact that it is printed in a newspaper is not, unfortunately, evidence of the authenticity of the signature.

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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BORDEN (Halifax).

Not even there?

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The MINISTER OF THE INTERIOR.

As far as that phase of it is concerned, we will have to leave that for the proper evidence to be presented to be dealt with when it comes in.

Mr. BORDEN Halifax). When I brought this matter to the hon. gentleman's attention, I supposed that he had received a copy of it in the usual way.

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The MINISTER OF THE INTERIOR.

I am not finding fault with my hon. friend, because even if I had not received a copy my hon. friend would be quite right in bringing it to my notice. But all I can say is, that it has not reached my officers as yet. It will be quite evident, however, that the gentlemen who have taken part in preparing this document have not taken the most expeditious way of arriving at a proper consideration of the circumstances which they allege he desires of bringing to my attention in good faith for the purpose of having the grievances removed. I can only say that I hope the document will be sent in, and that the gentleman who has charge of it will enable me to have proper evidence of the authenticity of the representations which have been made. However, this is beside the question of the merits of the statements which are made. I had an opportunity this morning of hurriedly looking over a copy of the document with which the hon. leader of the opposition furnished me this morning, and while from my hurried consideration of it I would not be disposed to make an unqualified and positive statement, yet, my impression is that by the changes which we made in this Order in Council, when the document was recast, with the consent of the parties, substantially every objection that has been raised was met; that is to say, every objection that is of a character that can in the nature of things be met. The objection that a water scheme of this kind is not necessary now and that the creek claims should be worked out first before anything of that kind is undertaken is something that could not be met, and I intimated to my hon. friend last night that I did not at all agree with the proposition which was set out in that portion of the document, and I do not agree with it now. After having discussed this matter with different persons from the Yukon in whose judgment I have confidence, more especially with Mr. Ross, the commissioner of the district, and with others, I see no seriousness in this objection, and I have not thought it necessary to consider that as a serious difficulty in connection with the matter. But, so far as the real objections are concerned, Hon. Mr. SIFTON.

I think I can safely say that all of these objections have been removed in the charter as it stands at the present time. The changes which were made were made with the consent of the parties after a full discussion with the commissioner of the district and two delegates who were sent down by the people of the Yukon district to represent them in the discussion. One of these delegates was Mr. Wilson, who is one of the elected members of the Yukon council, and who, therefore, apart from his capacity as a delegate, may fairly, I think be considered to be a man qualified in every way to act in a representative capacity. Mr. Wilson, I believe, himself, is also a miner and therefore in a practical way as well as representing others he was well qualified to discuss the whole matter. There was another delegate named Mr. Sugrue. The changes that were made were after full discussion with these gentlemen, and with Mr. Ross, the commissioner of the district. And these gentlemen, Mr. Wilson and Mr. Sugrue, the representative delegates who were sent down from the Yukon, expressed themselves as being satisfied with the position of the government, so that, I think I may say that every reasonable objection has been met. When the gentlemen who were sent here as the representatives of the public meeting which was called to discuss the question in Dawson City, and who were well acquainted with the whole of the circumstances of the case expressed themselves as satisfied with the changes that were made, I think I may safely say that everything has been done that could be done to make the charter satisfactory to the people there.

Rerhaps it would have been more satisfactory to the House if at an earlier period of the session, when we were not in a hurry with the proceedings necessarily pressing upon our minds at the close of parliament, a fuller discussion of this whole matter could have taken place. I have only to say that I should welcome the subject if it is brought up by my hon. friend of by any other member of the House, at some future time, because the whole subject is one in regard to which I will welcome full and complete discussion. There are many difficulties connected with the operation of affairs in the Yukon district which do not present themselves upon the surface, and one of the difficulties is that, as in most mining countries, there is a population which has a certain interest which is of a temporary character and the immediate interest of that portion of the population is not necessarily the permanent interest of the mining country or the permanent interest of the whole country. We have been endeavouring, in dealing with this subject, to serve the permanent interest, not only of the district, but of the Dominion of Canada, by attempting to provide means whereby the vast quantities of

low grade gravels which cannot at present be worked at all shall be made productive and profitable not only to the country at large by reason of the fact of the trade of the country being stimulated by the business being carried on, but profitable directly to the treasury of the country in that the production shall pay a royalty to the treasury. We have been attempting to formulate plans whereby that result might be brought about. We have in the course of the operation found that In regard to certain phases of the question there were popular objections which, while in my judgment not of a character which rendered the scheme unworkable, yet, by reason of the fact that in a country of that kind, unless the people are satisfied with such an arrangement it is practically impossible to carry it out, we felt that it would be desirable if possible to get all parties together and make an arrangement which would be of an harmonious character, and as far as possible remove all the objections that had been raised on the part of certain classes of the people there. I think that has been successfully done. As X said to my hon. friend, I cannot say in the most unqualified way, on such a cursory hearing of the objections, which are mentioned in this document, that everything that has been mentioned there has been removed, but I think every objection which is of a substantial character and which can be removed has been removed, and I think the evidence of that fact is that the changes have given full satisfaction to the delegates who were here from Dawson City urging the objections which were considered at the public meetings which were held in the Yukon district for the purpose of discussing the matter. I have nothing to say in regard to the bona tides of the document except that I think the hon. leader of the opposition will agree with me that if the gentleman promoting it wanted a fair consideration of the representations, a businesslike forwarding of the document to my office for consideration would have been the proper course rather than publishing it in a newspaper and having it brought to my attention in an indirect way. I may say, however, that I will give it the most careful consideration, and beyond that at the present time it is impossible for me to go.

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CON

George Oscar Alcorn

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. G. O. ADCORN (Prince Edward).

1 am very glad that the Minister of the Interior lias intimated that next session a full opportunity will be afforded to discuss this question, and to place it in its true light before the country. The minister has stated in a very general way, and without in the least particularizing in what respects the Order in Council of the 23rd April last has bettered the condition of the two former Orders in Council-he has stated, that all objections practically are now removed. From what little attention I have given the matter, and from some information which

I have been in receipt of, I believe that the hon. gentleman's impression in that direction is to a large extent in error, and that when particulars are discussed and when the matter is more elaborately presented, it will be found that the order of the 23rd of April is a very slight, if any, improvement upon the two preceding Orders in Council. I might mention the matter of abandoned claims, which as all interested in the matter know, has been the chief cause of complaint. With regard to these abandoned claims I am entirely unable to say that the latter order in any respects betters the position of the free miners of that district. It is said that some 4,000 of these abandoned claims are in a position to be absorbed by these concessionaires. I would draw the attention of the minister to the fact that the first Order in Council vests these abandoned claims on the 1st of January of this year in these concessionaries, and that the last Order contains no clause divesting them of these claims. The effect of that would on its face appear to be that a large number of these claims of very great value have become vested in these three gentlemen named in the original charter, and that they are in a position to-day legally to claim these properties as their own. Further, both Orders in Council free these concessionaires from the matter of representation, that is, as the leader of the. opposition has explained : the payment of a fee of $15 annually, and the doing of work of the value of $200 a year upon the claims. The matter of monopoly is by no means amended by the last Order in Council. These gentlemen are granted as full a monopoly under it as they were by the former Order in Council. That monopoly as a fact amounts to a tax upon the free miners of that district, and as we all known the Yukon Act expressly prohibits the imposition of any tax by Order in Council upon the people of that territory. The free miners if they carry on hydraulic mining are compelled by the terms of this concession to purchase water from the concessionaires and that_ in effect amounts to a tax upon their business.

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?

Some hon. MEMBERS

Hear, hear.

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CON

George Oscar Alcorn

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. ALCORN.

It has been stated, and I believe correctly, that the terms fixed by these Orders in Council-even by the amended order-at 25 cents a miner's inch would upon an ordinary claim during an ordinary season amount to something like $18,000 of fees which these concessionaires would be in a position to collect from the free miners of that district. That, as hon. gentlemen will see, would be almost a prohibitive tax, and the effect of it would be that they would be compelled to abandon their claims, and under the clause with regard to abandoned claims, these concessionaires would thus become seized of the whole of these claims in that district. X do not intend to further pursue the particulars, especially In

view of the fact that the minister has not seen fit to go into the particulars at all.

What we complain of more particularly is that the government in this as in other matters, have taken the course of proceeding by Order in Council instead of by Act passed by this parliament. I think it will be admitted-in fact last night the right hon. Prime Minister admitted it with regard to the Yukon Railway claim then under discussion-that that course is entirely indefensible. The right hon. gentleman frankly admitted that Mackenzie & Mann had no legal claim upon this government, and for the reason that the government had seen fit to proceed by Order in Council instead of by legislation. Many instances of this will occur to hon. gentlemen-there is the Clergue steel rail contract, the Yukon Railway, the present concession and others; all of which we on this side of the House believe should have been presented by the minister in charge by statement from his place in the House before any Order in Council was passed, before any contract was signed, and before a Bill was introduced. What we complain of is that the members of the administration, being as a matter of course perfectly aware of the law upon this subject, of their rights in that respect, and of the practice and procedure obtaining in England and by which they are bound here ; we complain that they disregard these precedents and pursue a course which we regard as wholly improper and irregular, and which the Prime Minister last evening admitted to be so. While the government are well seized of the state of the law in that respect, others may not be so well informed, and I think the country should be placed in a position to judge of the acts of the members of the present administration in this respect. For that reason possibly the House will bear with me for a very few moments while I state some of the points in that respect by way of precedent laid down by Mr. Alpheus Todd in his ' Parliamentary Government in England,' a work of very high authority aud character. At page 450 Todd says :

The ancient prerogative of the Crown in legislating by Orders in Council has been subjected to the control of parliament, and is now mainly exercised as a deputed and not as a prerogative power. The Crown still retains the right to regulate various details of administration by its own prerogative authority, but it is an admitted principle that the sovereign has no right, by a mere Order in Council, either to sanction a departure from the requirements of an existing law, or to interfere with the established rights or privileges of any class of persons within the realm. It is competent to the Crown to declare and enforce, by "proclamation, the execution of any existing law, but it is not within the power of the Crown, either to add to, alter, or dispense with any law of the land. At page 461 he says :

A large proportion of what may be called the details of legislation rests upon the authority of Orders in Council, some of which are issued Mr. ALCORN.

by Her Majesty in virtue of her prerogative, while others derive their force from the provisions of Acts of parliament. It is competent to a court of justice to inquire into the validity-or accuracy, in the statement of alleged facts-of an Order in Council, duly passed and gazetted.

As examples of the variety and importance of the subjects to which this form of quasi-legislation is applicable, it may be stated that Orders in Council or royal proclamations which are usually issued in pursuance of the same, are promulgated for the assembling, prorogation and dissolution of parliament

And for various other purposes which are mentioned, but not for matters such as the one in question, in which the public property of, the country is attempted to be disposed of.

As a general rule, all Orders in Council restricting trade, unless issued under the authority of an Act of parliament, or justified by re-fe/renee' to cases coming within the prerogative of war-and all orders suspending the operation of any statute-would require an Act of indemnity.

We say that the matter in question is strictly a matter dealing with trade and in restraint of trade in connection with abandoned claims, and our contention is that this amounts to a tax on the miners of the Yukon district. On page 464 the author says:

In the working of constitutional government, experience has proved that certain subordinate powers of legislation must be intrusted to almost every leading department of state. So long as these powers are exercised with the knowledge of parliament and in direct subjection to its control

I wish here to point out that parliament prorogued last year on the 23rd of May, and that the original Order in Council is dated the 12tli of June, from which it is apparent that in a matter with the elaborate detail incident to this transaction, the government must have been in treaty with the applicants during the time parliament was sitting; yet not one syllable of the matter was communicated to parliament. The whole transaction was conceived in the dark and in secret, and parliament heard nothing whatever of it until a return was brought down this session in answer to a motion by the hon. leader of the opposition. Therefore I say the transaction cannot be said to come within the definition contained in the text, that:

So long as these powers are exercised with the knowledge of parliament and in direct subjection to its control, they can be more advantageously discharged by responsible ministers than if it were obligatory that they should emanate from parliament itself. For all such regulations are framed by a responsible minister for the sanction of the Crown, and no premature interference therein ought to be attempted by either House. Minutes of council, departmental regulations, and other authoritative directions emanating from the heads of the principal executive departments, must needs be

frequently issued in regard to particular matters of administration, which require to be determined by competent authority, but it is essential that all acts of quasi-legislative authority which may he performed by any department of state, shall be within the limits defined and prescribed by parliamentary enactment ; and also that, whenever either the expenditure of public money, or other great public interests, are concerned in the matters thus disposed of, an opportunity should be afforded to parliament of expressing its opinion upon the same, before the government proceed to take action thereon.

This government have seen fit entirely to reverse this order of procedure. Instead of communicating the matter to parliament through the mouth of the minister having charge of the transaction, and informing parliament of their intention to enter into this arrangement, and then obtaining the authority of parliament to carry it out by Order in Council or by an Act, the first we hear of it is, after the matter has become an entirely completed transaction. On page 470 it is stated :

The constitutional control of parliament over the exercise of legislative powers by ministers of state, executive departments, and other public bodies, being admitted. It is evident that there is an undeniable advantage in the practice itself.

Thus, by the Contagious Disorders of Animals Act of 1848, the Privy Council were empowered to make orders and regulations to carry out the intent of the Act, the same to_be laid before both Houses of parliament within a specified time.

It is customary to provide that Orders in Council, departmental regulations, representations, rules of court, or tables of fees, framed and issued under the authority of particular Acts of parliament, shall be laid before both Houses within twenty, thirty, or forty days (as the case may be), after the making thereof-or after the re-assembling of parliament, should they have been issued during a recess-(it is usually added), before they become operative and binding

* *

If within that time either House address Her Majesty to withhold her consent from any scheme, or any part thereof, the Crown can only assent to so much of the same as may not have been objected to.

Showing the complete control which the representatives of the people in parliament assembled should have, and in England have, over matters of this kind, and which control is entirely withdrawn from parliament in this country by the practice adopted by the present administration. Surely, if that practice is adhered to, we are returning to the days of irresponsible government. The rights and privileges of parliament are infringed upon in a greater degree than perhaps could be done by any other course which the administration could pursue. If the practice is right, there is nothing whatever to prevent the government dealing with any part of the property of the country in the same manner, secretly, in the dark, and without communication even to the House, 157 *

much less to the country. In a note, the learned author then gives an instance which occurred in the year 1871:

On June 30, 1871, an address was moved to the Queen, in the House of Lords, that for certain reasons therein stated Her Majesty would withhold her absent from tlie proposed scheme of the Endowed School Commissioner? for the management of Emmanuel Hospital Charity School, heretofore governed by the corporation of the city of London. The motion was apposed by ministers, but agreed to on division. Immediately afterwards another address was moved praying that the royal assent might also be withheld from the schemes relating to St. Margaret's Hospital and the Greycoat Hospital, Westminister. No reason was assigned for the request in the motion ; but the mover stated that these schemes- were open to the same objections that bad been urged against the first mentioned scheme. Notwithstanding the apposition of ministers, this motion was agreed to. On July 3, Her Majesty's answer was reported, ' That she would withhold her assent from the several schemes-objected to in these addresses.'

On page 482, referring to the rights of ministers to legislate in a quasi manner within certain prescribed limits, and in regard to certain prescribed subjects, it is said:

But admitting its obvious advantages, it is liable to serious abuse. It has been well observed that there ' is no modern innovation which needs to be watched with more jealousy than the practice of delegating the authority of parliament (even in small and local matters) with no better check than the chance that some unusually vigilant legislator may move an address to reject the scheme of law before it has had time to matjire into an indefeasible enactment. The whole scope and genius of our legislative system is to afford by the forms of parliament every possible security that no law shall be made which has not been deliberately and repeatedly affirmed in all its details, and it would be alien to the essence of free government to substitute for this a system in which the relations of the Crown and parliament should be reversed, and statutes should be octroyes by the government, and nothing but a bare veto left to the Lords and Commons. .

From the authorities I have quoted, Mr. Speaker, it is abundantly plain that the course pursued by the administration with regard to this and kindred matters is entirely contrary to the constitutional rule, and is not justified by any precedent on which hon. gentlemen could rely. That is very well shown by the very frank manner in which the right hon. premier last night, when the Yukon railway vote was under consideration, admitted that it was not to be defended on any legal or constitutional ground. As I have said, I am glad to know that on a future occasion we shall have an opportunity of discussing this matter in detail; but I content myself at present with presenting these few observations on the constitutional view of the matter.

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May 14, 1902