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:
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.