March 24, 1905

LIB

Clifford Sifton

Liberal

Mr. SIFTON.

If my hon. friend did not intend his argument to apply to the conditions of the Bill it will not be necessary for me to answer, but I may go on to say that if anybody else had in his mind any idea that difficulties of that kind would arise, he may disabuse his mind of the idea, because they cannot arise under the system which is proposed in this Bill. In the first place, there is no such thing as a denominational school. Whether it is a separate school or a public school, a Catholic separate school or a Protestant separate school, it is a secular school from 9 a.m. to 3.30 p.m. Then it the religious teaching which is given is contrary to the faith of the parents of a child attending it. there is a conscience clause that the child does not need to remain. So that there is absolutely no reason why any person should be embarrassed by the practice of the school system which is actually in effect in the Northwest Territories under these ordinances.

Now, something has been said-a good deal has been said-in the press about subsection 2, and I wish to say a word about that. The House, possibly, may well understand that I am not particularly enthusiastic about subsection 1, which provides for the establishment of separate schools in the Territories, as I would not be enthusiastic about any provision establishing separate schools of any kind. Only, I am not addressing the House with the idea of convincing hon. members that I am an enthusiastic supporter of this subsection 1, for I am not. But. if we are to have subsection 1. if we are to have a provision which allows the separate schools to be established, then, surely, Mr. Speaker, we ought also to have a provision making it certain that the separate schools may have in them the possibility of being efficient schools. Why, Sir, it would be a crime against education to crystallize in the law of the Northwest Territories a provision that such and such people should have the right to organize such and such schools as public schools and not to protect them in the right to get the money which will make those schools efficient and enable them to advance and increase in efficiency in accordance with the desires of the persons in charge of them. I hesitate to vote. I find great difficulty in bringing myself to vote, for subsection 1. But it seems to me obvious that subsection

1 without subsection 2 would be much more objectionable than the whole section is as it stands. I should think that, without subsection 2. the proposition of the government would be much more objectionable than it is. If I have made myself clear, it will be seen that my observations are addressed to those who look upon subsection

2 as a very outrageous interference with the control of public funds by the legislature of the province. It is an interference-

there can be no question about that. But, as I have said, it is an interference only to the extent of requiring that when a separate school absolutely and entirely complies with the law and then comes before the educational authorities and says : Having complied with the law, being, in every sense of the word a public school, but called a separate school only because we happen to be less in number than the people who organized the public school, we asked to be paid this money in proportion to the *efficiency we can show we possess under the educational statutes which you have seen lit to pass-that, when that is shown, the money necessary to the efficiency of the schools shall be given. There is a 'theoretical-I imagine it would only prove to be a theoretical-interference with the control of the public funds to that extent; but that is the inevitable corollary of subsection 1 ; and I would object to subsection 1 establishing separate schools very much more if it were not accompanied with the provision that the schools established under subsection 1 should be entitled to receive their share of the legislative grant.

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LIB

Frederick William Borden (Minister of Militia and Defence)

Liberal

Mr. E. L. BORDEN.

May I ask the hon. gentleman (Mr. Sifton) a question ? Because, he is very familiar with these ordinances. Subsection 2 says :

In the appropriation by the legislature or distribution by the.government of the province of any money for the support of schools organized and carried on in accordance with said chapter 29 or any Act passed in amendment thereof or in substitution therefor, there shall be no discrimination against schools of any class described in said chapter 29.

If a university such as the bon. gentleman has mentioned should be established by an Act In amendment of or in substitution for the ordinances, what, in the hon. gentleman's opinion, will he the effect upon the application of public moneys ?

Mr. StFTON. I would not think it necessary to give an opinion. Because, why in the name of common sense the legislature of Alberta, when establishing a university, should establish it by an amendment of the school ordinance, I cannot possibly conceive. And, if knowing that in taking such a course, they were going to make themselves liable to a division of the funds, they bad so little intelligence as to take it, I do not think this parliament can see far enough ahead' to protect them against the consequences of their lack of foresight. I can tell my hon. friend (Mr. It. L. Borden) that my hon. friend from Edmonton (Mr. Oliver) is the kind of man they have in the district of Alberta ; and I want to ask him if he thinks that my hon. friend from Edmonton, if he were in the legislative assembly of Alberta, would be likely to get into such a trap as that ? If the legislature of Alberta puts itself under this section unnecessarily and with malice aforethought they will have

to take the consequence ; but they are not obliged to put themselves under this section at all. And let me point out further that the effect of this clause is simply to require that, when the schools-the schools mentioned under the ordinance, and, as a natter of fact they arc the primary schools, what we call the public schools, and not the grammar schools, the high schools or collegiate Institutes, for I understand that to be the effect of the clause-when they comply with the provisions of the law, they get the ordinary share of the legislative grant. The legislature may set apart money for management, for the conduct of normal schools, for teachers' institutes ; they may set apart money for high schools, universities, agricultural schools-for any and every purpose of education that they may desire; and to these the section will not apply in any way. The legislature will be free unless they deliberately put themselves under this clause intentionally, as they would if they did what my hon.Mriend suggests.

Now, what I have tried to do in this discussion has been not to waste the time of the House going over and over, and over again what has been said by other speakers as well or better than I could say it, but to endeavour to make clear what the effect of the legislation now proposed to the House will be when it Is actually carried into operation. And the conclusion, therefore, is this-that if this legislation is carried into effect it preserves just the two privileges which I spoke of the privilege of the Roman Catholic or Protestant minority to have a separate school house, and the privilege of having religious instruction between half-past three and four o'clock in the afternoon. But there cannot be under this system any control of the school by any clerical or sectarian body. There cannot be any sectarian teaching between nine o'clock in the morning and half-past three in the afternoon. So that, so far as we have objections to separate schools based upon the idea of church control, clerical control, or ecclesiastieism in any form, this system of schools is certainly not open to that objection.

Now, I wish to say a word or two, if the House will pardon me, about my own position in regard to the principle involved in this discussion. I have a record upon this question, as hon. members are all aware. It is of no special importance to the House, and I should apologize for mentioning it were it not for the fact that some reference to it is necessary to the argument which I intend very briefly to present. When we, in the province of Manitoba undertook to remove what was a separate school system. that was ' inefficient to a point of absurdity ' we found ourselves confronted with many and serious difficulties.

The school system which we abolished by the Public School Act of 1S90 in the province of Manitoba, was precisely the

same school system as the system that was abolished by the ordinance of the Northwest Territories in 1802. The two were abolished almost at the same time ; but I am bound to say that our friends in the Northwest Territories succeeded in getting their reform with a good deal less difficulty and a good deal less turmoil that did the little province of Manitoba. If hon. gentlemen will look at the documents relating to the suit that took place between the province of Manitoba and the Dominion, or if they will look at the speeches that were made by men speaking on behalf of the province and who know the circumstances of the case, they will find that, although I myself and others took strong ground against the principle of separation in education-and my opinions upon that subject are just as strong to-day as they were then-although we took strong ground upon that principle, yet the attacks we made were not so much on that account as they were on account of the fact that the separate school system of the province was admittedly inefficient, and that children were being allowed by thousands to grow up in absolute ignorance and illiteracy. That was the ground upon which we attacked that system. We said then : Your system is inefficient; you have taken the public money and you have not applied it for the purpose of giving the children the education they ought to have ; and we pointed to the fact that in districts where this clerically controlled system had been in force, the children had grown up in ignorance and the population was illiterate, and that fact could not be disputed.

Sir, my hon. friend the Minister of Customs, speaking last night, referred to the fact tlm.^ it was said that the province of Manitoba had been harsh in abolishing that system. Well, Sir, X am here to say that you cannot abolish abuses of that kind by handling people with kid gloves. I am here to say that if there is any act in my public life I am proud of, it is the fact that I was one of those who helped to abolish that system of education in Manitoba in the year 1S90. I know perfectly well that I am speaking upon a subject upon which there may not be very much unanimity of opinion ; but I claim the right to have my own opinion on this subject, and I do not think that any man in this House, Roman Catholic or Protestant, will think any the less of me because I have the courage to state what I think. Although that was the fact, and although my hon. friend who sits opposite, the member for North Toronto (Mr. Foster), was one of those who tried to restore that inefficient system and compel us again to bring about a condition of affairs in which the public money would be wasted and a proper system of education would not be given to the children, they failed in that attempt. And' why did they fail ? They failed because the right hon. gentleman who Mr. SIFTON.

leads this government stood in their way- that is the reason why they failed. And I want to say that we from the province of Manitoba who were engaged in that contest have never forgotten that gentlemen on the other side of the House, that my hon. friend from East Grey (Mr. Sproule) with whom unfortunately I do not often agree, and many others, left their party upon that question and stood for what I believe to be the proper principle, and I venture to think that the gentlemen who did so will always be remembered as having on that important occasion done what they believed to be right, though contrary to the interests of their party. But my right hon. friend the Prime Minister did not take the stand he did because he necessarily agreed with the views that I entertained, and that we in the province of Manitoba entertained upon that subject. As I understand the right hon. gentleman, he has always been an advocate in principle of separate schools, he does not dispute that. But he did dispute the moral right of the gentlemen who then controlled the administration of Canada to override the deliberate judgment of the people of Manitoba upon a matter which was vital to them, and which we in the province of Manitoba knew very much more about than the gentlemen who were endeavouring to thwart us.

Now, notwithstanding the fact that our opinions upon that subject were so strong, notwithstanding the fact that we had gone through a violent contest, a contest in which the feelings of men were deeply aroused, nevertheless, Mr. Speaker, my hon. friend from Selkirk (Mr. Greenway) then the Prime Minister of Manitoba and my leader, and myself, at that time, prior to the year 1896, recognized the fact that it was necessary in some of these cases to compromise, that we could not expect to have, altogether and at all times, our own opinions carried out to the fullest possible extent. When the government of Sir Charles Tupper sent commissioners to the province of Manitoba for the purpose of diseusssing this question with us, the commissioners consisting of Lord Strathcona, then Sir Donald A. Smith, the late Mr. Dickey and Senator Desjardins-when they were sent up for the purpose of discussing this question, I had the honour of being appointed with one of my colleagues, Mr. Cameron, to discuss the question with them. We then recognized the fact that a compromise of some kind would probably have to be adopted in the end, and we made certain proposals to these gentlemen looking to a compromise with the view of meeting the wishes of our Roman Catholic friends. We told them that, whatever our private disposition might be, yet by reason of the pledges we had made to the people of the province of Manitoba in the election we had just gone through, we could not possibly compromise upon the

question of tlie separation of the children in the school houses, but we offered a compromise upon other things. But the commissioners declined our offer and came back, and the government then undertook to proceed with the Remedial Bill. When the election was over and the government of Sir Charles Tupper had been defeated, and Mr. Laurier, now Sir Wilfrid Laurier, came into power, he sent for the members of the Manitoba government to which I then belonged, and asked us what our views were. We pointed the right hon. gentleman to the proposition we had made to the commissioners of Sir Charles Tupper, the same proposition ipsissima verba, and we said that was the best we could do. The right hon. gentleman accepted that proposition, wisely, as the result shows, because matters are going very much more smoothly and satisfactorily in Manitoba since then. We drew up a basis of compromise. It will be found in the sessional papers of this House. The terms were submitted to the leading men of both political parties who had stood by us in the fight in which we had been engaged. We did not desire that any principle should be yielded without full consultation. Amongst others it was submitted to the late Dalton McCarthy,* and it was approved by him. That compromise was carried into legislative effect. It does rot go quite so far as the compromise upon this question which is before the House at the present time ; but it was a substantial compromise on the general principle with which we had to deal. Yet at that tune there were some men who said : No compromise ; who said : Don't give in

till you get the whole thing, you will get it if you stand up. I did not agree with that view. I thought that some compromise should be made. My colleagues in the government of Manitoba thought the same thing, and a compromise was made. But, Mr. Speaker,-and this is an observation I desire to commend to the attention of the House-there were very very few people who said, no compromise. And why was it that so few people then opposed the compromise ? It was because the people of Canada had been fighting about this question for five years, they were sick and tired of the contest, and desired that there should be a compromise of some kind so that they might have peace. More than that, the material progress of this country had been stopped. My hon. friend from Lanark (Mr. Haggart) knows perfectly well that the Manitoba school question paralysed governmental activity for a considerable length of time. The members of the government practically did nothing else ; they could do nothing else but attend to the agitation and difficulties that arose out of this question. When a question of this kind has to be met it has to be met in a practical way. Complications arise, governmental activity and administration are absolutely destroyed, it is impossible for ministers to attend to their departmental duties or to attend to the business of the country as they should. Therefore, in 1896 when this settlement was made-although it was a settlement that hon. gentlemen opposite had refused to accept-although it was a settlement which led my right hon. friend the leader of the government out of a great difficulty and made his path smooth, yet the settlement has never been combated or criticised by any member of this House from that time up to the present moment.

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Mr. POSTER@

Will the hon. minister-just-

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LIB
CON

George Eulas Foster

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. FOSTER.

Member-former minister -just for the information of the House just tell us briefly what the difference was between the conditions before the compromise and after ?

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LIB

Clifford Sifton

Liberal

Mr. SIFTON.

groups and where you find a considerable number of Roman Catholic children in a school they are nearly all Roman Catholic children. It is in such case a Roman Catholic community, and by this Act they have the right to have a Roman Catholic teacher and to have Roman Catholic exercises after halfpast three ; so that in practice it gives them a greater advantage than it would appear to do from a casual reading of the Act. It has been fairly satisfactory although it does not give them the principle of separation as is given by the Act which is before us at the present time.

Mr. Speaker, we are face to face with the necessity of dealing with the question of giving these provinces a constitution and dealing with the question of educational legislation. I understand that my hon. friend the leader of the opposition takes the position, in which I concur, that we have a right if we so desire and the legal power to modify in detail the terms of section 93 of the British North America Act in such a way that the province as it was formed would have complete autonomy or liberty in regard to its educational legislation. If I am not correctly representing my hon. friend he will correct me.

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Mr. I@

That is not quite my belief. Does my hon. friend wish me to state what it is ?

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LIB
CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. R. L. BORDEN.

My position is that if you apply to these provinces the terms of the constitution as they are to-day, they will give to these provinces the absolute right to deal with their own educational affairs.

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LIB

Clifford Sifton

Liberal

Mr. SIFTON.

I am sorry that my hon. friend said that because I had thought from the resolution which he has placed before us that his position was the position which I stated, and to my mind it would be a position that would be very much stronger. My hon. friend's amendment, I find, is as follows :

Upon the establishment ot a province in the Northwest Territories of Canada as proposed by Bill (No. 69), the legislature of such province, subject to and in accordance with the provisions of the British North America Acts 1867 to 1886, is entitled to and should enjoy full powers of provincial self-government including power to exclusively make laws in relation to education.

If I understand my hon. friend aright, and I regret his position is not as I stated it. he says that by the application of the British North America Act, ipsissima verba, the effect of it would be that the provinces would have unlimited power in regard to education. But, my hon. friend can only give his opinion to that effect as a lawyer. Other lawyers do not think so. Other law-Mr. SIFTON.

yers think the direct opposite. Other lawyers think that if you put section 93 of the British North America Act into effect the time when the province came in would be regarded as the 1st of July, 1905, and that the condition of affairs which would be preserved by the British North America Act would be the condition of' affairs as they exist on the 1st of July, 1905. I do not say which is correct.^ It is a difficult point to decide, but surely we are not, when we are about to legislate upon this subject, going to allow the provinces to settle this question by a long course of litigation, turmoil and dispute. To show how difficult it is to have a positive opinion upon such a point I have heard men who are considered to be good lawyers flout the idea, or the proposition of law which my hon. friend suggests and I have heard men who are pretty good lawyers flout the opposite idea. In a question of that kind we who are lawyers all know it is absolutely impossible to tell how it will be held when it comes to be threshed out in the courts. To my mind for this parilament, sitting here in all its sovereign responsibility to give these Territories a constitution, to deliberately go to work and, for the purpose of getting out of the responsibility of doing one thing or the other, give that constitution in such terms that they will have to have a series of lawsuits for half a dozen years to have the question settled would be the most unstatesmanlike thing that we could do.

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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. R. L. BORDEN.

I do not want my hon. friend to misunderstand me. He has in the first place only quoted part of my argument. He speaks of the provinces coming in. A large part of my argument was devoted not to the question of a province coining in but to that of a province being created which my hon. friend has not dealt with at all. But, apart from that and in answer to what he has just said my view is a very simple one. I say that we have the right and only the right to apply the constitution as it exists at present in" respect of the distribution of legislative power. My hon. friend seems to think that we can go on and do something more. If my view is correct we cannot go on and do anything more, and if we enact from now until this time next year it will not alter the result, because in the end our right to legislate must be determined in the courts. That is a very simple proposition.

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LIB

Clifford Sifton

Liberal

Mr. SIFTON.

My hon. friends statement does not alter my view in regard to his position. First of all, we would unquestionably have to change section 93 of the British North America Act before we could do it.

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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. R. L. BORDEN.

Certainly.

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LIB

Clifford Sifton

Liberal

Mr. SIFTON.

Unquestionably we would have to feel we had that right. For my part, so far as concerns the changing of

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the terms of section 93 by striking out the limitation contained in that section, I have not the least doubt in the world of our constitutional capacity to do it under the British North America Act of 1871. If my hon. friend takes the trouble to look up the opinion of so eminent a predecessor of his own as Sir John Thompson, he will find that Sir John Thompson expresses the same opinion. I think there can hardly be any doubt whatever that we can and should exercise that power. But, Mr. Speaker, if there were any doubt about it ; if we passed this Act in acordance with our own judgment and our own discretion, giving these provinces such a constitution as we in our judgment think they ought to have by making a change in section 93, and there were any remote doubt about the constitutionality of that ; is it not perfectly clear that all the Prime Minister would have to do would be as was done in the case of the Manitoba Act get a confirming Act from the imperial parliament. There would not be any difficulty about it, and if there were the least doubt that is the course that should be adopted.

Now, Mr. Speaker, if there is any doubt about our power, 1 say that in fact hobody else but us can deal with it. We are here as the only possible constitutional body to deal with this question upon its merits. Does any one imagine that the imperial parliament is going to discuss this question and undertake to settle it upon its merits ? Then, who is going to settle it upon its merits ? The imperial parliament would never do that, they would deal with it as we recommended; they would say : you are the governing body ; possibly technically you may not have enough power given you by the Act of 1871, but if you have not we will give it to you ; it is your business, settle it as you see fit. And Mr. Speaker, that is the only way it can be settled. We are unquestionably in the position of being the only body that can ever deal with the merits of this case.

'For my part, Mr. Speaker, I have no hesitation in saying what my own opinion would be : it would be that the province ought to be left entirely free to deal with its own educational affairs. But, I would not get at it in the way that my hon. friend (Mr. R. L. Borden) does, by saying, the constitution does that, but as there is a certain amount of doubt about it I would strike out the limiting clause and 1 would make it so clear that there would not be any doubt in the minds of any one.

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Mr. I@

If we undertake to do that and do not possess the power under the British North America Acts 1S67 to 1868, would not the courts control in the end as they have a dozen times, as they have a hundred times both with regard to provincial and Dominion legislation ?

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LIB

Clifford Sifton

Liberal

Mr. SIFTON.

What was done in the case of Manitoba ? Was section 93 of the British North America Act applied ipsissima verba? If my hon. friend will look at it he will find it was not. He will find- that in the case of the province of Manitoba a special section was enacted by this parliament and he will find that although questions were raised as to the competence of this parliament to pass that Act, the doubt was not as to the competence of this parliament to pass section 93, but as to other sections. If he will go back further he will find that notwithstanding that questions were raised as to competence of this parliament, the law officers of the Crown in Great Britain said we were perfectly competent, and that the Manitoba Act was within the competency of this parliament. If this parliament had the power in the case of Manitoba to put in a separate provision for the purpose of placing separate schools clearly and distinctly upon the province of Manitoba have we not the power to change section 93 by taking out the limitation ? If we can do one thing we can do the other ; if we can change a subsection then we can take a subsection out. That proposition is entirely obvious.

I said that so far as I was concerned I thought we had the power to leave the provinces absolutely free, and that for my part if I had my own way that is the policy 1 would pursue. But I quite recognize the strength of the argument upon the other side. We are face to face with two positions-I shall only detain the House for a few minutes longer ; I apologize for speaking at such length.

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Some hon. MEMBERS

Go on.

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LIB

Clifford Sifton

Liberal

Mr. SIFTON.

We are face to face with two propositions. We have the principle of the British North America Act to apply. The leader of the government and myself can agree that we ought to apply the principle of section 93 of the British North America Act, but as to the particular way iii which we are to apply that principle we do not agree. But we ought to apply the principle, and when we come to the question : how are we to apply it, we come up against two separate and distinct and irreconcilable propositions. From my standpoint I' say: inasmuch as the Northwest Territories are not a constitutionally free community ; inasmuch as the ordinances passed are ordinances passed under a special and limited power; therefore when they come into the family of provinces we ought not to apply to them the principle of observing the status quo, because the status qua was not brought about by their own unlimited powers. There is also the view that is presented to us by our friends led by the right hon. the Prime Minister. and held by many other gentlemen here. They say-it was well stated by the

Minister of Finance-they say : you constituted that territory 35 years ago ; 30

years ago you established separate schools ; you said when you were doing it that you intended it to be permanent ; those who made speeches when the Bill was presented to parliament, said we bring this Bill to parliament because we want the people of the Northwest Territories to know what kind of institutions they are going to have, and among others they are going to have separate schools. Half a million people have gone into the Northwest Territories knowing what the laws were. Although I am not absolutely convinced by the argument made by these gentlemen, yet I know that out of that population of half a million there are 125,000 Roman Catholics, and I further know that many of these people actually went to the educational department at Regina by their authorized representatives and got copies of these school ordinances so that they might know whether they would be allowed to have separate schools before they came into the Northwest Territories. Therefore, our friends say: here is a state of affairs existing for thirty years, carried on under your direction, creating vested rights in 125,000 people who have gone there upon the strength of your guarantee. And so, with some degree of plausibility they argue : you are far more bound to maintain that state of affairs than if it had been created by the province, because you are responsible for it yourselves. Here we have two separate and irreconcilable propositions. If I talked for ever I do not think I would convince the gentlemen who do not think as I do upon this subject. I do not think I could convince them that we should leave the legislature of the Northwest absolutely free in this matter-although I am for my part convinced after the history of the question in the province of Manitoba, and from the knowledge I have of what public men in the Territories think on this whole question from beginning to end-I am firmly convinced that it would be better for the Roman Catholic people of the Northwest Territories if the legislature were left absolutely free. But, I shall never convince the gentlemen who do not think so ; I shall never get them to think as I do on the question, because if I talked for a hundred years their views would be just the same as they are to-day.

I am very much inclined to think, Mr. Speaker, that they will not be able to convince me. I do not think they would be able to convince me that it would not be better that the legislature of the Northwest Territories should be free. Now, what are we going to do? We are face to face with an absolutely irreconcilable state of affairs. My hon. friend the Minister of Finance put it very well the other evening. He said : What are you going to do ? what are you going to decide ? The King's government must be carried on ; the business of the Mr. SIFTON.

country must be carried on ; and there is only one of two ways in which this question can be decided. The Protestant people of Canada can say to the Roman Catholic people : You cannot convince us, we cannot convince you, but there are more of us than there are of you, and we are going to vote you down. I put aside a proposition of that kind. There is no man in this government who would contemplate attempting to carry out a proposition of that kind if he had the power. Least of all would my hon. friend who leads the opposition desire to see a proposition of that kind carried out, no matter what his views on the merits of the question might be. Then, what are you going to do ? What is the position of affairs going to be ? You cannot make a political religious issue of these questions either for the members of this House or for the inhabitants of the Dominion of Canada ; and even if you did-as my hon. friend the Minister of Finance very well said : if those who thought in this House as I do combined with me and if the result of their efforts were to drive the right hon. gentleman (the Prime Minister) from office on this question, all that my hon. friend the Minister of Finance said the other night, and much more, would be true. No greater political misfortune could happen to hon. gentlemen opposite than that they should be called upon to take office under such circumstances. Suppose it happened. Every man who knows the political history of Canada knows that we might fight about this question year in and year out for years, the political and financial progress of the country might be paralyzed, the business of the country would be blocked by the condition of affairs, and after it was all done, we should be simply where we had started, and the people would have to come together on this question and compromise their differences.

What I desire to say, Mr. Speaker, in conclusion, is that I have very strong views on this question. I have not concealed those views from the members of the House. There is a certain distance that I am prepared to go in the way of compromise ; I have so expressed myself to my right hon. friend the Prime Minister. To the extent which is embodied in the proposition before this House I am willing to go. I am willing to go that far because I believe that the essential principles of a first-class, thoroughly national school system are not impaired, and the taint of what I call ecclesiasticism in schools, and which in my judgment always produces inefficiency, will not be found in the school system of the Northwest under this legislation, unless the people of the Northwest choose to have it, in which case it is their business and not ours. I may say, Mr. Speaker, that I have found a very great deal of difficulty in deciding upon my course on this question. When I saw the

Bills that had been Introduced, I at once came to the conclusion that 1 could not decide upon my course while remaining a member of the government, in the enjoyment of office and the emoluments of office. I came to the conclusion that, whatever anybody else might do, my course was perfectly clear: I should, when this question came up, be in a position to speak with a freedom with which a member of the government could not speak, and I should be called upon to decide to what extent and how far X would be prepared to compromise opinions which I had publicly expressed, and opinions which I still hold in order not to destroy the government of the country. That question which comes to every man in public life sooner or later, comes to-day to a good many men in this House of Commons. The question is how far a man is justified in compromising his opinion for the purpose of preventing a political crisis. That is a question which nearly every man in this House has had to decide before ; but perhaps no person has had to decide it under quite as remarkable circumstances as the present. For myself, as to the political effect upon myself, I care not for that. I have relieved myself, I think, of the imputation that the course I have taken has been influenced by considerations of office or the considerations of my party remaining in office ; and therefore I have to say, having given the subject the best consideration that 1 am capable of giving it, and having given it that consideration not only from the standpoint of the position of affairs in this parliament but from the standpoint of the position of affairs in the Northwest Territories in time to come, that I can, though not -with very much enthusiasm, and with some degree of reluctance, give my support to the Bill.

Topic:   PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT IN THE NORTHWEST.
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CON

William Barton Northrup

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. W. B. NORTHRUP (East Hastings).

of the financial arrangements and the land question, which are so closely connected as to form one subject, we find that although the hon. gentleman had strong views -and I may say that I think his views are far more correct than those of the government-although he presented his case as ably, as eloquently and as persuasively as he has this afternoon spoken to the House, still, on that point too, the government re fused to listen, and so the land and fiscal questions are complicated by the introduc-'tion of a principle which, as pointed out by the minister this afternoon, shows that the government, by admitting to the provinces that we should pay for the land, have admitted that the provinces have a right to the laud. Again I say that, although he was right in his representations, the gov eminent treated them with contemptuous indifference. Then, after making these protestations and after being badly treated, treated with indifference in this way, could one imagine that there was no ii'ony concealed in his remarks when he said in this House that there was no pique when he resigned after this Bill was brought down two days before his arrival ? We have heard many details of the hon. gentleman's exploits in the west; many rumours have drifted down to us during the past ten years, but I venture to say that not one of them will be received with less credulity by the country than the statement he made this afternoon as to the causes of his resignation. Just think for a moment the position that he put his colleagues in. Had the ex-minister come out flatly, and bravely said : ' I resign because I refuse to occupy a seat in 'a cabinet with men who do not understand business,' then we would have understood and the country would have understood. But when we see the pitiable spectacle of ministers bringing down such a Bill, standing up and advocating it in spite of such tremendous objections to it as those which the exminister pointed out, and the existence of which they admitted by changing the Bill, what are we to think of the capacity of a cabinet that would plunge the country into all the excitement and turmoil of the past few weeks on a measure to which they have given so little attention as they have given to this ?

The hon. gentleman to-day touched on many subjects. There is one subject on which I did not intend to speak, but I shall refer to it in consequence of the remarks of the hon. the ex-Minister of the Interior (Mr. Sifton), coupled with what was said a night or two ago by the Prime Minister and also by the Minister of Customs (Mr. Paterson) last night. When the premier was speaking the other day he pointed out, with regard to the agitation which convulsed this country in 1896, that the Conservative party had undoubtedly misunderstood their position, that at that time Manitoba stood in the same position as Nova Scotia or New Brunswick, and that the Conservative party, Mr. XORTHRUP.

in endeavouring to pass the Remedial Bill dealing with Manitoba which stood on the same footing as Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, had entirely misconceived the position. The right hon. gentleman pointed out that the Privy Council held that there-were no separate schools in Manitoba prior to the union, and therefore no rights of Catholics in that province. Therefore, the right hon. gentleman objected to the exercise in this House of the powers of remedial legislation. I refer to this, because his colleague last night repeated the same statement. and I tell the right hon. gentleman, and I tell this House, I tell the Protestant minority in Quebec and the Roman Catholic minority in Ontario, I tell the minorities in every province in this Dominion, that the remedial clause of section 93 of the British North America Act has been practically blotted from the statute by the right hon. gentleman and those who supported him at that time. The Prime Minister, the other-evening. gave a very interesting and very accurate account of the circumstances under which the educational clauses of the British North America Act were framed. I entirely agree with every word he uttered on that point, but let me add one or two words to what he said. It is perfectly true that when confederation was about to be formed it was agreed between the politicians of Upper and Lower Canada that two Bills should be introduced to this House, one giving educational privileges to the Catholic minority in Upper Canada, the other giving educational privileges to the Protestant minority in Lower Canada. These Bills were introduced but for reasons which we need not now discuss. they were not passed, and those Bills, not having been passed, and confederation being about to be effected, the whole scheme would have fallen through, because the Protestants of the province of Quebec refused to enter confederation until their educational rights were secured. Then Sir George Etienne Cartier and Sir Hector Lan-gevin. speaking for the Roman Catholics of Quebec, said : If the Protestants of Quebec will consent to going into oconfedera-tion without this legislation, we pledge our honour that at the first session of the local legislature of the province of Quebec, after confederation has been formed, we will see that the rights you would have secured by the Bill of last session, had it passed. are conferred on you by a statute of the local legislature. Sir Alexander Galt replied i I am perfectly satisfied to take the word of you gentlemen and believe that you will adhere to it. but times are fleeting, lives are uncertain and a day may come when others will control the legislation of Quebec, and in that case what the local legislature gave it can take away, and the minority may be deprived of the privileges granted to them. Then it was that Galt, as the right hon. gentleman said, drew with his own hand his famous clause, that if after confederation any right given to

a minority by a legislature after confederation was taken away, the minority had a right of appeal to Ottawa in order to secure their just rights. On those terms, Sir. the Protestants of Quebec and the Roman Catholics of Ontario came into confederation. My hon. friend (Mr. Sifton) seems to be oblivious of the terms on which Manitoba came into confederation. It came in under very peculiar circumstances. The people of Manitoba treated with the people of the Dominion and made a compact. The Protestants and Roman Catholics in Manitoba alike wished to have a provision for separate schools. We all know the history of these things ; we know that it was uncertain whether the Roman Catholics or the Protestants would be in the majority in Manitoba, and it being wholly uncertain whether there would be an invasion of Roman Catholics from Quebec that would make Manitoba a Catholic province, or an invasion of Protestants from England and Ontario which would make it a Protestant province, the Roman Catholics and Protestants combined in asking the legislature to make such provisions that the minority would have separate schools. And so it was that the Act was passed, an Act not worth very much on its face, but being a compact between the people of Manitoba and this Dominion, the Act passed by this House was validated by the imperial parliament, and therefore it is a good law to-day. What is the position of the people of Manitoba They came in under an express bargain which provided for separate schools. They have, under .section 93, the express right of appeal to this parliament at Ottawa in case they should be deprived of any right after they had come into confederation.

Well, Sir, when they came into confederation they were, as everybody supposed, given their separate schools. My hon. friend from Brandon (Mr. Sifton) this afternoon attacked gentlemen on this side, because, he said, we wished to restore these inefficient schools. But he must remember that one of the conditions we insisted on was that the old inefficiency should be done away with ; and Roman Catholics were willing to agree that the schools should be made efficient. All that we on this side wished to do was, as loyal Canadians to stand by our word and keep the honour of Canada unsullied.

The appeal came to Ottawa. As the Prime Minister said, the highest court in the realm, the Privy Council decided that it was intended to give separate schools to Manitoba, and that this legislation was strong enough to give them had it been properly based. But, as a matter of fact, owing to the circumstance that the schools were not there under the law or in practice before Manitoba enterd confederation, they had failed, and they were not entitled under the law, to the separate schools. The 100

Roman Catholics, having appealed to the-courts, like good subjects bowed to the decision, but they came to us for a law to-remedy their, grievance. And the reason why I say the right hon. gentleman has wiped that clause out of the statute-book and deprived minorities throughout the Dominion of the protection they had, is that no one can conceive of any circumstances under which any province could come to Ottawa with a stronger case than that with which Manitoba came here. ' Every one knew that separate schools were meant to be given, that the attempt was made to then give it, and that it was believed that that attempt was effective. Every one knew that Manitoba itself understood that the separate schools wei'e established. And, under these circumstances, the strongest that could arise, the minority in Manitoba came asking us not to coerce the province, but to give the minority the rights which, it was intended to give them. And when the government of the day, though anxious to live up to the spirit of confederation and protect minorities , they were prevented from doing so by the right hon. Prime Minister (Sir Wilfrid Laurier). If the local legislature of Quebec should repeal every law that has been made to assist the Protestant minority since confederation-and many of them have been passed-if the provincial legislature of Ontario should repeal the laws under which the separate schools of that province have been maintained, they have the legal power to do it. It is beyond question that to-day every single privilege in regard to their schools that the Protestants of Quebec and the Catholics of Ontario enjoy, they owe to generosity and forbearance of the majority. All the provisions for the protection of separate schools under the constitution are practically worthless because they are unworkable. Therefore, I say the right hon. gentleman (Sir Wilfrid Laurier) should speak with some reticence on the educational question in view of the lamentable experience of the minorities of this Dominion solely through the attitude taken by the right hon. gentleman himself. I would not have dealt with this subject of Manitoba, had it not been referred to by the Prime Minister in presenting the Bill, and last evening by the Minister of Customs (Mr. Paterson) and this afternoon by the exMinister of the Interior (Mr. Sifton) their utterances on the subject making it necessary to say a few words to show in what way they have misconceived the position of the Conservative party at that time. If the right hon. gentleman has misconceived the attitude of his opponents at the time when he came into power we may excuse him if he has forgotten some things which he might well have remembered when he brought this Bill down for the consideration

Topic:   PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT IN THE NORTHWEST.
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REVISED EDITION '3127 COMMONS

March 24, 1905