May 26, 1913

CON

Mr. ROGERS: (Minister of Public Works)

Conservative (1867-1942)

1. Yes.

2. $2,100 a year.

3. Technical assistant to the General Superintendent of Government telegraph lines.

4. Yes.

TRENT VALLEY CANAL-CLAIMS OF CCXRRY & LAVERDURE.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   EMPLOYMENT OF JOSEPH GOBEIL.
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LIB

*Mr. KYTE:

Liberal

1. Has the Minister of Railways and Canals reached a decision concerning the claim of Corry & Laverdure, now pending for several years?

[DOT]2. Is the above claim to be paid out of the sum of $250,000 mentioned in the supplementary estimates of this session, additional amount required for the construction of the Trent Valley canal?

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   EMPLOYMENT OF JOSEPH GOBEIL.
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CON

Mr. COCHRANE: (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Conservative (1867-1942)

1. No.

2. Answered by No. 1.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   EMPLOYMENT OF JOSEPH GOBEIL.
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UNOPPOSED AND UNDISCUSSED MOTIONS.


For a copy of all correspondence and documents of any kind whatsoever relating to the dismissal of postmaster in Bonaventure county, by the present administration, not already ordered and brought down.-Mr. Marcil. For a copy of all correspondence and documents of any kind whatsoever relating to the dismissal of employees of the Department of Marine and Fisheries in Bonaventure county, by the present 'admini.stration, not already ordered and brought down. For a copy of all correspondence, telegrams, petitions, &c., in connection with the building of a post office at DTsraeli, Quebec.-Mr. Tobin. For a copy of all correspondence, reports, complaints and other communications and documents which passed between General Mackenzie and the .Minister of Militia or his department, previous to, and which led up to the resignation of General Mackenzie; and also a copy of said resignation, and the reply of the minister thereto, and of any and all communications had with the war office thereto, and of all other papers and documents in connection therewith.-Mr. Macdonald. For a copy of all letters, reports, documents and all other communications relating to the appointment of Colonel Crowe as commandant of the Royal Military College and to his resignation of said position, or to the extension of his term of service or to the termination thereof, and of all papers or letters passing between the minister and Colonel Crowe, relative to his resignation or the failure to extend his term of service.-Mr. Macdonald. F'or a copy of all papers, letters, and documents relating to the construction of a public building in the town of Laurentides, county of LAssomption.-Mr. Seguin. For a copy of all papers, letters and documents relating to the building of a wharf in the town of L'Assomption.-Mr. Seguin. For a copy of all papers, letters, documents, reports and inquiry, relating to the lighthouse keeper of the parish of Repentigny, county of L'Assomption.-Mr. Seguin. For a return showing a complete list of the seizures made by John C. Bourinot, during his incumbency as acting preventive officer from 1884 to 1886; also during his term of office as collector of customs for the port "of Port Hawkesbury from 1886 to 1898; also during his term of office as special officer of customs from 1898 to 1912; with the date of each seizure, number of each seizure, name of party from whom seizure was made, in case of vessels, the names of the vessels; also the name of the owner or owners, of such vessels the amount of each seizure, name of port where seizure was made, and the amount of the seizures made by him from 1684 to May 1, 1912, for the wholle province of Nova Scotia. -Mr. Chisholm (Inverness). For a copy of all telegrams, letters, &c., from the Department of Customs sent to or received from John C. .Bourinot, Port Hawkes-bury, customs officer, during the years 1895-6-7.-Mr. Chisholm (Inverness). For a copy of all correspondence, telegrams, inquiries and reports respecting the dismissal of Pliilias Habel, lighthouse keeper at St. Louis de Lotbiniere, county of Lotbiniere, Quebec.-Mr. Fortier. For a copy of all correspondence, telegrams, inquiries and reports respecting the dismissal of Napoleon Daigle, lighthouse keeper at Barre a Boulard, parish of St. Louis de Lotbiniere, Quebec.


KITSILANO INDIAN RESERVE.


On the motion of Right Hon. R. L. Borden for Committee of Supply:


LIB

Frank Oliver

Liberal

Hon. FRANK OLIVER (Edmonton):

I

desire to draw attention to the Kitsilano Indian Reserve, which was the subject of discussion on the 24th of April, and upon which further light was thrown by a return brought down dated the 23rd of May. I will read from this return the report of the inspector of Indian agencies which will place the case before the House briefly and clearly, and with more effect than I could. The report is dated, Victoria, April 26, 1913, addressed to the secretary of the Department of Indian Affairs, and Teads:

With further reference to my letter of the Uth instant dealing with the reported surrender of the False Creek Reserve at Van-

couver by certain Indians of the Squamrsh tribe to the provincial government, I beg to state that I have just returned from Vancouver, and wish to confirm the statement contained in the press despatch enclosed with my letter of the 11th instant, in so far as the Indians giving their consent to the sale and receiving the money.

The negotiations with the Indians were Car-Tied on by H. O. Alexander, Esq., stipendiary magistrate of Vancouver, on behalf of the Government of British Columbia. The amount paid to the Indians was $219,750. Nineteen heads of families received $11,250 each and one received' only $5,000, making twenty families in all. The Indians were also paid $1,000 for the removal of the dead bodies from the graveyard. Upon the Indians signing the agreement and receiving the;r money their effects were placed on a scow and towed up the Squamish river to one of the reserves, to which place most of the Indians also went. The expenses in this connection were borne by the British Government.

Mr. Alexander has informed me that he worked on a list which he made up himself, but it does not correspond with the Indian agent's census of this band, for it appears that money was paid to Indians who were not members of the band, while there were members who did not receive compensation. I visited the reserve and found that all the Indians had left. Their houses

had been pulled down and burned;

The last house on the water front portion of the reserve was being torn down while I was there on Tuesday, the 22nd, And the workmen informed me that they were (working under the instructions of the provincial government, who also have a policeman on the reserve.

Thi9 is one of the Indian reserves set aside prior to Confederation, and consisted at that time of 37.45 acres: in 1876 (according to the Journal of the Indian Reserve Commission), the Joint Reserve Commission increased the size of the reserve to 80 acres. Since that time 10.52 acres have been sold to the Canadian Pacific railway and the Vancouver and boon Island railway for railroad purposes. The Harrison Mills Timber and Trading Company also have a lease of 11.16 acres of the reserve.

The amount paid to the Indians in consideration of their giving up this reserve ($219,750) appears to he extremely small, so far as land values in that portion of the city of Vancouver are concerned; hut at present, without going into the matter very fully, it is impossible to state definitely as to the true value of the reserve. However, it would not be very wide of the mark to say that it is worth at least ten times the amount paid to the Indians.

It appears from the return that not only did the British Columbia Government remove the Indians from the reserve, burn or pull down their buildings, and establish police authority upon the reserve, but they publicly advertised the jurisdiction of the British Columbia Government over the reserve by notice in tlhe British Columbia Gazette, as follows:

Mr. OLIVER

Department of Lands,

Notice of Reserve.

Notice is hereby given that the certain portion of land officially known as Burrard Inlet Reserve No. 6, and commonly called Kitsilano or False Creek reserve, situated on the south side of the entrance to False Creek and arm or Burrard Inlet, and containing 80 acres, more or less, is reserved from any entry or alienation under the Mineral Act, the PlacerMining Act, the Coal and Petroleum Act, or the Land Act.

Robert A. Renwick, Deputy Commissioner of Lands, Department of Lands,

Victoria, B.C., April 11, 1913.

It (will be observed that the Indians left the reserve on April 9, and, on April 11, the British Columbia Government gazetted its assertion of authority, over the property rights within the reserve. I brought this transaction to the attention of the House and the answer to my question is dated Monday, April 21, 1913. My question was as follows;

Is the Government aware of steps being taken, as alleged, to acquire from the Indians of tihe Kitsilano reserve, Vancouver,

B.C., their rights to the land of the reserve by the provincial government of British Columbia, or by other parties or interests?

The answer to that question was; 'No.'

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Subtopic:   KITSILANO INDIAN RESERVE.
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CON

Thomas Wilson Crothers (Minister of Labour)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CROTHERS:

the Deputy Superintendent General of Indian Affairs, in which he says:

The Kitsilano Indians are being agitated by some white men of their reserve. The white men want to buy that reserve and offered them $10,000 for each living family. Now, they want to know, are they allowed to sell that tract of land while the land question is unsettled. There are some other white men that offer a great deal more than the other party. Shall they sell to the highest offers or shall they sell to special party only ? Or shall they wait until the land question is settled ?

Kindly advise.

I am, Sir,

Your most obedient servant, -Simon C. Pierre, Secretary and. Interpreter, Keatzie Indian reserve Port Hammond, B.C.

It is evident, therefore, that the Government had knowledge of this transaction being in progress and that they took no measure to prevent its being carried forward. So far as we are aware, they have taken no measures to readjust the conditions since the arrangement between the British Columbia Government and the Indians was made; and I submit that the condition is such as to call for a very full explanation from the Government of its position and intentions in the matter.

This document also discloses that a part of this reserve, some thirty-seven acres, was set apart by Governor Sir James Douglas, acting as the direct representative of the British Crown while administering the affairs of what is now British Columbia as a Crown colony. Therefore, there can be no question as to the proprietary rights on the part of this band of Indians to that much of their reserve in any case. In the remarks I had the honour to make some time ago in this connection, I pointed out that the responsibility and control of Indian Affairs was a trust transferred from the Imperial authorities to this Dominion Government, and that there was no means whereby they could properly divest themselves 'of that responsibility. There is some question raised by the British Columbia Government in regard to proprietary rights of the Indians in the class of reserve more recently set apart, but there can be no valid contention made against the absolute right of the Indians to the thirty-seven acres of this reserve received by direct title from the Imperial Government, nor can there be any question of the responsibility of this Government to absolutely protect the Indians in the full enjoyment of their rights in that portion of the reserve, and equally in their right to secure full value for the land should the transfer of that land be made.

This case is the more remarkable because there is an arrangement between the Government of British Columbia and this Mr. OLIVER.

Government for the settlement of the questions at issue between these Governments in regard to Indian reserves. The basis of agreement has been arrived at and a commission has been appointed. Under that arrangement and by the work of that commission, this particular reserve would undoubtedly have been dealt with, and the Government of British Columbia would have been maintained in whatever right it had according to the arrangement arrived at.

Apparently the Government of British Columbia, whether with or without the consent and knowledge of this Government, have seen fit to enter upon this property and assert the right of that Government, irrespective of this agreement. That is to say, they have made an agreement with the Dominion Government, and before that agreement becomes effective they take measures, aside from the agreement, to establish a property right which, in my estimation, they have not at all and would not have under the terms of this agreement.

The Dominion Government, charged with the responsibility of protecting the rights of the Indians, both as to their property and as to their persons, having made an agreement with the Government of British Columbia for the proper adjustment of all these rights according to their judgment, permit the Government of British Columbia to go outside of that agreement, to deal with those Indians in a manner absolutely contrary to the law, to remove them from the reserve, to destroy their property upon the reserve, to assert the authority of the provincial Government in regard to that reserve, and that on a payment of money that is stated even by the officer of this Government to be less than one-tenth of the actual value of the land. I submit that the Government are deserving of censure and of serious censure, unless they can give some better explanation of the case than they gave on the former occasion.

Coming now to the discussion of the arrangement between the Government of the province and the Government of the Dominion ; the provincial Government claims that the Indians do not own this land, that it belongs to the provincial Government, that the Indians have only a right of occupation, and that when the Indians leave the land, the title of the British Columbia Government to that land at once accrues. As I have already said, it was not possible for the Dominion Gov-* ernment to agree to that proposition, and the late Government had arrived _ at an agreement with the British Columbia Government to submit the question, as a legal case, to the judgment of the Privy Council. Later on the British Columbia Government refused to go on with that agreement. Still later this Government took the matter up

and arrived at an amicable arrangement with the British Columbia Government; and as soon as the agreement was arrived at- the British Columbia Government proceeds forthwith to set it aside; they take action independently; and this Government, so far as our returns show, has done absolutely nothing to protect the rights of the Indians in the matter.

In regard to the merits of the arrangement made between the Dominion and the province for the disposition of the rights of the Indians, I can only say that in my humble judgment it is an agreement which is intended to make peace between the province and the Dominion at the expense of the Indians. Under this arrangement the right of the province is admitted wherever the Indians have vacated their reserve or a* portion of their reserve. That is to say, the province claims that wherever the Indians have vacated their reserve the land belongs to the province and not to the remainder of the Indians, and this Government by its arrangement concedes that subject to sale and equal division of the proceeds between the province and the Dominion. The British Columbia Government has secured the vacation of this reserve by payment to the Indians of a quarter of a million -dollars, and claim the absolute ownership of the property. I assume it is in that view that the British Columbia Government have acted.

As to the fairness or reasonableness of such an agreement being entered into whereby the two Governments undertake to dispose of the rights of the Indians without considering what those rights are, without having those rights decided by that authority which is and ought to be the final court of appeal in regard to all such cases, it is a departure from precedent as to the proper discharge of the responsibilities of the Government of Canada in regard to the Indian tribes. It is disregarding the trust that has been placed on this Government by the Imperial authorities in regard to the rights of the Indians, and is net such an arrangement as can be considered to be fair and reasonable or in consonance with the dignitv of the Government of Canada or the responsibilities that properly rest on that Government.

The question of the price cf this land is not a serious matter. The serious matter is that this Government has seen fit-and I am bound to say, on the evidence of this return, that they have seen fit with knowledge-to forego their responsibility of protecting the rights of those Indians in Tegard to that land. They have done it without reason, because there is legislation on the Statute Book which can be brought into play that would effectually protect both the rights of the Indians and the rights of the

people of Vancouver. They have not seen fit to bring that legislation into action. They have seen fit to allow an unwarranted assertion of authority by the British Columbia Government which is neither more nor less than piracy, in taking these Indians ofl their land, burning their houses, in establishing control and asserting ownership of this land, without, so far as this return shows, ever referring the matter to this Government, although it is also shown that this Government had knowledge of the transaction. These are serious matters. When it is established, as it is established, that the Indians have been paid a quarter of a million dollars for land that is worth ten times as much, surely that concrete fact will appeal very strongly to the people of Canada .as establishing the failure of the Government to exercise their proper responsibilty in protecting the rights of those Indians. They have made an agreement with the British Columbia Government. It is an unfair agreement; but if that agreement was being carried out there might be some justification. What has been done has been done in defiance ot that agreement, without regard to it, that is, without regard to its letter; and, so .far as we are aware, this Government has taken no means, directly or indirectly, either to protect the riglits of the Indians in the first place or to restore those rights now that they have so far been taken away from them. They have taken no means to bring into play the legislation af this Parliament, that was provided particularly and especially for meeting just such cases in .a fair and equitable manner.

Right Hon. R. X. BORDEN (Prime Min-i=ter) [DOT] My hon. friend has traversed a good deal of the ground which he went over at very considerable length about a month ago. I am not aware that he has brought to the attention of the House any material circumstances that were not made known then. As he has stated, there is a commission which is investigating the whole question of Indian affairs in the province of British Columbia, and, having been Minister of the Interior for a number of years, he knows, or ought to know, that the rights of the Indians in respect to their lands in the province of British Columbia, or anywhere else, can only be interfered with under the law of this country, and there are two statutes which are available for that purpose. My hon. friend says that there has been an agreement between this Government and the province of British Columbia by which this Government would undertake to do anything that the British Columbia Government might find satisfactory to the Indians.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   KITSILANO INDIAN RESERVE.
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LIB

Frank Oliver

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER:

I have mis-stated my

position if my right horn friend thinks that is it.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   KITSILANO INDIAN RESERVE.
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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs; President of the Privy Council)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BORDEN:

What is your position?

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   KITSILANO INDIAN RESERVE.
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LIB

Frank Oliver

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER:

This Government has

made an agreement with the British Columbia Government whereby, whenever an Indian reserve is partially or wholly vacated, the contention of the British Columbia Government is accepted.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   KITSILANO INDIAN RESERVE.
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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs; President of the Privy Council)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BORDEN:

Where is that agreement to be found?

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   KITSILANO INDIAN RESERVE.
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LIB
CON

Robert Laird Borden (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs; President of the Privy Council)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BORDEN:

You mean the agreement for the appointment of the commission?

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   KITSILANO INDIAN RESERVE.
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LIB
CON

Robert Laird Borden (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs; President of the Privy Council)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BORDEN:

The terms of that agreement are very well known. As a matter of fact, it is a commission which is not in the nature of an arbitration. The commission was appointed under the Inquiries Act, and its report is subject to the consideration of the Governor in Council. My hon. friend seems to think it is an arbitration. It is not an arbitration; it is purely an inquiry under the Inquiries Act.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   KITSILANO INDIAN RESERVE.
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?

Mr OLIVER:

My right hon. friend remembers that there is set out in this return a specific memorandum of agreement.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   KITSILANO INDIAN RESERVE.
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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs; President of the Privy Council)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BORDEN:

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   KITSILANO INDIAN RESERVE.
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LIB

Wilfrid Laurier (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER:

My right hon. friend has not at all submitted to the House the point at issue. It is quite true that the relations of the Indian with the white man are regulated by those statutes; but on the present occasion the point is that neither statute has been followed; both have been ignored. Neither the general statute for the surrender of reserves nor the Indian Act has been followed. It was only two or three years ago that a Bill was introduced in this House to meet a case similar to the present one. That was the case of the Songhees Indians of Victoria. By experience we know that Indian reserves in the vicinity of growing cities are a detriment, not only to the growing cities, but to the Indians themselves, and it is in their own interests that they should be removed from those cities, or their immediate neighbourhood. At the present time the Indians can surrender their rights under the Indian Act; but this requires their consent, and there have been cases in which the Indians have not been willing to give their consent. That was the case of the Songhees Indians at Victoria. The matter had been under discussion between the authorities of Victoria and the Indians, and the Indians always refused to agree to the surrender. At last the Government of British Columbia took the matter up and obtained the consent of the Indians. That? was the occasion upon which I sent the telegram, wthich was quoted some time ago by my hon. friend, and which has been quoted

again to-day, to Sir Richard McBride, stating that the price and conditions, if acceptable to the Indians, would be acceptable to us. The matter had been considered for some years, and the only point was to obtain the consent of the Indians. The conditions that were offered by the Government of British Columbia on behalf of the city of Victoria were acceptable and reasonably fair. We knew that the Government of British Columbia were anxious to have the consent of the Indians, we were willing and anxious to have their consent, and we advised the Government of British Columbia that we would be willing to agree to those conditions. But there is a difference between the Songhees case and this.

In order that the House may understand this question, let me point out that the Indians may surrender their rights; but if they do so, it must be done with the consent and approval of the Superintendent General of Indian Affairs. If the Indians, although they are so advised by him, will not surrender their rights, then the authorities who want the surrender can apply to the Court of Exchequer and obtain judgment of the court as to whether the Indians shall be removed or dispossessed. We thought it would not be fair to dispossess the Indians, even though we thought it was in their own interests, unless we had judicial authority for so doing. We wanted to preserve the sacredness of the trust which has been imposed upon us, as upon all British governments, with reference to the interior races before dispossessing them of their land. But if the Indians are willing to surrender their reserve, as was the case with the False Creek Teserve, you must have the consent of three parties: first, the purchaser-in this case the Government of British Columbia; next, the Indians; and next, the Superintendent General of Indian Affairs. In this case the Superintendent General of Indian Affairs did not participate in the negotiations at all. There was the consent of the Indians' and the consent of the British Columbia Government; but it appears that the Superintendent General of Indian Affairs simply surrendered his rights altogether. The correspondence shows that the Superintendent knew that negotiations weTe going on, but did not interfere at all. My hon. friend (Mr. Crothers) may shake his head, but I would be very glad to have his explanation upon this point.

My hon. friend from Edmonton (Mr. Oliver) presented the case to the House fairly and moderately, and his conclusion is that, if the facts are as they have been presented, the Government are censurable. But he says: I do not want to ask for the

censure of the Government to-day; I -want the explanation of the Government. If the facts are as disclosed by my hon. friend from Edmonton, and if this transaction has taken place with the consent of the Superintendent General of Indian Affairs, then he has been imprudent in his conduct; but if he has not given his consent to this transaction, the Government are *certainly highly censurable, because they have been altogether recreant to the duty imposed upon them by the law for the protection of the Indians. As we know, the Indian is the ward of the nation; he is treated as an Indian; he cannot sell a pelt unless he has the consent of the Superintendent General of Indian Affairs, through the agent; and shall it be said on this occasion that the Indians can sell their rights to the land which they occupy without the consent of the Superintendent General of Indian Affairs? That is the charge which was made by my hon. friend, and upon which he desires information.

The question as to the general right of the government of a province with reference to the lands now in possession of the Indians is a very large one, and I shall not enter upon the discussion of it at the present moment. But that is 'not a matter in issue at the present time. The question is whether the sale was authorized by the Superintendent General of Indian Affairs. If not, the whole transaction is null and void, and there is no title conveyed to anybody. Do I understand that these men, without the consent of the Superintendent General of Indian Affairs, paid $200,000 for this property, when there was another party ready to offer $2,000,0o0? Do I understand that, as alleged, the Government allowed these 'Indians to be deprived of their rights?-because the British Columbia Government have no rights to these lands, unless they have the signature of the Superintendent General of Indian Affairs. Do I understand that without having that authority they have dispossessed the Indians, burned their homes over their heads, and forced them to leave and settle elsewhere? That is the point upon which we must have some information so as to ascertain exactly what has been the conduct of the Government in the matter.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   KITSILANO INDIAN RESERVE.
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May 26, 1913