Mr. A. A. MONDOU (Yamaska).
(Translation.) Mr. Chairman, I beg leave to amend the Bill now before the House by the insertion, after section 5, of the following section:-
Nothing in the present Act shall affect prejudicially the school rights of the minority,
Roman Catholic or Protestant, which inhabit the territory now annexed to Manitoba.
And beg leave to withdraw the notice of motion in amendment which I have given on a previous occasion.
It is with great pleasure, Mr. Chairman, that I address this House for the first time in the language that is dear to me, and I have a special motive for doing so, considering that the English reporters, in the report of the remarks I made the other night to explain the stand 1 was taking on the amendment to the Bill, on the first reading, and to explain the reason -why I did not vote, have not given to my words the meaning I intended them to convey.
I consider that this report, owing no doubt to my imperfect knowledge of the English language, does not give the exact meaning of what I intended to say, when I first addressed the House in English.
At first I declined to vote on the amendment of the hon. leader of the opposition, and later on, I voted for the second reading of the Bill, but it was after the remarks of the hon. Minister of Public Works (Mr. Monk) who had stated that when the Bill was drafted, the minority in the district of Keewatin had no vested rights safeguarded by the constitution.
My own opinion, after a fairly thorough study of the law, was not in accord with the one given by the hon. minister. Notwithstanding, since the hon. Minister of Public Works was stating positively that, under the constitution, the minority was not entitled , to claim school rights, I saw nothing in the way to prevent me from voting for the second reading of the Bill as it was.
There was nothing in it that I did not approve of; it rather sinned by omission. I considered the Bill to be incomplete; but if the intention of those who drafted the Bill was such that it did not admit of vested rights for the minority, there was nothing according to my views to prevent the addition of a saving clause on the lines of the one I am proposing by this amendment. If the minority, Catholic or Protestant, of Keewatin have no vested rights, the adoption of this amendment can do no wrong, but if the minority have rights, they will be put in a position by this amendment to claim those rights before the proper tribunal.
By voting this amendment parliament would be giving due regard to the minority who have a perfect right to be respected and are entitled to live.
For my part, Mr. Chairman, I do not conceal that the stand I am taking on this question is rather strong and resolute. For the last fifteen years, in the province of Quebec, this question has been causing a considerable amount of agitation. It is
probably for the last time in the political history of this country-certainly, for a great number of hon. gentlemen who are in this House to-night-that we are called upon to legislate on such matters.
I say again that the rights of the minority in Keewatin, be it Roman Catholic or Protestant, must be respected.
My intention is not to intensify the agitation that is going on on this question, nor do I wish to stand on narrow grounds. In all my business relations and in the discharge of my professional duties, I have given ample proof that I am free from prejudices, political, racial or religious. In submitting this amendment, I am moved by a sense of duty and loyalty; .my only *motive is to secure to the minorities the constitutional rights that are theirs.
In my. opinion, this question is not so intricate as it might be supposed to be in some quarters, and perhaps I will be allowed to give my personal view on the subject. I am possessed of more light today than I had at the beginning of this discussion. I have .been studying that question with great caution and with the sole aim of arriving at a practical result, and also with the object of discerning who are those in this House who are really seeking the welfare of the minorities. I want to have an expression of opinion, clear and straight, and I think that my amendment leaves no loophole on that score. What are we doing at this very moment? We are studying a deed-I am a practising public notary of the province of Quebec, and as such, I am fairly well acquainted with such matters-we are studying a deed between the province of Manitoba and the Government of Canada. I liken the situation to that of two private individuals who have decided, the one to sell and the other to buy a property. They both go to the notary, quite decided to close the bargain.
When the Bill -was first brought before the House, nobody objected to a deed between the province of Manitoba and the Government of Canada. For my part, I thought it my duty to ratify the principle of the Bill and to uphold the govex-nment in all that relates to financial and other arrangements in the Bill. Following my comparison, let us suppose that we are now in the notary's office and we are examining the clauses of the deed by which we are giving to the province of Manitoba a territory that is under our jurisdiction. We have the right to impose the conditions that we deem proper. Consequently, I ask that we put in the deed the clause that I have just moved. If the province of Manitoba . which is invited to submit to that condition declines to, accept it as too burdensome, the deed will be put aside and the whole thing will have to be started ' over again.
Negotiations on that boundary question have been going on for a long time between the two governments. Everybody seems to agree on the principle, but it is "not so when we come to the conditions of the deed. As a member of this House, I ask that the minority in the added territory be protected, and in doing so I am sincerely convinced that I am discharging a sacred duty devolving upon me. I came to the conclusion long ago that the majorities in this country don't want any protection, and that those who take an interest in the common wealth would be putting their time to better use in caring for the weak and those who are not in a position to uphold their rights and privileges. We are bound to champion all legitimate claims, to show spirit and energy; we are bound to stand erect and prove that our constitution is as immovable as a rock; that it is the foundation of our social life, if wre want to see harmony and goodwill between races and creeds in this country. * Under the circumstances), in accepting this amendment, we would be doing a commendable thing and would demonstrate that, true to its duty, the Canadian parliament is ready to extend its solicitude to all, without stopping to inquire if those who are seeking redress represent only a few individuals or a million of people; the number does not affect the principle. If vested rights do exist, they must be upheld by a guarantee.
Relying on that principle, I hope that my amendment will receive the endorsement of the majority of this House, or at least will induce the House to have the Bill stand until we have ascertained if the province of Manitoba absolutely rejects all arrangements upon those lines.
' Let us examine for a moment the stand taken by the other party to the deed. Has that party always abided by the constitution? In all transactions there must be honesty. Cannot that province be taxed with contempt of court?
Are they not still ignoring the decision of the Supreme Court of Canada and even of the highest court of the empire, His Majesty's Privy Council? No effect is given to that decision because it runs against the will of a majority who refuse to accept it. So long as this situation will endure, the decision of the Privy Council will remain a dead letter. Even if my presence in this House should result in nothing else than giving me this opportunity of upholding the rights of the minorities and the respect of the constitution, I should feel that I have not been sent here for nothing, because we are not entitled! to be called legislators if we disregard the constitution; unless that by mutual consent, after thorough consideration and for very serious reasons- Mr. MONDOTJ.
that this parliament will have to discuss -the conclusion is reached that we have no constitutional right to modify the British North America Act. I raise all these objections because we have good reason to be on guard when dealing with Manitoba. The situation would be quite different if we had any guarantee that the Manitoba government would deal generously and fairly with the minorities. It is an admitted fact that the provinces in which the rights of minorities have been upheld, never had any trouble of that kind in the administration of their public affairs. Difficulties and troubles on that score are found to exist only in those provinces where the majority has been unfair towards the minority.
There is no doubt in my mind that vested rights exist in the territory of Keewatin, and I can find the proof of it in what has been said in this House during this debate. The Northwest Territory Act that is to be found in the Revised Statutes of 1906, ch. 62, is my authority for the stand I am taking. Section 10 of this Act relates to the minority and says:
The Commissioner in council if authorized to make ordinances respecting education, shall pass all necessary ordinances in respect thereto; but in the laws or ordinances relating to education it shall always be provided that a majority of the ratepayers of any district or portion of the Territories, or of any less portion or subdivision thereof, by whatever name the same is known, may establish such schools therein as they think fit, and make the necessary assessment and collection of rates therefor; and also that the minority of the ratepayers therein, whether Protestant or Roman Catholic, may establish separate schools therein, and in such case, the ratepayers establishing such Protestant or Roman Catholic separate schools shall be liable only to assessments of such rates as they impose upon themselves in respect thereof.
I come from the province of Quebec, and I pray to God that I will never see the day when the rights of the Protestant minority will be in jeopardy, but if that day must come, I give my solemn word that I will be seen in the front ranks of those who will fight for those rights whoever may be the party on which we will have to rely to give fair play to that minority. I am free from all political faction. I stand on higher grounds and I say it is high time that all that agitation comes to an end. It is high time that those who wish to remove all causes for discord and bad feelings stand and raise their voice to affirm that the time has come for the recognizance of such rights as we deem dear and sacred.
It is said, Mr. Chairman, that the counsel to the commissioner of Keewafin has never been appointed and the responsibility
for that is put on the late government. I concede that the late administration has a great part of responsibility, but I do not admit that the present ministers of the Crown are justified in taking refuge behind the wrongdoings of their predecessors This tu quoque argument is played out.
' I hold the principles far above the maintenance of any government; we are in duty bound to stand! up and to unite to safeguard what we deem most sacred: individual, civil and religious liberty.
Can it be contended that because a Canadian government has not appointed a counsel to the commissioner of Keewatin, the parliament is to-day debarred from legislating on this question? In my opinion there is absolutely nothing in that contention, as can be seen by section 3 of the Imperial Act of 1871 amending the constitution of 1867:-
3. 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 he agreed to by the said legislature, and may, with the like consent, make provision respecting the effect and operation of any eueh increase or diminution elaboration of territory in relation to any province affected thereby.
I am well aware that if we were creating new provinces we would have the right to impose any school system we deemed proper; but the question is quite different. We are engaged at this moment in the discussion. as the Bill puts it, or ' such terais and conditions as may be agreed to by the the legislature,' and such terms and conditions as the parliament of Canada may exact.
This section 3 leaves no doubt in my mind as to the right of this parliament to exact the condition contained in the amendment I submitted to the committee. That right exists virtually if not in the. actuality; and if it does not exist in the actuality it is because certain proceedings have not been taken that can be taken. We have plenty of time yet to act; the parliament can order the Bill to stand for a time to allow the Governor-in-Council to pass the necessary ordinances. I say again that this right exists virtually if not in the actuality.
I am free to admit that for some years past. I have not given much time to the study of legal questions and it is my intention in future to devote more of my time to the law, and more especially to the study of constitutional law, but at the same time I submit the above remarks to the committee as my humble opinion upon this question. I will say further that if there is some doubt as to the existence of constitutional rights for the minority in
Keewatin, whait wrong can be done by having this amendment added to the Bill? 'If no rights exist, the clause will amount to nothing, but if rights do exist the minority will be protected. It goes without saying that the question is worth studying. The right hon. leader of the government himself expressed a doubt on this point when ho said in his speech of March 6, at page 4582 of the unrevised edition of the Debates: ' But whether I am right or wrong in believing that that 'is constitutionally impracticable."
Everybody knows that when it comes to 'the construction of the text of a law, we have very often conflicting opinions. :Every day judgments of the Superior Court are invalidated by the Court of Appeals, and after having gone through all the courts of the country, a case often goes to the Privy Council in England.
For my part, I hold that the deed with the province of Manitoba which the parliament is asked to confirm, cannot he accepted unless there is added to it the clause contained in the amendment that I have the honour to submit to the committee.
I do not propose to say anything more at this moment; I had no time to prepare a long speech, and I just gave expression to my sincere conviction. I hope that the House, after full consideration, will accept the amendment and will give ample justice to those who are entitled to it.
The position is thus: If this clause was inserted into the Bill it would prevent the government of Manitoba to do any injustice to the minority if it were so disposed.
Do not let us forget that the man who enters a house with the intention of appropriating to himself certain articles which are not to be found in that house, is committing nevertheless an act that in law is called robbery. This clause of mine puts a gate in front of the door of the house and this gate is needed all the more because those who are dwelling in that house are more than one thousand miles away from those from whom they can claim assistance.
I have voted for the Bill as a whole, I have accepted the financial arrangements, because I trust the present government, and that I have no doubt that in drafting this Bill they gave due weight and consideration to all its sections. When I was speaking on the address. I stated that I had confidence in the government, because it was composed of business men. Now I think it is the time to settle that question in a business-like way and not from the viewpoint of religious and racial prejudices. If the amendment is carried it will be up to Manitoba to conform the school system actually in force in that province to the school system of the added territory. The
other night, when speaking on this very question, I said that it was more than fifteen years old and that it was at the root of all the agitation that had been going on since, and those who are responsible for that situation are exactly the same people whom we are dealing with to-night. For any one who will study that question, not from the viewpoint of a political party -it is far above such considerations.- but from the loftier viewpoint of the union 'between the- different races and the different creed's, it is quite evident that the government of Manitoba could settle this question in an instant. The only thing to do is to give effect to the Manitoba Act of 1870, and if that is done nobodv will hear any more about the ' Manitoba school question.'
We all agree upon the necessity of having union and harmony between the different nationalities and creeds of this country, and if the Manitoba government would give effect to that Manitoba Act of 1870, it would go a long way in the direction of that ideal situation we are aiming at and We could then bend our energies toward the development of our resources in peace and harmony.
Every day members of this House are pressing upon parliament the claims of other people. That is exactly what I am doing at this moment, and I say that now '[DOT]is the time to act, because we are now discussing the very last sections of the 'Bill. It is the time, now or never, to take a strong and well defined stand.
' I listened the other day with great attention to the remarks of the hon. leader of the opposition on that Bill. I have always professed a great admiration for his personality, but instead of taking example from the Duke of Wellington fighting the French at the gates of Lisbon and remaining within the lines of Torres Vedras, he should have taken example from Henry of Navarre saying to his men-as the hon. gentleman himself said to his friends during the last election in the province of Quebec-' Follow my white plume, it will lead you to victory.' It is true that Henry of Navarre came back victorious, while the right hon. gentleman has been completely routed.
In concluding I say that I feel the full responsibility of the stand I am taking and I am quite willing to assume it, Even if I had done nothing else in all my public career, I would still feel that it is sufficient to atone for all the political 'sins that I might have committed.
Mr. ,T. A. M. AIKINS (Brandon). I have the greatest respect for the hon. gentleman (Mr. Mondou) who has moved this amendment, and I appreciate the sincerity and honesty which has actuated him in Mr. MONDOU.
presenting it to the committee, but I cannot agree with the propriety of the conclusions at which he has arrived. His amendment reads as handed to me by the clerk:
Nothing in this Act shall affect /prejudicially in any way the rights of the minority, either Protestant or Catholic, to separate schools, as they now exist in snch part of the territories, now annexed to Manitoba.
This amendment assumes that there are separate schools existing; it assumes that there may be a Protestant minority or a Roman Catholic minority which has a right in respect to separate schools. But, I submit that this parliament should not legislatively decide that there are existing now in the territory to be added to Manitoba any separate schools or separate school rights. It becomes a matter for consideration (having regard to the wording of the resolution) before we can intelligently vote upon it. What educational system does exist there? On the 15th of July, 1870 Rupert's Land, the Territories, including Keewatin, and the province of Manitoba, were added to confederation. By the Manitoba Aot there was created for Manitoba a constitution, and power was given to it to govern and legislate according to that constitution and subject to its limitations. That Act was confirmed by an Act of the Imperial parliament. The same Act provides for the union of the territories, as well as Manitoba, to the Canadian confederacy. It was also necessary to create for the territories a constitution, a government and a legislature to enact the necessary laws respecting those territories. This parliament passed, in 1871, an Act under which the Lieutenant Governor and a council to assist him were authorized to pass ordinances necessary for the government of these Territories. Keewatin was made a separate district from the Territories. The Lieutenant Governor of the province of Manitoba, under the instructions of the Governor in Council of the Dominion, governed the district of Keewatin, and continued to do so from that date until 1906, when it was added to the territories. In 1875 this parliament passed an enactment which empowered the government of the Northwest Territories to enact legislation respecting schools subject to limitations, but it was amended in 1880, and again in 1885; these provisions practically continued in the Northwest Territories till 1905. But, that legislation was not legislation creating school districts or creating school rights in this territory. It only enabled the government of the Northwest Territories to legislate in respect of separate schools, but with that enabling power there was a limitation. The section passed in 1875 reads:
When and so soon as any system of taxation shall he adopted in any district or portion'of the Northwest Territories, the Lieutenant Governor, by and with the consent of the council or Assembly as the case may be, shall pass all necessary ordinances in respect to education, but it shall therein be always provided that a majority of the ratepayers of any distriot or portion of the Northwest Territories, or any lesser portion or subdivision thereof, by whatever name the same may be known, may establish such schools therein as they think fit and may make the necessary assessment and collection of rates theiefor. And further, that the minority of ratepayers therein, whether Roman Catholic or Protestant, may establish separate scho ols therein, and that, in such latter case,' the ratepayers establishing such Protestant or Roman Catholic separate schools, shall be liable only to assessments of such rates as they impose upon themselves in respect thereof. . . , '*7*
As you see it was simpiy a clause enabling the government of the Northwest Territories to establish schools, should they pass any legislation respecting education. Therefore, as I have said this legislation did not create separate schools in the territories. It merely enabled or empowered the government of the territories to do so, but when that government did so it was to be subject to the limitations mentioned in the section I have read. That section was amended in 1885 by striking out the first words as follows:
When and so soon as any system of taxation shall be adopted in any district or portion cf the territory.
So that the government oi the territories were authorized and empowered to pass school legislation at any time, subject to certain conditions. The form of the government of the territories was changed from time to time until it stood in the position in which it was prior to the passing of the Act of 1905 creating Saskatchewan and Alberta and making new provision for the territories. Therefore until the Act was passed in 1905 creating Alberta and Saskatchewan and making a new government for the territories, no government was empowered to pass any school legislation for the Northwest Territories except the Governor in Council, or the Governor with the Territorial Assembly. The question then is, what legislation did they pass? They did pass legislation such as the Ordinance of 1901, but under the Ordinance of 1901 no separate schools were established in the portion to be added to Manitoba. The government that existed in the Northwest Territories did not act under their power to establish any separate schools or any other schools in the Northwest Territories. At that time the Northwest Territories, included a strip of land of about fifty or seventy-five miles in width immediately adjoining to the east the present
province of Saskatchewan. It did not include the district of Keewatin. Therefore, when on the 20th of July, 1905, the new Northwest Territories Act was passed, the only government authorized to legislate in respect of education was the government of the Northwest Territories and it did not make this legislation effective in that strip of land or area and no government had passed any effective legislation or created any school district or given any school lights in ^ that strip of land originally in the territories which is now proposed to be added to the province of Manitoba. Another point, for serious consideration, in this connection is that the district of Keewatin, under the old Keewatin Act, was governed by the Lieutenant Governor of Manitoba under the instructions of the federal authority and there were no educational ordinances or law for the district of Keewatin, at all events until 1906. I am aware of the fact that the late administration, purporting to act under the Keewatin Act of 1876, did make a proclamation, lhat proclamation recited the Act of 1876 and recited that that legislation had authorized the government to detach amongst other things-but I had better read the words of the Act:
The Governor in Council may at any time when it appears to the public advantage to do so, detach any portion of the district of Keewatin therefrom and re-annex it to that part of the Northwest Territories of Canada included in the said district, and that nor-tion so detached shall then be subject to the same government and Jaws as that part of the Northwest Territories of Canada to which it is re-annexed.
It seems to me perfectly clear that the authority given to the Governor in Coun-was only to detach a portion and to add inat detached portion to other territory. -Now, it I understand anything aright, it is that the whole is greater than a part and therefore the interpretation that has to be put on that language of the sect tion is not that it is a power to take the whole of Keewatin and attach it to the Northwest Territories, but only to attach ' according to the words of the Act, that portion so ' detached ' from Keewatin. No reasonable interpretation of this section would, it seems to me, justify any attempt on the part of the federal government to attach the whole district of Keewatin to the Northwest Territories, and yet that is what the late Liberal government did. I submit that what was said by the Minister of Public Works (Mr. Monk) in that respect was correct, and that the proclamation made hy au authority which was simply authorized to ' detach ' a portion, did not enable them to ' attach ' the whole Therefore that action of the late government was unconstitutional and had no
authority in law. Consequently the laws of the Northwest Territories did not apply before the new Act passed in 1905 respecting the Northwest Territorities. In other words, the ordinances of the Northwest Territory that were passed by the Lieutenant Governor and the legislative assembly of the Northwest Territories never applied to the district of Keewatin.
In 1906, however, the revised statutes declared that the Northwest Territories should include Keewatin. At that time there was no provisional government created by this parliament with the power to legislate with respect to education for Keewatin; consequently the limitation concerning education in the territories was not in force in Keewatin. We have to look to the Northwest Territories Act, chapter 27, of 1905, to see what the law was when the new government of the Northwest Territories was established. Remember, the government of the old territories had, by virtue of this Act, ceased to exist, and the new government and legislative power was established. That government was given power to legislate in respect to schools, but with the same limitation as was on the government of the Northwest Territories. That government might have passed school legislation, but it did not. Therefore, there never existed, and I submit does not now exist in Keewatin, any legislative enactment making school districts, or giving educational rights either to the minorities or the majorities, whether Protestant or Roman Catholic. This resolution assumes that separate schools do exist, because it says: 'Nothing in this
Act shall affect or prejudice in any way the rights of the minority, either Protestant or Catholic, to separate schools.' In other words, it assumes that there are rights to separate schools. I submit, on a consideration of the law, that there are no separate schools existing in that territory; therefore, there can be no rights affected. If that be so, the amendment proposed is entirely inapplicable and inoperative, and it would be dangerous for this House to pass it.