March 31, 1905

CON

George Eulas Foster

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. FOSTER.

can delay just as long as any other man if it suits him to delay, but we know that at this very moment he has within his mind's eye the man he proposes to appoint as Minister of the Interior. Why does he not have him go to the west? Is he afraid that his Bill will be through before the election can be carried out. I think he can possess liis soul in patience so far as that is concerned. He will have ample time to send his man to the Northwest Territories and give one single, solitary opportunity, the only one, of permitting the Northwest a voice of allowing one portion at least of the people of the Northwest Territories to pronounce upon the policy of this Bill which is so all important to that great western country. The right hon. leader of the government, stickler for precedent that he is when he is out of office, puts it lightlv away when he assumes the badge of office. He erects into a constitutional principle what had never before been taken is a constitutional principle in order to serve a purpose. The purpose once served he throws away his invention, he has no use for it, until another circumstance arises which will call for another constitutional principle. What is his constitutional principle ? It was adverted to by my hon. friend here (Mr. R. L. Borden). It was the result of a circumstance which was none too creditable to the government of my right hon. friend. An hon. gentleman went into a department in the temporary absence of another minister meddled in a matter of its administration and so brought about some considerable confusion in the government of this country. It was then that the new constitutional principle was devised, invented, brought out brand new, that there was a geographical ministerial responsibility as well as a constitutional responsibility-all very good for the occasion and yet when you have a great part of this country to be erected into provinces, to be, by an irrevocable decree fashioned, moulded and formed the right hon. gentleman refuses to consult with the representatives of the government of that country. He brings down here at his own express request and call the only representatives that are available of these two great Territories-the premier and one of his cabinet, backed up, as I said the other day, by a third member of his cabinet. When he gets them here he throws them lightly aside, at least the Tory part of the represensation, he finds sources of information in his own way and he refuses almost absolutely upon the most important part of his Bill to recognize the legal and constitutional representative of that portion of the country for which this Bill is being specially provided. As he himself says this is the most momentous of questions before the House affecting absolutely and particularly that portion of the country, and yet he will not either test the feeling of the people of that country, or what is of much more im-

porta nee than that, he will not give to that portion of the country its minister with geographical responsibility as well as constitutional responsibility.

Now, a circumstance occurred not long ago which rather lends force to the argument and which affects some men in the right hon. gentleman's cabinet. What did we find in October of last year ? We found the right hon. gentleman coming down to the province of Ontario, getting down upon bended knees before a luminary of the law and saying to him in so many English words : My dear Mr. Aylesworth I have colleagues and representatives in the government from the province of Ontario who have been with me for some time, but 1 find that in Ontario my hold is growing gradually weaker. I am not only not increasing the strength, but I see that strength diminishing. I do not want to turn these out to pasture, poor as they are, and so I must have you come in and save the remnant in the province of Ontario, The right hon. gentleman needed some strength, and if ever there was a practical illustration of that need we have it this year. The lynx-eyed minister, the Postmaster General (Sir William Mulock), is not here, and I suppose X may venture to mention him to-day without his inflicting upon this House that oft-repeated story repeated so well along the concessions and side lines of North Ontario, learned and conned and repeated so often up and down the province of Ontario, and repeated so often in this House, that it is becoming a tale oft-told, with the little interest that attaches to a tale oft-told. I suppose that I may refer to the fact that he slept at his post while the most important legislation was being performed for these orphan territories in the Northwest. Is there not some reason why there should be a brave, bright, strong, wide-awake man brought in from the west who will not sleep at his post, but -who will know what is going on and see that his geographical ministerial responsibility is fully exercised in the representation of the people in the country from which he comes. If the right hon. gentleman (Sir Wilfrid L-aurier) can keep constitutionally portfolios open for one month, he can keep them open for two, three or four months. He was the gentleman who, in opposition, pleaded always for a full cabinet, for the ministerial responsibility to be properly divided and distributed, and that there should be at the post of power in each department a responsible head. He knows as well as we all know that that is proper constitutional doctrine, and that it is necessary for the good government and good administration of the country. Yet he does not fill the vacant position, and he does not give us any valid reason why.

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L-C

Samuel Hughes

Liberal-Conservative

Mr. SAM. HUGHES (Victoria and Hali-burton).

The First Minister has referred

to the fact that after the death of the late Hon. Thomas White the portfolio of the Interior was vacant for some time. That is true, but he also knows that at that time a new principle in constitutional government, the principle that there must be a responsible minister for the district, had not been engrafted on the constitution of this country. The First Minister has given us that new line in the constitution. At that time also there was no great crisis in the Northwest, as there is on the present occasion, for it must be remembered that the vacancy in the portfolio of the Minister of the Interior to-day is caused owing to the fact that legislation is before this House which the responsible minister from the district refused to endorse and which he claims is not satisfactory to the people of that region. Therefore, the circumstances are entirely changed, and, as far as the parallel goes, the Prime Minister's argument will not hold godd. The custom in all these matters in the old country is that there shall be a responsible minister at each post. The leader of the opposition (Mr. R. L. Borden) has referred to a case in point, where, in 1871, objection was simply taken in the House of Commons to the fact that Mr. Childers, First Lord of the Ad-jmiralty, was absent during illness, and within one month thereafter Mr. Childers resigned. This is even more important than the case of the absence of a minister through illness. We have before us an important measure which is going to affect that Northwest country for weal or woe. The minister refuses to sanction that measure and retires from the cabinet, but owing to certain pressure, I do not know what the pressure or arrangement may have been, time may solve it, but owing to some negotiations-and they are good at carrying on negotiations and bringing about mediations in the cabinet-the ex-Minister of the Interior has agreed to vote for the government's emasculated measure, as he terms it, although on every solitary point in the Bill he differs essentially from the First Minister and the cabinet. The circumstances are such that I maintain they warrant the action of the government in filling the post at the very first opportunity. The First Minister has stated that this Bill cannot wait, that it must become law by the 1st of July. It is not very long from now until the 1st of July, and if the First Minister is anxious that the measure shall get through by the 1st of July it might be advisable for him to seriously consider whether or not its passage would not be facilitated by the appointment of a new Minister of the Interior, who might go before his constituents, seek re-election and test the feeling as to the reception which the Bill will likely meet when it has been passed by this House. The Prime Minister would likely make time if he adopted such a course rather , than trusting to the Bill being passed with-

out opposition and becoming law by tbe 1st of July, so that he could thereafter have the election of the Minister of the Interior.

I want to say a word about the position of the Minister of Public Works. The acting minister (Mr. Hyman), I regret to say, has just gone out. No man regrets the illness of the present minister-I refer to the Hon. Mr. James Sutherland-more than I do myself. He is a gentleman for whom I have always .had and always shall have the very highest personal regard, and no one will more heartily welcome him back to health and to this House than I. But what are the facts of the case ? It is generally understood, in fact a gentleman whom the minister himself has consulted, has stated that the Minister of Public Works has asked the First Minister to accept his resignation, but for some reason or other this resignation has not been accepted. That responsible position, which the constitution requires shall be held by a member having a seat in the parliament directly responsible to the people, has not been filled, and one of the largest spending departments of the public service is without a responsible head in this House to-day. I am not saying one word about the hon. member for London, the minister without portfolio (Mr. Hyman), a gentleman who I believe undoubtedly stands head and shoulders over his colleagues from that province. I am not saying one word about his fitness, and that is all the more reason why he should be made the responsible minister. He occupies a peculiar position. His position in the cabinet is simply that of a minister without portfolio. He is not responsible for any department, and has not appealed to the people for reelection after his appointment as minister. I am sure the First Minister will bear me out when I say that the position he now occupies is entirely unconstitutional. It is pointed out in Todd, page 483, volume 2, in reference to the case of Lord Russell, spoken of by the leader of the opposition (Mr. R. L. Borden) :

On March 9 the Earl of Derby took notice in the House of Lords of ' the very great inconvenience and injury to the public service ' occasioned by the absence from the country and from his official duties of the Colonial Secretary-

It was only in February that Lord Russell went to Vienna.

more especially as no Under Secretary had

been yet appointed to represent the department in the House of Commons.

Earl Granville (the president of the council) replied, that for the present the Home Secretary (Sir George Grey) would also take charge of the Colonial Department, being ' formally and technically ' competent, as a secretary of state, to control any branch of the secretariate.

As a matter of fact, Lord John Russell returned and resumed his seat on April 30.

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L-C

Samuel Hughes

Liberal-Conservative

Mr. SAM. HUGHES.

Although the Prime Minister was in his place, the minister who was both formally and technically responsible returned in less than two months, and that satisfied the House and the country. The case of the Minister of Public Works was entirely different. The member for London is not technically qualified. He may be formally qualified as a member of the Privy Council, but he is not technically qualified for the office of Minister of Public Works, and therefore 1 maintain that there should be no delay in accepting the resignation of the Minister of Public Works. Then the member for London, one of the most popular men in the country, will have an opportunity of proving whether or not the present cabinet has the confidence of the people of this Dominion, not only in regard to the Public Works Department, but in regard to their general conduct of other matters. The custom of the English constitution is that all important measures involving important. principles, such as that involved in the Bill before the House, should be pronounced upon by the people before becoming law. The First Minister knows that this measure was not at all discussed before the electorate. No one dreamed that there were going to be the contentious matters in this Bill that have been found in it. Therefore I maintain that the duty of the Prime Minister is to hold this Bill off until the feeling of the country in regard to it can be tested in a genera] election. I maintain that there is only one of two courses open to him at the present time. One is to go to the country and test the feeling of the electors in a general election; another is to appoint a new Minister of the Interior and put him in the field in some riding in the Northwest and test the feeling of the country in that way. The portfolio of the Interior should not be held open a moment' longer than is absolutely necessary.

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CON

Thomas Simpson Sproule

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. T. S. SPROULE (East Grey).

Mr. Speaker, I beg to say a few words on this question before the motion is disposed of. it seems to me that we are face to face with a very unusual state of things both in this House and in the country. We are confronted with what may fairly be regarded, under constitutional government, as a very grave crisis. Confederation is yet on its trial. It was adopted many years ago to overcome difficulties which experience had shown to exist in our previous form of government, and with the object of doing justice to every interest and every locality. The fathers of confederation wisely and carefully considered this constitution before it was adopted, for the purpose of endeavouring, as far as the experience of the national life would enable them to do up to that time, to avoid the troubles of the past and to provide a proper government for the future ; and the principle they laid down was representation by population in the popular chamber-this

is, that every member should represent a certain number of the electors or population. But they provided that every member should represent a certain area as -well. The delimitation of the areas each of which should elect a member was made in the first statutes, and that was observed and carried out in our first election. The fathers

of confederation believed that we required an upper House as well as a lower House-a corrective chamber that would not be subject to the excitement of elections but that would be appointed by the Crown; and the selection of the men who were to form that chamber was made on the principle that each should represent not only a certain province, but a certain district in that province. From Quebec there were to be twenty-four, from Ontario twenty-four, and from the maritime provinces twenty-four and each was to represent a certain district within his particular province. There were not only twenty-four members of the Senate assigned to Quebec, but the British North America Act says :

In the case of Quebec each of the twenty-four senators representing that province shall be appointed for one of the twenty-four electoral divisions of Lower 'Canada specified in schedule ' A ' to chapter 1 of Consolidated Statutes of Canada.

I am giving this recapitulation to show that the designers of confederation had in view not only representation by population, but representation of locality as well, and that this principle applied not only to the popular chamner, which was to be elected, but to the Senate, which was not to be elected, and to the cabinet ministers. With regard to ministerial representation, we find that a certain number of ministers were assigned to Quebec. Originally it was three. Now it is four, with an extra one, which makes the number five. The same number was assigned to Ontario and the same number to the maritime provinces ; and these were so arranged that each locality would be represented. That principle was followed for years as strongly as any other principle to be found within the four corners of the constitution. It was a part of our unwritten constitution, and we lived up to it carefully and closely, because it was believed that-by doing so we did justice to all parts of the country and to all interests involved, and no injustice to any. A certain number of cabinet ministers was assigned to each province in proportion to its population, its importance and its area. As time went on and settlement went westward, we were obliged to change that a little. We dropped some of our representation in the smaller provinces in the east, and endeavoured to give representation to the west; because it was felt that so long as there was a section that had no voice in the cabinet, we were not fully carrying out the principle of representation that was adopted by 114

the fathers of confederation. WThat was all this intended for ? That every locality should have its voice and its spokesman in the parliament of the nation and in the cabinet, so that justice might be done to all parts of the country. That was the aim and the reason why this unwritten constitution was followed as closely as any portion of our written constitution.

There are two objects in view in organizing a cabinet. What are these two objects 1 The first is to select men who are fitted for the position. The second is to make the selection so that each menber of the cabinet may represent a certain locality and the special interests in that locality. These interests may be commercial or maritime or something else. And the selection should be such as will receive the en-dorsation of the people. These are the two objects in view in filling a cabinet. In a well balanced cabinet, every district has its voice at the council board, every district has its representative in council. But applying this principle to the present condition of things, what is the situation today. We have in this confederation about 2,100,000 square miles of territory. How much of that territory is represented in this cabinet ? Take the combined provinces of Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island, and they only represent 564,000 square miles. Take the balance of the territory which is not represented, which has no voice in the cabinet, which has no say at the council board, and we find that it comprises 1,558,888 square miles. [DOT]

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LIB

Archibald Campbell

Liberal

Mr. CAMPBELL.

What is the population of that ?

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CON

Thomas Simpson Sproule

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPROULE.

I am not going into details as regards population, but if you take the map of the Dominion and draw a line straight through it from south to north, going as far west as you will find a cabinet representative at present-that is the city of London-you will find that two-thirds of the territory of the Dominion is without a cabinet representative. Is that just or unjust ? Is that carrying out the design of the fathers of confederation ? Is that doing justice to all and injustice to none ? I say it is not. Two-thirds of the Dominion to-day have no voice at the council board. Whatever policy may be introduced and decided upon there, they have no opportunity of expressing their dissent or assent or of shaping it any way whatever. A rather eminent writer on confederation said that it was the solemn duty of each province keenly to watch and promptly to repel any attempt faint or forcible which the federal government might be disposed to make on the rights and privileges of any one of them. That is Mr. Watson's idea of the duties of the provinces. But how can a province exercise this scrutiny unless it has its full representation, not only in the House of

Commons, but on the council board of a nation. And if this large portion of the Dominion has no voice in the council, surely it is deprived of a portion of its undoubted rights. I find that two-thirds of the area of this Dominion is not represented at the council board, and that at the very time when a most important question, one vitally affecting the interests of that country, is about to be decided. One of the provinces to-day has almost been driven into revolt, if we can believe what we read in the newspapers. I refer to the province of Manitoba. The absolute refusal of the rights of that province to have its boundaries extended, the absolute refusal to do its claims justice when these new provinees are being created, has irritated it to such an extent that its government has threatening to resign as a protest against the conduct of this administration. Are we not then face to face with a very serious crisis?

A great question is now before us for determination, namely, the establishment of two new provinces out in the Northwest Territories. What ownership shall these provinces have in the soil ? What representatives shall they possess ? What legislative power shall be given them ? What interference shall we make with what they believe to be their undoubted rights in the future ? All these great questions are being discussed by this parliament, and these Territories have no voice at the council board. They had a voice there not long ago, but their representative resigned as a rebuke against the high-handed and unwarranted conduct of the government on the Autonomy Bill. A Minister of the Crown, representing that country, gave practical expression of his dissent from that policy by resigning his portfolio. Under the circumstances, it cei'tainly is the duty of the government to fill that portfolio at the earliest possible moment and have a united cabinet on the policy which they are submitting to parliament. Why are they not acting in accord with the principles of constitutional government ? Why do they not appoint a minister and let him go before the people, so that the people may have an opportunity of endorsing or condemning the policy of the administration ? The reason, Sir, is evident. They dare not do it. They want to force the Bill through without giving the people chiefly interested an opportunity of declaring their will regarding it. They refuse to respect the sovereign rights of the people. They are acting in utter disregard of the great electorate which can make and unmake parliament ? Are they afraid to appeal to that power ? I am justified by their conduct in coming to the conclusion that they are afraid to trust the people.

Then, are we not justified in raising our voice in rebuke of the conduct of the government ? Are we not justified in calling public attention to that conduct as a violation of the principles of constitutional gov-Mr. SPROULE.

ernment under which we live ? We should clearly be doing less than our duty if we refrained from inviting public attention to the present condition of affairs. As I have said, it is clear that the government dare not allow the people to speak, to signify their agreement or disagreement with the measure now before the House. At best, the representation of the Northwest in regard to this measure could only be indirect so far as the cabinet is concerned. The people of the Northwest Territories sent their Prime Minister, their accredited representative. Except for this delegate they are represented, only by a few members in this House whose voices are but little heard. The government has acted in a most highhanded and tyrannical fashion in its treatment of the rights of the people of Manitoba and the Northwest.

Now, when a member is selected for the cabinet, he is selected on two grounds- his fitness for the position and the locality he represents. And who is to determine his fitness ? First, the Prime Minister who chooses him. But the judgment of the Prime Minister must be endorsed by the people, for, according to our constitutional forms, a minister, on his appointment, must go before the people to be endorsed by them. Have the government dared to appoint a minister and so seek the judgment of the people on their policy? They have not. This policy was not before the people in the last election, and so there has not been the opportunity for the people to express themselves upon it. The only conclusion that we can come to is that the government are afraid of the people and dare not take the step of appointing a minister to fill the present vacancy because the effect of that would be to give the people an opportunity to express their opinions upon this important measure. The financial interests of that great country in the Northwest are involved ; their whole future is involved. Yet, they have no one in the cabinet to speak for them or determine their rights,-the people of the Northwest must go into the ' Blind pool ' to which the hon. member for Edmonton (Mr. Oliver) referred last year. Yet, the Prime Minister declares over and over again that he admires the British constitution and tries to follow it. His conduct, in my opinion, is the very reverse of all that; he violates every principle of constitutional government by the course he pursues. He acts like the Czar of Russia, deliberately against the people's rights and wishes. The people are given no opportunity to determine what their legislative rights shall be with regard to their property, their financial relations to the Dominion or any of the other great questions involved in this measure. And their accredited representative, their Prime Minister, is spurned when he comes here and seeks to speak on behalf of his people.

The conduct of the government is a direct

invasion of provincial rights. The present Prime Minister (Sir Wilfrid Laurier) should be the last man in Canada to disregard or ignore provincial rights in carrying on our government. The fathers of confederation, when they were determining what form of government we should have, were compelled, owing to the sentiment of Quebec to favour a federal union rather than a legislative union. Under the federal union the boundaries of provincial rights are clearly marked and held as sacred, while, under a legislative union the provinces would have only such powers as were given them by the central authority. I find the following passage in the life of Sir John A. Macdonald. Speaking of the discussions which took place before confederation was consummated he said :

But, on looking at the subject in the conference, and discussing the matter as we did most unreservedly, with a desire to arrive at a satisfactory conclusion, we found that such a system was impracticable.

This refers to a legislative union. And why was it impracticable ?

In the first place, it would not meet the assent of Lower Canada.

And why not ?

Because they felt that, in their peculiar position-being in a minority,with a different language, nationality and religion from the majority-in case of a junction with the other provinces, and their institutions and their laws might be assailed and their ancestral associations, on which they pride themselves, attacked and prejudiced.

And, for that reason, they would not accept a legislative union. So, they secured a federal union, in order that their provincial rights might be maintained. But the Bill now before the House infringes provincial rights, determining in advance the course of action of the new provinces in the Northwest. It deprives these new provinces of the right to manage their own affairs as the older provinces are free to manage theirs. In this respect, the measure does not carry out the principle of confederation. And it comes with doubly bad grace from a Prime Minister who comes from Quebec, a province that insisted upon a form of confederation which would make their provincial rights secure. Now that the rights of his own province are established, the Prime, Minister attacks the provincial rights of the new provinces in the west. In view of all this I say we are face to face with a great crisis and there is strong excitement throughout our country. And why ? Because of the outrage upon the feelings and opinions of the people who have no opportunity to help themselves. Should this continue ? I say it should not.

I have called attention to the fact that disregard of our constitutional system almost drove one province into revolt, and, if it 114i

is persisted in, it may arouse to revolt the people of the new provinces. The sooner the government place themselves squarely upon the principles of the constitution and give to the Northwest a representative in the cabinet, the better it will be for everybody. We shall then have an opportunity to work out our constitutional system to a success, instead of making it the discouraging failure it undoubtedly will be if this government and their successors set constitutional principles at defiance.

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CON

Alfred Augustus Stockton

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. A. A. STOCKTON (St. John City and County).

Mr. Speaker, I think the points made by the leader of the opposition (Mr. R. L. Borden) are well taken. I hope the First Minister (Sir Wilfrid Laurier) will pardon me if I say that I do not think that he met the question asked by the leader of the opposition with the frankness which the circumstances demanded. It will be remembered, that, after the introduction of the Bills which have produced so much discussion in this House, the question was asked of the Prime Minister whether the Minister of the Interior (Mr. Sifton) would be back in time for the discussion of these Bills. The First Minister replied that he did not know when the Minister of the Interior would be here, meaning that he did pot expect, and did not care whether the Minister of the Interior were here or not, since he, the First Minister, had charge of the Bill.

Now, let me say that the First .Minister has not answered the question put by the leader of the opposition except by citing the instances which took place ten, twelve or more years ago. What is the opinion of the First Minister with respect to those instances? Did he approve of them, or does he approve of them now? Does he think that citing those instances is a sufficient answer to the question put him by the leader of the opposition ? I would like to know what the opinions of the First Minister are upon those instances. I say, Mr. Speaker, that if there ever was a time in the history of this country when it was necessary that a responsible minister from that Northwest country should be here on the floor of this House, it is to-day. We know that the proposition has been put forward that the ministers represent localities, and that they are to be trusted to a large extent with the administration of affairs in those localities. How stands the matter to-day? Is there any representative from the great Northwest here to-day to look after the interests of that great country, which is causing so much discussion and occupying so much attention in this House and in the country at large? Not one, Sir, and so far as any information is given by the First Minister to-day, there will be no representative in the government from the Northwest until after these Bills are passed. Is that fair to the people of that country?

Is it fair to the representatives of that country in this House to force this measure through without the people of the Northwest, by their responsible minister, having a voice in the consideration of the measure? I think not, Sir, and X think it is unfair to that country that it should have no responsible minister here while this discussion is going on, and while this measure is being passed through the House.

But, Sir, there is another phase of the question. When the ex-Minister of the Interior appeared here, apparently to the confusion .of ithe First Minister, two days after he had introduced this Bill, what took place? The resignation of the Minister of the Interior. Why ? As a protest against the action of the 'First Minister in introducing the Autonomy Bills in his absence, and particularly against the educational clauses thereof, which the ex-Minister of the Interior could not endorse, and he vacated his seat as a protest against the action of the First Minister and of his government. That was a challenge thrown down to the First Minister and to his government upon their policy with respect to these Bills. There is a vacancy in the government now, the government is without a Minister of the Interior. Let the First Minister test the feeling of the people of the Northwest upon this question by selecting from his plethora of ability that he has behind him a gentleman to fill the position of Minister of the Interior, and let him send that gentleman back for re-election in order to test the feelings of the people of the Northwest with respect to his policy. That would be the manly way, that would be the bold way, that would be the proper way on the part of men who are willing to trust the people. Is this government willing to trust the people in connection with these Bills?

Mr. SPROULE,. No.

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CON

Alfred Augustus Stockton

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STOCKTON.

The conduct of the government apparently shows that they are not willing to trust the people. I say, don't gag the people of the Northwest, give them an opportunity to say whether they want this legislation or not, give them an opportunity to say in a constitutional way whether they are in harmony with the government with respect to this measure. The right hon. gentleman has an opportunity of doing that. If he and his government do not do it, they show that they do not trust the people; although the right hon. gentleman is reported to have said that he was a democrat to the hilt. Now, Sir, I should say no more on this question. I felt that I could not remain silent while a question of this importance was before the House. I repeat that the conduct of the government in keeping this seat vacant is not fair to the people of the Northwest, it is not fair to the people of the rest of Canada, and, furthermore, it is contrary to the constitu-Mr. STOCKTON.

tional usages which obtain in the mother country and all the great self-governing colonies of the empire.

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CON

Haughton Lennox

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. H. LENNOX (South Simcoe).

I did not intend to speak on this question until the main question came again before the House. But I do feel that this is a time for hon. members of the House to speak out, and say distinctly what they think of the conduct of the government. I had hoped, there being seven representatives in this House from the Northwest supporting the government, that they at all events would defend the interests of their own section in this matter. When I find that the First Minister has been able so far to influence and to control those hon. members, I think it necessary that the rest of us should speak out definitely on this subject. Now the First Minister has been perfectly consistent, and with my great respect for the First Minister, I shall take the liberty of addressing a few plain words to him in the English language which I hope he will fairly understand. I hope that the people of this country will become seized of the situation, and although it is vain to hope that the government will listen to the voice of reason on this subject, there is one power in this country great enough to arrest the action of the government, and that is the press. I hope that they will take this matter up and agitate from end to end of Canada before this measure goes through, in order that we may guarantee the interests of the great west in this House. I say that the First Minister to-day has been consistent in his attitude throughout this whole matter, not only in this matter, but during the last two sessions, in treating lightly subjects of great importance and in treating the representatives of the people with levity by neglecting their just demands. The First Minister must apprehend that he has not on any occasion when the leader of the opposition, either to-day or previously, asked for information which this House 'has a right to obtain, given a fair, square and honest answer to a question.

Now the First Minister says, we know where we are. Well, perhaps they do. It is rather recent information, for they did not know where they were two or three weeks ago. A portion of their followers were in rebellion two or three weeks ago, but the party lash has been applied. They know where they are to-day but they do not know where they will be to-morrow. They do not know where they will be a week hence and I warrant there are some hon. gentlemen opposite who do not know yet quite what is going to develop during the course of this discussion, and who do not know where they will be a week hence. Probably the hon. member for Edmonton (Mr. Oliver) thinks he knows where he is. The hon. member for West Assiniboia (Mr. Scott) probably thinks he knows where he is

or where he is going to be, but, they do not both know it. One of them will probably get the office and we will then see a display of the anger of the one who has not got the position he desires. The right hon. First Minister says that it is only thirty-one days' delay, and he also said that in 1888 it was a matter of months or probably more that the position of Minister of the Interior was vacant. Does the right hon. gentleman want that to go to the country as the honest, statesmanlike utterance of the First Minister of the Dominion of Canada? But, if we have, as was said by lion, members on his own side of the House, and as is the fact, before us one of the most momentous questions that have at any time involved the consideration of this House, a question that will affect the future of the west, half a million miles of the best territory of this Dominion and the best agricultural country that exists to-day, is there any analogy between this case and the case of the Minister of the Interior in 1888 ? * Only thirty-one days ago,' says the right hon. First Minister, and in a while when it suits my convenience, when I get entirely ready, after I have held at bay the office-seekers who want the position and whom I dare not now offend because I want to dangle before them the plums of office and not offend any one of them until after this crucial period has gone by, then, after the 1st of July, after I have riveted upon the west and established the system of fetters that I desire, then, at my convenience, as the great Czar of Canada-for the time being ; not for all time to come, thank God,-I will announce what I will do. He says that he is embarrassed by a wealth of material. Very likely. The right hon. First Minister is perfectly sincere. He has a wealth of material in this House. One man says that he is as good as the other. Each man says: I am the big man for the situation; and this is a source of embarrassment perhaps to the right hon. First Minister. He dare not fill that position because he is afraid that some of his followers whose votes he depends upon might not be available in this crisis. I do not know that I need say much further in reference to what the right hon. First Minister has said. The right hon. gentleman is more remarkable for what he does not say on these occasions than for what he says. But, he asks : Would you expect us to have an

election and to have this discussion going on at the same time ? What does the right hon. gentleman mean by that ? Does it require his personal supervision to engineer the election in the west? Does it require that the strength of the cabinet shall be transferred to the west or to any of the most important points of the west while an election is going on ? Does the right hon. gentleman feel that the situation is so delicate and dangerous in the west that it will require all the power of the government,

and probably more to bring about the result that he wants ? Does he anticipate now that when the 1st of July has gone past and when he does appoint a Minister of the Interior the people of the west will visit with condemnation the administration which is now in power at Ottawa ? Or, does he simply mean that it will require so much manipulation that it would be impossible to carry on this discussion in the House and carry on an election in the west at the same time ? What is the meaning of it ?

Is it an admission to the people of Canada (wrested from the right hon. First Minister) because we have not had such an admission made often in this House, that he realizes that it will take the most superhuman effort on his part to win in the west if he were to open a constituency there at the present time ? In ' other words that he has not, with all the wealth of material that he has in this House or out of it, because he could select a minister for this position out of the House as well as in it-he could send Mr. Ayles-worth up there if he could be elected,-the least chance of electing his Minister of the Interior if he will accept the challenge which is a fair and square challenge, to give to those people who have not been allowed to voice their opinions the opportunity of testing this question and of saying whether they want this measure proposed by the right hon. First Minister or not.

Now, I had intended to refer to another aspect of this case, but I find that I have got excited and that is not usual with me. I must excuse myself. I believe I am justified in asking for the indulgence of this House if I do get a little excited on this occasion. I believe as the right hon. minister says, that our passions on some of these occasions are not wholly ignoble, it is probably ' the exaggeration of a noble sentiment,' the right hon. minister says and perhaps there is a little exaggeration of noble sentiments from time to time as the debate goes on. I think that when we cannot get a solitary member representing the west on the government side of the House to stand up and advocate the rights of the west, when we cannot get the hon. Minister of Finance (Mr. Fielding) who was an advocate of opinions which are in direct conflict with the proposition of the government to-day, when we cannot get that great democrat to rise up and say that in this day the people shall be supreme, when we cannot get back mto the House that champion of national schools, the ex-Minister of the Interior (Mr. Sifton), to speak one word on behalf of the great people of the west, a place which is to be the garden of Canada in the' future and the grandest agricultural territory within this country,-when we cannot get these hon. gentlemen to stand up and say one word on behalf of the great people of the west, then,

I feel that I am justified in having got a

little excited and not being able to pursue a distinct and logical argument as I intended when I rose to speak.

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LIB

James Buckham Kennedy

Liberal

Mr. J. B. KENNEDY (New Westminster).

Mr. Speaker, I rise for a little information, not that I expect to get any from the solon who has just addressed the House. But, the principle has evidently been laid down this afternoon that a province is not represented in this House unless it has a member of the government. In this case it seems to me that there has been a rather gross insult addressed to the ten men who represent these Territories in the House to-day.

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L-C

Andrew B. Ingram

Liberal-Conservative

Mr. A. B. INGRAM (East Elgin).

Mr. Speaker, in the opening remarks of my hon. friend the leader of the opposition this afternoon he referred to the course pursued by the right hon. gentleman (Sir Wilfrid Laurier) when he was leader of the Liberal opposition in this House some years ago. The right hon. gentleman on that occasion drew the attention of this House to certain rumours going the rounds of the newspapers of this country coupled with the fact that His Excellency the Governor General had postponed a trip that he anticipated making. He thought the circumstances sufficient to warrant him in calling the attention of the government of the day to the importance of these rumoure. One of the arguments he employed in that case was to the effect that the government was not in the position in which it ought to be before asking parliament to transact the business of the country. He said :

The government, I submit, has no right to ask parliament to vote a single penny under the circumstances.

What circumstances? The circumstances ' arising from the rumours going around the public press of this country that certain seats in the government were vacant. It seemed to him a remarkable thing that he found some of these seats vacated, vacated by whom ? By the representatives of the west ? No ; the right hon. gentleman seemed to be exercised particularly about the representatives, not of the Northwest Territories, but of the province of Quebec. Why was my hon. friend so much exercised on that occasion ? It was not because of any particular or important question brought up in this House on that occasion. In 1895 parliament met on April 18. This matter was brought up by the right hon. gentleman on July 9, and that session closed on July 22, thirteen days after he had given the government notice of the fact that certain ministers had not been in their places the day before. Why was he so much exercised over the fact of these ministers not being properly representative of the province of Quebec ? Was it bcause parliament was liable to vote a penny unwisely in their absence ? Every man who knows anything

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CON
CON

William Humphrey Bennett

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. W. H. BENNETT (East Simcoe).

Mr. Speaker, I usually agree with the leader of the opposition, but I think he is rather too exacting this afternoon. My hon. friend asks that the First Minister should go back or, his official record since he has been premier of this Dominion, and start from this day on a r.ew course. That is altogether too much to ask of the First Minister, and I think my hon. friend the leader of the opposition is rather drawing on his imagination when he expects that the First Minister will do it. My hon. friend referred to the fact that the First Minister found fault with the government of Sir John Thompson on one occasion for not filling up his cabinet and complained that at that time for nearly two days two ministers had absented themselves from the chamber. Well, Sir, the circumstances were very different then from what they are now. Neither of these hon. gentlemen had resigned his seat; the present premier was not in a position to know that either intended to resign his seat ; but the fact that they had not been in their places, and some newspaper comment which he saw on the cir-

cumstanee, suggested to liim the idea of dividing the House on the matter, and he did divide the House. What do we see on the present occasion ? We see the Minister of the Interior absent from the first day of the session. Whether his absence was owing to ill-health I know not, and I think the public are very little concerned about it. But we do know that as soon as the First Minister introduced certain legislation into this House, the Minister of the Interior was here to dissent from the proposition of the government; and we know that as a result of his dissent he has gone out of the cabinet and is out of it to-day ; and every one knows that the First Minister and his cabinet are afraid to take the bull by the horns-I am speaking metaphorically-and test popular opinion in the west, just as they are afraid to test popular opinion in the province of Ontario. What is the report of the hon. gentleman's own political friends from the city of Toronto ? it is that he has become a Czar and an autocrat. Mr. Robinette, their candidate in the last election came down here the other day ; he was seen here ; his presence was reported in the newspapers ; and because Mr. Robinette informed the First Minister that he would not be a supporter of the government's policy in regard to the Northwest, the Czar, the leader of this administration, says there must be no contest in Centre Toronto. Now, I am going to appeal to the First Minister to remember the watchword of the late premier of the province of Ontario, his own right arm, which was paralyzed on the 25th of January, when the people got a chance. What was the watchword of the Hon. George W. Ross ? It was : ' Build up Ontario.' What did that mean ? It meant to build up Ontario in every possible way-mentally, morally, educationally and commercially ; and I appeal to the First Minister to build up Ontario to-day. In the first place, build it up morally by keeping faith with the public there. The First Minister went through the province of Ontario last November-but I will not harrow up his feelings by mentioning the places where he spoke, because every one knows what followed-desolation and disaster to the Liberal candidates. He came to Bast Simcoe, and the result there is seen. He went to the city of Toronto and to other points and said, it is true, my cabinet representatives from Ontario are a rum lot; I have one in the Senate who is past four score years ; I have Sir Richard Cartwright on my hands, but he is to be transferred to the Senate at an early day ; although the Minister of Customs is a benevolent, good-hearted soul, he is not known beyond the confines of his own bailiwick. But, he said, I am going to strengthen the cabinet in Ontario ; I am going to bring in a big man in the person of Mr. Aylesworth. The First Minister Mr. BENNETT.

has not got Mr. Aylesworth yet, but there is a chance to get him. There are two counties in Ontario" which he could carry, and only two. Why does he not give Mr. Aylesworth a chance to run in Russell or in Prescott ? I know he will not trust himself iu North Oxford, nor will he trust himself anywhere else in Ontario.

An hou. MEMBER. Centre Toronto.

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Subtopic:   ABSENCE OF MINISTERS AND CABINET VACANCY.
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CON

William Humphrey Bennett

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

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THE ONTARIO BOUNDARIES.

CON

Samuel Barker

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SAM. BARKER.

Before the Orders of the Day are called I might ask the right hon. leader of the House if there has been any correspondence between his government or any member of it and the late government of the Hon. G. W. Ross or any member of it, with regard to any extension of the boun-

chines of Ontario and whether, if there be any such correspondence, he will lay it on the table.

Topic:   THE ONTARIO BOUNDARIES.
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LIB

Wilfrid Laurier (Prime Minister; Minister of the Interior; Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER.

I am not aware of any, but if there should be any, there is no objection at all to bringing it down.

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PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT IN THE NORTHWEST.


House resumed adjourned debate on the proposed motion of Sir Wilfrid Laurier for the second reading of Bill (No. 69) to establish and provide for the government of the province of Alberta, and the amendment of Mr. R. L. Borden thereto. Mr. WALTER SCOTT (West Assiniboia) If, Mr. Speaker, the Bills before the House to create the two provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan constitute to representatives from the other parts of Canada the most important measure that has been submitted to parliament since confederation, how much more should their importance be impressed upon one, who, like myself, is entrusted with the duty of representing in this House a very considerable section of the country which it is proposed to form into these new provinces. I may say, Mr. Speaker, in all sincerity that I regret to a very much larger extent to-day than on any former occasion that I am not gifted with that felicity of expression which has distinguished so many of the speakers who have preceded me, and that consequently I shall not be able to embellish the remarks I shall have to present to the House with flowers of oratory such as have adorned many of the speeches we have had on this Question. Of the magnitude of the subject, of course, there can be no question. We are proposing to round out the confederation of half, and piobably the richer half of the North American continent, affecting an enormous area of exceptional fertility and capable of sustaining millions, if not tens of millions of people. We are fulfilling the dream of those far-sighted men, the fathers of confederation. We are, once for all, placing upon the half million of people who, at present, constitute the population of these areas and upon the future millions that will constitute that population, the duties of self-government according to free British principles. And we are, at the same time, fixing for all time to come the financial status, setting apart the financial resources, upon which these people shall be enabled to carry on their duties of self-government. We are giving by charter to these new provinces many powers which the people there have been exercising up to the present time, as well as a number of powers, which, until now, have been exercised on their behalf by this parliament. We are proposing to make these people Mr. BARKER. fully responsible for their own self-government in the important matters of education, public works and all affairs of internal development which, it may be said, are the most vital, the most constant, and the most intimate affairs affecting the life of the people of any country, and the management of which, it may be said, is so much more difficult in a sparsely-settled country such as these areas are at the present time, than in old communities. Upon the importance of the subject of education there is no occasion for comment here. In my opinion, the House has been, during the present debate, giving more attention to a n mtter which has developed into an extremely sentimental issue, than to the practical, substantial phase of the education question. I may say that 1 am more concerned, and I am satisfied that the people that I represent are more concerned, as to whether they are to be enabled by the powers which parliament proposes to confer upon them and the financial resources the House proposes to place at their disposal, for all time to come to keep up an efficient! system of education than they are as to the extremely narrow issue which divides the proposition of the government from the proposition of the leader of the opposition (Mr. R. L. Borden)-no, I beg the pardon of the opposition,-of the hon. member representing the county of Carleton. The matter of local public works, the matter of bridges, the matter of fire guards, the matter of drainage, and in some localities the matter of domestic water supply-these are all affairs of exceeding importance to the people now, and will be of importance to the millions of people who, we expect, will be in that territory in the years to come. And these matters now must be dealt with, and, for a considerable time to come, will have to be dealt with, by the provincial government more than is the case in older communities where these affairs are handled municipally. These are matters which lie at the very root of the existence of a people in a new country and upon these things depend whether the settler in these new provinces is to be encouraged to wage the battle of life under the conditions to be found in that country, or whether he shall labour under disadvantages too great to be borne-as unfortunately, has been the fate of some who went into those Territories in the past, though not, I am glad to say, in the very recent past. The condition of the settlers' land as to drainage ; the state of his range,-whether devastated by the prairie fire or properly protected-the existence of a bridge over the Creek or river so that the settler may pass over with his team without risking his life at a crossing ; the efficiency of his school -upon these matters, I say, depends to a very large extent the whole future of the new provinces which parliament by these measures proposes to create. The subject of transportation is one to which very great attention has been given by this parliament in recent years. The subject of railway transportation is a very important one ; but I may point out that in these Territories at the present time, I think it is not going too far to say, the matter of wagon roads is of quite as great an importance as the matter of railway communication. Railways of course, are necessary. But the railway cannot be brought to everar man's door, and, to reach the railway, the wagon road is necessary. A computation has been made which goes to establish the fact that the settler or farmer who is fifteen miles from the railway shipping point is under as great a cost in getting his wheat to the shipping point-supposing that that point is Regina, where I live as he is under for the carriage of that wheat from the shipping point to the head of the Lakes, nearly 800 miles. Therefore, there can be no question of the importance and magnitude of the questions involved in the Bills. I have, on several occasions before, had the privilege of addressing this House ; but on no previous occasion have I felt so greatly the responsibility resting upon me as upon this occasion. And, whether my tenure of office here as the representative of a constituency prove long or short, I do not think that at any future time it will be my duty to address the House upon a subject of such importance as I feel the subject now under discussion to be. In replying to the admirable speech with which these Bills were introduced by the right lion. First Minister (Sir Wilfrid Laur-ieij the bon. member for Carleton (Mr. R. L. Borden) devoted a good deal of attention-more attention than I had expected him to give-to certain aspects of the case which had formed the subject matter of discussion up and down the township lines and in the school-houses of the Northwest up to the third of November last, but which did not seem to me to be quite in keeping with the kind of discussion which might be expected from the leader of the opposition speaking upon such an occasion, and dealing with such a measure as this, before a body as this House. The lion, gentleman sought to establish the proposition thht the right lion. First Minister and his government had made a right-about-face since last session upon the question whether or not provincial autonomy should be granted to the people of the Northwest Territories. And, in his endeavour to sustain a very weak position, he sought to make use of a remark or rather an ejaculation of the Prime Minister on one occasion about two years ago. It was alleged that the Prime Minister had said ' Hear, hear,' when the hon member for Marquette (Mr. W. J. Roche) had made some remark to impress the idea that the government was not favourable to provincial autonomy. I do not know whether my hon. friend-in fact I must take it for granted that my hon. friend was not aware that before the end of that session the First Minister had set himself right on that point, and I will read a passage which may be found in the 'Hansard' of 1903, page 13907 : Mr. ROCHE '(Marquette). I stated that I was putting the Prime Minister's sentiments correctly before the House to the effect that for many years to come the Territories need not expect autonomy at the hands of this government, and the Prime Minister said ' hear, hear.'


?

The PRIME MINISTER.

If I said ' hear, hear ' it was not affirmation. On the contrary, it was negation.

Why, it is within the knowledge of everybody in Canada, and should be within the knowledge of every member of this House who was in the last parliament, that on several occasions responsible ministers of the Crown stated their opinion autlioritative'.v that the time had nearly come when full provincial powers must be conferred on the people of the Northwest Territories. The bon. member for Brandon, then Minister of the Interior, as long ago as three years, stated in the House that he had arrived at the conclusion that provincial autonomy must very soon be meted out to the people of the Northwest Territories. During the session of 1903, the Minister of Finance, in the most explicit terms, stated two or three times that the government had arrived at the conclusion that the time was near at hand when full provincial powers must be conferred on these people.

Mr. Speaker, I listened with a great deal of interest to the able address given to the House last evening by the hon. gentleman who represents the district of Qu'Appelle (Mr. Lake) in this House. If it would not be presumptuous on my part to say so, I would congratulate the House, I would congratulate the Northwest, and particularly I would congratulate our hon. friends opposite upon their acquisition of that hon. gentleman, who was elected last November to represent the district of Qu'Appelle. Of course, I do not quite agree with every one of the statements made by that hon. gentleman ; but I will say this for him, that he made the class of speech that friends of the Northwest Territories desired to be made before this question of provincial autonomy was determined, before the details and terms were determined ; it was the class of speech which the true friend of the Northwest felt it proper to make, and just the class of speech I have made myself the first session I came into this parliament. But I cannot agree with quite all the things which my hon. friend stated as facts. I understood the hon. gentleman to say7 that Mr. Haultain's draft Bill, prepared, I think, in December, 1901, or January, 1902, was unanimously endorsed by the assembly of the Northwest Terri-

tories, with the exception of one point, that point relating to the number of provinces, whether there should be one province or more. I think I can convince my hon. friend that he was mistaken in that regard. One strong objection was raised, not by a Liberal in the assembly, but by one of the Conservative members, a gentleman who acts in conjunction with the member for Qu'Ap-pelle, and who was a Conservative candidate in one of the districts of the Northwest Territories last fall, Dr. Patrick, of Yorkton, who took violent exception to the terms of the draft Bill, because, as he said, it was attempting to grab too much, the terms were extravagant and would do damage to the interests of the Territories by attempting to grab too much. Then, I understood my hon. friend to lay down the proposition that because that draft Bill had been endorsed by the assembly, and because it was before tiie people of the Northwest Territories last fall during the general election. therefore no member representing a district of the Northwest Territories had any mandate or right to do other than object to any kind of a Bill which was not framed entirely upon the lines of that draft Bill, voted upon by the Northwest legisla ture. If that was the position taken by my hon. friend, and I think it was, for I listened to him carefully, I may tell him that he is entirely out of accord with his mentor, Mr. Haultain. Mr. Haultain never took such a position. My hon. friend from Qu'-Ap-pel'le, as well as myself, heard Mr. Haultain declare himself explicitly, in a meeting of the legislature towards the end of 1903, that he never expected to get all he asked for, they were simply laying down their pro-j)osition, and were asking everything that was possible, leaving to those on the other end of the bargain to say how much the terms had to be cut down.

However. Mr. Speaker, I suppose that in this discussion it is rather the amendment proposed 'by the hon. member for Carleton (Mr. R. L. Borden) which is engaging the attention of the House. That amendment reads :

All the words after the word ' that ' to the end of the question be left out and the following substituted therefor :-

Upon the establishment of a province in the Northwest Territories of Canada as proposed by Bill (No. 69), the legislature of such province, subject to and in accordance with the provisions of the British North America Acts, 1867 to 1886, is entitled to and should enjoy full powers of provincial self-government including power to exclusively make laws in relation to education.

That is a proposition, Mr. Speaker, that commands my warm approval in some respects, but I am sorry to say that my hon. friend's speech did not quite fit in with his amendment. It is a proposition that, on the face of it, would be looked upon with favour by every resident of the Northwest Territories. But when we look at it a little more Mr. SCOTT.

closely, it may not be such a favourable proposition. As the members of this House can readily believe, particularly when they listen to such representatives from the Northwest as the hon. member from Edmonton (Mr. Oliver) and the hon. member from Brandon (Mr. Sifton), the people of those western prairies like to have things placed before them definitely, and I may tell the hon. member for Carleton that before the residents of the Northwest Territories will be able to accept his proposition they will want

know what class of schools he means, whether he means absolute freedom to settle their school system or whether he means anything else ; whether he means, for instance, the application of section 93 of the British North America Act, which would not leave the people of the Northwest absolute freedom to settle this question for themselves. And upon another phase of the question, that concerning the lands, I am sorry to say that my hon. friend's speech entirely disagrees with his resolution. With reference to the matter of the retention of the lands by. the federal power, to which proposition he takes exception, giving his opinion that the land should be transferred to the provincial authorities, he said :

May I not further suggest that even if there were any danger-and I do not think there is it would be the task of good statesmanship to have inserted, if necessary, a provision in this Bill with regard to free homesteads and the prices of those lands.

We had a suggestion in the discussion that took place this afternoon and we had a more particular suggestion in the discussion that took place some days ago as to there being at the present moment no friend of the Northwest in the government. The friends of the Northwest must be looked for amongst hon. gentlemen opposite. Well, 1 am bound to say that I think the friendship of the hon. member for Carleton will bear a little analysis. If it has a sentimental feature, something that is not going to cost anything, something that is not going to bear on any other section of Canada, our hon. friends opposite are great friends of the Northwest, but, whenever we come down to a substantial matter like limiting the self governing powers of the people of the Northwest in regard to their actual and substantial resources the boot is on the other foot. That is an entirely different aspect of the case. There are lion, gentlemen behind my hon. friend from Carleton who are great friends of the people of the Territories too. It would be such an awful thing if any power of self government were denied to the people of the Northwest Territories, but they are anxious to take away about half the territory of the people of the Northwest Territories.

Topic:   PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT IN THE NORTHWEST.
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March 31, 1905