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


Thomas Simpson Sproule

Conservative (1867-1942)


When the hon. gentleman asked me before in reference to that, I said that I had no recollection of it. I said that I was not then as familiar with the British North America Act as I am today, and I did not know the purport of many of the clauses of that Act; so that enactments bearing upon it might be passed in this House without my knowing anything about them. But when the question was brought before the House in such a way that I understood it, I always opposed such an enactment. In support of that statement, I need only mention the fact that when Mr. Dalton 'McCarthy moved a resolution with regard to one of the clauses of the Act of 1875, I both spoke and voted in favour of his motion, and what were the reasons I gave for doing so ? I said that while Sir John Thompson says we' shall have power to give the Territories any kind of constitution we like when we come to form them into provinces, and while other members think the same, the tendency of members, especially lawyers, was to have great regard for precedents, and when we come to that time the very fact that the minority may have enjoyed those rights for a number of years will be quoted as giving them vested rights, which it will be held we have no moral right to take away from them. As I did not want to have that claim made, I voted against it.

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