March 28, 1905

LIB

Rodolphe Lemieux (Solicitor General of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. LEMIEUX.

I will explain the origin of those petitions. In this matter, the Conservative party has played the same old double game it played years ago when it stirred up the feelings of the austere Protestants in Ontario and the ultramontane element in the province of Quebec. When petitions were, so to speak, commanded from the Orange lodges by the member from East Grey, at the same time an order was given by the Conservative organization in Montreal to get protests from some of the counties in Quebec. We presented these petitions to parliament, as it was the right of the petitioners to ask us, but we said we were not responsible for them. My hon. friend (Mr. Blain) stated this afternoon that the right hon. the Prime Minister had obtained power in 1896 by riding the Catholic horse in the province of Quebec, and he told us that if the Liberal party were in power to-day it

*was due to its alliance with the Catholic clergy in that province. Sir, the hon. gentleman ought to know better; he ought to know that during the elections of 1896 in the province of Quebec, every Liberal candidate was asked by his Conservative opponent to choose between the Catholic church and the leader of the Liberal party, and in spite of the hurricane of protests which came from some presbyteries and some pulpits the candidates of the Liberal party in Quebec stood to their guns and won the battle.

My hon. friend (Mr. Blain) quoted not only the opinions of some clergymen in Ontario and other provinces, but he also referred to the defection of the Toronto ' Globe. I have been a reader of the 'Globe' for many years; every Liberal in this country is proud of the great Liberal organ in the province of Ontario, and I, for one deeply regret the defection of the ' Globe ' on this question. I regret that it forgets what the policy of George Brown did for the Liberal party. The Toronto 'Globe' should remember that the policy of George Brown on certain questions, kept the Liberal party out of office for a quarter of a century. But I must say yiis to the credit of the Toronto ' Globe': Though it fought the government and is still fighting the government on the educational clauses of this Bill, it has made no wild appeals such as those made by my hon. friend from South Tork (Mr. W. F. Maclean) in his paper. The Toronto ' Globe ' has discussed fairly the question from its own point of view. It has appealed to its own readers who belong to the school of George Brown, and it has loyally severed its connection with the government on this question. But what has been the policy pursued by my hon. friend, the editor of the Toronto ' World.'

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IND
LIB

Rodolphe Lemieux (Solicitor General of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. LEMIBUX.

What has been the policy of Mr. Willison, of the Toronto ' News ' ? What has been the policy of the ' Mail and Empire ' ? Have they presented calmly to their readers the question now before the House, like men desirous to create an opinion, or have they not discussed it like men anxious to stir up passions and bad feelings? Sir, I have known my hon. friend since 1896. I have been a Journalist myself, and I have read his paper for many years ; I have followed his career in this House very closely; and I say to him that he would not dare to utter before me, eye to eye, what he has published in his paper since the biginning of this debate.

The hon. member for Peel (Mr. Blain) quoted from the Huntingdon ' Gleaner,' which he said was a leading Liberal organ in the province of Quebec. I admit that the editor of the Huntingdon * Gleaner ' Mr. Robert Sellar, is an old Journalist.

He resides in the county of Huntingdon, a county where the French Canadians and Catholics form nearly a majority of the electors, and elect Protestant members. Luring the last election they elected an Irish Protestant. Mr. Robert Sellar is an intelligent man, an Iionest and pious man ; but, Sir, he is a doctrinaire. My hon. friend who is ready to accept the statement of Mr. Robert Sellars, whom he does not know ; who is ready to accept the statement of the Huntingdon ' Gleaner ' which he does not read once a year, because the paper has but a limited circulation in the county of Huntingdon, should, instead of accepting blindly such statements, look around him and ask his friend the member for the county of Huntingdon (Mr. Walsh), and his friend the member for the county of Sherbrooke (Mr. Worthington), and my hon. 1'riend who represents St. Antoine division of Montreal (Mr. Ames), and my hon. friend who represents Beauharnois (Mr. Bergeron), and my hon. friend from Jacques Cartier (Mr. Monk), to read the article referred to and he will learn then whether it is true or not that the French Canadian majority in the province of Quebec is driving away the English-speaking minority.

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CON

Thomas Simpson Sproule

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPROULE.

Might I say this to the hon. member, that I remember distinctly that some years ago an application was made to the government of the day-and two maps were brought here showing how the country had been peopled with Englishspeaking people years ago and the condition it was in then-to lend or grant them money enough to take them to the Northwest Territories, because they were becoming so few that it was utterly impossible for them to keep up their schools and churches and to have English-speaking communities, as they had before.

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LIB

Rodolphe Lemieux (Solicitor General of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. LEMIEUX.

My hon. friend has not made even a point. Does he for one moment believe that the French Canadians in the province of Quebec are driving away the English-speaking Protestant minority ? Does he believe that ?

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CON

Thomas Simpson Sproule

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPROULE.

If the hon. member will allow me to explain, I say I believe it-not that they are driving them away offensively, by any means ; but here is the system that was represented to us : that whenever a

farm was offered for sale, or a farmer was at all willing to sell, a French Canadian was prepared to buy.

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Some hon. MEMBERS

Oh, oh.

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CON

Thomas Simpson Sproule

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPROULE.

Will hon gentlemen extend to me that courtesy which I always extend to them ? Not that the French Canadians were desirous of getting the farms at less than their value ; but it was said that they were always ready to buy, and that they had a fund at their disposal to

buy out the English-speaking farmers. They could get money at a very low rate of interest-

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LIB

Louis-Philippe Brodeur (Minister of Inland Revenue)

Liberal

Mr. BRODEUR.

The hon. gentleman refers to a fund. What fund is that ?

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CON
?

Some hon. MEMBERS

Oh, oh.

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CON

Thomas Simpson Sproule

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPROULE.

That may be something laughable, or it may be something absurd.

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LIB
CON

Thomas Simpson Sproule

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPROULE.

Now, the hon. gentleman made it a point to interrupt me repeatedly when I was up before. 1 simply made the request to be allowed to explain. Then it was said that the farm was purchased-[DOT] why ? For this reason, that as soon as the farm got into the hands of a Roman Catholic it was subject to the tithes which the church could collect, and thus became a supporter of the church ; but that so long as it was owned by a Protestant, it was not a supporter of the church. Therefore there was a strong inducement for the Roman Catholic to purchase it. It was said that a fund was raised by the church for this purpose- not improperly at all-and that one farm after another was taken over in that way until the English-speaking population got to be so few that they were unable to keep up their schools and churches, and these were closed ; the people had no community of interest amongst themselves because they could not keep up their schools, their children were raised in ignorance ; and this application was made to the government for assistance or for a loan to enable a number of these people to go to the Northwest Territories. That is the explanation.

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LIB

Rodolphe Lemieux (Solicitor General of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. LEMIEUX.

Mr. Speaker, you have there an evidence of the ignorance-the honest ignorance, I must say-of my hon. friend. I appeal to his neighbour, my hon. friend from Beauharnois, to my hon. friend from Jacques Cartier, to my hon. friend from St. Antoine, to my hon. friend from the county of Huntingdon, where the Huntingdon ' Gleaner ' is published, and I ask them to stamp at once such statement as arrant nonsense. To think that the church, which is greatly indebted in the province of Quebec, and which is even borrowing money from English insurance companies and English banks, has a fund to buy farms from the English-speaking people of the province of Quebec, why ! it is simply preposterous.

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CON
?

Some hon. MEMBERS

Sit down.

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CON

Thomas Simpson Sproule

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPROULE.

Is that the tolerance that is extended to a member who wishes to say a word on behalf of Protestantism in this country ? I treat those hon. gentlemen Mr. SPROULE.

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with respect and am entitled to expect a like return from them. I rise to say that the Huntingdon ' Gleaner ' gives an account of the very same thing described in the letter I read.

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LIB
LIB

Rodolphe Lemieux (Solicitor General of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. EEMIEUX.

My hon. friend from Peel (Mr. Blain) quoted some of the authorities against this measure, and did not fail to mention the name of Mr. Haultain. I have very much respect for the First Minister of the Northwest Territories. Mr. Haultain is a talented young statesman from the west. He has been in Ottawa a few weeks, and no doubt feels compelled to speak in accord with the Tory press, because he is also a Tory statesman. During the last elections he took a very prominent and active part against this government in the Northwest Territories. Mr. Haultain is therefore bound to be against the government. But there is another gentleman who accompanied Mr. Haultain on his mission to the Ottawa government. We saw him on the floor of this House when this Bill was introduced. I refer to Mr. Bulyea. I understand that Mr. Bulyea gave an expression of his opinion to the Toronto press not long ago, and when I compare the statements of Mr. Haultain with those of Mr. Bulyea, I find that they differ toto coelo. Mr. Haultain has taken this government to task on the educational clauses, the land clauses and on the division of the provinces, But Mr. Bulyea declares, speaking for his province and himself, that he is perfectly satisfied with the measure as presented by the government.

Sir, the question now before the House and the country marks an epoch in the history of Canada. It deserves our best attention and all our solicitude, as it is surrounded with immense difficulties. I must crave the indulgence of the House during the few remarks I will offer, remembering always that the more contentious an issue is the more it must be approached in a spirit of conciliation and tolerance, and I earnestly hope that not one word, not one sentence, will fall from my lips that will in the least offend even the most sturdy opponent of the measure.

As to the principle of autonomy, I do not believe that there is in the House one dissenting voice. From every part of Canada the birth of the twin jn'ovinces has been hailed with joy ; nay, more, with a legitimate pride.

The Northwest Territories are the creation of the Canadian commonwealth. They are its offspring. The fathers of confederation were not satisfied with the union of the different British colonies scattered from one end of the continent to the other. They thought-and wisely so-that the immense prairies extending from the great lakes to the Rocky mountains should also be included in the Dominion, so as to unite, under the British flag, all the territories extending from the Atlantic to the Pacific. They did

not hesitate to pledge the credit of the country to what was then considered a huge amount of money-but which has since been found to be but a trifling sum-in order to secure for Canada that great lone land, known only in those days from the early pioneers, from the missionaries, from the voyageurs and the trappers of the Hudson Bay Company.

Sir, the more we study the history of confederation the more we appreciate the spirit which guided its fathers. They were nation-builders, the men who sat at the conference of Quebec. Their vision of the future extended much beyond the union of the four original provinces. They foresaw that, in the years to come, the existence of a g'reat Canadian nation, under the fegis of British monarchical institutions was not only a dream, but a striking reality ; aye, even by the side of by far the greatest of all modern and ancient republics.

Before I proceed any further, let me express the hope that the day is not far distant when the last link will be added to the chain of Canadian provinces by the entry of Newfoundland into confederation. More so, now that the vexed French shore dispute has been settled between England and France. It seems to me that nothing stands in the way to prevent the union of Newfoundland with the Dominion on fail-terms. The public men of both countries would indeed be remiss to their duty if they did not grapple and overcome the objections or the difficulties which have been raised in the past whenever the question was brought up for discussion.

As I said, a moment ago, the granting of autonomy to the Northwest Territories has been received with favour by the country at large. Long ago, it was felt, that if ever the tide of immigration would turn our way it would never recede. The tide is on us-more especially since the last five or six years-and from all parts of the world, immigration is pouring so to say, towards the new promised land of western Canada. With a population of half a million inhabitants ; with the expectation of doubling that figure before many years have elapsed ; having fairly passed the period of infancy, it was but just and fair that the Northwest Territories should be given the full control of their local government.

I insist however on two points : 1. The Northwest Territories have been acquired by Canada.-they are our creation ; 2.

Whilst in the case of Canada, the constitution was framed by the imperial parliament, in the present instance, with regard to the Northwest Territories, their constitution is framed by the Canadian parliament. It seems to me that at this stage of the debate, it is well to bear in mind those two peculiar features of the situation. Though not eternal, constitutions are not by any means of a transitory nature. They are framed to be permanent-as permanent as human institutions can possibly be. I

therefore quite understand the keen and lively interest which the two Bills now under consideration, have aroused from one end of the country to the other. I less understand, however, the sentiment of bitterness which, of latter days, they have so intensely developed.

Sir, I do not intend to discuss the several clauses contained in the Bill. The masterly effort of the right lion, the leader of the House, when he introduced this measure, has made our task an easy one indeed-I will confine myself to the land question and the school question.

I wish, however, before taking up those two features of the Bill, to say a word or two concerning the division of the Northwest Territories into two provinces. This is one of Mr. Haultain's grievances-but from all appearances, it seems to be a personal grievance. Is it because, as future premier of one of the provinces, he will command less influence ? That, I would not venture to say. But be it a personal grievance or not, the fact remains that the division of the Northwest Territories into two provinces is in accord with public opinion all over Canada. Sir, we are legislating for the future whilst Mr. Haultain-if his views on this question were adopted-would bind us to the present only. Moreover, we, live in a confederation. Should not the history of other confederacies be an object lesson to us? The danger may be remote, but do you not agree with me, Mr. Speaker, that by carving two provinces out of that immense western territory, the balance of power is more equally, more equitably distributed as among all the others ? At the time of the first republic of France, _ a great orator, Vergniaud, said of the French revolution that it resembled Saturn devouring his own progeny. Sir, I am not a pessimist, but I fear that the very reverse would likely happen, if we did create one huge province extending from Manitoba to the Rockies; in this instance the child abnormally overgrown, would soon devour his father.

The hon. gentlemen opposite and the Conservative press throughout the Dominion, have been very loud-in their protests against the clause of the Bill which vests in the Dominion the property of the public lands in the Northwest Territories. ' Why is the west deprived of its birthright ' ? is the question put by those who, by all means, are bound to find fault with this measure. ' Why not treat the west as well as the other provinces ' ? Sir, such appeals may perhaps stir up the feelings of those who do not know under what peculiar and exceptional circumstances the Northwest Territories entered confederation. But surely, they cannot aiid will not bias the judgment of any of the hon. gentlemen who sit in this House. True it is. that the British North America Act stipulates that each province

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March 28, 1905