May 15, 1905

CON

David Henderson

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. HENDERSON.

suited. I do not think that there is anything in the statement that because Edmonton votes for the hon. gentleman (Mr. Oliver) to be Minister of the Interior, we are to accept that as an evidence that everything was satisfactory that the people wanted a dual system of schools, that they do not want to have ownership of their own lands, and that they are satisfied to remain simply like the Indians in that section, wards of the government, ready to remain under the tutelage, care and protection of the Dominion government. Notwithstanding all the discussions that have taken place, I have not changed my mind one whit. I have not heard one argument to convince me that the people of the west do -not want to have the lands within their boundaries, but would prefer that those lands should be retained and administered by the Dominion. I say that involves a grievance that never will be removed until this parliament-or some other parliament ; I do not know whether this parliament would have ihe power or not -undoes the mischief that we are now doing in taking away from these people what, 1 believe, of right belongs to them. Now, why deal with these provinces in a way different from the way in which other provinces are dealt with ? The older provinces were allowed to retain their lands. And it was a matter of pride with them. The younger western country may well point to the older provinces and ask of the Dominion : 'Why place us on a different basis from Nova Scotia, New Brunswick. Quebec, and Ontario ? Why deprive us of what belongs to us as a free people ? Or, take especially the case of the province of Quebec. In 1898 that province was given a very large addition to its Territories-I think something about 75,000,000 acres. Did any hon. gentleman on that side of the House ever suggest at that time that the province of Quebec should not be given the lands contained within the boundaries prescribed by the Act of parliament ? Not at all. The province of Quebec got that land added to its territory. The Act of parliament transferred everything that was in that area-lands, timber, minerals, water-power; everything. Yet the new provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan are 'to be refused what the province of Quebec was given only some seven years ago. To1 my mind the treatment of one province by one method and of another province by an-otlier method will create dissatisfaction and constitute a grievance that will not be rej medied for many years.

Now, I cannot imagine why the Minister of the Interior should believe that the people in these new provinces are better satisfied to have a financial consideration and to do without the lands. If the Minister of the Interior has carefully considered this matter he will have observed that a large consideration is to be given to the provinces besides that given as payment for Mr. HENDERSON.

the lands which the Dominion retains or takes back from the provinces. There is an allowance of $50,000 to each province for governmental purposes. There is an allowance of 80c per head of the population according to the census which is to be taken at intervals of five years-this will be a very considerable subsidy. Then here is ah additional allowance on account of the provinces having no debt, amounting to something over $400,000 to each province. These are very large financial considerations out of which they can make a revenue for themselves. And I feel that the provinces would be very much better satisfied indeed than to have an additional $1,000,000 handed over, which, in any case, will not be immediately, but after the population has reached, if I remember well, a maximum of 1,200,000.

Even an increased subsidy of $1,200,000 I do not believe will satisfy the people of that northwestern country. It will be a burning question year after year amongst those people. They are a high-minded people, many of them have gone in from the old province of Ontario, from the provinces of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, many of them have come from the United States and from the British Isles, from Germany and other European countries, and they will say, why is this thus ? Why are we treated as serfs ? Some of them have come from Russia and other European countries, and they will say, we lived a long time in serfdom, we came to a free country, and we are not allowed to call our own our own, we are not allowed to call this country our own. We come here and settle in this country, and we are told it belongs to the people of Quebec, it belongs to the people of Ontario, it belongs to Nova iScotia and New Brunswick. Are you going to make a happy and contented people in that way ? Don't you think you would conduce a great deal more to the prosperity and happiness of that people if you were to hand over to them, or rather allow them to retain what already belongs to them, or will belong to them when we create the provinces ? When we create these new provinces, as a matter of course, automatically the land belongs to them.

We buy it back as a Dominion by paying a consideration for it. Why should the older provinces be called upon to put up a large sum of money, to tax themselves to buy back a large country simply for the purpose of giving it away-giving it away for whose benefit ? Giving it away in order to provide free homesteads. Now there are two sides to this question, there is the Northwest side and there is the side of the older provinces. For all time to come [DOT]-because we assume that this law is to remain Upon the statute-book-the older provinces of this country will have to tax themselves practically for eleven-twelfths of this entire payment that is given for the 'lands

of those two provinces ; for all time to come the older provinces will have to tax themselves practically for eleven-twelfths of that sum in order that we may have lands to give away to people who go into that western country. Now what return are we going to get for it V I am not sure hut there will he a grievance in the older provinces as well as in the new. They will say, what benefit is it to us ? We are told we are going to get an immense revenue from that western country, that, people will come in, and every man that comes in will be worth so much, and will contribute to the revenues of the country and make good what we tax ourselves to pay. Now I would not rely very much upon that. If the Minister of Finance is going to increase the revenues in this country so as to get money to buy this immense territory of 3,000,000 acres,' he will be obliged to cripple every industry in this country by reducing taxation down to a revenue basis in order to get money to do it ; and the result will be that the old provinces of the country where industrial pursuits are carried on, will be handicapped for all time to come, and the next Minister of Finance will not be able to give this country a policy w'hich will carry i; on successfully, and give us that prosperity which we all hope will continue for many years to come. Now this is a big question. It is not simply to be looked at from the little picayune idea of whether it will be the Liberal party or the Conservative party that is going to control the vote in the Northwest, whether we are going to be able, through tb.e land agents of the Dominion government, to go to the electors who have not yet secured patents for their lands, and tell them: Now, if you vote right you will get your patent, if you do not, dear knows when you will. Now that is a mighty small consideration if it is going to cripple the commercial industry of this country for all time to come. I think we had better broaden out our ideas ; and I hope that the Minister of the Interior, now that he occupies this higlT and honourable position, will throw away these picayune politics and take hold of this matter as a statesman, and he guided by statesmanship rather than by politics in dealing with the affairs of that great country.

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LIB

William Stevens Fielding (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. FIELDING.

I think it is understood by agreement that this clause is not to he pressed to a vote to-night, and as we have been told that an amendment is likely to the moved, I propose that we proceed to consider the clause respecting the Hudson Bay Company, which was held over the other night, but which I believe is not likely to be further debated.

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CON
LIB

Charles Marcil (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Liberal

Mr. DEPUTY SPEAKER.

Section 22 is struck out, and the following is substituted therefor :

22. Nothing in this Act shall in any way prejudice or affect the rights or properties of the Hudson Bay Company as contained in the conditions under which that company surrendered Rupert's Land to the Crown, and all rights, privileges and properties conferred on the Canadian government by the said conditions shall, in so far as they relate to matters within the legislative authority of the province, belong to and he vested in the government of the said province.

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IND

William Findlay Maclean

Independent Conservative

Mr. W. F. MACLEAN.

What are these rights of the Hudson Bay Company which you wish to protect ?

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LIB

William Stevens Fielding (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. FIELDING.

If there is any further information desired, we will have to postpone this discussion.

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CON

David Henderson

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. HENDERSON.

Will the lands of the Hudson Bay Company be subject to taxation by the local government ?

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LIB

William Stevens Fielding (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. FIEDDING.

I am advised they are subject to taxation now.

Progress reported.

On motion of Mr. Fielding, House adjourned at 11.30 p.m.

Tuesday, May 16, 1905.

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May 15, 1905