April 5, 1905 (10th Parliament, 1st Session)


Wilfrid Laurier (Prime Minister; Minister of the Interior; Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs; President of the Privy Council)



No ; I shall have to refer to that in a moment. In making this motion, I desire to make a statement. I desire at this moment to call the attention of the House to a statement which was published this morning in the newspapers of the city,
and which I understand has been published in all the press of Canada. This statement is made by Mr. Rogers, a member of the Manitoba government, concerning the action taken by myself and by my colleagues upon an application made some time ago by the government of the province of Manitoba, under instructions from the legislature of that province, for an extension of its boundaries. I may say at once that it will be my duty, so far as the action of the government is concerned in this matter, to give the statement a direct, an absolute and a categorical denial. In order that there may be no misunderstanding, I think it is better that I should read to the House, and therefore place upon the records, the statement of Mr. Rogers, as I find it in the ' Citizen.' It is as follows :
On February 13, we received a formal invitation by telegraph from Sir Wilfrid to come to Ottawa as soon as convenient. We left on February 14 and arrived on the afternoon of the 16th, when we received a letter from Sir Wilfrid at the Russell House saying that he would be pleased to meet us at his office at mid-day on Friday, the 17th.
During that interview we presented the claims of the province as urgently and strongly as possible. In reply Sir Wilfrid said that if we would be good enough to remain 'in Ottawa for three or four days he would again send for us and would then be in a position to give us an answer.
In three days' time, on February 20, a letter was received from Monseigneur Sbarretti, asking for a conference. This invitation was accepted and His Excellency then presented the following memorandum, remarking that if we would place this on the statute-book of our province it would greatly facilitate an early settlement of our mission, the fixing of our boundaries, which would be extended to the shores of Hudson bay. His Excellency further added that our failure to act in the past had prejudiced our claim for extension westward. The following is a copy of His Excellency's memorandum, containing the proposed amendment to the Manitoba School Act:

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