March 28, 1905

LIB

William Mulock (Minister of Labour; Postmaster General)

Liberal

Sir WILLIAM MULOCK.

That was not the occasion to give us history. It was an occasion for an appeal to the constitution. At all events, it is interesting to see the methods pursued in different parts of this Dominion.

We have in the province of Ontario a campaign denouncing these amendments as being concessions to the hierarchy. On the other hand, in the province of Quebec, the Liberal party is attacked by the Tory newspapers because the government are doing nothing for the Roman Catholics. Surely both these contentions cannot be well founded. Let me read from a couple of the leading Tory papers published in the city of Quebec in what terms they speak of what they declare to be a surrender of the rights of the minority. In 'L'Evenement' of the 10th March, 1905, which is one of the organs supporting the opposition in the province of Quebec, I And the following article:

The Northwest Territory Schools-A deep treason.

The rights of the Catholics of the Northwest are shamefully sacrificed.

The Liberal press has just received from Ottawa the pass-word and is cleverly preparing the electorate to accept and approve what Mr. Laurier and Mr. Fitzpatrick are asking parliament, the shameful sacrifice of the rights of our fellow men and co-religionists in the Northwest Territories. Mr. Laurier and Mr. Fitzpatrick are giving away before fanaticism, and in a retreat without glory they cowardly abandon rights which they themselves declared to be inalienable fifteen days ago. We ask our readers to read attentively what follows, and to seriously study the question which we will treat, and to open their eyes and see the deep treason of which French Canadians and Roman Catholics in the Territories are victims.

It is Catholic Laurier and Catholic Fitzpatrick who, for the purpose of retaining power, do not fear, do not hesitate, powerful as they are, to crush under the heels of their boots the French Catholic minority of the new provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan.

That is a Tory opinion for consumption in the province of Quebec, and the article proceeds in equally violent language to the

end. Another paper ot the same kind, published in the city of Quebec, 'La VeritS,' in its issue of the 18th March, has the following editorial:

Trebly deplorable.

In our article of last week we qualified as truly deplorable the letter of Sir Wilfrid Laurier to an old friend of George Brown, the full text of which we published at the time.

This letter is trebly deplorable, disastrous, heart-rending, we say, after having re-read this document calmly.

From a political point of view, a national point of view, from a religious point of view, it is all that ; and it is inconceivable that a chief of a party, a French Canadian and a Roman Catholic could have made up his mind to make public such a document.

Then it proceeds to say:

By bis cowardice and blindness, Mr. Laurier is on the way to depriving for ever bis co-religionists in the west, of separate schools, thoroughly Catholic. No, there is no possible comparison between the work of George Brown and that of Wilfrid Laurier, as political men on the educational question. The former has done for his people a work as durable as grau-ite. The latter, of his own free will, places his eo-religionists in a position of manifest inferiority. Such was the work of both meu from a purely political point of view.

Further on the writer says:

The separate schools of the far west will be so little separate, so little French that the teaching will be in English.

Lastly, a word as to the religious aspect of the question ; it is clear that Sir Wilfrid Laurier, as a Catholic statesman, is perfectly satisfied of practically neutral schools for his co-religionists. Read over again attentively the diseription which he makes of the so-called separate schools which exist in the west, which his Bill proposes to maintain, which our people must accept, and which the Protestants are humbly requested to tolerate, and you will see that they are really neutral or national schools, because, in the mind of Sir Wilfrid Laurier the two terms are synonymous.

Where is the separation in these schools from a religious point of view ? It does not exist more than it does from the national point of view. They are institutions which are neutral, neutral, absolutely neutral.

The famous half hour of religious teaching at the closing of each class does not change the essentially national and neutral character of the class itself. Mr. Laurier proclaims this with persistency, and he is perfectly right.

Instead of this measure being a surrender to the Roman Catholic Church, which is the charge made against it in the west, it is denounced in the province of Quebec by our opponents because it simply allows the minority to enjoy what we call national schools. Both these contentions cannot be true. Either the contention of my hon. friend from East Grey (Mr. Sproule), that we are surrendering to the Roman Catholic minority, is wrong, or the contention of his allies in Quebec that we are not doing justice to

the Roman Catholic minority is unfounded. Both cannot be correct. Perhaps my hon. friend from East Grey, in his supreme desire to do justice, will, in talking the matter over with his western friends, point out to them the view which the Quebec Tories take of this measure as compared with that which he and his friends take. But what is the attitude of my hon. friend the leader of the opposition? He simply takes his stand on provincial rights. The hon. member for East Grey does the passion part of the play. He acts the tragic role and appeals to passion; other members of the party opposite indulge in melodramatic appeals to sentiment; others attempt more or less skilfully to excite prejudice, but one and all they are working to the same end, and that is the success and glory of the Conservative party, no matter by what means that may be secured. But there is one thing which these gentlemen might well bear in mind. It is that the welfare of this country depends on our people living in harmony; and let this question be once settled in a broad spirit of tolerant justice and we wilj continue in that career of progress in which we have been advancing for the last eight years. For several years during the agitation accompanying the Manitoba school question, the progress of this country was stopped, and stopped it would be again if the opposition could have their way and succeed in throwing this question into the arena of political strife. But the good sense of parliament, I have no doubt, Mr. Speaker, will prevail, and the country will breathe a sigh of relief when this question is settled for all time, without any sacrifice of principle on either side and in a manner which will enable all classes to live in harmony. My hon. friend the leader of the opposition said that because the Act of 1875 was passed when there were only 500 people in the Northwest it should now be done away with when there are 500,000 people in that country. But it seems to me that if 500,000 people have gone into that country, knowing the law and the conditions which prevailed, they furnish us, with 500,000 arguments in favour of the maintenance of the status quo. Why should we deal with the people of the Territories when we make them a province in a different manner from that in which we deal with the people in other provinces when they were brought into confederation? What we propose now is in harmony with the unbroken practice in similar cases, respected in every part of this broad Dominion. Therefore, I am unable to understand why, when we are raising these two Territories to the dignity of provinces this agitation should be excited. Some time ago, in reading a history of India, I came across a passage which might very well be brought to the attention of this House. Speaking of the treatment by Great Britain of the many nationalities throughout her broad empire-races with-Sir WILLIAM MULOCK.

out number and creeds without number- the writer said that he had yet to find an instance of the mother country having even oppressed a minority or failed to recognize the beliefs and feelings and sentiments and even the prejudices of that minority. And when at the close of the great mutiny in India, it was said that the imperial government might interfere with the religious views of the people, Her Majesty herself caused a proclamation to be issued to the people of India in which she pointed out that she had derived so much comfort and consolation from her own religion that she would never allow hands to be laid bn the religions or creeds of the various great tribes that composed her loyal citizens throughout India.

And, go where you will throughout this broad empire, with its. four hundred millions of people of different races and different creeds, you find all left in the enjoyment of those things that they regard as sacred. It is that policy, that method of treating the people, that has made Great Britain's empire, what it is to-day-widespread, powerful and stable, resting upon the affections of the whole people and holding the people together by the bonds of affection and not by force or coercion. If our own Dominion is to be held together we cannot do better than follow the example of the mother of nations and yield, if need be, occasionally to prejudices or sentiments involving no sacrifice of principle in order to enable the different classes that are coming to our shores to live in peace, in harmony and in the enjoyment of those institutions to which they attach great importance and the enjoyment of which by them makes them more loyal citizens, yet does no injury to the common welfare.

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CON

Edward Arthur Lancaster

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. E. A. LANCASTER (Lincoln and Niagara).

Mr. Speaker, I do not know who is to apologize, unless I do-for I suppose the Postmaster General (Sir William Mulock) will not-for the time that hon. gentleman has taken up in what was supposed to have been a discussion of Bill (No. 69) now before the House. I must say that I sympathize with those gentlemen supporting, or supposed to be supporting, the Postmaster General who have been brought back this evening to hear, as they supposed, a reply to the hon. member for North Toronto (Mr. E'oster) and who, after trying to listen for half an hour or so, were obliged to leave the Chamber because they could not under-, stand where the Postmaster General was or what subject he was dealing with. I sympathize with them, because we cannot blame them for thinking the Postmaster General would give them some information or some light-something which they could take to their constituents and offer as an apology or plea for forgiveness for their vote against the contentions of the hon. member for North Toronto. And what has the Post-

master General done ? He lias occupied the time of this House from nine o'clock until twenty minutes to eleven. And evidently he has tried to say something. Several times he has said : ' What is the question before the House ? ' But he never told us what that question was. I do not know whether he was' discussing the Manitoba remedial legislation of 1896-whether he was dreaming that he was out in the province of Ontario abusing Sir Charles Tup-per for granting that remedial legislation,- or whether he was trying to offer some plea for interfering with the autonomy of the Northwest. He did say at the opening of his speech, that there was a Bill before the House. But he did not read a single section of it. He evidently does not know the provisions of the British North America Act. He has never read that Act or he would not have made the wrong statements about it that he has made. He has simply wasted the time of the House for an hour and forty minutes-I say this with all deference; but i have as much respect for the members of this House as I have for the Postmaster General, and I think that some one ought to apologize. So, as one of the members constituting this House, as the Postmaster General does not apologize for wasting our time, I can only hope "that the House will accept the apology I offer. The House has as. much right to accept my apology as the Postmaster General has to propose, in the name of autonomy, a throttling piece of legislation for the Northwest Territories. This House has as much and more right to say that the member for Lincoln and Niagara (Mr. Lancaster) should apologize for the Postmaster General as to say that the provincial parliament of the Northwest shall not control its own affairs. At nine o'clock the Postmaster General began to address this House. X have kept track, as well as I could, of his wanderings about the question -if it can be said he was so near the question as to be wandering about it-and the discussion-if you can call it discussion- that he has inflicted upon the House. He spent half an hour in abusing the hon. member for North Toronto (Mr. Foster.)

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CON
CON

Edward Arthur Lancaster

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LANCASTER.

X have no doubt he will apologize if somebody makes him do so, but he will not apologise out of the goodness of his heart;-he might to save a libel suit if a libel suit could be taken against him. Then for forty minutes he was supposed to discuss this Bill, if you can call it a discussion of the Bill to tell us over and over again that the British North America Act had dealt differently with different provinces-and I am in the judgment of the House when I say that that is all this discussion amounted to. Then, for the next thirty minutes he gave kind advice to the hon. * member for East Grey (Mr. Sproule)

about his duty in regard to toleration. He talked about intolerant speeches in this House and about vehemence. And what was the other word he used ?-I have a note of it here ;-some word that, I think, we hardly understand as coming from the Postmaster General. He spoke once of brotherly love. He spoke also of inflammatory and impassioned speeches-but he did not tell u? at which side of the House he was directing his lecture. I have been in this House throughout this debate, and I am not in the habit of sitting here and not listening. I have not heard one impassioned sentence in this debate coming from this side of the IXouse, and neither has any other hon. member. The Postmaster General seems to think he has heard that kind of thing from this side. I heard the Minister of Justice (Mr. Fitzpatrick), before the Bill was read the second time, make what I suppose the Fostmaster General would call a speech of brotherly love. The Minister of Justice said in effect : If my brothers of the Dominion of Canada will not give me something to which I have no constitutional light; if they will not give me justice and let me be the judge of what is to be considered justice, there shall be no peace in this country. That is the style of speech we get from the King's chosen representative of justice in this House, the occupant of what ought to be the highest and grandest of cabinet positions. He told us that forty-one per cent of our people demanded this legislation. I take issue with him there. All the Roman Catholics in this country are not in favour of this legislation.

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LIB
CON

Edward Arthur Lancaster

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LANCASTER.

But I tell my young friend from Montmagny (Mr. A. Lavergne), who has interrupted every speaker in this House since this question began, that he has got a lot of things to learn yet, and some things to learn about his own race in the province of Quebec. I will tell my young friend that if he wants to get any standing in this House, if he wants anybody to listen to him, he must be more tolerant, he must not take his lessons of tolerance from the Postmaster General and he must make less inflammatory speeches, and exercise more courtesy to hon. gentlemen who have just as much right to their opinions as he has.

Now, Sir, I say to all these gentlemen that in the county of Lincoln, which I have the honour to represent, I do not believe there ic, a single Roman Catholic who wants any thing done that is unconstitutional or contrary to the spirit of the constitution. When the Minister of Finance spoke on this question he sneered at the constitution. The Minister of Finance, acknowledging. I suppose, that the constitution was dead against him, tried to make out that the constitutional aspect of this legislation was of no

consequence. What did he say ? I am going to read it from the ' Hansard ' lest I make any mistake :

I do not propose to go into that constitutional question, not because I say it should not receive any consideration, but because I say it is not the great question involved, and I prefer to go on and deal with the practical questions which are before us. If it is a constitutional question above all others, then perhaps the best thing we can do will be to request the legal members of this House to adjourn to the Railway Committee room and thresh it out, while we who have not the good fortune to belong to that learned profession will stay down here and discuss the practical question involved, or proceed with the ordinary business of the House.

And further on :

Now the first question is whether or not the time has come when we should give a provincial constitution to these new Territories in the west.

But before saying that, and having been interrupted by the leader of the opposition, to whom he was apparently speaking, he said :

I believe the people of the Dominion to-day are not going to have their minds engaged with an elaborate analysis of constitutional questions which nine out of ten will never read, and which the whole ten will fail to understand. I believe that the people of Canada, since this unpleasant question is brought before us, will expect us to meet it plainly and openly, and discuss it with the hope of finding a happy solution.

Now, on behalf of the Catholic citizens of the garden county of Lincoln, I tell the Minister of Finance, who is now in his place, that they_ will resent as much as the Protestants will resent any such imputation on their fairness. They do not want things to be dope that-are unconstitutional. No true citizen of this country, be he Catholic or Protestant, wants legislation to be put through this House on the ground that it may be wise and practical, if it is not constitutional. If it is not constitutional, it cannot be either wise or practical. In saying this, I speak for three or four thousand Roman Catholic inhabitants in the fair county of Lincoln, and I speak for the Protestants as well. The Minister of Finance thinks that this educational section of the Bill cannot be supported on constitutional ground. He thinks, according to his speech, that the law is also against the government if they undertake to force this legislation through, for he says : I will not discuss it,

I will let the lawyers discuss it. But does he say he will leave it to the new provinces to do as they like ? Oh, no ; but he says :

I will butt in and take the provinces by the throat, while the lawyers may study the legal question. I think he ought to wait until the jury comes in ; I think he ought to keep his hands off these provinces until Mr. LANCASTER.

he finds out whether he had a right to put his hands on them. Now, let me suggest to the Minister of Finance, to the Minister of Customs, and to all those gentlemen who have spoken on this question : Supposing you do not interfere with the power of these provinces to deal with the educational question, are you doing a wrong thing or not ? The lawyers say there is a doubt whether we have a right to interfere with the provinces, but nobody says there is a doubt about the provinces having a right to deal with this question of separate schools. Now. if separate schools can be dealt with, as it is admitted they can be, by the provinces, why not let them deal with it ? Nobody suggests on either side of this House that these new provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan cannot deal with the question of separate schools as soon as this Act is passed in any way that they like ; the whole dispute is as to whether there is power in the Dominion parliament to deal with the subject. But there is no question about the fact that the provinces can do it if the Dominion parliament does not interfere. Now, have hon. gentlemen made a good case for separate schools or have they not ? I am not going to discuss that question. I believe in provincial rights. If this question was up in the province of Ontario I would claim the right to record my vote upon it, and in the same manner I do not wish to take away the right of the people of the North west Territories to record their votes on the subject if they want to. I am willing to give my fellow-countrymen in the Northwest Territories the same right to do their own voting on this school question that I claim for myself. So in regard to every other question, they should be treated in the same way. Can it be suggested that if this was not an educational and, incidentally, a religious question, there would be any wrenching of the constitution to interfere with the provinces ? Everybody knows the answer. Everybody knows that if this was not a question that affected education and, incidentally, religion, nobody would dare to suggest that we should wrench the constitution of those provinces, that we should undertake to throttle them in regard to their right to say what system of education they shall have. Of course, if we are going to give provincial autonomy to the Northwest Territories, let us give them something that will be autonomy, and not a mere pretense. Why are the government dealing with this question of provincial autonomy ? Does the Prime Minister believe that these provinces have reached the stage where they are entitled to have autonomy ? If he says they are entitled now to have autonomy on all the subjects mentioned in the British North America Act, then are they not entitled to exercise the same judgment with regard to education ? If they have brains and intelligence enough, if they are far enough advanced to deal with all the other subjects

that are assigned to the provincial legislatures under section 92 of the British North America Act, surely they are intelligent enough and far enough advanced to deal with the subject of education? That section gives the provincial legislature exclusive jurisdiction to deal with the subjects of direct taxation, borrowing money on the credit of the province, management and sale of public lands, the establishment maintenance and management of reformatories and prisons, establishment and maintenance of hospitals and asylums, licenses, local public works, marriage, property and civil rights, administration of justice, and generally all matters of a merely local nature in the province. Now. if the Prime Minister thinks that the people of those Territories are sufficiently advanced to deal with all these subjects I have mentioned, surely he must believe that they are sufficiently advanced to deal with the subject of education.

It is idle for the right hon. Prime Minister or any person else to pretend that there is any other reason for excluding education from the operation of this Act or taking the question of education away from these provinces except it be on the religious ground. I say this and I say it forcibly because it is necessary as we are drifting away back into the dark ages. When we are dealing with this Bill this question ought to be dealt with exactly on its merits, the same as any other question would be, and if there is no meritorious reason for butting in the question of religion, or for sticking it in the Bill at all, if there is no logical, sound, businesslike reason for putting it in, there is no excuse for putting it there any more than there would be for putting in any other question that had no business to be there V Are we not sufficiently intelligent to deal with this question of education calmly, deliberately and as business men? Can we not ask ourselves the same question in regard to this question as in regard to any other question ? Cannot we say : Does this properly come within the subject of this Bill, is it proper that we should deal with this question any more than that we should deal with any other question ? There is not an hon. gentleman on the other side of the House who has made up his mind to record his vote for the government on this question, but will admit or will conscientiously say to himself that a judgment of this kind should not be forced upon him more in respect to the religious question than it wrould be in regard to any other question. I venture to say that if the British North America Act were attacked in regard to some other of its features, if it were proposed, for instance, to give the Northwest Territories control of post offices instead of leaving it to the Dominion parliament the hon. Postmaster General would say : No, that is rinconstitution-al; that is one of the subjects that the British North America Act exclusively

leaves to the Dominion parliament to deal with, and you cannot change the British North America Act in that respect. But, the Postmaster General does not mind taking from the provinces the right to deal* with the subject of education although it is exclusively assigned to the provinces except in the cases that he has mentioned to-night. If a province after it was a province, being of age and able to do it, deliberately knowing what it was doing, inflicted upon itself a system of separate schools it could not abolish that system upon joining the union. There is no warrant whatever for dealing with this question except upon the lines of the British North America Act. And section 92, containing an enumeration of the different classes of cases which I have mentioned, lays it down that these cases are to be dealt -with exclusively by the provinces.

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Mr. L. P.@

DEMBltS. Do they mention education in clause 92 ?

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CON

Edward Arthur Lancaster

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LANCASTER.

Not in that section. Section 92 which I have just read says, and I have used that for a purpose, that:

In each province the legislature may exclusively make laws in relation to matters coming within the classes of subjects next hereinafter enumerated.

And so on. Section 93 says that the [DOT] legislature may exclusively make laws in relation to education.' These provisions are exactly the same in the operative parts of these two sections. Section 92 dealing with matters which neither the Prime Minister nor any one else has dared to interfere with, which are subjects which are admitted to be exclusively within* the jurisdiction of the province and which are always to be dealt with by the province, contains exactly the same phraseology as section 93 does in regard to education :

In each province the legislature may exclusively make laws in relation to matters coming within the classes of subjects next hereinafter enumerated.

Is one section, and

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

Is the other section. Exactly the same operative words are used in both sections. The province may make laws exclusively in relation to education

Subject and according to the following provisions.

Exception No. 1 no one but the premier pretends has anything to do with this case; exception No. 2 no one pretends has anything to do with this case. Exception No. 1, is as follows

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.

In the province at the union ! In the province at the time that it joined the union, as for instance, Ontario and Quebec as the hon. Postmaster General admitted to-night. He said-we have these schools here because we had them when we came into the union, and he then proves our case further by saying that Nova Scotia and New Brunswick do not have these schools because they did not have them when they came into the union, and that British Columbia did not have them when they came into the union. That was the reason why they did not have them. Now, here is where I begin to disagree with him. He says it is fair to say to the people in the Northwest : You are not a province, we are about to make you a province for the first time, we do not kfiow whether you will establish separate schools or not but we will take you by the throat and make you do it. That is great logic. That is a wonderful argument to come from a statesman like the hon. Postmaster General, as he called himself two or three times to-night, although nobody applauded him when he did it. That was the logic that came from this would be statesman. If we apply his logic it means this : Here are people twenty-one years of age having the right to vote who have voted for a certain thing, being fully enfranchised and entitled to vote on the question, while on the other hand we are going to enfranchise another man who has not now a vote and make him vote what we direct all his life. That is a fair interpretation of the argument which the Postmaster General has made. We are going to say because we are creating a province that you shall do exactly what Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and British Columbia did not have to do. Although British' Columbia did not have to adopt a separate school system we say to these new provinces that if you come in you must establish a separate school system because they have one in Ontario and Quebec. No such thing was said to British Columbia. Prince Edward Island did not have to adopt the separate school system, but in regard to these new provinces we say : You have not a system of separate schools but we are going to make it certain you must have one because you cannot come into the union if you do not have separate schools as they have them in Ontario and Quebec, These other provinces were allowed to do as they liked. They were provinces that were fully enfranchised and entitled to make their own bargains. The hon. Postmaster General, the hon. Minister of Finance and the hon. Minister of Customs cannot see any distinction between enfranchising a man and letting him do as he likes after you have enfranchised him and taking a man by the throat and saying : You must do so and so or we will not enfranchise you at all. Both of these hon. gentlemen who are sitting beside each other at this moment and who spoke upon this question said that in effect. They did not Mr. LANCASTER.

want to bother with the legal aspect of this question. The hon. Minister of Customs was very anxious to get away from the legal question. He said that Christopher Robinson's opinion was not quite the same as that of the hon. leader of the oppostion, that they were both excellent lawyers-he spoke correctly about that-that the hon. the Minister of Justice disagreed with the legal opinion of these gentlemen and that he was a good lawyer. But I have not seen the opinion of the hon. Minister of Justice yet. The hon. Minister of Customs may know quietly, or through some secret channel of the cabinet, what the opinion of the hon. Minister of Justice is, but I do not know what it is. But, we will assume that it was contradictory of and different from the opinion of my hon. friend the leader of the opposition. What was the wise solution of the Minister of Customs ? What was the advice that he gave us in his great wisdom ? He says that as these lawyers differ about the question as to whether the Dominion of Canada has the power to go on and settle that question we should take the power.

The argument of the Minister of Customs was, that as the lawyers differed as to whether Canada has the power to enact this legislation, the wise thing to do to settle the question was for this parliament to take the power. It is an easy thing for the Minister of Customs to get away from the legal and constitutional aspect of the question, but it never occurred to him that there was a still more common sense solution, and that is that provinces could grant separate schools if they wanted to and nobody disputes that the provinces have the power-and that being so, it would be a wise thing to let the new provinces do as they like on the question of education. There is no dispute that the provinces have the power to legislate on education the *whole dispute is whether the Dominion government has the right to force a particular system of education upon them. The Minister of Customs could not see that the easiest solution of the difficulty was for us to say : as there is a great difference of opinion as to whether we have the right to do this or not, and as there is no difference as to the right of the province to do it, then let us trust the province. And so these gentlemen opposite believing they have a good case for separate schools on the merits, should have no reason to fear. But that solution did not occur to the champions of provincial rights. Sir. in that' beautiful garden city of St. Catharines in my fair county, early in the month of June, 1896, I heard the Rt. Hon. Sir Wilfrid Laurier appeal to return Mr. Gibson (now Senator Gibson) to this House, and Mr. Gibson was returned by a majority of nearly 500. On that occasion I heard the Prime Minister of Canada declare, that when it came to the question of eoerciug a province even at the instance of people who belonged to

his own religion, he was a Canadian and a provincial rights man first and he would not interfere with the province even at the risk of being accused of disloyalty to his own religion. That argument prevailed with the people of the county X have the honour to represent, but the people soon discovered their mistake. Mr. Gibson who came to this House backed up by that pledge of his leader, four years afterwards in the same constituency was defeated by so weak and humble an individual as myself bv a majority which represented a change of several hundred votes compared , with the previous election. The people of Canada want public men to keep their political pledges. They do not want the Prime Minister to be in favour of provincial rights one day and against provincial rights another day when it suits his purpose. They want public questions to be dealt with on their merits whether these be religious questions or any other questions.

Mow, Mr. Speaker, I shall not do as the Postmaster General did and talk for two hours without dealing with the legal and constitutional aspect of the question except in so far as mere personal assertion is concerned. I shall quote the rest of the British North America Act which deals with the question, and leave it to the common sense of the members of this House and the common sense of the people of Canada to say whether the policy of the leader of the opposition as .announced in his amendment, or the policy laid down in the redrafted Bill, is the correct one for us to pursue. The Bill undertakes to do something that is considered to be statesmanlike by the Postmaster General, but which unfortunately is not sufficiently statesmanlike to be constitutional. In the clause relating to education the Bill undertakes practically to amend the British North America Act, for

it says :

Where the expression ' by law ' is employed in subsection 3 of the said section 93 it shall be held to mean the law as set out in said chapters 29 and 30, and when the expression ' at the union ' is employed in said subsection 3 it shall be held to mean the date at which the Act comes into force.

Now, the British North America says exactly the contrary to this, and we have therefore the sad spectacle that these gentlemen opposite who were once so loud in their pledges to protect provincial rights, now in their efforts to assail provincial rights not only jump clean over the autonomy of the provinces, but undertake to amend a law of the imperial parliament into the bargain. Well, I suppose they have just as much right to do one thing as the other ; they have just as much right to amend an Imperial Act as to deprive the provinces of Canada of their constitutional powers. To listen to these gentlemen opposite one would sometimes think we were in the imperial House of Commons creating a new

British North America Act, and at another time that we were assembled in the legislature of the new provinces debating as to whether the provinces should have separate schools or not. I notice that every gentleman on the other side of the House who spoke in this debate took good care to stop short of discussing the question as to whether the Dominion or the province should pass educational laws. Some of them ventured to deal with the question whether or not we have the power, but none of them attempted to give a reason why, even if we had that power, we could exercise it any more sensibly than could the provinces themselves. They tell us that separate schools are good here and good there and good somewhere else, but they have no business to draw the deduction that separate schools would be good in Alberta and Saskatchewan. If this parliament is going to decide whether separate schools should or should not exist in Alberta, then we are going to do exactly the opposite to what occurred in relation to the same matter in the case of the provinces of Ontario and Quebec. Separate schools exist to-day in Ontario and Quebec because the people of these provinces administering their own local affairs, deem it wise that they should have separate schools. We are here dictating to the provinces of Saskatchewan and Alberta what they shall do in this regard, but tbe Dominion parliament never inflicted separate schools on Ontario or on Quebec or on British Columbia or on Nova Scotia or on Prince Edward Island. The hon. gentleman who for the time being is Postmaster General of Canada-we do not know how soon he will resign when he gets to understand this educational clause ; he does not understand it yet. The Postmaster General told us that none of the statutes admitting new provinces into the confederation were alike, i He told us that Ontario and Quebec had separate schools, but that in the case of New Brunswick. Nova Scotia. Prince Edward Island and British Columbia separate schools were not established by law. I bave here the statute under which Prince Edward Island was admitted into the Dominion, and that statute is silent on the question of separate schools. But the Postmaster General did not tell us why it is silent. If there is anything in the argument of the government it must he : that the province of Prince Edward Island was not entitled to have separate schools unless the Act gave power to establish such schools in that province. The logical result of the argument of the government is, that the Prince Edward Island Act being silent on the question of separate schools the question can not he dealt with at all in the case of that province.

They argue that the Bill now before us would he incomplete if section 16 were not there. It has never occurred to any of them

that you could leave out the whole of section 16 and the result would be that section 93 of the British North America Act would apply, and the power of the province to deal with the question of schools would be absolute. It is so in the provinces of British Columbia and Prince Edward Island. In the constitutions of these provinces there is not a word about education or separate schools, and therefore, according to the argument of these hon. gentlemen, the logical conclusion would be that these provinces could not deal with education at all. That is where their argument would land them. Now, what does it all mean? It means simply this-and everybody of common sense can see it-that if the Dominion parliament, in constituting a province, does not deal with the question of education, then the question can be dealt with by the piwince. Nobody can get away from that conclusion with the intelligent electorate of any province of this Dominion. They will say : Why did you not, as a government of the Dominion, leave that matter in the hands of these new provinces as you did all other local questions, giving them provincial autonomy in every respect? Is the case for separate schools in those provincse good or not? If I were going to-morrow to live in the province of Alberta, and made up my mind that I wanted separate schools there, I would condemn the leader of this government for the mapner in which he brought this question into this House and spoiled my chance of getting them. If he is honestly in favour of separate schools, and is not simply playing the game of politics, if he is really sincere in his appeals to keep racial and religious questions out of this House, why does he bring them in? If this Bill were passed without section 16, everybody knows that the provinces would have the power to deal with education, and this question would not have been brought into this House. Does the premier understand that the new provinces are not going to give separate schools? Then, if he thinks they are wrong on that question he should not give them autonomy. But if he thinks the provinces have a right to decide the question, then he should leave clause 16 out of the Bill, because they have the power - without mentioning it in the Bill. Does he think, on the merits of the question, having in view the future welfare of those provinces, that the majority will not be in favour of separate schools? If he thinks they have no right to that opinion, then, as an honest man, he should say, I will not give them autonomy for ten years yet, because I do not think they are sufficiently educated to deal with the subject of education. But that is not his position. He knows that the people of the Northwest are entitled to autonomv. and he practically says, I am afraid that in exercising their right they will or may not Mr. LANCASTER.

establish separate schools, and, therefore, I will not leave them free to decide the question. No sensible man, applying his common sense to this question as would a jury, no matter how he votes, can easily feel in his heart of hearts that the premier really wants separate schools out there peaceably or else he would leave the provinces to deal with the question. I am not saying that I would or would not be in favour of separate schools if I lived in the province of A lbei'ta. Without living there for two or three years I could not say whether I would be in favour of them or not. For that same reason I ought not to be asked to vote upon this question; for that same reason the supporters of hon. gentlemen opposite ought not to be asked to vote upon this question; for that same reason the premier ought not to have brought this question into the House; for that same reason every man of us, whether he is in favour of separate schools or not, ought to vote against the Bill. It is a matter entirely of local concern which you are only in a position to decide after you have lived out there and understand all the conditions. You do not want to take newspaper reports, letters from friends, sketches or literature of any kind; you have actually to live in a community before you know how to deal with the educational system in that community. It may be that if I lived in Alberta two or three years, I would be a strong advocate of separate schools there, or it may be that I would think separate schools were not good things for that province; but for that very reason every hon. member of this House should vote against this Bill, except perhaps the premier, who introduced it, and who, perhaps as a matter of consistency, should stick to it.

The hon. Postmaster General, in the course of his remarks, said that if you trace the history of the constitutions of other provinces and the various changes in them, you will find that no two of them are exactly alike, and he instanced the divorce courts which lie seemed to think were a wonderful instance of that fact. But he gave the whole thing away by saying that it was because the provinces with divorce courts had established them before those provinces came into the union. Although the British North America Act assigned divorce to the Dominion, yet it provided that those provinces should continue to have them. That is the constitution, and therefore there is no straining of the constitution in that provision. Yet here is the Postmaster General, a self-styled statesman, objecting to this being done on legal grounds. If I did not know otherwise. I might suppose that the Postmaster General had never been near a law office or had never seen a statute. I am told that he is a lawyer, though he does not want to be called a lawyer, and I understand why. Because lawyers are men of

common sense, if yon leave them alone and do not put them into grit cabinets or on pedestals where no one can reach them.

The Minister of Finance wants it to be known that when he talks about this matter he discusses it from the point of view of common sense. But the Postmaster General takes a higher ground. He sets himself up on the pedestal of a statesman and tells us that he looks at this matter from a statesmanlike point of view and wants to have the question settled in a statesmanlike way and not in a legal way. He evidently does not believe that legality and statesmanship ought to go hand in hand in any properly constituted country, but he will no doubt find that if the people can only have a chance to see that their wishes are fulfilled, these two essentials will be joined together and not divorced from one another as the Postmaster General thinks they ought to be. Well, this statesmanlike Postmaster General or postmaster-generallike statesman-you can put it either way you like-says that because the British North America Act, which is our constitution -but which he does not seem to understand is our constitution-makes a difference between different provinces, therefore the Dominion parliament has the right to change that Act as it pleases. X am not quite sure whether the Postmaster General is not labouring under the delusion that he is really in London, England, to-day, and not in Ottawa, because he does not seem able to distinguish between the powers of the Dominion parliament and the imperial parliament. But he cannot produce, nor can the Prime Minister nor the Minister of Justice, nor the Solicitor General-lawyers though they be-produce any Act of the Dominion which has ever undertaken to say that the British North America Act shall mean something different to what it really does say in its own language. No, this Bill now before us is the first measure in which any attempt was ever made by the Dominion parliament to change the wording and the meaning of an Imperial Act. Not a single Act of a Dominion parliament has even been drawn which has undertaken to say that the British North America Act shall be read as containing language different from what it really does contain. Surely the First Minister must have known that the British North America Act did not give him the right to impose these restrictions on these provinces about to be created, or else he would never have undertaken by this measure to amend the Act of Confederation. No hon. gentleman will pretend to say that anybody ever before undertook to resort to the very doubtful and suspicious expedient of having this tribunal alter the Act of another tribunal, or having this parliament declaring that an Act passed by the British parliament shall be taken to contain a different wording to what it really does contain.

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Thomas Walter Scott

Liberal

Mr. SCOTT.

Does my hon. friend not know that very thing was done in the case of Manitoba ?

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Mr. LANG ASTER@

Can the hon. gentleman show me any Act with regard to Manitoba which has the words that are used here ? I am referring to this substituted section, I am not referring to the section that lost the vote of the Minister of the Interior, but to the section which has brought him into line and which the other Northwest members supporting him are swallowing. This is the language of that section :

Where the expression by-law is employed in subsection 3 of section 98, it shall be held to mean the law as set out in chapters 29 and 39 of the ordinances of the Northwest Territories.

There we have it set down that where the expression by-law is used in an Act of the British parliament passed in 1867, it shall be held to mean certain chapters of the ordinances of the Northwest Territories which were not passed until 25 'or 30 years later.

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Thomas Walter Scott

Liberal

Mr. SCOTT.

I understand the hon. gentleman to argue that it was impossible for this parliament to vary the terms of the British North America Act, and I was undertaking to remind him that that was done in the case of Manitoba.

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Edward Arthur Lancaster

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LANCASTER.

I dispute that statement. That was not done at all in the case of the province of Manitoba. That province had, as a province, established separate schools, and it afterwards repealed the law establishing those schools.

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Thomas Walter Scott

Liberal

Mr. SCOTT.

The hon. gentleman is attempting to get away from the point.

Mx-. LANCASTER. I am not attempting to get away from anything. My hon. friend says the same thing was done in the province of Manitoba Act. He will find no such expression in that Act or no expression that could be taken to mean the same thing. He cannot find anything in that Act declaring that certain words in the British North America Act shall be taken to mean other words or something else different entirely from what they express. When we find the First Minister declaring that what he is about to do, he could only do under the authority given him by the British North America Act, and then resorting to the expedient of changing the language of that very Act which gives him the authority, his case is a very doubtful one indeed, it really amounts to this that he is interfering with the document which the other man signed. One man gives another a power of attorney. The question then comes up whether that power of attorney gives the right to do certain things, and in order to remove any doubt or difficulty the attorney says : I will take my pen and change the ianguage of the document, and then I will

have the right to do what I propose doing. That is the position in which the right hon. gentleman has put this government.

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Edward Arthur Lancaster

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LANCASTER.

I say it was not at all what parliament did in the case of Manitoba. My hon. friend had better read the statute.

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Edward Arthur Lancaster

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LANCASTER.

I have read it as often as the hon. gentleman has. I am not a candidate for a cabinet position, I am.not anxious to take the job of my former leader, I am not trying to make myself a champion of what I do not believe, I am not trying to show that I am able to swallow a section which it gave the ex-Minister of the Interior a good deal of trouble to swallow, but which, when he did make up his mind to take the dose, he did swallow with more gusto and less of a wry face than my hon. friend. Here is the enactment we are asked to pass as a Dominion parliament :

Where the expression ' by-law ' is employed in subsection 3 of the said section 93. It shall be held to mean the law as set out in said chapters 29 and 30

Chapters 29 and 30 are ordinances of the Northwest Territories, which did not come into existence until years after the British North America Act was passed. And it will hardly be contended that that Act could have meant to apply to things that did not exist until years after it itself had come into existence.

and where the expression ' at the union '

is employed in said subsection 3-

That is, subsection 3 of section 93 of the British North America Act.

it shall be held to mean the date at which

this Act comes into force.

In other words, the date of the passage of this British North America Act by the imperial parliament shall,, by the great power which this Dominion of Canada possesses under so-called Reform rule, and by a declaration such as it never undertook to make before, be carried forward until next July.

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Rodolphe Lemieux (Solicitor General of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. LEMIEUX.

Will the hon. gentleman (Mr. Lancaster) allow me a word ?

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Edward Arthur Lancaster

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LANCASTER.

I would like to deal with this subject in consecutive fashion. I do not wish to be discourteous to the Solicitor General (Mr. Lemieux), and I am sure that he knows that I would not show him any discourtesy. If he will allow me to finish the point that I am now dealing with, I shall be glad to have him put to me any question he wishes. I want to keep myself right with the hon. member for East As-siniboia (Mr. Sco'tt). He has interjected the Mr. LANCASTER.

statement that I will find the same section in regard to the Manitoba school laws.

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March 28, 1905