CROCKET (York, N.B.) Mr. Speaker, this question has already been so exhaustively discussed that it is very difficult for one at this stage of the debate to address himself to the subject without retreading to a very large extent ground which has already been gone over by others. But the matter is one of such deep interest in the constituency which X have the honour to represent in this House, as I believe it is of deep interest in every constituency throughout Canada, that I feel that I would be recreant to my duty if I did not at least state the views which I hold in respect to it. Let me say then at once, Sir, that I am in full sympathy with the establishment of self-government in the Northwest. I think that the time has come when that great and rapidly developing portion of our country, comprising as it does that great fertile belt which is the hope of our future, is entitled to provincial autonomy, not the mock autonomy which is provided by this Bill, but a real, genuine autonomy which will enable the new provinces to govern themselves independently in matters of provincial concern and place them upon a footing of equality with the other settled portions of this confederation. It is because this Bill which is. now before the House, while purporting to grant such autonomy, so restricts and circumscribes the legislative powers which are granted as practically to destroy their value and to make the whole scheme of the government a delusion and a sham that I am opposed to the measure as it stands and intend to vote for the amendment which has been moved by my hon. friend the leader of the opposition (Mr. R. L. Borden). I think, Mr. Speaker, that this House has never had a more striking illustration of a misnomer than is exhibited by the application to this Bill of the name ' autonomy.' I think the Bill would be more accurately described if it were to be called a restriction rather than an Autonomy Bill. The autonomy which it embodies is, to my miud, very much of the same character as the permission which a timid and considerate mother gave to her daughter who asked to be allowed to go out and swim to which request the mother rel-plied : *
Yes, my darling daughter,
Go hang your clothss on a hickory limb
And don't go near the water.
The right bon. leader of the government (Sir Wilfrid Laurier) in introducing this measure declared, I think, that he was presenting to the Northwest the crown of complete and absolute autonomy. The hon. member from Prince Edward (Mr. Alcorn) who addressed the House yesterday very aptly described the crown, when he stated it was a crown from which the generous donor had plucked its most valuable jewels.
Now, Mr. Speaker, in the province of New Brunswick, and I venture to say that this remark can be applied to most of the other provinces of the Dominion if not to all, there are no two more important departments of government than the Department of Crown Hands and the Department of Education; there are no two subjects of more vital local provincial concern than education and the administration of public lands. Any yet we find that under this Bill the ownership and control of the public lands is absolutely withheld from the new provinces, while with respect to education the legislative power of the new provinces is so restricted as to make the educational systems which are to be imposed upon these new provinces, not the will and creation of the people of the new provinces, but the will and creation of this parliament; an external body which has no interest-no direct interest at any rate in the subject-and no responsibility whatever to the people of the provinces upon which these systems are to be imposed. In the first place, speaking on the subject of the public lands, I wish to refer to section 109 of the British North America Act, which says:
All lands, mines, minerals and royalties belonging to the several provinces ot Canada, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick at the union, and all sums then due or payable for such lands, mines, minerals or ^royalties, shall belong to the several provinces of Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick in which the same are situate or arise, subject to any trusts existing in respect thereof, and to any interest other than that of the province in the same.
It will be seen from this section, that the original provinces of the confederation were given the ownership and control of their public lands. The hon. member from Jacques Cartier (Mr. Monk) in his speech the [DOT]other night cited a series of judgments of the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council which show that the title to the public lands in Canada vested in the King in right of the provinces. The hon. member (Mr. Monk), referred particularly to the case *of the Attorney General of British Columbia vs. the Attorney General of Canada, in which it was decided that the title to the public lands in that province vested in the King in right of the province, notwithstanding that British Columbia was not specifically named in the section which I have read and was admitted subsequent to the formation of confederation. These cases 144)
prove conclusively that under the terms of the British North America Act the title of the lands in this country is vested in the King in right of the province. But hon. members on the other side of the House suggest that the lands in the Northwest Territories having being purchased by the Dominion of Canada from the Hudson Bay Company that alters the case. I submit, Mr. Speaker, that this makes no difference whatever, and that the lands vest in the King regardless of whether they are acquired by purchase or by conquest. The title in the lands of this country does not vest in this government as a government or in this parliament as a parliament, but thej vest in the King in the right of the provinces as has been decided by the Privy Council in the cases to which I have alluded. We have had quite a recent judgment of the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in the Attorney General of New Brunswick vs. the liquidators of the Maritime Bank, in which it was laid down that the lieutenant governor in the province represented the Crown just as fully and effectually as the Governor General does in the federal sphere. We have in these cases the authority that the title to these lands properly vests in the Lieutenant Governor representing the King in right of the provinces ; but it is not necessary to refer to these authorities to establish the proposition that the title is in the province and not in the Dominion. We have in section 19 of this very Bill the admission that the provinces are entitled to the lands. Section 19 says:
In as much as the public lands in the said province are to remain the property of Canada, there shall be paid by Canada to the said" province annually, by way of compensation therefor, a sum based on the estimated value of said lands, &e.
The Bill itself therefore contains the admission that the provinces are properly entitled to these lands. But aside altogether from the legal question as to the title of these lands, I submit that every consideration of public policy, public interest and public convenience supports the claim that these lands should be in the hands of the provincial authorities. Iu the first place, the administration of these lands is directly a matter of local and provincial concern; it is the people of the provinces who are chiefly interested in the administration of these lands ; it is their interests that are chiefly affected. If the lands are wisely and efficiently administered it is they who profit and benefit; if the lands are unwisely and inefficiently administered It is they who suffer. That being the case, 1 submit that the administration of these lands should be iu an authority responsible to the people who are interested. If these lands are retained by this government, as is proposed in the Bill, we may have th? federal author-| ity administering the lands in a most inefficient and most unwise manner. It is
the people of the province who will suffer, and yet they are without a remedy, because so long as this government can command the support of a majority of the members from Ontario, Quebec, British Columbia, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island the people of the Northwest Territories must simply grin and bear it. These members, representing these other provinces, have no'direct, immediate interest whatever in the administration of those lands, and no knowledge of the local conditions and requirements. That seems to me to be a conclusive reason why these lands should be vested in the government of the Northwest Territories and not in this parliament.
The only pretense that has been set up, so far as I have been able to discover, for withholding the ownership and control of those lands and no knowledge of the local was suggested by the right hon. the premier in introducing this Bill. He said:
It the lands were given to the new provinces, the policy of either one of them might differ from ours and clash with our efforts to increase immigration. It might possibly render these efforts nugatory.
/That is the reason which has been assigned by the premier for withholding from the proposed provinces the lands to which they seem, in law and upon grounds of poliey, to be entitled. In connection with this matter of immigration. I wish to refer to section 95 of the British North America Act, which deals with the question of agriculture and immigration. It is this :
In each province the legislature may make laws in relation to agriculture in the province, and to immigration into the province ; and it is hereby declared that the parliament of Canada may from time to time make laws in relation to agriculture in all or any of the provinces, and to immigration into all or any of the provinces ; and any law of the legislature of a province, relative ito agriculture or to immigration, shall have effect in and for the province, as long and as far only as it is not repugnant to any Act of the parliament of Canada.
It will be seen by that section that the original provinces of the Dominion were entitled and are entitled to make laws in reference to immigration, as they are entitled to make laws in reference to agriculture, although this parliament has also the power to make laws in reference to the same subjects if it sees fit so to do. But the point I wish to make is that, under the terms of the Bill now before the House, and under the section which I have quoted, the new provinces in the Northwest will occupy precisely the same position in reference to immigration as do the original provinces of the confederation. Why then should there be a difference made with respect to the public lands ? The original provinces of confederation, and all the provinces of this Dominion, except, I believe, the province of Manitoba, have control of the public lands ;
Subtopic: APKIL 13. 1905