It appears that my hon. friend laid that memorial on the table of this House, but we know that many memorials and petitions are brought here and very little attention is paid to them. When I read the statement of Mr. Rogers, I had no recollection that this matter had been brought to the attention of this government by the government of Manitoba. I inquired of my colleagues, and they were of the same opinion as myself. To make sure, I asked the clerk of the Privy Council if any petition had been received from the government of Manitoba, and he gave me this memorandum:
From June, 1896, to January, 1905, there is no record in the Privy Council office of a claim advanced by the province of Manitoba for the extension of its boundaries. In May, 1902, there was a protest from the Northwest Territories against the extension of the boundaries of the province of Manitoba.
What my hon. friend shows to-day is that a petition was passed by tbe legislature of Manitoba and was presented at this table by my hon. friend. But I have no recollection of it, and I cannot bring it down, because it is not in the archives of the government, but is already in the archives of the House of Commons. Therefore, my hon. friend will see that after all I was not inaccurate.
I am not quite so sure of that. It is rather a small matter perhaps, but I would be inclined to think that the right hon. gentleman is rather inaccurate. It is quite true, as he says, that the resolutions of the Manitoba legislature were not followed by executive action in one sense ; but he said something else. He said :
Neither in 1901 nor in 1902 were these resolutions passed by the legislature of Manitoba followed by executive action or called to the attention of the government of Canada.
When a petition of the legislature of a province is laid on the table of the House by a member of this House, I would think that was a very distinct calling of the attention of the government to that petition. The right hon. gentleman is leader of the government, but he is also leader of this House. We always refer to him in that way; and when a petition for aid or a petition (for extension of boundaries is laid upon the table of the House of Commons, I would very respectfully submit that it is called to the attention of the government Just as effectively as if a copy were sent to the government direct. I do not know of what use it would otherwise be to present such a petition to parliament. All of us know that legislation of that kind could on'y be initiated by the government, and it is idle to present any such petition to parliament unless it is intended by so doing to bring it to the attention of the government in order that they may initiate the legislation necessary to carry out the request. I think my right hon. friend, on looking carefully over that portion of his remarks to which attention has been called, will see that the impression it left upon our minds, certainly the impression left upon my own mind, was that he had no knowledge whatever of the resolutions of the Manitoba legislature except what he had derived from the public press of the country. I have no doubt that the right hon. gentleman made that statement in the most j perfect good faith, but at the same time | it was hardly accurate under the circumstances.
If I may be permitted, Mr. Speaker, to reply to my bon. friend, I must say that when I spoke I had no knowledge of those resolutions except what I had derived from the press of the country. It turns out now that a petition was laid on the table of this House. I have no recollection of that and I doubt if any one else has any recollection oi it or took much interest in it ; because dozens of petitions are presented to the House to which very little attentiou is paid, and unless my attention were specially called to it, I would probably know nothing about it. But the executive government of Manitoba never took any action on this matter until the month of January, 1905.
Before the Orders of the Day are called, I would like to ask the Prime Minister whether or not he has now any information to give to the House
with regard to the filling of the vacant portfolio of the Interior ? It is not my purpose to discuss that to-day and I simply rise for the purpose of obtaining information. I do so particularly in view of certain observations of the Minister of Customs last evening which I interpreted as an intimation to the House that it is the intention of the government in the immediate future to open a constituency in Manitoba or the Northwest in connection with the filling of that portfolio.
Perhaps it might ease the situation a little if my right hon. friend (Sir Wilfrid Laurier) would regard me as repeating this question every dav and give an answer every day just as if i had asked the question.
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 L. G.@
McCarthy (North Simcoe). Mr. Speaker, in resuming this debate I n ish to say that the tenor of my remarks has been somewhat altered from what it would otherwise have been owing to certain remarks which were made yesterday 'and also to certain remarks that have fallen from the lips of the leader of the opposition (Mr. R. L. Borden) and the member for Beauharnois (Mr. Bergeron) during this debate. If I understood the leader of the opposition aright he stated that the late hon. member for North Simcoe (Mr. Dalton McCarthy) had been ' established ' in the province of Ontario by the right hon. the Prime Minister for the purpose of denouncing the Conservative government in their policy of the coercion of Manitoba. Then the hon. member for Beauharnois, from ins place in the House spoke as folows :
Our friend Mr. Dalton McCarthy had gone on a tour through the province of Manitoba. He was dissatisfied because Sir John Thompson had been chosen as Minister of Justice. He had hopes of being offered that position, although he might have refused it, and he went to Manitoba and inflamed the passions of the people, He told them that something should be done to deliver them from the influence of the hierarchy. It was there that he commenced his strife against the hierarchy, and questions of that sort will always greatly inflame public opinion.
I had thought that such statements as those were things of the past and would not be repeated. I had thought that the action of this country in 1896 had well answered these questions, but apparently they live to be repeated by hon. gentlemen in this House, and just so long as X have the honour of having a seat in the House I shall be prepared on every occa-ison to refute such charges. So far as my own position is concerned I feel that no remarks which I make to-day will lead any hon. gentleman to place the charge at my door that I am seeking political preferment from the leader of either political party, because, Sir, I am forced to the conclusion- and I speak most diffidently and respectfully, because X recognize the position of these two hon. gentlemen in the country-but I am forced to differ from them both in the conclusion to which I have come. The reason why I differ from them both is that I make bold to say that the policy of the leader of the opposition (Mr. R. li. Borden) if carried to its ultimate conclusion will be found to be practically in accord with the policy of the leader of the government. It is perhaps difficult at present to realize that, but I hope before I conclude to be able to demonstrate it. I do hope, and I say it with all sincerity, that no remarks which I make on this occasion will have the effect of inflaming an already too much inflamed country upon this question which can surely be discussed without a display of passion, and without a raising of sectarian cries. It ought to be, in my humble judgment, a question of policy ; policies should be enunciated by the two parties in this House, but apparently it is being dealt with in quite a different way. Charges are thrown across the House of inflaming public opinion and raising cries of race and religion. It is impossible to prevent that so long as hon. gentlemen behave as they are doing and as they have done in the past.
By reason of the remarks to which I have referred, it becomes necessary-at least I deem it necessary and incumbent upon me in the discharge of my duty-to review briefly the past history of the political parties on this and similar questions. In the first place we have the British North America Act passed by the Imperial House in 1867. Although that Act has been quoted many times I am going to again read section 93
In and for each province the legislature may exclusively make laws in relation to education, subject and according to the following provision :-
1. Nothing in any such law shall prejudicially affect any right or privilege with respect to denominational schools which any class of persons have by law in the province at the union.
The enactment of that provision was preceded by what is alleged to be a compact Mr. l. g. McCarthy.
founded upon resolutions passed at conferences which took place at Quebec and elsewhere. It was passed by the assent and with the consent of all parties, of all creeds and of all nationalities in the country at that time. The compact has been referred to very many times in this debate. It also was referred to very many times during the discussion on the Manitoba school question. In order that the hon. gentleman may see how difficult It is to rely upon the construction of such a contract, and in order to show the elasticity of that compact I desire to quote the words of the hon. member for North Toronto (Mr. Foster) when speaking as Minister of Finance in 1896 in regard to that contract and again when speaking in 1905.
In 1896 he spoke as follows :
Arising out of long years of sectarian and religious strife under United Canada, opinions and convictions in reference to this matter became gradually modified, and when the representatives of the four provinces came together at Quebec to take up, discuss and settle articles of confederation these convictions rapidly and definitely revolved themselves into the determination that it should be laid down in the constitution of the country that whatever rights and privileges religious minorities had in the provinces at the time of confederation should maintain their status quo and should not be changed, and so the first paragraph of the educational clauses of the confederation resolutions gave by general consent to the provinces the power to deal with respect to education.
Saving 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.
These are the words I particularly emphasize :
The only change that took place in that clause was this, that instead of its being confined to both Canadas, it was brought into to include the provinces which entered confederation.
In other words at that time the hon. member for North Toronto contended that the compact applied to all the provinces. He spoke nine years later, almost to tne day, and, describing tbe compact, he used these words :
But those wise men sitting there in Quebec city said: Here is Ontario and here is Quebec: we have separate schools for Catholics in Ontario and for Protestants in Quebec, and the suggestion was made by Mr. McGee to this effect: Yes, we will do that but we will simply-put this rider on it, save and except as to the interests of the two Canadas. That is all that was done at Quebec. That is all to the very letter, and that was passed by the legislature of Upper and Lower Canada. There were present representatives from the maritime* provinces and also the representatives from these two provinces of Upper and Lower Canada. That was their compact, and that was all of it. But that gave no right for anybody to say that because they saved by that compact the rights of the minorities in those
two provinces, when forty or fifty years later you make provinces out of the Northwest Territories, you are, on account of that compact, to establish separate schools for the minorities in those provinces.
Now, lion, gentlemen will see how elastic a compact this is when it can be construed in 1896 to apply to all the provinces, and can be construed by the same lion, gentleman In 1905 to apply to only two of them. It is quite evident that what occurred in 1867-and there is no dispute about it- was a compromise. This compact was made applicable, it is alleged by some, to only two provinces, and applicable, as alleged by others, to all the provinces. The language of the British North America Act, i would submit, clearly applies to all those entering the union. So, there was no difference between the parties at that time, nor any difference between the creeds. In 1870, Sir John Macdonald and his government created the province of Manitoba. There is no doubt that at that time, the hon. gentleman sought to place upon that province the separate school and the dual language system. That was acquiesced in by the Liberals. In 1875, a Liberal administration was in power. They introduced a Bill for the better government of the Northwest Territories, providing-not as originally brought down, but as subsequently amended in committee -for separate schools under what is now clause 14 of that Act, and likewise providing for the dual language system. I desire to read clause 14, because I shall have to refer to it later on :
14. The Lieutenant Governor in Council shall pass all necessary ordinances in respect to education; but it shall therein always he provided, that a majority of the ratepayers of any district or portion of the territories, or of any less portion or subdivision thereof, by whatever name the same is known, may establish such schools therein as they think fit, and make the necessary assessment and collection of rates therefor; and also that the minority of the ratepayers therein, whether Protestant or Roman Catholic, may establish separate schools therein,-and in such case, the ratepayers establishing such Protestant or Roman Catholic separate schools shall he, liable only to assessment of such rates as they impose upon themselves in respect thereof.
2. The power to pass ordinances, conferred upon the Lieutenant Governor by this section is hereby declared to have been vested in him from the seventh day of May, 18!88.
That clause, was acquiesced in by the Conservative party. The only objection raised to it at all was in the Senate, 'by- the hon. George Brown, who warned this country and warned this parliament that if this legislation was enacted it would give foundation for a claim such as that which is now being urged. So, at this time we have both political parties practically at agreement on this subject. In 1880, tins parliament again dealt with the Northwest Territories in a point directing to another branch of my argument. In that year a portion of the district of Keewatin was added to the province of Manitoba. And parliament added that territory to Manitoba without any restriction ; it took away whatever rights Keewatin had and placed the territory on the same basis as the rest of Manitoba. So, that portion added to Manitoba in 1880 was made subject to the Manitoba charter, and released entirely by this parliament from any laws, rights or privileges which it had up to 1880. The point I make is that we have on this occasion equal freedom to deal with these new provinces, and to give them a charter such as we deem in their best interest. In 1889 or 1890 this question was mooted in this country. Notwithstanding the dis-paragaing remarks made by the hon. member for East Simcoe (Mr. Bennett) to the effect that I showed too much pride in my ancestors and in my family, 1 can only say that if I did so it is because I cannot help it. And I am not ashamed of it, but proud of it, and care not who knows it. In 1889, Mr. Dalton Me-, Carthy pointed out to this House certain things ; he pointed out to this country certain things. He said in that year that the separate schools system of Manitoba was not a wise system ; he said that the dual language system imposed upon Manitoba not a wise system. He said also that the dual language and the separate school systems of the Northwest Territories were not wise. Hon. gentlemen who were in the House at that time will remember the motions made and the discussions that took place. It was only after many defeats, many rebuffs, that the first sign of success on his part was seen. Sir John Thompson agreed to the passing of a motion which relegated to the Territorial government of the Northwest Territories the right to deal with the language question. It is worthy of note that at that time Sir John Thompson made a clear distinction between the language question and the school question. He gave in on the language question, but on the school question he refused to give in, as hon. gentlemen who were here at the time will remember. This happened in the session of 1892. Both parties acquiesced in that, I believe, though there may have been some dissentient voices-I am not sure about that. But, in the December following. Sir John Thompson being then premier, saw fit to read out of the Conservative party Mr. Dalton McCarthy because that gentleman dared to give utterance to views which hon. gentleman opposite are expressing today. There were only two questions on which he was giving expression to opinions not acceptable to the government of that day, and they were the separate school question of Manitoba and the separate school question of the Northwest Territories. As a matter of fact, the language question had
been settled so far as Mr. Dalton McCarthy was concerned, having been relegated to the Territorial goverment to deal with as they saw fit. Mr. Dalton McCarthy did not seek to raise the race or religious cry, but simply said : Let us hand over this matter to the local authorities to deal with exclusively, and you will have peace and harmony ; you will not have constant friction arising in this House and in the country. However, Sir John Thompson would not acquiesce in the demands made to relegate either to the province of Manitoba or to the government of the Territories the right to deal with their educational questions. Therefore, in 1894, a Bill was introduced in this House by Mr. Dalton McCarthy to repeal the separate school clauses of the Northwest Territories Act, section 14 being the section I have quoted. Quite a long debate took place on that motion ; and according to my way of thinking that debate is the pivot upon which the discussion of this question almost -wholly turns. That debate was so important, it had so much to do with the question now before us, that I am amazed that hon. gentlemen opposite have not devoted more time and attention to it, because their leader at that time made the situation clear and plain. In that year, Sir John Thompson speaking in answer to Mr. Dalton McCarthy, said, as will be found at page 6127 of ' Hansard ' of that year :
One other important characteristic was to be considered in regard to the Territories while they were to remain in the Territorial condition, and that was in view of the peculiar circumstances of the Territories, the fact that we were inviting all races, creeds and denominations, there was to be the widest toleration while the Territories existed.
That was the corner stone of the whole ; the corner stone which the hon. member for Sim-090 (Mr. McCarthy) proposes to remove, on the ground that there can be no good reason given for its existence. As the hon. leader of the opposition has said to-night, no man knew better than those who were engaged in framing the Act of 1875, the difficulties which sectarian disputes might create in that new country. No one realized better the fact, that in so far as the population was to be gathered into the Territories from the older provinces, it was to be gathered from different races, and from amongst men who had strong lines of difference as regards religious belief. While the population should be going in there, and while the Territories should remain under our control at least, there was to be the broadest toleration for every belief, and for the races, as regards worship, and as regards language, and as regards instruction in the schools.
Then further he says :
It is just as much a matter of sound policy now as it was in 1875, that toleration should exist there, and that we should extend the broadest invitation to the people of different races and religions to come and settle there with a perfect sense of toleration; and it matters not how many people in the past have availed themselves of our invitation. The bad Mr. l. g. McCarthy.
faith this parliament would show in repealing a provision of that kind, while the territorial system existed at least, would be just as great as if the population who availed themselves of our pledge and relied on that system to-day, were only thirteen instead of 13,000.
Then further he says :
We claim therefore that the constitutional system which was established with regard to schools and with regard to language in 1875 ought to be maintained for the same reasons as those which dictated its creation, and that this condition of affairs should last, at least, while the affairs of the Territories are under control of this parliament. What the constitution of the future provinces should be, in view of the pledges which have been referred to, or in view- of any other set of circumstances, will be for parliament to decide when it decides to create those provinces. I hope, therefore, that the House will be careful to-day not to disturb the arrangement so wisely made in 1875, and which is as useful to the Territories now as it was then.
These are the words of Sir John Thompson, then the leader of the Conservative party, and Attorney General of Canada. In reply to him, Mr. McCarthy sounded a note of warning in these words :
Then if we do not give them power to choose, if we deny them the right to select for themselves, then, when the day comes, as it must before long, when some part of the Territories will ask for admission and be entitled by their population and position to have this clause enacted, then this parliament would be bound to repeal the law, otherwise we should be, as I say, riveting the system of separate schools upon them. This point I think a most important one.
Then the hon. member for East Grey (Mr. Sproule), who has always been sincere on this question, likewise sounded a note of warning :
I agree w-ith the assumption advanced that if we allow usages to grow up for a length of time, in proportion to their duration they will be difficult to remove. They were given by the Act of 1875 the right to establish separate schools there. It might happen, afterwards, when we establish a province there and give the legislature the full autonomy of a provincial legislature, that we could nQt do away with the order of things then existing.
Then, Sir, Mr. McCarthy was not satisfied with what the hon. leader of the government had said: he, Sir John Thompson having made it plain, if I read his language aright, that if he Sar John Thompson were sitting here to-day he would be in favour of fastening the separate school system upon the Northwest provinces, taking the ground that if the reasons which had prevailed in 1875 were good reasons in 1894 I do not see how he could come to any other conclusion than that they were good reasons in 1905. Mr. McCarthy said that Sir John Thompson was ambiguous in his statement as to what would happen when the time came for granting autonomy. Sir John
Thompson then made what I consider a solemn declaration, which I charge lion, gentlemen opposite with not living up to on this occasion.
I appealed to the House to continue the present system while the territorial system continued, and X declared that in my opinion the whole subject would be open and free to parliament as to what constitution we would give to the provinces when the provinces were created.
Now, Sir, I only remark in passing, that it is not a declaration. Let the constitution take its course; that is not a declaration that the constitution applies automatically. It is a declaration to this parliament, and to those men who were endeavouring to get rid of that clause to prevent any such argument being used as is now used. Keep quiet, be still, because when the time comes-as if has come now-you will be free to act as you see fit. Mr. McCarthy replied to him in these words :
I am very glad that the right hon. gentleman has explained it in that way, and perhaps I was wrong in my understanding of his remarks. Of course it is an important declaration from the First Minister. Now, the House will have to use its own judgment on this question. What I say is this : that if this question of separate schools is to remain in its present position until we grant provincial autonomy to any portion of the Northwest, it will be practically impossible, unless there is an enormous change in public opinion, to deny them what every other province that has joined the confederation has been entitled to, what Manitoba was entitled to, and what I submit under the circumstances every province would be entitled to. Now, let me draw attention to the constitution conferred upon Manitoba in that regard. I have not got it under my hand, but it will be found on consulting it that when we conferred autonomy upon the province of Manitoba we did it by reference to the British North America Act. What we declared was, that* where not otherwise provided for in the Act, all the provisions of the British North America Act should apply to the province of Manitoba, and I think the very same words were contained in the resolutions which were passed at the time British Columbia and the province of Prince Edward Island came into the union. So that we have got that precedent before us ; that was the promise upon which we admitted Manitoba, and looking at the character of the legislation, I do not think there can be any doubt that the same rule must apply when we admit the provinces to be created out of the Northwest Territories.
Now, Sir, what happened ? There are many hon. gentlemen sitting opposite who were present on that occasion. The hon. member for East Grey (Mr. Sprouie), I think, is the only gentleman in this House on that side who is consistent to-day. He said : You should not give them a chance, or let them have an argument that they can use for fastening separate schools on the new provinces under the constitution. But of course he might have justified himself in voting with the then premier by saying :
When the time comes we will be free-as the then premier said. But they were warned that when this time did come that would happen which is happening to-day. Again, what happened ? The vote was taken, and 114 members to 21 maintained that clause on the statute-book, notwithstanding the warnings which were then given, and we are now face to face with the position that was then foreseen. Now, Sir, up to that point which brings us to 1894, there cannot be any cavilling, there cannot be any quibbling over the statement that from the standpoint of policy both political parties were of the same mind. There were independent men who broke away from party lines on that question and who chose to think for themselves as I do. First, there was George Brown. Then later there were my revered uncle, Dalton McCarthy, the member for East Grey (Mr. Sprouie), Col. O'Brien, the Hon. Clarke Wallace, Clifford Sifton, Joseph Martin, John Charlton, and several others-there are men who have always spoken their minds freely and from conviction. Then we come to 1895, when the agitation began with reference to the Manitoba schools. We then had, as you will remember, a fight in Haldimand. The Hon. Mr. Montague sought re-election after the remedial order was passed; we faced him in Haldimand and we were defeated. We fought the question over again in Cardwell and we won. As to what took place in Cardwell, I will have more to say, because upon that occasion a gentleman who has grown very eloquent in this House, spent a considerable time in that riding. A platform, upon which Mr. Stubbs, the McCarthy candidate was elected, was formulated, and the third plank in that platform was as follows :
To insist in the matter of education, so far as the subject is within the control of the parliament of Canada, that the provinces shall have exclusive authority, that no sectarian system shall be forced upon the provinces by I on -inion legislation, and to further insist upon the abolition of the provision requiring the establishment of separate schools in the Territories.
Now, Sir, upon that we fought Cardwell, upon that we won Cardwell, and, as I say, the hon. gentleman who was the Finance Minister in that administration, the hon. gentleman who now represents North Toronto, made a great many speeches, of which I have extracts. Speaking on the 17th December, at Camilla, he said :
He showed how separate schools had originated at desire and the protection of Protestant minority in Quebec. This guarantee had been incorporated in the constitution at the time of confederation to protect the rights of minorities of all provinces.
At Alton he said :
He thought the narrow sectarian platform of Mr. McCarthy was not broad enough for the intelligent electors of Cardwell. The principle
or lack of principle of stamping out the French language and race he ventured to say would never be carried into effect. The McCarthy party so far had developed into a head and a tail-he did not know that they W'ere going to attain any more than at present.
Then he said :
They could not go down in a better cause than that of an attempt to preserve the contracts between the minorities and majorities and to maintain the sacred compact of the constitution. .
He went down six months afterwards upon that, and we will hear later how he let go of that which he went down on. On December 18, speaking at Caledon Bast, he said :
Mr. MoCarthy had said parliament was not bound to redress the grievance. The parliament of Canada had power to refuse to remedy the grievance, but there was a deeper question than that. Nothing could be superior to the parliament technically speaking, but there was a higher power than the legislative body of Canada-that eternal sense of justice and right . which a parliament might, but which no British parliament ought to outrage.
Speaking at Charleston, on December 19, he said :
After pointing out in strong terms the weakness of Mr. McCarthy, and how impossible it was for him to accomplish anything-he said : ' Put in Mr. Stubbs if you like, and how many will there be ? Three. How many members are there in parliament ? Twro hundred and fifteen. It is not often the tail wags the dog, but in this instance that tail will not be even the tail of the dog.
Those are the speeches of the hon. gentleman. Those are the methods by which he opposed us when we were asking Cardwell to endorse that plank in the platform which I have read. Then follows the meeting of this House. I do not need to dwell upon what occurred then when that hon. gentleman and some of his followers bolted in and out of the government. Suffice it to know that we have heard in another chamber the history of that disgraceful event. We know that Sir Mackenzie Bowell says that the hon. member for North Toronto was the chief of the nest of traitors, and, Sir, I think that in so saying he rightly described him. I do not want to use language which I might be sorry for, but this is a certain justification for me, when I know what occurred in 1895, and when I have had to read, as I have read and re-read, the bitter, venomous attacks the hon. member for North Toronto saw fit to make upon my respected uncle.
Well, we won on two occasions ; not a bad record. Then parliament met. Sir Charles Topper was the Prime Minister ; he formed his cabinet and attempted to push the Coercion Bill through, and from that time on a great many speeches were made in the House. The position of the hon. member for North Toronto was well defined. That brings us down to 1896. The government went to the country, and the country refused to endorse the coercion policy. In that election we certainly were, in the province of Ontario, denouncing the government because of its coercion policy. The Liberals, on the other hand, were saying : Return us to power, and by methods of conciliation we will settle this question. The Conservatives made it clear that they intended, if returned, to pass the Remedial Bill. The country returned the Liberals, and some kind of a settlement was made which was placed on the statute-book of Manitoba in evidence of its being a settlement. To my amazement, I heard things yesterday that I had never heard before or dreamed of. It appears that there are some difficulties and disputes yet in regard to this question. There seem to be difficulties among the members of the church in the province of Quebec which I never knew of until yesterday. But I do not think that any hon. gentleman will seriously say that the school question has formed a controversial question in politics from 1897 down to 1905.
On the 21st February last the Bill which is nowr before the House was introduced. It contained clause 16. It contained a clause which did effectually fasten upon the new provinces, in my opinion, separate schools. The right hon. leader of the government (Sir Wilfrid Laurier) introduced it in a very eloquent speech. He justified it upon grounds that I cannot agree with. He maintained that the constitution required him to do it, but nevertheless he justified it on grounds of policy ; he said he was in favour of separate schools, that the minority were entitled to them, and it was in the best interests of the country that this clause should be enacted. He made that very plain. Nobody can doubt or dispute that. ,My hon. friend the leader of the opposition (Mr. R.
L. Borden), true to the traditions of his party, spoke on that occasion, and I call the attention of the House to these words, in view of what has been said in respect to the immoderate language which it is alleged was heard upon that occasion. The hon. leader of the oppositidn said :
The subject which the right hon. gentleman mentioned last, on which he spoke with great eloquence, and in a spirit of forbearance and moderation, will undoubtedly invite discussion.
I do not propose to discuss it this afternoon. There is just one thing, however, that I would like to say about it, and that is that I understand that up to the present time there has been really no school question, to use the common expression, in the Northwest Territories of Canada ; and X sincerely trust that on both sides of the House we will not seek to make this a political question in any sense.
From my point of view I was very much disgusted with that declaration. I was here prepared to oppose legislation of this kind and I think there were several other hon. members-perhaps not very many- who were prepared to do the same thing. Then the hon. ex-Minister of the Interior (Mr. Sifton) returned and resigned saying that he could not accept the principles of clause 16. For one month we were delayed, nothing was done and I think it may fairly be said that the right hon. leader of the government was sparring for wind. Everybody was wondering what was going to be done by the hon. leader of the opposition. Everybody wanted to know what the great Conservative party was going to do upon this question. We had to wait a month during which time there were petitions filed and meetings of protest held. There were meetings of protest held which hon. gentlemen opposite did not attend. The hon. member for Lennox (Mr. U. Wilson) rather jeered and sneered at my daring to attend a meeting of protest, but I will cast back the sneer and the jeer. I ask : Where were the hon. members from Toronto when a meeting was held in that constituency to protest against the passing of any such legislation ? They were not present and yet they are influential members of the party and men of prominence in the country. A compromise was effected and the Bill was bi'ought down for the second reading on the 22nd March. I am not able myself to accept the compromise. I am not
able to agree with it. I am goingto oppose it. But, I do not thinkthat the hon. leader of the opposition has spoken as he oug ht to have spoken
upon this question. I reiterate and I repeat that when the predecessor of the leader of a party, who also occupied the position of the leader of the government and of attorney general of the Dominion of Canada, I refer to Sir John Thompson, makes a declaration that when this important juncture arrived we shall be free to act as we see fit, that that declaration ought to be binding on the party of which he was the leader. 'Now, Sir, what do we find ? That the leader of the opposition does not apparently agree with me in that opinion, nevertheless I do put it forward aS my idea of the duty of the leader of a great party. The leader of the opposition preferred to take a different course. He made a very eloquent speech, his diction was of the best; but, I cannot pronounce the same encomium upon him when he came to announce his
policy. He said : The constitution applies automatically ; let the constitution take its course. Let me ask him if that is in consonance with the declaration which his predecessor Sir John Thompson, made in 1894.