March 31, 1903

FIRST READINGS.


Bill (No. 54) respecting the Canada Permanent and Western Mortgage Corporation; and to change its name to the Canadian Permanent Mortgage Corporation-Mr. Clarke. Bill (No. 55) respecting the Central Ontario Railway.-Mr. Clarke. Bill (No. 56) to incorporate the Quebec. Saguenay and Gulf of St. Lawrence Railway Company.-Mr. Girard. Bill (No. 57) respecting the Niagara Grand Island Bridge Company.-Mr. German by Mr. Cowan. Bill (No. 58) respecting the Edmonton Street Railway Company.-Mr. Davis. Bill (No. 59) respecting the Ottawa Valley Railway Company.-Mr. Monk. Bill (No. 60) respecting the Huron and Ontario Railway Company.-Mr. Ross (Ontario). Bill (No. 61) respecting the Winnipeg Western Land Corporation, Limited.-Mr. McCarthy by Mr. Thompson. Bill (No. 62) respecting the Ontario and Qu'Appelle Land Company, Limited.-Mr. McCarthy by Mr. Thompson. Bill (No. 63) respecting the London and Port Stanley Railway Company.-Mr. Mc-Guigan. Bill (No. 64) to incorporate the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway Company.-Mr. McCarthy by Mr. Logan. Bill (No. 65) respecting the Mutual Life Assurance Company of Canada.-Mr. Bruce.


REPRESENTATION OF ST. JAMES, MONTREAL.

CON

Frederick Debartzch Monk

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MONK.

On Friday next, when motions are called, I will move the following : That Mr. Speaker do issue his warrant to the Clerk of the Crown in Chancery to make out a new writ for the election of a member to serve in this present parliament for the electoral division of St. James, Montreal, in the room of Joseph Brunet, whose election has been declared void.

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MESSAGE FROM THE GOVERNOR GENERAL-SUPPLEMENTARY ESTIMATES.


The MINISTER OF FINANCE (Hon. W. S. Fielding) delivered a message from His Excellency the Governor General. Mr. SPEAKER read the message as follows ;-



The Governor General transmits to the House of Commons supplementary estimates of sums Mr. MONK. required for the service of the Dominion for the year ending 30th June, 1903, and in accordance with the provisions of the British North America Act, 1867, the Governor General recommends these estimates to the House of Commons. Government House, Ottawa, March 31, 1903. I he MINISTER OF FINANCE moved that the message of His Excellency and the estimates he referred to the Committee of Supply. # Motion agreed to.


REPRESENTATION IN THE HOUSE OF COMMONS.


The PRIME MINISTER (Rt. Hon. Sir Wilfrid Laurier) moved for leave to introduce Bill (No. 66) to readjust the representation in the House of Commons. He said : I rise, Mr. Speaker, for the purpose of presenting to the House a measure for the redistribution of the representation in the House of Commons, rendered necessary by the last census. Perhaps before proceeding any further it might not be amiss if I would remind the House that in introducing this Bill, the government is not acting in any discretionary sense, hut is performing an imperative constitutional duty, the constitution having provided that after each decennial census there should take place a redistribution of the representation of the different provinces in this House. Three years ago I introduced a redistribution measure, but that was very different from the one I am now submitting. That was simply a partial measure of redistribution, a discretionary measure, one which we had the option of presenting or not, and our object then was not to frame a general scheme of redistribution, but simply to correct certain errors-or to use perhaps a more severe but more appropriate term-certain injustices which had been perpetrated on the province of Ontario by the Redistribution Act of 1882, and on the province of Quebec, by the Redistribution Act of 1892. The motive therefore and the provisions of that measure were very different from those of the present one. Perhaps also it would not be amiss for me to inform the House that the distribution of population, as revealed by the census of 1901, will cause some disturbance in the proportion of the representation now held by the different provinces of the Dominion on the floor of this House. Let me read a statement showing the increase in population in the Dominion as a whole, and in the various provinces, comparing 1891 with 1901, when the last census was taken. 1891. 1901. Dominion of Canada.... 4,833,239 5,371,31 ="Prince Edward Island .. 109,078 103 289Nova Scotia 450,396 459 574New Brunswick 321,263 331'doProvince of Ontario 2,114,321 2,182,947Manitoba 152,206 255,211British Columbia 98,173 178,657North-west Territories., 66,799 158,940Province of Quebec ______ 1,488,535 1,648,898 The province of Quebec, I need hardly remind the House, is the pivot of representation, on which depends the proportion of the representation to be allowed each province. The population of the province of Quebec being 1,488,535, and its representation being limited, under all circumstances to 65 members, it follows that the representation of the province of Quebec in this House is in the proportion of 25,367 for one member. This number therefore, 25,367, being the unit of representation of the province of Quebec, becomes the unit of representation for the rest of the Dominion, and according to this unit the province of Prince Edward Island will only be entitled to four members in this House, and thus lose one. The population of Nova Scotia being 459,574, the unit of representation would give it a total representation in this House of 18 instead of the 20 members it now has. New Brunswick, having a population of 321,220, the unit of representation would give it 13 instead of 14 members as at present. And the province of Ontario having a population of 2,182,947, would have a total representation of 86 instead of 92 members. All these provinces east of Lake Superior, therefore, except the province of Quebec, whose representation must remain stationary, will lose a part of their representation. On the other hand, the population of British Columbia, which at present has six members, will be represented by an additional one, and have seven instead of six. The province of Manitoba will have its representation increased by three, and have ten instead of seven. In the case of the North-west Territories, we have made special provisions, the territories not being bound by the letter of the constitutional law, to which I will allude later on. Upon the exact proportion of the representation allotted to the several provinces there can be no possible controversy. Everybody is aware that in those provinces which, according to the new redistribution must lose part of their representation, there has been some flurry of excitement, and well inten-tioned and well disposed persons have been making endeavours to convince themselves that by torturing the letter of the law, the law itself might be made to express the reverse of what it actually expresses. Unfortunately, the letter of the law is such as not to allow of any doubt. Three redistributions have already taken place in this Dominion- in 1872, 1882 and 1892. In almost every one of these redistributions, the same thing has occurred. Certain provinces have been forced to lose some part of their representation, and naturally protests were made, but the matter has been debated and discussed 23* and determined by such able jurists and eminent men as Sir John Macdonald, the Hon. Edward Blake and Sir John Thompson, and it is not possible-for my part I am indeed sorry, and I express my sorrow very sincerely that certain provinces will have to lose part of their representation in this House-but it is not possible to avoid this. We have to abide by the law and to apply the law, and in applying the law the question is more of mathematics than of anything else. We have only to take the provisions of the constitution, section 51, and the figures of the census, and find the result. In this matter parliament is not a free agent. It has no discretion to exercise, but is simply the instrument and creature of the law, and in this particular Bill we have only to take the result of the census and make the redistribution accordingly, giving to each province the number of members to which it is entitled, some having less, others having more, but all being bound by the same rule. So far, as I say, the powers of parliament are limited; but in the creation of the constituencies which are to elect members to this House, the powers of parliament are unlimited; and those powers can be used either for good or for evil, either for very much good or for very much evil. We, on this side of the House, have always complained, that, in previous redistributions which have taken place-and which have taken place always under the same party, the Conservative party, now in opposition-the opposition of the day were unfairly treated. I grant that this is a matter in which the temptation is great to the party in office to abuse its power, to take an unfair advantage of its opponents, and to so arrange the constituencies as to secure the return to parliament of more members of its own political faith than the actual political opinion of the country at large would warrant. I would avoid, if possible, upon this occasion, which, in some respects, is a solemn one-I would avoid, as fai| as I can, any recrimination concerning the past. But, without any recrimination, and referring to the past only for illustration, let me call attention to a list of forty-two constituencies in Ontario created by the redistributions of 1882 and 1892, in which the total of the popular vote recorded gave a clear Liberal majority, but in which, notwithstanding, there was a clear Conservative majority of members elected. The names of these constituencies are as follows : Brant South, Bruce West, Bruce South, Durham East, Durham West, Elgin East, Elgin West, Essex North, Essex South, Hastings North, Hastings East, Hastings West, Kent, Lamhton East, Lambton West, Leeds and Grenville, Leeds South, Grenville South, Lanark North, Lanark South, Northumberland East, Northumberland West, Oxford South, Oxford North, Ontario North, Ontario South, Ontario West, Perth North, Perth South, Peterborough East, Peterborough West, Renfrew North, Renfrew South, Victoria North, Victoria South, Waterloo North, Waterloo South, Wellington



Centre. Wellington North, Wellington South, Wentworth North and Brant. Here we have forty-two ridings. The popular vote for the Liberal candidates in the last election was 88,303; and the popular vote in favour of the Conservative candidates was 86,392, a clear Liberal majority of 1,973. The result in these counties which thus gave a clear Liberal popular majority was that twenty-five Conservatives were elected and seventeen Liberals, a clear Conservative majority for these constituencies of eight in this House. Now, I presume there is not a fair-minded man in this House who will not agree with me that such a condition of things is| not fair or just. It is a condition of things not conducive to good government, and should not exist under our free parliamentary constitution. That we should desire to correct that evil goes as a matter of course. We certainly intend to undo this evil, but while that is the case, let me say at once that, though we intend to undo the injustice perpetrated at the expense of the Liberal party, it is not with the view or intention of perpetrating a similar injustice at the expense of our opponents. What we have in view and what we desire is to introduce a fair measure that will give all parties an equal measure of justice, freedom and responsibility. The Liberal party has always contended that the redistribution that must follow each decennial census should take place under certain rules, well understood, well defined, and which everybody could appreciate. These should be the unwritten law of the country, and apply wherever and whenever a redistribution takes place, and should be applied, whichever party is in power. We have always maintained that the guiding principle in this redistribution should be that county boundaries should be preserved. And we lay to-day as the basis of redistribution, which we hold ought to be accepted and adopted on this occasion, that the municipal representation of the country ought to be the basis of the parliamentary representation. The position we take is that we should take the map of the municipal organizations of the Dominion and make it the basis of the parliamentary representation. There are countries for which one man is sufficient. The unit of population-which, of course, cannot be followed with absolute exactness would not warrant any more. There are other counties in which there may be two or three members to be elected. There arei certain cities in which there must be more than three or four members, whereas there are other municipalities whose population is so small relative to the unit of population that they should not be allowed to send even one member here. This, therefore, involves the work of selecting, of dividing, of uniting. And the question arises now-and, perhaps, it is the most delicate of all the questions with which we have to deal-by whom is this work to be effected ? Who is to make this division of counties-if counties are to Sir WILFRID LAURIER. be divided; who is to direct this union of counties if counties are to be united '! This is a question of great moment; and, after having given it the best consideration we are able to give it, we think that, in this, as in mostly all matters, the best policy to follow, the best and safest rule, is to follow the policy and the rule, which, under similar circumstances prevails in that country which has been the mother of all free institutions- Great Britain. We propose, therefore, on this occasion, as we did on a former occasion when the last Redistribution Bill was before us, to propose to the House to follow the British precedent. The last redistribution which took place in England took place in 1884, under the government of Mr. Gladstone. On that occasion, Mr. Gladstone, before making his Bill, adopted the policy which we intend to follow on this occasion. The Bill was prepared, at the invitation of Mr. Gladstone, by a conference of the two parties in the House of Commons, by a conference of the government and the opposition. Mr. Gladstone invited Lord Salisbury, who was then the leader of the opposition to meet with him and discuss with him the details of the Redistribution Bill which he had to introduce, following consequent upon the new Franchise Act. This conference took place, and, as a result a measure was introduced which proved satisfactory to both parties. Let me quote to the House what took place on that occasion-and I quote from a well known book, ' The Annual Register ' of 1884. After having stated that Lord Salisbury had been invited by Mr. Gladstone to meet him and discuss the details of the measure with him the author goes on to say : During the next fortnight the process of arrangement was steadily pursued. Lord Salisbury and Sir S. Northcote attended the meetings of the cabinet, and conducted the negotiations with the specially selected delegates of that body. So, there was a eonferencee between members of the government and the leaders of the opposition in order to frame a measure which would be satisfactory to both parties. When the last Bill was introduced in this House in 1892, we were sitting in opposition, and we proposed to our opponents to adopt the same methods. When the Bill came up for its second reading I. sitting where my friend the leader of the opposition (Mr." Borden, Halifax) now sits, moved the following :- That Bill No. 76, an Act to readjust the representation in the House of Commons be referred to a conference or committee to be composed of both political parties to agree upon the lines or principles upon which the Redistribution Bill should be drawn. Unfortunately, this proposition was not accepted. But, though our proposition was not accepted, still, we do not intend to depart from the principle we then laid down. What we claimed for ourselves when we were in the minority, we are now ready to grant to our opponents when they are in the minority. We intend, therefore, to have the details of this measure submitted to our opponents, if they will agree to our proposal. From some remarks which I understand fell from the lips of the hon. gentleman opposite, even that measure of justice is not acceptable to him. It is very difficult to satisfy the hon. gentleman; but whether he is satisfied or not, I doubt if anything can be more fair than what we now offer to hon. gentlemen on the other side of the House.


CON

Thomas Simpson Sproule

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPROULE.

If the right hon. gentleman refers to me, I beg to say that my opinion is the very reverse. I am well satisfied, and was commending the government for proposing to carry out the platform which they laid down when in opposition.

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The PRIME MINISTER.

I am satisfied with the spirit in which my hon. friend receives my remarks ; I apologize to him, and hope to have his support for this Bill. The Bill which I have the honour to introduce will be in these words :

Act to readjust the representation of the House of Commons.

Whereas the results of the census of 1901 necessitate a readjustment of the representa tion in the House of Commons, pursuant to the provisions of the British North America Act, 1867, and the other statutes in that behalf, and it is expedient at the same time to provide for an increased representation in the said House of the North-west Territories : Therefore His Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate and House of Commons of Canada, enacts as follows :

1. The House of Commons shall consist of 211 members, of whom 86 shall be elected for Ontario, 65 for Quebec, 18 for Nova Scotia, 13 for New Brunswick, 10 for Manitoba, 7 for British Columbia, 4 for Prince Edward Island, 10 for the North-west Territories and 1 for the Yukon Territory.

2. The said provinces and territories respectively shall, for the purposes of the election of members to serve in the said House of Commons, be divided into electoral districts and be represented as provided in the schedule to this Act.

3. Every town, village, township, parish or place lying within the territorial limits of any electoral district, and not specifically included In an37 otiisr electoral district by liie said schedule, shall be and be taken to be part of the electoral district in which it is so locally situate.

4. Wherever in the said schedule any word or expression is used to denote the name of any territorial division, such word or expression shall, unless the context otherwise requires, be construed as indicating such territorial division as it exists and is hounded at the date of the passing of this Act.

5. This Act shall take effect only upon the dissolution of the present parliament.

Now, this is the Bill which I intend to move. There is no schedule attached to it. If this Bill is accepted by our friends on the other side, we intend, after it has been debated and read the second time, to refer it to a special committee composed of seven

members, on which the opposition will be represented by three, to be selected by themselves. The object of the committee will be to create the constituencies which will be allowed to elect the members of this House. In other words, we do not present to the House to-day a scheme cut and dried which has to be swallowed bolus bolus by our friends and by the opposition, whether they like it or not; no, we propose to invite our friends now sitting on the opposition benches to meet us in the committee room and there discuss with us the division of the constituencies, and in fact the creation of all constituencies which shall be empowered to elect the members of this House. We propose to do what has been done in England by the government of Mr. Gladstone. We believe that if our friends opposite will meet us in this way, we can prepare a measure which will be at all events fair to all parties. We believe that we shall be able to bring into this House a measure which will be free from those blemishes which are to be found in the Redistribution Acts of 1882 and 1892. We believe that if they will agree to meet us in committee, to discuss this Bill fairly, without trying to take an undue advantage over each other, we shall be able to present to the House a measure of which every Canadian will have reason to feel proud, a measure which will be free from those contentious elements which characterized former Redistribution Acts which have been passed in the history of the Dominion of Canada. We intend to do this as a basis to be followed not only upon this occasion, but upon all occasions.

Now, I have to say one word with regard to the North-west Territories. The population of the North-west Territories was 158,940 according to the last census. According to the unit of representation, they are entitled to only six members. But we are not bound by the letter of the constitution so far as representation of the North-west Territories is concerned. Therefore, we propose to give to those Territories a representation in this House of ten members. The population of that region to-day is at least 250,000, which, at present, is no doubt sufficient to entitle them to ten members. It is increasing by leaps and bounds, and in a few years that population-

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L-C

Samuel Hughes

Liberal-Conservative

Mr. HUGHES (Victoria).

Provided they are British subjects.

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The PRIME MINISTER.

They cannot vote unless they are British subjects. That is the reason why we want to give to the North-west Territories very extensive representation in this House, because we want to make it an object for all these newcomers to take the oath of allegiance, and to become British subjects, to take upon themselves the advantages and responsibilities of Canadians. These, Mr. Speaker, are the chief features of the measure which I have the

honour to propose to the House. I hope that they will commend themselves to the unbiased judgment of all the members of the House, whether on this side or the other side.

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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. R. L. BORDEN (Halifax).

I may say in the first place that I do not think my right hon. friend has pursued his researches into the constituencies of Ontario very far. If he had done so he would easily have found twenty-five Liberal constituencies and seventeen Conservative constituencies in that province which would have presented, not only an equal, but a greater anomaly of an exactly opposite character to that to which he drew the attention of the House. I hardly think that an argument of that kind was worthy of my right hon. friend unless he is prepared to look at the question from all possible aspects. Before he charges injustice against the Conservatives in respect to the Bill of 1892, it would have been proper for him to examine more closely all the constituencies, in that province, the results in all the constituencies, to ascertain whether as great an anom aly might not be found in the opposite direction as that which he presented to the House to-day. We all know that under any possible system it is necessary for these things to be. We cannot devise any system under which anomalies of that kind cannot be discovered; and the mere fact that you can find twenty-five constituencies and seventeen constituencies presenting the condition of affairs which the hon gentleman speaks of, is no legitimate argument whatever in favour of the contention that he has made unless he goes further and examines the results in the constituencies from every possible standpoint.

Now, I do not know that I have fully apprehended all the details of the Bill which my right hon. friend has presented, but, when it is printed, and before it comes up for the second reading we shall have an opportunity of considering what its provisions really are. Speaking offhand, I may say that the proposal for a conference for the purpose of determining the boundaries of the different constituencies would impress one as having the merit of fairness although we recognize that by means of the committee holding a majority from the other side of the House, that fairness might not in the end be so real as suggested by my hon. friend. However, I am bound to assume that my right hon. friend means what he says when he declares that the proposal is to make a fair Redistribution Bill. It will be, of course, open to us to bring the results of the committee's work before the House and have such a discussion as we may think necessary in case we do not conclude that the action of the committee partakes cf the fairness which my right hon. friend promises.

There is one point, however, upon which I would like to say a word or two and upon which I would like to have some informa-

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LIB

Wilfrid Laurier (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER.

tion from my right hon. friend before this Bill goes to its second reading, and that is whether or not there have been any representations made by the governments of any of the provinces in regard to the proposed reduction in the representation of the provinces of Ontario, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, and whether or not the opinion of the law officers of the Crown has been given in respect to the contention made by these provinces. My right hon. friend has suggested to-day that there is no possible question upon this subject. I understand that the law officers of the province of New Brunswick have given an exactly opposite opinion to that which my right hon. friend expresses today. I have not seen their opinion, I do not know of it except by mere report, but this is what I understand. I do not propose to-day, to make any argument upon the question but merely to bring to the attention of the House and of my right hon. friend what I understand the question is which has been presented from certain quarters in regard to the reduction in the representation of the provinces I have named. Section three of the British North America Act of 1867 provides :

It shall be lawful for the Queen, by and with the advice of Her Majesty's Most Honourable Privy Council, to declare by proclamation that, on and after a day therein appointed, not being more than six months after the passing of this Act, the provinces of Canada, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick shall form and be one Dominion under the name of Canada ; and on and after that day those three provinces shall form and be one Dominion under that name accordingly.

Section four of the Act is as follows :

The subsequent provisions of this Act shall, unless it is otherwise expressed or implied] commence and have effect on and after the union, that is to say, on and after the day appointed for the union taking effect in the Queen's proclamation ; and in the same provisions, unless it is otherwise expressed or implied, the name Canada shall be taken to mean Canada as constituted under this Act.

Now, take the case of the section that immediately follows by way of illustration and what do you have ? Section five provides :

Canada shall be divided into four provinces, named Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.

It is perfectly obvious that the word ' Canada, as used in teat section, implies and includes only the four provinces that have already been named. The next section to which I would invite the attention of my right hon. friend and of the House, is section thirty-seven, which declares as follows :

The House of Commons shall, subject to 'he provisions of this Act, consist of one hundred and eighty-one members, of whom eighty-two shall be elected for Ontario, sixty-five for Quebec, nineteen for Nova Scotia and fifteen for New Brunswick.

Then, the next section to which I would invite the attention of the House is section fifty-one, which reads as follows :

On the completion of the census in the year one thousand eight hundred and seventy-one, and of each subsequent decennial census, the representation of the four provinces shall be readjusted by such authority, in such a manner, and from such time as the parliament of Canada from time to time provides, subject and according to the following rules :-

(1) Quebec shall have the fixed number of sixty-five members ;

(2) There shall be assigned to each of the other provinces such a number of members as will bear the same proportion to the number of its population (ascertained at such census) as the number sixty-five bears to the number of the population of Quebec (so ascertained);

(3) In the computation of the number of members for a province a fractional part not exceeding one-half of the whole number requisite for entitling the province to a member shall be disregarded ; but a fractional part exceeding one-half of that number shall be equivalent to the whole number.

Fourth, and this is the important subsection :

(4) On any such readjustment the number of members for a province shall not be reduced unless the proportion which the number of the population of the province bore to the number of the aggregate population of Canada at the then last preceding readjustment of the number of members for the province as ascertained at the then latest census be diminished by one-twentieth part or upwards ;

(5) Such readjustment shall not take effect until the termination of the then existing parliament.

There is another section whicli is important to be considered in this connection. It is section 146, which provides as follows :

It shall be lawful for the Queen, by and with the advice of Her Majesty's Most Honourable Privy Council, on addresses from the Houses of the parliament of Canada, and from the Houses of the respective legislatures of the colonies or provinces of Newfoundland, Prince Edward Island, and British Columbia, to admit those colonies or provinces, or any of them, into the union, and on address from the Houses of the parliament of Canada to admit Rupert's Land and the North-western territory, or either of them, into the union, on such terms and conditions in each case as are in the addresses expressed and as the Queen thinks fit to approve, subject to the provisions of this Act ; and the provisions of any Order in Council in that behalf shall have effect as if they had been enacted by the parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.

Now, it is important to observe in construing this Act, in the first place that it contemplates the incorporation of other colonies and provinces into the Dominion which are referred to in section 146 of the Act and it is important to pay particular attention to the language of section fifty-one, because section fifty-one says that:

Representation of the four provinces shall be readjusted by such authority

And it uses the word ' Canada,' in subsection 4. What the word ' Canada ' means has

been defined by section four of the Act. Canada in all the subsequent provisions of the Act means * Canada as constituted under this Act.'

What is the meaning of the expression ' as constituted under this Act ' ? Certainly it means, in section five, simply the. four provinces of Canada, because that section provides that:

Canada shall be divided into four provinces, named Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.

The suggestion is that section fifty-one constituted a compact between the four provinces which was not to be disturbed by the admission of any other colonies, that it constituted a compact under which t l>roviuce of Quebec should never at any time have less than sixty-five members and under which the other provinces should never have a smaller number of members than the proportion they were entitled to according to the population of Quebec, and there was the further provision that their representation should at no time Be reduced unless the population had been diminished by one-twentieth part as compared with the total population of Canada.

I know that there are important provisions affecting this question in the shape of the addresses which were subsequently passed by the legislatures of the different provinces afterwards admitted, and which were passed by the parliament of Canada. And also I do not put out of my mind the legislation passed by this parliament and ratified-if that is the proper expression- by the imperial parliament, with regard to tbe admission of Manitoba and Rupert's Land. But the argument which I think may be fairly made is this : That if you once regard section 51 as a contract between these provinces, fixing as between themselves the terms upon which their representation shall be had in future, then you must find very clear language indeed within the addresses or within subsequent legislation such as I have spoken of, if you are to depart from that contract so established between the four provinces which constituted Canada in the first instance. I think, Mr. Speaker, that it is a fair subject for inquiry at the present time, as to whether or not any representations have been made with regard to this by any of the provinces; and whether the opinion of the law officers of the Crown has been had with regard to it. I think it is also right, that the opinion of the law officers here, if any lias been obtained, should be laid on the Table of the House and should be printed for the information of all hon. members who may desire to address themselves to that subject.

I may only say further in dealing with the matter at the present time, that my right hon. friend in introducing the measure which was brought before this House in 1S99 laid down the principle that any division of counties should take place by means

of a judicial commission. I will quote to my right lion, friend the language which he then used and I may say that I did not gather from his remarks to-day any special reason why the principle which was laid down then should he departed from now. The right lion, gentleman said :

Whenever a county is to be divided into ridings ; whenever a county which up to that time is entitled to one member becomes entitled to two or three members; the division should take place by judicial decision and authority. This is the second principle upon which we base the Bill that we introduce to the House now.

I suppose it is in view of the departure from that principle, that my right lion, friend speaks of the measure now introduced as a measure of a different character from that which he then laid down before the House. I do not know in what respect it differs. This measure is of course wider reaching in so far as, being based upon the results of the last census it gives a very much increased representation to Manitoba and the North-west Territories; but apart from that, the principle which is proper for one Act would seem proper for the other, although I do not wish in saying this to qualify in any respect what X have already said with regard to the proposal which the right hon. gentleman has made. I therefore will not take up the time of the House further at present, but I will ask my right hon. friend or the Minister of Justice to inform the House upon the matters which I thus briefly bring to their notice in order that we may be able to more intelligently discuss this Bill when it comes for its second reading.

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The MINISTER OF JUSTICE (Hon. Charles Fitzpatrick).

I do not rise for the purpose of entering into any lengthy discussion of the measure now before the House, but merely for the purpose of asking my hon. friend the leader of the opposition, if he commits himself definitely to the opinion which has been expressed, to the effect that the word ' Canada ' in subsection 4 of section 51, means not the Canada of to-day but the four original provinces of Quebec, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Ontario, and that the proportion referred to under this section is to be estimated with regard to tlie aggregate population of these provinces, and not with regard to the population of the Dominion as it now exists ?

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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BORDEN (Halifax).

I expressly said when I rose to speak that I did not propose to argue the question at the present time; that I proposed to state for the information of the House the point as I understood it which had been made by the law officers of the province of New Brunswick, and to inquire whether the executive of Canada had obtained the opinion of its law officers, and to ask that we might be favoured witli a perusal of that opinion in case it had been obtained.

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The MINISTER OF JUSTICE.

I may say for the information of my hon. friend Mr. BORDEN (Halifax).

and of the House, that an opinion was expressed by the law officers of the crown in New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island, somewhat on the lines suggested by the hon. gentleman. 1 think it would be proper to have the representations made by these governments to the federal government, and also the answer which I made thereto. Possibly after my hon. friend has seen-because after all to discuss these representations one has to see the words in which they were made-after my hon. friend has seen the representations and the answer, he may possibly think that there is considerable opinion in favour of the position heretofore taken at the time each Representation Act was introduced.

Topic:   REPRESENTATION IN THE HOUSE OF COMMONS.
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CON

John Graham Haggart

Conservative (1867-1942)

Hon. JOHN HAGGART (South Lanark).

I would like to ask the Minister of Justice, what boundaries it is intended to adopt ? Under the Bill they appear to refer to the electoral districts. It says : The boundaries may be the electoral districts, as described by this House.

Topic:   REPRESENTATION IN THE HOUSE OF COMMONS.
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March 31, 1903