April 17, 1905 (10th Parliament, 1st Session)


Edward Guss Porter

Conservative (1867-1942)


Now, Sir, when these Bills were introduced in this House there was a spontaneous expression of disappointment. That feeling of disappointment, after all the discussion that has taken place in this House, after all the discussion that has taken place through the public press has not downed at all, but has been growing and growing until it is a perfect chorus of condemnation of this measure from one end of this Dominion to the other. There is a general outcry against the injustice that will be done these new provinces by imposing upon them the system of separate sichools provided for in "these measures. There is an outcry at the injustice that will be done by binding and shackling the people in these new provinces by a system of education that is not agreeable to their wishes. These mutterings that we first heard in this House upon the introduction of these Bills have grown and will continue to grow, I verily believe, notwithstanding the passing of these measures by the force behind the right hon. Prime Minister. These mutterings will increase and grow, and there will be no possibility of there being perfect rest and a feeling of perfect freedom, unless this government shall see fit, In its wisdom, to withdraw the educational clauses of these Bills and allow these provinces to legislate on that subject as to them seems meet and just. And, now, Sir, this feeling of disappointment has been expressed by the press of this country, the greatest of all powers hot only for the expression but for the formation of public opinion. The majority of the press have condemned these educational clauses. Resolutions have been passed by public meetings held in many places throughout the Dominion condemning this legislation. There have been pulpit discourses from almost every religious denomination in condemnation of these clauses. Educational bodies meeting in solemn conclave for the discussion of this matter, have also passed resolutions condemning this legislation. Educationalists, who are especially fitted to judge of this matter, have also announced themselves against-this measure in unmistakable terms. And, Sir, hundreds, yes thousands, of the very best people in the Dominion of Canada have expressed the same sentiment by the petitions that have been presented from day to day to this House. And hon. members in this House have been endeavouring, for days and weeks to convince this government that the legislation proposed under these Bills is not in the interest of the new provinces. Now, Sir, can it be possible that all these bodies, all these persons, all these petitioners, and the great majority of the public press-that all these'are wrong upon this question? Is it possible that only the right hon. gentleman iSir Wilfrid Laurier) and the influences under which he is acting are right ? Is the intelligence of the right hon. gentleman upon this question so heaven born, is his knowl-

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edge so divinely inspired, that it is impossible for him to be -wrong ?

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