Before the Orders of the Day are called, 1 would like to call the attention of the First Minister again to the information asked for on February 21 by the member for Carleton, Ontario (Mr. R. L. Borden), and not yet brought down, to which attention has been called on more than one occasion. Amongst other important things which we can scarcely do without in debating this question, he asked for the centres of population and the tendency of immigration since 1901, for the lands bonded for homestead purposes, the lands granted to the Canadian Pacific Railway Company, and what portion of them yet remains to be selected in the territory comprising these two provinces ; the lands remaining invested in the Crown, a very important point if we are to take up the consideration of the financial aspect of this question. He also asked for the practical condition of education in the Territories at present. This would include, of course, the number of schools-public schools, denominational schools, or separate schools so-called. All that is information which the First Minister will see is pertinent to the discussion which is now going on.
I think that a great deal of this information is already before the House ; for instance, the homesteads granted have, I think, been brought down. I shall inquire. A return has, I think, been brought down already showing that all the lands have been selected by the Canadian Pacific Railway to which it is entitled. The information about the condition of the schools is information which is not at all hard to get ; it will be in the library and elsewhere, but I shall, if it is thought advisable, try to have it collected.
It would seem to me that some such statement as the Finance Department made with reference to the different financial conditions since confederation ought to be put in the form of a memorandum embracing that information. Such a memorandum would be very useful. It would be authoritative, and that is what we want.
House resumed adiourned 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. Borden thereto.
(Prime Minister; Minister of the Interior; Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs; President of the Privy Council)
Mr. Speaker I have been, upon a considerable .number of important occasions, called upon to address the House ; and upon a good many of these occasions, as I have risen,
I have felt confident that at least a considerable section of the House would regard with approval the remarks I desired to make. But I confess that, upon the present occasion, although my old friends have been kind enough to receive me with some applause as I rose, I do not exactly feel the confidence of former occasions that everything I shall say will meet with their approval.
It surely must, be regarded as the irony of political fortune that the introduction of this Bill, a Bill for the creation of the two new provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan, covering territory the administration of which has been my peculiar charge for the last eight years, and to the development of which I have given whatever of capacity and energy I may have possessed in official life, and have given it freely and I might almost say with an affectionate solicitude for their welfare ; I say it must be regarded as the irony of political fortune that the introduction of this Bill should be the occasion also of my retirement from the office I held under the right lion, gentleman (Sir Wilfrid Laurier) who leads the government, and the severance of my official relations with the party with which I have had official relations now for some fourteen years.
It was necessary for me, Mr. Speaker, when giving to the House a statement of the reasons for my resignation-it being the constitutional practice to make such a statement-to say that the, educational clauses of this Bill had not been before me prior to its introduction to the House. I was careful to say in that statement, although briefly, that the same thing did not apply to the other features of the Bill, or . did not apply to its principles, because I had had an opportunity to give my advice to my colleagues upon the other portions of the Bill. Nevertheless some, as I think, rather ill-natured, comments were addressed to the Prime Minister in criticism of his alleged preparation of this Bill, or allowing it to be prepared, without consultation with or advice from the minister who must, under the circumstances, be supposed to have been in the best position to give him advice. These criticisms of which I speak are wholly without justification in the facts of the case. The belief that the Northwest Territories were to be given provincial autonomy is one that, in all the discussions which have taken place has, been forming itself not only in the minds of the members of the government. but in the minds of members of the House during the last few years. There may have been discussions in this House as to the particular time. But the subject has been present to our minds.
And for the last three years, I may say, I have myself, upon various occasions, given the most careful attention to the important provisions which necessarily would come within the purview of the Bill. As was explained by my hon. friend the Minister of Justice (Mr. Fitzpatrick) the other evening, before leaving Ottawa, as I was obliged to do about the New Year, I took occasion to put in writing, with sufficient fullness, the views which I entertained in regard to the important features of the Bill. This memorandum was placed in the possession of my colleagues so that they had the benefit of my suggestions, as also had the Prime Minister in the course of correspondence which he did me the honour to have with me upon various questions which arose during the discussions which took place from time to time while I was absent. I gave my advice to the best of my ability. And I may say, so far as that is concerned, that in the main, other than as refers to the question of education, and although there are some variations of detail-in the main, 1 say, and substantially, the Bill I recommended to my late colleagues .is the Bill which has been introduced. There are some matters of detail respecting which difficulties arose, and different decisions were arrived at in the course of the discussions which took place with the representatives of the Northwest Territories. These were inevitable. But, substantially the provisions of the Bill are in accordance with the views I had formed in the course of my admini-. stration of that country.
So far as the question of the number of provinces is concerned, I formed the opinion which, I think, will be shared by almost every person on careful investigation of the case, that it was not desirable that this vast territory should be formed into one province. Certainly it was not desirable to carry out the old idea which prevailed that there were to be four provinces. I think the best opinion of the House will be met by the decision which the government has reached, that the medium course should be taken, and, that instead of one or four, we should have two provinces. Not only is the question of area to be considered as was shown by the Prime Minister in his remarks in introducing the Bill, but you must consider also the even more important question of population. The population of this one province, if this territory were made into one province, -would eventually have such a preponderance as compared with the other provinces that it could not be said to be wise to make such an arrangement. These provinces are composed of territories which, almost acre for acre, is arable land and capable of sustaining population. No other provinces in the Dominion can be similarly described. And to make one province of that particular territory whose capacity for sustaining population is, on the average, so much greater than that of any 99
other province in the Dominion, giving it ultimately so much greater population than the other provinces, would certainly and obviously be unwise. Other considerations supported the same conclusion. The western and eastern portions of this territory lend themselves to different industrial conditions. Greht grazing areas exist in the west such as are not found in the east. Mining possibilities on a large scale are to be found in the western part of the territory, and in the north, towards Edmonton, we have what is known as a mixed-farming district. Different classes of local legislation will be needed, and different conditions must be recognized in the two portions of the territory. Everybody who knows the conditions of that territory will be satisfied that the best results will result from having two local governments and two legislatures. Each of these legislatures and each of these adminis-strations will have ample scope for all the energy it may see fit to display in the development of the resources of the great territory which is committed to its charge. And this parliament may be satisfied, I think, that that arrangement which is suggested will give the surest guarantee that the future development of these territories will be.best facilitated.
While on the question of boundaries, I may say, having reference, for a moment, to
a statement made by Mr. Haultain in an open letter addressed to the Prime Minister, that I also suggested, and it was my idea, that the dividing line between the two new provinces should be about sixty miles further east than that which is provided for by the Bill. It was in the discussions which took place with the government that the present arrangement was arrived at. I have not heard the reasons which have led to this conclusion but I have no doubt that the conclusion thus arrived at after careful consideration, will be found upon the whole to be that which is supported by the best reasons. This in any event is a small difference of detail.
But there is one other point I will suggest, perhaps more for the future consideration of the House than for present consideration, that there should be some different principle adopted. I see no reason why these provinces should not extend to the northern boundary of the mainland of Canada. The experience which I have had in the Department of the Interior has led me irresistibly to the conclusion that just so soon as it is possible to do so, the federal government should divest itself of the local administration of distant territory : and
thei-efore I see no reason why, in so far as the administration of these Northwest Territories come within the scope of provincial legislation, that their administration should not be carried on by the local legislatures that we are to establish. That however is not an insuperable objection. The Territories of course still remain the property of
Canada, and if it be thought wise at a future [DOT]date they can be added to the provinces which we are now forming.
Upon the question of the lands which dias been discussed at some length, I have very clear and positive opinions. I regard the question of a successful settlement .policy-and my opinion is not changed by the fact that this policy may now require to 'be carried on under somebody else's supervision-I regard the question of a successful settlement policy in Canada as perhaps one of the most important, if not the most important of all subjects with which we have to deal. For the last two or three years especially, we have seen the effect of the small beginnings of success of the policy of settling vacant lands of the west upon the general prosperity of Canada, and I think every serious minded man will admit that under no possible circumstances would this parliament be justified in taking any step which would imperil in the slightest degree the success of the immigration policy which we have been carrying on, and which the government proposes to carry on in the future. That is a thing which demands the most careful thought and consideration at the hands of this parliament. It was suggested by the leader of the opposition, and has been suggested by others who take the opposite view, that the handing over of the public lands of the Territories to the provincial government would not seriously interfere with the conduct of immigration. Well, Mr. Speaker, I have had on my shoulders the duty of carrying on a policy of immigration, and of harmonizing the operations of the lands department of the government and of the immigration department for the last eight years, and it taxes the efforts of the department to the utmost, when both the land department and the immigration branch are in the same hands and under the same control, to avoid the difficulties which constantly present themselves in the administration of this work. It would be difficult satisfactorily to carry on that work [DOT]even if we had the land department in another branch of the same government; it would be embarrassing and difficult to an extent that few men appreciate who have not had the duty of actually carrying on this business. But if you hand over the land to three provincial governments-because you would have to treat Manitoba in the same way as you are treating the Territories-if you hand over the land .to three separate provincial governments, each with its own ideas of policy, each with its own Minister of Crown Lands, and if the federal government has to deal with three provincial governments, every man who knows anything about doing business between governments must know that it would be absolutely impossible that satisfactory Tesults could be achieved. It is [DOT]'Mr. SIFTON.
not necessary to suggest that the provincial governments would do anything that is wrong, it is not necessary to suggest that they would be improvident, that they do not know how to carry on business as well as we do. The people of the west are just as capable as the people in any other part of the Dominion ; they are extremely capable, and when they achieve provincial status, if these lands were handed over to them, they would do precisely what people in the other provinces would do, they would administer these lands just as they saw fit and in accordance with their own ideas of policy. The result would be that you would have three governments to deal with, each with its own idea of policy, each with its Minister of Crown Lands, and possibly no two of them with the same ideas as to the policy that should be carried out in respect to this subject. It might be, Mr. Speaker, and probably would be, that instead of administering these lands for the purpose of settlement they would administer them for the purpose of revenue, and I do not know that we could blame them very much If they did so. But if they did that, the result would be that the settlement policy of the country would stop.
It would be quite as impossible to give those lands to the provinces with a limitation that they should carry on a homestead policy. A homestead policy would have to be carried out by provincial officers. And moreover the very day you gave these lands to the provinces with any limitation whatever, you would find an agitation arising to remove all limitations, and you would have that question on the floor of the House at every session of parliament. So, Mr. Speaker, I am clear upon that point; and if there is anything I can say to the members of this House that I think should commend itself to the judgment of both sides, I would say that nothing could be done which would more certainly imperil a successful settlement policy upon which the greatness and increase in the financial strength and resources of Canada depend, than, under any circumstances, to allow the public lands of the prairie provinces to pass from the control of the Dominion government.
As to the financial provisions, Mr. Speaker, I think they are generous and liberal, but I do not think they are too generous or too liberal. We expect that these great provinces will play a great part in the history of Canada, and it is creditable to us that on bo.tli sides there has come nothing but approval of the liberal and generous treatment accorded by the government to these new provinces upon the inception of their provincial career. Let me say, however, Mr. Speaker, not wishing to say anything ungracious or to throw a note of discord into the discussion of this subject, that there is one suggestion which I desire to
make to the right hon. gentleman who leads the government, and it Is this : I find in
this clause of the Bill relating to the compensation l'or lands that such compensation is based upon an estimated acreage and upon a price, and the price put upon that estimated acreage is, I think, $1.50 an acre. I have no fault to find with the amount which has been decided upon, and which the government proposes to give. I think it is reasonable and liberal, I think it is generous, and 1 am quite prepared to agree with it. But I submit that the amount should be fixed arbitrarily, it should not be fixed by a reference to the number of millions of acres of land, nor the price per acre. The moment I laid my eyes upon that clause I felt it was a mistake, and I felt that just as soon as it was published the representatives of the Territories would say : You have by this clause admitted
that we are entitled to the beneficial ownership of these lands, you have admitted that we are the owners of these lands in fact, beneficially at least if not in law, by the very fact that you are basing the compensation you give us upon the acreage of the provinces. And so within a few days after the Bill was published and before parliament gave assent to it, our good friend Mr. Haultain seized upon this phase of the Bill to present an objection to the right hon. gentleman who leads the government. He immediately took the ground which it must be admitted he could take with some degree of force, that by that provision we admitted, impliedly at least, the right of the Territories to claim that they are the beneficial owners of the land.
What would be the effect ? The effect would be that if this passes into a statute it becomes an irrevocable Act because it does become an irrevocable Act as soon as parliament passes it. The effect would be that our friends of the Northwest Territories so soon as they desire to have their financial arrangements re-adjusted will claim that while we have admitted their ownership of the land they have not admitted our valuation of this land and we will find that the Territories as represented on the floor of this House will raise this question of the re-adjustment of the financial arrangements and we will have a question raised that will cause great embarrassment to succeeding governments in the future. I bring this point to the attention of my right hon. friend because I believe we are making a mistake in regard to it. It may perhaps appear to be a matter of detail at the present time but it will not be found to be a matter of detail In future years and it is not too late to remedy it if, in the judgment of the government and of the House, the argument that I address to the House on this subject is correct.
Another point which was raised, espec-99}
ially by Mr. Haultain, in the letter which he addressed to my right hon. friend the hon. leader of the government, was that respecting legislation, on the subject of irrigation. That is a subject of vast importance in the Northwest Territories, and I must say that I take the responsibility of having, in all probability, induced my colleagues to accept the view which is the effect of the Bill that is before the House ; that is to say, that the subject of irrigation for the present should be retailed within the control of the federal government. The reasons can be given in a few words and to my mind they are absolutely conclusive. At the present time the right to use some of the principal streams which are of the utmost importance in connection with the irrigation in the Northwest Territories, is a subject of discussion between Canada and the United States and international complications have already arisen in regard to these streams. Obviously, if irrigation were under the administration of two provincial governments, it would be difficult to adjust a question such as that. In addition to that questions are going to arise in a comparatively short time between the 'residents of the western province and the residents of the eastern province in regard to the right of user of the water of these streams which flow from one into the other. It would seem to me most desirable, until the difficulties respecting international questions and the difficulties respecting interprovincial questions are settled, and until the irrigation system is further developed and a body of law upon the subject is built up, that the control should remain in the hands of the federal government. When a few years have elapsed, when the system is more fully developed, when it becomes a matter merely of local administration then there seems to be no good reason why the subject should not be relegated to the provincial governments.
As I explained a few days ago, the terms of the educational clause of this Bill which was introduced into the House and some of the remarks made by my right hon. friend the leader of the government were the cause of my resigning from the government as a protest against the terms of that clause and the principles to which it was designed to give effect. I have nothing to add to that statement now except to say that while my action was in no sense or nature due to experiencing any feeling of personal pique, yet I did feel, in addition to what I said upon a former occasion, that the right hon. gentleman had not been well advised in bringing this clause to the House of Commons and presenting it to the House without giving me an Opportunity of expressing such views as I might desire to offer on the subject. I say I have nothing now to add to what has been said upon that subject and I merely desire, with- the
indulgence of the House, to proceed to the discussion of the sections we have before us-the original section and the amended section-and to give the reasons which have guided me in coming to the conclusion at which I have arrived as to the support of this Bill or otherwise. I am in a somewhat peculiar position, Mr. Speaker, finding as I do that I agree much' more with the statements of my hon. friend the leader of the opposition (Mr. R. L. Borden) than with the statements and arguments of my right hon. friend the leader of the government who is my party leader and who was my leader in the government for so many years. Nevertheless, the conclusion at which I arrived will probably not be the same as that of the hon. leader of the opposition. In the first place let me say that I think he was wrong in his view- and I agree with my hon. friend the Minister of Finance (Mr. Fielding) in this- that when we are about to consider legislation which will bring a certain state of affairs into existence in the Northwest Territories, we should shut our eyes absolutely and entirely to the examination of the actual educational effect of the proposal before us. It seems to me that almost everybody will agree with my hon. friend the Minister of Finance that the man in the street, hearing the hon. gentleman who leads the opposition say that he stands by the constitution, and hearing the right hon. gentleman who leads the government say that upon the rock of the constitution he stands, and seeing these two hon. gentlemen both standing on the rock of the constitution but coming to diametrically opposite conclusions will be likely to say : I cannot hope to understand the law or the constitution, but I do want to know what kind of schools they are going to have in the Northwest Territories. Therefore, I desire to address a few words to the House upon that which I think will interest not only the man in the street, but some of the men in the House upon the subject of the nature of the schools we have in the Northwest and the kind of schools we shall have after this Bill is passed. I am not going to enter into questions as to the manner in which legislation has been passed or the remarks which have been made by legislators when it has been passed. My right hon. friend the leader of the government, in the remarks which he made to the House upon two occasions, or at least upon the first occasion, discussed at length the method under which the educational legislation affecting the Northwest Territories was first introduced. That discussion has been amplified by my hon. friend the Minister of Finance in the remarks which he made the other evening, and I shall not attempt to add anything to what my hon. friend the Minister of Finance has said or to what I believe to be the accurate discussion which we have listened to on that subject. But, I do desire to call the attention of hon. members Mr. SIFTON.
of the House, for the purposes of my argument, to the actual terms of the Act of 1875. The clause which is the basis of all that has followed reads as follows :
When and so soon as any system of taxation shall be adopted in any district or portion of the Northwest Territories, the Lieutenant. Governor, by and with the consent of the council or assembly, as the case may be, shall pass all necessary ordinances in respect to education,, but it shall therein be always provided that a majority of the ratepayers of any district or portion of the Northwest Territories, or any lesser portion or subdivision thereof, by whatever name the same may be known, may establish such schools therein as they may think fit, and make the necessary assessment and collection of rates therefor ; and, further, that the minority of the ratepayers therein, whether Protestant or Roman Catholic, may establish separate schools therein, and that in such latter case the ratepayers establishing such Protestant or Roman Catholic separate schools shall, be liable only to assessments of such rates as they may impose upon themselves in respect thereof.
That was the clause in the Act of 1875. I read it because it is important in view of the remarks I intend to address to the House, that its exact terms should be in the minds of the gentlemen who are honouring me with their attention.
What followed the passage of this law ? There was established in the Northwest Territories a complete dual system of schools ; a system of schools under which the denomination regulated the text books, and the conduct of the schools and by which everything that appertained to the Roman Catholic schools was directly under the control of a Roman Catholic board of education. AVe had in the Northwest Territories at that time, under that Act, to all intents and purposes what are generally known as church schools or clerically controlled schools. That was the system that was built up under this Act of 1875. It went on for some time. It was exactly the same system-I do not know as to the efficiency, for I am not familiar with that-but in principle it was the same system we had in Manitoba up to the vear 1890. when it was abolished by the Public School Act of that year. This system went on for some time in the Territories, and then the legislature began to interfere and to curtail the privileges of the separate schools. This curtailment proceeded from time to time until the year 1892 when what was known as the dual system was entirely swept away and that system which we have in the Northwest Territories, substantially as we have it at present, was established. I am not going to trouble the House with any lengthy ,quotations, but I desire to point out what was conceived by the people of the Northwest Territories connected with these schools, to be the effect of the legislation of 1892. The quotations which I shall give will be found in the papers presented to the federal government when a
Now. Mr. Speaker, we have in the Northwest Territories at the present time, this system of public schools which was established by the Act of 1892 and referred to in the statements which I have read. I have endeavoured from a careful study of the ordinances : ordinance 29, which provides for the establishment of the schools, ordinance 30 which provides for the method of school assessment and ordinance 31 which provides for the distribution of the legislative grant-having reference to the efficiency of the schools and paying by results ; rewarding the school which is efficient at the expense of the school which is not efficient, and thus introducing a good and sound principle into the education of the Territories-I have endeavoured by a careful study of these ordinances to come to clear and definite conclusions as to the main characteristics of the school system which exists there at the present time.
Now, what are the characteristics of this school system ? My hon. friend the Minister of Customs discussed the matter with great clearness last evening, and read from the ordinances to give the House a definite idea of what the condition of affairs was. Let me give what I conceive to be an accurate resumg of the principles which are enforced and carried out by these ordinances. We have one normal school with uniform normal training for all teachers, and when I say all teachers, I mean teachers of all schools, separate and public ; uniform curricula and courses of study for ail schools of the same grade ; uniform text books for all schools ; uniform qualification of teachers for all schools ; complete and absolute control of all schools as to their government and conduct, by the central school authority set up by the legislature under the ordinances ; complete secularization of all schools between 9 o'clock in the morning and 3.30 in the afternoon, except that any school, if the trustees so desire, may be opened with the Lord's prayer ; distribution of the legislative grant to all schools according to educational efficiency on principles set out in chapter 31.
Then, where there is a public school, the minority, Protestant or Roman Catholic, may organize a separate school ; but every separate school is subject absolutely to ail the foregoing provisions, and is in every sense of the term a public school. If the Protestants are in the minority in a district, their school is called a separate school; if the Catholics are in the minority in a district, their school is called a separate school; but both are public schools. They are absolutely similar save for one distinction: where the trustees are Protestant, there is Protestant teaching from half-past three to four, end where the trustees are Roman Catholic there is Roman Catholic teaching from halfpast three to four. That is absolutely the only distinction between these schools.
Now, we are about to form two provinces, Mr. SIPTON.
and we have to deal with the educational subject. My right hon. friend the Prime Minister says it was his intention by the legislation which he proposed, to continue the existing system in the Northwest Territories; and I accept that statement, of course, as expressing his intentions. My hon. friend the Minister of Justice (Hon. Chas. Fitzpatrick) the other evening accepted, as I understood, the responsibility for drawing the clause which contained the educational provisions, and I understood him also to say that the intention was to continue the existing state of affairs. Nobody would think of holding the Prime Minister responsible for the exact drafting of this clause, and I suppose it is not likely that my hon. friend the Minister of Justice-drew it either. But I am bound to say, Mr. Speaker, that when my hon. friend the Minister of Justice employed a draftsman to draw this clause, with instructions to maintain only the existing state of affairs in the Northwest Territories, the draughtsman either wholly misunderstood his instructions or he possessed a most remarkable faculty for covering things which were not covered by his instructions. I propose to devote three or four minutes to an examination of this clause for the purpose of showing what I think it
means. I am not going to address a lengthy legal argument to the House on this subject. When this clause was introduced by the government of which I was then a member, I conceived it to be my duty to protest against it, and to carry my protest to the extent of laying down the seals of office.
I have no regret for the action I took. I think I then understood what the clause
meant, and I think I now understand what it means; and while it is perhaps of no moment whatever to convince anybody who may have any doubts on the subject, or who may be difficult to convince as to what this clause means, it is unquestionably my duty, speaking to this House on this occasion. to say what I thought this clause meant, and what I think it means now, and nhy I felt called upon to make the protest that I did. In the Bill for the purpose of creating the territory of Saskatchewan, section 1G, is the educational clause. It consists of three subsections. It says in the first place ;
The provisions of section 93 of the British North America Act, 1867, shall apply to the said province as if, at the date upon -which this Act comes into force, the territory comprised therein were already a province, the expression ' the union ' in the said section being taken to mean the said date.
Now, what does that subsection do 7 It applies to the new provinces the provisions of section 93 of the British North America Act, which we all know by heart :
In and for each province the legislature may exclusively make laws in relation to education,.
subject and according to the following provisions :
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.
Inasmuch as ' the union ' is made to mean the date of the passing of this Act, and the word ' province ' is changed to ' territory,' this subsection would read :
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 territory at the time when this Act comes into effect.
What would that preserve ? First of all, Mr. Speaker, it would preserve everything that is set out in chapters 29, 30 and 31 of the ordinances ; there cannot be any possible doubt about that. In the next place, it might preserve everything that is set out in section 14 of the Act of 1875. It might, and it might not. It might be held by a court that the privileges held by law at the union were the privileges de facto possessed under the ordinances as they existed at the union, and the court might refuse to go back to the provisions of the Act of 1875. It is evident that there was a doubt about this, because the Bill re-enacts clause 14 of the Act of 1875, and thus it is revived, crystallized and made absolutely certain. I have pointed out to you what Mr. Forget, Mr. Justice Rouleau, Archbishop Tache, Sir John Thompson, and Mr. Haultain, thought as to the Act of 1875. It is the fact that under the Act of 1875, a complete dual system of clerical schools was established in the Northwest Territories, and it is the fact that legal authorities, like my friend Mr. Ilaultain, a quotation from whom I could read if I saw fit, like Sir John Thompson, to whom the matter was referred, thought that when those privileges were curtailed and taken away, they were taken away in de-liance of the clause of the Act of 1875 which we find in substance in clause 16 of the Bill before the House. Therefore we should have the privileges by this Act retained as they are in chapters 29, 30 and 31, of the ordinance of 1901 and as they are in the Act of 1875.
Now, what more ? Here is subsection 3 :
In the appropriation of public moneys by the legislature in aid of education, and in the distribution of any moneys paid to the government of the said province arising from the school fund established by the Dominion Lands Act there shall be no discrimination between the public schools and separate schools.
It does not stop there.
There shall be no discrimination between the public schools and the separate schools, and such moneys shall be applied to the support of the public and separate schools in equitable shares or proportion.
I have had something to do with the administration of school laws. For a number
of years a good deal of my time was spent in dealing with subjects of that kind, and I can give to the House my opinion, w7hich they can take for what it is worth, but I am fairly confident that it is an opinion that will be justified by any court to which it may be referred, that the effect of that clause will be that if twenty years from now7 the province of Alberta undertook to apropriate $250,000 to build and equip a provincial university, a proportionate amount of money, proportionate to the number of separate schools as compared with the public schools, would have to be set aside for the establishment of a separate school institution. That is the opinion I have upon that clause ; that is the opinion I expressed to the Prime Minister at the time I objected to the clause, and I say it would be impossible for us to pass that clause, to allow it to go into effect, without putting a constitutional, irrevocable earmark upon the public funds of the Northwest Territories and upon the $50,000,000 worth of public lands that are in the public school trust. We would earmark that fund for ever, and would compel the legislatures of these provinces to divide that money, and in all probability to constitute one of the greatest endowments of sectarian education that has ever been proposed. That is the proposition which I understand to be concealed-partly concealed, not concealed to me-which I understand to be expressed by the terms of this clause.
I have been always a strong party man. I do not think that my political friends in past years have had any cause to complain that i have not been willing to do my share of the fighting, or that I have not been willing to take my share of the blame. If men are going to act together politically, when one makes a mistake the rest have to take the blame, and I have always been willing to take my share of the blame, and have always been willing to shoulder the load along with the rest. But I declare, and I am serious-if I had not been serious about it I would still have been a member of the government-I declare that I would join with anybody in Canada to resist the passage of that Bill in the terms in which it was placed before the House by my right hon. friend (Sir Wilfrid Laurier). I have nothing more to say with regard to that. It was an unpleasant necessity for me to speak of it, but there are occasions on which people have to do things which constitute .a very unpleasant necessity.
We have before us now a different proposition. My hon. friend the leader of the opposition says that he cannot see any difference between this proposition and the other.
The hon. gentleman said ' substance,' because I have It here, but it he intended to say * principle,' I will not dispute over the word, because I think that, although my hon. friend and I may not be able to agree on many things, I could convince him that these clauses are very different. .What is the effect of the clause now before us ? I like the first section for one thing, although for another thing I do not. I like it. in the first place, because it is clear. I am bound to say that I think one of the things that is important, in legislation of this kind is that it shall be such that the people can understand it after it is passed. and shall not have to go into the courts and fight for years to find out what the law is. I think everybody can understand what this means
Nothing in any such law shall prejudicially affect any right or privilege with respect to separate schools which any class of persons have at the date of the passing of this Act, under the terms of chapters 29 and 20 of the [DOT]ordinances of the Northwest Territories passed In the year 1901.
What does that preserve ? I have read these ordinances through, and all that I *can find this section to preserve-and it is an important thing-let us not exaggerate or minimize, let us know exactly what we are doing-I think that this is what we are doing and all that we are doing. This section preserves the right of the Protestant or Roman Catholic minority to have their school, a separate school in jiame. but a public school in fact, in a separate building if they wish. That is the right it preserves. It preserves, secondly, the right of the Protestant or Roman Catholic minority in such school to have religious teaching from 3.30 to 4 o'clock in the afternoon. The hon. gentleman from East Grey endeavoured to work on our sympathies yesterday by referring to the difficulties which some Protestant families in Quebec have, because they have to attend what is, to all intents and purposes, a denominational Catholic school, and I understood the hon. gentleman to be arguing against the proposal which is contained in this Bill when he cited that fact as an illustration of the evils of separate schools.
If I am entitled to any respect from that side of the House. I ought to be at least able to say what I intended. I was giving it as an answer to the statement of the Prime Minister, who had said that in Quebec the Protestants have nothing to complain of. I was not advancing it as Mr. SIFTON.
an argument with reference to the Northwest Territories.