April 11, 1905

CON

Richard Stuart Lake

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LAKE.

I think the hon. gentleman is misrepresenting my intentions. I stated that the public school system as at present administered, was the best suited. Of [DOT]course I stated later on that I bad strong [DOT]objection to the separate schools.

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LIB

John Henderson Lamont

Liberal

Mr. LAMONT.

I have quoted the words

*exactly as they appear in ' Hansard.' Mr. Speaker, X have tried to define the exact position of tlie opponents of this Bill, and if I have understood their arguments the position they take is this: They say that they have no objection to the new provincial government enacting that the present law with the separate schools ns included therein should

be made the law of the provinces, but that this parliament must not so enact it. If that is their true position what is the difference between the hon. gentlemen opposite who are opposing the Bill, as far as the educational clauses are concerned, and hon. gentleman on this side ? We say that the present law is the best. Hon. gentlemen opposite admit that. We say that the law has worked to the satisfaction of Protes tants and Catholics, Liberals and Conseva-tives alike. They admit that that is true, hut they want to force the minority to accept the right to give their children education in the schools as a concession from the Protestant majority in the new provinces and not to claim it as a matter of right from this parliament. They say, and they have said over and over again-cannot you trust the majority ? But I want to point out, Mr. Speaker, as was most forcibly stated by tbe bon. member for West Assini-boia (Mr. Scott) tbe other night, and I think that bis words should be repeated : That is not a question that can be asked of the Protestant majority ; that is a question that must be asked by the Roman Catholic minority, and tbe Roman Catholic minority not only on this side of tbe House, but also on the other side of tbe House, have answered that question with no uncertain sound.

If I am right in believing it is the policy of hon. gentlemen opposite to make tbe minority accept tbe right to have their children given religious instruction in any school as a concession from the Protestant majority in the new provinces, I wish to say that 1 do not think that is the desire of tbe Protestants of tbe Northwest. I believe that it is the desire of a large number of both Protestants and Catholics in the Northwest Territories that this school question should be settled right here in Ottawa and should not be thrust into tbe arena of provincial politics with all its strife and bitterness during tbe first years of our provincial life. I think that tbe sentiment expressed in a letter received from tlie west a short time ago expresses tbe desire of a very large majority of our people, when the writer used these words :

For God's sake settle the school question at Ottawa, and don't let us have a school fight on in the province for the next five years.

Educational laws in Canada have always had to be considered very carefully and calmly. Since these Bills were introduced there has been great agitation throughout certain portions of the country in reference to them. But I am very happy to be able to inform this House that that agitation has not prevailed in the district I have the honour to represent. In my district there are both Roman Catholics and Protestants. In the city of Prince Albert Where I live we have a Roman Catholic separate school, and in Duck Lake forty miles distant we have a Protestant

434?

separate school. In neither of these places ! is there any agitation against the educational clauses in this Bill, and as an evidence of the entire absence of agitation in Prince Albert, I may say that even the Prince Albert Loyal Orange' Lodge, are so satisfied with the existing state of affairs that they did not forward to me one word of protest in reference to the Bill. Sir. the Bill before the House is a most important measure. It is one of the most important measures that have come before the parliament of Canada since confederation. It is in all probability the most important for the two new provinces, Saskatchewan and Alberta, that may ever come before this House. It is a measure which ought to be considered, not from the standpoint of politics or political exigencies, not from the mere standpoint of sectarianism, but from a higher, a national standpoint, and in dealing with it we should ever keep before us the fact that our object is Jo build up a great Canadian nation. It is a matter of pride with me. Mr. Speaker, that on this important question, the people whom I have the honour to represent on the floor of this House have not considered this question from the mere standpoint of party politics, nor have they allowed the agitation which has prevailed in certain quarters, nor the appeals that have been made to prejudice and passion. to stir up strife and bitterness in their midst. But, Sir, they have risen to a loftier plane and they have treated this most delicate question with a breadth of thought and a toleration which to my mind speaks well for the future greatness of that western country. We well know that to build up a great province in the west, all (nationalities and all classes must work hand in hand ; that Protestants and Catholics, English, French, and German, and all other ciasses must work together for the common good. That, Sir, can only be accomplished when toleration and sympathy and a respect for the opinions and feelings of others characterize the relations of one class towards the other. In conclusion I may say that the school laws of the Northwest Territories have in the past worked to the entire satisfaction of our people, and I have no hesitation in saying that the school clauses now contained in this Bill have my unqualified approval. Just one word more. It has been asserted over and over again in this debate that the right lion, gentleman who leads this House and the Liberal party have reversed their policy of 1896. I do not think so. What position did the right hon. gentleman take in 1896, and what did he say to the people of Manitoba and to the people of this country ? He said: Here is the school law of Manitoba, it was framed by the Manitoba government, it was approved by the Manitoba legislature and endorsed by the Manitoba people ; I will not force the people of Manitoba to adopt any other school law than the one approved Mr. LAMONT.

of by her own people through her own legislature. And what does the right hon. gentleman say to the people of the new provinces and the people of Canada to-day. He says : Here is the school law of the Northwest Territories, it was framed by the Northwest government, it was approved by the Northwest legislature and endorsed by thewNorth-west people : I will not force the Northwest people to adopt any other school law than the one approved of by her own people through her own legislature. To my mind the principle followed in both cases is the same. The right hon. gentleman was right in 1896 when he took this position against the Remedial Bill. The right hon. gentleman is right to-day in the position he now takes on this Bill. That the right hon. gentleman was right in 1896 the people of this country have declared in a most emphatic manner on three successive occasions. That the right hon. gentleman is right today. the people of Saskatchewan and Alberta will likewise emphatically declare whenever he desires to appeal to them for an expression of opinion.

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CON

Richard Stuart Lake

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. R. S. LAKE (Qu'Appelle).

I wish to make a personal explanation. The hon. gentleman (Mr. Lamont) was iu error when he suggested I made a misstatement when I said that the draft Bill laid before the legislative assembly in 1902 by Mr. Haultain was unanimously endorsed by them. I certainly used words to that effect, but I went on to explain that there was a dissenting voice at the time. The hon. gentleman from Prince Albert quoted the resolution offered by Mr. Haultain

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Some hon. MEMBERS

Order.

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LIB

Robert Franklin Sutherland (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER.

I understand the hon.. gentleman to be making a personal explanation arising out of the debate and I think he is in order.

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CON

Richard Stuart Lake

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LAKE.

I was accused of making a misstatement and I wish to put that right. I shall do so in as few words as possible. The hon. gentleman quoted the resolution in general terms offered by Mr. Haultain, and that resolution simply endorsed the demand for autonomy. He quoted that as a proof that the assembly did not endorse the draft Bill. There were other resolutions offered later on in that House. The draft Bill was not endorsed by a specific vote of the legislature and I never said so. But the gentleman who generally spoke for the opposition in the legislative assembly, Mr. Bennett, introduced the following resolution:

Therefore be it resolved that the establishment of provincial institutions in the Territories is urgently and imperatively required, and that apart entirely from the question as to-whether one or more provinces should be established. This house approves of the claims and demands made by the territorial government in that behalf in the memorandum submitted to-the Dominion government on the 7th December. 1901.

Although that resolution was thrown out it proves that that was the opinion of a portion of the assembly at that time.

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LIB
CON

Richard Stuart Lake

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LAKE.

No. I said it was thrown out. but it was moved by a gentleman who was a leading member of the opposition.

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CON

William Wright

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. W. WRIGHT (Muskoka).

Mr. Speaker, I ask the consideration of this House in rising as a new member to address it for the first time. I have been very much interested indeed in this debate, and 1 have been very much surprised at the different opinions that have been expressed by the legal gentlemen who have discussed this measure. There does npt seem to be any uniformity of opinion amongst them

Some lion. MEMBERS. Order.

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IND

William Findlay Maclean

Independent Conservative

Mr. W. F. MACLEAN.

I rise to a Question of order, Mr. Speaker. The hon. gentleman who last spoke (Mr. Larnont) made an excellent speech and he was most attentively listened to from this side of the House, but the moment he sits down lion, gentlemen seize the occasion to carry on a loud conversation. If they do not wish to hear the gentleman now addressing the House let them withdraw, but as long as they are in the chamber let them maintain the rules of the debate and keep silent.

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LIB
CON

William Wright

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. W. WRIGHT.

I was proceeding to say that I was very much surprised indeed, not only at the difference of opinion amongst legal gentlemen, but the difference of opinion which prevails amongst the members of the ministry themselves as regards this measure. We found the then Minister of the Interior-I am referring to the time when the Bill was first introduced-taking exception to the educational clauses as they then existed, and stating that they did not at all meet with his approval. He so strongly objected to the original educational clauses that he found it necessary to place his resignation in the hands of the government, and now we find the Prime Minister and the Minister of Justice stating that the substituted clauses, which we are now discussing, mean exactly the same thing as the clause in the Bill originally introduced. Now, if there is that much difference of opinion among the men who constitute the government, that much difference of opinion among the legal gentlemen on both sides of the House, what can the ordinary lay member think of the legislation 1 And how can he arrive at a decision ? And I think that when there is so much difference of opinion, both with regard to the constitutional aspect of the question and our powers of dealing with it, it would be the part of wisdom for the government to withdraw this legislation for the time being and to get an expression of opinion from the highest court

in Canada as to what our powers really are and what we are really attempting to put on the statute-book. Now, I believe that we have certain powers by the Acts of confederation entitling us to pass legislation upon this matter. And I believe that we are assuming to do other things that we have not the power to do. I think that it is well within our powers to define the boundaries of a new province and to say

whether in this case there shall be one province or two provinces or more.

I believe we are authorized to exercise the creative powers necessary tobring these new provinces into full-fledged provincial autonomy. But when we attempt to do more than that, when we attempt to say, that they shall not have the

lands, or to say what kind of educational system they shall have, I think we are doing that which the Confederation Act never intended we should do. Looking at it from that standpoint, I shall have a few words to say with regard to the boundaries proposed under this Bill, because that, I think, is one of the things we are called upon to deal with. On looking up the geography of that country, and from some personal knowledge of it. I am unable to agree with the Bill now before the House. In my judgment, the proper course would have been to extend the boundaries of Manitoba westward and to create the balance of that territory into one province. It is pretty generally acknowledged, I think, all over this Dominion, that we have too many parliaments, too much legislative machinery and too great cost of administering the affairs of the country. I think it is the duty of this House to exercise their rights and privileges in the direction of lessening the cost to the people instead of increasing it. Now. what is the reason for creating two new provinces and leaving .Manitoba a little garden patch alongside of them ? We have to gather these opinions as best we may. One opinion expressed is that this has been punishment meted out to Manitoba on account of the school legislation she passed some years ago. I believe that has been denied by the lion. First Minister (Sir Wilfrid Laurier), who says he was never influenced by that consideration. I believe another reason which has been expressed is that our Roman Catholic friends in the territory bordering on Manitoba decline to come into that province on account of the school legislation. If there has been anything of that kind, there is no evidence of it before this House. W e do not know the objections sent to or the representations made to the government with respect to that, so we cannot consider that a sufficient i-eason. Another reason advanced is that the people of the Northwest Territories adjacent to Manitoba object to coming in on account of the debt Manitoba has contracted. Looking at that in a reasonable and practical way, what is there in it ? Manitoba has assumed some obliga-

tions in the way of guaranteeing the bonds of railways. In return they have got a reduction of freight rates on those roads, which is a great benefit to the people of Manitoba, but which extends also to the people of the west.

I believe they have lower passenger rates as well. As I say, the people of the west have benefited by this as well as the people of Manitoba. So, if they have contracted liabilities they have also benefited by those liabilities, and I do not think the people of the west adjacent to Manitoba would object to coining into Manitoba on that consideration. Looking at it from either standpoint, therefore, we find no sufficient reason why the boundaries of Manitoba have not been extended. Me have been told that, some years ago, Manitoba was much larger than it is to-day, or was considered to be much larger. Mhen Manitoba was first made up, the eastern boundary was defined as the western boundary of Ontario, and that was thought to be many miles eastward of where it was later determined to be. So, Manitoba lost what she thought was her territory and became a very small province. It is well known to every public man in Canada that Manitobans feel sore over this matter, and I have no doubt this was well known to the premier of this Dominion and those who sat at the council table with him when they 'framed this Bill. Manitoba expected, when the question of autonomy of the Northwest came up, that they would be dealt with as they thought they deserved. I find that there is little hope that this will be the outcome. They are told that their boundary cannot be extended westward. They have been told, I think, by the hon. member for Saskatchewan (Mr. Lamont) that there is small hope of their boundary being extended northward. As the people' of the Territories will not allow any part of the territory north of Manitoba to go to that province, i't would be interesting to know just what effort was made by the ex-Minister of the Interior (Mr. Sifton) to uphold the interest of Manitoba on this question.

I think he had admitted in this House that he had been consulted with regard to this measure except the educational clauses.

I think, that occupying the position he held, that he ought to have taken this House into his confidence and told them why he intended to leave Manitoba with her small boundaries. In the years to come, when our grand-children and great-grand-cjiildren, taking their first geography lessons looking at the map and see the little patch painted red-it must be painted red or it would be apt to be overlooked-their sense of proportion will be offended and they will ask about that little spot. Will they be told that this province was made small on account of legislation that they passed in regard to separate schools in days gone by- because the boundaries as fixed will remain '

Mr. tV. WRIC TT

long after separate schools have become a thing of the past in this country, in my humble opinion. I do not think the people in years to come, will continue the condition of affairs that make possible such an agitation as we have in Canada to-day. A great deal of regret has been expressed by lion, members on both sides in regard to this matter. While I do feel a great deal of regret for this, I have more regret for the underlying conditions that make it possible at any time for this flame to burst forth and produce such an agitation as we have at this time. We should look at the cause ; we should try to understand the reason. I think there is enough kindness of heart and reasonableness among the people of Canada to-day to make such an agitation impossible if we could once get an understanding with one another. If we could talk to our French Canadian brethren in Quebec, acquire the French language and go down there and express to them our feelings and our convictions with regard to the matter they would look at it differently; and if they could come up among our good Orange brethren in Ontario and talk it over with them, they would not find them the awful people they seem to think they are at the present time.

Now, I find that I am out of accord with the government on the matter of the question of lands. 1 think that the proper people to handle the lands, both in Manitoba and the Northwest, are the people who live right there, the people who are most interested, the people who would look after those lands and see that they were properly administered, as they are not to-day, in either Manitoba or the Northwest Territories. Now, what is the reason given for withholding the laud ? We are told that the territorial government would likely squander the lands, or that they would have to sell those lands and thus retard settlement, in order that they might have a revenue. Now I want to point out one fact with regard to that. In a speech delivered in this House by the hon. member for West Assiniboia (Mr. Scott) the other day, he pointed out that we have been administering those lands in the Northwest at an annual loss to this Dominion during all these years, which losses amount to over a million dollars. Now, if we have lost that much money in handling those lands, could we not well afford to give the people of the Northwest all we are giving them to-day in the way of bounty, and hand over the lands to them, and still save money to the Dominion by doing so ? It would not be necessary for the Northwest people to sell their lands in order that they might have sufficient revenue to carry on the affairs of the government. I say it has cost us too much to pursue this immigration policy, and to my mind it would not be the worst thing that ever happened to Canada if the immigration policy was interfered with. I do not think it could very

435.3

*well be worse, and I am certainly convinced that the people of the Northwest could very -easily make it better and produce a better result than we see at the present time.

Now, I hold that the people of the Northwest would know just what was the best policy to follow with regard to the lands. I am not going to criticise that part of the government's policy that gives a quarter section to each farmer who goes in there with the intention of settling. Every man who has been in the Northwest knows that the moment he lands in Winnipeg he is run up -against by the agents of the big land companies and land corporations, and land sharks of all kinds, under the present conditions. I think if a little attention was paid by the people who are living there, who would look after the bona fide settlers that go into that country and see that they are properly taken care of and properly treated, it would be much better than the conditions l found prevailing there when I visited the Northwest some time ago. It is true that the revenue from the lands has been inflated and shows well in our revenue returns, from the fact that they take credit for having paid off a lot of scrip to satisfy some sentimental claims that the half-breeds are sup-poseu to have in that country. Well, we know there was far more land handed over to the half-breeds than they had any right to. In many sections all that was necessary to get half-breed scrip in the Northwest was a dark complexion and an elastic conscience. So if these claims for the half-breeds were paid in that way out of the land, I do not know why they should be put in the revenue returns and credit be taken for the Dominion of Canada as if it was revenue from the lands. I think we might well treat it as a matter apart altogether, because we have actually lost over a million dollars in administering the affairs of that country. Now, I want to point out that under present conditions large tracts of that land have been sold to companies and sometimes at very small price, by this government. The actual settler finds himself in this position, that while these companies have reserved the alternate quarter sections, the intending settler is wedged in between the lands of the company ; and when the intending settler comes in and homesteads a quarter section, he finds on both sides of him land that belongs to some company for which be has to pay SO, $8 or S15 an acre before he can occupy it. How much better it would be if the lands were handled by the local government, who would hold them for the use of the settler, selling them in alternate quarter sections at a reasonable price, receiving a much greater revenue, and affording greater encouragement to settlement than is the case to-day.

Now, Sir, I want to say a few words with regard to the school question. There seems to be a good deal of criticism by lion, gentlemen opposite of the policy of tile opposition. They say we are hard to satisfy. I think our position has been made fairly plain. Our claim is that the Northwest people should manage their own educational affairs. Could anything be more simple than that ? If they find yi their wisdom that separate schools are best for the people there, they will undoubtedly continue separate schools. There is one phase of this question that I will take the liberty of discussing. I find that this legislation recognizes only two classes of people, namely, Protestants and Catholics. Now it would be interesting to know wliat is meant by Protestants. I had always understood that the term * Protestant ' meant Christians that came out at the reformation in the time of Martin Luther. In the broadest sense in which we can use the term, it means any Christian whose antecedents date no further back than the time of the reformation. When Ontario -and Quebec went in together, when [DOT] the rest of the provinces confederated together, that classification practically included all the people in Canada with perhaps a few exceptions, but since then the Northwest has been opened up, foreigners have been pouring in, and we have thousands of people there to-day who are neither Protestants nor Roman Catholics. I would like to know what, under the provisions of this Bill, is going to become of them. I have looked up the census of the Northwest, and I find that in the Territories there were at the date of the last census report 30,073 Roman Catholics, 27,806 Presbyterians, 25,366 Anglicans, 22,151 Methodists, besides a number of other smaller bodies quite numerous. What I want to point out is that you have four of the largest bodies almost the same as regards population. Now, we have a number of Anglicans coming out from England to settle in that country, who will bring out with them their English ideas. They are in favour of a state church, in favour of having control of their own education, and they have just as good a claim for their separate schools as have our Roman Catholic friends, sentimentally, legally or in any other way we may look at it. Why should we adopt a system and force it on the Territories which they might find it necessary to extend in a few years. Because I hold that to give to any one branch of the Christian religion the right to have a school of their own and deny it to any other (branch^ is showing a partiality in favour of one branch of the Christian faith, that is not recognized in any other civilized country in the world. We might as well be honest and admit that while that condition of affairs lasts in Canada or anywhere else, you are always going to have agitation or the conditions which may bring about agitation at any time. If it be true that the people of the west are satisfied with their present school system, what objection can we have to letting them continue it or not just as they see fit. I

think that that is a question which has not been answered by anybody on the government side. We find all kinds ol' discussion going on. We find hon. gentlemen like the hon. member for Labelle (Mr. Bourassa) getting up and telling us what the Branch did 200 or 300 years ago in Spain and France. When we point out the necessity of these provinces having their own lands, somebody will tell us about the coal deposits in the Northwest. When we make other objections to the Bill, hon. gentlemen opposite will get up and tell us about their fervent adherence to the British Crown. They might as well tell us about the best method of raising potatoes or how to make maple sugar for all it has to do with the question at issue. I find the following people up in that western country, namely, the Agnostics, the Buddhists, the Catholic Irvingites, the Confucians, the Doukbobors, the Greek church, the Jews, the Mormons, the Men-nonites, the Mohammedans, the Sweden Bor-gians. Pagans, Theosophists, Dunkers, Ziou-ites and many more unspecified. Are they Protestants ? Are they Christians at all V In case this leigslation should go through, where will they come in ? Suppose a case like this. Suppose there are a few of our Roman Catholic friends and they want a separate school and the balance of that sec: tion is made up of these other people where is their education going to come in? I emphasize this matter because statistics have been given in this House with regard to crime and illiteracy, and other things, in which it is assumed that everybody who is not a Roman Catholic in Camlda can be safely dumped into the Protestant column, and we get credit for the crimes they commit. The time has arrived when the Protestant people should demand separate treatment just as well as our Roman Catholic friends. 1 do not see what harm there would be in adopting a change for awhile-put the Protestant people together and then dump all these other people in with our Roman Catholic friends and let them take care of them for a while. They say fair-play is a jewel.

We are told that after all the Bill just gives half an hour for religious instruction at the end of the day, and if there is any crime it is only a little one. Some of us will remember a case in a book dating very far back where Saul was sent out to do a retrain thing and he came back. And the old prophet said : What means the bleating of the sheep and the lowing of the cattle ? And Saul replied, my crime is only a little one. But it did not save Saul. I am not here this evening to say whether it is necessary to continue the system of separate schools in Ihe west or whether it is not. That is a matter which this House has no business to determine. It is a matter that pertains to the people of the west, and the people, of the west have a right to say whether they shall continue separate schools or not or Mr. W. AVRIGHT.

grant to other religious bodies the right to have schools of their own. AAre have in there the Greek Church, and they may demand that right and they would have just as good a right to their separate schools as our Roman Catholic friends. They are not Roman Catholics but' Greek Catholics. AA'e also have the Mormons ; and if they demanded their separate schools would they not morally have just as much right to have them. AA'e have other classes crowded into that Avest, and the reason I point out this particularly is that these people all want to get together in little bunches and will in all human probability demand the right in the future to have their separate schools. I think, therefore, we should look very carefully into the matter before we crystallize-this legislation on the statute-book; and more particularly so, because if this Bill passes it will partake somewhat of the nature of the laws of the Medes and Persians and be very difficult to change. It seems to me that it would be a very difficult matter in future to change it. That is one of the objections and a very strong" objection that I take to engrossing this legislation upon tlie statute-book. If there was any method of allowing the new provinces in the future to alter this law if they found it necessary then my objection to the measure would cease. If in five or ten years they found it did not suit them, or we found that Ave had put upon the statute-book something we did not intend, which is very likely to happen, we would not have the power to change it. If that is true then it is a very serious matter. I hold that it will put this Dominion government in a very ridiculous position if we legislate upon this question, if the Northwest people proceed to enact just what legislation they like in regard to schools contrary to the provisions of this Bill, if a case is taken to the Privy Council, and if the right of the province to legislate is upheld. Look at the position this Dominion government is put in. I think Avith all deference to those who have introduced this Bill that that is very likely Avhat will happen both in regard to the lands and in regard to the schools.

Noav, there is one thing that the right hon. Prime Minister said in introducing this measure that I take exception to. At page 145S of ' Hansard ' he says :

AA'e live in a country wherein the seven provinces that constitute our nation, either by the will or by the tolerance of the people, in every school, Christian morals and Christian dogmas are taught to the youth of the country.

It Avould be very interesting to know what constitutes Christian dogma in the mind of the right hon. gentleman. I take the ground that Christian dogma is not taught in the schools of this country outside the separate schools, and that the right hon. Prime Minister would fail to find a single instance in all this vast country where

this was taught. Why he should make a statement like that to go broadcast I do not understand. I hold, Sir, that if a fair comparison were made between the Protestant people and the Roman Catholic people it would be found that they are turning out of the Protestant schools just as fine a brand of manhood and womanhood as is turned out of any other school either morally or in any other way. Now, the right hon. gentleman, I think, went out of his way to criticise unfairly the public school system of the United States. Why he should see fit to drag that into the arena it seems very hard to understand. I want to point out that loaded on the public school system of the United States are all the foreign element in which crime is much more prevalent than amongst people who belong to the United States themselves. I want also to point out that a large proportion of the criminals of the United States were never inside the doors of a public school in that country, and I further desire to say that on account of our immigration policy the same thing, perhaps not quite to the same extent, is happening in this Dominion of ours to-day. We find every little while in the newspapers accounts of where these people get together in some alley and stab each other to death. One result is that the Protestants are credited with an additional amount of crime. If the condition of affairs were so bad in the United States as is argued by the right hon. leader of the government I would ask what steps he has taken to prevent the influx of these people into the Dominion. Has he instructed his Minister of War to keep the Northwest mounted police strung along the boundary with fixed bayonets to stop them ? Surely it is not possible that he gives his countenance to the Minister of the Interior to spend large sums of money to bring these people into the country, to do all he can to coax these people who are so depraved, among whom crimes are so prevalent and divorces and other evils so common, to come into Canada and to locate among the people of the Northwest Territories that stand so much higher than do the people of the United States. I think that probably the right hon. gentleman proved more than he intended to when he made these remarks. I want to point out that not all the trouble in regard to separate schools that is happening in Canada depends on our Protestant people. Our separate school friends are having trouble amongst themselves in many sections. I take the following newspaper published at Sturgeon Palls. There has been a dispute going on between our French Canadian Roman Catholic fellow citizens and our Irish Catholic fellow citizens and they have resorted to the newspapers in order that they might ventilate their grievances. I find the following letter published in a Sturgeon Falls newspaper : *

To the Editor of the ' Advertiser ' :

I have been interested in reading the letter of Irish Catholic and French Catholic in' your paper and I notice the domineering way the latter addresses the Irish. [DOT]

Of course that does uot go down with the Irish.

I am Irish, and I wish to say that if the-Irish were in majority in the parish here, as the French are, the minority would he much better used. The worst complaint we have to make is about the schools. We had a good teacher last year, hut the French were never satisfied till they filled the school with sisters and brothers from France, who have no certificates or qualifications for teaching and who eah't speak English.

Our children arc getting little learning and only have a short lesson in English occasionally -nothing but French. Religion is good I think, but you can have too much of a good thing, and I don't think it is good to break the law of the land by teaching French, and nothing but French in a school in Ontario and taking the government moneys that are supposed to go to help education, to support sisters teaching the catechism in French all day long and no education about it.

We find the same condition of affairs iu sight of this building.

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L-C

Samuel Hughes

Liberal-Conservative

Mr. SAM. HUGHES.

Who signs the let-1 ter ?

i Mr. W. WRIGHT. I will hand over the i letter If the hon. gentleman wishes.

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L-C

Samuel Hughes

Liberal-Conservative

Mr. SAM. HUGHES.

Whose name is [ signed to it ?

i Mr. W. WRIGHT. It is signed ' An-

: other Irish Catholic.' We find also that

* down in the city of Montreal we have a ' somewhat similar condition of affairs and

* if I am correctly informed our Irish Catho-

>

lie friends are before the legislature how

>

asking for legislation that will enable them

>

to start their own Irish Roman Catholic , schools In that city. So that we may eon-1 sider the school question a question that is

> likely to give rise to trouble at any time.; and if we do have a little stir up in Ont tario and Quebec it is not so much after j all to be wondered at. I have been coni' siderably amused at the regret and sorrow i expressed by some. hon. gentlemen opposite,- by the hon. member for South Grey (Mr. 1 Miller) and others, in this House that the 3 agitation should go on. but they carefully i nose around among all the newspapers1 they can get hold of to see whether they

- can get a tidbit here and there so that

- they may bring it to this House, give it i. all the publicity they can aud send it down i to Quebec to promote harmony and good

- feeling. I have a letter here that I shall v read. It is from one of my constituents i- with regard' to this matter. He says :

e Although late in sending, I trust the inclosed

>

coupon will be in time for presentation with l- any other petitions you may have. We feel

deeply on the matter and wish to leave nothing

undone to overthrow a proposition, detrimental in all respects *o the freedom of Canadians in

general.

By giving the same your earnest attention, you will greatly oblige,

Ylmrs truly,

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EDWARD ELLIOTT, Ac.


I want to point out that if there is at present some agitation in Ontario and other portions of the province, a large part of it is attributed to the political friends of lion, gentlemen opposite. 'This is a gentleman who has all his life supported that party and wlio did his best to defeat me in the election last fall. I have another communication here which I shall also read. It is in more legal language : . Whereas Sir Wilfrid Laurier has introduced into the House of Commons two Bills creating the new provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan; Whereas there is a clause in these Bills intended to make the maintenance of a separate school system a permanent constitutional obligation of these provinces ; Whereas we desire peace and unity among the peoples and creeds which make up the new provinces, and desire to build up our Canadian life and enlarge our national sentiment, we, therefore, the mayor and councillors of Huntsville, in session, believing that we voice the great majority of those who have elected us, respectfully protest against the above mentioned clause and pray that the government leave the question of education to the control of the new provinces. Signed by the mayor and all the councillors of that town. I might point out that In 27 years that town has never given a Conservative majority but once, and that was under very peculiar conditions. I want to point out further that only two out of these seven are Conservatives and that the town is about as Gritty a town as there is in Canada, yet we find that they put themselves upon record in this public way in regard to this question. I mention this simply because it is an expression of opinion that will be found In every town, I was going to say in the pro-ince, but at any rate the great majority of towns of Ontario independent of their political leanings. I have nothing more to add at present. It may be that I may have something to say with regard to some of the clauses in the Bill when it comes up in committee, but I simply want now to place my constituents upon record, because I believe that I am voicing the opinions of 90 per cent of the residents in the district in which I live in giving expression to the views which I have, perhaps not very ably, laid before you. You at least however have been able to gather my opinions even if I have not put them as well as I would like to have done. In view of all these things and looking at this thing dispassionately I think we should leave this legislation over for a time. If tlie government of this country have determined that they will legislate up-Mr. W. WRIGHT. on the question, would it not be wise, as I said at the beginning, that we should know just what -power we have and just what the meaning of the legislation will be. I think it will be the part of wisdom to do that and I ask that -the government will do that so that in crystallizing the legislation upon the statute-book we will know what we are doing. As it is now we are asked to go it blind, to put legislation there that we cannot recall. I thank you, Mr. Speaker, and I thank this House for the kindly hearing I have been given during the short time I have attempted to discuss this question and I shall now make way for some other lion, gentleman. Mr. ROBERT BICKER-DIKE (St. Lawrence, Montreal). Mr. Speaker, after the many eloquent addresses which have been made by the different members on both sides of the House there is very little left to say unless we repeat, which is something I decline to do. I am not a doctor of law, nor a doctor of divinity, I am neither an Orangeman, a Ribbonman nor a Roman Catholic, but I stand here as a Protestant from the province of Quebec, representing one of the divisions in the city of Montreal, composed largely of Roman Catholics, who have no objection to trusting their mandate to a Protestant in this House. Some one has said that a flow of language is not as effective as a flood of love, that sunshine works as great reforms as thunderstorms, and I am sure that we are to be congratulated on having nothing to fight over except the best way to educate our children in their duty towards a beneficent Creator aud that we should differ only as to the best means of securing that object. I wish to say that in Quebec the people get along remarkably well together. We have no difficulties whatever, we hardly ever experience the slightest difficulty in that province between the two nationalities or religions. Constant courtesies are extended from one to the other. It was my good fortune, through the courtesy of the lion, the ex-Minister of Finance (Mr. Poster) to be favoured with a seat in the gallery in this House on the 13th of March, 1890. That was about the closing hours of the dark days of Tory misrule and it was ray great pleasure to listen to the speech delivered by that lion, gentleman on tlie school question on that occasion, probably one of the best speeches ever known to be delivered by that lion, gentleman in this House or out of it. As I sat there and listened to the burning words of eloquence that fell from the lips of that distinguished statesman, to his beautifully rounded English -phrases with an occasional dash of sarcasm thrown in, I felt that he had made the speech of that evening, and I would like with his permission to quote very briefly from it. Reading that speech, as I have done on several occasions since this debate commenced and comparing it with the one which the lion, gentleman delivered a few days agif in this House, I came to the conclusion that there was certainly a very material. change of front and I asked myself the question: What could have occasioned that change of front? Was it the fact that he lias, changed sides in this Houise ? Was it the fact that he was no longer in power? After having given the matter careful consideration I came to the conclusion that it was due to neither of these things, it was due to a change of climate; the sudden change from the cooling breezes of the Atlantic ocean to the more contracted and sultry breezes from Toronto bay must have brought about the change of front displayed by that hon. gentleman. He said in that speech, in which he was very strong for toleration: These two principles of good faith and a broad and generous toleration are principles which have nowhere been more strongly illustrated than in the growth in the progress in the present condition of the greatest empire in the world, I mean the British empire. Great Britain is a nation which has been distinguished by the tenacity to which she has held to every compact and every agreement. She has been distinguished no less by that spirit of generous and broad toleration with which she has treated every religion, every class of nationality which form the components of her great empire. Now, Sir, these two principles of good faith and toleration are the very principles which underlie our constitution, and especially those clauses of the constitution under which the present question arises and which have to do with the educational rights of minorities in the different pi^vinces of the Dominion. Latef, the hon. gentleman (Mr. Foster) called on the members of tile House to support the government, in these words : Let them consider as well why that question has to be settled by us; let them clearly see whence it comes, and however strong their opinion may be, give to the government and the party who happen to be in power when this question comes up for settlement their good feeling, their utmost charity and their honest hearty support. I notice that the hon. gentleman did not ask for the 'support of this House for the present government in introducing this measure.


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Samuel Hughes

Liberal-Conservative

Mr. SAM. HUGHES.

Will the hon. gentleman allow me to ask him a question ?

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Robert Bickerdike

Mr. BICKERDIKE.

Yes.

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L-C

Samuel Hughes

Liberal-Conservative

Mr. SAM. HUGHES.

The hon. gentleman said that as an evidence of Roman Catholic toleration in the province or Quebec, he represents a division of Montreal that is largely Roman Catholic. Will he kindly tell us who represents that same constituency in the local legislature ?

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Robert Bickerdike

Mr. BICKERDIKE.

The federal constituency which I represent in this House is divided into two constituencies in the local legislature, and one of these is represented by a Protestant and the other by a Roman Catholic.

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April 11, 1905