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


Edward Arthur Lancaster

Conservative (1867-1942)


direction or trammel to the legislatures, the present system would have been enacted, and ail the privileges possible under any obligatory federal clause would have been secured to the Catholic minorities without dispute or acrimonious debate.
4. The ' Globe ' holds that the educational clauses in the first draft of the Autonomy Bills are ultra vires of the federal parliament, especially the third clause which is held to contravene the Dominion Lands Act and to interfere with the provincial control of the details of school administration.
5. The ' Globe,' as a logical consequence of the foregoing, holds to be ultra vires of parliament and an infringement, in theory if not in practice, of the rights of the provinces under the constitution, any legislation based on the assumption that ill the meaning of the British North America Act there is no difference between the creation of a province out of territory for thirty-five years a part of Canada and under federal supervision, and the union to the Canadian confederation of an independent, self-governing, autonymous province or colony such as British Columbia was prior to 1871 or as Newfoundland is tb-day. A territory is not a province, and the constitutional obligations of a province cannot rest upon a territory until it becomes a province.
That is the 'Globe's' statement and that is my idea of what is right. I do not say it is right because the 'Globe' says so, hut I do say that when the 'Globe,'which is not going out of its way to injure the government says so, it means a great majority of the people of this country, Liberals as well as Conservatives, the independent thinking people on both sides of politics, are of the opinion that the government is doing wrong. But, says the government, we are in for five years anyway and what matters it ? Well, I say to them that the five years will go by. They may hold themselves in power for five years, but when the election comes the people of Canada will do as the people of Lincoln county did four years after the pledge of the Prime Minister was broken and on which pledge they returned a supporter of his to this House. The chief whip of the Reform party held the constituency of Lincoln by a majority of nearly 500, but the government broke its pledges as to provincial rights, as on every other question, and the people of the county of Lincoln punished the government because of its broken pledges, and a man of no greater ability than your humble servant was elected and the chief whip of the Reform party was left at home. As the people of Lincoln county did in that instance, so shall the people of the Dominion do when they get the opportunity. It may be that the Prime Minister will retire from office before an appeal is again made to the electorate; it may be that the Minister of Finance or the statesmanlike Postmaster General will make himself or get some one to make him Prime Minister, but whoever be the Liberal Prime Minister who appeals to the people of Can-

ada he will And that the people of this Dominion will not stand for interference with tile autonomy of the provinces, will not stand for broken pledges, will not stand for the shackling of these great provinces of the Northwest with onerous restrictions as to education and the administration of their public lands. Why have we no Minister of the Interior to-day? Why is the government afraid to appoint a Minister of the Interior and send him for election to the people of the west? I have not the assurance which some gentlemen on the other side have to say that they speak for the people of the Northwest Territories when they have no mandate to speak on this question; I do not pretend to speak for the people of the Northwest Territories except to say that they want to be left alone to attend to their own business, but I do believe that the people of the Northwest Territories will treat this government as it deserves to be treated for interfering with their provincial rights. The government does not dare to appoint a Minister of the Interior because they know that the people of the Northwest would reject him by an overwhelming vote. The Prime Minister is not here to-night, but in times past he has learned something from this side of the House, and I invite the Minister of Customs and the Minister of Finance who are now present to tell the Prime Minister that it is his duty to appoint a Minister of the Interior and to test the feelings of the people of the west on this question. That is the constitutional way to proceed, but these gentlemen do not want things done constitutionally. They had not much respect for the constitution when, the Minister of Finance being absent in England, they introduced without his knowledge this Bill which deals with great financial issues seriously affecting the Dominion. They had not much respect for the constitution when in the absence of their Minister of the Interior, who is specially charged with matters pertaining to the west, they drafted and proposed in parliament this measure which vitally concerns the people whose interest he was specially charged to guard. Let them appoint their Minister of the Interior and they can soon find out whether we are right or they are right. Sir, as a man trying to do the honourable thing and representing an honourable constituency, I have no course left to me but to vote for the amendment of the leader of the opposition. In doing so, I believe I am voicing the opinions of the Reformers as well as the Conservatives, of the respectable Roman Catholics as well as the respectable Protestants of my county. If I do that I am doing my whole duty, and, Sir, if the members of this cabinet would study more what the people want and not what may suit the political exigencies of the moment they would be representing the people of Canada better than they are to-day.

Topic:   A. COMMON'S
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