April 17, 1905

CON

Edward Guss Porter

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. PORTER.

Now, Sir, when these Bills were introduced in this House there was a spontaneous expression of disappointment. That feeling of disappointment, after all the discussion that has taken place in this House, after all the discussion that has taken place through the public press has not downed at all, but has been growing and growing until it is a perfect chorus of condemnation of this measure from one end of this Dominion to the other. There is a general outcry against the injustice that will be done these new provinces by imposing upon them the system of separate sichools provided for in "these measures. There is an outcry at the injustice that will be done by binding and shackling the people in these new provinces by a system of education that is not agreeable to their wishes. These mutterings that we first heard in this House upon the introduction of these Bills have grown and will continue to grow, I verily believe, notwithstanding the passing of these measures by the force behind the right hon. Prime Minister. These mutterings will increase and grow, and there will be no possibility of there being perfect rest and a feeling of perfect freedom, unless this government shall see fit, In its wisdom, to withdraw the educational clauses of these Bills and allow these provinces to legislate on that subject as to them seems meet and just. And, now, Sir, this feeling of disappointment has been expressed by the press of this country, the greatest of all powers hot only for the expression but for the formation of public opinion. The majority of the press have condemned these educational clauses. Resolutions have been passed by public meetings held in many places throughout the Dominion condemning this legislation. There have been pulpit discourses from almost every religious denomination in condemnation of these clauses. Educational bodies meeting in solemn conclave for the discussion of this matter, have also passed resolutions condemning this legislation. Educationalists, who are especially fitted to judge of this matter, have also announced themselves against-this measure in unmistakable terms. And, Sir, hundreds, yes thousands, of the very best people in the Dominion of Canada have expressed the same sentiment by the petitions that have been presented from day to day to this House. And hon. members in this House have been endeavouring, for days and weeks to convince this government that the legislation proposed under these Bills is not in the interest of the new provinces. Now, Sir, can it be possible that all these bodies, all these persons, all these petitioners, and the great majority of the public press-that all these'are wrong upon this question? Is it possible that only the right hon. gentleman iSir Wilfrid Laurier) and the influences under which he is acting are right ? Is the intelligence of the right hon. gentleman upon this question so heaven born, is his knowl-

[DOT] 4734

edge so divinely inspired, that it is impossible for him to be -wrong ?

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CON

John Waterhouse Daniel

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. DANIEL.

I believe, Mr. Speaker, that there is not a quorum present in the House.

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LIB

Robert Franklin Sutherland (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER.

There is a quorum.

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CON

Edward Guss Porter

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. PORTER.

Such a denial of the will of the people as that of the Prime Minister expressed in the manner in which it has been expressed is, to my mind, subversive of the very first principle of freedom and tys a direct blow at the constitution of our country. I have hoped since the introduction of these Bills, that, observing the strong feeling of disapproval throughout the country in regard to them, the government would see fit to withdraw or alter these clauses in the Bill, to modify them so as to enable every hon. gentleman in this House to support the measure granting provincial rights to these two provinces so that on the first day of July next, when these Bills are intended to come into force and effect, there would be genuine cause for universal rejoicing at the birth of these two new provinces. But, Sir, if we make the mistake now of inflicting upon these provinces the system of separate schools intended by these Bills, we shall be doing an Act-and it is important for each of us to consider this- which is irrevocable, we shall inflict a burden upon these provinces which cannot be removed for all time to come. If we recognize in these Bills the right of the church to interfere in matters of state, especially in so important a matter as the education of the youth, if we set up the principle of separating or isolating different portions of the youth and preventing them from growing up together which is so necessary to the growth of a common interest and a common sentiment which alone can build up a young country like Canada, we shall be doing an injustice, which, I think, every member of this House will sooner or later regret. Let us, if possible, avoid that condition of affairs. If these new provinces, if any part of these Territories, see fit to inflict upon themselves a system of separate schools, that is their own business-it is their own misfortune.

Sir, I have been surprised at some of the arguments addressed by hon. members on the government side of the House as a reason why these Bills in their present form should be supported by this House. Some hon. members have gone so far as to say that the passage of these Bills in one form or their defeat in another might mean the defeat of this government, that it might mean the driving from power of the right hon. gentleman himself. For my part, I think it would be a thousand times better that this government should go down to defeat, if thousand times better that the right hon. gentleman should be driven from power, than that this parliament should inflict an injustice, however small, upon these new

provinces upon this the day of their birth. The sentiment expressed in regard to the defeat of the government or the driving of the right hon. gentleman from power is a fallacious sentiment. It is cowardly, it is unpatriotic, and I hope that no hon. gentleman in this House will hide himself upon the vote on this question behind any such subterfuge as this. Since the introduction of these Bills a great change has come over some of the government supporters. It is pretty evident that the right hon. gentleman, with the cat-o'-nine tails in his hand, has been able to whip his followers into line upon this question, but I venture to think the right hon. gentleman will waken up one of these days to the fact that he cannot, with the whip in his hand, whip the Dominion of Canada into line, and I believe the people of this country will wrest that power from the right hon. gentleman and will administer such a castigation as the insincerity displayed by the right hon. gentleman in this matter so richly deserves, and as the dominating powers have brought upon him. It is a well-recognized principle of legislation in all civilized communities, and one that I have never heard questioned, that all legislation should be so directed as to do the greatest good for the greatest number, and liberty is the boasted bulwark of the British constitution. I do not believe that by such legislation as that now before us the principle I have enunciated can be maintained, nor can liberty be upheld if we are legislating for a class as against the mass, or asserting the principle of coercion as against the principle of liberty. I have taken some pains to read the constitution and the constitutional history of this country, and while I acknowledge the fact that lawyers will differ, perhaps the view of this matter that has appealed to me will be such that some hon. members or the public will be able to gain some knowledge from it. I have searched the constitution in vain to find one word, clause or paragraph that makes it incumbent upon this parliament to legislate in regard to education in these new provinces. Especially is this so in the initiatory stages of this legislation. But, Sir, I find that there is a prohibition contained in the words in the 93rd section of the British North America Act, where it says that :

The legislatures may exclusively make laws In .regard to education subject to the qualifications therein set forth.

I want to point out that while we may differ in regard to the right of this parliament to legislate upon this subject, there is no obligation upon this parliament to do so. What is the position in regard to the local legislatures ? While the constitution, so far fs this parliament is concerned, leaves it in the position of a doubtful right and imposes no obligation ; in regard to the local legislatures, there is not only an undoubted right, but an obligation, too. What would

be the duty of this parliament under those conditions ? Here is one parliament completely clothed with an authority to legislate in regard to this subject. On the other hand, this parliament, which is attempting to deal with this matter, has at most only a doubtful right, and it has uo obligation at all. It appears to me that the wise, just and fair course would be for this parliament not to interfere, but to leave it to that other legislature which has complete jurisdiction in the matter. Why is this parliament to assume a doubtful right and to impose unnecessary obligations upon itself simply for the purpose of depriving the legislatures of their undoubted right and their obligation ? I must say that I have implicit confidence in the people of these two new provinces, I have perfect confidence that they will, when the time comes elect to their local legislatures men of integrity, men of wisdom, who, when the time arrives for legislation upon this subject, will be wanting neither in courage nor in toleration to pass such legislation and enact such measures as will ensure to the whole people of those two new provinces equal rights of civil and religious liberty. Another point to which I desire to call the attention of the House is the right of appeal that is provided by the British North America Act and which is retained by this parliament. A consideration of that right of appeal will lead to the conclusion that initiative legislation in regard to educational matters was intended to begin, and should begin with the local legislatures. The constitution provides that there should be a right of appeal for the minority. What does that right of appeal mean ? Is it limited in any way ? It is not limited, because it assumes that there shall be that right of appeal where there is legislation against any right or privilege of the minority. Here we have legislation affecting a right or privilege of a minority. The right of appeal could never be intended to mean an appeal from this parliament back to this parliament again. As I understand the right of appeal, and as I think every hon. gentleman in this House will understand it, it means the right to take any matter in controversy from an inferior to a superior tribunal Now, we are enacting legislation here in these Bills affecting a right or privilege and the constitution says there shall be an appeal in regard to that right or privilege. How are the minority in the Northwest Territories going to employ the right of appeal ? Is /there any right of appeal after we pass this legislation ? There is not, because when the minority of these two provinces apply to the legislature to remedy what has been passed here and to set right what has been made wrong against their rights and privileges, they find that the local legislature has no power to deal with the question. Then they turn to this parliament. Is there a right to appeal here? This Mr. PORTER.

parliament have initiated this legislation, can they come here with any hope of having that legislation disturbed ? I think they will be coining here upon a fool's errand, so to speak, and therefore that being the case I conclude that by this legislation the greatest safeguard we have secured by the British North America Act, namely, the right to appeal against legislation concerning a right or privilege in regard to education, is entirely taken away from the minority of these provinces. For that reason I again say that an injustice will be done to the minority if this legislation is passed. In regard to that matter it has been argued here that under the ordinances of the Northwest Territories the people there have acquired certain rights which have been referred to here by hon. gentlemen dismissing the question as vested rights. I want to look at that for a few moments. Just at the outset I would ask any hon. gentleman who entertains the idea that unless these Bills are passed in the form in which they are presented to the House these vested rights are going to be swept awray to strike out of this Bill every word and every clause relating to education, then read the Bill and see if there is one wrord or sentence that prohibits the establishment of separate schools in these two provinces. He will look in vain for such. There is not a single enactment, or word, or phrase that would prohibit the establishment of separate schools. It is not so in regard to the majority. These Acts are prohibitive as far as they concern the majority these Acts say to the majority of the people in those new provinces : Thou shalt not, to use a scriptural phrase, but you shall establish a certain system of schools in spite of yourselves, no matter what your wishes or desires may be in the matter. It appears to me that it is no more necessary to have this provision in these Bills to protect the rights of the minority in these new provinces than it is to have a clause in these Bills protecting the rights of the majority- and I cannot see, in view of what I have already said as to my view of the constitution in regard to that matter, that there is any necessity for it one way or the other.

Now, let me go a step farther in regard to that. What are these rights ? Is the maintenance of separate schools in these provinces a right that has been acquired or is it a right that is to be acquired permanently ? It is an acknowledged principle of law that I think no lawyer will contradict or dispute that a right cannot be acquired against a superior right so long as there is notice and there has been no abrogation of that superior right. Now, in this particular case under discussion, we have both the notice, we have the superior rights and we have no abrogation of those rights. What are those superior rights ? First the right to erect or to create portions of the North-

west Territories into provinces, and secondly, when they are erected or created into provinces these provinces shall have the exclusive right to legislate in regard to education. These are the superior rights granted under the constitution to the people who went into those Territories. Both of these superior rights are guaranteed by the constitution. That constitution is actual notice not only to the people of Canada, but it is actual notice to the people of all the world. Any person going into the Northwest Territories with that provision of the law staring him in the face must be taken to have gone into that country consenting to the conditions therein laid down. He has full notice of what his rights are, he has full notice of what his rights will be when those Territories are created into provinces, but he has no notice as to what will take place in the interval. But when these Territories are erected into provinces he has actual notice, he has notice that the people of those provinces shall enjoy these superior rights and he knows too that unless there is an abrogation of these rights, a giving of them up. these rights shall continue. Now, having that notice and knowing what the conditions are when they are erected into provinces, what right have a portion of the people of those Territories to say that in the interval they will acquire certain vested rights which will cut out the superior rights of some of their fellow-citizens there ? The position, it appears to me, is not tenable ; it is not one that can be fairly argued. Both parties, Roman Catholics and Protestants, start in there upon a fair footing, upon an even footing, knowing exactly what the conditions are and what the conditions will be. But, there is this to be said about it, and it bears upon the discussion which has taken place upon this particular point that in the interval between the time at which these people go into the Territories and the time when they are created into provinces some provision must be made for their government and that provision that has to be made in the interval must be made by the Dominion parliament. It has sole jurisdiction as to the subject, but limited jurisdiction as to the time. These people have notice that the parliament of Canada can only legislate during the interval. This parliament, by the constitution which has been adopted, agree with these people that they will only legislate during that interval.

Now then, that being the position, this parliament starts out to legislate, to provide for the government of these Territories in the interval and what do they do ? They establish a system of administration of justice, they establish a system in regard to public works, they establish a system in regard to immigration and they establish a system in regard to education. Neither can it be argued that this government intended, or that the people of these Territories understood, that any one of these provisions should be permanent. If any one is permanent why not all ? Why does the government not make provision in these Bills for the immigration policy of these new provinces, or for the administration of justice. If the people, under this legislation which was only of a tentative character, could acquire rights in regard to any one thing, they would have acquired vested rights in regard to all, and that being so, why single out this one particular department and declare what the law shall be in regard to it, and disregard the others altogether*. Carrying, the argument that length and applying it to every department of the government that this parliament has provided for in these two new provinces, it shows the utter absurdity of the position the government has taken in regard to that one department of education. No injustice will be done to the people of these new provinces by the government taking the position that the legislation passed prior to their becoming provinces was only tentative. It appears to me that where no injustice will be done them, and where they have complete legislative powers themselves to pass legislation such as is suitable to the condition of the people of the country, it is far more fair to these people to allow them to enjoy that position than for this parliament to impose any obligation upon them. Take the Protestant denominations going into these new Territories. They knew perfectly well, and they had the constitution of Canada as security for it, that separate schools would not and could not be imposed upon that portion of the country after it was erected into a province unless the legislature of that province said so. Catholics going into that country knew, and they had the constitution as security for it, that separate schools could be and would be established in these new provinces just as soon as the local legislatures of these provinces saw fit to so enact. There was no uncertainty as to the power of this parliament; there was no uncertainty as to the power of the local legislature ; there was no uncertainty as to the rights of the people ; the only uncertainty there was, was as to what the legislatures of these new provinces would do when they had the authority placed in their hands. And to guard against any injustice being done by that uncertainty, a clause was put into the constitution providing for this right of appeal in case any rights or privilege of the minority should be violated. But by these measures now before the House, that right of appeal has been taken away and the promise made by the constitution of this country to encourage these people to go into the Northwest Territories until such time as they should be erected into provinces ; that guarantee of good faith will be entirely taken away, and these people will have such an injustice

perpetrated upon them that I firmly believe this government will In future regret it. I say that no portion of the people of these two new provinces have any right to ask this parliament, in framing a constitution for the provinces, to provide that there shall be only public or national schools ; nor have the Roman Catholics the right to ask that this parliament shall enact that they shall have the right to separate schools. And Why ? Because the constitution does not give that right to either class of people. And while the people have no right to make that demand on this parliament, this parliament is bound by the very same principle, and what the people have no right to demand from parliament, this parliament has no right to inflict upon them. I argue from that, that this legislation is not only an infraction of the constitutional rights secured to the people of these provinces, but it is placing an obligation upon this parliament which it ought not to assume. Another reason why this government should not be asked to initiate legislation on this subject is, that it would be perfectly just and competent for them to say : we may have to sit in appeal upon whatever legislation may be enacted in these new provinces, and therefore it would not be fair for us to express our opinion in legislation beforehand. If these Bills are passed the government cannot take that position, and that shows again that the right of appeal has been taken away or interfered with by this legislation. After all, the question is not whether these provinces shall or shall not have separate schools; the question is: shall this parliament interfere with the educational rights of the provinces. I concur in the opinion expressed by my honoured leader ; I venture to think that the subsequent legislation has in no manner changed the position which I have argued prevails under the British North America Act. Take the Manitoba Act of 1870 or the confirmatory Act of 1871. It may be observed that that legislation was passed under very exceptional circumstances. It was passed owing to conditions prevailing in that province at that time, and I might say passed by agreement between the people of Manitoba and this government.

Now, no such conditions as existed in that province exist in regard to these two new provinces. The right hon. leader of the government, when introducing these Bills, did not see fit to shelter himself behind the legislation of 1870 or 1871 ; and perhaps I need not trouble jvith that more than to say that the Imperial Act of 1871 appears to give unlimited power to this parliament to frame a constitution for a new province ; but while that appears to be the effect of that Act, the British North America Act was in full force at that time. Now, that confirmatory Act of 1871 makes no reference whatever to the British North America Act and it cannot be contended that there was any Mr. PORTER.

intention on the part of parliament in passing that Act that the British North America Act should be interfered with. Had there been such intention, some reference would have been made in that Act of 1871 to the British North America Act. That being so what is the position ? Here we have the constitution under the British North America Act declaring that the provinces shall have the exclusive right to legislate in regard to education ; and we have the Imperial Act of 1871, passed under these exceptional circumstances, and to meet the condition of affairs to which I have already referred, and when it could not have been intended to affect the British North America Act. Granting that these Acts are both of equal force, we have the British North America Act which says you shall give the exclusive right to legislate to these provinces and the Act of 1871 saying you may give these rights or not as you please. Granted that they are both of equal force, what is the fair position that this parliament should take ? To carry out the guarantee which these people had under the constitution, or to take advantage of the permissive right which the statute of 1871 gives them ? In the constitution it is obligatory ; in the Act of 1871 it is only permissive; and for this reason I argue that the fair course to be taken by this parliament would be to say we will observe the obligation which we have entered into with you and will not take advantage of the right we have of denying you your full right of provincial government. Now, when the Act of 1875 was passed, the Act of 1871 was in full force ; but we do not find in that Act of 1875 any reference whatever to the Act of 1871; so that that Act of 1875 could not have been based upon the right that was conferred by the Imperial Act of 1871. Such being the ease, I conclude that the statute of 1875 offers no warrant whatever for legislation such as the government is pressing through the House now.

Considerable has been said in regard to the provisions of this Bill as it was originally introduced into this House, and the amendments now under discussion, nnd I want as briefly as possible to treat that subject as it appears to me. At the time of the introduction of this Bill it must have been apparent to any person who gave attention to the matter that whoever had charge of the drafting of the original Bill must have entertained a doubt as to whether the ordinances preserved all the rights and powers that were conferred on the minority by the Territories Act of 1875, under which Act, as the late Minister of the Interior said, there grew up, and was maintained a complete system of separate schools with the dual language, or what may be known as clerical schools, or that the ordinances superseded the provisions of that Act and deprived the minority of their rights to a complete system of separate schools with the two languages. This doubt must have

resisted in the mind of the person who drafted the original clauses of this Bill, because, if we look at the Bill as originally drawn, we shall find that the objectionable clause in regard to education has identically the same language as the Act of 1875. So that it is perfectly apparent, no matter what declarations as to intention have been made in this House upon the discussion of this matter, that whoever prepared that Bill intended that all the rights and privileges accorded by the Act of 1875 should be preserved to the minority in these two new provinces ; and those rights and privileges, as the late Minister of the Interior says, included a complete system of clerical schools. Now, when dissatisfaction was expressed, and it became so great as I have already pointed out, the right hon. gentleman, no doubt seeing the impossibility of defending such a course as that, either in this parliament or before the country, introduced the amendments now under discussion. The question now arises, do these amendments improve the situation in any respect, or do they preserve to the minority in those two new provinces exactly what was aimed at by the original Bill as drafted and brought down? I have given this question a good deal of consideration, and my firm conviction is that the amendments as they stand to-day will confer upon the minority in those two new provinces just as great and as wide rights as they would have obtained under the clauses of the statute of 1875, and I will tell you why. The amendment now introduced provides, in effect, that nothing in this Act shall prejudicially affect any right or privilege conferred upon the minority by the ordinances 29, 30 and 31. Now, what does that mean? I have looked over the ordinances very carefully and can only find one section that confers any right or privilege, and that is section 41, and section 41 confers that right without any limitation .whatever. Let me refer to this section in order to be perfectly accurate :

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

Compare tbe wording of that section with the wording of the Act of 1875 :

Protestants and Roman Catholics may establish separate schools therein, and in such latter case the ratepayers establishing such Protestant or Roman Catholic schools shall he liable only to such assessments of such rates as they may impose upon themselves.

That is identically the language of the ordinance I have quoted. Then comes in this amendment which says :

Nothing in the provincial law shall prejudicially affect any right or privilege conferred by such ordinance.

Now the right conferred is to establish separate schools without any limitation of any kind or description, just as the statute of 1875 contained no limit or restriction, and the same rights and privileges will grow up under section 41 as grew up under the latter part of section 14 of the statute of 1875. Hon. gentlemen opposite have argued that section 41 is controlled by the subsequent sections of this ordinance. That contention, I do not think, will bear investigation. They point to section 45 as controlling, but note carefully the wording of section 45 :

After the establishment of a separate school district under the provisions of this ordinance, such separate school district and the boards thereof shall possess and exercise all rights, powers, privileges and be subject to tbe same liabilities

Not the same limitations. '

as are herein provided in respect of public

school districts.

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LIB
CON

Edward Guss Porter

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. PORTER.

And methods of government. They are subject to the same liabilities but not to the same limitations, and even if they were, section 41 would be in exact accord with the statute of 1875, and therefore within the jurisdiction of the legislative assembly, hut section 45, which cuts that down, would be ultra vires that legislature altogether. So that this amendment, as it now stands, leaves the matter in this shape that the right to establish separate schools, without limitation or restriction, as provided by section 41 of the ordinances, shall be preserved, and it will not he in the powers of the provinces to cut down or prejudically affect that right. For those reasons I have concluded that under this amendment, these two new provinces will have fixed upon them unalterably, and for all time to come, the same conditions as are enacted by the statute of 1875, which the people of the Territories have tried to get rid of ; and having shown their disposition to get rid of that system of clerical schools it seems to me the greatest injustice for this parliament to endeavour to inflict that system upon them.

But apart from the constitutional question altogether, if I had uo other reason for opposing those Bills than the fact that the introduction of this subject, which, it appears, cannot be discussed without raising the ill-feeling that has been exhibited, I am sorry to say on more than one occasion during the debate, could just as well have been avoided and the matter left to the provinces to settle for themselves-if there was no other reason for opposing this measure, I would consider that a perfect justification. But if we are not to enjoy that condition of attending to

our own affairs and allowing the provinces to attend to theirs, upon whom should the responsibility rest ? It must rest upon the right lion, the First Minister. True, his followers will have to bear a certain share of that responsibility, but to him alone must be left the responsibility of having put his followers in such a position that they are obliged to choose between serving their country or their church, between serving the right lion, gentleman or the people. Upon the question of the advisability of having a system of separate schools in any portion of this Dominion, there is fair room for differences of opinion. We can quite understand why our Roman Catholic friends desire such a system. It is quite natural that I should entertain an entirely different attitude. That I do, there cannot be very much doubt, but I want to point out this. Whether separate schools be right or wrong is not the question before us. Every man has a right to his own religious belief, and I would be the last man to interfere with it. But to observe the laws of God and make laws for good government are two entirely distinct things, and I draw that distinction in this measure. The late Dr. Ryerson, than whom perhaps the country never had a greater educationalist, made use of this language in pointing out a similar distinction :

What ought to be done in regard to religious instruction and what the government ought to require are two different things. Who doubts that public worship should be attended and family worship performed ? But does it, therefore, follow that the government is to compel attendance upon the one or the performance of the other ? If our government were a despotism it would compel what it pleased, but our government is a constitutional and popular government.

I could not express my views upon that subject more forcibly than Dr. Ryerson has expressed them. And another reason why I am opposed to this system of separate schools is that the conditions do not at present exist in this country that would warrant the establishment and maintenance of such schools. It is, to my mind, very much better, very much more in the interest of the children growing up in this country that there should be a common system, that there should be a mingling of the children that will promote the growth of a common interest and a common sentiment. It is much better that that state of affairs should exist than that we should have a condition that would produce the opposite result. Dr. Ryerson said, speaking of the establishment of separate schools:

In the earliest history of separate schools they were desired to meet peculiar circumstances or extreme cases of neighbourhoods where religious bigotry and party spirit deprived the minority of protection from injustice and oppression.

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CON

Edward Guss Porter

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. PORTER.

Now, I venture to think that no such condition of religious bigotry or party spirit exists in any portion of this country as to warrant any section of the people in asking for separate schools to protect them from injustice and oppression. These being the grounds upon which separate schools were originally established, and there being no such condition of affairs existing in this country, I argue that it is not in the best interest of the country as a whole that that system should be continued or that we should enact laws to force such a system upon these new provinces.

There is an additional reason. I put it as matter of time. When you come to look at the time devoted to secular education and tlie time allowed for religious education, what do you find? You find that in the school week of five days there is a total of thirty hours, cut down by daily recesses to say 27i hours. On the other hand, if you allow ten hours a day for sleep, you have seventy-one hours still left for religious instruction. If 27i hours is sufficient for secular education, surely 71 hours is sufficient for religious instruction. Or carry it a step further and make the comparison on the basis of a year. We find that the school year, taking out vacations and holidays, including Saturdays and Sundays, is about 1,100 hours. 'This is the time allowed in a year for secular education. And upon the same basis as before what are you allowed for religious instruction? Seven thousand hours-over six times as much time as is allowed for secular education. Booking at the fact that ninety-seven per cent of the children never get beyond the common school, and of that proportion a large number attend school for only a short time, is it not manifestly unfair that the time these young people have to prepare themselves for the battle of life should be cut down by even half an hour a day? Would it not be better that the time for secular education should even be increased rather than diminished? That is why I should say it would be an injustice to the youth to impose this system upon them. We must recognize that there is a duty resting upon the parents and pastors as well as upon the state. The state has recognized very clearly and specifically parental duty. The state, for instance, does not furnish food and clothing for the children, but that leaves that for the parents to do. So, I think, the state should recognize the duty and obligation upon the parent to provide for the religious education of the child. And if the religious education of the child is deficient or wanting in any respect the blame rests upon the parent and upon the pastor-it does not in any way, to my mind, rest upon the state. It seems to me that it would be a very bad position for this country to occupy to make itself the tax-gatherer for the church. In all countries where that has been the case we know the result. The result has been that the people have attained no efficiency in matters of education. It is

a matter of history that in the countries where such an idea has prevailed, the people have grown up in ignorance, and where there is ignorance there is a corresponding amount of slavery. We ought not to impose such conditions upon this new country in the Northwest or any portion of it. I apologize to the House for occupying so much time at this hour of the night, even though I was not allowed to postpone speaking. I shall vote against the educational clause of the Bill. I had hoped that there would have been such amendments that I should have been afforded the pleasure of voting in favour of this measure to establish autonomy for the Northwest, but under the circumstances I cannot do otherwise than vote against it, and so I shall with pleasure support the amendment of the leader of the opposition.

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LIB

Frederick Andrew Laurence

Liberal

Mr. F. A. LAURENCE (Colchester).

Mr. Speaker, I am reminded by the clock in front of me that the night is far spent and that the patience of the members of this House has already been considerably taxed. It would be improper, therefore, for me to prolong the debate this evening beyond a very few minutes, especially as I shall have an opportunity to complete my observations when the discussion is resumed. In offering to address the House upon this subject, important as it is, I have no expectation whatever that I can contribute anything to this debate. I rather seek an opportunity to Address myself to the House for the purpose of expressing my views and giving the reasons for the vote which I shall give upon this Bill.

I do so as a duty to myself and as a duty also to the constituents whom I directly represent in this parliament. It is nothing new to say that this is a very important measure. It is important, Sir, from many considerations. It is important because it marks the period when two new provinces are to be admitted to the union of the Dominion of Canada. It is important by reason of the vast extent of those two immense territories which are to be presently erected into two provoinces as part of our Dominion. We are informed that each of these provinces will comprise no less an area than 275,000 square miles. The mind of man almost fails to grasp the significance, the vastness, the greatness of these figures. We can only faintly do so, Sir, by comparison, and I may be permitted to say that each of these provinces will be nearly six times as large as the great state of New York, with its population of seven and a quarter millions ; each of them will be five times as great in point of area as the large state of Illinois, with its population of 5,000,000 ; each will be six times as large as the large state of Pennsylvania, with its population of six and a half millions ; each of them will be seven times as large as the large state of Indiana, with its population of two and a half millions. In point of fact, each of them is larger in area than the

states of Massachusetts, New York, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Michigan, Delaware and New Jersey, all combined together. Each of them is twice as large as England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland, with their immense population of 42,000,000 people ; each of them is much greater than the German empire in Europe, with its population of 56,750,000 ; each of them is greater far than the republic of France in Europe, with its population of 39.000,000. By a simple comparison of that kind we are enabled to realize the immensity of the heritage which we as Canadians have in our great Northwest. This Bill deals, among other things, with the question of the public lands of these provinces. It proposes to leave them vested in the Dominion, as they are now and have been vested since they were acquired. For myself, I entirely concur with the arguments which were addressed to this House in favour of the proposition that the Dominion of Canada should administer those public lands. I realize, and I am sure every member of the House must realize, the importance of a vigorous, strong and national policy of immigration, in order that this country may grow and prosper. That policy of immigration, Sir, 1 think ought to be administered by the central authority of our country. Uniformity in the regulations with respect to immigration, uniformity in the price of lands and the conditions and regulations upon which settlers shall be invited to come into this country, is of the highest importance. We cannot permit one province to have regulations and prices and conditions of settlement of its own, inconsistent and at variance with the conditions and regulations and prices of another province. We must have system and uniformity in connection with these things. We must have a progressive policy, such a policy as we have had in the past, under which it is the proud boast of Canadians that our country is growing and prospering so well.

This Bill deals with another question, perhaps not more important, although one would judge by the discussion that has taken place here during the last six weeks, that it is at least quite as interesting-the question of education. This Bill is intended to settle the question of education in the new provinces by making the system now existing there part of the constitution of these provinces. That constitution is as prescribed in the British North America Act, save as to education, and the provisions with regard to education are in entire harmony and consistent with the principles, the spirit, the genius and the intention of the British North America Act. In fixing the constitution of an incoming province, we certainly have not plenary or absolute powers as to jurisdiction. We may not and we cannot disturb the arrangement of these jurisdictional matters prescribed by the British North America Act. We cannot, for example, commit to the provinces the regu-

lation of trade and commerce, or the right to legislate with respect to indirect taxation, nor can we give them control over the postal service, the military and naval defence of the country, currency or coinage, or the criminal law ; as defined in section 91, all of which are committed to the federal parliament. Nor can we, upon the other hand, usurp to ourselves in this parliament the right to legislate upon the subject of direct taxation within the provinces, or in respect to any other of those subjects which are exclusively and especially committed to the provincial legislatures by section 92 of the British North America Act. We have no such thing, as I understand it as absolute and unlimited power in regard to legislation upon the subject of education, either in this parliament or in any provincial legislature of this Dominion. A province may have an absolutely free and non-sectarian system of schools when it enters the union. It may change that system to a denominational system, but, that being once done, it can never change back again without violating the constitution and prejudicially affecting, as it is said, the rights of the minority and giving that minor ity the right of redress at the hands of this parliament. A province may have a sectarian system of education when it enters the union, and if thereunder the rights of the minority are secured by law, that system can never be altered under our constitution. I think it may be assumed then, in dealing with education, that we have a qualified power, not, however, inconsistent with or contrary to the British North America Act. We have a pregnant illustration of this in the case of Manitoba. The Act of 1870, which admitted that territory as a province into the Dominion of Canada, in respect of education, in a material and important sense varied the conditions and principles of one subsection of section 93 of the British North America Act by incorporating therein the words, ' or practice.' These words have an important signification taken in connection with the history and particularly the constitutional history respecting the province of Manitoba. These words are important considered in the light of the two cases, namely, the city of Winnipeg vs. Barrett, in 189], and Brophy vs. the Attorney General of Manitoba in 1894. These two cases really comprise the constitutional history of the struggle which went on with all its irritation, all its disturbing aspects and phrases and uncomfortable conditions during these years in the history of our Dominion. The system of education in 1870 in Manitoba was a purely denominational or church system and the schools were maintained wholly by voluntary contributions made up from the fees of the parents of the children and of the respective churches interested in these schools. None of these schools was established by law at that time, yet, Sir, so anxious was this par-Mr. LAURENCE.

liament to preserve, continue and perpetuate that system in that province that the words ' or practice ' were inserted in the Act by which the province of Manitoba was admitted to tlie union. Not only was the minority guaranteed by the Act which admitted Manitoba to the Dominion of Canada as a province, any sectarian or denominational system of schools which they then had by law, but they were guaranteed the continuance of any system that they might have had by practice, so anxious, I say, was the parliament of Canada to preserve the condition of things which existed at the time that Manitoba was brought in, which shows to my mind the jealous anxiety of this parliament to preserve and perpetuate the system of education that was existing in that country not only by law but by practice. The debates, such as we have of that period, show that this school question was wholly overshadowed by other considerations of more importance, but, Sir, the school question provoked little or no discussion, little or no opposition from any quarter or from either side of the House. While this parliament in the exercise of its right was perpetuating to the people of Manitoba the denominational system of schools which they had when they came into the union, not a voice was raised against the adoption of that principle then, no dissent, no objection whatever, and I apprehend that every man who participated in that debate and who participated in the formation of that province believed that he was carrying out the snirit and true intention of the British North America Act. In 1867, the Roman Catholics of the province of Ontario, then Upper Canada, had a system of separate schools and the Protestants of Lower Canadati at the time of confederation, insisted upon having the same principle incorporated into the compact of confederation. Some persons associate the term 'separate schools' with the idea of Roman Catholic schools. It is a mistake, Sir, to so confound the notion of separate schools with the Roman Catholics of this country. Looking at the institution of separate schools from the point of view of the British North America Act it will be seen that they are distinctly and emphatically Protestant schools because it was by the persistence of the Protestants and tlie representation of the Protestant minority in the province of Quebec that the very principle now under discussion in this parliament of the right of the minority to enjoy these schools was incorporated in the Confederation Act. This is no reproach, Sir, to the Protestants and it comes as no shock to me as one of that persuasion to know that it is the case, for I regard it as an expression of a sentiment indicative of liberality, tolerance and respect for the religious convictions of those who cannot agree with us and who caunot see eye to eye with their neighbour. It is the expression (Sir, in a word of the golden maxim, ' Do

unto others as we would have others do unto us.' The Protestants are the majority in this Dominion and the Roman Catholics the minority. Let it never be said to the disgrace, the discredit and the shame of the majority that they only respect this principle when it works to their advantage, and that they are unwilling to admit its operation when it is sought by others.

I was referring, Mr. Speaker, to the history of this question in relation to Manitoba. In 1870, there existed in Manitoba a system of purely voluntary schools. They were entirely denominational, some maintained by the Roman Catholics and some by the Protestants, but all supported by fees paid by the parents of the children who attended them and by the several churches to which these schools appertained. One short year after the creation of the province in 1871, a law was passed by Manitoba establishing a system of denominational schools. A Board of Education composed of two sections was constituted, one-half Protestants and one-half Roman Catholics and the province was divided into twelve Protestant districts and twelve Catholic districts. Nothing could be fairer than this equal division as between the two denominations. This system was maintained until 1890 when the policy of the preceding nineteen years was reversed and the denominational system of schools swept away. The Public Schools Act of 1890 provided that all schools be free schools, all were declared non-sectarian and no school not conforming to this Act and to the regulations of the Department of Education could participate in state funds. Such was the legislation down to 1890. In 1S91, the minority, chafing under this condition had recourse to the courts and to litigation and we have then the irritation, the agitation, the painful disquiet which has lasted in this country during six long years down to 1896. I am reminded that I am already trespassing upon the promise I made and if agreeable to the House and if I am in order I will move the adjournment of the debate.

Topic:   PROVINCIAL AUTONOMY IN THE NORTHWEST.
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Motion agreed to. On motion of Mr. Fielding, House adjourned at 1.15 a.m., Tuesday.



Tuesday, April 18, 1905.


April 17, 1905