May 17, 1904

LIB

William Stevens Fielding (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. FIELDING.

There is such unity on this side of the House that we do not need so many conferences as our hon. friends opposite do. in then' efforts to steer north by south. Let me say, however, dealing with the matter seriously, that I do not think Mr. EARLE.

it would be wise for my hon. friend to press the amendment excluding the Chinese particularly. The exclusion of any particular nationality is always a matter of some delicacy, and might give rise to some difficult international question. If the matter is to be dealt with, it should be dealt with on broader lines, and any legislation that may be necessary for the protection of Canadian labour should be contained in a general Bill, which will apply not only to this company, but to all other companies in Canada.

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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. R. L. BORDEN.

Was not the very thing that was done in connection with the Crow's Nest Pass Railway that which the hon. gentleman says should not be done now ? Has he not told us that there was special legislation in respect to that railway ? And yet he puts that forward as a reason why similar legislation should not be enacted in the present instance. I am not familiar with the fact, but I am taking it as my hon. friend has stated it. Here is a railroad of which the government are guaranteeing three-fourths of the cost, and the amendment proposed by my hon. friend from Victoria is that in its construction Chinese labour be not employed. If that were a good measure in the case of the Crow's Nest Pass Railway, why was it not inserted in this Bill in the first instance, without waiting for the amendment which my hon. friend from Victoria has proposed ?

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LIB

William Stevens Fielding (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. FIELDING.

There was nothing in the Crow's Nest Pass arrangement, if I remember it correctly, specifically excluding the Chinese. My criticism of the hon. gentleman is that he is confining himself to one class of persons only. Whatever feeling there is in Canada on this question- and there has been a broadening and developing of the feeling with regard to giving encouragement to Canadian labour as against foreign labour-that extends not only to the Chinese, but to all other classes of labour that might be imported into Canada and might be only less objectionable than Chinese labour. I suggest to the hon. member for Victoria that the matter be left over, so that the government may, as I hope they will, have a much broader measure, excluding all classes who are undesirable, and making it applicable not to one railway alone, but to all railways.

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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. R. L. BORDEN.

There is no objection to letting the amendment stand, if that is the desire of my hon. friend.

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LIB

William Stevens Fielding (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. FIELDING.

I do not ask it to stand. I ask the hon. gentleman not to move it.

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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. R. L. BORDEN.

I am afraid that the wish of the hon. Minister of Finance in that regard will not be accomplished. As I understood his argument in the first in-

Btance, the principal objection be put forward was that this provision should be made applicable not to one railway only, but to all railways ; and in the next breath he pointed out a case in which the government had departed from that very principle. What reason could there be for imposing a stipulation of that kind with reference to the Crow's Nest Pass Kailway that would not be applicable to all railways ? Whether it was in the contract or in the statute, I presume it was a binding stipulation. If it was proper to apply that provision to one railway at that time, why is it not proper to apply it to this railway to-day, which is to be built very largely upon the credit of this country ? If it is a good principle, as my hon. friend the Minister of Finance says it is, let us have it, and let us have it for the same reason that we had it in the case of the Crow's Nest Pass Railway. If the hon. gentleman desires to make this provision any broader, let him state in what respeet he desires to enlarge it, and I have no doubt the hon. member for Victoria will accede to any reasonable amendment of his proposal in that regard.

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LIB

Ralph Smith

Liberal

Mr. RALPH SMITH.

Do I understand the leader of the opposition to say that there is a special provision in the Crow's Nest charter excluding Chinamen from employment on that railway ?

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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. R. L. BORDEN.

I did not know of the provision until it was mentioned by the Minister of Finance.

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LIB
CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. R. L. BORDEN.

Nor was I, but we have the statement of the Minister of Finance to that effect, and I assume he has stated the fact correctly. If he has not, of course the base of our argument disappears.

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LIB

William Stevens Fielding (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. FIELDING.

I did not say that the Crow's Nest Pass Railway charter or contract contained auy stipulations requiring the exclusion of the Chinese. The point of difference between us is this. Public opinion is no doubt progressive, and some things we would not have been disposed to do in matters of legislation a few years ago, we are all willing to do to-day. In the case of hon. gentlemen opposite, they propose to exclude Chinese only and admit all other classes.

Mr, INGRAM. No. What is the good of our Alien Labour Law if that is the case?

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LIB

William Stevens Fielding (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. FIELDING.

The hon. gentleman has invoked the Alien Labour Law, but. is not content to rely on that law. He wants a special provision in this contract regarding the Chinese. If he is content to abide by existing legislation, this government has already provided legislation which practically excludes the Chinese from Canada. [DOT]

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Some hon. MEMBERS

Not at all.

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LIB

William Stevens Fielding (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. FIELDING.

Very largely indeed. It will be found that the number of Chinese coming into Canada under existing legislation is not large and not likely to be large. This amendment deals entirely with the exclusion of Chinese, and hon. gentlemen opposite are willing that anybody else should be brought in to work on that road. We say that we do not think that would be a wise step. If there is to be any exclusion, it should be of a broader character and apply to other classes perhaps equally objectionable, and the exclusion should not affect one company only, but all companies engaged in public works.

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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. R. L. BORDEN.

If any such provision is contained in the Crow's Nest Pass contract, would my hon. friend produce the contract ?

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LIB

William Stevens Fielding (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. FIELDING.

There is no special reference to Chinese in that contract. It does not specifically exclude Chinese, but provides for the encouragement of the employment of native Canadian labour.

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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. R. L. BORDEN.

It might be useful to have the contract laid on the table.

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The PRIME MINISTER.

It is in the statutes of 1897.

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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. R. L. BORDEN.

I understood my hon. friend to say it was in the contract.

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LIB

William Stevens Fielding (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. FIELDING.

I do not think it is in the statute.

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May 17, 1904