June 21, 1905

LIB

Romuald-Charlemagne Laurier

Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER.

I think that anything that has been brought up can be met very successfully, but we thought that more arguments were coming from the other side and that we would wait and hear these arguments.

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CON

George Eulas Foster

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. FOSTER.

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.

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LIB

Romuald-Charlemagne Laurier

Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER.

I do not agree with my hon. friend on that. I do not think any argument has been advanced which will require any great effort to answer.

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L-C

Samuel Hughes

Liberal-Conservative

Mr. SAM. HUGHES.

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.

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LIB

Romuald-Charlemagne Laurier

Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER.

We do not expect to be able to do that.

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L-C

Samuel Hughes

Liberal-Conservative

Mr. SAM. HUGHES.

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.

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CON

George Eulas Foster

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. FOSTER.

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?

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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER.

I expect that information from the Census Department shortly and I will present it to the House.

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CON

George Eulas Foster

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. FOSTER.

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.

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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER.

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.

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CON

George Eulas Foster

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. FOSTER.

Is the House to be delayed now because the minister has not been diligent enough to get the information which presumably he could get in an hour's time if he asked for it ?

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LIB

Romuald-Charlemagne Laurier

Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER.

My hon. friend (Mr. Foster) is trying to magnify a very simple little difficulty. Yesterday the population of Athabaska was given as follows: Peace River, 1,724; Athabaska, 1,676.

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CON
LIB

Romuald-Charlemagne Laurier

Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER.

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.

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CON

Maitland Stewart McCarthy

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. M. S. MCCARTHY.

In the statement annexed to the schedule which was sent to the leader of the opposition there is the following foot note :

Total population of census of 1901 in the two following constituencies, part of the district of Athabaska : Peace River, 800 ; Athabaska, 1,130.

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LIB

Romuald-Charlemagne Laurier

Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER.

There is nothing very extraordinary in that. Probably these are the figures in 1901. I gave the figures which were furnished to me, and I assume them to be the population to-day.

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?

Mr. POSTER@

Does the right hon. gentleman say the figares he gave are the population to-day or the population of the census ?

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LIB

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

Liberal

Sir WILFRID LATJRIER.

I thought it was the population of the census but probably I am in error.

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CON

George Eulas Foster

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. FOSTER.

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.

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LIB

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

Liberal

Sir WILFRID LATJRIER.

What did I sav yesterday V

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June 21, 1905