March 31, 1905

LIB

Thomas Walter Scott

Liberal

Mr. SCOTT.

AATe had a good deal of discussion this afternoon and many brave statements were made by hon. gentlemen opposite. A\re bad very similar statements made last year. AYe had a number of fingers pointing across the floor of the House then as they were pointing across this afternoon and from month to month in 1901 and during the previous session of 1903 hon. gentlemen said: Only dare to come down

to the people; only dare to do it. AYell, the government did dare do it and the result is as I have said, that in British Columbia there were seven Liberals returned and not a single Conservative, in the Northwest Territories seven Liberals, with a majority averaging a little over 1,200, as against three Conservatives barely squeezed in, and in Manitoba seven Liberals as against three Conservatives. And when we got before the people their complaint was that we had taken them unawares. Let the hon. member for East Elgin (Air. Ingram) not concern himself. Whether a new Minister of the Interior is selected from British Columbia or the Northwest Territories or Manitoba, I venture to say that the government will be able to carry the election of such a minister in whatever district they may choose to -select him from.

Some references have been made to Air. Bulyea, the colleague of Air. Haultain. Some serious insinuations have been made against Air. Bulyea. Some were made by the hon. member for North Toronto (Air. Foster) a few days ago. He insinuated, Mr. SCOTT.

and because no direct denial was made he took it as an admitted fact, that Air. Bulyea had been, as he put it colleaguing with the right hon. Prime Alinister and the Liberal members from the Territories apart from Air. Haultain. I think I am revealing no secret when I say that I have been present at no conference at which the right hon. Prime Alinister was present and at which Air. Bulyea was present. We have had numberless conferences with the Prime Alinister and his colleagues, but at none of these conferences was Air. Bulyea present. Let me turn that proposition around. I am sorry that the hon. member for North Toronto is not here. Is there anybody here who is prepared to state-

An hon. AIEAIBER. The hon. member for North Toronto did not make that statement at all.

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LIB

Thomas Walter Scott

Liberal

Air. SCOTT.

Is there anybody present who is able to state-and the hon. leader of the opposition will have an opportunity of answering this question-that Air. Haultain was careful to have Air. Bulyea with him every time he was in meeting and in discussion with the hon. leader of the opposition in regard to this autonomy matter? Several hon. gentlemen opposite have suggested that Air. Bulyea had deserted the position of the Northwest Territories in failing to sign the letter of protest which appeared over the signature of Air. Haultain. I have already read the letter and it is patent to everybody that the only protest of any kind contained in that letter Is in regard to this school matter. He does not lay stress on the matter of the number of provinces, he does not lay stress on the matter of lands; the only thing he does lay stress on is the matter of the schools and I have proved to the House, I think, to the satisfaction of every lawyer and every layman in the House, that Air. Haul-tain's own draft Bill, which was assented to by the legislature and the people of the Northwest Territories, asked for the continuation of the separate school system. Is it Air. Haultain or Air. Bulyea who has deserted the position of the Territories ? If, as alleged, Air. Bulyea declined to sign that letter, I think Air. Bulyea was simply performing his duty. He declined to turn from the position that the people of the Territories had taken on that matter.

The hon. member for North Toronto, too, stated something in connection with the question that had been asked by Mr. Haultain in regard to schools at the time of the last general election and the answer given by the hon. member for Brandon (Air. Sif-ton). That is perfectly true. He went on to say that a question was put to all the Liberal candidates in the Northwest Territories as to what their action was going to be in regard to schools if they were returned to parliament and that they told the people that they must trust to the govern-

ment. If the hon. member for North Toronto were here, I would put the question to him-perhaps the hon. member for East Grey (Mr. Sproule) can answer it-what basis is there beyond their imagination for such an assertion as that?

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CON
LIB

Thomas Walter Scott

Liberal

Mr. SCOTT.

That the Liberal candidates were asked as to what their action would be if returned to parliament on the matter of schools and that their answer was: You must trust to the government. I make this statement here, that beyond the question that was put by Mr. Haultain in Regina to the then Minister of the Interior, who was going to Regina a week later, I never heard the question mentioned in the whole of my campaign. The question was never put to me ; I never gave an answer in regard to this question, Everybody knew that the Northwest Territories were to be granted autonomy very early in the new parliament and no Roman Catholic or Protestant ever came to me privately or ever put the question at a public meeting or asked me in any way, prior to the 3rd November, what my action would be in that regard. This is further proof of the most convincing nature, if any were needed beyond what I have already given to the House, that the Northwest Territories were not asking for any more freedom in regard to schools than that which they have enjoyed for the last 14 years. The hour is late-

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?

Some hon. MEMBERS

Go on.

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LIB

Thomas Walter Scott

Liberal

Mr. SCOTT.

Some hon. gentlemen appear to be very much concerned about the meaning of the new section 16, about the meaning of the Bills as they at present stand. The hon. member for Calgary (Mr. McCarthy), the other evening, expressed what he considered a ydoubt about it and this doubt was repeated last night by the hon. member for Qu'Appelle (Mr. Lake). They are doubtful whether any change has been made in the Bills. I am not very much concerned with tjhe meaning of the original section 16, because we are not dealing with that. But, of course, we are very much concerned with the meaning of the Bills in the shape in which they are going to be adopted, we hope. I would ask the House just for a moment to try and wipe away some of the technical and constitutional rubbish with which some hon. members seek to confuse our minds. The main question as presented by the original section 16 had reference to the provision for the distribution of the money to all classes of schools. In the first place the right was given to minorities to establish separate schools and in the next place it was provided that an equitable division of the funds should be granted to them. There was no connecting link, so it appeared to us, which would keep the separate schools under state control as

they are at the present time. The new section 16 simply validates and keeps in effect ordinances Nos. 29 and 30 of the Northwest Territories passed in 1901. My hon. friend from Calgary advanced the contention that these ordinances which, when they were of questionable validity, as some men think, yet did undoubtedly effect the total abolition of the church or religious school, will by the process of acquiring unquestioned validity effect the restoration of the ecclesiastical school. It seems to me that the proposition only needs to be stated clearly to constitute its own answer. The right to separate schools is very clearly laid down iii section 41 of ordinance No. 29, as follows :

The minority of the ratepayers in any district, whether Protestant or Roman Catholic, may establish a separate school therein, and in such case the ratepayers establishing such Protestant or Roman Catholic separate school shall be liable only to assessments of such rates as they impose upon themselves in respect thereof.

I believe this is the exact language imported from section 14 of the old Northwest Territories Act. But that is governed in the ordinance by section 4, which says :

The department shall have control and management of all kindergarten schools, public and separate schools, normal schools, teachers' institutes and the education of deaf, deaf mute and blind persons.

The department, subject to the legislature, m turn subject to the people, shall have the control and management of separate schools and if that were not sufficient we also have section 45 which states :

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

It seems to me, Mr. Speaker, that if we just keep our minds free from being confused by technicalities, keep our minds on the point which is as to whether or not we are to have a separate school controlled by the church or a separate school controlled by the state, there is no liability of any conflict of opinion about the legislation which the government asks the House to adopt.

I am not going to take the time to read the various regulations in these ordinances, they have already been placed in ' Hansard,' but I say that there is in them no limitation of power to control, vary, improve or do anything in relation to the management of schools, all the schools, the separate school and the public school, except that the province must by legislation provide for public schools and permit minorities to have separate schools, both of which, conducted in the same way and

yielding the same results, must receive the same public aid. This is the minority right which is enjoyed in the Northwest Territories at the present moment.

To me this is not so much a constitutional as a practical question. What is the best thing for parliament to do in the interests of the people who live in those Territories ?

T may say that the legislation is no compromise for me as it was for the hon. member for Brandon (Mr. Sifton). It is exactly what I wanted, I would not care to assent to anything else. It is just what the Northwest wanted, it is in fact, stated a little less clearly in his Bill, just what Mr. Haul-tain asked for in his draft Bill. It is just what the Northwest people voted for in the general election of 1902 and what the assembly more than once unanimously voted for, or thought they were voting for. I would ask again if the hon. member for East Grey (Mr. iSproule) has ever heard a protest from any one in the Territories against the condition of thiugs existing there. 1 say there is no objection so far as I have ever heard. There are 1 think in the Northwest Territories 11 separate schools, nine Roman Catholic and two Protestant. One of them is at Edmonton, and the hon. member for Edmonton (Mr. Oliver) has already spoken ; I venture to say he has not heard in the town of Edmonton any protest from anybody against the existence of that separate school there. Another one is at fetrathcona and another at Wetaskiwin and the same remark will apply to my hon. friend for Strathcona (Mr. P. Talbot). The hon. member for Calgary (Mr. M. S. McCarthy) spoke the other day and he did not enter ' any protest against the separate school. There is one at Lethbridge and one at MacLeod. If the hon. member for Alberta (Mr. Herron) is still here he may be able to say whether there is any protest in his district against the existence of tiie two separate schools in that district. There is another one at Regina and another one at or near Wapella. Speaking of the Regina separate school, I say that it^ is satisfactory to all the people in Regina and that any pro-position to abolish the separate school in existence in Regina would be more unsatisfactory to the Protestants who live there than to the Roman Catholics. I admit that there is some objection against the permission of separation in school matters. That is the only possible objection there can be to separate schools in the west, the objection against separation, but in the practical operation in town school districts there is no practical objection, because, as in the case of Regina, the separate school takes the place of a ward school in the same way as it does in Nova Scotia, as I am informed. For instances, in towns in Nova Scotia there is one ward school set apart for Roman Catholics. It is managed entirely Mr. SCOTT.

by Roman Catholic trustees and attended entirely by Roman Catholic children. It is merely in effect the system we have in the Territories. The word 'coercion' used in this case is a deliberate attempt to deceive the people of this country. To speak of coercion in this matter is to distort the meaning of the word. You cannot find a protest in the Northwest Territories against existing conditions. You cannot find an advocate of any alteration in the separate school feature of the existing law. We will have the separate school whether you pass section 16 or not. The most vehement denouncers of these Bills on the ground of provincial rights in the same breath proclaim their satisfaction with our separate school. The provincial rights cry in this case has no substance. It is a cry for a shadow and such a cry becomes ridiculous. I say as a member of the Liberal party that I protest against this attempt to bring ridicule on what is a good sound principle of the Liberal party. Provincial rights with substance is a principle worth fighting for, and the Liberal party has always fought for that principle when it was challenged.

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CON

Thomas Simpson Sproule

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPROULE.

How is it that so many Liberals from the Territories have signed petitions to this House praying that the right be left to them to legislate with regard to schools ?

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LIB

Thomas Walter Scott

Liberal

Mr. SCOTT.

Some of these people have signed under a misconception. There are people in the west, as I shall prove to my hon. friend before I get through, who do not know that we have a separate school system and thev signed petitions under the impression'that this parliament was trying to introduce a separate school system. I ask my hon. friend now to be candid about it. Would it not be simply and absolutely ridiculous for me coming from the Northwest Territories as I do to be crying for a right and demanding a power and in the same breath protesting that I would not exercise that power if I had it ?

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CON
LIB

Thomas Walter Scott

Liberal

Mr. SCOTT.

That is exactly the position Mr. Haultain takes ; he is crying for the power to deal with this matter and protesting in the hearing of the whole people of Canada that he would not exercise that power if he had it.

It is said that if the privileges of the minority are safe in the hands of the people of the west, we should leave this question for them to settle. That is the position of the hon. member for Carleton (Mr. R. L. Borden). He says : Leave it to the provincial legislatures and trust to the justice of the people of the province. That question cannot be put to me. I am not one of the minority who are chiefly concerned ; I am

a member of tlie majority. Tbe question must be put to the representatives of the minority in this House. I presume that the hon. member for East Grey (Mr. Sproule) is to-night representing the hon. member for Carleton (Mr. R. L. Borden), and I would aslv, when the leader of the Opposition put the question to the representatives of the minority who sit with him in this parliament how many of them expressed their willingness to have the guarantee left out and to leave the matter to the justice of the majority. It is not for me as a member of the majority to answer this question, it is not to the majority, it is to the members of the minority that that question is put. If they say they are willing I would say that possibly we might consent to leave out the guarantee, although as a matter of fact I prefer to have the guarantee left in this shape so that there will be no uncertainty in these provinces. Can we blame the members of the minority after all when we look at the history of Manitoba and the Territories ? We have cut the minority privilege down there from what it was originally interpreted to mean. It was originally interpreted by the legislature of the Territories, the old Northwest council, to mean that there should be church control for Roman Catholic schools. We have cut that down. We all know what occurred in Manitoba and what occurred in regard to the French language. As soon as the Northwest legislature obtained the power to deal with it, it abolished the dual system, and I say as a representative of the Northwest Territories that it did the only reasonable thing. It would have been absurd in that country to have continued the official publication of all laws and court records in French, because not one out of 500 of those who could read laws at all could not read them in English. I say looking at the history of Manitoba and the Northwest, that if 1 was a member of the minority I would not consent to have the guarantee cut out, because I would fear that the time would come, and that not in the very far future, when the final vestige of the separate school would disappear.

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CON

Joseph Gédéon Horace Bergeron

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BERGERON.

Will my hon. friend allow me to put a question to him ? Will he tell us what he understands by separate schools ?

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LIB

Thomas Walter Scott

Liberal

Mr. SCOTT.

I understand that the minority, whether Protestant or Roman Catholic, in any school district have a right to set up a school of their own ; and that school comes under the same government as the public school, its teachers have to be certificated in the same way, with the same qualifications and the same normal school training, it has the same text books and has to produce the same results to earn the same money grants.

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CON

Joseph Gédéon Horace Bergeron

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BERGERON.

What is the difference between the two schools then ?

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LIB
CON
LIB

Thomas Walter Scott

Liberal

Mr. SCOTT.

It is certainly a separate school, though it is not a religious school.

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CON

Joseph Gédéon Horace Bergeron

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BERGERON.

It may be in a different building, but it is the same school.

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LIB

Thomas Walter Scott

Liberal

Mr. SCOTT.

It is the same class of school. When our friends of the minority decline, as, in my judgment, they have good reason to decline, looking at tbe history of the school question in the Northwest, to have the guarantee cut out of the Bill, then it is reasonable for me as a member of the majority, in view of the fact that it is not going to violate any principle of sound public policy, to leave the guarantee in. Indeed, as I have explained, I prefer to have the guarantee left in in this shape, and, so far as the educational provisions are concerned, I vote for these Bills without any hesitation. This is exactly the proposition I want, for the following reasons :-*

1. It removes all uncertainty.

2. It respects the minority conscience without violating any sound public principle.

3. It provides securely against agitation in future.

4. It perpetuates a system which has in practice proved to be eminently satisfactory to all classes.

5. It means coercion in no sense or adaptation of the word, because it merely guarantees what would be continued by the almost universal will of the provinces'

6. It continues a system preferable in its practical working out to the public school system of Manitoba, where the minority have a theoretical grievance, which interested parties are constantly able to exaggerate, and who continue to .chafe under what they believe to be an infringement on their rights.

7. It furnishes a possible common ground of action by the members of this House, and thus maintains unity. No common action was possible either upon the original section 10 or upon the amendment of the leader of the opposition.

8. More than all, it is satisfactory to me as a citizen of, and one of the majority in, the Northwest, because it not only reasonably secures minority rights, but it absolutely secures majority rights against such invasion as was attempted by parliament in 189G in the case of Manitoba. It is the only absolute guarantee of educational autonomy contained in any suggestion made to this House, excepting only that of the hon. member for Brandon (Mr. Sifton), to specifically make the provinces free and get imperial ratification of the free charters. Mr. Haul-tain's draft Bill left the door specifically

open for tlie sectarian or ecclesiastical school.

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CON

Richard Stuart Lake

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LAKE.

Do I understand the hon. gentleman to state that Mr. Haultain deliberately did that ?

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LIB

Thomas Walter Scott

Liberal

Mr. SCOTT.

If my hon. friend has listened to me at all carefully, I think there can be no doubt in his mind as to what I have stated. I say that, to the best of my knowledge and belief, Mr. Haultain, until that convention two years ago, when he changed from being a non-partisan in local politics to being a partisan all along the line-in fact, down to the time of the last general election in October, 1904-had no intention, as nobody connected with the public affairs of the Northwest had any intention, of asking for any different constitution in regard to schools than that we have had in force for the last fourteen years.

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March 31, 1905