May 26, 1905

CON

George Eulas Foster

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. FOSTER.

tuuity of seeing all the papers and coming to our conclusion.

Topic:   SUPPLY-HALF-BREED SCRIP.
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L-C

Samuel Hughes

Liberal-Conservative

Mr. SAM. HUGHES (Victoria and Hali-burton).

Might I add a request to the minister to also look into the question of the sale or purchase of some Indian reserves in the Northwest. I understand the reserve at Fort ft, la Come and another reserve near Prince Albert are abandoned by the Indians or rather taken back by the Indian Department and that these reserves have been sold, I presume possibly on public notice, but I want to know on what notice and in what papers the notice was inserted, and how many times it was inserted for the sale of these Indian reserves. I also want to know if there are any reservations being made by the department for societies or bodies or companies, church organizations, in regard to lands,' in the Northwest any more. I understand this has been the custom in the past and I want to know if there are any reservations being made for the future. Are homestead lands being withheld from settlement by agreement with certain companies or certain bodies of men representing land companies or representing themselves in order that they may thereby offer greater inducements in the sale of their lands by having an agreement with the department that these lands are reserved from homestead, and that no squatters are allowed on them for a certain time. I would be glad if the minister would look into another matter that has been currently rumoured as to the manner in which scrip has been secured. I shall give a detailed case. A half-breed sells his scrip, no matter what price he obtains, and it is possibly a very inconvenient matter t6 bring that halfbreed 200 or 300 or even 500 or 600 miles and get him to enter for his scrip at the land office at that distance from where he lives. I understand the Indian agents are not always very particular whether they recognize the gentleman who presents himself as representing the owner of the scrip or not. The point I want to bring out to the minister is not the misrepresentation of some half-breed for another half-breed, but to suggest that a convenient way is to have the lands located anywhere.

I am told that there are areas in various places in the Northwest where the halfbreeds have located tlie land quite conveniently in a muskeg. This is done by collusion with the land agent, and application is made for this area for settlement. Forthwith the holder of the land through the purchase of the scrip from the half-breed regretfully yields to the urgent wish of the department and surrenders his land, receiving in return the certificate of the department for so many acres of land. This certificate he can present at the land office at any time without bringing along his half-breed and the land office has to recognize it I would like the minister to kindly look into Mr. FOSTER.

that, aud see what lands have been alienated on certificates of that kind, and to what extent that practice has been carried on in recent years, and whether it is going to be recognized in the future ?

Topic:   SUPPLY-HALF-BREED SCRIP.
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LIB

Frank Oliver (Minister of the Interior; Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs)

Liberal

Hon. FRANK OLIVER (Minister of the Interior).

My hou. friends from North Toronto (Mr. Foster) and Victoria (Mr. Sam. Hughes) are certainly asking for mountains of information, aud I hope they will not be impatient if it takes some little time to give the information. I-received a memorandum of his inquiries from the hon. member for North Toronto, and I would ask the hon. member for Victoria to be kind enough to put his inquiries in brief written shape, that I may be able to better guide the officers of the department in collecting the information. In regard to the suggestion of the hon. member for North Toronto that the procedure for the issue of a title in connection with the scrip issues under discussion should be delayed, I think it would be fair to draw a distinction between the question of the policy and administration of the department, and the question of the propriety of action on the part of those who are interested in securing the scrip. The department, I take it. is bound to carry on its affairs, and if the orders for scrip are in, and they seem to be legitimate and according to the rules of the department, it is scarcely in order to ask that delay should be made simply because the policy of the administration of the department is called in question. If there is a definite allegation of fraud in connection with this scrip, then certainly I would say it was necessary that the issue should be delayed ; but I would like to have the distinction sharply drawn between a definite allegation of fraud on the part of some person or persons more or less known, and a calling in question of the policy and administration of the department.

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CON
CON
LIB

Frank Oliver (Minister of the Interior; Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER.

I think the hon. gentleman (Mr. Foster) is a little in error yet. No assignments have been accepted on tbe letter authorizing agents to accept. Nor are they authorized, if I followed tbe papers correctly when they were in my possession, to accept entry in the name of any other than the half-breed to whom the scrip was issued. All the difference is that he is not required to be there in bodily presence, but there is no change of ownership as between tbe scrip and tbe land. It has always been the rule, as stated in the papers, and, as I believe is the fact, that the scrip is issued to the half-breed who is entitled to it. It is issued in his name, and entry is made in his

name, and, until the patent is issued for the land no transfer can be made and no assignment is recognized under any of the Orders in Council, departmental letters or system of administration.

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?

Hon. H.@

I submit to my hon. friend from North Toronto (Mr. Foster) and to hon. gentlemen on the other side, that this discussion is altogether premature. It is impossible to discuss the matter intelligently in all its bearings until all the papers have been brought down. In proof of this I would call the attention of the hon. member for North Toronto to the statement he made a moment ago with regard to the provision in the Order in Council of August, 1904, which he says-and says truly-allowed assignments to be made. But I would say to my hon. friend that, if my memory serves me well, this provision of the Order in Council of August, 1904, was rescinded in' the Order in Council of December 17, 1904.

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CON

George Eulas Foster

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. FOSTER.

No, that was a mere matter of priority of assignment.

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LIB

Wilfrid Laurier (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER.

I think not- that is the impression I have of it. If I am wrong it only goes to justify what I have already said, that it is not' .possible to discuss this question until all the papers have been brought down. There was one point spoken of by my hon. friend, and I am not prepared to say what is the condition of affairs with regard to it, and that is the dispensing with the order which made it obligatory upon the half-breed to go and locate his own scrip. As to that, I do not know the reason which has led the department to change the policy, and cannot, at the moment, discuss the matter. But I have no doubt that there is some good and valid reason for it, and that this will appear when the papers are brought before the House. I would make one observation on the main point-and the only point made by my hon. friend from North Toronto, if I understood him correctly, the only one he sought to make to-day. This was to persuade the Minister of the Interior (Mr. Oliver) to stay his hand aud stop at once the issue of these patents. Well, I think the reason given by my hon. friend the Minister of the Interior for the position he takes is a very good one. He stated that if the object of my hon. friend (Mr. Foster) is to traverse the policy of the department, he has not shown that the suggestion should be adopted ; on the other hand if there is evidence or even allegation of fraud, that would be a very good reason why the issuing of patents should be stopped. But my hon. friend (Mr. Foster) would not take the responsibility of saying absolutely that there is evidence of fraud. He says there is a presumption of fraud. That may be. I have no doubt that if my hon. friend the Minister of the Interior (Mr. Oliver), on looking at the papers, finds pre-209

sumptive evidence of fraud, he will act accordingly. I believe the hon. member for North Toronto is quite sure that if the minister finds any evidence or even presumption of fraud he will act accordingly. To my mind, from the evidence we have and from the information available, the only fact which gives evidence of fraud, or upon which even a presumption of fraud can be based, is that the scrip will not be very profitable to the half-breeds. The leader of the opposition (Mr. R. L. Borden) stated a moment ago that probably not more than one-tenth of the scrip will avail to the halfbreeds and that nine-tenths will be squandered. My hon. friend the Minister of the Interior will have this answer to the leader of the opposition-that ever since scrip was first issued to the half-breeds, that is since the year 1870 or thereabouts, there has not been a single issue of scrip to these people that has not been squandered by them. Whenever there was an issue of scrip there was always a following of sharks after these people to get their scrip from them for a mere song-the half-breed got nothing for it. But we had this satisfaction, that, even if the half-breeds did not profit by it, at least, when we had given them the scrip they had no grievance. Blit until the scrip was given them they had a grievance-and we know the consequence of that kind of thing. I remember very well that Archbishop Taehe, and Father La-combe, and Lord Strathcona when his assistance was sought on these matters, took the ground that the scrip should be nontransferable. Well, we acted upon this policy in 1899, when we made the last previous issue of scrip. We issued a commission, of which Mr. Laird was a member, as also were Father Lacombe and Mr. McKenna and one or two others. They were to negotiate a treaty in Athabaska with the Indians. They were to collect the Indians and half-breeds and give scrip to those who had not participated in the distribution of 1885. My hon. friend remembers the result, for he alluded to it yesterday. We gave special instructions to make this scrip-land scrip-non-transferable. And what took place? Why, the Indians would not participate in the treaty, and the halfbreeds would not take their scrip, unless the scrip were made transferable. And we have the report-a report sent under emergency by the commissioners-that the half-breeds would use their influence with the Indians to prevent the signing of the treaty, and the half-breeds themselves would not take the scrip, unless it was made transferable. And the members of the commission who were there, Father Lacombe himself among them, then and there, to satisfy the half-breeds, asked that the scrip should be made transferable. Most of that scrip was squandered, no doubt. At the same time, by doing what we did. by adopting this policy which results in little benefit to

i

The half-breeds, we satisfied them as a class. [DOT]My hon. friend from North Toronto (Mr. Foster) said that he did not think that there were any more half-breeds who had claims. He said that after the report had been made by the commission in 1899-1900, the halfbreeds who had been in the United States could not participate in this scrip and that they had forgotten everything about it. Well, he was given an answer by my hon. friend from Alberta (Mr. Herron) who called the attention of the Minister of the Interior to the fact that there are certain half-breeds in his own riding who claim that they did not receive the satisfaction to which thev were entitled

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CON

George Eulas Foster

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. FOSTER.

I do not understand that they were half-breeds who had crossed to the United States and gone on reservations.

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LIB

Wilfrid Laurier (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER.

I do not know about that. I only am trying to show that when the hon. gentleman says the halfbreeds had forgotten about this matter, he is mistaken. I am sure of one thing- though without having looked into the mat-ter-that there is good reason to believe that the half-breeds in the United States were claiming their scrip. I know that there is a close connection between the halfbreeds on one side of the line and the halfbreeds on the other side, and we have found it good policy, and I think it is good policy when we pay the half-breeds, even though they will get but a mere pittance of what is given out of the public treasury, still we find it good policy to give this scrip so as to prevent them from having a grievance which they can proclaim and parade in the Territories. As I said a moment ago, the policy is all right, and I believe we will be able to vindicate it triumphantly when the discussion comes on. My hon. friend has made the point that the halfbreeds allow other parties to locate land scrip for them. When the time comes we will give an explanation of that also, as of everything else.

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PERSONAL EXPLANATION.

CON

Joseph Gédéon Horace Bergeron

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. J. G. H. BERGERON.

Before we go into supply I desire to make an explanation. The other day I was explaining that in a discussion which had taken place the day before on a divorce question and in which I had taken part, I had in mind another case than the one before the House. I explained the next day that it was for that reason I had spoken in the way I did, and the ' Hansard ' makes me say that if I voted as I did it was on account of another case. That is not correct. I said I would have voted in the same way I did vote, but I would not have said what I did say.

Topic:   SUPPLY-HALF-BREED SCRIP.
Subtopic:   PERSONAL EXPLANATION.
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LIB

Wilfrid Laurier (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER.

Topic:   SUPPLY-HALF-BREED SCRIP.
Subtopic:   PERSONAL EXPLANATION.
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TENDERS FOR PUBLIC DOCK AT COLLINGWOOD.


^ Mr. W. H. BENNETT (East Simcoe). This morning I communicated with the Department of Public Works my intention to ask this afternoon a question relative to tenders for the government dock in the town of Collingwood. Lately so many matters are brought up ini the House, which perhaps may be characterized as scandals, that one seems to get inundated with letters from different parts, particularly I speak of the province of Ontario, in reference to matters in which the general public apparently think there is not exactly fair dealing. Perhaps the minister who may be acting to-day for the Minister of Public Works in his absence, may be able to give a satisfactory explanation of the matter to which I wish to draw attention. In the Collingwood ' Bulletin ' of Thursday, May 25, I find the following : Tendering too low for public works is evidently an unsatisfactory way of doing business, and judging by late developments Messrs. Conroy Brothers, whose tender here for the proposed wharf here was accepted by the Department of Public Works at Ottawa, have found this to be too true to their sorrow. Their tender is said to have been $25,000, but upon investigation they discovered that there would be no money in the contract at that figure, but what could be done ? The department had accepted their figure, but above this it had the firm's marked cheque for $4,000 which would be forfeited were they to get out. They considered and hesitated, but evidently got from under, a letter from L. G. McCarthy to the chairman of harbour and frontages stating that they had declined to sign the necessary documents. Mr. McCarthy also stated that it was expected that the contract would go to the Battle Estate of Thorold, the next lowest tenderers, and that he hoped to see the matter definitely settled within a few days. This firm's tender is in the neighbourhood of $30,000. May I ask the member of the cabinet who js acting on behalf of the Minister of Public Works, as to who Conroy Bros, are, where they reside, and if the statement I have read is true, and the suggestion thrown out here that owing to their being the lowest tenderers, their $4,000 cheque was returned. I may have some further remarks to make after the minister has answered these questions.


LIB

William Stevens Fielding (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. FIELDING.

I would rather hear the hon. gentleman's remarks first.

Topic:   SUPPLY-HALF-BREED SCRIP.
Subtopic:   TENDERS FOR PUBLIC DOCK AT COLLINGWOOD.
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CON

William Humphrey Bennett

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT.

Who are Conroy Bros. ?

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Subtopic:   TENDERS FOR PUBLIC DOCK AT COLLINGWOOD.
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LIB

William Stevens Fielding (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. FIELDING.

I could not tell my hon. friend who they are, I hare no means of knowing.

Topic:   SUPPLY-HALF-BREED SCRIP.
Subtopic:   TENDERS FOR PUBLIC DOCK AT COLLINGWOOD.
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CON

William Humphrey Bennett

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT.

Where do they reside ? -Because I understand there are* different firms. I do not wish to make any remarks that might confound one with another.

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Subtopic:   TENDERS FOR PUBLIC DOCK AT COLLINGWOOD.
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May 26, 1905