March 27, 1903

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The MINISTER OF JUSTICE.

I do not like to discuss the language of documents without having these documents before me. I read what Sir Alexander said and I shall read it again, and it is all that he said on that point.

Having reference to the condition of Canada at the time of the union with the province the undersigned is of opinion : That the authority given, by the 95th section of the British North America Act is an authority to regulate and promote immigration into the provinces and not an authority to prohibit immigration.

That is what the British Columbia authorities attempted to do at the time.

A law which prevents the people of any country from coming into the province cannot he said to be of a local or private nature. On the contrary, it is one involving Dominion, and possibly imperial interests.

By that rule we have been bound ever since.

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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BORDEN (Halifax).

Evidently I do not make myself clear to my hon. friend. Does he take the position, that the province of British Columbia, with respect to the Act passed last year or the year before-

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The MINISTER OF JUSTICE.

There have been four or five Acts passed.

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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BORDEN (Halifax).

-is bound by what Sir Alexander Campbell said seventeen or twenty years ago.

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CON
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The PRIME MINISTER.

The principle is the same.

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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BORDEN (Halifax).

The principle is not the same.

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The MINISTER OF JUSTICE.

Will my hon. friend (Mr. Borden) pardon me a moment. The hon. gentleman speaks of an Act passed two or three or four years ago. There have been several Acts passed in that period of time, one was left to its operation and it came before the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council a year ago. I would like my hon. friend (Mr. Borden) to be more precise and to specify which particular Act he refers to.

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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BORDEN (Halifax).

I am referring to the Acts which were disallowed ; I am trying to find out why they were disallowed. I am told by the right hon. gentleman that they were disallowed because they were considered not in accordance with Canadian interests and not in accordance with imperial interests. I discussed that matter very briefly. Then I was told by the Minister of Justice that they were considered ultra vires of the province of British Columbia.

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LIB
CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BORDEN (Halifax).

I will have my hon. friend from Hants (Mr. Russell) to the rescue in a moment, but I hope he will pardon me until I finish and then I will give him an opportunity. Assuming now that they were disallowed on the ground that they were ultra vires, I want to know whether or not the province of British Columbia had an opportunity of having that question determined by the courts, and if not why it did not have that opportunity. I am told that it depends upon an opinion given by Sir Alexander Campbell in 1881. Well, Sir Alexander Campbell was not sitting as a court; Sir Alexander Campbell was Minister of Justice ; and the province of British Columbia if it is bound as my hon. friend the Minister of Justice seems to think it is bound by the decision of Sir Alexander Campbell in 1884, has had no opportunity of having the question settled by the courts. Therefore, I think that that advances the matter not very much further ; it still leaves it as it was before. If it be a fact, what is the reason that the province of British Columbia had not an opportunity of having this question determined by a proper court ?

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The PRIME MINISTER.

I thought I had made myself clear, but I wrill try once more to give the reason to my hon. friend. We considered first of all, that it was very doubtful whether or not it was within the power of the British Columbia legislature to enact such legislation. But, apart from that consideration, we had no doubt whatever that it was not in the interest of Canada. either from an imperial or Canadian standpoint. We did not give the opportu-

nity to the province to have the matter brought before the courts, because our conviction was too strong in that respect. From the days of Sir Alexander Campbell such legislation was thought to be contrary to imperial interests; we also thought it extremely contrary to the Interests of Canada; and for these two reasons we disallowed it. We intimated to the government of British Columbia that if their legislation had been confined to Chinese immigration and had exempted the Japanese, we would have left it. In the case of Japan, the Japanese government, acting from motives of friendship, has undertaken to prevent the emigration of Japanese to Canada, so that there was no reason for restriction on our part. But the Chinese government has never attempted to restrict or prevent Chinese emigration to Canada. That emigration is increasing; and, though in restricting it, we run the risk of injuring our trade with China, yet we felt that of two evils we should choose the less, and restrict the immigration even if it injured that trade. This is the reason we make the distinction between Chinese and Japanese immigration.

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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BOUDEN (Halifax).

1 think we have practically got back to the first ground again.

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The PRIME MINISTER.

That is the only ground.

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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BORDEN (Halifax).

My hon. friend the Minister of Justice gave another ground.

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The MINISTER OF RAILWAYS AND CANALS.

No, my hon. friend assumed that there was power.

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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BORDEN (Halifax).

The Minister of Railways is now going to elucidate the situation. I regret that I require so much assistance ; I have no doubt it is my own fault. I will just make One or two further remarks in regard to what the right hon. gentleman has stated. It is from the standpoint of Canadian interests that this legislation was disallowed, I understand now.

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The PRIME MINISTER.

Partially.

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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BOUDEN (Halifax).

And for that reason the government were not willing to refer it to the courts.

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The PRIME MINISTER.

That is one of the reasons.

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March 27, 1903