I wish to ask the premier if an appointment has yet been made cf chief justice in the so-called Exchequer Division of the High Court of Justice in the province of Ontario, a division that was formed nearly two years ago.
I would like to ask the Prime Minister whether or not he has any information in regard to the vacancy which has in effect existed in the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia for fifteen months. I mentioned the matter the other day in the presence of the Prime Minister when I think the Minister of Justice was not here. There are many matters in connection with that vacancy which I might go into to-day, but I do not intend to do so. The main essential point is that there has been a vacancy on the bench of that court for the last fifteen mouths, and it has been stated, with what truth I do not know, that there has been a good deal of intrigue going on, and that in consequence the administration of justice in the province has been brought into considerable contempt. I do
not think it is a matter on which an answer need be delayed. What I want to know is why during the period of fifteen months that vacancy has continued, and why it is that the government does not proceed forthwith to fill it ?
The matter has been under consideration, but I may say that this is the first time that it has been intimated to me that the business of the court has been delayed in consequence of the vacancy in the chief justiceship. My hon. friend is aware that, for reasons which I need not explain, there has been for some time a vacancy in the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia, and I have not heard any complaint that as a result there has been any great delay in the business of the court. Of course, if my hon. friend, who comes from Nova Scotia makes the statement that there has been, I will accept that as a complaint of a very serious character.
As I have not been practicing ;u the court during fifteen mouths, I cannot of course speak from personal knowledge; but I know that the vacancy has been a subject of complaint among members of the bar, and of considerable discussion generally.
I think there are as many judges in actual service in Nova Scotia at present as at any time in the last few years. While I do not know that that is a reason why the vacancy should not be filled, I think it well that the fact should be mentioned. One of the judges was disabled, so that the court has practically been one judge short for a long period.
Before the Orders of the Day are called, I would like to mention to the Prime Minister that the member for Centre Toronto (Mr. Bristol) has not yet been appointed to any of the Committees of the House, and perhaps the right hon. gentleman would take that into consideration and make the necessary motion at the earliest possible moment. I assume that there will be no objection to his being placed on the same committees as those of which the late member for [DOT] Centre Toronto (Mr. E. F. Clarke) was a member. I think one of the vacancies, that on the Debates Committee, has been filled by the appointment of the hon. member for Victoria and Hali-burton (Mr. Sam. Hughes') ; but the others remain vacant.
House resumed adjourned debate on the proposed motion of Sir Wilfrid Laurier for the second reading of Bill (No. 69) to establish and provide for the government of the province of Alberta, and the amendment of Mr. R. L. Borden thereto.
(Minister of Inland Revenue)
Mr. Speaker, I desire to express my deep gratitude to the House that I have the opportunity of taking part in such an important discussion as the one now going on. We must all feel gratified that this debate has been carried on in such a manner that the citizens of Canada must feel proud of this parliament. In fact, we have not heard throughout the whole debate any expression which could hurt the feelings of any member of this House. The debate has been carried on in a dignified way, and I will try, in the few remarks which I intend to offer, to follow the example set by those who have preceded me. The first question which we have to consider is whether we should create new provinces in the Northwest, and, if so, what constitution we should give to those provinces. The unanimous feeling in this House is in favour of granting provincial autonomy to the Northwest. It has been suggested that we should have only one province instead of two ; but generally the opinion of the members is strongly in favour of the creation of two provinces. Nowr, what constitution should we give to those provinces ? On that question there has been some difference of opinion, especially with regard to the school question, and I will try to give the reasons why I think the educational clauses of the Bill, as amended should be supported by the members of this House. The hon. leader of the opposition the other day, at page 3096 of ' Hansard,' spoke as follow's :
If my hon. friend is able to show me that there is, in respect of those proposed provisions, any such compact as chat which was made before confederation between the provinces of Ontario and Quebec, I will then readily accept his illustration.
The illustration referred to was to the effect that since Ontario and Quebec have their separate schools, the new provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan should not be denied that privilege. We see, therefore, that my hon. friend the leader of the opposition has declared that if we can establish a compact or agreement with regard to separate schools in the Northwest such as there was with regard to schools in the provinces of Ontario and Quebec, he is ready to concede that separate schools should be established in the new provinces we are now creating. Well, Mr. Speaker, in ' my opinion, there was a formal agreement and compact by virtue of which separate schools were to be established in the North-Sir WILFRID LAURIER.
west Territories. I shall prove this by referring to what occurred in 1869 and 1870, and that consequently the parliament of Canada is to-day bound to give separate schools to the newr provinces. I need not refer to the treaties which w'ere passed between England and France in 1763, because those treaties cannot be called upon to establish any rights or privileges with regard to the Northwest Territories. We know very well that Rupert's Land or the Northwest Territories were under the sovereignty of England for more than two centuries. We know very well that.they were under the laws and constitution of England from 1670 to 1870, when they were brought under the control of the Canadian government. We well recollect that in 1869 or 1870 there was a disturbance in the Northwest. The Canadian government, without having the necessary authority, sent up some persons to that country to take possession of it. At that time there was no law which had been passed by the British parliament, there was no proclamation issued by the British parliament, handing this territory over to the Canadian government. However, the Canadian government took upon itself to send people up there to exercise the sovereign power. An agitation and disturbance ensued, and a very serious agitation it was indeed. The imperial government then tried by all means to adjust the differences of opinion which existed at that time between the settlers of the west and the Canadian government. Lord Granville, then Colonial Secretary, sent a despatch to Sir John Young, then Governor General of Canada, in 1869, and Sir John Young wrote to Governor McTavish, of the Territories, a letter in which he transmitted the despatch from Lord Granville. Speaking of that despatch from Lord Granville, Sir John Young used the following language,
The message conveys the matured opinion ol the imperial cabinet. The proclamation I have issued is based upon it, and you will observe that i.t requests all who have desires to express or complaints to make, be referred to me as invested with authority on behalf of the British government, to the inhabitants of Rupert's Land ; and all classes of persuasion may rest assured that Her Majesty has no intention of interfering with, or setting aside, or allowing others to interfere with the religion and rights and the franchise hitherto enjoyed.
Thus we find, in the words of that letter from Sir John Young, the representative of the imperial government in Canada, that all the rights and privileges enjoyed by the settlers of the Northwest Territories were to be continued. Sir John Young at the same time issued a proclamation to the settlers, in which he said :
. I do, therefore, assure vou that in the union with Canada all your civil rights and religious rights and privileges will be respected.
At the request, both of the imperial government and the Canadian government, Archbishop Tache, who was then in Rome, came bach to Canada for the purpose of inducing his people to come willingly under the control of the Canadian confederation. In a booh which he published some years ago on this school question, Archbishop Tach6 quotes a personal letter from Sir John Young, in which Sir John Young said, in substance, that his people may be assured their rights and privileges will be maintained. That is not all. We find that after Archbishop Tache went to the Northwest, a delegation was sent from the settlers of that country to Ottawa to confer with the Canadian government and the Governor General, Sir John Young. Those settlers presented a Bill of Rights covering the demands which they intended to make upon the Dominion government. Among other things, they asked the Canadian government that the privileges which they had hitherto enjoyed should be continued. More than that. Let me call special attention to this fact, because it shows what was the agreement and contract then entered into. The imperial and Canadian governments had both been asking the settlers to formulate their demands, to mention what they wanted in connection with the establishment of Canadian authority in their country. The representatives of these settlers came to Ottawa, and among the demands they made is the following, which we find in article 7 of their Bill of Rights :
That the public money for schools be distributed among -the different religious institutions in proportion to'the number of people belonging to the same creed, according to the system established in the province of Quebec.
So we see that the representatives of the settlers came to the government here and asked that a system of separate schools should be established in the Northwest similar to that in the province of Quebec. And I may add that the governor, Sir John Young, afterwards telegraphed to Lord Granville the Secretary of State for the Colonies : ' Negotiations with delegates close satisfactorily.' And Lord Granville answered expressing satisfaction. Archbishop Tache, one of those engaged in these negotiations states that it was understood that the rights and privileges of the minority should be respected and that there should be separate schools in the Northwest Territories. .
I do not know whether it has been disputed or not. But I know that the man who brought down this Bill of Rights to Ottawa swore in court, in the case of Lepine, that this Bill of Rights was genuine. And if my hon. friend (Mr. Sproule) goes to the library he will find that this Bill of Rights is included in the papers brought down to parliament at that time. More than that, Lord Strathcona, a man whose word we cannot dispute, a man honourable in every respect, and one connected with these negotiations,-having been sent by this government to induce the settlers of the Northwest to accept the situation-says, as will be found in the House of Commons ' Debates,' 1890, page 4137 :
It is true that not much was said about schools at that time, but it was distinctly understood by the people there, and the promise was made to these people that they would have every privilege in joining Canada, which they possessed at that time.
Is there anything plainer, anything surer, than that there was a compact at that time, by which separate schools should be maintained in the Northwest ?
I do not wish to interrupt the hon. gentleman (Mr. Brodeur), but, with his permission, I would like to ask him a question. If I understand him correctly, he says that these settlers were to continue to enjoy every privilege they then had. What privilege which they enjoyed then has been denied them since V