March 31, 1905 (10th Parliament, 1st Session)


Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)


I accept whatever my hon. friend states about it without the slightest reserve, either parliamentary or otherwise, and I will leave that for the gentlemen from the province of Quebec to settle. I do not pretend to know anything about it. There is another little interesting rumour which has come to us from time to time, and I observe that in former days my right hou. friend \ras very much interested in these rumours and used always to bring them to the attention of parliament in order that they might be contradicted. I have looked up his record in that regard and find that.I have good precedent for what I am about to mention. There is a very strong rumour, said to have emanated from a certain member of the administration, who lately received a pretty severe little stab in this House from the ex-Minister of the Interior (Mr. Sifton), that the ex-minister was not so absolutely ignorant of the terms of this measure, in the first instance, as had been suggested in this House. I do not know about that, but my right hon. friend can perhaps give us information and set at rest at once that disquieting rumour.
But what is the position to-day. so far as the Department of the Interior is concerned? We have a statute which says that there shall be a Department of the Interior and there shall be a Minister of the Interior. We start with that in the first instance. That statute goes on to say : ' The Minister of the Interior shall have the control and management of the affairs of the Northwest Territories.' Those are the exact words of the statute, and that statute has been in force during every one of the thirty-one days which have elapsed since the ex-Minister of the Interior has resigned. What was my right hon. friend's view with regard to this constitutional question not long ago ? 1
have already brought it to the attention of the House, but it is not out of place that I shall repeat his own words again :
In the practical working out of responsible government in a country of such vast extent as Canada, it is found necessary to attach a special responsibility to each minister for the public affairs of the province, or district with which he has close political connection, and

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