March 31, 1905

CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. R. L. BORDEN.

May I ask my hon. friend, without wishing to interrupt him

unduly, at what page he quoted from my speech ?

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LIB

Thomas Walter Scott

Liberal

Mr. SCOTT.

X have not the page here but I will ask one of my friends to hunt it up.

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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. R. L. BORDEN.

X will quote it. The hon. gentleman began in the middle of a sentence and did not give the whole quotation.

After Recess.

House resumed at eight o'clock. PRIVATE BILLS.

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CENTRAL COUNTIES RAILWAY COMPANY.


House in committee on Bill (No. 01) respecting the Central Counties Railway Cc-m-pany.-Mr. Stewart.


LIB
CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. R. L. BORDEN.

I will. I had first stated that I believed in handing over the lands to the people of the Northwest absolutely and had pointed out the objection that the right hon. Prime Minister had made to that. Then, X said :

Are they not the people chiefly interested ? May we not rightly conclude that if these lands are handed over to them, they will so deal with them as to best conserve their own interests by forwarding and assisting a vigorous policy of immigration ? May I not further suggest that even if there were any danger- and I do not think there is-it would he 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, and obtain to it the consent of the people of the Northwest Territories.

My hon. friend began in the middle of a sentence and closed his quotation before the end of it. That is all I desire to call attention to.

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LIB

Thomas Walter Scott

Liberal

Mr. SCOTT.

I fail to see what difference there is in the meaning between the portion that my hon. friend has quoted and the portion that I quoted, except the suggestion added that the consent of the Northwest might be asked. And let me tell him that he will very much more readily get the consent of the people of the Northwest Territories to leaving in perpetuation a system of schools which is absolutely satisfactory to Protestant and Catholic alike than he will get their consent to any such invasion of their rights as is involved in his suggestion. On the sentimental question of lands, on the sentimental side of the school question hon. gentlemen opposite or a section of them, headed by the leader of the opposition, are great friends of the Northwest Territories, but when it comes down to substantial things, as I said, the boot is entirely on the other foot. Talk about invading autonomy. Why, Sir. no such radical and substantial invasion of Northwest autonomy as this suggestion involves-as read and repeated again here now by himself-could be imagined by an avowed enemy of provincial rights.

At six o'clock, House took recess.

On section 16,

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CON

Thomas Simpson Sproule

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPROULE.

All of this Bill is expunged except the preamble and section 16. Is this railway company already in existence ?

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LIB

Archibald Campbell

Liberal

Mr. CAMPBELL.

This Bill asks for a great many powers which the Railway Committee did not see fit to give them. They granted them only an extension of time in their old Bill. Clause 16 only gives an extension of time on the charter obtained a few years ago.

Bill reported, read a third time and passed.

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CONSIDERED IN COMMITTEE-THIRD READING.


Bill (No. 60) to incorporate the Algoma Copper Range Railway Company.-Mr. Dy-meut.


PROVINCIAL AUTONOMY IN THE NORTHWEST.


House resumed consideration of the 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.


LIB

Thomas Walter Scott

Liberal

Mr. WALTER SCOTT.

When you left the chair at six o'clock, Mr. Speaker, I was commenting upon the violent difference between the purport of the amendment moved by the hon. member for Carleton (Mr. R. L. Borden) and the direct suggestion contained in his speech. The proposals of the government contemplate a payment in lieu of the public domain to these two new provinces aggregating $750,000 per annum at the beginning; as the population of the provinces increases, this payment is to increase to an amount in the future of $2,225,000 per annum. The gentleman from Carleton (Mr. R. L. Borden) objects to these proposals and suggests instead that the public domain should be transferred to the management of the provincial governments, but with the proviso that those provincial governments shall be limited in their management of this public domain, the suggestion being, if I understood my hon. friend accurately, that the homestead lands should continue to he given away as they are now given by this government as free

His financial terms will bring upon him every province in the Dominion. Take it on any ground you like, and by the proportions which you have meted out to the Northwest, you have gone beyond the financial conditions of every other province of this Dominion.

Wliat clid the hon. gentleman mean V There is no difference in the item, grant for government. No one will contend that that is a better grant than the other provinces are drawing. There is no substantial difference in the per capita subsidy. There is just one province, Nova Scotia, up to the present time, exceeding the limit of 400,000 souls. Their population now is 460,000. But, except in that case there is no difference at the present moment in the per capita arrangement made for these provinces and the arrangement at present in existence with other provinces. There is no difference in the debt account ;-no other suggestion would be listened to with regard to the debt. The only meaning that can be attached to the hon. gentleman's words is that too much money is being paid to these provinces in lieu of their public lands. The hon. member for Jacques Cartier (Mr. Monk) gave expression to this sentiment on March 23rd :

I would like to point out, as a member from the province of Quebec, that it would be a great calamity indeed if the Minister of Justice and the government did not arrive at a conclusion that it is necessary to modify that section which has regard for instance to lands. . . . As to us in the province of Quebec, why, Sir, we have twenty-five million acres of good land for settlement, which we are trying to settle, which we are doing our best to settle. Instead of devoting all our energies and all our moneys and public resources to settle the lands in our own province, under the terms of the constitution, we are going to pay this enormous indemnity. these millions of dollars to keep a hold on the lands of the North-west.

It is evident from these expressions that our hon. friends in the Conservative party, if they had the making of these proposals, would not have granted as good financial terms as we have now, would not have granted the amounts which are stated in the Bills to be paid to these uew provinces. Now I find, in looking up the public records, that in pursuit of a proper and wise policy of settlement and develo) >ment, this government has derived practically na profit from the Crown lands in the Northwest Territories since the Dominion first acquired them. From 1870 to 1SS0 Jlie administration of Crown lands in' Manitoba and the Northwest cost - $1,244,499.34 in excess of receipts. In the years 1881-1890 the accounts show $753,570.53 in excess of expenditure. In the years from 1891 to 1900 there was again an excess of expenditure amount Sng to $184,398.95. In the years from 1901 np to 1904 there has been an excess of expenditure over receipts of $11,733.49. Taking the whole period from 1870 up to date, therefore, the administration of lands in the Northwest lias cost this Dominion $687,-Mr. SCOTT.

055.25 in excess of receipts, to which must be added refunds amounting to $329,950, making a total of $1,017,005.25. But if we take into account certain lands granted in redemption of scrip issued for rebellion services, half-breed claims and other purposes, amounting to $3,758,490, there is shown a favourable balance of $2,741,484.75, or an annual average of $78,328.13. As has already been stated, the Dominion profit from the policy so wisely pursued has to be looked for in other quarters,-from the customs and other receipts and from the generally improved conditions throughout Canada. The total revenues of Canada have increased in the last seven or eight years by about 100 per cent. In 1896 the total revenue was $35,000,000 or $36,000,000, last year the total revenue was over $70,000,000. We have been spending money in administering the lands, not for the purpose of making direct profit, but, on the other hand, we have brought about an exceedingly favourable result, in seven or eight years doubling the total revenue of this Dominion.

. The particular benefit to the provinces in the plan that is being adopted as opposed to the plan of transferring the public domain to the local governments, is found in the fact that we have from the start an assured revenue ; whereas, if the lands were transferred to the local governments, and if no change of policy were put into effect by them, they would have great difficulties, in the initial years of their provincial experience, in getting enough revenue to carry on the affairs of government, Moreover, their financial position is assured in the far future years, fifty or one hundred years hence, as long as this confederation lasts ; whereas, on the other hand, and in the case of some of the other provinces fifty or one hundred years hence, the Crown domain cannot be worth very much to those provinces so far as concerns their revenues. The principle of the provincial right to a beneficial interest in the land is recognized in the most substantial manner, and I am pleased to be able to say, because I believe it to be the truth, that the people of the Northwest aye emi nently satisfied. I venture to say that there is scarcely a man in the Northwest, who is not actuated by partisan sentiment, but has stated, either to himself or to his neighbours, that this is a better proposition than would be the proposition to turn over the lands to iocal management. I may be permitted to give to the House some actual expressions of opinion on this point. So far as possible, I will not give partisan opinions. The ' Standard ' newspaper of Regina, published by a gentleman of independent tendencies, neither Conservative or Liberal, since the publication of the terms of these Bills, has written :

It is difficult, at the present stage, to pass judgment upon the terms proposed in the Autonomy Bills. It is. however, quite evident that

the Dominion will retain control of the Territorial public lands. Perhaps, under the circumstances, this is best for all concerned. The two great needs of the new provinces at first, will he population and railway development. To secure the former, the inducement of free homesteads must continue to be offered, and to secure railway extension, lands, or the proceeds of lands are usually granted. Thus, we see, that if the new provinces owned the unallotted lands they should have practically to give them away. At the same time the cost of land administration would have to be borne. The duties of the Immigration Department, too, would follow the land. The new provinces could not be easily equipped for these onerous duties. It took the federal authorities many years to bring immigration work up to its present status. They have it now in a state of high efficiency, with experienced agents at work in various parts of the world It is important that the good work shall continue to go on undisturbed. A handsome equivalent, either in cash or in interestbearing credit, will suit the new provinces much better than the extra responsibilities which are involved in the ownership and control of the public domain.

The circumstances of the old provinces were altogether different. They had railways and population long before confederation, and they also had the lands and their respective land departments in full organization.

By all means let Saskatchewan and Alberta have each an adequate allowance ' in lieu of lands,' but let parliament take due heed of the full import of the term ' adequate ' as it applies in this instance.

I tlo not think, Mr. Speaker, I could find any better authority on this subject than Mr. Haultain. In that famous letter of protest which Mr. Haultain directed to the Prime Minister, and which, it strikes me, was merely a formal protest in that regard, he stated at the conclusion :

But I am not unwilling to admit that an immediate income, increasing with population and certain in amount, may in the long run prove quite as satisfactory as any probable net income resulting from local administration of the public domain.

Now, I am going to read to the House a portion of a letter which came to me from a gentleman in' Regina, dated February 2*th, three days after these propositions had been presented to the House and had been reported in Regina. This letter was not sent me for publication, or with the idea that its contents would ever reach any person but myself. I think a letter of this kind is the best sort of evidence to show the actual situation as it struck the gentleman who wrote the letter :

So far as the feeling here is concerned, it could hardly be stronger in favour of the government's propositions.

Such pronounced Conservatives as C. E._ D. Wood, S. B. Jamieson, W. B. Pocklington, Nor-v man Mackenzie and James Brown voluntarily expressed not only their surprise at the generosity- of the terms but their complete satisfaction with them. Mayor Laird stated to me. that as to the lands what the people wanted 115*

was money and if they received from the Dominion as much as they would realize by handling the lands themselves there would not be the slightest complaint.

All these gentlemen whose names are here contained are well known Conservatives. Mayor Laird is a gentleman who took a very prominent part in the campaign of last fall. .

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CON

Thomas Simpson Sproule

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPROULE.

What is the name of the writer?

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LIB

Thomas Walter Scott

Liberal

Mr. SCOTT.

I have not the slightest objection to sending the letter across to my bon. friend (Mr. Sproule), but I would rather not publish the name of the writer.

I think I have advanced a fair measure of proof that as far as concerns the treatment given to the provinces in connection with public domain it is treatment that is eminently satisfactory to the people chiefly interested.

I come now to a subject which is perhaps more contentious in its nature, although I am obliged to repeat again that I think that a totally disproportionate amount of attention has been given to what is only a phase of the educational matter. The matter of education is one of very prime importance, the most important matter to the people of any province and the most important subject that could possibly be dealt with by any parliament or local legislature. But the matter that is being debated in the House is the narrowest kind of ap issue as between the proposition of the government and the proposition, as it is explained by himself, of the hon. member for Carletou. However, before actually taking up the educational clause, let me make another brief reference. The year of confederation, 1867, chances to be also the year in which I was ushered into this world and it will not be a matter of surprise, therefore, that some of the negotiations and some of the events that occurred prior to that time are not very definitely within my recollection. I was thrown into circumstances which did not conduce to a great deal of research or study historical or constitutional. Probably there are many people in Canada, in Ontario, in Manitoba and in the Northwest Territories who may be like myself in this regard. We have had it in our minds, from what we have seen in the newspapers and from the sentiments we have heard expressed by people around us that the re-sponsibilty for the insertion of the clause protecting the rights of minorities in the Canadian constitution, the British North America Act, was upon the Roman Catholic hierarchy, that they had in some way engineered that provision into the Confederation Act and that it was probably only the Roman Catholic people of the Dominion of Canada who were interested in the observance of that principle. Or, to state it the other way, we have had the impression that the Protestants in Canada were and

ought to be antagonistic to the observance of that provision for the protection of minority rights which is embodied in the British North America Act. I have to admit that it came with a kind of a shock to me in the first instance to hear that it was not the Roman Catholic hierarchy but the Protestant people of Canada who stood up for the insertion of that protection in the constitution. The House has heard the indisputable proof of that fact which was given by my hon. friend the First Minister in his speech in this House on the 21st of February and again in another speech on the 22nd March of this year. But, perhaps, it will do no harm if I quote from another gentleman for whom some hon. members on the other side of the House may have a higher regard. The late leader of the Conservative party, Sir Charles Tupper, referred to this matter in a speech delivered in this House in 1896. Sir Charles Tupper was one of the fathers of confederation who took part in the negotiations which resulted in confederation, and he speaks as a man having knowledge. He said:

I say *with knowledge that but for the consent to the proposal of Mr. Galt, who represented especially the Protestants of Quebec, and but for the assent of that conference to the proposal of Mr. Galt, that in the Confederation Act should be embodied a clause which would protect the right of minorities, whether Catho-ics or Protestants, in this country, there *would have been no confederation. I draw attention to the fact that when you contrast our present position with that which Canada occupied when Mr. Geo. Brown and Sir John A. Macdonald felt impelled, by the necessities of the case, by the condition of their country, to seek some change in its constitution which would relieve it from the terrible war of religion and race that had been maintained in old Canada down to that time, it is significant that but for the clause protecting minorities, the measure of confederation would not have been accomplished, and no man can say how humiliating might not have been the position either of Canada or any of the smaller provinces if that great work had not been accomplished.

I find that at that same time the hon. gentleman who at present represents North Toronto (Mr. Foster) in this House said of that provision that it was the sine qua non of the Protestant minority of their entrance into confederation. I may just at this point read a little further from the speech made by the then Minister of Finance:

And so the first paragraph

Referring to section 93 of the British North America Act.

- the educational clauses of the confederation resolutions gave by general consent to the provinces the power to deal with respect to education ;

Saving the rights and privileges which Catholic or Protestant minorities* in both Canadas may possess as to their denominational schools at the time when the union goes into operation.

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LIB

Thomas Walter Scott

Liberal

Mr. SCOTT.

The only change which took place in that clause was this

That is the change that took place in London.

that instead of its being confined to both

Canadas, it was broadened to include the provinces which entered confederation. ... It was the sine qua non of the Protestant minority of their entrance into confederation.

There cannot be any doubt, if we accept that statement, that this provision which was put into the British North America Act referred, not only to the two Canadas, but to all provinces entering confederation, and, I take it, to all provinces that will enter confederation in the future.

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CON

Thomas Simpson Sproule

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPROULE.

May I ask the hon. gentleman this question : In the original resolutions that were moved, and upon which the British North America Act was founded, is that provision not strictly confined to On tario and Quebec ?

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LIB

Thomas Walter Scott

Liberal

Mr. SCOTT.

That is just exactly Mr. Foster's statement. This was the original resolution adopted in Quebec :

Saving the rights and privileges which Catholic or Protestant minorities in both Canadas may possess.

And he went on to say that the change which took place in the clause was this, that instead of its being confined to both the Canadas, it was broadened to include all the provinces that might enter confederation. Of the fact, therefore, that this provision was inserted for Protestant interests, and not for Roman Catholic interests, there cannot be any successful dispute. It was not inserted for the Protestants of Quebec alone, but it was inserted for what was expected to be the Protestant minority in the territory lying west of the great lakes. Parliament, in 1870, in creating the province of Manitoba, provided for minority rights in separate schools, not for Catholic interests in Manitoba, but for what were believed to be Protestant interests. There was just as much expectation that the minority in Manitoba would be a Protestant minority as that it would be a Roman Catholic minority. Let any gentleman read the 1875 debates, read the debate that took place when the Northwest Territories' Act was passed, and it must be plain to him, if he has an open, impartial mind, that the parliament of Canada in 1875 provided, not specially for Ro man Catholic minorities, but provided for expected Protestant minorities in the North west Territories. At all events, let any gentleman read these 1875 debates impartially, and he cannot possibly deny that Blake, Mackenzie, Sir John Macdonald and Sir Alexander Campbell

I believe that none of these gentlemen was a Roman Catholic ; each one of them hears an honoured name, and each one of them was a Protestant-supported the separate school clause in the Northwest Territories' Act,

having clearly in mind that he was legislating, not temporarily, but for all time to come.

And George Brown who did not support the legislation ; what did he say ?

The moment this Act passed and the Northwest became part of the union, they came under the Union Act, and under the provisions with regard to separate schools.

In the face of that language if the late Mr. Brown were still alive and had a seat in this House and were confronting the legislation which we have before us, what would he do ? Support the protection to minority rights ? Certainly. That therefore should I do even though I be as violent an opponent of the separate school as was Mr. Brown.

Take the late Mr. JDalton McCarthy ; he proposed in the year 1894 in this House to do what was the duty of any one who had a seat in this House, and believed that the separate school in the Northwest Territories was an iniquity, an impropriety or an injury to the Northwest Territories. He proposed that they should be abolished so far as this House was concerned. He proposed to leave the people of the Northwest Territories free to abolish separate schools if they wished to do so, and one of the very reasons he urged was that if the separate school provision was not abolished until the moment when the Territories entered the union as provinces then it would be impossible ever to abolish separate schools iii that Territory.

But looking at the whole history of the matter, we must remember that it "was for Protestant minorities as well as for Roman Catholic minorities that this protection was placed in the British North America Act. I want to speak with perfect sincerity. This is a serious question especially for "those of us who come from the Norihwest Territories. I want to say, speaking as a Protestant, not as a member of the minority, that in view of the history of this matter I would be ashamed of myself as a Protestant and ashamed of the Protestant majority if we would wish now, merely because we have the power and because it iis no longer our rights that will be affected, to use that power, to deny the very thing which we as Protestants stood out for when a Protest-'ant minority was affected. The principle is there clear and distinct to me, as I think it must be to every man with an impartial mind.

. It is urged against the Liberal party to-day that they are taking a course contrary to their course in 1896 in the Manitoba case. I do not think so. In 1896, as the right hon. gentleman who to-day fills the position as leader of this House expressed it :

The government is proposing a course *which is a violent wrench of the principles on which our constitution is based.

Was he speaking truly or falsely ? Was the course proposed in 1895 and 1896 a violent wrench ? I think that nobody who understands the situation, especially nobody living in the country west of the great lakes and familiar with the sentiment of Manitoba, could deny that he was telling the truth. It was such a violent wrench that if that action had not been prevented by the right hon. gentleman (Sir Wilfrid Laurier) the chances are that confederation would have been split into its original fragments. The hon. gentlemen opposite were taking a different course from what they are taking to-day, but then as now they were forgetting that constitutions are made for the provinces, not provinces for the constitution. The right hon. gentleman who now leads the House (Sir Wilfrid Laurier) was standing then for respect for established rights, the established right of the people of the province to have such a school system as they saw fit to have within its constitution. He is doing the same to-day, he is standing to-day for respect for the established rights of minorities in that area of country which is going to constitute these new provinces. Is he proposing any wrench of the principle of the constitution as the government of 1896 did ? Why Sir, he is proposing the very opposite as has been conclusively proven by the extracts from specehes which I have read to the House. The principle of protection for minority rights is there in the constitution, and no impartial man, no man who wishes to be fair, can disregard the existence of that principle in the constitution ; whether it is there by letter of law, whether the letter of the constitution would bear this interpretation, or not, there can be no successful denial of the fact that in providing as these Bills do, for the continuation to the minorities of exactly the rights they are enjoying when they enter this confederation as provinces, the government is purely and simply regarding the spirit of the Confederation Act.

There has been a good deal of cavil upon the point as to whether that area should be considered as a province before its entry or as a Territory. No person will deny or seek to deny that it is only a Territory but after all the human beings on the areas out there are just the same as they would be if they were in provinces, and their interests and conditions are practically not different at all from the conditions under the same institutions if the areas were provinces instead of being territories. On this point perhaps it will not be out of place for me to quote from a gentleman whose authority is very considerably respected at least by the hon. member for East Grey (Mr. iSproule). Mr. Ilaultain said, speaking in the legislature at Regina in 1900 :

We have been created what I may be allowed to call a political entity. We are for purposes

ot' self-government as separate a part of the Dominion as any of the provinces. We have a legislature and form of government bearing a very close analogy to that which exists in the provinces, and in every respect, therefore, except in respect of the necessary means for carrying on those institutions, -we stand in very much the same position as a province, and we may for present purposes be fairly called * an integral part of the Dominion

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March 31, 1905