March 30, 1905

CON

Joseph Gédéon Horace Bergeron

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BERGERON.

Evidently the Minister of Inland Revenue does not understand what I have read. I read from the complaint of the minority the first time ^ its representatives appeared before the Canadian Privy Council to complain of the injustice done them. The ordinance of 1892 that they complained of was a re-enactment of a previous ordinance passed in 1891 and they were told that it was too late to disallow the ordinance of 1891.

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LIB

Louis-Philippe Brodeur (Minister of Inland Revenue)

Liberal

Mr. BRODEUR.

It was not too late to disallow the ordinance of 1892.

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CON

Joseph Gédéon Horace Bergeron

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BERGERON.

No, but they were told that even if the ordinance of 1892 were disallowed, yet, as the ordinance of 1891 was still in force and it was too late to disallow it, no good would result from the disallowance of the ordinance of 1892.

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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. FITZPATRICK.

Why was it not disallowed in 1891 ?

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CON

Joseph Gédéon Horace Bergeron

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BERGERON.

Because an appeal in the sense of the provisions of the British North America Act on matters affecting education, was not established as regards the Territories.

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LIB

Louis-Philippe Brodeur (Minister of Inland Revenue)

Liberal

Mr. BRODEUR.

It was not a question of appeal ; it was a question of disallowance.

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CON

Joseph Gédéon Horace Bergeron

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BERGERON.

The appeal and the disallowance go together and you cannot disassociate them. At all events the result was that the ordinance of 1892 remained in force. But why are my hon. friends opposite plying me with all these questions and all these objections. What is their object in that ? I am afraid that it is politics which prompts these interrogations, and I hope that politics will be excluded from this discussion, I trust to be able to treat of this matter aside altogether from petty politics. It is too serious a question with me to allow political considerations to enter into it and I am afraid that these gentlemen opposite have the idea that later on they will be able to say : the Conservatives were in power Mr. BRODEUR.

and they did not do justice to the minority. Well, Sir, if the Conservatives did wrong, they have had their day of reckoning, and if the Conservatives did wrong that is noreason why a Liberal government in power should perpetuate injustice. I have read the reasons which were given for not disallowing the ordinance of 1892, and I would hesitate long before I would come to the belief that Sir John Thompson would sacrifice the Catholic minority of the Northwest Territories. I believe he would have come to their relief unless good and strong reasons prevented him. Sir John Thompson was Minister of Justice at the time, and I take it for granted that he studied the case carefully, and I believe if he had been able to disallow the Act of 1892, or if its disallowance would have been of any avail to the minority, Sir John Thompson would have disallowed it. But the ordinance of 1891 remaining in force, and it being too late to disallow it, no good would be accomplished by disallowing the ordinance of 1892. What is the use of splitting hairs on a question of this kind ? I want to take a large view of it; I want to see what has happened ; I want to know where we find ourselves to-day and to what cause our grievance may be attributed. There is no doubt that since 1892 there are no separate school's in the Northwest Territories. Whether that be the fault of the Liberals or the fault of the Conservatives does not amount to anything in the present discussion ; that will have to be settled before the electorate. Our duty here is to make laws and just laws. Perhaps it is, that because the Conservative government may have been guilty of neglect of duty in this particular, that when the present Bill was introduced into the House of Commons it contained the original clause 16, which was an intimation to me that at least this government was doing its duty- it did not do it long though. Let us refer for a moment to the ordinance of 1891. The rights and privileges of the minority in the Northwest Territories were not taken away abruptly ; there was a gradual encroachment until we reached chapter 29 of the ordinance of 1891, the third paragraph of which reads as follows :

There shall be a department of the public service of the Territories called the Department of Education over which a member of the Executive Council appointed by the Lieutenant Governor in Council under the seal of the Territories to discharge the functions of the Minister of Education for the time being, shall preside.

This was a new feature of the school law of the Northwest Territories. It gave the Territories a Minister of Education or a Commissioner of Education as he is called. It brought education into politics ; it abandoned the first council ot public instruction that was formed arid which was satisfactory; it abandoned the second hoard of education which was also more or less satisfactory,

and it brought education down to the political arena. This ordinance further says :

The Lieutenant Governor may appoint such officers, clerks and servants as are required for the proper conduct of the business of the department and for the purpose of this ordinance, all of whom shall hold office during pleasure.

Now. here is what this Department of Education is authorized to do :

The commissioner, with the approval of the Lieutenant Governor in Council shall have power to make regulations for the department.

(2) To authorize text and reference books for use of the pupils and teachers in all schools hereinbefore mentioned as well as such maps, charts, and other apparatus or equipment as may be required for giving proper instruction in such schools. To prepare a list of books suitable for school libraries and to make regulations for the management of such libraries.

There shall be au educational council consisting of live persons, at least two of them shall be Roman Catholics, to be appointed by the Lieutenant Governor in Council, who shall receive such remuneration as the Lieutenant Governor in Council shall determine.

We see from this that the board of education consists of a member of the executive council with two Catholics and two Protestants appointed by the Lieutenant Governor in Councii, but these gentlemen have not the right to vote. I think I have given the information which my hon. friend (Mr. Brodeur) asked for as to chapter 29 of the ordinances, which is the law in the Territories to-day. I have read to the House clause 16 of the original Bill as submitted to parliament by the Prime Minister.

Clause 16 to my mind was what it should have been, and I would have supported it, because it was giving the minority in the Northwest justice. Of course, I am speaking for myself and expressing my own views.

I am in favour of separate schools ; I believe in separate schools-not merely in the word ' separate,' but in the tuition which children get in separate schools. I want religion to be taught in the schools. I want the child to hear of God and to pray in the school-not all the time ; but I want it to be understood that the name of God shall be mentioned there. I have heard men who -are very sincere say : ' You are a

broad-minded man ;. why not let all the children go to the same school together, with the national flag floating from the top of the building ? Of course, there would be no prayer in the school, because it would offend the Roman Catholics, the Methodists, the Presbyterians or the Baptists. There would be no religion taught. The children would simply go there and learn what is necessary to earn their living. They would play together, and would grow up to respect each other.' I do not believe in that kind of school, and I do not believe that is true. I remember that when I was attending college there were some Americans 111

there, and it was not very long before we were separated. Our differences would come out without thinking about them, and, though we commenced by playing, we would finish up by fighting. My hon. friends opposite know the college-it is the Jesuits' College. They have now a separate college for English boys. The cause of difference between the boys was not religion only ; it may have been something else ; but, at any rate, we fought together. As men we are surrounded by friends who have been brought up in different schools, and we appreciate one another ; but that appreciation is not developed in children. A man appreciates in another man certain qualities for which he respects him, but a child cannot do that. I do not want to convert anybody to my opinions, because I know that those who have opposite opinions are as sincere and honest in holding them as I am in holding mine. But I am explaining my opinions ; and, holding them, when clause 16 of this Bill was brought down I hailed it with pleasure, and I was happy at the deliverance which my right hon. friend made on that occasion. It did not last, however. Why did it not last ? My hon! friend from St. John and Iberville (Mr. Demers) says we are not doing what we would like to do ; we would like" to do more, but we do what we can in a country like this. This is not the way our forefathers talked. This is not the way the men who built up Canada talked. When Sir John A. Macdonald, in 1863, voted for separate schools in the province of Ontario, the province of Canada at that time, he was not doing what he himse'lf preferred, for he was in favour of public schools ; but he did so because he thought it was the best thing that could be done in the province of Canada at that time, on account of the different nationalities and creeds in Upper and Lower Canada. We have often seen occasions of the same kind. Shall I speak of something nearer to us ? In 1896 we had before parliament a question very much like the present one, except that we were dealing with a state of things which was existing at that time, whilst at present we are creating a state of things. In 1896 the Manitoba school question was before parliament. It had been before the country since 1890. I heard the other day the hon. member for Brandon (Mr. Sifton) boast of having had a great deal to do with the Manitoba school business. I was sorry to hear him talk like that, although he gave some reasons, in a very clever way, which hid if I may use the word, the odious part of the business. He declared that the separate schools were not efficient, that they were not what they should have been, and that money was squandered on them. I need not tell the House that those statements have been refuted time and time again. There may have been some abuses, as there are in most things, but on the whole the

separate schools in Manitoba were good schools and the teachers were good teachers. In most cases, the people not having the means to pay teachers, the parish priests were the teachers, and we know that they -are men of education. My hon. friend from Brandon knows that politics had a great deal more to do with the abolition of those schools than the question of their efficiency. There was some railway business which put the government into a very bad position, and something was needed to divert public opinion from the deeds of the ministers. Our friend Mr. Dalton McCarthy had gone *on a tour through the province of Manitoba. He was dissatisfied because Sir John Thompson had been chosen as Minister of Justice. He had hopes of being offered that position, although he might have refused it, and he went to Manitoba and inflamed the passions of the people. He told them that something should be done to deliver them from the influence of the hierarchy. It was there that he commenced his fight against the hierarchy, and questions of that sort will always greatly inflame public opinion. In a short time the hon. member for Disgar (Mr. Greenway), who was at the head of the Manitoba government, and the hon. member for Brandon (Mr. Sifton) deprived the minority of that province of what they were entitled to. We have been told that the question in Manitoba was not the same question that we are discussing to-day-that in Manitoba, the provincial government had given separate schools and that the provincial government withdrew separate schools and the official use of the French language ; and that was provincial rights. The minori-tv complained. I need not give the whole history of the case. The question came before parliament; and I may say in passing that the Northwest ordinance was passed while we were in the midst of that turmoil. The question was before the Privy Council and before the courts. We were taunted on the stump everywhere because the Conservative government had not disallowed the Act of the legislature of Manitoba. My right hon. friend the leader of the government was sitting on this side of the House at that time, when the Hon. Edward Blake moved a resolution declaring that it would be wise for the Dominion government not to use the right of veto in cases involving religion or nationality, and that resolution was looked upon as such a wise one that Sir John A. Macdonald, sitting where my right hon. friend does now, rose and said : ' This is a motion which should have the unanimous support of the House ' ; and it had. This is why that Act was not vetoed. At that time my right hon. friend and his friends in the province of Quebec said that the government did not act because it was under the heel of the Orangemen of the province of Ontario.

And it was said in Ontario that the government was. under the heel of the hierarchy in the province of Quebec. This lasted from Mr. BERGERON.

1890 to 1S96. The constitutionality of the Act of the Manitoba legislature abolishing the separate schools had gone before the Supreme Court of Canada and the Privy Council, and the Privy Council in its first judgment declared that the Act was intra vires the Manitoba legislature. Again there was an appeal to the Privy Council, and that court declared that although the Manitoba legislature had the right to pass a law taking away the schools of the minority in that province, the minority had a grievance, and it was within the rights and the powers of the Dominion government to come to its rescue and remove that grievance. Then we had the Remedial Bill submitted to the Dominion parliament, and we all know what happened. When my right hon. friend moved the six months hoist, we were at the end of the session. But when the second reading of that Bill was proposed and carried by a majority of the House, who were the members that voted for it ? Who were those who voted to do justice to the minority of Manitoba and to stand upon the rock of the constitution ? It was, Mr. Speaker, the Conservative party which took that stand. And I say it to the honour of the Protestants and the Orangemen of Ontario and the maritime provinces, that they voted to do justice to the Catholic minority. I remember well Mr. Fairbairn, an old representative of the province of Ontario, declaring in this House, that although he was an old Orangeman lie was going to vote in favour of the Catholic minority because he had sworn to be a defender always of minorities, whether Catholic or Protestant. I am reminding the House of these facts in order that, in these days, when we read so much in the newspapers about the intolerance on this side of the House, I may give my testimony on behalf of the Conservative English Protestants of this Dominion. In my opinion, the newspapers are in many instances doing more harm than good and inflaming passions and prejudices where it should be their endeavour to allay them. I have seen caricatures published of my right hon. friend which did not at all meet my approval and I have also seen caricatures of some of my hon. friends orythis side which I think were altogether out of place. I regret these methods. I regret this holding up of our public men to undeserved ridicule and obloquy, because it cannot fail to have a mischievous effect on the people. I can sympathize with my right hon. friend in his present position. I can appreciate the difficulty in which he found himself, when the exMinister of the Interior (Mr. Sifton) came back and took him by the throat and possibly threatened to inflame public opinion, I can well understand that my right hon. friend then found himself between two fires. On the toe side was the persistent Minister of Justice (Mr. Fitzpatrick), who stuck, and rightly stuck, to his clause. On the other was the Minister of the Interior (Mr. MARCH 30, 1905

Siftou), who in all probability was going around to members of parliament-good men, honest men, against whom I have not a word to say, for I have nothing to say against men who may have different opinions from mine-going around to members not only from the Northwest but others, and saying to them : You cannot accept this ; this

will give clerical schools ; this is putting for ever the majority of the Northwest Territories under the shackles of the hierarchy of Rome. Then, my right hon. friend no doubt felt convinced that in order to have peace he must accept the amendment now proposed. I remember hearing him very often say in this House that he never said anything until he had pondered it well, but that when he did, he stuck to what he said. He has not done so in this instance, and I am sorry for it. What is the proposal before us now ? Those who want public schools are all right, public schools by this proposal will be established in the Territories for ever. But in what position will be those who are in favour of separate schools, who want to go home and say : I have supported separate schools ; I voted against the amendment of the leader of the opposition because he said let us leave those new provinces to construe the British North America Act as they desire and establish what system of schools they choose. Some of my hon. friends will say: We could not accept that amendment of the leader of the opposition and therefore we voted for the amendment of the right hon. gentleman. But what is the amendment of the right hon. gentleman, and what is it going to give the minority of the Northwest Territories ? Here is the amendment:

Section 93 of the British North America Act, 1S67, shall apply to the said province, with the substitution for subsection one of said section 93, of the following subsection :

1. Nothing in any such law shall prejudicially affect any right or privilege with respect to separate schools which any class of persons have at the date of the passing of this Act under the terms of chapters 29 and 30 of the ordinances of the Northwest Territories, passed in the year 1901.

Where the expression ' by law ' is employed in subsection 3 of the said section 93, it shall be held to mean the law as set out in said chapters 29 and 30, and where the expression ' at the union ' is employed in subsection 3, it shall be held to mean the date at which this Act comes into force.

That means that there shall be given to the minority in the Northwest Territories all the separate schools they want, so long as are instituted in those provinces the Protestant or public schools granted under the school ordinance, chapter 29 of 1901.

What are these schools ? There are the public schools established by law by the Act of 1S75 passed by a Liberal government, then re-enacted in 1885, obliterated in 1892 and smashed to pieces in 1901. These are 111*

the schools which the minority will have in the Territories the moment this Bill passes. It seems to me, Hr. Speaker, that there is something higher than office. In 189(3 the Conservative party went down to its defeat because it stood by a principle. It has been badly rewarded.

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CON
CON

Joseph Gédéon Horace Bergeron

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BERGERON.

But in this instance my right hon. friend has yielded to what he thought was a threatening majority. Well, what kind of schools is he going to give the minority in the Northwest Territories ? Let me show by some hon. gentleman opposite what they are. What did the hon. Minister of Finance (Mr. Fielding) say ? It was a sight for the gods to see how zealous were some of these gentlemen after they came back to the fold. The Minister of Finance does not think that the constitution compels us to give a system of schools to the Northwest Territories.

For the purpose of record, just let me read the section in the Act of 1875-section 11, chapter 49, Act 1875 :

I have already read this, but I will quote it again so that it will appear in ' Hansard ' with the rest:

When and so soon as any system of taxation shall be adopted in any district or portion of the Northwest Territories, the Lieutenant Governor, by and with the consent of the council or assembly as the case may be, shall pass all necessary ordinances in respect to education ; but it shall therein be always provided, that a majority of the ratepayers of any district or portion of the Northwest Territories, or any lesser portion or subdivision thereof, .by' whatever name the same may be known may establish such schools therein as they may think fit, and make the necessary assessment and collection of rates therefor; and further, that the minority of the ratepayers therein, whether Protestant or Roman Catholic, may establish separate schools therein, and that, in such latter case, the ratepayers establishing such Protestant or Roman Catholic separate schools shall be liable only to assessments of such rates as they may impose upon themselves in respect thereof.

Now the Minister of Finance says lie wants to explain that. He goes on :

That is the clause in the Act of 1875, and with the change of a few words, which in no way disturbs its substance, that is the clause we find to-day in the Northwest Territories Act.

The hon. gentleman makes a mistake there. Further on he says :

Again I say I do not for a moment contend and I do not understand that my right hon friend contended, that, as a matter of constitutional right fixed by the words of the statute, we are obliged to re-enact that clause. I go further. I do not hesitate to say that in my view, at any time since 1875, it was within the power-I do not say the moral right-but un-

doubtedly within the power of this parliament to repeal the Act of 1875.

What does that mean ? It indicates that this has never been repealed. If so, what can that mean but that it is the law of the Northwest Territories ?

Therefore, I am not claiming that there is any binding legal obligation, but I do say that we are obliged to look carefully into the circumstances under which that Act was passed ; and if we find that at the time it was regarded by its friends and supporters, and parliament generally, as an Act which was passed, not only for the present but the future, that creates a moral obligation which this House may well take into consideration.

Now, if I remember the words of the right hon. Prime Minister with regard to section 16, his statement was that we were obliged by the constitution to grant what is granted under this section. But the Minister of Finance (Mr. Fielding) says something else. He goes on and wants to show that these schools are Protestant schools. And he insists upon it.

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LIB

Rodolphe Lemieux (Solicitor General of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. LEMIEUX.

Where does the Minister of Finance say that these are Protestant schools ? Can the hon. gentleman point that out ?

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CON

Joseph Gédéon Horace Bergeron

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BERGERON.

Yes, if my hon. friend will wait. I have a good deal of it to read yet. One of the things mentioned in the regulations quoted by the Minister of Finance is :

To authorize text and reference books for the use of the pupils and teachers in all schools hereinbefore mentioned, as well as such maps, globes, charts and other apparatus or equipment as may be required for giving proper instruction in such schools.

That is, the curriculum of both public and separate schools. Then he goes on :

What is there, Sir, in ail this to which anybody can take exception ? These details constitute the essential elements of a national school system. That system prevails to-day in the Northwest Territories, and that system we propose to continue by the legislation which we have presented in this House. Well, there is still a shadow of difference. The difference between a minority school and a majority school in the Northwest Territories is so exceedingly small that he who would attempt to make a definition of it would find himself in difficulty.

What is a public school in the Northwest Territories? Is it a Protestant school or a national school ? If it is a national or Protestant, where is the difference ? What does my hon. friend call a sectarian or Protestant school if not one where from the time the child ,oes in at nine o'clock in the morning until he goes out agnin at half-past three in the afternoon, he hears not one word of religion ?

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CON
LIB

Alexander Johnston

Liberal

Mr. A. JOHNSTON.

What does my hon. friend (Mr. Bergeron) say? Does he designate that as a Protestant school ?

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CON

Joseph Gédéon Horace Bergeron

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BERGERON.

My hon. friend (Mr. A. Johnston) ought to put that question to the Minister of Finance (Mr. Fielding), for it is his speech that I am reading.

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LIB

Alexander Johnston

Liberal

Mr. A. JOHNSTON.

I ask the question in all seriousness. I am as much interested in this matter as is the hon. member for Beauharnois (Mr. Bergeron). He 'has made the statement that the Minister of Finance said in the course of his observations that these were Protestant schools. As I understood the hon. minister, he made no such statement. I would like to know if the hon. gentleman can refer me to any such statement on the part of the Minister of Finance.

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CON

Joseph Gédéon Horace Bergeron

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BERGERON.

We do not need to-discuss matters of that sort in connection with the points I am making. So far as I am concerned, schools in which there is not a word of religion are non-sectarian, or what I have been accustomed to hear called Protestant schools.

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LIB

William Stevens Fielding (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. FIELDING.

I understand the hon. gentleman said that I had called them Protestant schools.

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CON

Joseph Gédéon Horace Bergeron

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BERGERON.

I may have expressed myself that way, but what I meant was that I had inferred from what the hon. gentleman (Mr. Fielding) said that he spoke of these as Protestant schools.

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LIB

William Stevens Fielding (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. FIELDING.

I have not had the advantage of hearing this whole discussion, but I may say that I have never used such a statement.

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CON

Joseph Gédéon Horace Bergeron

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BERGERON.

That may be. But I have not finished what I was saying. It may be that the minister (Mr. Fielding) did not use the word ' Protestant.' But I infer from the way he treated the matter that he referred to what I have been accustomed to hear called Protestant schools. Because to me schools where you do not speak of God are Protestant schools.

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March 30, 1905