Mr. HENRI BOURASSA (Labelie).
Mr. Speaker, in resuming the debate upon'what I hold to be tbe most important piece of legislation tliat bas been discussed by the Canadian parliament since confederation, I feel deeply the responsibility resting upon me both for the vote I shall give as a member of this House and for the opinions I shall express to-day. In the course of the very remarkable speech in which the Prime Minister introduced this legislation over a month ago, I was especially struck with one sentence, and that sentence has remained in my memory ever since. Haying reviewed the legislation through which these Territories had passed since then- entrance into confederation, the Prime Minister said :
' Now the time has come to put upon these Territories the stamp of Canadian nationality.' It is under the light of that principle that I intend to, carry on this discussion. It seems to be that, through the turmoil, passions and prejudices that have been aroused, in sincerity perhaps on the part of people, but surely with no other purpose on
the part of others than to snatch at popular favour at the expense of the better judgment of the country-I say that perhaps through the * turmoil, passions and prejudices we have been passing through for the last month, too many Canadian citizens and Canadian representatives have unfortunately forgotten the important duty they have to perform, and what will be the result of that duty. Sir, we should not forget that those Territories for which we are now legislating will probably contain within half a century or a century, one-half the population of Canada ; therefore if we have any interest in what is going to be the future of our common land, we should be very careful of all the articles of this piece of legislation, as well as of the comments we make upon them.
It is not my intention to discuss at any length, or even to discuss at all, the other features of this Bill, but this one clause so much commented upon-I mean the school question. However, I may say in passing that I thoroughly agree with the position that was taken by the government on the land question. Starting from the same point of view I have just stated, namely, that we must put the stamp of Canadian nationality on these Territories, I think it was the duty of the federal government to retain within their powers the right to legislate over the granting of the lands upon which one half of the population of Canada will be called upon at no distant period to live and to prosper. Although I have the greatest confidence in the public spirit and patriotism of the men who are now at the head of public affairs in the Northwest Territories, I say that before long the time may come when they will not be powerful enough to resist the pressure of the newcomers into that country, men that have perhaps no interest in the unity of Canada, who are not attached to the soil of Canada, who have had no part in the past history of Canada, and who, therefore, by numerical strength, may try to force some obnoxious legislation on the government of these Territories. I say, therefore, that for the protection of the Northwest, for the protection of the present representatives of the Northwest, for the protection of the statesmanship of the men who are now at the head of affairs there, it was good policy on the part of the government to retain the control and administration of the public lands in the Northwest.
Now, coming to the question that has occupied the field of discussion for the last month, I may say that I intend to discuss it from a threefold point of view : from the constitutional point of view, from the religious point of view and from the national point of view. In doing so I shall, as it is my custom, express frankly and clearly what I believe to be true, and in doing so I hope that I shall not offend any man in this House, because every man who is attached to his convictions will understand that in this free parliament of ours every true con-104
vietion should be frankly and sincerely expressed. I may say at once that if there is a regrettable feature in all this discussion, it is not that passions have been aroused, it is not that prejudices have been raised. I entirely agree with the Prime Minister when he says that many of the passions that are now aroused spring from one of the noblest feelings in humanity, they come from an exaggeration, or from a perversion, of that which constitutes the most stable basis of a nation, namely, attachment to religious creed and attachment to national feeling. The men who are committing a crime against this nation are those who, having opinions of their own, are trying to shelter themselves under a constitutional pretense. The great argument which is being used by the opponents of this measure is, I may say, the shibboleth of provincial rights. Now, Sir, there is no man in this parliament who is more attached to provincial rights than I am. I am the descendant of a race that has claimed provincial rights for many years, and just because I am a sincere adherent of provincial rights, I say that if provincial rights are going to be maintained in this country, they canno't be maintained on any sham basis, they can only be maintained on a basis of equal justice to every part of our population and every section, from the Atlantic to the Pacific. What are provincial rights as they relate to the school question ? I am not' going into an acute analysis of every word and every letter in the text of the law, though I am not afraid to take up the study of the constitutional question with any man. But I think that once in a while when lawyers get into a muddle about small points of law, sometimes a cool and common sense outsider may throw a little light upon common truths that are too much forgotten by lawyers.
A few days ago the Prime Minister gave to this House a short history of one clause contained in our national constitution, that clause relating to school matters. But to my mind, if I may be permitted to say so, when a motion was made in this House in 1893 by the late Minister of Public Works, then the member for L'lslet, the Prime Minister gave a still clearer and more complete history of the educational policy of Canada, he gave us the true origin of clause 93 of the British North America Act. What was that origin ? That although for a century the Protestant minority in the province of Quebec had been treated, not only in the most just, but also in the most generous manner, still that minority was averse to joining the confederation compact unless their privileges and rights in the province of Quebec were made absolutely secure. Thereupon it was proposed that the same measure of guarantee which was asked by the Protestant minority of Quebec should be given to the Catholic minority in the province of Ontario and the other provinces. Now, Sir,
I am bound to say that there was at that
time something of the same feeling that exists now, but that feeling was frank enough not to take refuge in legal quibbles. It was stated then, as it is now outside of this parliament, that there should be one rule of justice for the Catholics and another rule of justice for Protestants ; that there should not be one law for both the Catholics and Protestants, but that the Catholics should have one law requiring them to respect the Protestant rights in the province of Quebec, while in the province of Ontario the Catholics should rely upon the generosity of the majority. Indeed, the Hon. A. T. Galt, then the accredited representative of the Protestant minority in Quebec, went to England to secure the adoption of clause 93. Now, eminent legal men in this House, eminent jurists, have tried to make out a case that this clause 93 in the British North America Act should be cut in two, and that wherever a Protestant province outside of Ontario is concerned you should read only the first paragraph of it, thereby giving an absolute freedom to the majority to do whatever they like. I will not give you my own authority, I will not give you the authority of any man of my creed and nationality in opposing the proposition laid down by the leader of the opposition and by Mr. Haul-tain ; I will go to the highest authority in this empire to prove that this argument is but a sham pretense, because the opposition in this parliament is afraid on the one hand to grant justice to the minority in the west and is afraid on the other hand to state it frankly before the people of Quebec.
When the British North America Act was presented to the British parliament, Lord Carnarvon was Secretary of State for the Colonies and was responsible for the legislation as such, and Lord Carnarvon has given a definition of what were the respective powers of the federal and provincial authority. I respectfully beg the liberty of commending that opinion of Lord Carnarvon to the leader of the opposition in this House. That hon. gentleman (Mr. R. L. Borden) has charged the government with trying to confuse the federal and the provincial powers in this Bill, and throughout the country the press has stated that education belonged to the provinces, and that there was no interference of the federal parliament possible in educational matters, unless in Ontario and Quebec. It has been stated that the powers of the British North America Act are divided into three classes ; those that belong exclusively to the federal government in clause 91 ; those that belong exclusively to the provinces in clause 92 ; and those questions on which both the federal and provincial parliaments have concurrent jurisdiction. A clearer definition was given in the British parliament when the Bill was introduced there, and I suppose we will all accept the good British theory that if there is a division of opinion as to the effect of a law, we must go to Mr. BOURASSA.
the real thought of the enacting legislature in order to properly understand it. Lord Carnarvon said in the House of Lord^ on the 19th of February, 18G7, when moving the second reading of the British North America Act :
In this Bill the division ol powers has been mainly effected by a distinct classification.
Does he say that the classification is threefold ? No, sir.
That classification is fourfold : First, those subjects of legislation which are attributed to the central parliament exclusively. Secondly, those which belong to the provincial legislature exclusively. Third, those which are the subject of concurrent legislation, and fourth, a particular clause which is dealt with exceptionally.
He then enumerates the powers that belong to the provinces and the powers that belong to the federal parliament, none of which includes education ; and he continues :
Lastly, in the 93rd clause which contains the exceptional provisions to which I refer, your lordships will observe some rather complicated arrangement in reference to education. I need hardly say that that great question gives rise to nearly as much earnestness and division of opinion on that as on this side of the Atlantic. This clause has been framed after long and anxious controversy in which all parties have been represented and on conditions to w-hich all have given their consent. The object of the clause is to secure
Complete autonomy to the provinces ? No, Sir.
The object of the clause is to . secure to the religious minority of one province the same rights, privileges and protection which the religious minority of another province may enjoy. The Roman Catholic minority of Upper Canada, the Protestant minority of Lower Canada, and the Roman Catholic minority of the maritime provinces will thus stand on a footing of entire equality.
It is true that the origin of that clause was a compact between the delegates from Upper Canada and the delegates from Lower Canada, but fortunately at that time there were at the head of both parties in this country men who had enough sense of justice to understand that iu laying the basis of our confederation the result of a compact between the provinces should be crystallized under law into a triumphant principle, and it was that principle which was embodied in this clause-not to furnish arguments to legal quibblers who might come thirty years later, but on the contrary, to lay down as the basis of justice in this Dominion, that a man, in whatever province of Canada he may choose his abode, can rest assured that justice and equality will reign and that no matter what the majority may attempt to do they cannot persecute the minority.
Later on an interpretation was put upon that clause of the British North America
armaments and rifles ? No. it relied on still more effective means. Were there then any cries raised about the powerful domination of the hierarchy ? No, the Prime Minister of that day, Sir John Macdonald, begged Archbishop Tache, who was then in Rome, for Heaven sake, to come back at once to Canada and establish peace in the Red River settlement. There is no hesitation to call in the hierarchy, when we can benefit by its aid. As the editor of ' La Patrie ' very happily put it the other day : What we are denied is not our right to pay. Oh, no, it is our right to have full freedom. Archbishop Tache acted at once on this appeal. He abandoned his functions at the Ecumenical Council at Rome and came to the Red River settlement, and on his way stopped at Ottawa to meet Sir John Macdonald. ' Take any steps, said Sir John to him, to appease the Indians and the halfbreeds.' Archbishop Tache however did not wrant to impose any pledges on politicians which perhaps they would not be strong enough to keep, and all he promised the native population was that the division of their lands would be respected and that they would have the free exercise of their religion and the schools they preferred for their children. What has become of those pledges ? The lands were divided against the wishes of those people and a second rebellion took place-a rebellion which has been justified by no less an authority than Colonel Denison who will not be charged with disloyalty and French demagogy.
What has become of the religious liberty, of the liberty of teaching of the Catholic population of the Northwest ? It has been abolished in Manitoba, against all pledges, against all words of honour ; and the author of that legislation can gain applause in this House by saying : ' If I have a title to the approval and support of the people of Canada, it is because I have gone back upon the pledges given in the name of the Queen of England to a law-abiding and peaceful population.' This, Mr. Speaker, is what we have come to. And now we are called upon to bow to this storm of feeling that has been aroused and to allow a still greater invasion of the rights of the people of that territory. It is time to face the storm. The powers that have raised that storm do not deserve that we should acknowledge their sovereignty. The principle of provincial rights is against them. The constitution is against them. The law is against them. Past pledges are against them. I will go further and say that a religious principle is at stake in this matter.
Under the terms of the capitulation of Montreal, in 1760, and of the Treaty of Paris of 1763, the free exercise of the Catholic religion was promised to the settlers who remained in Canada. And I say that there is no free exercise of the Catholic religion unless the Catholic parent has the full right to give to his child the education he wishes to give according to his conscientious be-Mr. BOtTRASSA.
fiefs. It is strange that there should exist in this country a prepossession in the minds of some people to the effect that in matters of education Roman Catholics have nothing to complain of if, in the public schools aided by the government, there is no sectarian education. As against this, let me put the authority, not of Roman Catholics, not of French Canadians, not of Canadian politicians, but of members of the Privy Council. During the appeal cases on the Manitoba school question this argument to whicii I Iiave referred was brought forward-that there was no injustice under the laws of Manitoba, that the Catholics were on exactly the same footing as all others with respect to education, because education in the public schools was perfectly non-sectarian. What did Lord Watson say about that ?
These kind of questions were more or less burning questions in Great Britain about the year 1865 or 1866. and during the whole of that period, as far as my knowledge and experience goes, there were large classes of Protestants, and especially Presbyterian Protestants, who I am glad to sqe are recognized as Christians in Manitoba, who wrere in favour of secular education, and think that religious education ought to be imparted in the family, or by the church, and not in a secular school, where they are learning the rudiments of knowledge. On the other hand there are a great number of Episcopalian Protestants who take a different view ; but I have never yet met a Roman Catholic who took that view.
And what did Lord Morris say later on ? The point had been urged that the Catholics ought to accept these schools, and Lord Morris said :
But what is the use of discussing other matters ? Nobody can deny that Roman Catholics cannot avail themselves of the system.
And Lord Watson, speaking especially of the idea of the denominational school in the mind of the Roman Catholics, said :
I rather think that the original idea of denominational schools is a school of a sect of people who are desirous that their own religion should be taught in it, and taught in their own w'ay-a doctrinal religion ; and not only taught because religion Is taught in a non-sectarian school, but, in the view of those who founded denominational schools originally, the theory was that their views of religion and teaching of their religion should permeate and run through all the education given in the school-that, whether it were rudimentary science or anything else, there should be an innoeulation of the youthful mind with particular religious views.
And, in the judgment that was delivered in the second case. Lord Herschell said, speaking of the public schools system of Manitoba :
While the Catholic inhabitants remain liable to local assessment, for school purposes, the proceeds of that assessment are no longer destined to any extent for the support of Catholic schools, but afford the means of maintaining schools which they regard as no more suitable for the education of Catholic children than if
they were distinctly Protestant in their character. ... It is true that the religious exercises prescribed for public schools are not to be distinctively Protestant, for they are to be ' non-sectarian,' and any parent may withdraw his child from them. There may be many who share the view expressed in one of the affidavits in Barrett's case, that there should not be any conscientious objections on the part of Roman Catholics to attend such schools, if adequate means be provided elsewhere of giving such moral and religious training as may be desired. But all this is not to the purpose. As a matter of fact the objection of Roman Catholics to schools such as alone receive state aid under the Act of 1890 is conscientious and deeply rooted.
Is it not a strange fact that in England, the centre and heart of Protestantism, where the Catholic population is but a mere handful, where the idea of Roman Catholicism is generally associated in the public mind with the Irish land question or the agitation in favour of home rule for Ireland-is it not strange that Protestant statesmen and lawyers should have a better understanding and a broader view of what the rights of Roman Catholics are than in this country, where Roman Catholics form two-fifths of the population, and where no man can point to an action, individual or collective, to the discredit of Roman Catholics so far as their loyalty, their observance of the law, or their national spirit, is concerned ?
And this brings me to a question that has been lightly touched upon in this House by-I was going to say the yellow hierarchy-which has been lightly touched upon by the hon. member for East Grey (Mr. iSproule). And-it is just as well to frankly admit it-this question is the very basis of this discussion. I wish to treat completely, if I can, the question of the influence of the hierarchy and the alleged sinister motives animating the Roman Catholics in this House. I have referred to the case of Archbishop Tachfi in 1870. That was only one instance. Let us take our history since the beginning ; and I may say that when I read what is now appearing in the Ontario newspapers, I cannot help asking myself what kind of history can be taught in the public schools of Ontario ? Eleven years after this country had been acquired by England by treaty, when practically the .whole population of Canada was French and Catholic, when the Englishspeaking Protestant population consisted almost wholly of a few traders in the city of Quebec, as the House knows, some trouble arose in certain English-speaking Protestant communities to the south, and some regiments, entirely composed of Anglo-Saxons and Protestants, came to besiege Quebec. The Governor of that day was named Guy Carleton-I do not know whether his name is ever mentioned in the public school histories of Ontario. When it was known that these regiments were on their way to Quebec, Governor Carleton issued a proclamation requiring all those who were not loyal to the British Crown to leave the city, and
calling upon those who were loyal to the Crown to remain and defend it. Who went out ? Who staid in ? All the English Protestants left the city and went to the Island of Orleans to wait for the result. The French Canadians, who have been conquered twelve years before, remained there and saved Canada to the British Crown. Mind j'ou. there were among the Anglo-Saxon rebels men of our race and creed. There were French regiments in the American army. Appeals were made to us by men of our blood, men whom the French race had no reason to be ashamed of. Among them was the Marquis de Lafayette. And what was our answer to the Marquis de Lafayette ? Under the guidance of that dominating hierarchy, we declared that we believed in the pledge given us by the King of England. We declared : The free practise of our religion is guaranteed to us ; and, so long as the King will not go back on us. we will never go back on him.
Thirty-six years later there was another little disturbance between the two great branches of the Anglo-Saxon Protestant family. Canada was again invaded ; and remember that in those 36 years of time, the French Canadians had been ill-treated, their public men had been put in gaol because they wanted to have what ? The same right that British citizens enjoyed in any other part of the empire. Their bishops had been ,threatened, with the same (treatment if they still dared to appoint parish priests instead of allowing Governor Craig to nominate them himself. In spite of that when the time of danger came, what did the representative of that obnoxious hierarchy say? He said : ' My brethren, it is true we have been ill-treated, but I still believe that the law of justice will be stronger with our King than injustice ; stand by him, be loyal, be constitutional and the time of justice will come.' The French Canadians fought at Chateauguay and elsewhere and once again contributed to save Canada.
Twenty-five years later, the same ill-treatment having been carried on, some of our people rebelled, wrongly I think, not because their case was not just, but because, as then' leader at the time, Papineau, told them, the rule of any British citizen was to carry on constitutional agitation but to avoid rebellion. In any case, at the request of an English speaking Protestant physician of the British army they rebelled in arms. Who stood out against the rebellion ? The same obnoxious representatives of the hierarchy who asked the French Canadians to remain peaceful.
A few years later an annexation movement was started in Canada. By whom ? By the hierarchy ? By the Jesuits ? By French Canadians and Catholics ? No, by the very political fathers of the hon. gentlemen opposite, because the British Crown at last had opened Its ears to the claims of its French speaking subjects and was beginning to grant justice, and as those gen-
tlemen had been fed on injustice for years and years they rebelled against the Crown and pelted the governor because he had granted a measure of justice to the French Canadians; and immediately after that they issued an annexation manifesto. Some French Canadians signed it and others were disposed to sign it. Again came the obnoxious power of the hierarchy who told the people of Canada : ' No, be true and
loyal, the day of justice is beginning to dawn and it will come by and by.' Cater on when Confederation was being discussed it was not, entirely acceptable to the people of Quebec. They had some suspicion of the treatment they might receive at the hands of the English speaking majority which up to that moment had not been such as to give them much confidence for the future. Again the hierarchy stood up and asked the people of Quebec to accept the compact which had been entered into. Has the hon. member for East Grey