With all deference to my right hon. friend, I think it would tax himself and perhaps some of his supporters to answer what has already been given, and it might make it altogether too burdensome if others were to speak on this matter before the arguments which have already been advanced have been answered.
It was not my privilege to hear the very eloquent explanations which appear to have been given yesterday, but I have glanced over ' Hansard ' and I fail to find that very lucid explanation that one would naturally expect in relation to the establishment of Peace River and Athabaska. I cannot say that I have been convinced by anything that was brought forward in the House yesterday.
I cannot say that I think my right hon. friend the Prime Minister is convinced and I am sure my hon. friend the Minister of Justice is not convinced by the arguments advanced in reference to Peace River and Athabaska. I would be very pleased, if the hon. Minister of the Interior has any additional data, to hear him.
WTell, if there is none I have other questions to ask. In the first place, there were three different statements given as to the population of Athabaska and Peace River. Although this is a small matter and in the opinion of my right hon. friend is not worth while taking notice of probably, yet I think that when two ministers of the Crown and two lay members of the House make statements in reference to the population all which differ from each other we ought to have an authoritative statement. Is the minister able to give us an authoritative statement as to the white, the half-breed and the Indian population of the Peace river?
That is an instructive comment. This Bill has been before the House for two or three months, and when we come to ask the most elementary question with reference to two constituencies, the minister tells us that up to the present time he has not the information.
I said no such thing. Yesterday I gave the information from the Census Bureau with regard to this matter; the hon. gentleman questioned the information I gave; I sent it to the Census Department to have it verified, and as soon as I get the benefit of the verification he will have it.
As I understood whites and half-breeds, exclusive of Indians. These figures were questioned and immediately the Minister of the Interior gave orders to have them verified, as there was a discrepancy between them and the figures quoted by the hon. member for Ar; genteuil (Mr. Perley). It has not been possible to have the information returned yet.
Is there anything unusual in that or is there any cause for an insinuation ? It happens often that a discrepancy in figures can be explained, and this explanation will probably be had in a few minutes.
Then, after the quotation from the document, my right hon. friend has to come down from his high horse and to acknowledge now that what he told the House yesterday was not a fact. Yesterday he said that the figures 1,724 and 1,676 respectively, was the population at present, but now he revises himself and gives adhesion to the figures which are written down and to which, of course, he must adhere.