March 23, 1905

QUESTIONS.

TRANSCONTINENTAL SURVEYS.

LIB

Mr. SLOAN asked :

Liberal

1. Has the government any information that the Grand Trunk Pacific has completed the necessary surveys, or any portion thereof, for the building of the new Transcontinental line in British Columbia ?

2. If so, is it the intention of the government to urge the early construction of this section of the Grand Trunk Pacific ?

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   TRANSCONTINENTAL SURVEYS.
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LIB

Henry Robert Emmerson (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Liberal

Hon. II. R. EMMERSON (Minister of Railways and Canals).

In reply to the hon. gentleman's first question, there appears to be no information on the subject in the department.

As respects the second part of the question, it is the intention of the government to urge the early construction of this as well as of other sections of the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   TRANSCONTINENTAL SURVEYS.
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FRUITS MARKS ACT CONVICTIONS.

CON

Benjamin B. Gunn

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. GUNN asked :

How many convictions have been made under the Fruit Marks Act to date ?

Topic:   FRUITS MARKS ACT CONVICTIONS.
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LIB

Sydney Arthur Fisher (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Hon. SYDNEY FISHER. (Minister of Agriculture).

Ninety-six, upon information laid by the staff of the fruit division of the department.

In addition to these, there have been convictions upon information laid by others, but the department is not aware of the number, as the cases have not been reported. The department has heard of three such eases.

Topic:   FRUITS MARKS ACT CONVICTIONS.
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CIRCULATION OF AMERICAN CURRENCY.

?

Mr. BICKERDIKE asked :

1. Is the government aware that a very large amount of American currency is at present in circulation at par in Canada ?

2. Is it within the knowledge of the government that in most cases Canadian currency is refused in the United States, and when accepted, only taken at a very heavy discount ?

3. Is it the intention of the government to introduce a measure the present session for the purpose of preventing the circulation of United States coin in the Dominion ?

Topic:   CIRCULATION OF AMERICAN CURRENCY.
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LIB

Hon. W. S. FIELDING (Minister of Finance) : (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

1. Yes.

2. Yes.

3. It is not the intention of the government to introduce any measure to prohibit the circulation of American coin, but we anticipate that we will be able to make such regulations as will largely displace that coin.

Topic:   CIRCULATION OF AMERICAN CURRENCY.
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PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT IN THE NORTHWEST.


House resumed adjourned debate on the proposed motion of Sir Wilfrid Laurier for the second reading of Bill (No. 69) to establish and provide for the government of the province of Alberta, and the amendment of Mr. R. L. Borden thereto. Mr, T. S. SPROULE (East Grey). Mr. Speaker, in continuing the discussion on this most important question, I do not propose to endeavour to enlighten the House upon any legal points involved in it, beyond a passing reference to some views of the British North America Act as they appear to me and their relation to the Bill now before us. Before commencing the discussion of the subject proper, I would like to refer to some remarks made by the Minister of Finance (Mr. Fielding) in closing the debate last evening. His speech sounded to me very much like a threat or a doleful foreboding, and it occurred to me that it was delivered for the purpose of holding his own followers together rather than of foreshadowing what might be the result in the event of this Bill being defeated. He used son



the following language, and he referred to it twice : I say deliberately-and every hon. gentleman who listens to me knows it-that if this Bill he not passed, if we should be unable to carry a measure on this subject, then my right hon. friend will be obliged to retire and no other government can be formed which will command the confidence of parliament. All I can say is that he has a very poor opinion of the people of Canada, that he has not that confidence in the wisdom and sense, good judgment and forbearance, generosity and enlightenment of the Canadian people that, as a Canadian, he should have.


LIB

William Stevens Fielding (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. FIELDING.

Will my hon. friend permit me to insert in the quotation the words ' this parliament ' ? I was alluding to what might be done with the present parliament.

Topic:   PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT IN THE NORTHWEST.
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CON

Thomas Simpson Sproule

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPROULE.

' This parliament.' Parliaments are usually the result of appealing to the country and the wisdom of the people, and I take it that the good sense, and the good judgment, and the wisdom of the people of Canada are quite equal to the task of electing another parliament. I would not so much discredit the intelligence and the right aims of either the Roman Catholics or the French of this country as to insinuate that they would not be equal to the task of assisting to elect a parliament. Parliaments come and parliaments go, and we have never yet been confronted with that situation in Canada, and I am quite sure we are not likely to in the near future. The hon. minister said :

This is a religious question.

Well 1 can tell him that he was the first one in this House who said so. We thought it was a provincial autonomy Bill, that had to do with the establishment of two provinces in the Northwest, out of property that belongs to us, that it was a Bill for the purpose of giving them power to govern themselves, to legislate with regard to their own ends, to do the work which every province in the confederation that has provincial autonomy is doing at the present time. But the right hon. gentleman says it has turned into a religious question. Well, Mr. Speaker, if that he the case, who is responsible ? Is it this side of the House ? Did we introduce the element which would arouse any feeling along religious or sectarian or national lines ? Not by any means. We were silent spectators at the introduction of that Bill, which contains the elements that have provoked the acrimonious feeling existing in some parts of the country to-day. It is, I submit, the right lion, gentleman himself who availed himself of the earliest opportunity-I was going to say the improper opportunity-of making, upon the introduction of this Bill, a very impassioned speech along those lines. His speech on that occasion was something very unusual, Mr. SPROULE.

something very improper, something in my judgment quite uncalled for ; for while it is competent and proper for the member who introduces a Bill to explain its provisions, he is expected to confine himself to that object and explain them as briefly as possible. But Instead of an explanation, we had an exordium on other lines. We had raked up the condition of things before confederation. The right hon. gentleman conjured up again recollections of the various fights on religious issues that formerly prevailed between Upper and Lower Canada, when these two provinces were united. All these bitter recollections were pressed into service for the purpose of impressing on this House the wisdom and the necessity of passing this Bill. If there be acrimonious feeling excited in the country to-day, who is responsible ? Certainly not the opposition hut the government itself led by the right hon. gentleman, whose appeal in favour of the obnoxious features of the Bill was endorsed by the hon. the Finance Minister. These are the men who are responsible. It is they who have created the feeling of distrust which exists to-day. The right hon. gentleman declared that the press which supports the opposition has spared no effort to inflame the public mind on a very delicate subject. But if there were any such attempt, was it confined to the Conservative press ? If there were any efforts to inflame the public mind, is that to be traced to the Conservative press alone ? No, Sir, the criticisms of the press throughout the country were not confined to the newspapers supporting any political party. We had these criticisms from religious papers, independent papers, and political papers on both sides. And they all were agreed in the main that the government is doing an improper thing, something calculated to create a strong feeling of aversion throughout the country against the measure and the government itself. Is not that a fact, Mr. Speaker ? Need I point to the very logical, moderate and fair criticisms of the ' Globe '-the organ above all others which ought to voice the sentiments of the present government-and criticisms which, I humbly submit, would do credit to any newspaper in Canada. What is the press of the country doing to-day ? The organs of public opinion are, as a mirror, reflecting public sentiment, walling on the government to take warning, calling on parliament to take warning, and not do to-day what afterwards they may not be able to undo. Is the press to blame because it contains denunciations of the offensive features of this measure ? Is not the press in this respect exercising a public duty, and can it be charged with inflaming public passion and arousing sectarian strife because it calls attention to the dangers of this Bill ? Not at all. It is not the press of the country but the right hon. gentleman and his friends who must be held responsible for the present conditions.

The right hon. gentleman appealed to his record dealing with these troublesome questions, and pleaded that he had given sufficient evidence of his desire to conciliate and treat the various elements and creeds in this country upon lines that are broad, national and humane. He referred to his refusal to interfere in the New Brunswick agitation with regard to separate schools and gave that as an evidence of the spirit of fairness and toleration which actuates him. In the first speech he made on this measure he also referred to that matter, and drew attention to the fact that he ha'd then advocated noninterference with the rights of the province. Well, it struck me at the time that if that be the record of the right hon. gentleman, it is a great pity he did not embody the spirit which then actuated him into the measure now before parliament, because, if I understand the English language, this measure is above all things an interference with provincial rights. The right hon. gentleman told us that he refused to interfere in the agitation over the Jesuits Estate Bill because it was the undoubted right of the province to pass that Bill. Bet me say that the Jesuits Estate Bill was my first experience in parliamentary life with one of these vexed questions, and I agreed with the right hon. the First Minister that as it was dealing with lands belonging to the province, which in my judgment the province had a perfect right to sell and do what it liked with the proceeds, consequently we as a federal parliament had no right to interfere. I held that it was a Bill dealing with education, which under the British North America Act came within the exclusive right of the province ; and therefore if the province chooses to sell those lands and use the proceeds for educational purposes, or throw them into the sea, we had no right to interfere. Therefore although the question excited a great deal of feeling in my section of the country, I stood by that principle as firmly as I stand by it to-day. and I did it believing that the only guarantee for the successful working out of confederation lay in giving the provinces all the rights conferred on them by the constitution, and only exercising here those rights which belong to the federal parliament. Then we had the right hon. gentleman boasting that on the question of the Manitoba school education he had stood by provincial rights and endeavoured by conciliatory methods to adjust the differences between the two classes of people in that province and finally succeeded. Well, Mr. Speaker, I was with the First Minister on that question as well. I took the same grounds that I did on the Jesuits Estate question, namely, that it was undoubtedly the right of the province to deal with education, and I opposed any proposal to coerce or force Manitoba at that time. Was I right' then ? I submit that I was consistent in the stand I took upon those two questions, which were at the very antipodes

of each other, so far as popularity in my riding was concerned. Am I then to be blamed if I take the same ground to-day ! Am I to be blamed if I take my stand today on the question of provincial rights in the matter before the House as firmly as I (lid on the Jesuits Estate Bill and the Remedial Bill, which sought to compel the province of Manitoba to do what I thought she had a perfect right to refuse to do ? Then,

I say, I am consistent with my record m every particular. But the First Minister is not consistent with his record. On other occasions he stood by provincial rights ; to-day he is abandoning the principle of provincial rights and forcing upon these unwilling provinces laws which compel them to do what the constitution never intended they should be compelled to do. The right hon. gentleman defends his conduct by saying : I am doing this in obedience to the constitution. The Minister of Finance (Mr. Fielding) said last night that he did not understand the Prime Minister to say that he was compelled by the constitution to take the course he does. But I have here the Prime Minister's very words :

I stand again, as I believe, upon the rock oE the constitution of Canada when I say that this parliament should, according to that constitution, give to the minority in the new provinces the same rights and privileges that are given to the minorities in the provinces of Quebec and Ontario.

This is as plain, a declaration as could be made that he is obliged by the constitu- _ tion to do what he is doing-that he must take the course he does or otherwise he will not be doing right. I leave the Prime Minister and the Minister of Finance to settle this difference between themselves. But I take the declaration of the Prime Minister.

I understand his reasoning to be that, as section 93 of the British North America Act provides that certain rights enjoyed before confederation must be continued after coming into the union, he feels compelled to take the course he does. He says, if I understand him correctly. The Northwest Territories have a form of government, and under that form they have established separate schools ; and, now that we are establishing the provinces by these Autonomy Bills, we must provide for the perpetuation of the separate school privilege.

Now section 9? provides :

In and for each province the legislature may exclusively make laws in relation to education.

But the section further provides :

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, Hid Prime Minister argues that, because they have denominational schools by 1 law in the Northwest Territories at this

particular time, which he calls-improperly I think-the union, he is obliged under the constitution to provide in the Bills now before us for the continuation of the system of separate schools. Now, my understanding of the constitution is that subsections 2 and 3 of clause 93 of the British North America Act was intended to apply to provinces that had provincial autonomy before entering the union. Even at the time of confederation there were provinces, Prince Edward Island and British Columbia, which did not then enter the union, but which have entered since. Had either of these had a system of separate schools before entering the union, these subsections of clause 93 would apply, as it applied also to Ontario and Quebec. But these subsections do not apply in the case before us at all. Because, these provinces are being carved out of territory that is already in the union, and never had provincial autonomy, but has had only such legislative authority as was delegated by this parliament under laws made in 1875 and later. The contention of the First Minister, as I have said, is that because they have separate schools we must perpetuate that system. But is that the contention of the Finance Minister -(Mr. Fielding) as well ?

Topic:   PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT IN THE NORTHWEST.
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LIB

William Stevens Fielding (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. FIELDING.

I thought I had dealt with that point in my remarks last night. I know of no method whereby the word ' must ' can be applied to the action of any member of this parliament. But I said I 'thought that the trend of the constitution created conditions which amounted to a moral case of a very strong character in that direction.

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CON

Thomas Simpson Sproule

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPROULE.

I understood the minister further to say that this is all based on a moral claim.

Topic:   PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT IN THE NORTHWEST.
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LIB

William Stevens Fielding (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. FIELDING.

I have said again and again that my opinion was-if a layman may presume to have an opinion in these matters-that there is not and cannot be a legally binding obligation upon this parliament, but that every member of this parliament must vote according to the dictates of his judgment and his conscience.

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CON

Thomas Simpson Sproule

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPKOULE.

I am speaking not with reference to the votes, but with reference to the provisions of the Bill. I -would suggest that the Minister of Finance and the First Minister might hold a conference and agree, in order that they may do as they should do, speak on behalf of a united cabinet-

Topic:   PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT IN THE NORTHWEST.
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LIB

William Stevens Fielding (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. FIELDING.

If the hon. gentleman (Mr. Sproule) will try to settle the differences among his own friends, I think he will have ample employment.

Topic:   PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT IN THE NORTHWEST.
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March 23, 1905