bounds in which it was included in 1867, but to extend it eastward and westward between the two oceans. I need hardly tell you, Sir, the fact is known to all and well remembered by every one, that provision was made in the instrument of confederation itself, for the admission into confederation of British
[Columbia, Prince Edward Island, and even Newfoundland, and especially for these territories which at last have come in to-day as part of the Canadian family. In the very ' first year of confederation, the very first session of the first parliament, resolutions were introduced into this House and adopted unanimously for the acquisition of Rupert's Land and the Northwest Territories, and the extinguishment therein of the title of the Hudson Bay Company. This was accom-j plished in a very short time, and as soon as j accomplished, the government of that day, | the government of Sir John Macdonald, pro! ceeded to carve the new province of Manitoba out of the wilderness, and without any preliminary stage endowed it at once with \ all the rights and privileges of a province.
If we go back to the history of those days, perhaps the opinion will not be unwarranted that it would have been a wiser course, if instead of bringing Manitoba at once into the confederation full fledged and fully equipped as a province, that maturity had been reached by gradual stages extended over a few years. If that course had been adopted, perhaps some mistakes would have been avoided from the effects of which we have not yet completely recovered.
Very different was the course and policy of Mr. Mackenzie when he cam'- into office with regard to the Northwest Territory. Up to the year 1875 the Northwest Territories had been administered under no special form of government. But in 1875 Mr. Mackenzie, being then Prime Minister of Canada, introduced into this House and carried unanimously a measure, a very important measure, the object of which, as he said himself, was to give to the Northwest Territories an ' entirely independent government.' This measure has been the charter under which the Northwest Territories have come to their present state of manhood. It has never been repealed. Additions have been made to it from time to time, but it has remained and is to this day the rock upon which has been reared the structure, which we are about to crown with complete and absolute autonomy. By this measure it was provided that a Lieutenant Governor should be appointed for the Northwest Territories. The Lieutenant Governor was to be vested with executive power, and he was to administer that power with the assistance of a council to be composed of five members, the Lieutenant Governor and his advisers to be appointed by the Governor in Council. Apart from these administrative powers the Lieutenant Governor was also invested with large legislative authority. He could make laws for taxation, for local and municipal purposes, property and civil Sir WILFRID LAURIER.
rights, the administration of justice, public health, police, roads, highways and bridges- generally all matters of a purely local and private nature. There was also an enactment in that measure to the effect that when any district, not exceeding 1,000 square miles, contained a population of not less than 1,000 people of adult age, exclusive of aliens and unenfranchised Indians, it could be erected into an electoral district which should thenceforward be entitled to elect a member to the council. There was also an important enactment with regard to education, introducing into that country the system of separate schools in force in the province of Ontario. But I shall say nothing at the present time of this Important part of the law of 1875, as I propose to come again to it at a later stage of the observations which I desire to offer to the House. This Act remained in force without any important modifications up to the year 1886, when the Territories were given representation in this parliament. Two years later an important step in advance was also taken in their development, that is to say, In 1888. The executive council was abolished, so far, at all events, as its powers of legislation were concerned, and a legislative assembly was created, to be composed of twenty-five members,' twenty-two of which were to be elected by the people and three to be known as legal experts, to be appointed by the Governor in Council ; and a new executive council was to be appointed under the name of advisory council to advise the Lieutenant Governor upon all matters of finance. In 1891 another step forward was taken, and a very important one. The legislative assembly of the Territories was given additional powers ; and if you take section 92 of the British North America Act and compare it with the powers which were then given to the legislature, you will find that that legislature was invested with powers almost as complete as those which are vested in the provinces under the British North America Act. In fact, with the exception of borrowing money most of the essential powers which are now given to the provinces were siven to the legislative assembly of the Northwest Territories. In 1891 another departure, another change, was made-I call it a departure. The change which was then made was not, in my estimation, quite in accordance with the spirit of our constitution. It was that the legislative assembly could select four members of its own body to be called an executive committee to advise the Lieutenant Governor. This is not, as I say, in accordance with the principles of the British constitution. It is not in accordance with the principles of British constitution that parliament Itself should elect the members who are to advise the Crown. The principle of the British constitution is that the Crown, or the representative of the Crown selects, him-
self, his own advisers ; and under our own well known practice in these modern days, the only restriction put upon the executive, the Crown, or the sovereign, is that he must select advisers who have the support of a majority of the elected body. This new departure introduced in the statute of 1894 did not last long, and at this I am not surprised. In 1897 another and a final change took place. ^Tn 1897 an Act was passed in this House whereby it was provided that there should be an executive council to be chosen by the Lieutenant Governor from the members of the House, and practically having the support of a majority of the elected members of the legislature. This was in fact the last and final concession and it was the application of the principle of ministerial responsibility. This has been the law ever since ; it is the law to-day. So that, Sir, it is manifest that at this moment the people of the Northwest Territories are in the enjoyment and have been for several years, not only of full ministerial responsibility, not only of full constitutional government, but also of a large measure of local autonomy. A great deal has been done, in fact, more has been done than we have to do to-day. We have to take the last step but it is easy and comparatively unimportant in view of and in comparison with what has already been accomplished. The metal has been in the crucible and all we have to do now, is to put the stamp of Canadian nationality upon it.
The House is aware that §6me two years ago or thereabouts there came to us a very general desire from the Northwest Territories for immediate admission into the confederation as provinces. I did not believe at the time for my part, that this request, respectable as it was, proceeded so much from an actual need as from a sentiment. It was to me the expression of a sentiment, a sentiment most honourable, a sentiment most worthy because it was an expression of the self-reliance of young and ambitious communities. The House is also aware of the answer which we gave to the Territories at that time. We represented to them that in our judgment, the time was inopportune for taking this question into parliament, that as we were on the eve of a general election, the time and occasion would be more propitious and more fitting after that event when the Territories would have the benefit on this floor of a larger representation. These views were generally accepted. The- elections have taken place and immediately after the elections, or as soon as was practicable thereafter, we invited the executive of the Northwest Territories to send delegates here to confer with us upon the measure which was to be introduced so as to admit them into the confederation. We have had the benefit of the presence of Mr. Haultain, the Premier of the Northwest Territories and of Mr. Bulyea, one of his
colleagues, and we have had the advantage of several conferences with them. We have had the advantage also of the presence and advice of several of the members from the Territories, and now, Sir, it is my privilege and my honour-I deem it indeed a privilege and an honour-to offer this Bill to the House.
When we came to consider the problem before us it became very soon apparent to me, at all events, that there were four subjects which dominated all the others ; that the others were of compar- ! atively minor importance, but that there j were four which I was sure the parlia-/ ment of Canada and the Canadian peo-pie at large might be expected to take a deep interest in. The first was: How many provinces should be admitted into * the confederation coming from the North- ; west Territories-one, or two or more ? i The next question was : in whom should j be vested the ownership of the public lands? The third question was : What should be the financial terms to be granted to these new provinces ? And the fourth and not the least important by any means was the question of the school system which would be introduced-not introduced because it was introduced long ago, but should be continued in the Territories.
Now, Sir, I will proceed to examine one after the other, all these questions. The first, as I have just said is: How many provinces should be admitted into the confederation ? There is considerable variety, as everybody knows, in the area of the different provinces of the confederation. Prince Edward Island has an area of 2,184 miles, Nova Scotia 21,428 miles, New Brunswick 27,985 miles, Quebec 351,873, Ontario 260,862, Manitoba 73,732, and British Columbia 372,630, or a total area for the seven provinces of confederation of 1,110,694 miles. Now, the Territories which are to-day under the control and jurisdiction of the local legislature have exactly the same area as that of the seven provinces of the Dominion. The total area of the seven provinces, as I said a moment ago is 1,110,694 miles and the area of the different territories is as follows :
Or, an area a little greater than the total area of the seven provinces of the Dominion. Now, as I have said there is a great variety in the sizes of our provinces ; in fact, it is very much with the Canadian Confederation as with the American Union. There are in the Canadian Confederation provinces oU unequal sizes as