Rt. Hon. Sir WILFRID LAURIER (Prime Minister) moved the following resolution :
Whereas petitions have been presented to the government and to this House from the legislative assembly of Manitoba, praying for an extension of the boundaries of the said province northward and eastward, and for an additional subsidy to the said province in lieu of the ownership of public lands in the territory to be so added,
lie it resolved,
That it is expedient that the prayer of the said petition should be acceded to, and that upon such terms and conditions as may be agreed to by the said legislative assembly^ and by parliament, the boundaries of Manitoba be extended as follows:
The northern boundary to be the sixtieth parallel of latitude; the western boundary to be the present eastern boundary line of the provine of Saskachewan to the said sixtieth parallel; the eastern boundary to be the present eastern boundary as far north as the northeast corner of the province, thence on a straight line to the most eastern point of Island lake, and thence on a straight line to the point where the eighty-ninth meridian of west longitude intersects the shore line of Hudson bay.
And be it further resolved:
That whereas notwithstanding the extension of territory above described, the ungranted lands of the Crown in the territory so to be added to the said province will still continue to be administered by the government of Canada for the purposes of the Dominion; and the said province will not have the public land as a source of revenue.
It is just and equitable to recognize the increased cost of civil government which such extension of territory will occasion to the province, and in view of the premises, to make to the said province an increased allowance by money payment, the amount of which should be the subject of negotiation between the government of Canada and the government of Manitoba.
And be it further resolved:
That, upon the legislature of the province of Ontario consenting thereto, it is expedient to extend the boundaries of the said province, upon such terms and conditions as may be agreed to by the said legislature and by parliament, so as to include all the territory to the north of the said province lying between the extended boundaries of Manitoba above described and the waters of James bay and Hudson bay.
And be it further resolved:
That, upon the legislature of the province of Quebec consenting thereto, it is expedient to extend the boundaries of the said province,
upon such terms and conditions as may be agreed to by the said legislature and by parliament so as to include all the territory to the north of the said province now known as Ungava, and extending to the waters of James bay and Hudson bay, and the entrance thereto.
He said : The resolutions to which I now call the attention of the House provide for the extension, upon such terms and conditions as may be agreed to by the respective legislatures therein mentioned and by parliament, of the boundaries of Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec, out of that portion of the north ern territories which lies north of the same. This extension has been asked for by the legislature and executive of the province of Manitoba, and by the executives of the provinces of Ontario and Quebec. Here the question may be asked, whether it is desirable, or even possible, to create a new province or provinces out of the territory which lies north of the provinces of Quebec, Ontario and Manitoba. Simply to state the question is to suggest the answer. It has never occurred to any one, that out of that territory which extends north from the present frontiers of Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec, it were possible to form anything like a provincial organization. The conditions both of climate and soil preculde the possibility that there can ever be in that section of our country a population of such density as to suggest the desirability of forming a new province. Ungava, which is the largest of these territories, is known to be absolutely barren for agriculture; the same may be said, I think, of the section of country which extends north of the boundary of Ontario. With regard to the section which extends north of the province of Manitoba above Lake Winnipegosis and Lake Manitoba, there - is a portion which is known to be reasonably fertile and reasonably fit for agriculture, in the valley of the Saskatchewan but immediately beyond that, it is pretty generally admitted that the country is not fit for agriculture. In every one of these territories there is some possibility of timber and forest production. The resources in minerals are very promising, but like all things of this kind, until they ljave been actually tested and developed, they are uncertain. Under such circumstances therefore there is only one of two courses to follow. One is to continue to adminster this territory as we are doing at present; and the administration at the present time is practically nil, it simply provides for the administration of justice in case of crime committed, and some cases of a similar character, because there is practically no population in that territory. The other recommendation is to hand over this territory to the provinces which now claim it, and whose geographical form is such that it may be brought within the purview of their provincial and municipal organizations. Of these two courses before the government, the more reasonable, the
more practical and the more expedient in the interest of all parties appeared to be that these respective territories should be annexed to the provinces of Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec, so that there might be the usual provincial and municipal administration as their development takes place. This course was contemplated, I may say by the fathers of confederation, because in the British North America Act of 1871, suggested by this parliament and the government of that day and passed by the British parliament, provision was made not only for the creation of new provinces out of the general Dominion territory but also for the extension of the provinces now existing. I call the attention of the House to section 3 of that Act which reads as follows :
The parliament of Canada may from time to time, with the consent of the legislature of any province of the said Dominion, increase, diminish or otherwise alter the limits of such province, upon such terms and conditions as may be agreed to by the said legislature.
We are therefore to-day just carrying out the intention which was embodied* in the Act. The case of Manitoba seems to be particularly pressing. Manitoba bas the smallest territory of all the western provinces and it Is a matter of public notoriety that there is in Manitoba a sentiment of disappointment, almost akin to Irritation, that the province has not been as liberally endowed as the adjacent provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan which were carved out of territory out of which the boundaries of the province of Manitoba could have been increased. We all sympathize with this sentiment and there is no reason that I can see why this desire for increased territory should not be gratified. There is a more important consideration and that is that at the present time we are taking measures and asking parliament to vote an appropriation for the construction of the Hudson's Bay Bailway ; that is to say, of a railway which is destined to connect the existing systems of railways on the prairies with Hudson bay. This railway Is not so much intended to develop local traffic as to provide an outlet to the sea-board for the ever increasing products of our western provinces. It bas therefore been thought advisable, not only advisable but I should say necessary, that immediate steps should be taken to provide for this new territory, municipal and provincial organization since it is provable that following the construction of this railway population must set into that territory and, therefore, the requirements of civilized man should be provided for in the way of administration and otherwise. These are the main reasons which have prompted us to ask parliament to assent to this resolution which I have placed on the table.
In 1905 the province of Manitoba made a strong appeal to this parliament to have its boundaries extended but it seemed to the