March 28, 1905 (10th Parliament, 1st Session)

CON

Richard Blain

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BLAIN.

My hon. friends say no, but I rather think I am correct in that state-' ment because in the earlier days, before my right hon. friend came into the House, it was quoted very often in the interest of the Reform party. Dealing with the statement of the First Minister that the Protestants in the province of Quebec have nothing to complain of, the editor writes as follows:
How does the premier reconcile this declaration of his with the fact that the Englishspeaking people outside of the island of Montreal have largely disappeared and are continuing to disappear ? Whole townships, settled by them and which prospered under them, are to-day French. Protestant churches are to be found in which no service is held and that the spot where Protestants were buried for three generations and more are now to be found in the corners of farms of French Canadians. In only one of the counties that compose the Eastern Townships have the Protestants a majority, yet once they had absolute control. Do men throw up their farms and leave a province where they have no cause of complaint ? Let Sir Wilfrid explain this-the extraordinary spectacle of a people abandoning the land of their birth, to which they are bound by every tie of affection and patriotism, to seek new homes in the United States, for the proportion has been trifling who have gone to our Northwest. What is it they find under an alien flag they could not in the province of Quebec ? We want no rhetorical generalities, no vapouring about justice and toleration. Here is a plain problem-Why are the Protestant farmers of ,the province of Quebec going away ? Do men flee a province where they have no cause of complaint ?
There is no more saddening aspect in the condition of our province than the groups of Protestant children to be found here and there all over it destitute of the means of acquiring the elements of education, and threatening us with a coming generation of Protestant farmers as ignorant as Russian moujiks. This is a fruit of separate schools. If we had national schools, instead of sectarian schools, no child in the province would be without opportunity to learn to read and write. Another consequence of these sectarian schools should never be lost sight of,-and that is, where Protestant farmers are too ijew to have a school, they are taxed to support Catholic schools, which, sometimes, have as their teachers nuns and Christian brothers. There are hundreds of Protestant farmers who are forced either to support Catholic schools or sell out.
That is the statement of the Huntingdon 'Gleamer,' and I commend it to the consideration of my right hon. friend.
At six o'clock, House took recess.
After Recess.
House resumed at eight o'clock.

Topic:   A. CARMAN.
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