April 13, 1905

CON

Joseph Elijah Armstrong

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. ARMSTRONG.

Would the hon. minister explain why it was, this money having been voted to be expended on this work some ten or twelve months ago, he waited until the 7th of April to ask for tenders ?

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   DREDGING CONTRACT AT PORT ARTHUR AND FORT WILLIAM.
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LIB

Charles Smith Hyman (Minister Without Portfolio)

Liberal

Mr. HYMAN.

If the hon. gentleman was in the House at the time the discussion upon the question of dredging came up he will know that the matter was very fully discussed then. The department thought that possibly we would have competition in these matters of dredging and the spring coming on and the dredging operations of the department being started at that time that was the reason why this particular contract, with the rest of the contracts, is being tendered for at the present time.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   DREDGING CONTRACT AT PORT ARTHUR AND FORT WILLIAM.
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CON

David Tisdale

Conservative (1867-1942)

Hon. DAVID TISDALE.

There is one phase of this question that I think has been omitted and one which. I think, is most important. If I understand from what the hon. minister has said this is only a small part-although it involves an expenditure of $100,000-of the work that is to be done at these harbours which are very important with the immense system of transportation of the Canadian Pacific Railway there and presently to be duplicated by that of the Grand Trunk Pacific. If that is the case this work will probably require the expenditure of a quarter of a million dollars. I do not think there is a single suction dredge in Canada.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   DREDGING CONTRACT AT PORT ARTHUR AND FORT WILLIAM.
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LIB

Charles Smith Hyman (Minister Without Portfolio)

Liberal

Mr. HYMAN.

Yes, there was one working at Port Arthur last year.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   DREDGING CONTRACT AT PORT ARTHUR AND FORT WILLIAM.
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CON

David Tisdale

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. TISDALE.

- A Canadian one ?

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   DREDGING CONTRACT AT PORT ARTHUR AND FORT WILLIAM.
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LIB

Charles Smith Hyman (Minister Without Portfolio)

Liberal

Mr. HYMAN.

Yes.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   DREDGING CONTRACT AT PORT ARTHUR AND FORT WILLIAM.
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CON

David Tisdale

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. TISDALE.

Is that the one that is there now ?

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   DREDGING CONTRACT AT PORT ARTHUR AND FORT WILLIAM.
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LIB

Charles Smith Hyman (Minister Without Portfolio)

Liberal

Mr. HYMAN.

There is one at Port Arthur I believe.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   DREDGING CONTRACT AT PORT ARTHUR AND FORT WILLIAM.
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CON
LIB

Charles Smith Hyman (Minister Without Portfolio)

Liberal

Mr. HYMAN.

All the work cannot be done with a suction dredge. There is only a portion of the work that can be done with that kind of a dredge. There is to be a more extended plan made of that harbour and We hope to let a contract in such a way that dredges can be built that will be able to do that work at the cheapest possible price.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   DREDGING CONTRACT AT PORT ARTHUR AND FORT WILLIAM.
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CON

Peter White

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. WHITE.

I think that before this discussion closes we should have a definite statement from the hon. acting Minister of Public Works that he will cause the advertisement calling for these tenders to be extended for at least one month.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   DREDGING CONTRACT AT PORT ARTHUR AND FORT WILLIAM.
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LIB

Charles Smith Hyman (Minister Without Portfolio)

Liberal

Mr. HYMAN.

I have twice said that 1 will see that there is an extension of the advertisement and that I will carefully go over the advertisement and see if there is anything in it that should come out. I do not know that it would be necessary to publish it for thirty days. We will extend it for at least fifteen days and I will consult with the department as to whether there is any necessity for continuing it any longer.

Motion (Mr. Bennett) to adjourn, negatived.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   DREDGING CONTRACT AT PORT ARTHUR AND FORT WILLIAM.
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PROVINCIAL AUTONOMY IN THE NORTHWEST.


House resumed adjourned debate on the proposed motion of Sir Wilfrid Laurier for the second reading of Bill (No. 69) to estab- lish and provide for the government of the province of Alberta, and the amendment of Mr. R. L. Borden thereto.


LIB

Sydney Arthur Fisher (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Hon. SYDNEY FISHER (Minister of Agriculture).

Mr. Speaker, at this advanced stage of the debate on the question before the House I would not like to occupy the attention of the House for any length of time. I would like probably on a further stage of the Bill to say a few words in regard to the question of Dominion lands, and perhaps in regard to the question of the boundaries of the provinces which are here under discussion ; but, as the attention of the House and the country has been riveted for the moment almost entirely on the educational clauses of these Bills, I would like to say a few words upon them at the present time. I think that, perhaps, as a representative of the Protestant minority in the province of Quebec it is especially right that I should say a few words.

The existence of the Protestant minority in the province of Quebec is probably the direct cause of the introduction of the separate school provisions into the British North America Act, and the principle of which has been perpetuated when other provinces were afterwards admitted into the Dominion or when provinces were created within the Dominion. It was due to Mr. Galt, the special representative of the Protestants of Quebec, that exceptions were made in the control of educational matters given to the provinces under the British North America Act. Mr. Galt insisted that the Protestants of Quebec should have a guarantee of their rights as a minority, and naturally that guarantee was extended to the other provinces in which there were separate schools established at the time of their entry into the union. Later on I shall deal with the question of separate schools per se, and I shall state why I believe in separate schools in our Dominion, and why I think the Protestants of this country generally should stand by the Protestant minority of Quebec in this matter, as they did in the negotiations which led up to the confederation compact of 1867. However, Sir, this is not the only issue which has been brought forward in this discussion. Some who are bold and frank in the expression of their opinions, have declared against separate schools in toto, others have hidden themselves behind the cry of provincial rights and have attempted in this iway to abolish the principle of separate schools in so far as it may be embodied in this Autonomy Bill. The amendment of the leader of the opposition would leave this question in the hands of the two provinces. While, under ordinary circumstances, and by the Confederation Act, education in general terms has been left to each provincial legislature as being within the purview of the province, there has been a special exception made in regard to the rights of minorities in the matter of separate schools, and

it seems to me that when we discuss any question of provincial rights we must take just as much account of the exception that is made as of the general statement that to the provincial authorities belongs the jurisdiction on education. I believe that in considering the principles of the British North America Act, this exception is just as strongly embodied, and is' just as important a part of that Act, as is the statement that the provincial authorities should control educational matters. I am not a lawyer ; I do not want to discuss this matter from a legal and constitutional aspect, I probably am not capable of doing so ; but the fact that one is not a lawyer is no very great disability in this particular case, because we tind that the lawyers differ very materially. Hardly a constitutional point has arisen in this debate which has not elicited diverse views from eminent lawyers, and under these circumstances I do not know that I, as a layman, need shrink from discussing the constitutional question. But, Sir, I believe it is more in the interest of the question at issue, and more in the interest of the people of the country at large, that theSe points should not be dealt with from any technicai or purely legal aspect, but that they should be dealt with on the broad principles of justice and equity ; the principles upon which our confederation is based, and upon which we have existed as a confederation since 1807. The British North America Act itself asserts the principle of separate schools in a limited degree as applying to the four original provinces of confederation. Prince Edward Island and British Columbia afterwards came into confederation, and the principles and the provisions of the British North America Act were made to apply to these provinces, for, as they had at the time of their entry into the Dominion no system of separate schools, there was no necessity for any precise specification with regard to the educational clauses of the British North America Act in relation to them. When Manitoba was created a province there was a special provision inserted into section 93 of the British North America Act to pro vide, as it was thought at the time, for the peculiar conditions in Manitoba, and directly pointing to the endorsement and the continuance of the principle of separate schools tound in the British North America Act. It is true that this intention was imperfectly carried out ; it is true the provisions of the Manitoba Act were not specific enough apparently to accomplish the object its framers had' in view. That was attended by disastrous results to the minority in Manitoba, and it gave rise to an unfortunate agitation throughout the length and breadth of Canada. In the Bills which are now before the House we recognize the principle that education should be relegated to the province, but with the restriction that the conditions in regard to separate schools existing at the time of the coming into force of these Acts

should be maintained and guaranteed, in future to the minority in the provinces. That is simply carrying out the principles of the British North America Act. In this case we have tried to so draft the educational clause that there shall be no question in the future as to what it means ; that there shall be no room for dispute, for litigation or for doubt on tile part of the people of these two new provinces. I believe, Sir, that in the preciseness of the language of the disputed clauses we have accomplished what the framers of the Manitoba Act failed to accomplish. I believe that in the history of the new provinces no agitation will arise on the question of education, and that we will have accomplished the most laudable object of settling for ever this question in that country.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   PROVINCIAL AUTONOMY IN THE NORTHWEST.
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CON

Thomas Simpson Sproule

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPROULE.

If lawyers differ so much regarding the interpretation of the new clause, is it a matter of wonder that people outside will still differ ?

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   PROVINCIAL AUTONOMY IN THE NORTHWEST.
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LIB

Sydney Arthur Fisher (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. FISHER.

Lawyers have differed as to the constitutional right of this parliament to pass this clause, but my hon. friend is not correct in saying that they differ as to the construction of the clause.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   PROVINCIAL AUTONOMY IN THE NORTHWEST.
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CON

Thomas Simpson Sproule

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPROULE.

They differ on their interpretation of what the new clause reallv means. [DOT]

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   PROVINCIAL AUTONOMY IN THE NORTHWEST.
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LIB

Sydney Arthur Fisher (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. FISHER.

My hon. friend (Mr. *:prou]e) has learned something from this debate which I have not learned. I do not know that there is any doubt as to what the clause as amended in the Bill means, and I do not believe that if this Bill becomes law there will be any question in the future as to the rights under which the minority will live in the new provinces. Provincial rights we give to the provinces, with a reserve-a reserve for the purpose of safeguarding the rights of minorities. In the province of Quebec, at confederation, the Protestant minority was a pretty strong minority. We held a much stronger position numerically than we do to-day. It was important for us then to be given a certain protection, certain safeguards, certain guarantees for the continuance of our rights. As we are becoming weaker numerically in that province, the guarantee and safeguard thus accorded to us becomes more and more important; and if, to-day in these new provinces the Catholic minority is weak numerically, and weak perhaps in other ways, it is all the more important that they should be given a guarantee of those rights and privileges which they guard so jealously and value so highly. The weaker the minority is, the more important it is that a guarantee should be given to it.

Sir, I am surprised that hon. gentlemen opposite, that any section of the Protestant people of this country, should hesitate or doubt in this regard. Perhaps I ought

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   PROVINCIAL AUTONOMY IN THE NORTHWEST.
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LIB

Sydney Arthur Fisher (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. FISHER.

not to be surprised that the Tory party and those imbued with Tory principles, should have this feeling, that they should v/ant to ignore the rights of a "minority, the rights of a weaker people in the country. This, unfortunately, has been the history of Toryism through generations and through centuries. It has always been advancing the view of the stronger controlling and ruling the weaker, without regard for the feelings, desires or privileges of the weaker. It was the old principle of autocracy ; it was the old principle of the divine right of kings, when the common people were ignored, and the Tories rallied round the king and held up his hands. A little later on in the history of the world the Tory party were the party of an oligarchy, when the few, the favoured few, had control over the rights of the many. We had a specimen of that in Canada in our early history, in the history of the family compact.

^ Since then we have gone a little further. These older struggles have disappeared with the assertion of the larger rights of the many; but we find the Tories now wedded to the idea of the right of the majority, the absolute right of that majority, which they say demands that in Canada there shall be no separate schools, and that the Catholic people of this country shall not be given consideration for their cherished principles and cherished feelings. Sir, I do not wonder at this. We Liberals believe that the majority should rule ; but we believe that the majority should rule with full consideration for the rights, the feelings and the privileges of the minority. That is the essential difference between the principles of Tories and the principles of Liberals. Their principle entails a caste to rule by force over the weaker. Our principle is to so rule through the majority that the minority may be contented, happy, and in sympathy with the majority-not in antagonism to it, and not feeling discontented or ill-used. Sir, I cannot do better than l.ere quote a word or two from a great English statesman, the present leader of the government of England, as to the rights of minorities. Mr. Balfour was writing a letter in answer to a pamphlet which had been issued in regard to the school question there, and he said this of the writer of that pamphlet :

His constitutional studies have apparently convinced him that in an assembly where the majority govern, a dissentient minority is a negligible quantity. Were this theory sound,' what an arcadian existence would be that of the leader of the House of Commons. But in truth, the theory is absurd.

Yes, Sir, I believe that the theory that the minority can be neglected, that they are a negligible quantity, is absurd, contrary to good morals and contrary to the interest of the state. Sir, I am glad to

know that the Libera] party in this country bold, and it is of the essential principles of Liberalism, that while the majority must rule, the rights, privileges and feelings of the minority must be always carefully considered and carefully reckoned with in all that the majority does.

Now, Sir, a word as to separate schools- and I repeat again quite frankly, as I said in my opening remarks, that I believe in separate schools in Canada. I believe that in our conditions and circumstances here in Canada, it is necessary that those who have different views and ideas in regard to education and in regard to what education implies, should have those views respected ; and if there is a , large section of our people who believe that it is necessary that religion should be taught in the schools, they ought to have the opportunity and the advantage of having religion taught in their schools if they wish it. I say this with the experience of a Quebec man, who perhaps knows a little more about the operation of a complete system of separate schools than people in other parts of Canada. We liavq in Quebec the most complete and absolute separation of the two systems of school education that exists in any part of Canada. We have a good deal of knowledge of its working and its results, and I venture to say, as one who enjoys the privilege of separate schools in the province of Quebec, that we would consider ourselves very much ill-treated if any jot or tittle of that privilege should be withdrawn from us. There has been some, curiosity as to its results. I remember, in the early part of this debate, the hon. member for East Grey (Mr. 'Sproule) read an article from the Huntingdon * Gleaner,' I think it was, in which that little paper attributed the immigration of Protestants from the province of Quebec to the unfortunate school system there, and seemed to endorse the idea that ibe Protestants were leaving the province of Quebec and going away because they could not get education for their children. Without in any way wishing to impugn the authority of the Huntingdon ' Gleaner ' I would venture to say that I and others on the floor of this House can speak with as great authority as the editor of that paper as to the rights, privileges and conditions of the minority in the province of Quebec, and I would say this. My hon. friend from East Grey gave us an extraordinary history of what he called a system on the part of the Catholic Church in the province of Quebec for aiding this exodus of Protestant farmers from the province. My hon. friend, I believe, did that in full honesty. I have no doubt that he really believed that extraordinary story, and X would tell the hon. gentleman a little story which I heard myself once. I did not believe it, I was not so credulous as my hon. friend ; but I can put it about on a par

with the story which my hon. friend retailed to the House of this alleged scheme of the Catholic Church to get rid of the Protestant minority in the province of Quebec. The story I heard was of some Orangemen of the county of Hastings in the province of Ontario, I was told at the time of the Jesuits' Estates agitation that a number of the members of the Orange lodges there went to bed every night with loaded rifles under their pillows because they feared an invasion from the Catholics of Quebec to down the Orangemen of the province of Ontario. I say I was not so credulous as my hon. friend, and I did not believe the story.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   PROVINCIAL AUTONOMY IN THE NORTHWEST.
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April 13, 1905