March 24, 1905 (10th Parliament, 1st Session)


Clifford Sifton



The hon. gentleman said ' substance,' because I have It here, but it he intended to say * principle,' I will not dispute over the word, because I think that, although my hon. friend and I may not be able to agree on many things, I could convince him that these clauses are very different. .What is the effect of the clause now before us ? I like the first section for one thing, although for another thing I do not. I like it. in the first place, because it is clear. I am bound to say that I think one of the things that is important, in legislation of this kind is that it shall be such that the people can understand it after it is passed. and shall not have to go into the courts and fight for years to find out what the law is. I think everybody can understand what this means
Nothing in any such law shall prejudicially affect any right or privilege with respect to separate schools which any class of persons have at the date of the passing of this Act, under the terms of chapters 29 and 20 of the [DOT]ordinances of the Northwest Territories passed In the year 1901.
What does that preserve ? I have read these ordinances through, and all that I *can find this section to preserve-and it is an important thing-let us not exaggerate or minimize, let us know exactly what we are doing-I think that this is what we are doing and all that we are doing. This section preserves the right of the Protestant or Roman Catholic minority to have their school, a separate school in jiame. but a public school in fact, in a separate building if they wish. That is the right it preserves. It preserves, secondly, the right of the Protestant or Roman Catholic minority in such school to have religious teaching from 3.30 to 4 o'clock in the afternoon. The hon. gentleman from East Grey endeavoured to work on our sympathies yesterday by referring to the difficulties which some Protestant families in Quebec have, because they have to attend what is, to all intents and purposes, a denominational Catholic school, and I understood the hon. gentleman to be arguing against the proposal which is contained in this Bill when he cited that fact as an illustration of the evils of separate schools.

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