May 2, 1905 (10th Parliament, 1st Session)


Louis-Philippe Brodeur (Minister of Inland Revenue)



Now that we do not know exactly where the hon. leader of the opposition stands with regard to his motion, we will proceed to discuss the question whether or not we have the constitutional power to pass this Bill. AVith regard to this question of constitutional powers, we must not forget one thing: Section 91 of
the British North America Act determines what are the powers of the federal parliament ; section 92 deals with the powers of the local legislatures ; section 93 deals with the powers of the local legislatures in regard to education, but at the same time gives the federal parliament a certain control over that subject; section 95 places some subjects, like agriculture, under the control of both "the provincial legislatures and the federal parliament. Now, it has been asserted time and again that this legislation is an infringement upon provincial rights. I say with regard to education that it is not a question of provincial rights. It is not a question whether the province will have an absolute right or not, such as it has in regard to the matters embodied in section 92 ; but it is purely and simply a question of minority rights. It is a question whether the minority shall enjoy the rights and privileges which are guaranteed by the constitution or rights and privileges which they may acquire under the constitution.
Now, have we the power to pass the Bill now before us ? I say, without the least hesitation, .that we liav^ that power. I am not going to dwell on that question at great length. I hope my hon. friend the Minister of Justice will have occasion to take part in this debate, and he is certainly in a better position than I am to discuss that question ; but I may be permitted to say a word or two upon it. What says section 4 of the Act of 1871 ? It says :
lishment, make provision for the constitution and administration of any such province

The section does not stop there. It does not say, as section 146 of the British North America Act of 1867 does, that the provinces shall be admitted subject to the provisions of that Act. Section 4 of the Act of 1871 says that so long as the Territories remain territories the parliament of Canada will have absolute control over them ; but under section 2 the parliament of Canada has also the right to create provinces in those Territories, to give constitutions to those provinces, and to provide for the passing of laws for the peace, order and good government of such provinces.

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