March 28, 1905

CON
LIB
CON

Edward Arthur Lancaster

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LANCASTER.

Then what could the hon. gentleman have meant by his interruption ? What does he want to take back now ? He said I would find the same in respect to Manitoba

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LIB
CON

Edward Arthur Lancaster

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LANCASTER.

Then he had no right to interrupt me and cause me to waste five or ten minutes of the time of the House in proving to him that he was mistaken. He had better have another conference with the hon. member for Brandon (Mr. Sifton) to find out where they stand on this question.

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LIB
CON

Edward Arthur Lancaster

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LANCASTER.

I think it is not fair for a gentleman addressing you, Mr. Speaker, to be interrupted even by an hon. member from the Northwest Territories, as I have been interrupted. The hon. gentleman (Mr. Scott) had better have the local responsibility in this matter-for he is not yet elected for the provincial legislature-before he undertakes to have an opinion about it. Even a gentleman with cabinet aspirations ought not to stand up in this House, after the exhibition the Postmaster General (Sir William Mulock) made of himself, and undertake to tell an hon. member reading plain English that there was the same provision in the law relating to Manitoba schools, and, when it was proved up to the hilt that he was mistaken, explain that that is not what he meant. It is wasting the time of the House as the Postmaster General wasted it-not quite so completely, perhaps, but very near even that limit. I have been wondering, Mr. Speaker-and I am sorry that your mouth is closed and that you cannot givebme the information-having seen what I have since eight o'clock, I have been wondering whether there is another cabinet crisis, and whether that is the reason why the cabinet is wasting the time of the House. The Postmaster General took up nearly two hours, and proved only one thing, and that is that a man could talk that long and say nothing. And now an aspirant to the cabinet takes up more time in the fashion I have shown. Now, the Solicitor General wished to ask me a question.

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LIB

Rodolphe Lemieux (Solicitor General of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. LEMIEUX.

Listening to the hon. gentleman's very able argument, I understood him to say that we could not alter the terms of the British North America Act, nor give any meaning to the clauses of the Act under such a statute as that now before us.

I

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CON
LIB

Rodolphe Lemieux (Solicitor General of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. LEMIEUX.

Last year the Privy Council gave judgment in the representation cases, with which my hon. friend (Mr. Lancaster) is familiar. Section 5 of the British North America Act says :

Canada shall be divided into four provinces, named Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. ,

As my hon. friend knows, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick took exception to the representation of these provinces as had been fixed by parliament and contended, with some appearance of reason, that the aggregate population of Canada as mentioned in section 51 was the population of the four original provinces. But the Privy Council decided that the word ' Canada ' mentioned in section 5 was a variable term, which, at the beginning of our history, meant four provinces, but later meant five, six and seven provinces, thus explaining that the British North America Act was quite an elastic instrument, which should be interpreted according to the sound principles of the law.

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CON

Edward Arthur Lancaster

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LANCASTER.

I would vote against the prayer of the petition, because I would think it was not right, and the people could turn me out when 1 sought re-election at their hands. That is the petition that so much has been said about, and I thought it wise to put that petition upon record. That is the petition that is called by the Postmaster General, one side of the question; a petition that asks separate schools to be established is called the other side of the question. Could anything be more unfair ? There are no petitions coming from Orange lodges asking us to throttle the little province and prevent it from establishing separate schools. I call the attention of the statesmanlike Postmaster General-I will assume that he is a statesman, although he is self-appointed, selfadjusted and self-labelled as a statesman.

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An hon. MEMBER.

Union labelled.

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CON

Edward Arthur Lancaster

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LANCASTER.

Well, perhaps not union labelled, and not so labelled by the people of Canada. The hon. gentleman who is so statesmanlike, the hon. gentleman who is at present running the Post Office Department of this country, undertakes to call that petition which I have read, one side of the separate school question ; and a petition which asks this House to throttle a province is the other side of the separate school question. What would a gentleman from Quebec who advocates separate schools in the Northwest Territories, say if we attempted in this House, ten years or five years from now, supposing the country got incensed at Quebec butting in on these matters concerning the Northwest, supposing the country got aggravated, annoyed and disgusted, and say we will insist for a certain term in doing what the Finance Minister says is so deplorable, we will put some people in power who will settle this school question for ever in Quebec, just as these gentlemen want this government to settle the school question in the Northwest Territories, and we will abolish separate schools in the province of Quebec and Ontario. Now what would they say to that ? In principle what is the difference ? What is the difference between taking away a man's right and preventing him from exercising the right ? In common sense, what is the difference between the two propositions ? Am I doing a greater wrong if I go into a man's barnyard and steal his horse than if I said to him, although you have got a horse I will not allow you to use it, I will control it so that you shall never have the use of it ? To be practical, what is the difference ? He cannot use that which is his own in either case. He cannot deal with that which is his own, and which he has a right to deal with. There may be a difference in the way it may strike one man or another in the application, but on the moral principle-and we heard something even from the Postmaster General about Mr. LANCASTER.

morals to-night-on the moral principle what is the difference between your saying to the province of Quebec ; although you have yourselves established a right to your schools in the provinces of Quebec and Ontario ; you shall not have them any longer, because we think it was a mistake when you established them-what would be the difference between saying that and saying to the Northwest provinces, you shall not exercise your right to declare whether you want separate schools or not, we will tie you up so that you shall never make a declaration either way ? There is no difference in principle, no man can pretend there is.

Now I want to put on record the statements of some of the friends of hon. gentlemen opposite. In 1891 Sir Louis Davies spoke on this question of education in the Northwest Territories. That gentleman is now a judge of the Supreme Court. He was one of the gentlemen who came into power on the cry that we should not coerce Manitoba. This is what Sir Louis Davies said in 1891 :

My opinion is now, and has been for years, that when that time comes (the time to erect the Territories into provinces) you cannot withhold from the provinces so erected the right to determine for themselves the question of education in one way or the other. 1 would be the last to favour this parliament imposing upon the people there any system of education, either free or separate. I only claim that when a Bill is introduced to erect those Territories into provinces that Bill should contain a provision enabling the people of the different provinces so created to decide what system of' education they will have.

Tile Hon. David Mills, in the same year, spoke, not about separate schools In Quebec or Ontario, not about the British North America Act, but in regard to the Northwest Territories, the very part of this Dominion which this parliament is now dealing with. The Hon. David Mills was recognized as an authority on constitutional law by the Reformers of this country, and I think by a good many Conservatives. In fact, he was held up by hon. gentlemen opposite as the great constitutional model of this Dominion, and this is what he says :

When the people of the Territories, or any portion of the Territories, are sufficiently numerous to constitute a province-when, in fact, they attain their majority in regard to local matters and when they propose to set up for themselves-this parliament has no right to exercise control over them. It can give good advice, but it has no right to give commands.

When the Territories have a sufficient population to entitle them to become a province, they must decide for themselves whether they will have separate schools or not.

I have my view as to what will be the best decision for them to arrive at, but I must not impose on them my view as to how they should be governed after they have attained their majority.

Now then the ' Globe ' newspaper came out very lately. I know people lately have said, the * Globe' is going wrong. X do not know, everybody seems to be going wrong who does not agree to throttle the new provinces. Everybody except hon. gentlemen opposite is agreed that this House should leave questions of sectionalism alone and attend to the business of the House. The ' Globe ' newspaper has been talking about this question, and the ' Globe ' of March 11 said this :

The only settlement of the disturbing Northwest school question that will be just or safe or permanent is that settlement most strictly in accord with the spirit and letter of the constitution.

The hon. Postmaster General wanted the spirit of the constitution and not the letter. The ' Globe ' wants both, and I think I have shown that the hon. Postmaster General's opinion of that kind of spirit is not a very good one. I do not pretend to be a judge of any kind of spirit than that, but I think that I am as good a judge of that kind of spirit as the hon. Postmaster General is and he has said that he wants nothing but the spirit and not the letter. The 4 Globe ' says :

The only settlement of the disturbing Northwest school question that will be just or safe or permanent is that settlement most strictly in accord with the spirit and letter of the constitution. Anything that swerves from that straight course, squinting in the direction of any faction or creed or race, is charged with dynamite-

These are the people that are raising the religious question in this House-the 'Globe' newspaper. I do not know whether the hon. Minister of Customs makes the 'Globe' pay duty on this dynamite or on these dynamite articles or whether hon. gentlemen opposite are now using the dynamite as well as the pistol and medicine that my hon. friend from North Toronto (Mr. Foster) spoke about this afternoon.

and sooner or later may work havoc in the

provinces, if not in the Dominion. The personal opinions of individuals or the preferences of classes or communities are not sufficiently certain and substantial to form a sure foundation for the institutions of the country. In the present instance, political safety, social progress and national peace can he found nowhere but in standing by the constitution.

Now, it goes on to discuss the question at some length and I will not trouble the House with it, but it reaches this conclusion :

Provincial autonomy under the constitution carries with it for the new provinces, unless expressly prohibited by the constitution, autonomy in education.

It was necessary for the ' Globe ' newspaper to teli the premier of this country that autonomy meant autonomy, that it did not mean something else. It was necessary 110

for the ' Globe ' to try and pull a line on the Prime Minister as the organ of the party iii the city of Toronto. I presume that the ' Globe ' would say that it was the chief organ of the party in the whole Dominion. I cannot pronounce upon that point, but certainly it is one of the principal organs in the Dominion, and before this Bill could be read a second time, in the hope that some other policy would be adopted, the ' Globe ' gave the advice that provincial autonomy under the constitution means autonomy in education. Is it any wonder that my hon. friend, who leads the opposition here is obliged to put on record an amendment to this Bill to say so ? The ' Globe ' said that it was necessary to tell the Prime Minister that autonomy meant autonomy in education as well as in anything else, and for fear that some people would think that the government could say that my hon. friend the leader of the opposition did not agree with the ' Globe ' I would point out that, as it. happened on these two occasions these two gentlemen-I think the gentleman who wrote this article was an honest man, and I know there is no more honourable man in the Dominion of Canada than my hon. friend the leader of the opposition-came forward and took the same view as the whole Dominion of Canada will if it gets a chance. If the government went to the country upon this question to-day, the government know very well that the whole Dominion, whether Grits or Tories heretofore, would unite by their votes in saying that the * Globe ' was right on this occasion. Then, the ' Globe ' proceeds :

To this doctrine we can ask all classes and creeds to subscribe.

The ' Globe ' thinks, as I do, that all classes and creeds ought to subscribe to the constitution or else get off the earth as far as Canada is concerned. If they stay in Canada and get the benefit of our constitution which we all say affords the greatest freedom that exists anywhere they should subscribe to and support that constitution.

To this doctrine we can ask all classes and creeds to subscribe. In so far as they appreciate and approve the principles of responsible self government, all citizens should here be in agreement. The question of the value of separate schools is not primarily involved.

And it is not.

It is not the primary question. It may be forced to the front by the Orangemen of Ontario and the Ultramontanes of Quebec, but, in so far as the problem is one for the Dominion parliament to solve, the question of separate schools is not the real issue. To make it the real issue is to misplace the emphasis and to engender strife.

Who misplaced the emphasis and who engendered strife ? The right hon. leader of the government, when he brought in this Bill. The ' Globe ' is not a perjured wit-

ness ; it is not even a retiring member of the government. It did not go out for principle, because it never was in.

The issue before parliament is this: In

giving provincial status to the Northwest Territory is parliament under obligation to make the maintenance of separate schools a permanent responsibility of the new provinces? In dealing with this vexed question parliament should go not one hair's breadth beyond its indisputable constitutional obligation. Leave everything provincial to the provinces. Any other course will lead to inextricable confusion, and put a new' root of bitterness into the fertile soil of our national life.

Who has put the root of bitterness into the fertile soil of our national life ?-The light hon. Prime Minister 'who cannot pass his Autonomy Bill without dragging that question into parliament that the ' Globe ' tells him should be left to the provinces. The ' Globe ' has evidently been found fault with by somebody, some man on the street that we have heard about, has been to see the ' Globe, ' but the ' Globe ' thinks it has done right to have Its own opinion. The ' Globe ' on March 11 said what I have just read, but I have also here the ' Globe ' of March 21, just ten days later. Somebody has been after the ' Globe ' in the meantime with this result that the ' Globe ' says that what we said before we believe and we are still more of that opinion than we were at the time you found fault with us. That is our argument, and the more bon. gentlemen opposite argue, the more we are satisfied they are all wrong. The more they are finding fault with the ' Globe ' the more the ' Globe ' feels convinced that it is right and it repeats what it said before only that it says it in stronger terms : This is what the ' Globe ' says on March 21 :

1. The * Globe ' stands for the provincial rights of Saskatchewan and Alberta. Those rights are created and secured by and under the British North America Act. The ' terms and conditions ' of their provincial autonomy must be ' subject to the provisions of this Act.' They can have no rights as provinces that are not expressed or implied in the British North America Act, 1867 to 1886. They can be deprived of no rights to which they are entitled under that constitution.

2. The ' Globe ' holds, as has been argued in these columns again and again, that the new provinces now to be created do not come under the separate school obligation of section 93, clause 1, of the British North America Act, and, therefore, they are free under the constitution exclusively to make laws in relation to education, to continue their present system, to modify it or to substitute another for it, as their legislatures shall decide. Our reasons for holding to this view were stated yesterday, and in several earlier articles, and at the very opening of the discussion.

3. The ' Globe ' is persuaded, by its first-hand knowledge of western conditions and by the assurances of representative western men, that had the education question been left without

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CON

Edward Arthur Lancaster

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LANCASTER.

direction or trammel to the legislatures, the present system would have been enacted, and ail the privileges possible under any obligatory federal clause would have been secured to the Catholic minorities without dispute or acrimonious debate.

4. The ' Globe ' holds that the educational clauses in the first draft of the Autonomy Bills are ultra vires of the federal parliament, especially the third clause which is held to contravene the Dominion Lands Act and to interfere with the provincial control of the details of school administration.

5. The ' Globe,' as a logical consequence of the foregoing, holds to be ultra vires of parliament and an infringement, in theory if not in practice, of the rights of the provinces under the constitution, any legislation based on the assumption that ill the meaning of the British North America Act there is no difference between the creation of a province out of territory for thirty-five years a part of Canada and under federal supervision, and the union to the Canadian confederation of an independent, self-governing, autonymous province or colony such as British Columbia was prior to 1871 or as Newfoundland is tb-day. A territory is not a province, and the constitutional obligations of a province cannot rest upon a territory until it becomes a province.

That is the 'Globe's' statement and that is my idea of what is right. I do not say it is right because the 'Globe' says so, hut I do say that when the 'Globe,'which is not going out of its way to injure the government says so, it means a great majority of the people of this country, Liberals as well as Conservatives, the independent thinking people on both sides of politics, are of the opinion that the government is doing wrong. But, says the government, we are in for five years anyway and what matters it ? Well, I say to them that the five years will go by. They may hold themselves in power for five years, but when the election comes the people of Canada will do as the people of Lincoln county did four years after the pledge of the Prime Minister was broken and on which pledge they returned a supporter of his to this House. The chief whip of the Reform party held the constituency of Lincoln by a majority of nearly 500, but the government broke its pledges as to provincial rights, as on every other question, and the people of the county of Lincoln punished the government because of its broken pledges, and a man of no greater ability than your humble servant was elected and the chief whip of the Reform party was left at home. As the people of Lincoln county did in that instance, so shall the people of the Dominion do when they get the opportunity. It may be that the Prime Minister will retire from office before an appeal is again made to the electorate; it may be that the Minister of Finance or the statesmanlike Postmaster General will make himself or get some one to make him Prime Minister, but whoever be the Liberal Prime Minister who appeals to the people of Can-

ada he will And that the people of this Dominion will not stand for interference with tile autonomy of the provinces, will not stand for broken pledges, will not stand for the shackling of these great provinces of the Northwest with onerous restrictions as to education and the administration of their public lands. Why have we no Minister of the Interior to-day? Why is the government afraid to appoint a Minister of the Interior and send him for election to the people of the west? I have not the assurance which some gentlemen on the other side have to say that they speak for the people of the Northwest Territories when they have no mandate to speak on this question; I do not pretend to speak for the people of the Northwest Territories except to say that they want to be left alone to attend to their own business, but I do believe that the people of the Northwest Territories will treat this government as it deserves to be treated for interfering with their provincial rights. The government does not dare to appoint a Minister of the Interior because they know that the people of the Northwest would reject him by an overwhelming vote. The Prime Minister is not here to-night, but in times past he has learned something from this side of the House, and I invite the Minister of Customs and the Minister of Finance who are now present to tell the Prime Minister that it is his duty to appoint a Minister of the Interior and to test the feelings of the people of the west on this question. That is the constitutional way to proceed, but these gentlemen do not want things done constitutionally. They had not much respect for the constitution when, the Minister of Finance being absent in England, they introduced without his knowledge this Bill which deals with great financial issues seriously affecting the Dominion. They had not much respect for the constitution when in the absence of their Minister of the Interior, who is specially charged with matters pertaining to the west, they drafted and proposed in parliament this measure which vitally concerns the people whose interest he was specially charged to guard. Let them appoint their Minister of the Interior and they can soon find out whether we are right or they are right. Sir, as a man trying to do the honourable thing and representing an honourable constituency, I have no course left to me but to vote for the amendment of the leader of the opposition. In doing so, I believe I am voicing the opinions of the Reformers as well as the Conservatives, of the respectable Roman Catholics as well as the respectable Protestants of my county. If I do that I am doing my whole duty, and, Sir, if the members of this cabinet would study more what the people want and not what may suit the political exigencies of the moment they would be representing the people of Canada better than they are to-day.

110}

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Mr. L. P.@

DEMERS moved the adjournment of the debate.

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Motion agreed to. On motion of Mr. Fielding, House adjourned at 12.15 a.m. Thursday.



Thursday, March 30, 1905.


March 28, 1905