April 30, 1901 (9th Parliament, 1st Session)


Hon. E. G.@

PRIOR (Victoria, B.C.) Before you leave the Chair, I wish to offer some remarks to the House in regard to the disabilities and disadvantages that the province of British Columbia is labouring under at the present time, owing, in large measure, as I think, to the neglect of the government in not placing sufficient sums in

the estimates before the House. I did not speak on the budget, so, perhaps, the House will grant me indulgence if my remarks are somewhat lengthy ; but, I make no excuse, because I think the importance of the subject warrants me in so doing. My hon. friend from East York (Mr. Maclean) said last night that if eight men stood together they could get justice in this House. Well, as there are only six members from British Columbia in this House, l am afraid we may not be able to get it as easily as we think we ought; but, I feel convinced that in what X am going to say, not only shall I have the sympathy and support of my hon. friend (Mr. Earle), who is the only other Conservative besides myself from British Columbia, but also of the four government supporters from that province ; for, I may say to the House that whatever differences we may have at election times in British Columbia, we are as one in working for the good of the province when we come to Ottawa. Now, Sir, the faet is that the province of British Columbia is so far away that it is impossible for large delegations of business men often to come that distance to interview the government of the day. We are not in the same happy position that gentlemen are who live in Ontario, and Quebec, and the maritime provinces, who can run up to Ottawa in a day or two and lay their views before the government and go home again. But, as you know, Sir, it is a long and costly journey from British Columbia to Ottawa, and, therefore, the people of that province have to depend wholly on the efforts of their members and the communications they send to the government. As many gentlemen know, and as the government know, some three months ago the premier of British Columbia, the Hon. Jas. Dunsmuir, and the Hon. Mr. Eberts, Attorney General of that province, came to Ottawa and interviewed the government as a whole, and many of the ministers individually, in regard to the requirements and wants of British Columbia, that this government has power to alleviate. The government, therefore, are thoroughly conversant with nearly everything I shall lay before the House, but I think it is my duty to acquaint the members of the House with it also. At the beginning of this session, I moved for all the correspondence that had taken place between the Dominion government and the provincial government, but, before it was brought down, I found that the provincial government had got leave from the right hon. leader of this government to print the same, and they having done so. I did not press for it to be printed again. Now, that document, I may say, is a very able, a very comprehensive and exhaustive document, setting foi'th all the wants of British Columbia ; it has left nothing unsaid, I think, that can be said on the subject, and reflects great credit, in my opinion, on the gentlemen who drew it up.

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