February 21, 1905 (10th Parliament, 1st Session)

LIB

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

Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER.

Included in this was what was raised by the local government, which, was I believe in the neighbourhood of $150,000. So, this year, if the conditions were to remain as they are, without any increased demands, we should have to provide about $1,639,000, or an average of $818,000 for each province. Of course, there are some items of this expenditure Sir WILFRID LAURIER.
which, under the new conditions, must be duplicated, because there will be two governments instead of one. Besides, as every one knows immigration is flowing rapidly into the Territories, and it is no wonder if the present requirements of the Territories are not sufficiently represented by these figures. More liberal provision must be made for their expenses.
So, I come to the terms which we have made with the provinces-the terms we propose to give them. As the House knows, we are guided in this by the terms of the British North America Act. Section 118 of that Act reads as follows :
The following sums shall be paid yearly by Canada to the several provinces for the support of their governments and legislatures :
Ontario $80,000
Quebec 70,000
Nova Scotia 60,000
New Brunswick 50,000
Two hundred and sixty thousand,-and an annual grant in aid of each province shall be made, equal to eighty cents per head of the population as ascertained by the census of one thousand eight hundred and sixty-one, and in case of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, by subsequent decennial census until the population of each of those two provinces amount to four hundred thousand souls, at which rate such grant shall thereafter remain. Such grants shall be in full settlement of all future demands on Canada, and shall be paid halfyearly in advance to each province ; but the government of Canada shall deduct from such grants, as against any province, all sums chargeable as interest on the public debt of that province in excess of the several amounts stipulated in this Act.
Now, we propose to make the following terms, keeping as close as possible to the British North America Act. I cite from the Bill :
The following amounts shall be allowed as an annual subsidy to the province of Alberta and shall be paid by the government of Canada by half-yearly instalments in advance : Support of government and legislature, $501,000,-
That is the sum paid to New Brunswick, when the population of that province was
about the same as that of Alberta.
-on an estimated population of 250,000 at eighty cents per head $200,000, subject to be increased as hereinafter mentioned, that is to say : The census of the province shall be taken every fifth year, reckoning from the general census of 1901, and an approximate estimate of population shall be made at equal intervals between each quinquennial and decennial census, and, whenever the population, by any such census or estimate should exceed 250,000, the allowance shall be increased accordingly until the population has reached 800,000.
Now, the House has observed that in clause 11S of the British North America Act, which I have just read, the capitation allowance of the provinces of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick was fixed at a maximum

of 400,000 population. This rule was applied also to Manitoba and British Columbia. The reason why the maximum was fixed at 400,000 population is not very apparent, but I imagine that it was supposed at that time that the population of these provinces was not likely to reach a very much higher figure than 400,000. And this calculation has proven true. It took years for Nova Scotia to reach that maximum ; New Brunswick has not reached it yet, nor has Manitoba nor British Columbia. But it would be manifestly unfair to these new provinces to limit their maximum to 400.000. Already the population is about 250,000. Therefore, instead of fixing the maximum at 400,000 population, we have fixed it at 800,000.
A more important allowance is the allowance for debt. And this is what we propose:
Inasmuch as the province is not in debt, the said province should he entitled to be paid and to receive from the government of Canada by half-yearly instalments, interest at the rate of 5 per cent on the sum of $8,107,500.
The reason of this ik familiar to everybody, but perhaps, it is not unimportant that I should review it here, and present it again to the House. In 1867, when confederation was established the debts of the provinces were assumed by the Dominion- the debts of Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. Now, the debt at that time of Old Canada, that is the provinces of Ontario and Quebec, amounted to $67,000,000 in round numbers. The debt of New Brunswick was about $7,000,000 and that of Nova Scotia about $8,000,000. It so happened that the debt of New Brunswick represented an average of about $25 per head of the population, and the debt of Nova Scotia of about $8,000,000 was nearly the same per head of her population. The debt of Old Canada was a little greater per head. Therefore, when allowance was made for the debts of the provinces, the debt of Ontario and Quebec was taken not at $67,000,000, but at $62,000,00. That is, Ontario and Quebec were each relieved of about $31,000,000, Nova Scotia of $8,000,000, and New Brunswick of $7,000,000. The provinces of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick entered confederation without debt, while Ontario and Quebec had between them a debt of about $5,000,000. hater on. new arrangements were made, new debts of the provinces were assumed by the Dominion, and the provinces were freed from such liabilities. By this means the capitation allowance for debt was increased from $25 to $32.43 per head. This is the last allowance that was made for debt, and, if I remember well this was made by statute passed In 1884 or 1885. Therefore, we make this allowance of $34.43 per head to these new provinces. They have a population of 250.000 souls each. This makes a total of $8,107,500.

Topic:   PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT IN THE NORTHWEST.
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