March 30, 1905

CON

Joseph Gédéon Horace Bergeron

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BERGERON.

I may say that it is not clause 11, but clause 14-

Topic:   EDUCATION.
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LIB

Charles Fitzpatrick (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. FITZPATRICK.

It is clause 11 of the original Bill, but clause 14 of the consolidation.

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CON

Joseph Gédéon Horace Bergeron

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BERGERON.

I contend that, in relation to the question before the House, this w'as the law and is the law. And, w'hile I am prepared to rely upon my own opinion in that matter, I would refer to the Bill brought down by the Prime Minister (Sir Wilfrid Laurier) in support of my position. What is clause 16 of the Bill now before us ? It is in effect a reenactment of the section of the British North America Act. It was put in the Bill ns originally presented by the Prime Minister as a matter of precaution-in case any person might otherwise carry the matter to the courts and plead that we had not made it apply to those new provinces by an Act of the parliament of Canada. Now', section 16 says :

The provisions of section 93 of the British North America Act, 1867, shall apply to the said province as if at the date upon which this Act comes into force the territory comprised therein, was already a province

That w'ould settle the argument of my hon. friend from St. John and Iberville (Mr. L. P. Demers). And then we have added the following words, in order that there may be no question as to the use of 1 province.' ' territory,' ' district ' or any other word :

the expression ' the union ' in the said section being taken to mean the said date.

And subsection 2 is as follow's :

2. Subject to the provisions of the said section 93, and in continuance of the principle heretofore sanctioned under the Northw'est Territories Act, it is enacted, that the legislature of the said province shall pass all necessary laws in respect of education, and that it shall therein always be provided (a) that a majority of the ratepayers of any district or portion of

the said province, or of any less portion or subdivision thereof, by whatever name it is known, may establish such schools therein as they think fit, and make the necessary assessments and collection of rates therefor, and (b) that the minority of the ratepayers therein, whether Protestant or Roman Catholic, may establish separate schools therein, and make the necessary assessment and collection of rates therefor, and (c) that in such case the ratepayers establishing such Protestant or Roman Catholic separate schools shall be liable only to assessment of such rates as they impose upon themselves with respect thereto.

And, In case it should be asserted, as it was in 1896 in the case of the Remedial Bill that, because no money was provided for the maintenance of the separate schools, therefore it was no good, my hon. friend (Mr. Fitzpatrick) made the following provision :

3. In the appropriation of public moneys by the legislature in aid of education, and in the distribution of any moneys paid to the government of the said province arising from the school fund established by the Dominion Lands Act, there shall be no discrimination between the public schools and the separate schools, and such moneys shall be applied to the support of public and separate schools in equitable shares or proportion.

There is the law that the right hon. Prime Minister wanted for the new provinces in the Northwest Territories, and I repeat-and I am not afraid to give my opinion or to state my reasons for it-this had my entire approval. To me, it se'ems simply a case of rendering justice to whom justice was due. To me it seemed an act of fairness to these 125,000 people that, my hon. friend from Brandon (Mr. Sifton) said, went into the Northwest Territories upon the faith of that law. In effect it declared to them : You have not been deceived by

the government of the Dominion of Canada.

It has been said in this House in the course of this debate-1 cannot remember by whom-that it was an evidence of great generosity on the part of the people of the Northwest Territories that, in 1875 the Mackenzie government then in power in the Dominion, granted separate schools for the Northwest. Well, Sir, I do not give any member of this House new information when I say that in 1875 the majority of the inhabitants of the Northwest Territories were French Canadians and Catholics. That being the case, it was merely an act of justice to give them the schools they wanted.

Now. I shall be told that there were ordinances passed after the Act of 1875. So there were. I will take these up in their order. In 1885 there was an ordinance passed effecting the organization of the school system. When I quote that ordinance it will be seen that its effect was to establish such a system as we have in the province of Quebec. In that province we have a council of public instruction

composed one-half of Protestants and one-half of Catholics, the Protestant managing the affairs of their schools and the Catholics managing the affairs of their schools. This is a system of separate schools not merely in name, but in fact.

The Lieutenant Governor in Executive Council may appoint and constitute a board of education for the Northwest Territories, composed of five members, two of whom shall be Roman Catholics, and two shall be Protestants, and the Lieutenant Governor, who shall be chairman.

Now, I refer to clause 6-the clauses before that have nothing to do with the subject I am now discussing, but relate merely to domestic affairs. Clause 6 says :

The hoard of education shall resolve itself into two sections, the one consisting of the Protestant, and the other of the Roman Catholic members thereof, and it shall be the duty of each section :

1. To have under its control and management the schools of its section, and to make from time to time such regulations as may be deemed fit for their general government and discipline, and the carrying out of provisions of this ordinance.

This was the ordinance of 1885. When this was passed, the law of 1875 was still the law, and this ordinance was merely providing an organization for carrying that law into effect. How long did it last ? Unfortunately, in the Northwest as in Manitoba and elsewhere the new-comers, honest men, no doubt, and sincere in their convictions, by degrees have taken away nearly everything that was granted to the minority under the Acts of 1875.

The ordinance of 1892 was promulgated on December 1, 1892. There is the first blow at what I call separate schools. The name did not disappear ; it was put in golden letters here the other day by the hon. member for Brandon (Mr. Sifton), but the system of separate schools commenced to be torn to pieces in 1892. What was done then 1

The Lieutenant Governor by and with the advice and consent of the legislative assembly of the Territories enacts as follows :

The first three sections deal with expressions such as ' school districts ' &c. Clause 4 reads :

There may be established, subject to the provisions of this ordinance and to the regulations of the council of public instruction, the following classes of schools, namely :

Now, Mr. Speaker, I wish yon to follow these words with the closest attention.

(a) Public schools for pupils between five and twenty years of age, in which instruction shall he given in the elements of an English and commercial education.

(b) Separate schools for pupils between five and twenty years of age, in which instruction shall be given in the elements of an English and commercial education.

Why call it a separate school ? Is this not irony ? Why not have only the one school ? Was it for the sake of giving some gentlemen an opportunity of saying that hy voting for the amendment of my hon. friend they are keeping separate schools in the Northwest ? It has only to be read to be understood. That was done on the 31st of December, 1902, and it was the law and in fact it is the law brought down to the ordinances 29, 30 and 31 of which I shall speak later on.

I have shown what is to be taught in those schools. Clause 36 reads :

After the establishment of a separate school district under the provisions of this ordinance, such public school district shall possess and exercise all rights, powers, privileges and be subject to the same liabilities and method of government as is herein provided in respect of public school districts.

The very same thing. It was called a separate school but we found it was a public school, and I am not sur-praised that my bon, friend the Minister of Finance (Mr. Fielding) and even the ultra-Protestant member for Brandon, (Mr. Sifton) have changed their minds after their little stampede. The opinions of those in- this House who do uot believe in separate schools, who were honest about it, I respect just as much as I want them to respect mine. II know as a matter of fact that there are men who are sincerely convinced that public schools would be better, just as I am convinced that it is imperative that separate schools be maintained if the views which I hold are to be carried out, that is to say that the children of our country are to be brought up in the way their parents desire. To those who are voting for the amendment of the Prime Minister, because it is in favour of separate schools, I would quote this section :

83. All schools shall be Taught in the English language and instruction may be given in the following branches, viz.: Reading, writing, orthography, arithmetic, geography, &e.

84. Any school the officers of which shall knowingly allow such school to be taught or conducted in violation of the provisions of this ordinance or of the regulations of the council of public instruction, or of the superintendent of education, shall be liable to forfeit all rights to participate in any of the grants provided by this ordinance to aid the schools of the Territories, and, upon satisfactory evidence of such violation, such grants may be withheld.

85. No religious instruction, such as Bible reading or reciting, or reading or reciting prayers '(except as hereinafter provided), or asking questions or giving answers from any catechism, shall be permitted in any school in the Territories, from the opening of such school at nine o'clock in the forenoon, until one-half hour previous to the closing of such school in

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CON

Joseph Gédéon Horace Bergeron

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BERGERON.

the afternoon, after which time any such instruction. permitted or desired by the trustees may be given.

86. Any child attending any school shall have the privilege of leaving the school room at the time at which religious instruction is commenced as provided for in the preceding section or of remaining without taking part in any religious instruction that may be given, if the parents or guardians so desire.

And these are called separate schools. This is the ordinance of 1892. I may be asked : Wliy was not that vetoed ? I need not tell bon. gentlemen that there was a great deal of agitation at that time in the Territories. I need not say that Monseigneur Tache, whose words were read the other day by the bon. member for Brandon (Mr. Sifton), and others, who took a great deal of interest in the educational affairs of that country, did everything they could to repeal that ordinance.

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LIB

Charles Fitzpatrick (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. FITZPATRICK.

Has that clause been repeated in the ordinance, chapter 29 ?

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CON
LIB

Charles Fitzpatrick (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. FITZPATRICK.

Can you not reach that now ?

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CON

Joseph Gédéon Horace Bergeron

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BERGERON.

I am getting to it by degrees.

Mr. FITZPATRICK!. You might forget it.

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CON

Joseph Gédéon Horace Bergeron

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BERGERON.

It might please my hon. friend if I did forget it. It may be said : Why was there not an appeal or, why were not those amendments vetoed by the government at Ottawa, and the name of Sir John Thompson has been brought into the discussion. Sir John Thompson's opinions were well known on such subjects. I would not like to trouble the House with a great deal of reading, but I wish to point out first of all that when the effect of the ordinance of 1S92 was felt it was found that it was an enactment of something which had been decided in 1891, and that the time within which it could have been disallowed was past. [DOT]

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LIB

Charles Fitzpatrick (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. FITZPATRICK.

What, what, what, what ? I am sure my hon. friend is mistaken.

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CON

Joseph Gédéon Horace Bergeron

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BERGERON.

I will give very good testimony in support of what I am saying.

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LIB

Louis-Philippe Brodeur (Minister of Inland Revenue)

Liberal

Mr. BRODEUR.

That is not the reason given by Sir John Thompson.

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CON
LIB
CON

Joseph Gédéon Horace Bergeron

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BERGERON.

The date of the pamphlet is 1894 and the letter is dated the 4th of January, 1894. Then, the Archbishop goes on in his memoir to say:

I was somewhat convinced that the honourable the Privy Council could not help seeing the dangers of those ordinances, but I thought there was no use going any farther in attempting to assist council by pointing out the dangers which were threatening. The honourable the committee is right in saying that appeals to the Governor in Council under the British North America Act in the matter of education from the provinces of Canada have not been established for the Territories. Such an appeal does not exist for the Territories.

Then he repeats the answer which was given to him by the then Minister of Justice, or at least by the Privy Council, and he says:

Of course, if it is the committee's desire to grant an alternative answer to the prayer of the petitioners, there is only one remedy which remains. The veto is the only remedy which can be applied in response to the prayer of the petitioners who have submitted their case to the goodwill of the government. The honourable the committee says that it has not the right to do justice to the demand. In the face of that refusal, in one case because there is no power and the other because there is no

willingness to apply that remedy, the committee does not find itself in a favourable position.

Then the Archbishop cites the statute of the Northwest Territories of which the petitioners availed themselves as a proof that the Roman Catholics in the Northwest Territories have a right to their separate schools, and he says that it is to be regretted that such a right should have been abolished by the ordinances of 1892. I will now read for the benefit of my hon. friend the Minister of Justice an extract from the report of the hon. the Privy Council, approved by His Excellency the Governor General on February 5, 1894. I shall only read that part of it which has to do with what I have already read. This is in answer to those who say to us: Why did your friends not disallow those ordinances? Why did your friends not render justice? Your premier was a Roman Catholic; why did he not act? This is the answer:

While an appeal in the sense of the provisions of the British North America Act, referring to appeals to the 'Governor in Council, on matters affecting education in the province of Canada, is not established as regards the Territories, the committee of the Privy Council feel confident that any suggestion having your Excellency's authority would be given all proper consideration by the assembly and by the council, and the committee consider themselves justified in entertaining this confidence, more especially as in the same enactment as that under which the Northwest Assembly is organized and exercised its functions (the Northwest Territories Act, section 14) the following provision is made.

Then it recites the clause which I have read a few moments ago. There is no question that the Privy Council made a remonstrance against those ordinances to the council of the Northwest Territories. There is no question that a demand was made not to put in force those ordinances of 1892, the effect of which, as a matter of fact, was to abolish separate schools in the Northwest Territories. What was the answer ? Nothing was done.

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LIB
CON

Joseph Gédéon Horace Bergeron

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BERGERON.

My hon. friend (Mr. Fitzpatrick) is right. It is a matter for reflection. Those gentlemen who were at the head of affairs in the Territories listened to all these prayers, they knew that these petitioners were right; still they did nothing. Why? Because the majority, I imagine, were opposed to a change. We might as well accept the truth of the doctrine that under a constitutional government it is the majority that rules. That is why, I think, it is very dangerous to put on the statutes of Canada laws which purely and simply will he footballs later on for the fanatics in politics or anywhere else.

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LIB

Louis-Philippe Brodeur (Minister of Inland Revenue)

Liberal

Mr. BRODEUR.

Before my hon. friend (Mr. Bergeron) leaves that subject, I understood him to say a few moments ago that

347fr

the ordinances of 3892 could not be disallowed because it was too late when the petition was presented to the Dominion.

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CON

Joseph Gédéon Horace Bergeron

Conservative (1867-1942)

Hr. BERGERON.

That was the first reason given, and the second reason that wa# given in this memorandum of the Privy Council was that they could not do it.

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LIB

Louis-Philippe Brodeur (Minister of Inland Revenue)

Liberal

Mr. BRODEUR.

I think that in that respect my hon. friend is entirely mistaken. The government simply refused to disallow the ordinances. They never pretended that they had no right to disallow the ordinances, but they simply said in the report that my hon. friend has just read that they did not consider it advisable to disallow the ordinances. They never pretended for a moment that they had not the right to disallow them.

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March 30, 1905