February 21, 1905

CON
LIB

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

Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER.

I do not know that they are actual entries, but we calculate the population upon entries for homesteads. I will read the figures :

Population at present of Northwest Territories

(estimated) 417,956.

Total population as per census of 1901.. 165,555 Increase of population of homesteaders

since the census of 1901 221,251

Increase of population other than homesteaders since census, 1901, say 16,000

(Estimated from Waghorn's Guide.)

Estimated natural increase of the population at 1901 to date is 9,900

Estimated natural increase of the increase of population in 1902 to date is 1,935 Estimated natural increase of the increase of population in 1903 to date is 2,370 Estimated natural increase of the increase of population in 1904 to date is 945

417.956

Now, this Act is not to come into force until the 1st of July, and we estimate that by the 1st of July the population will have increased to 500,000 souls. This is the basis of our calculation. Now, I said a moment ago, and the House seemed to agree with me, that as we retain the lands in our own hands, it is natural and to be expected that government and parliament would be liberal in their allowance to the new provinces for compensation in that respect. Manitoba, which has an area of 73.000 square miles, received as compensation for her lands some fifteen or twenty years ago an annual grant of $100,000. Apart from that, Manitoba has

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CON

George Eulas Foster

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. FOSTER.

On the basis of $32.43 ?

received the swamp lands. The swamp lands are perhaps the most valuable lands In the province of Manitoba. They require some preliminary work for drainage, but when drained there are no better lands in the whole province. When the late government gave to the province of Manitoba the swamp lands, they made her a valuable gift, and it has proved to her a most important asset. But the Northwest Territories have no swamp lands, we could not do for them what the government did for the province of Manitoba. We have, therefore, made the following arrangement, which we commend to the favourable consideration of the House :

As the public lands in the said provinces are to remain the property of Canada, there shall be paid by Canada to the said provinces annually by way of compensation therefor a sum based upon the estimated value of such lands, (namely, $37,500,000) ; the same being assumed to be of an area of 25,000,000 acres and to be of the value of $1.50 per acre, and upon the population of the said provinces as from time to time ascertained by the quinquennial census thereof, such sum to be arrived at as follows :-

The population of the said provinces being assumed to be at present 250,000, the sum payable until such population reaches 400,000 is to be one per cent on such estimated value, or $375,000.

Thereafter until such population reaches 800,000, the sum payable is to be one and one-half per cent on such estimated value, or $562,500.

Thereafter until such population reaches 1,200,000, the sum payable is to be two per cent on such estimated value, or $750,000.

And thereafter such payment is to be three per cent on such estimated value, or $1,112,500.

In additional compensation for such lands, there shall be paid by Canada to such province annually for five years from the time this Act comes into force to provide for the construction of necessary public buildings, $62,500.

Let me now recapitulate to see the minimum each province is to receive. At present, this year, the province is to receive for civil government $50,000 ; for capitation allowance, $200,000, which is going to increase until the population has reached

800,000 souls. It will receive for debt allowance $405,375, and this year it will receive also for land compensation $375,000 ; total, $1,030,375, to which sum must be added, for five years, $62,500, in order to allow the province to provide for her buildings and public works generally.

This is the minimum which will be paid to the province. The only thing new in these arrangements is in respect to the lands. The maximum which will be paid to the province at any time when the population shall have reached 1,200,000 souls is $1,125,000 ; that is to say, we pay to each of these provinces the maximum sum of $1,125,000 as compensation for the lands which we retain in our possession. I submit to the House that this is a very fair, a very moderate and very equitable adjustment indeed ; at all events, I so present it Sir WILFRID LAURIER.

to the House, and I think it will be so regarded.

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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. R. L. BORDEN.

The maximum of the subsidy to the provinces will be reached, as I understand it, when the population reaches the number of 1,200,000. The total annual payments of all kinds reach their maximum when the population reaches the number of 1,200,000, that is, including both the per capita allowance and the allowance for land. Would the right hon. gentleman be good enough to tell us just what that maximum sum will be, including both the subsidy and the allowance in respect of land ?

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LIB

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

Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER.

The per capita allowance will be $640,000.

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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. R. L. BORDEN.

But the total of all kinds. Perhaps if the right bon. gentleman has not the figures it is not important.

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LIB

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

Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER.

The total .of all kinds would be in the neighbourhood of a little more than $2,000,000.

Now, Sir, it is my duty to advert to a special feature of this Bill, a feature which I wish we could have averted, and which we introduced with great respect. The special clause which I now call the attention of the House to is as follows :-

The territory comprised in the said province shall be and continue to be subject to all such provisions as shall have been enacted respecting the Canadian Pacific Railway Company.

It is within the memory of the House, I have no doubt, that the contract which was made with the Canadian Pacific Railway contained a most extraordinary provision. It was the 16th section :

The Canadian Pacific Railway and all stations and station grounds, workshops, buildings, yards and other property, rolling stock and appurtenances required and used for the construction and working thereof and the capital stock of the company shall be for ever free from taxation by the Dominion, or by any province hereafter to be established or by any municipal corporation therein.

Thus it happens that in 1881 the then parliament deliberately gave to the Canadian Pacific Railway Company, which it was incorporating, an absolute exemption from federal, provincial and municipal taxation. It was an extraordinary contract, but the fact stares us in the face, and it is in accordance with British precedent and British policy that contracts have to be executed whether they are good or bad, whether they are advantageous or disadvantageous. In IS84 or 1885, when the limits of the province of Manitoba were extended westward, a similar provision was introduced into the Act of that time to exempt the company from taxation by that province in the territory thus added to her limits. We have to do the same thing to-day. It is a most lamentable condition of things, but all I have to say to the provinces, is that they have to abide

by the conditions which exist. In this respect, however, they are in no worse position than the Dominion government itself. We stand to-day, to use a common phrase in the same box. If the Minister of Finance were to introduce a budget wherein he thought it advantageous for the Dominion of Canada to impose taxation upon big corporations, upon the Grand Trunk Railway Company, upon the Bank of Montreal, upon all the other banks and corporations we could do so, but we could not lay a farthing of taxation on the Canadian Pacific Railway Company. That is the result of the condition of things which was enacted by this parliament twenty-four years ago. At that time the opposition led by Mr. Blake protested vigorously against that provision. Mr. Charlton moved the following amendment:-

That the contract respecting the Canadian Pacific Railway exempts perpetually the railway and all stations and station grounds, workshops, buildings, yards and other property, rolling stock and appurtenances, required lor the construction and working thereof, and the capital stock of the company, from taxation by the Dominion or by any other province hereafter established, or by any municipal corporation therein. That the property of the corporation shall be in substance a gift from the public ; and its exemption from taxation is unjust, creates an unfair incidence of taxation, and gives an undue advantage to the company over other railway companies, calculated to prevent the construction of competing lines, and the contract is, in this respect, objectionable.

Unfortunately this amendment was defeated and that clause of the contract was carried into effect. We have to deal with it to-day as we find it and the provinces as well as the Dominion have to abide by it. All I can say at this moment is that if our efforts and their efforts could rid the new provinces of this incubus, we would be only too glad to give them all the help and assistance in our power, but it is not possible to do so, except by some method that I am not able at the present time to find out. It might be by the way of legislation, it might be through a mutual agreement, or by expropriation. There are some of these methods perhaps open to us, but I have only to say sc this moment, that, regrettable as it is, the Dominion and the provinces the provinces and the Dominion must abide by it loyally until such time as it may be possible to find a remedy. That is all I have to say upon the financial clauses of the contract.

I now come to the question of education, and this question is perhaps under existing circumstances the most important of all that we have to deal with. There are evidences not a few coming to us from all directions, that the old passions which such a subject has always aroused are not, unfortunately, buried ; indeed, already, before the poiicy of the government has been known, before the subject is fairly before the people, the government has been warned as to its duty in this matter, and not only 46

warned but threatened as well. The government has been warned, threatened from both sides of this question, from those who believe in separate schools and from those who oppose separate schools. These violent appeals are not a surprise to me, at all events, nor do I believe they are a surprise to anybody. We have known by the experience of the i past, within the short life of this confederation, that public opinion is always inflam- \ mable whenever questions arise which ; ever so remotely touch upon the religious \ convictions of the people. It behooves i us therefore all the more at this solemn moment to approach this subject with care, with calmness and deliberation and with the firm purpose of dealing with it not only in accordance with the inherent principles of abstract justice, but in accordance with the spirit-the Canadian spirit of tolerance and charity, this Canadian spirit of tolerance and charity of which confederation is the essence ana of which in practice it ought to be ffie expression and embodiment. Before I proceed further, before I pass the threshold of this question, I put at once this inquiry to the* House : What are separate schools ?

What is the meaning of the term ? Whence does it come, what was its origin and what was its object ? Perhaps somebody will say : What is the use of discussing such

a question ? The term separate schools ought to be familiar to every one. Sir, if any one vt ere to make such an observation and to interpose such an objection, I would tell him that never was objection taken with less ground. Mankind is ever the same. Kew problems and new complications aauII always arise, but new problems and complications, when they do arise, always revolve within the same well beaten circle of man's passions, man's prejudices and man's' selfishness. History therefore should be a safe guide, and it is generally by appealing to the past,'"by investigating the problems with which our fathers had to deal, that we may find the solutions of the complications that face us. If we look back to the history of our own country, if we find what is the origin of the separate schools, perhaps history may be the pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night to show us the way and give us the light.

Separate schools, Sir, go back to the old days of the legislature of Lower Canada. In these old days the system of schools In my province, in my native province, was rudimentary ; there was practically no system, but from year to year allowances were made by the legislature for the support and maintenance of schools. I need not say that the population within the limits of the province of Lower Canada at that time was, as it is to-day, divided in origin and in creed ; it was largely Roman Catholic with a small Protestant minority. I am glad to say, and perhaps it would he permitted if, in this matter, being myself a son of the province of Quebec I indulged i*

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what may be not altogether unpardonable pride when I say, that I am not aware that the Protestant minority ever had any cause of complaint of the treatment they had received at the hands of the majority. One of the most eminent men of that day, one of the most eminent colleagues of Sir John Macdonald at the time of confederation, Sir John Rose, bore ample testimony to what I have now stated. This is what he said speaking in the confederation debate : Now we, the English Protestant minority of Lower Canada, cannot forget that whatever right of separate education we have, was accorded to us in the most unrestricted way before the union of the provinces, when we were in a minority and entirely in the hands of the French population. We cannot forget that in no way was there any attempt to prevent us educating our children ic the manner we saw fit and deemed best ; and I would be untrue to what is just if I forgot to state that the distribution of state funds for educational purposes was made in such a way as to cause no complaint on the part of the minority. The system, as I said, was rudimentary ; it became more effective, more regulative, after the union of the two provinces, Upper and Lower Canada in 1841.


CON

Thomas Simpson Sproule

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPROULE.

Would that not seem to be an argument in favour of leaving it to the provinces 1

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Some hon. MEMBERS

Order.

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LIB

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

Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER.

I shall come to that presently and I hope I will be able to satisfy my hon. friend (Mr. Sproule) if lie will have an open ear on this subject. In 1841 the parliament of United Canada passed a law for the establishment of schools all over the province. Section 11 of that statute provided that:

Whenever any number of the inhabitants of any township or parish professing a religious faith different from that of the majority of the inhabitants of such township or parish, shall dissent from the regulations, arrangements, or proceedings of the common school commissioners, with reference to any common school in such township or parish it shall be lawful for the inhabitants so dissenting, collectively to signify such dissent in writing to the clerk of the district council .... and it shall be lawful for such dissenting inhabitants .... to establish and maintain one or more common schools in the manner and subject to the visitation, conditions, rules and obligations in this Act provided, with reference to other common schools.

Section 12 enacted that:

No common schools shall be entitled to any apportionment of money out of the common school fund except on the terms and conditions following :

And so forth. No exception was made, whether they were separate or common schools. But it appears that some doubt arose in Upper Canada as to whether or not separate schools were entitled to state aid.

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LIB

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

Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER.

Ontario and maritime provinces, were separated by long distances. The two groups which were geographically united, Ontario and Quebec, were separated by the deeper cleavage of difference of origin. In all there was a strong sense of local pride, in all there was a strong assertion of self interest, and in all there were peculiar institutions as to the security of which all dreaded to be launched into the unknown. This was particularly true of education in Lower Canada and in Upper Canada. In Lower Canada the Protestant minority had long enjoyed their own system of separate schools. In Upper Canada the Roman Catholic minority had just secured a similar system. These two minorities feared that in the new constitution, under the separation of legislative powers which must ensue, the rights of each might be put in jeopardy by a hostile majority. The min ority of Lower Canada felt perfectly secure under the then existing condition of things because those of their own creed and race were in the majority in United Canada. The Roman Catholic minority in Upper Canada feared also the constitution because it would be deprived of the powerful alliance of those of their own origin in another province. Under such circumstances, what was to be done? How could a scheme of confederation be devised so as to ensure the support of all parties and sections of the community ? It is useless to speculate as to what might have been done. It is sufficient to say that means were found to insure to the minority in each province, the free exercise of its rights, and that means was to declare that in the provinces of Upper and Lower Canada, the rights of the minority, which were to be entrusted to the respective legislatures of these provinces, were to be above the control pf the majority. Let me recall to the House the Quebec resolutions which were adopted and which were the basis and the charter under which the Canadian parliament now lives and the Canadian nation has been formed. Section 93 of the Quebec resolutions states as follows, and I pray you. Sir, mark the language :-

The local legislatures shall have power to make laws respecting the following subjects

1. Direct taxation, and in New Brunswick the imposition of duties on the export of timber, logs, masts, spars, deals and sawn lumber ; and in Nova Scotia, of coals and other minerals.

2. Borrowing money on the credit of the province.

3. The establishment and tenure of local offices. and the appointment and payment of local officers.

4. Agriculture.

5. Immigration.

6. Education ; saving the rights and privileges which the Protestant or Catholic minority in both Canadas may possess as to their denominational schools at the time when the union goes into operation.

Again I say, mark the language. The Sir WILFRID LAURIER.

legislatures of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Quebec and Ontario were given the power to make laws for the following purposes :

Direct taxation.

Borrowing money.

The establishment and tenure of local office.

Agriculture and colonization.

Upon all these subjects their powers are unlimited and they can do as they please, without any check, except their responsibility to the people of their respective provinces. Then on the subject of education the legislatures of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick can do as they please and are not responsible to any one except to the people. But when we come to the provinces of Ontario and Quebec, we find that the powers of these two provinces are limited as regards education. Neither the legislature of Ontario nor that of Quebec was given power to pass any law which might prejudicially affect the rights of the minority in either province. So long as this constitution endures the schools of the minority in Quebec and Ontario must likewise endure. Yet, remarkable as is this enactment, it is perhaps still more remarkable, if we remember that one of the men who assented to this limitation to the power of the province of Ontario was Mr. George Brown himself- Mr. George Brown who said again and again that he was opposed to separate schools, who had carried on a crusade of years against separate schools in his province. If you look only at the surface of things, without trying to find the inspiration, it is indeed remarkable that Mr. Brown, who, with Sir John Macdonald was the central figure, agreed that the powers of the legislature of his own province should be limited in that respect. We need not marvel if Mr. Brown was attacked and assailed for the action he then took. He was assailed perhaps by some of his own disciples whom he had taught to object to separate schools as strongly as he did himself. Mr. Brown defended his course in the confederation debate, or rather he explained his policy, because he was under no necessity to defend his course ; and I beg on this occasion to commend his language to those who to-day have forgotten confederation, when he came to discuss the 43rd resolution. He spoke as follows :-

The people of Upper Canada will have another legislature for their local matters and will no longer have to betake themselves to Quebec for leave to open a road, to select a county town, or appoint' a coroner. But I am told that to this general principle of placing all local matters under local control, an exception has been made in regard to the common schools. (Hear, hear.)

The clause complained of is as follows :-

6. Education, saving the rights and privileges which the Protestant or Catholic minority in both Canadas may possess as to their denominational schools at the time when the union goes into operation.

Now, continued Mr. Brown :-

I need hardly remind the House that I have always opposed and continue to oppose the system of sectarian education, so far as the public chest is concerned. I have never had any hesitation on that point, I have never been able to see why all the people in the province, to whatever sect they may belong, should not send their children to the same schools to receive the ordinary branches of instruction. I regard the parent and the pastor as the best religious instructors-and so long as the religious faith of the children is not interfered with, and ample opportunity afforded to the clergy to give religious instruction to the children of their flocks, I cannot see any sound objection to mixed schools. But while in the conference and elsewhere X have always maintained this view, and always given my vote against sectarian public schools, I am bound to admit, as I have always admitted, that the sectarian system carried to the limited extent it has yet been in Upper Canada, and confined as it' chiefly is to cities and towns, has not been a very great practical injury. The real cause of a line was that the admission of the sectarian principle was there, and that at any moment it might be extended to such a degree as to split up our school system altogether. There are about a hundred separate schools in Upper Canada, out of some 4,000, and all Roman Catholic. But if the Roman Catholics are entitled to separate schools and to go on extending their operations, so are the members of the Church of England, the Presbyterians, the Methodists, and all other sects. No candid Roman Catholic will deny this for a moment ; and there lays the great danger to our educational fabric, lest the separate system might gradually extend itself until the whole country was studded with nurseries of sectarianism," most hurtful to the best interests of the province and entailing an enormous expense to sustain the host of teachers that so prodigal a system of public instruction must inevitably entail. Now, it is known to every hon. member of this House that an Act was passed in 1S63 as a final settlement of this sectarian controversy. X was not in Quebec at the time, but if I had been here, I would have voted against that Bill because it extended the facilities for establishing separate schools. It had, however, this good feature, that it was accepted by the Roman Catholic authorities and carried to parliament as a final compromise of the question in Upper Canada. When, therefore, it was proposed that a provision should be inserted in the confederation scheme to bind that contract of 1863 and declare it a final settlement, so that we should not be compelled, as we have been since 1849, to stand constantly to our arms, awaiting fresh attacks upon our common school system, the proposition seemed to me one that was not rashly to be rejected. (Hear, hear.) I admit' that, from my point of view, this is a blot on the scheme before the House ; it is confessedly, one of the concessions from our side that had to be made to secure this great measure of reform. But assuredly, I, for one, have not the slightesCflesRatlon in accepting it as a necessary condition of the scheme of union, and doubly acceptable must It bVnf'TEe eyes' of hon. gentlemen opposite, who were the authors of the Bill of 1863. (Cheers.) But it was urged that though this arrangement might perhaps be fair as regards Upper Canada, it was not so as regards Lower Canada, for there were matters of which the British population have long complained, and some amendments to the existing School Act were required to secure them equal justice. Well, when this point was raised, gentlemen of all parties in Lower Canada at once expressed themselves prepared to treat it in a frank and conciliatory manner, with a view to removing any injustice that might be shown to exist ; and on this understanding the educational clause was adopted by the conference.

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Mr. T. C. WALLBRIDGE@

That destroys the power of the local legislature to legislate upon the subject.

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LIB

James Pollock Brown

Liberal

Hon. Mr. BROWN.

I would like to know how much power the hon. gentleman has now to legislate upon it ? Let him introduce a Bill today to annul the contract of 1863 and repeal all the sectarian School Acts of Upper Canada, and how many votes would he get for it ? Would twenty members vote for it out of the 130 who compose this House ? If the hon. gentleman had been struggling for fifteen years, as I have been, to save the school system of Upper Canada from further extension of the sectarian element, he would have precious little diminution of power over it in this very moderate compromise. And what says the hon. gentleman to leaving the British population of Lower Canada in the unrestricted powers of the local legislature ? The common schools of Lower Canada are not as in Upper Canada-they are almost entirely non-sectarian, Roman Catholic schools. Does the hon. gentleman, then, desire to compel the Protestants"'of Lower Canada to avail themselves of Roman Catholic institutions or leave their children without instruction ?

Let us pause a moment to consider this language. Mr. Brown did not believe iu separate schools. He had struggled all his life against that system. But a great object had to be achieved, a noble conception had to be realized, an inspiring idea had to be made a fact, and in order to reach that supreme goal, differences of opiniou had to be reconciled, fears and apprehensions had to lie removed, misgivings had to be alleviated, and above all the rights of conscience, the tender rights of conscience, had to be placed in as firm a position of security as they previously enjoyed, so that no one could object, and all, without regard to origin or creed, could give a cheerful and enthusiastic support to the new constitution.

Sir, Mr. Brown told his friends that he did not believe in separate schools ; but there were fellow-citizens of his in Ontario and in Quebec who believed in separate schools, and, in order to remove their objections and win their co-operation in the scheme which was the great work of his life, he agreed to make the sacrifice of his own convictions. In order to achieve the great object he had at heart, he agreed to fasten upon his own province a system in which he did not believe, but in which others did believe. Sir, for more than twenty years Mr. Brown has been in his grave ; but his memory is not dead. And if his teachings and his spirit be still alive, it is surely in the hearts of that staunch yeomanry of Ontario who gave him such constant support during the years of his political struggles. They followed him devot-

edly in his crusade against separate schools. They followed him even more devotedly, when he asked them to accept separate schools, to sacrifice their own opinions, and his own, upon the altar of the new country which it was his ambition to establish on this portion of the North American continent. If it were my privilege that my poor words might reach that staunch yeomanry of Ontario, I would remind them that the work of confederation is not yet finished ; I would tell them that we are now engaged in advancing it; and I would ask them whether we are now to reverse our course, or whether we are not to continue to work it out to completion on the lines laid down by the great leader himself.

Now, Sir, such was the condition of things at the time of confederation. But I shall be told that this exception applies to Ontario and Quebec alone, and not to the other provinces. Sir, that is true. Amongst the four provinces then united, Ontario and Quebec alone had a system of separate schools. But I reminded the House a moment ago that it was not the intention of the fathers of confederation, it was not the intention of Sir John Macdonald or Mr. Brown to limit confederation to the narrow bounds it had in 1867. They had made provision in the very instrument of confederation, to extend it over the northern part of the continent; they had made provision to take in British Columbia, Newfoundland and Prince Edward Island ; they had made provision to take in also the Northwest Territories, which were then uninhabited, but which now have a teeming population and are at our doors asking admission. Is it reasonable to suppose, if the Confederation Act recognizes that other provinces were to come into confederation similarly situated to Ontario and Quebec, that the same privileges should not be given to the minority as were given to the minority in Ontario and Quebec ? What would have been the value of the invitation to enter confederation, if the provinces invited to enter, had been told that the security to the minority given to Ontario and Quebec was a privilege which they need not expect from us ? Section 43 of the Quebec resolutions has become section 93 of the British North America Act, and is no longer confined to Quebec and Ontario. Here it is :

In and for each province the legislature may exclusively make laws in relation to education, subject and according to the following provision

1. Nothing in any such law shall prejudicially affect any right or privilege with respect to denominational schools which any class of persons have by law in the province at the union.

So, Sir, now whenever a province comes here knocking at this door, asking to be admitted into confederation, if in that province there exists a system of separate schools, the British North America Act has provided that the same guarantee we give Sir WILFRID LAUR1ER.

to the minority in Quebec and Ontario shall also be given to the minority in that province. Shortly after confederation had been established, that is, in the year 1870, the parliament of Canada had an opportunity of applying the doctrine contained in the British North America Act in the creation of the province of Manitoba. Until its ad mission into the Dominion, Manitoba had no regular government. It had been loosely administered by the Hudson Bay Company. There had been some schools in it, maintained by such authority as there was. There had been separate schools maintained by Roman Catholic missionaries. It was the intention of parliament to give the minority the system that they had before confederation ; and, so marked was their intention, that instead of accepting without qualification the words of section 93 of the British North America Act, ' right or privilege with respect to denominational schools which any class of persons have by law in the province at the union,' they made it read ' by law or practice in the province at the union.' It turned out, as determined by judicial authority, that the province of Manitoba, when it entered confederation, had no system of schools either by law or practice. It followed, as a consequence, that the power of the province of Manitoba with regard to the subject of education was as complete as that of the province of Nova Scotia or the province of New Brunswick. This is a principle which was not understood at the time by hon. gentlemen opposite when they were on this side- of the House. There was the fact, the positive fact-the power of the province of Manitoba with regard to education was as unshackled as that of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. In 1875, as I stated a moment ago, Mr. Mackenzie introduced an Act for the government of the Northwest Territories, and in this Act the parliament of Canada, which, at that time, had among its members some of the ablest men who ever sat in a Canadian parliament-Sir John Macdonald, Mr. Mackenzie, Mr. Blake, Sir Charles Tupper and a score of others-unanimously, deliberately and with their eyes open, introduced into the Northwest Territories the system of separate schools. And not only that, but the parliament of Canada, four times successively-in 1880, in 1885, in 1886 and in 1898-deliberately and with their eyes open, ratified the system of separate schools in the Territories.

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CON

Thomas Simpson Sproule

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPROULE.

I would like to ask here one question, if the right hon. gentleman will allow me ?

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Sir WILFRID DATJRIER@

Yes.

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CON

Thomas Simpson Sproule

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPROULE.

The right hon. gentleman gave the House to understand that Hon. George Brown supported the principle of separate schools. May I ask if it is not true that Mr. Brown, in 1875, op-

i454

posed the principle of authorizing separate schools in the Territories, voted against it and gave his reasons '!

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LIB

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

Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER.

I am delighted that my hon. friend (Mr. Sproule) has asked me that question. In 1875, when the Bill to which I have referred went through parliament, Mr. Brown who was a member of one branch of this parliament, opposed the introduction of the new clause in that Bill providing for separate schools. He opposed it with all his might. He told the House that he had not changed his mind upon the subject, but he told the House also that if the principle of separate schools was introduced, then, according to the terms of the constitution, it was introduced for all time to come. I am delighted that my hon. friend brought my attention to this, because really the whole subject is contained in the question of my hon. friend. We have to decide this problem upon the very terms of the legislation which was introduced in 1875. Let me give to my hon. friend all the information to which he is entitled, and which I fain would hope will fall upon favourable ground ; I will give him the whole history of that matter. Mr. Mackenzie himself Introduced the Bill in 1875. The Bill as first introduced made no mention of separate schools ; but after he had sat down and when Sir John A. Macdonald had spoken on the subject, Mr. Blake rose and brought this very subject of separate schools to the attention of the House, and he did it with a height and breadth of thought which I hope will command the admiration of my hon. friend. This is what Mr. Blake said :

The task which the ministry had set for itself was the most important it was possible to conceive. To found primary institutions under which we hope to see hundreds of thousands, and the more sanguine among us think millions of men and families settled and flourishing, was one of the noblest undertakings that could be entered upon by any legislative body, and it was no small indication of the power and true position of this Dominion that parliament should be engaged to-day in that important task. He agreed with the hon. member for Kingston that the task was one that required time, consideration and deliberation, and they must take care that no false steps were made in such work. He did not agree with that right hon. gentleman that the government ought to repeal his errors. The right hon. gentleman had tried the institutions for the Northwest Territories which he now asked the House to frame, and for the same reason as he had given to-day-that it would be better for the Dominion government to keep matters in their own hands and decide what was best for the future. He (Mr. Blake) believed that it was essential to our obtaining a large immigration to the Northwest that we should tell the people beforehand what those rights were to be in the country in which we invited them to settle. It was interesting to the people to know that at the very earliest moment there was a sufficient

aggregate of population within a reasonable distance, that aggregation would have a voice in the self-government of the territories, and he believed the Dominion government was wise, (although the measure might be brought down very late this session and it might be found impossible to give it due consideration) in determining in advance of settlement what the character of the institutions of the country should be in which we invite people to settle.

He regarded it as essential under the circumstances of the country, and in view of the deliberation during the last few days that a general principle should be laid down in the Bill with respect to public instruction. He did believe that we ought not to introduce into that territory the heart burnings and difficulties with which certain other portions of this Dominion and other countries had been afflicted. It seemed to him, having regard to the fact that, as far as we could expect at present, the general character of that population would be somewhat analogous to the population of Ontario, that there should be some provision in the constitution by which they should have conferred upon them the same rights and privileges in regard to religious instruction as those possessed by the people of the province of Ontario. The principles of local selfgovernment and the settling of the question of public instruction, it seemed to him. Ought to be the cardinal principles of the measure.

Now let me call renewed attention to these words of Mr. Blake : ' I regard it as essential under the circumstances of the country, and in view of the deliberation of the last few days.' What were the deliberations of those last few days in the House of Commons to which Mr. Blake alluded ? Why, Sir, it was a resolution on that very subject of separate schools, separate schools in the province of New Brunswick, where at that time, and by the constitution, the principle of separate schools was not adopted; the minority was asking for separate schools, and came to this House for relief, but the House would not grant the relief because they would not invade the constitution. Mr. Blake said that instead of having such a state of things in the Northwest Territories it would he better to give to the people the religious instruction that all classes might want. Now what was Mr. Mackenzie's answer to this ?

As to the subject of public instruction, it did not in the first place attract his attention, but when he came to the subject of local taxation he was reminded of it. Not having had time before to insert a clause on the subject, he proposed to do so when the Bill was in committee. The clause provided that the Lieutenant Governor by and with the consent of his council or assembly, as the case might be, should pass all necessary ordinances in respect of education, but it would be specially provided that the majority of the ratepayers might establish such schools and impose such necessary assessment as they might think fit ; and that the minority of the ratepayers, whether Protestant or Roman Catholic, might establish separate schools ; and such ratepayers would be liable only to such educational assessments as they might impose upon themselves. This he

hoped would meet the objection offered by the hon. member for South Bruce. There might be some amendments found necessary In the Bill, but he thought It would be found generally speaking to meet the requirements of the country. However, the government would be very glad to avail themselves as far as possible *of such suggestions as might be made to them.

When the Bill was in committee Mr. Mackenzie proposed this clause, which was inserted in the Bill, not one member objecting to it, neither Sir John A. Macdonald, nor Sir Charles Tupper, nor any member on the government side of the House :

When and so soon as any system of taxation shall be adopted in any district or portion of the Northwest Territories, the Lieutenant [DOT]Governor and council or assembly, as the case may be, shall pass all necessary ordinances in respect of education, and it shall therein be always provided that a majority of ratepayers in any district may establish such schools therein as they may think fit, and make the necessary assessment and rates therefor, and further that the minority of ratepayers therein whether Protestant or Roman Catholics, may establish separate schools therein, and that in such case the ratepayers establishing such Protestant or Roman Catholic separate schools shall be liable only to assessment of such rates as they impose upon themselves in respect therof.

Now this Bill went over to the other branch of the legislature, and there also I will give to my hon. friend who interrupted me a moment ago, the whole history of the *debate upon this Bill. Mr. Aikens, who was then a prominent member of that body, moved to strike out the education clause altogether. He was answered by my hon. friend and colleague of to-day, the Secretary of State, who then as now was the tender of the Senate :

Any gentleman would have to admit that' it was the greatest possible relief to the people [DOT]of Ontario that this question was settled for them, and was not, as in some of the other provinces, a source of constant discord. He was one of those who maintained that parents had a right to educate their children as they pleased, and that they ought not to be taxed to maintain schools to which they could not conscientiously send their children. Our whole system of government was based upon that sound principle.

Now, Sir, I will give to my hon. friend the opinion of the Hon. Mr. Brown. But, before doing so, let me give him the opinion of a prominent member of his own party, Sir Alexander Campbell, who was then leader of the Conservative party in the Senate. Sir Alexander Campbell spoke as follows

It would be much to be regretted if the amendment passed. The object of the Bill was to establish and perpetuate in the Northwest Territories the same system as prevailed in Ontario and Quebec and which had worked so well in the interests of peace and harmony with the different populations of those provinces. He thought the fairer course, and the better Sir WILFRI PLAURIER.

one, for all races and creeds, was to adopt the suggestion of the government and enable people to establish separate schools in that territory and thus prevent the introduction of evils from which Ontario and Quebec had suffered, but had judiciously rid themselves.

I will now give to my hon. friend the language of Mr. Brown, this is it:

The safe way for us was to let each province suit itself in such matters. This country was filled by people of all classes and creeds, and there would be no end of confusion if each class had to have its own peculiar school system. It had been said this clause was put in for the protection of the Protestants against tlie Catholics, the latter being the most numerous. But he, speaking for the Protestants, was in a position to say that we did not want that protection.

Later on Mr. Brown spoke as follows :

Hon. Mr. Brown said he concurred with what had fallen from his hon. friends on the treasury benches, and from hon. gentlemen who had spoken on the amendment, with respect to the propriety of allowing separate schools. But the question was not whether those schools were right or wrong, good or bad, but as to whether it was wise for this country to deal with this question. He quite admitted the importance of the issue which had been raised-whether this matter should be referred to the province interested for settlement, or be brought to the Dominion legislature.

The moment

continued Mr. Brown

this Act passed and the Northwest became

part of the union, they came under the Union Act, and under the provisions with regard to separate schools.

Sir, I commend this language to my bon. friend. I commend this language to every man in this House. There are to-day, as there were then, men in this House and out of it who do not believe in separate schools, but, as Mr. Brown said, the question is not whether that system is good or bad ; that is not the question to-day, that is not the question of which Senator Brown spoke, it is not the question with which we have to deal. But we have another duty to perform. Mr. Brown, on the floor of the other branch of the legislature, said that his opinions in regard to separate schools had not changed. He said practically this to the parliament of Canada : There is a new territory, there is virgin soil where there is no population. Do not introduce separate schools into it, do not introduce that burning question into it, but the moment you have introduced separate schools you have solved the question forever, it is part of the union and the minority will have its right to such schools.

Topic:   B-16 REALISED EDITION COMMONS
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February 21, 1905