April 11, 1905 (10th Parliament, 1st Session)

CON

Robert Abercrombie Pringle

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. PRINGLE.

I will not say that I am aware that the fourth Bill of Bights was never accepted as authentic. I say that there is internal evidence in support of Mr. Richot's statement. Paragraph 1 of this Bill of Bights No. 4 demands a Senate for the new province, and a Senate was granted, though the expense of it was much objected to. Bill of Bights No. 3 says nothing about the Senate. If Bill of Rights No. 4 was not authentic, why was the Senate granted ? But further this Bill of Rights No. 4, paragraph 7, demands that the schools be separate. And this was Inserted in the Manitoba Act and the Schools Act was

framed in the province of Manitoba within a year afterwards by the very men who were dealing with this Bill of Rights and who had received a report from these delegates ; and that Act provided for separate schools in the province of Manitoba. It would be strange if both these points could have got by chance into the Manitoba Act, an Act which was the result of elaborate negotiations with the delegates. The other tiling is this : This Bill of Rights No. 3 asks that the province shall be styled and known as the province of Assiniboia. Bill of Rights No. 4 suggested no name, merely that the province was styled the province of Manitoba. Just in passing, let me refer also to a letter written from the Secretary of State of the Dominion to the Reverend Archbishop of St. Boniface. I do not want to weary the House by quoting this letter in full. It begins as follows :
Department of Secretary of State for the provinces.
February 16th, 1870.
The Very Reverend the Bishop of St. Boniface:
My Lord,-1 am commanded by His Excellency the Governor General to acknowledge and thank you for the prompitude with which you placed your services at the disposal of this government, and undertook a winter voyage and journey that you might, by your presence and influence, aid in the repression of the unlooked-for disturbances which had broken out in the Northwest.
The letter goes on to state that there is inclosed a copy of instructions given to Hon. William Macdougall ; a copy of further instructions addressed to Mr. Macdougall on the 7th of November ; a copy of a letter o'f instructions to the Very Reverend Vicar General Thibault on the 4th December ; copy of a proclamation issued by His Excellency ; copy of the letter to Donald A. Smith ; letter of instruction to Donald A. Smith, and several other documents. Here is the portion of the letter to which I wish to call special attention :
Your lordship will perceive in these papers the" policy which it was and is the desire of the iCanadian government to establish in the Northwest. The people of Canada have no interest in the erection of institutions in Rupert's Land, which public opinion condemns ; nor would they wish to see a fine race of people trained to discontent and insubordination by the pressure of an unwise system of government, to which British subjects are unaccustomed or averse. They look hopefully forward to the period when institutions, moulded upon those which the other provinces enjoy, may he established.
What was the meaning of that letter ? To my mind it was that the people of Canada looked forward to the period when institutions would be established in Manitoba giving to the minority their rights. Because, he immediatelv follows it up by saving :
' Mr. PRINGLE.
And in the meantime would deeply regret if the civil and religious liberties of the whole population were not adequately protected by such temporary arrangements as it may be prudent at present to make.
Now, I say, they did follow it up immediately afterwards in the province of Manitoba by passing a school law which gave separate schools to the minority. The minority was not then a Catholic minority, but Protestant. And, in reading history-though I may read it wrong-at that time it looked as if the province of Manitoba would be a French Catholic province ; and the English-speaking people were as anxious to preserve the rights of the English Protestant minority as the Catholic minority now can be.

Topic:   PROVINCIAL AUTONOMY IN THE NORTHWEST.
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